The souvenir drink bottles tend to have a love/hate relationship among park goers. Those of us who still travel with a stroller have no problem bringing along our souvenir bottles when going on rides. However, those that are strollerless or do not have people to hold their belongings are encouraged to rent a locker for storing your bottle. While the souvenir bottles can be an excellent value, they can also have hidden costs when you need to pay to store them.
While there are other storage options liking hiding your souvenir bottle behind a bush or on top of the lockers, you do so at your own risk of them getting stolen or thrown away.
Carowinds rolled out a test all season long souvenir cup in 2015; however, since it was rolled out in late July, they may not have been too well received since half of the season was already over.
Well the good news is the all-season souvenir bottles were rolled out at all of the Cedar Fair parks in 2016 and will continue in 2017 due to their overwhelming success!
How Much Do the All Season Souvenir Cups Cost?
For $29.99, guests can enjoy unlimited refills throughout the 2017 season. The price is currently the same online as it is proposed in the parks.
In addition to the cost of the cups online, you pay tax and processing fee. You can wait and purchase the cups at the park in 2016. However, there is no guarantee that the prices will remain the same as they are right now. The all-season cups are currently $29.99 at all the parks. So while you may save on the taxes and fees by purchasing in the park next season, you basically would be paying around the same price as you will now online.
At least if you purchase them online now with the season pass, you can break the cost up over 9 payments.
Why Are the Souvenir Bottles So Expensive?
If you know anything about the restaurant business, margins are very low on food. While a regular guest paying $15 for a meal makes the company money, a guest on the meal plan carries risk of eating more throughout the year than the cost of the plan. An all-season meal plan at $90-113 (2017 All-Season dining plans at Fall 2016 prices) with an average $11 for a meal ($15 – $4 for a drink not included on the meal plan), means you need to eat at least 9 meals throughout the season to break even. At two meals a day, that means on your fifth visit you break even.
The park than carries a risk of you eating more meals and eating into their profits.
That is where the souvenir cups make up the difference and where the park makes real money.
When you purchase a souvenir cup, regardless of whether it is regular bottle or all season version, you pay upfront a fee to use the cup. In addition, the cost of the bottle far exceeds the cost of the dispensed beverages, which costs cents. No matter how many times you refill the cup, the park makes money.
So the short answer is, the parks make their money on the souvenir bottles more than the food, and thus why you pay a premium for the bottles.
Where Can You Use the All Season Souvenir Cup?
Just like in 2016, we have independently confirmed from park officials that the 2017 all season cups will be able to be used at ALL Cedar Fair parks!
There still tends to be some confusion about where you purchased your souvenir cup online versus which park you take them to redeem. For example, can you purchase your cup through the Cedar Point website but redeem for them at Carowinds since they open earlier in the season?
In 2016, we successfully did redeem our Cedar Point souvenir cup receipt at Kings Dominion. While we are sure this will still be the case in 2017, you should try and purchase your cup at which ever park you will visit first to avoid confusion. Thereafter, you can use the cups at ANY Cedar Fair park.
Word to the wise! The all season cups will become highly valuable this year, and just leaving them around makes them all the more prone to theft. Factor in the cost to secure your cup during each visit, or you will find yourself thirsty at the well.
Should You Purchase the Yellow (All-Day) or Red (All-Season) Souvenir Cups?
The all-season cups are red this season. However, there are still yellow cups that are free refills on the day of purchase and $1 refills all season.
During the 2014 and 2015 seasons, one could reactivate your cup on a subsequent visit to get unlimited refills on that day versus paying the $1.00 per refill fee. So the question was, could you reactivate the all-day cups?
Cup reactivation was deactivated in 2016 with the introduction of the all-season cup.
Therefore, if you plan on visiting more than a couple times, it makes sense to get the all-season cup (red). If you are only visiting for one, or even a couple visits but do not plan on drinking a lot, it may make more sense to buy the yellow cup and get $1 refills on subsequent visits.
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