Over half of Brits feel taken for a ride by theme parks

For many families the school summer holidays wouldn’t be complete without a trip to a theme park. However, new research from Gocompare.com has found that with a family day out to a top UK attraction costing up to £105.60* in admission tickets alone more than half of Brits (54%) feel theme parks have become a very expensive holiday treat. In fact, less than 1 in 20 (4.6%) of the people surveyed thought they offered good value for money.

Research highlights include:

54% of Brits think theme parks have become very expensive
Just 4.6% think theme parks offer good value for money
61% think the food and drink inside theme parks is too expensive
55% spend most of the day queuing for rides
34% would not pay the full advertised admission price
Alton Towers is the nation’s favourite theme park

Aside from the cost of getting through the entrance gate families are also feeling stung by the high cost of food and drink once they’re inside. 61 per cent of Brits feel that the prices charged by theme park restaurants, cafés and drinks stalls are a rip off.

And to top it all, despite the high cost of admission and refreshments, according to most visitors an experience which promises a day filled with thrills and excitement is more about aching legs than white knuckles. 55 per cent of people say they spent most of their day out queuing for rides.

The survey also asked consumers to name their favourite theme parks and despite admission for a family of four costing over £100.00 it was Alton Towers in Staffordshire which emerged as the clear winner. One respondent who voted had this to say: “The park we visit and enjoy most is Alton Towers…we are a family who love theme parks but they are expensive and with the hike in the cost of petrol for the journey they are becoming an increasingly expensive treat.”

Disney World in Florida came a creditable second place bearing in mind the 4000 mile journey Brits have to take to get there. And although the five day admission ticket to the Disney World resort was an eye watering £823.00 for a family of four it still prompted some of the most favourable comments: “Disney World has a magical atmosphere. Every part is excellent.” And “I adored Walt Disney World in Florida…”

Brits Top 10 Favourite Theme Parks

Alton Towers
Staffordshire, UK
£100.80 – 1 day

Disney World
Florida, USA
£823.00 – 5 days

Thorpe Park
Surrey, UK
£105.60 – 1 day

Universal Studios
Florida, USA
$597.96 (£361) – 4 days

Disney Land
Paris, France
£194.00 – 1 day

Greater London, UK
£88.20 – 1 day

Blackpool Pleasure Beach
Lancashire, UK
£88.00 – 1 day

Drayton Manor
Staffordshire, UK
£83.80 – 1 day

Berkshire, UK
£97.00 – 1 day

Flamingo land
North Yorkshire, UK
£95.00 – 1 day

Jeremy Cryer, Gocompare.com’s head of travel commented, “Our research shows that most visitors to theme parks come away with a less than glowing view of their day out. Expensive tickets, overpriced food, and hours spent queuing for rides seem to be how most Brits remember their day out.

“Alton Towers emerged as the UK’s favourite theme park but operators clearly have some work to do when it comes to customer satisfaction.”

The research for this story was commissioned by Gocompare.com and carried out with 3000 UK adults in August 2011.

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