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Changes to 2015 dining plans (Update: not happening)


malem
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I guess my outrage/upsetness/just aggravated by is over the times. Just silly and stupid imo. I have no problem with the 4 hour break or even a 5. My problem is if I want to eat at 3 I can't. No if ands or buts, unless I want to pay, which I would rather purchase outside the park. Same as if I get there at 9 and need to eat around 1030/11... What if I get there after work and then want to eat at say 8:30? Gaps in time, I get. The set schedule as many have said during peak meal time is sort of aggravating.

When you have a little one they tend to eat when they are hungry. Not at a set schedule usually.

And I really bought the meal plan as to make my day when I'm there easier. Not worry long about am I in my lunch window or not.

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goodyellowkorn182: The thing is, though: is it actually "crystal clear?" Yes, it's spelled out on the park's website, but honestly, if it weren't for this site, how many would actually think to re-check the rules of the dining plan before taking a trip to the park?

The new rules don't ruin my day by any means, but I find it somewhat annoying that something that already seems hit-and-miss in execution is going to add designated times for you to eat. In theory, yeah, that's hardly a big change. If you wanted to, you could even eat two hours apart, which is closer than the final iteration of the plan let you do last year. It's more the fact that another layer of complexity has been added onto something that seemed to have struggles already. If the past is precedent, there won't be signage in the park, nor will there be indication (apart from an unceremonious text change in the website) to anyone who's purchased it already that the rules have changed. If past is precedent, food employees may or may not know about the change. Cue angry passholders and exasperated managers attempting to apologize for non-communicated changes. (I could write a book about trying to use an all-day dining plan at Carowinds last year.)

I come across way more passionate in this thread about this than I intended to, haha. :lol: My feathers aren't ruffled by this. It just feels like more of Cedar Fair's "get a discount when the planets align appropriately, as long as the employees happen to know what the heck you're talking about"-type deals like the Interpreter quote in your profile mentions. It's a little wearisome, and I dislike it enough that I'm not going to rush out and embrace it this year. I'd love to be wrong.

EDIT: Not to mention that the Busch Gardens' one-day meal plans work similarly and successfully: one lunch ticket to use before 4, and one dinner one for after. Except the rules are actually printed on the tickets and don't rely on the cashier having successfully received the message through the grapevine. And the plan doesn't have a history of changing after you've purchased it. It's a well-executed program.

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Goodyellowkorn - it is worth anger for those that purchased such meal plan being told that it was a 4 hour window wait and locations subject to change and are now being told the hours are restricted by a time and such hours conflict with angered individual's "normal" lunch and dinner times that may not correspond with such hours as posted.

What's next, are they going to only open the food stands from 11:30 to 2:30 and 4:30 to 8pm - wow just think how much they would save in payroll and utilities by only being open for 6.5 hours instead of 12 hours for a normal operating day <_<

I see your point regarding the hour discrepancies on all of the meal plans - but the new plan says dinner time may vary as park hours vary - how is adjusting the hours for meals on days the park hours are not "normal" aiding in making it easier. Making every meal plan 4 hours, regardless of operating hours of park, is a much simpler process.

You may not be angered and outraged with it, perhaps you don't have a meal plan or the hours posted are fine, but rest assured, you will get fired up and angered over something in your life that folks will say "but in my humble opinion, so is outrage about it....Not wrong, but not worth anger."

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Had a few moments to think this over. Would I have bought it knowing these time constraints happened, probably not.

I bought knowing there was a four hour window. Not a duel window time frame.

So if the the park closes at 8 will lunch be 10-12 and dinner 4-6? When the park is open to 1 am will dinner be later?

And man someone is going to be perturbed when they show up at 235 because their watch or cell phone is slightly different than the cash register time ...

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I'm with Shark. I would not likely have purchased it given those conditions. Will I use it? Probably. Will I be able to use it the way I had anticipated when I bought it? Unlikely.

On a typical weekday, I'll get to the park at about 5:30, just after work. I'll eat as soon as I get there and then again one more time later in the day. Even with a four hour window, this was possible (well, not in Festhaus, but I digress...) So now, I paid a higher price than last year for something with effectively half the value.

My jimmies are rustled. I'm not going to make a big fuss about it, but it is certainly frustrating that I bought it under a set of assumptions that are no longer valid. And if they don't change it back to a system similar to what we were expecting it to be this season, the odds that I'd buy again in 2016 are very slim, indeed.

I ate sandwiches in my car when I visited Kings Island for years. I'm willing to do it again.

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How is this really different than going in a fast food establishment, ordering a #4 Combo, paying for it, and the manager deciding to give you less food as the food cost was running too high for the month?

You didn't get what you thought you paid for.

You bought what was sold, and after you bought it, the seller changed the terms of the deal.

It certainly is not a good business practice.

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The part that amazes me as well is why would the parks want to concentrate meal plan customers into what are already the busiest times for food stands, inconveniencing both the meal plan buyers and impulse food buyers?

Too long a line sends the impulse hungries to the parking lot or outside the park, with their wallets and nickels with them.

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I would even understand it if the new system were that you get one meal during the first half of the operating day (so between 10 and 4 on a normal 10 AM to 10 PM operating day) and one during the second half (4 to 10). No gaps, no forcing passholders to get their food (which will then technically be costing the park money since it's all paid up in advance) and slow the lines during peak hours, and you prevent people like me from showing up at 5:30 and getting two meals. That still wouldn't be ideal for me personally, but it would make a whole lot more sense. Now, that said, SIX has the time windows when the dining plan can be used (or they did at SFGAm this year. I assume it works the same at each park). Their system isn't so different from what is going to be put in place at FUN parks now.

Except of course for the important fact that once they sold the plan to the customers, it didn't change.

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How is this really different than going in a fast food establishment, ordering a #4 Combo, paying for it, and the manager deciding to give you less food as the food cost was running too high for the month?

You didn't get what you thought you paid for.

You bought what was sold, and after you bought it, the seller changed the terms of the deal.

It certainly is not a good business practice.

I'm sure there is some sort of fine print that says that they can change the terms. I'm sure it's legal it's just very unethical. Especially since most of their target demographic for this product is loyal guests, so many who intended to purchase this product would have purchased it already.

Then again, as Terp pointed out, this is the same company that thinks its ethical to sell someone a Jr pass and if the kid grows (as they inherently do) then they have to give them more money mid-season. It's also the same company who, after being offered a drink wrist band by 3 employees that day alone, I was told that if I was caught with one then security would be called. I emailed the head of the foods department asking for clarification. He thought it wasn't important to respond to a guest's concern. That was the last purchase I made from the Food Department at KI. This was in late July. I was going to start over with a dining plan and everything in 2015. Clearly nothing has changed and the dysfunction continues. One thing is communicated and another thing is acted on. Perhaps another year.

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Just because something is legal doesn't make it right. And just because something is right doesn't make it legal.

Good companies respect their customers and want to do the right thing, not just whatever they can get by with.

The customer denied a paid for meal due to a newly imposed time window is not going to remember fondly a "Best day ever."

To put it mildly.

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I'm sure there is some sort of fine print that says that they can change the terms. I'm sure it's legal it's just very unethical. Especially since most of their target demographic for this product is loyal guests, so many who intended to purchase this product would have purchased it already.

There were no terms or fine print disclosed when I made my purchase. Nothing visible at cedarpoint.com (including web pages and PDF attachments). Nothing at the season pass center at Cedar Point. Nothing printed out with my receipt that says that the product I purchased was subject to fundamental changes at the whim of the seller. Nowhere along the line was any fine print provided. For them to somehow produce something and claim you were bound by it at this point would not only be unethical but (and IANAL) 99.999999% likely illegal.

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The time window doesn't matter as much to me as most of my trips to KI are all-day trips anyway. The fact that they're forcing you to get food during peak times is going to be a pain though. The more time I spend in line waiting for food, the less time I have to enjoy everything else the park has to offer. I guess the trick there will be to learn which stands are typically the least crowded at any given time.

I do feel sorry for the employees though, as they're now going to have to deal with larger crowds at already busy times.

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I would even understand it if the new system were that you get one meal during the first half of the operating day (so between 10 and 4 on a normal 10 AM to 10 PM operating day) and one during the second half (4 to 10). No gaps, no forcing passholders to get their food (which will then technically be costing the park money since it's all paid up in advance) and slow the lines during peak hours, and you prevent people like me from showing up at 5:30 and getting two meals.

If you're hungry outside meal times, the park would love to sell you a funnel cake, fresh-cut fries, Graeter's ice cream, or a slice of fudge. Since this change is being made after the meal plan operated for a month at Knott's Berry Farm, perhaps there were problems with it cannibalizing snack sales.

Goble and disco2000 make excellent points about eating at non-standard times and avoiding peak crowds. Long lines and understaffed locations were problems at times last season. If a line is long, I like being able to skip it and return later. Many people need to plan their meal times around factors other than traditional meal times.

Ideally, they would program their POS & ticketing systems to allow existing customers to redeem meals their two meals under either set of rules. That would make the system more complex and confusing, however, so that doesn't seem likely for FUN.

More realistically, I'd like to see the new rules sent to existing customers via e-mail and snail mail, along with an apology for any inconvenience and instructions for obtaining a refund if they no longer want the plan. As some customers would be getting less for their money now, loading some freebies onto affected season passes (eg. free RPW fries & a free funnel cake) would be nice.

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At first I wasn't too bothered by this but the points made in this thread made me realize the many ways this will probably negatively affect my utilization of the meal plan.

I'm not going to try to get a refund, but it does make me much more likely to go back to eating out of a cooler again in 2016. Especially if I encounter other problems with using it even under the new rules. Considering the lack of training and coordination there has been shown previously, I assume that there will be more.

Last summer I had problems nearly every time I tried to buy something using my season pass discount. The employees knew to ask if I had one, but their training stopped there. They didn't know what things it didn't apply to (which was pretty much anything I was buying it seemed: although from experience I determined if something was on sale or otherwise discounted like the "buy 2 get one free" on fudge, the season pass discount didn't apply) until tap tap tapping at the cash register for a long time. It got to the point where I would tell /them/ before they started that it probably wasn't going to work. I guess I should have just said "no, I don't have a pass" to speed it along.

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Last year at the burger stand near Vortex, I was in line behind a gentleman and the cashier asked if he had a gold pass, he said no. The cashier told him his price and he said no thank you I dont want it because that wasnt the price on the menu (I forget what he was ordering). The cashier asked if I had a pass, I said yes, she asked to scan it and did so giving the guy a discount....

I wonder how many employees will give away free drinks, again this year. Many times its the "no need to scan the bottle" free drinks that happen....

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Last year at the burger stand near Vortex, I was in line behind a gentleman and the cashier asked if he had a gold pass, he said no. The cashier told him his price and he said no thank you I dont want it because that wasnt the price on the menu (I forget what he was ordering). The cashier asked if I had a pass, I said yes, she asked to scan it and did so giving the guy a discount....

I wonder how many employees will give away free drinks, again this year. Many times its the "no need to scan the bottle" free drinks that happen....

I wondered about this on my visit in October (my first in 15yrs). Everywhere we bought ANYTHING, we were asked if we had a Gold Pass. Just how much is the 'discount' for Gold Pass holders?

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Seeing as they are doing this during "peak" times I wonder if you have to check out within the predetermined time, or just be in line :). The later would be almost impossible but the former would depend upon how many people are in line and how fast the line moves. You could get in line with 20 minutes left and check out 30 minutes later, thus having to pay.

Seems like someone didn't think this through. It would seem better to offer off-peak hours for the dining plans. It would keep the lines down during peak hours. If a regular non-dining plan user sees a large line at mealtime they may decide to leave the park to go to the arches or bells or skip it entirely. However if the dining plan was used off-hours the lines during peak times would be shorter for those guests who don't frequent the park as much and food would have to be made on a more regular basis throughout the day to keep with the demand.

I expect this to change once the season opens if not sooner. The bait and switch thing is kind of wrong, especially to the people who support you the most. I would think anyone who purchases season passes and dining plans up-front would be treated better.

Just my thoughts.

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I have been critical to this change after purchase, but it is easy for all of us to take shots at it without being privy to all the information we hope Cedar Fair looked at to decide to make this change after sales have occurred. Doesn't make it right, but we only know the side we see.

After several seasons, I do wonder if some of these things "brought on" by Mr. former Disney-exec (money grab Fast Lane, throwing pricing at gate out the window, changing policies after sales, charging a junior pass a full pass in August because such child grew, etc.) are truly in best interest of guest experiences or simply to maximize profit. Many will say he brought Banshee and Cirque, etc. but I tend to say that those types of things would have occurred regardless of who was at the helm - parks of this size need to put in a Banshee-type ride every so-many years or lose relevance.

With all that said, I tend to be the type of season pass holder the park likes. I have mentioned before that I think the price of a pass is low, and as such I tend to do my share with in-park purchases to do my part in help keeping the park open with revenue stream. When FUNPerks started, I was rewarded with my spending habits and hated to see it disappear. I am glad that they offer a discount for pass holders as they can then see which are spending and which are not. Contrast that with the pass holder that doesn't spend a dime in the park - that doesn't help the park.

Regarding the dining plan, I thought it was a great value last year and jumped at the chance to buy it. Last year, I tended to spend more on other items (fudge, ice cream, snacks), as I thought the dining plan was a great value and since it was already paid for, buying fudge during a visit seemed cheap compared to years prior when I would purchase a meal every time.

I tend to reward establishments where I feel I am getting value. Changing the dining plan after I purchased will have a net decrease in my in-park spending this year. It wasn't what I agreed to when I purchased. If I show up at 3pm and stay till close on nights they are open to 10pm or midnight, last year I could get two meals and be inclined to purchase snacks because of the perceived value I was receiving and could still do so with a 4-hour wait window that I agreed to last fall. This year, under the lunch and dinner windows, arriving at 3pm, I only get one meal. My perceived value has been cut in half. In turn, I will be less likely to spend extra.

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I'll renew my Platinum pass sometime this season but I'm definitely going to hold off on the season long dining option until (1) the beginning of next season, or (2) when the full list of details about participating restaurants, wait between meals, chain-wide availability is released - whichever is later. I don't want to be sucked in and then have the plan completely changed shortly after I sign up, especially between now and the beginning of next season. I'll gladly pay a $20 or $30 procrastination tax so that all of the details are finalized and I know EXACTLY what I'm signing up for.

Chainwide, yes.

Food locations? Subject to change.

At ANY time.

YOU are committed once you buy. To whatever they decide to let you have.

Can you say Midway Market?

Then, NO.

I don't like the changes to the plan any more than most of the people here, but these quoted posts illustrate the value of experience. I do hope that KI rectifies this situation to everyone's satisfaction, but as it stands right now this deal is definitely a no go for me.

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So just got off the phone with KI.

The lady I talked to by pressing 0 said that the only difference between the meal plan this year and next year is the change from 2 hours to 4 hours. She said they noticed online that it says lunch and dinner times, but that will be changed. I asked specifically if I get there at 3, will I get to eat and she said yes the meal plan would work,

and faith restored....

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