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Do you really get unlimited drinks with the unlimited drink plan at Kings Island?


BoddaH1994
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Short answer: No.

The All Season Drink Plan at Kings Island is marketed as an unlimited drink plan, but there’s a nasty truth buried deep in the fine print. 

Dictionary.com defines “unlimited” as, “not limitedunrestricted; unconfined:”

In addition to all of the marketing materials labeling the plan as “unlimited,” I found no less than two instances in the Q&A on the web site that also defines the plan as “unlimited.” 

This statement is untrue. Although you are sold an “unlimited” drink plan, after the purchase you may be in for a surprise. 

The other day, I had my pass scanned for a drink at one of the drink stands. Opon taking my first sip of what I believed would be a delicious Diet Coke, I realized that the mixture was way off. It was almost entirely soda water with a little bit coloring. Since I had been sold an “unlimited” drink plan, I simply poured out the drink and got in line for a new one. Little did I know that the cashier would tell me that I was not eligible for another drink because you need to have 15 minutes between drinks.

Now, I do agree that 15 minutes is more than reasonable and that this policy is likely to prevent abuse of the system, but I was still taken aback that I had been sold on an “unlimited” plan and that there are certainly limitations put on it. 

During a year where communication with the guests and connecting with audiences is worse than ever, integrity is a very important factor in gaining (or in this season’s case, regaining) the trust of the customers.

This what you are sold when they are taking your money:

80302EF8-F5B3-4C07-8085-F50B42869205.jpeg

Here is another instance of the drink plan being described as “unlimited:”

70A7C4D2-7AC2-43D7-A08D-F17DE73F94FC.jpeg

Buried deep in the FAQ, the plan is again described as “unlimited,” but then it is revealed as every 15 minutes:

6C636F42-8DA8-4846-A4EE-05C00D6FA94B.jpeg

I know I’m making a mountain out of a mole hill, but I still feel like the policy was intentionally hidden. Unfortunately, moving forward I would highly recommend reading any and all fine print before making service-based purchases from them.

 

 

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Unlimited mobile data plans are throttled after a set threshold. Unlimited food at a buffet is limited to what a customer can consume in one visit. Unlimited rides are limited by capacity and attendance. "Unlimited" is a marketing gimmick that seldom means without any restrictions.

If there's a problem with a food or drink, even if it was "free" with a dining or drink plan, ideally this is brought up to management so that it can be fixed.

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The meal plan has restrictions. They’re very clear.

Even the gold pass says, “Come and go like you own the place” but follows up with “during any public operating day.” 

Just because you’re a fan of Kings Island doesn’t mean it’s okay for them to mislead you. 

And I shouldn’t have to contact management to get one of my “unlimited” drinks that I paid for. 

In the defense of the poor kid who had to deal with these poor management decisions, I responded with, “The sign says they’re unlimited.” And they said, “Yeah, it’s stupid.” And gave me the cup anyway.

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45 minutes ago, BoddaH1994 said:

The other day, I had my pass scanned for a drink at one of the drink stands. Opon taking my first sip of what I believed would be a delicious Diet Coke, I realized that the mixture was way off. It was almost entirely soda water with a little bit coloring. Since I had been sold an “unlimited” drink plan, I simply poured out the drink and got in line for a new one. Little did I know that the cashier would tell me that I was not eligible for another drink because you need to have 15 minutes between drinks.

This is a big reason why I always do a "taste test" before I walk away from the fountain. This applies not just at Kings Island, but at literally any restaurant I ever go to with self-serve drinks. I never leave the drink fountain area without confirming that the taste is correct.

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Just now, jcgoble3 said:

This is a big reason why I always do a "taste test" before I walk away from the fountain. This applies not just at Kings Island, but at literally any restaurant I ever go to with self-serve drinks. I never leave the drink fountain area without confirming that the taste is correct.

 

1 minute ago, malem said:

If the soda mix on one of the fountains is wrong, they need to know so that it can be fixed.

Being notified of the problem, they should let you grab a replacement without redeeming another drink.

To both of you:

It’s irrelevant that the the mix was off. That happens. No need to bring in Chef Major. :P

I’m simply warning the people who might buy the drink plan or other services that this is instance where I paid for one thing and the policy was misrepresented until after I had already paid. 

Also, notice how the Waffle House puts, “A Drink Refill” as part of their marketing materials? The reason behind that is that the corporate policy was that you could have two refills in one visit. This was meant to deter loiterers. Some locations followed this policy, some didn’t. Their menu said, “free refills” the entire time and they were legally forced to change it. So basically the issue I described is not historically unfounded. 

I’m not angry, confused, and I don’t even think this devalues the drink plan. I just find the fact that a company whose cornerstones end with, “...and it’s all held together by integrity” would find this okay to be a little disappointing.

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12 minutes ago, BoddaH1994 said:

I’m not angry, confused, and I don’t even think this devalues the drink plan. I just find the fact that a company whose cornerstones end with, “...and it’s all held together by integrity” would find this okay to be a little disappointing.

To which I echo malem's comment here:

52 minutes ago, malem said:

Unlimited mobile data plans are throttled after a set threshold. Unlimited food at a buffet is limited to what a customer can consume in one visit. Unlimited rides are limited by capacity and attendance. "Unlimited" is a marketing gimmick that seldom means without any restrictions.

Indeed, there is truly no such thing as "unlimited". Everything has limits, and anybody who believes something doesn't have limits is deluding themselves.

Also, it's been common knowledge on KIC since early 2017 that the drink plan was limited to once every 15 minutes. It's also clearly stated in the FAQ for the plan, as you demonstrated in the screenshot. Therefore it was not "misrepresented". If you bought it without reading all of the material on the website, including the FAQ, that's on you for failing to do your research. Research? Yes: because when something is advertised as "unlimited", there is ALWAYS a catch, and it's your responsibility as the consumer to read the fine print and determine what that catch is BEFORE buying.

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I'm always one to advocate reading the fine print before making a purchase. I certainly do.

My personal pet peeve is with menu board signs that read "drink free all season". I'm drinking all season for $29.99, not for free.

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12 minutes ago, jcgoble3 said:

To which I echo malem's comment here:

Indeed, there is truly no such thing as "unlimited". Everything has limits, and anybody who believes something doesn't have limits is deluding themselves.

Also, it's been common knowledge on KIC since early 2017 that the drink plan was limited to once every 15 minutes. It's also clearly stated in the FAQ for the plan, as you demonstrated in the screenshot. Therefore it was not "misrepresented". If you bought it without reading all of the material on the website, including the FAQ, that's on you for failing to do your research. Research? Yes: because when something is advertised as "unlimited", there is ALWAYS a catch, and it's your responsibility as the consumer to read the fine print and determine what that catch is BEFORE buying.

What about when they changed the meal plan window several years ago after people had purchased their plans...I guess the "subject to change" is the catch all phrase:P

We may recall the healthy debate that change brought on this forum during the off-season.

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Just now, disco2000 said:

What about when they changed the meal plan window several years ago after people had purchased their plans...I guess the "subject to change" is the catch all phrase:P

Meal plan intervals have always been clearly specified at purchase and have not changed after purchase.

There was an uproar a few years back when a different set of rules was posted on the park website. The revised terms never went into effect for new or existing dining plans.

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17 minutes ago, jcgoble3 said:

To which I echo malem's comment here:

Indeed, there is truly no such thing as "unlimited". Everything has limits, and anybody who believes something doesn't have limits is deluding themselves.

Also, it's been common knowledge on KIC since early 2017 that the drink plan was limited to once every 15 minutes. It's also clearly stated in the FAQ for the plan, as you demonstrated in the screenshot. Therefore it was not "misrepresented". If you bought it without reading all of the material on the website, including the FAQ, that's on you for failing to do your research. Research? Yes: because when something is advertised as "unlimited", there is ALWAYS a catch, and it's your responsibility as the consumer to read the fine print and determine what that catch is BEFORE buying.

Let me better illustrate what bothers me:

Before the purchasing process, the daily meal option clearly lays out its terms:

87AC446B-B2E4-46B4-AF0A-FED54CF86B8B.jpeg

As does the All Season:

E1E8248E-08A0-451B-9F8A-FFE9168DE4EA.jpeg

But it simply states that it’s unlimited for drinks:

F1F85452-84B8-432C-B3C4-407C991CE8DC.png

I do not have an issue with this policy, I just think it should be disclosed before you make the purchase. You should not have to dive deep into an FAQ to figure out what you’re getting. The 15 minute interval was not mentioned until the 2nd question and answer about the drink plan, near the bottom of the list. They made the terms very clear for the other two.

15 minutes ago, malem said:

I'm always one to advocate reading the fine print before making a purchase. I certainly do.

My personal pet peeve is with menu board sign that read "drink free all season". I'm drinking all season for $29.99, not for free.

You mean you drink every 15 minutes for $29.99. :D

 

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27 minutes ago, malem said:

Meal plan intervals have always been clearly specified at purchase and have not changed after purchase.

There was an uproar a few years back when a different set of rules was posted on the park website. The revised terms never went into effect for new or existing dining plans.

No they changed after purchase... and thankfully the revised terms never went into effect at KI hopefully partly in response to feedback in this thread...but they could have...did it impact Knott's briefly?

One of your quotes from that thread "I just wish that they had either finalized redemption rules when dining plans went on sale or refrained from mentioning them at all."

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17 minutes ago, disco2000 said:

No they changed after purchase... and thankfully the revised terms never went into effect at KI hopefully partly in response to feedback in this thread...but they could have...did it impact Knott's briefly?

One of your quotes from that thread "I just wish that they had either finalized redemption rules when dining plans went on sale or refrained from mentioning them at all."

Ohhhhh.... so as it turns out when Cedar Fair misrepresents their products then you’re NOT okay with it!

At least you weren’t before you became a KIC moderator.

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^ Indeed, I wasn't okay with material changes to the rules after purchase. Luckily, that didn't end up actually happening. Customers rightfully got upset when they thought that they might get fewer meals than they paid for.

I do agree with you that the website descriptions could more conspicuously qualify "unlimited" with the refill interval, but I don't see it as being a big deal.

Really, I'd like the word "unlimited" to disappear from marketing speak. It's almost never accurate, and someone usually abuses it and ruins it for everyone the rest of the time. See MoviePass or Endless Crab.

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35 minutes ago, BoddaH1994 said:

I didn’t drink the drink until I left the drink stand. At the time I did not know that the unlimited plan was being misrepresented so I didn’t think it would be a big deal to simply go through the line again.

Trust me - I’ve learned a valuable lesson in reading the fine print when it comes to making purchases at Kings Island. The 15 minute thing is not in the product description and the drink plan was mentioned and described as “unlimited” several times before the interval is listed at the end of the FAQ. I guess you need to read thing from end to end.

Wow - am I surprised at the backlash this post has got from forum members - by many of which that are quick to cry foul for the tiniest of things.  A member was simply presenting his experience and to educate those that may not know or have experienced the same thing.

Let's point to some facts and inconsistencies:

  • KI has demonstrated changing things after purchases - Haunt is included with season pass then it isn't then it back is; changes to meal plan (documented in my post above) and then changed back.  Changes to meal plan locations and offerings even during the season (including this year).  Now granted many of these were "corrected" probably in part to comments expressed in this forum, but some stick.
  • You are not provided with a written contract stipulating what you are purchasing and agreeing to.  Sure there is language on the back of the season pass and on-line.  But it has a catch all that items are subject to change at any time and without any notice.  Contrast that to many other items with terms and conditions - when there are changes to your credit card or bank account terms and conditions, you are presented with those usually in the mail.
  • FAQ's can be developed and included at any time without notice.  When was the 15 minute in-between FAQ added - was it before a single person purchased a drink plan...maybe but I doubt it?  A competent attorney could argue that FAQs are not legally binding...
  • Some people will fill their cup and drink half or all of it before leaving the drink dispenser and then proceed to top it off - I am sure that is not the program intent and could be argued as a way of circumventing the 15-minute rule.  I see people do that ALL THE TIME.
  • What about those with the souvenir cup - due to inconsistencies of people operating the register, many people never have their cup scanned so they are essentially exempt from the 15-minute rule - now that is not the pass holder problem it is a training issue.  Some CF parks will not scan (or at least didn't on days I was there). 
  • What about those with the souvenir cup that circumvent the register and go straight to the drink dispenser at the food places - they have made a conscious choice to exempt themselves from the 15-minute rule.  It is harder to do at the drink only refresh stations (partly because they are rarely open LOL), but it happens ALL THE TIME at the food places.  Since they changed the Chicken Shack exit doors to be locked from outside and added the queue line it doesn't happen there as much anymore, but at Panda, Festhaus, International Skyline, and Hanks it happens way too frequently.  Spend a little bit of time at Skyline and watch how many people come thru the back of the line and refill their souvenir cup without ever having their cup scanned.  And yes, I have seen forum members do that...

In short, basically I have noticed that those with the disposable cup option are the ones that the 15-minute rule seems to target the most as they have to go thru the line to get a new cup.  Although I have seen some that keep the cup and do what those with a souvenir cup do... 

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6 minutes ago, disco2000 said:

 

Wow - am I surprised at the backlash this post has got from forum members - by many of which that are quick to cry foul for the tiniest of things.  A member was simply presenting his experience and to educate those that may not know or have experienced the same thing.

Let's point to some facts and inconsistencies:

  • KI has demonstrated changing things after purchases - Haunt is included with season pass then it isn't then it back is; changes to meal plan (documented in my post above) and then changed back.  Changes to meal plan locations and offerings even during the season (including this year).  Now granted many of these were "corrected" probably in part to comments expressed in this forum, but some stick.
  • You are not provided with a written contract stipulating what you are purchasing and agreeing to.  Sure there is language on the back of the season pass and on-line.  But it has a catch all that items are subject to change at any time and without any notice.  Contrast that to many other items with terms and conditions - when there are changes to your credit card or bank account terms and conditions, you are presented with those usually in the mail.
  • FAQ's can be developed and included at any time without notice.  When was the 15 minute in-between FAQ added - was it before a single person purchased a drink plan...maybe but I doubt it?  A competent attorney could argue that FAQs are not legally binding...
  • Some people will fill their cup and drink half or all of it before leaving the drink dispenser and then proceed to top it off - I am sure that is not the program intent and could be argued as a way of circumventing the 15-minute rule.  I see people do that ALL THE TIME.
  • What about those with the souvenir cup - due to inconsistencies of people operating the register, many people never have their cup scanned so they are essentially exempt from the 15-minute rule - now that is not the pass holder problem it is a training issue.  Some CF parks will not scan (or at least didn't on days I was there). 
  • What about those with the souvenir cup that circumvent the register and go straight to the drink dispenser at the food places - they have made a conscious choice to exempt themselves from the 15-minute rule.  It is harder to do at the drink only refresh stations (partly because they are rarely open LOL), but it happens ALL THE TIME at the food places.  Since they changed the Chicken Shack exit doors to be locked from outside and added the queue line it doesn't happen there as much anymore, but at Panda, Festhaus, International Skyline, and Hanks it happens way too frequently.  Spend a little bit of time at Skyline and watch how many people come thru the back of the line and refill their souvenir cup without ever having their cup scanned.  And yes, I have seen forum members do that...

In short, basically I have noticed that those with the disposable cup option are the ones that the 15-minute rule seems to target the most as they have to go thru the line to get a new cup.  Although I have seen some that keep the cup and do what those with a souvenir cup do... 

Also I must note that if you drink from a cup and refill the same cup it is very unsanitary for both you and the next person. It’s also a health code violation.

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