all used to be fairly simple. If you were visiting a theme park, you’d
expect to pay once and then have unlimited access to almost all the
rides and attractions.
visiting amusement parks would more likely be dealing in a currency
commonly known as the ‘token’, paying for only the rides you want to
more and more different ways to enjoy your favourite park have been
spreading at an almost bacterial rate, making use of new technology,
changing trends, sometimes making more money by stealth – but perhaps
more surprisingly, often saving the visitor money, too.
Bell, above, competes for your custom as Prater does not have the
option to buy wristbands
of the most famous free-to-enter parks is Vienna’s Prater Park. Dating
back to 1766, the park has been an area of public recreation for
centuries with gardens and rides open to the public.
per ride range from €1 to €10 (60p to £6.70), although no way of
paying in bulk, such as a wristband, is available.
rides at Prater are concessionary, run by different showmen. Like many
fairs, the showmen compete for your custom with rather grandiose ideas
such as The Bell, and a pay-one-price scheme would make this a mockery.
those running the less popular rides would expect a windfall as they get
their share, those with the more popular rides, or those who make more
of an effort, could see their share fall as they subsidise other rides
in the park.
Fantasy Island has free entry, yet uses an archaic and cumbersome system
to pay for individual rides at 60p per token with the amount of tokens
varying per ride, meaning that you have to bulk buy tokens, each of
which are about the same size and weight of a clay pigeon. None of the
rides at Fantasy Island are concessionary, either – all are run by
Blue Anchor who operate the Lincolnshire park.
the two largest rides, Millennium Coaster and Jubilee Odyssey, work on a
separate token scheme meaning that pound-for-token and ride-for-ride
Fantasy Island can become possibly the most exorbitant park in the UK if
there’s any possibility of you re-riding.
this isn’t some innocuous and quaint little seaside resort –
although they have delusions of grandeur, Fantasy Island is a large park
with two major coasters, a decent amount of spin rides and a lot of
family rides and coasters on top of that, too.