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California's theme parks, ranked from cheapest to most expensive - Arizona Republic

socalifornian

Well-Known Member
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It's my understanding the burgers served at the cheaper locations were both smaller, and frozen. The boneless wings and actual wings both came frozen everywhere.

For the pizza, the dough came pre shaped and frozen. There was a dispenser for the cheap pizza sauce, and we had a measuring cup for the Mozzarella. Not the worst pizza I've had (that honor belongs to Little Caesar's) but close.

My favorite thing that got cut while I was there? When the Sports Bar first opened, the fries were insanely good. fresh cut, soaked overnight (to get rid of the starch... In N Out doesn't do this, that's part of why their fries suck), then twice fried at two different temperatures to make them perfect. They were seasoned with a ranch seasoning made with the dry ranch packets + additional seasonings. This lasted all of a few months... they still did the fries properly (when the cooks knew how to do the job properly) but stopped doing the ranch seasoning to instead do a 50/50 blend of Lawry's and plain salt.

Another thing the Sports Bar does that's excellent is a Sriracha ketchup... way better than the plain stuff.
Disney’s fries came frozen in a bag. The oil was used day after day after day until it ‘wasn’t golden’ anymore. It would sit in the fryers, even over night. It only came out for a few minutes at a time while the fryers themselves were cleaned at night.

Unrelated to Magic Mountain but noteworthy, the mac n cheese was pre-made in a giant sealed clear plastic pouch/bag. The one thing I did like was that the boxes of oranges usually had a Fillmore address or somewhere near it..this was in a freezer at wdw. So if Magic Mountain has oranges somewhere they could be from the same groves as Disney, who knows. The orange groves in Soarin’ would always make me laugh
 

lovedug

New Member
I've always felt DLR had more bang for your buck than the other parks. It might take more than one day to do everything, but that's part of the reason it's worth it, vs other parks where we've done everything with plenty of time to spare.
 

Darkbeer1

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I've always felt DLR had more bang for your buck than the other parks. It might take more than one day to do everything, but that's part of the reason it's worth it, vs other parks where we've done everything with plenty of time to spare.
I spent 3 days at Carowinds last summer, and still could have spent a fourth.

Cedar Point, we spent 3 nights on site, and still didn't see/do everything.

Busch Gardens Williamsburgh, 3 days, same story, didn't get everything done.
 

Touchdown

Well-Known Member
The season pass I get the most bang for my buck is my Cedar Fair pass for $190 I’m getting free admission and parking at the following parks this year:
-9 days at Cedar Point (3 days in May, Aug, Sept)
-4 days at Kings Island (2 days in May, Aug)
-2 days at KBF (June, Oct)

190/(9+4+2)=$12.66 a day

However that’s not all, I also get discounts on food and merchandise, I opted for the $30 upgrade to free soda at any fountain location, discount on room rate at Hotel Breakers and this past fall because I renewed early I got a free Fastlane+ for the day.

Even though I will visit DL more on my AP, it’s not as much a deal and I don’t use my Dollywood or Seas AP enough to get the same return (but they are all still worth it as they save me money.)
 

Stevek

Well-Known Member
Tha is for the reminder why I won’t take my family of 4 to Uni anytime soon, if ever. I’d much rather spend that amount of money on Disneyland...or a down payment on a car. :D
 

Stevek

Well-Known Member
Magic Mountain continues to serve the best funnel cake I’ve ever had. It’s a must for me and my family any time we go.
That drive though. I wouldn’t mind going again, my girls love coasters and I can do a few that don’t have too many (more than one) loops. Really love twisted colossus and Goliath. Not sure funnel cake will sit in my stomach well though 😜
 

raven24

Well-Known Member
That drive though. I wouldn’t mind going again, my girls love coasters and I can do a few that don’t have too many (more than one) loops. Really love twisted colossus and Goliath. Not sure funnel cake will sit in my stomach well though 😜
Yeeeeaaahhh, that commute is one of the main reason I don’t visit the park often. It’s at least an hour+ drive and yikes. Lol.
 

George Lucas on a Bench

Well-Known Member
I don't get why Universal is so expensive. The only reasons I've ever wanted to go were to see the backlot tour and the Apollo 13 photo op, which was removed.

I think the Florida resort may have ruined USH for me. It has few attractions, no E.T., Spider-Man or even the Horror Makeup show. It's sort of the opposite of how DL ruined WDW for me.
 

Darkbeer1

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I don't get why Universal is so expensive. The only reasons I've ever wanted to go were to see the backlot tour and the Apollo 13 photo op, which was removed.

I think the Florida resort may have ruined USH for me. It has few attractions, no E.T., Spider-Man or even the Horror Makeup show. It's sort of the opposite of how DL ruined WDW for me.
Because the cost calculation includes a Hotel Room. And that area is very expensive with little low cost options.
 

Phrubruh

Well-Known Member
It always amazes me how Knotts and MM can start construction a month or two before opening while Disneyland takes years and months of testing before opening. Look how long it took Disney to retheme a simple carousel or move a simple spinner. If it were Knotts, it would be installed a week before opening.
 

SirWillow

Well-Known Member
The good thing about spending something like that at Universal is you will be able to get everything done in one day, unlike Disneyland and California Adventure. Someone who would like to see most likely everything at the DLR will undoubtedly have to spend at the very least 2-3 days at the parks.
yep, pay more to do less. Sounds like something I'd want to do. ;) I guess that's trying to find a positive in a negative though.

Magic Mountain continues to serve the best funnel cake I’ve ever had. It’s a must for me and my family any time we go.
SFMM's funnel cakes are great. The one place I like them better is Silver Dollar City. When you try their red velvet or cookies and cream funnel cakes... oh my!
 

1LE McQueen

Well-Known Member
I live in Arizona so I have to ask, what the heck does Arizona know about theme parks? they have no right to have an opinion. all we have out here is water parks and "castles and coasters" which has 2 coasters, a above decent log ride and kiddie rides an arcade and mini golf. psssh. az needs to keep their mouth shut.
Perhaps that's why us Arizonans visit theme parks in California and write about em huh!?!?
 

THE 1HAPPY HAUNT

Well-Known Member
Perhaps that's why us Arizonans visit theme parks in California and write about em huh!?!?
I am not originally from Arizona but Los Angeles so again, what would the arizona republic paper even know about theme parks? Nothing. Zip. Zelch. There are sooo many other sources I would go to for theme park opinions, polls, facts, etc that are far more credited. We agree to disagree sir.
 

1LE McQueen

Well-Known Member
I am not originally from Arizona but Los Angeles so again, what would the arizona republic paper even know about theme parks? Nothing. Zip. Zelch. There are sooo many other sources I would go to for theme park opinions, polls, facts, etc that are far more credited. We agree to disagree sir.
I digress but It feels like every year we're supposed to get something. I think the last park I heard about was "Generations", which was supposed to be themed to the different eras of music. That fell through. Oh, then there was that "Disneyworld of sports" thing that was supposed to open near Wild Horse Pass - Crickets since the idea was shared. Nothing ever comes to fruition and i'm assuming that's because some of the best theme parks in the world are only 5 hours away (drive), so there's some issues justifying a proper theme park in Arizona. That and the scorching hot weather.

Back on point: I would argue that your opinion, and my opinion, are just as legitimate as someone's who lives in Anaheim. In the end we're all theme park enthusiasts who know what we're talking about. Why exactly shouldn't AZ Republic write an article about theme park prices? Does my opinion not count because I live here, even though i'm constantly on the WDWMagic boards, know most of the parks secrets that have been shared, and try to visit once or twice a year?
 
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