Theme park fanatics who hold monthly subscriptions to some of Queensland’s biggest entertainment complexes have been dealt a bitter price shock, after its parent company raised membership prices by more than 150 per cent.
Village Roadshow Theme Parks, which owns subsidiaries Movie World, Sea World, Wet n Wild, Australian Outback Spectacular, Paradise Country and Top Golf on the Gold Coast, has reviewed its offerings, resulting in an update to its membership pricing.
The news was broken to customers in an email distributed earlier this week, with its contents causing some customers to do a double-take.
“Thank you for being a valued member of the Village Roadshow Theme Parks program. We hope you’re enjoying the very best in world class theme park entertainment using your membership,” the letter to members read.
“There has been a change in the underlying payment and software terms and conditions with Village Roadshow Theme Parks, and as such, your terms and conditions will be amended.”
The email went on to explain that those who were currently paying $36 a month for an annual theme park pass would be expected to fork out $96 monthly from July 1.
Benefits in this package include unlimited entry to all theme parks except Top Golf, one free entry per year to Movie World’s White Christmas valued at $79 as well as free entry to Sea World’s Spooky Nights and Carnivale both valued at $69.
With the monthly price almost tripling, many members were caught off guard with some taking to Facebook and online theme park forum Parkz to check they had read the email correctly.
“Wondering if anyone else got an email like this? We currently pay $36 (a) month for the Village Theme Parks (annual pass) for the four of us … just got an email to say it’s going up to $96 a month!?!?,” one person questioned.
“I suggest we all cancel and then boycott. How insane,” a woman said in response.
Another added: “Corporate green strikes again”.
But one savvy shopper who crunched the numbers noticed that if customers purchased their annual memberships outright for the same benefits, they’d be saving hundreds of dollars.
“I got the same (email) going from $15 per week to $36 per week for five tickets making my cost for five tickets $1872 per year,” he said.
“If I cancel and buy outright it’s (significantly less) for five people.
“I called (customer service) and they said basically they want everyone on the ‘pay upfront’ deal instead of payments per week and nothing is going to stop the change now so I save myself $15 a week.”
A spokesperson for Village Roadshow Theme Parks confirmed the update to the company’s membership prices stating the change came after it “reviewed its offerings”.
“The Membership program has been in-place since 2015 and this is the first increase to the prices in over eight years,” they told news.com.au.
“With over 115 rides, slides, shows and attractions across our four theme parks, we believe the updated pricing is reflective of our world-class offerings, and still offers great value-for-money.”
The spokesperson added a number of ticketing options are available to guests to help cater for different situations.
“We understand the increases to the Membership may no longer be the best option to some guests and have a special limited time offer for these guests to switch to a Village Roadshow One Pass should this be a better option for them,” the spokesperson said.
“We value our locals, and with a range of exciting new attractions – including the Wizard of Oz precinct coming to Warner Bros. Movie World in 2024 – we believe visitation numbers will continue to be strong.”
In line with the membership terms and conditions, the company states it can increase the price of its monthly membership payment “at any time”.
“Following expiration of the minimum term we may at any time increase the monthly membership payment. If we wish to do so then we will give the purchaser not less than one month’s notice as to the increase,” the terms and conditions read.
“If the purchaser wants to terminate the membership agreement because of the increase then the purchaser must give us notice of termination of the membership agreement not more than 14 days after they receive the notice from us.”
According to the company’s website, an annual one pass for locals can be purchased for $219 which grants customers unlimited entry to its four major theme parks at a value of 60 cents a day.
Meanwhile, tourists can choose from a variety of one day, three day, seven day, 14 day and annual passes, with prices ranging between $89 and $299.
More ticketing information is available on the Village Roadshow Theme Parks website.