You'd think that America's amusement parks would be in a prime position for capitalizing on the floppy economy. Families may not be willing to fly to Rome or Rio right now, but a Six Flags or a Knott's Berry Farm is closer to home and ultimately cheaper to accomplish. In fact, this summer, Disney Parks reported a profit in the hundreds of millions despite flagging attendance, and right after, the company shamelessly hiked admission prices yet again. In early August, Six Flags, too, America's McDisney, reported a slight profit following a round of admission price cuts.
That cushion is not expected to last. Dwindling airline seats and high gas prices are cutting into the parks' ability to draw crowds as big as they once were, even as shareholders demand more profit each year. Even once you pass through the gates, there's less bang for the buck. Once upon a time, you could buy your ticket and get a full day of entertainment, including shows, rides, parades, and fireworks. Less so now.
Some of the country's most major parks, even ones we thought were doing well, are wasting no time in hoarding their pixie dust. Your amusement park dollar just doesn't get you as much as it did a few months ago. Among the casualties: