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Healthy food at theme parks

40 posts in this topic

Glad they've got rid of those brick planters. They were not very nice to look at, and definitely not nice to sit and relax on (always had to search for a patch not that wasn't white due to bird droppings!)

Good to see additional sheltered seating, ideally placed next to main street so you can now grab something to eat / drink and relax and watch the entertainment while you do so.

I am not so pleased to hear of yet another soft drink refill station. It's cheap for Movie World to implement I know, but it's encouraging people (mainly kids) to drink far too much soft drink. Terrible for their health. Would be great to see some better alternatives offered, although it is nice to know there are free water fountains around the park. Just not presented in the same enticing way though.

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2 hours ago, pushbutton said:

I am not so pleased to hear of yet another soft drink refill station. It's cheap for Movie World to implement I know, but it's encouraging people (mainly kids) to drink far too much soft drink. Terrible for their health. Would be great to see some better alternatives offered, although it is nice to know there are free water fountains around the park. Just not presented in the same enticing way though.

Movie World doesn't dictate what parents feed their kids. It's also not a health centre, if a parent doesn't want to give their kid soft drink they won't. The new refill centre just makes it easier for guests and staff especially on big days and nights when people down the back of the park line up to get a refill. That time could be spent taking and giving out orders at a faster rate. With the new refill area they will be able to go faster. Really, it's a win win for the park and guests. Honestly, if parents want to give kids soft drink they will no matter where the drink staton is. 

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Nothing besides water is really any good for you. Juice is full of sugar, more so than a lot of soft drinks. Plain milk has more calories than coke due to the sugars and fats contained within, but when you amp it up to flavoured milk, just about the only thing that is worse is some iced teas. So where do you go from there?

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Glucose (in milks) and fructose (in juices and fruits) sugars act differently in the body to sucrose sugars (in soft drinks)

I think juices (maybe something like boost juice) is a good idea, wouldn’t immediately be more popular than the coke range of products but atleast it’s more option.

 

 

If you have just a McDonald’s chances everyone’s going to get McDonalds

If you have McDonalds, KFC, Subway, Hungry Jacks, Zambrero and a fish and chip place people have options right in their face to choose from, rather than the one choice

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I agree getting the balance right on healthier food and drink in a theme park environment is a challenge. However it's a challenge I would like to see taken on board by the parks. Installing yet another place to top up those ridiculously oversized plastic bottles they sell is not a good start.

It can be done! Don't want to make the whole thread about this. I was merely expressing my view on it as an aside since it was brought up that another drink refill station is being installed.

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I don't think healthy food is too much of an issue at our parks. Typically, you only buy one meal (Lunch) and if you are buying sweets etc, it's because you want that food, not for sustenance.

If I'm eating park food, it's a cheat meal, and you can eat a healthy brekky and dinner when you get home.

At MW you can get sandwiches at the Main St Deli, wrap at Village Bean, and the build your own burritos at DHB has lean grilled meat and plenty of vegetables and salsas served with it.

There's a Village Bean at WnW too, but WnW only has a couple of food outlets anyway.

At DW, they've got sandwiches at that sandwich bar, and at Green Bean, and I guess you could eat at the Buffet and stick to healthier options there.

At SW, there's Village bean, that healthy food place at the top terrace near the entrance. I don't know the menu well enough at dockside, but another option is just to eat at the Resort.

As for drinks, well water is literally the most ubiquitous option since just about every gift shop has a small drink fridge. Anything else has sugar (Except maybe Bepis Max / Conke Zero)  Please nobody say juice bar is a real option. Thats basically a liquid meal, and not what you get when you dehydrated and want to quench yourself.

PS, I want parks here to sell the old style non fizzy lemonade like you can get at the US parks...That was my go to item.

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2 hours ago, Jackson13Walasek said:

Glucose (in milks) and fructose (in juices and fruits) sugars act differently in the body to sucrose sugars (in soft drinks)

I think juices (maybe something like boost juice) is a good idea, wouldn’t immediately be more popular than the coke range of products but atleast it’s more option.

Yes it is true that the different sugars react differently in the body, but it is to such a small degree. Especially the simple sugars; glucose and fructose (fruit sugars). That one is no better or worse than the other. (By the way lactose is the "milk sugar" not glucose 😉)

Fruit juices (boost included) are by far a worse option than soft-drinks. Most people view them as healthy and don't realise how much sugar is packed into them and therefore don't feel as "bad" for consuming them. 

Its like the people that say they put honey in their tea because it's healthier than sugar. (Honey actually contains more calories than standard table sugar)

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38 minutes ago, rac2703 said:

Yes it is true that the different sugars react differently in the body, but it is to such a small degree. Especially the simple sugars; glucose and fructose (fruit sugars). That one is no better or worse than the other. (By the way lactose is the "milk sugar" not glucose 😉)

Fruit juices (boost included) are by far a worse option than soft-drinks. Most people view them as healthy and don't realise how much sugar is packed into them and therefore don't feel as "bad" for consuming them. 

Its like the people that say they put honey in their tea because it's healthier than sugar. (Honey actually contains more calories than standard table sugar)

Touché 

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My 'go to' meal at Adventure World is Mark's famous Caesar Salad. I think a lot of parents can't believe how healthy some of the options are.  The prices are very reasonable compared to the east coast parks, but even better after the 25% member discount.

 

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General consensus is fruit drinks pack in 3 or 4 servings of fruit (and all the sugar they contain) with a lot of the benefits like the fibre removed. Not only are they full of sugar but they are highly acidic and are worse for teeth decay than soft drink. If you want juice, better off just eating the fruit. Youll stop at one or two pieces when you feel full.

Edited by Levithian

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The parks offer healthy options, but they are typically more expensive than 'convenience' options - out of necessity. It takes more effort to produce wraps and rolls than it does to churn out a tray of burgers.

As for drinks, post mix soft drink is by far the cheapest option. Bottled water tends to be at the other extreme.

Many people visiting the parks are doing so on a budget. Locals with passes visit regularly and can't afford an $8 bottle of water every visit, and tourists have just paid for travel, accommodation, tickets, and all the other bits that go with a holiday, that food and drink choices will oftentimes be made based on price.

The refillable drinks offer the best value - especially to a large family. One bottle can be refilled whenever it is empty, so there are no fights over 'big brother drinking the last of the drink' - no problem - just go and fill it up again.

The park makes money out of the deal - post mix is quite a lot cheaper than bottled drinks - and nobody has a gun to their head - as you point out - free water fountains are available. So people are making that choice.

Unfortunately @pushbutton - this is precisely the same discussion as walkthroughs and dark rides - soft drink, like roller coasters are in demand, so it makes sense to build more of them. Likewise coasters are more in demand than walkthroughs. Darkrides can be much more expensive - and likewise, the park opts for the cheaper option that satisfies the majority.

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Why should a wrap cost as much as a burger? Can't you make them up at the start of the day? I sure hope that $8 bottle of water is a big one. Many places have machine dispensed bottles of water that are a lot cheaper than that. And there are those water fountains that also have the bottle refilling taps.

Just out of interest, is water or soda water an option at the post mix stations? I do think it's cool when parks and resorts have those refillable souvenir mugs.

I also think that many people see a day out in the parks as a novelty and thus would be more than happy to have some fast food. Sometimes, it could be that they're just after high energy food, having the need to replenish their stocks after an energy sapping morning running around the parks.

I definitely think food and eating options play an important aspect in how we judge a successful park. If there isn't a great range of food or places to go, or if a park loses a dine-in option, you tend to not like the park as much.

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+1 to the food playing an important aspect of park judgment. good food keeps you happy. bad food literally leaves a bad taste in your mouth about your day. I like that the parks have taken steps towards improving their offerings across the board.

Why should a wrap cost as much as a burger? Here's the thing:

pre-making prior to opening means you have to GUESS how many people want to be healthy. Make too many, and you'll have to throw them out at the end of the day, or severely discount them to entice people to buy. These losses have to be factored into the pricing - so you charge more.

Secondly, those healthy conscious people? They're also the ones who would typically ask for something to be 'freshly made' despite something having been made only 20 minutes prior... Or they'll claim an allergy or intolerance specifically to get something made fresh (there are legit allergies, i'm not saying people are full of it, but i've seen many people order something due to allergy, and then later eat the very thing they claimed to be allergic to).

So with this in mind - you've either got to maintain a station \ ability to make fresh on request, or you're going to disappoint those who would buy fresh - either way not selling your pre-made stuff.

Burgers are cook to order. There's a high enough demand that you can batch cook stuff, knowing that they'll sell. When demand starts to die down, you slow down your production line - less waste means lower costs.

As far as mass producing wraps, there isn't MUCH more effort in production, but healthier ingredients tend to cost more too. Mass producing burgers is a quick process perfected by fast food organisations for decades. Back before McDonald's did "made for you" they'd produce each burger on a tray of 16. One didn't have to be precise with each ingredient - so long as it fell somewhere on the tray, it made it on there, so things like applying lettuce is a much faster process than trying to fill 'between the lines' so that a wrap can be... wrapped...

From memory - the 'automated' touch screen stations at Sea World did offer water, but not sure whether you could get plain soda water. Some of the older style post mix stations do have a 'water' lever, and some of them even have a 'soda' lever. Not sure if they are on any of the other ones in-park though.

Edited by AlexB

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The newer Drink Stations do have cold water options. I can't remember if it's fizzy/flat or both, either way on a hot day it's a very welcome improvement. 

Soft drinks aside, visiting a Theme Park has long been considered a 'treat'. A special day for family, friends and individuals to enjoy themselves to play, indulge and generally spoil one another. Eating 'Healthy' and enjoying a 'treat' are not exactly mutually exclusive. How many People chow down a bowl of Lettuce for Christmas Day Lunch?

The VIP Pass has made a visit to the Park feel less special because people can visit whenever they feel like it. The average Guest is far less likely to spend a full day on any visit, far less likely to spend much (if any) money while there. 

So I guess the challenge is to get more $$ out of average Joe right? 

For one give the Punters a reason to spend their money on site by offering Products that are Unique and cannot be bought across the road for half the Price. Disney and Universal are the masters of this with their Butterbeers and Baby Groot Pretzels etc.. Unfortunately we simply don't get close to the visitation which you obviously need to produce as much on site as they do but we definitely have room in ours to improve. See DW Parkway for example.

VALUE

Offer generous servings that People can overlook when they see what they are getting for their dollar. Provide excellant service with a smile. Make it easier for People to order with phone aps etc. Offer (and more importantly promote) Park dining Packages that have variety and include tasty food options that also happen to be healthier ones.

How about a Street Food Festival like ones overseas where People buy tickets to exchange for sample sized portions available at various locations around the Park? Being Portion sized, the price should be reasonable, yet sold in coupon lots, say 5/10/20 tickets offering better value for higher multiples. Make them valid for the Season so People can use their remaining tickets on another visit. Or Park. Such an event could be a huge cash spinner and drawcard for every type of Visitor.

It's all about thinking outside of the square..

 

 

 

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There is absolutely nothing wrong with the park selling junk food and kids eating it. 

Just the same as there is no problem with taking the kids to maccas after sport on Saturdays for a treat. 

 

Oh hang on, sport, what did I say there?

Thats right there is no problem with kids eating crap food IF they are regularly getting out and receiving exercise and the majority of their meals are of decent quality at home. 

Its not the parks job to raise kids and make good parenting decisions. So many parents today blaming availability of bad food for their kids being unhealthy rather than themselves. 

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I agree with the general consensus that in most cases it's a one off visit or a once every few weeks visit, so therefore not a massive problem. I think the parks biggest issues are keeping costs at a reasonable level that people can afford to buy food. With the exception of the pass holders, most people have just spent a hundred or so on entry (more for families).

One thing that really gripes me though is the $4 - $5 charge for a bottle of water. If i can buy a 24 pack from woolies or coles for 25c a bottle, its pretty blatant price gouging to go charge $5 for the same bottle.

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I like the system Dollywood uses. A cup of water is free, available at any outlet in the park and encouraged/pushed at every ride on a hot day. 

Bottled water is pay. 

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13 hours ago, elemist said:

One thing that really gripes me though is the $4 - $5 charge for a bottle of water. If i can buy a 24 pack from woolies or coles for 25c a bottle, its pretty blatant price gouging to go charge $5 for the same bottle.

Consider the difference in volume sold. It is not uncommon for a Woolworths store to sell a pallet of water in a day (3-4 in summer). The parks on the coast wouldn't be selling this much plus they are also selling a branded water (eg Mt Franklin for Village) which is purchased at a price set by Coca-Cola Amatil. Any complaints about the cost of a 600ml bottle of Coca-cola or Mt Franklin/Pump water is in part the fault of CCA and their "premium" pricing.

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5 minutes ago, pin142 said:

Consider the difference in volume sold. It is not uncommon for a Woolworths store to sell a pallet of water in a day (3-4 in summer). The parks on the coast wouldn't be selling this much plus they are also selling a branded water (eg Mt Franklin for Village) which is purchased at a price set by Coca-Cola Amatil. Any complaints about the cost of a 600ml bottle of Coca-cola or Mt Franklin/Pump water is in part the fault of CCA and their "premium" pricing.

True - but part of the reason is most people won't pay a premium for something they can get out of the tap for free. At least paying for coke your getting something for your money that you can't otherwise get. I would imagine though if they did water at $1.50 or even $2 a bottle vs $4 for coke then more people would go for it.

Branded isn't actually that much more per bottle - instead of 25c your looking at 40c based off the coles/woolies prices.

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Yes but if the park has an agreement with CCA, they can't just choose to sell a different brand of water. It will form part of the agreement.

And Coke can charge whatever they want provided it fits within the agreement. 15 years ago, a 600ml bottle of coke cost 90 cents wholesale (Wonderland). 10 years ago, my office bought direct from CCA for $1.90.

Mount Franklin was about the same - so selling for $1.50-$2 a bottle isn't viable. And why should the park choose to have a lower margin (assuming they're both still priced roughly the same) on water? If the markup percentage is the same across the board - why should they charge less for water if their cost is the same?

As for paying for something you can get for free, many bottled water drinkers choose bottled because they don't like tap water - for taste, or arguments against fluoridation, or many other reasons.

Edited by AlexB

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