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Most capitalist and socialist theme parks

Matt N

CF Legend
Hi guys. A few weeks back, I seem to remember there being a thread asking about whether theme parks are capitalist or socialist, and to be honest, I think it’s quite a mix, as I think different parks fall on different ends of that spectrum dependant on a number of factors. So my question to you today is; which theme parks are the most capitalist and which are the most socialist, in your opinion?

My personal nominee for capitalist is controversially the Disney parks. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had some absolutely brilliant times at the Disney parks, and I think they provide great, great experiences to every guest, but if you have the money, Disney parks are certainly willing to jump to extraordinary heights! I seem to remember Disney offering priority experiences for a little extra cash in just about any aspect of the park experience (e.g. VIP parade seating, VIP character dining etc.), and the cost of these extras varied widely, from just a few dollars to well into triple figures. Despite the fact that FastPass+ is free, I even seem to remember hearing that they’ve begun offering paid FastPass at some of their properties.

On the other side of the coin, my personal nominee for socialist is Europa Park. From what I can gather, without having visited, every guest at Europa is treated as an equal regardless of financial status. There’s no Fastrack of any kind, there aren’t really that many (if any) paid extras or “VIP” experiences on offer, and that makes it sound quite socialist to me, as far as theme parks go!

But which theme parks are the most capitalist and socialist, in your opinion?


Hyper Poster
I don't think anything Disney related being "most capitalist" is controversial at all lol

And interesting fun thread! Despite being a fairly political/economics guy I actually don't have much opinion. IDK enough about the parks to make a judgement, but yes I'll agree any that don't do fast track are more "socialist" esp if they don't generally cater to those with more $/spending, VIP experiences and esp as you put it.
Oh and should say, no judgement is involved. As someone who uses Fast Pass whenever they feel its worth it, clearly I can't gripe about it lol


Giga Poster
On the other side of the coin, my personal nominee for socialist is Europa Park. From what I can gather, without having visited, every guest at Europa is treated as an equal regardless of financial status. There’s no Fastrack of any kind, there aren’t really that many (if any) paid extras or “VIP” experiences on offer, and that makes it sound quite socialist to me, as far as theme parks go!
VIP cards are very much a thing for (rich) friends of the Mack family. Just not publicly available for anyone.
Although Virtual Line introduced last year now offers a free fast track-like entry to attractions. Limited time slots available to not affect the main queue much.
Upcharge attractions exist in both parks, VIP parking and ever increasingly arcade games are appearing.

Socialist I feel is the wrong word. Its still very much a capitalist business/family - they just pick and choose which income routes to follow. Yeah for the sake of best experience for most guests paid fast pass doesn't exist however for this summer entry at 60 euros you'd bloody hope queues are not super slow.


Hyper Poster
An actual socialist park, as in one that is owned by the employees who also make decisions, (and I reckon season pass holders would have some say) where all the would be profit goes into the park and to the workers, would be pretty f-ing cool. Ironically it would probably be great for enthusiasts, it would kind of address a lot of our gripes, and honestly I've thought that would be a neat idea. A non profit, like community/guest based experience and yeah actually make it a good job for employees, always keep investing in the park, etc Not that such things can't happen just it's a fun idea, which is never gunna happen lol

If I became insanely wealthy and managed to buy some parks or Cedar Fair (lol) will deff turn it over to employees and season ticket holders as a co-op. Or start a park chain based on those ideas. So keep your eyes out for that for when I become the next Bezos XD


Mega Poster
Efteling has a somewhat socialist set up.... or more of a community/charity one. I can't remember the exact set up - but the park is run by some sort of board/Charity - I believe it is one of the reasons they invest heavily in quality and things other parks wouldn't dream of like a few million on a Pinocchio diorama etc - because that is what the 'people' want, The general public have a lot of influence on the park - such as them re-tracking Python out of nostalgia rather than invest on a new coaster!

They are still a money making machine - but i think profits are generally invested heavily back into the park!


Roller Poster
When the lefties hits rollercoaster community haha.
Seriously themeparks aims to be money making machines, even if it's a free lance familly gestion. To me the difference is made on how you feel as a guest, the famous ratio quality/price. Some makes you feel like cowmilk, some manage to give you a such fantastic experience that the entrance fee doesn't really matter.
Entertainment franchises such as Six Flags, Cedar fair or even CDA, Merlin, etc etc share more or less the same model, operations/price/line up become the main point then and you clearly get what you paid for (differents flash passes, and a quite generic experience etc). They are all quoted in the Stockmarkets aswell, so they have investors and need to make the more cash as possible to keep their stocks prices going up and keep investors flowing cash.
On the otherside we have independants such as Efteling, (Herschend? Not really sure cause they have many other sides activities), Holiday world, Phantasialand, Liseberg, Tivoli, Nigloland etc etc ..and many other small independants or local business, they prefer to focus on storytelling, immersion, and family story business style.
They often know which card they are playing and thats why it feels different to spend a day there imo. I can hear you scream out loud that parks such as Efteling are so pricey (do i need to talk about their resort option haha?) But keep in mind that they are independants, iconic and quite historical for some of them. A slow growth with a true and smart business plan behind it, quality over quantity, and mainly managed by true passionated people, not just evil sharks CEO's at the head administration. I prefer to bring kids to Efteling than Disney for ex cause it melts better business ethics, quality and i know its not just another Disney theme park. Are you more super markets or local business? The question is quite similar here.
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Mega Poster
I must admit I actually like the choice and sliding scale of experiences that a certain capitalist approach brings! I don't make that much money at all - but appreciate the options of buying into more exclusive or 'luxury' experiences - and having 'aspirational' goals - such as saving up for the 'treat' of staying at a higher end theme park resort at some point, or experiences that have to charge to effectively control numbers to a low capacity or high running cost experience i.e. I don't begrudge spending on quality or for a more exclusive experience that might have higher running costs to justify the extra! As an introvert too I like the option of paying more for the possibility of more space etc etc - I like options, and quite often money is the only way to make a differentiation!

Whilst many people even in the western world still live in poverty - if you look at Europe for example - theme parks are Generally financially accessible to a majority even if for a one day trip a year , than an exclusive experience only viable to an elite

££ Fastpasses whilst capitalist have a semi-practical function too, Whilst the whole Merlin 'take a picture or everything and charge you for it' I see as more a case of money grabbing!

It's difficult as like with the rest of the world - some balance struck between the two, even if closer to one than the other is usually the answer.


Hyper Poster
All theme parks are run as capitalist operations.
They are there to make money, profits for shareholders or owners.
Some run on more social lines would go bust quickly if they didn't chase a long term profit.
It is more the question of how far over on the right wing theme parks are.