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Re: Prices in #Yosemite this season

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Prices in Yosemite this season
August 04, 2016 12:26PM
I returned from a short weekend (1 night visit, sleeping on a bed!) in YOSE a couple weeks ago and composed a long diatribe about the prices, Aramark, etc. I read it, decided it wasn't helpful and was not terribly interesting or appropriate for this site so deleted it before posting.

Just read a few posts with references/comments about prices this year, so I'll just post a couple of observations without adding any editorial:

Price of one 10 oz package of Jet-Puffed marshmallows (standard size) in Crane Flat general store: $5.49; price in local Safeway (not on sale): $1.29
Price of one gallon regular grade gas: $3.89; price at Claim Jumper station in BOF: $2.89; price in Modesto: $2.49.

While I expect prices to be higher in YOSE and surrounding areas trading on the seasonal visitors for a living (without discussion of the merit/purpose/fairness of it) it was never enough of a difference before that I was shocked. The only reason I noticed the marshmallows was because I was waiting in a line about 25 people long to pay for a cup of coffee and was well down the aisles with merchandise on the shelves, and my eyes just happened to wander to the price tag.

I am wondering if there is any restriction or oversight at all on the concessionaire about pricing, or if it is whatever the market will bear.
Re: Prices in Yosemite this season
August 04, 2016 01:35PM
I believe that the Park Service has some oversight on prices, but I could be wrong.
Re: Prices in Yosemite this season
August 04, 2016 05:07PM
I guess the question would be....what was the price of those marshmallows when DNC had the contract ?
Re: Prices in Yosemite this season
August 04, 2016 05:15PM
That's a fair question, and I don't have a firm answer. All I can say is the prices never struck me as rapacious before. I may just have not noticed these items (though I have purchased gas at CF before), or my perspective may have changed over time.
avatar Re: Prices in Yosemite this season
August 04, 2016 07:52PM
Quote
ags
All I can say is the prices never struck me as rapacious before.

That struck me as excessive under DNC. Especially compared to pre-DNC.
avatar Re: Prices in Yosemite this season
August 04, 2016 11:10PM
Quote
ags
That's a fair question, and I don't have a firm answer. All I can say is the prices never struck me as rapacious before. I may just have not noticed these items (though I have purchased gas at CF before), or my perspective may have changed over time.

I haven't been to Yosemite since Aramark took over operations, but when DNC ran the concessions the prices of most grocery items at the Village Store were close to comparable to the supermarket prices in Oakdale, Mariposa and Oakdale, maybe, at most, 10% more for some items.

The pricing for lodging and at restaurants where SKY HIGH though compared to prices of lodging and restaurants outside the park though. I think they kept the prices reasonable at the Village Store (for groceries) because thats where most of the DNC employees who lived in the park shopped.



Leave No Trace
Re: Prices in Yosemite this season
August 05, 2016 07:29AM
Quote
plawrence
The pricing for lodging and at restaurants where SKY HIGH though compared to prices of lodging and restaurants outside the park though.

Is this accurate, at least the lodgings part? Yosemite (Valley) Lodge rooms are approximately ~$250/night, compared to Yosemite View (El Portal,~$220), Westgate (Buck Meadows, ~$210), Rush Creek (BOF entrance, ~$215-$270), or Evergreen (Hetch Hetchy, ~$230). I think even Lake View Lodge (Lee Vining) is over $200/night in summer, and the Double Eagle in June Lake last year was over $250/night I think.

There is no denying that The Ahwahnee Majestic is expensive, but I don't know what it would be comparable to outside the park. There's also little to compare the tent cabins to (Curry Half Dome Village, Tuolumne/White Wolf Lodge) outside of Yosemite.

Some of these prices are from memory; all of my recent stays in Yosemite have been at a campground ($30/night) or in the backcountry ($0/night, as long as I bring in bacon or chicken nuggets to keep the advance party from revolting...).
Re: Prices in Yosemite this season
August 13, 2016 12:55AM
I have always noticed that there was a progression in the prices with DNC. For example. I can buy three of those 12 can cartons of Pepsi in LA for $9.99. At Raley's in Oakhurst I got two cartons for about that price and at the big store in Yosemite Valley one carton was over $10. I have been to the park several times since Aramark has taken over and have not seen a change in prices from what DNC was charging. The park service controls what prices the concessionaires charge and there can be a certain percentage change each year. I guess we will just have to wait to see what it is like next year. There is nothing comparable to the Ahwahnee just outside of the park, not even Tenaya Lodge, and you can't even compare it to Old Faithful Lodge or El Tovar either since neither are considered four star lodging like the Ahwahnee is.
avatar Re: Prices in #Yosemite this season
August 17, 2016 12:56AM
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parklover
There is nothing comparable to the Ahwahnee just outside of the park, not even Tenaya Lodge, and you can't even compare it to Old Faithful Lodge or El Tovar either since neither are considered four star lodging like the Ahwahnee is.

Uh, you really think the Majestic is a four-star hotel?

I haven't stayed there since Aramark took it over, but when it was called the Ahwahnee and operated by DNC, a two star rating would have been the most appropriate.



Leave No Trace
avatar Re: Prices in #Yosemite this season
August 17, 2016 11:37AM
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plawrence
a two star rating would have been the most appropriate.

But with a 4 star price.
Re: Prices in #Yosemite this season
August 17, 2016 02:30PM
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eeek
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plawrence
a two star rating would have been the most appropriate.

But with a 4 star price.
More like a 5 star price.
Re: Prices in #Yosemite this season
August 17, 2016 02:29PM
Quote
plawrence
Quote
parklover
There is nothing comparable to the Ahwahnee just outside of the park, not even Tenaya Lodge, and you can't even compare it to Old Faithful Lodge or El Tovar either since neither are considered four star lodging like the Ahwahnee is.

Uh, you really think the Majestic is a four-star hotel?

I haven't stayed there since Aramark took it over, but when it was called the Ahwahnee and operated by DNC, a two star rating would have been the most appropriate.
I said that both those hotels are considered four stars and no where did I say that I considered them four stars. AAA ( actually diamonds), Fodors, Mobil, etc considers The Ahwahnee a 4 star hotel. Ratings are based on lots of things such as location,services, cleanliness, staffing, amenities, views, entertainment etc. If you go by location and views the Ahwahnee in my mind is more like a five but based on my last few experiences where things in the room were missing or broken, the room was filthy and the some of the staff surly, I would have given it a 1. I am hoping that Aramark can improve on that but I personally won't know soon because I don't plan on staying there again in the near future.
Re: Prices in Yosemite this season
August 22, 2016 09:15AM
I haven't been to the valley since Aramark took over, but nearly every winter for the last 8-9 years we've taken advantage of the special sale prices during January and February to stay at the lodge. At times, multiple rooms for family, other times one room with the grandkids, or just the two of us. Prices ranged from $79 to $109, and often included breakfast at the food court. The Ahwahnee had similar sales at around $200, but I prefer the lodge. The last time we were able to do that was December 2015, from reservations made in April with a DNC sale. The situation had deteriorated some, with no free breakfast, and in-room coffee instead of the nice coffee cards they used to provide, so you could get a good cup instead of the in-room colored water, but overall it was still a decent deal.

This year I've gotten a couple of sale emails from Aramark, with a catchy "Stay in Yosemite from $70!" subject line. Nice, but that's an unheated tent cabin in Curry or whatever they call it now...I'll stay in the campground if I want an unheated tent. The lodge, I believe, was around $190 for even off dates during January and February. So while prices may not technically have gone "up", in reality they have, if they're not going to offer the lower prices to fill rooms during the slower periods.

Does anyone here eat at the food court, and are the selections and prices similar? Most of the year I stay at the campground, and rely on the food court for decent food without having to bother with cooking, but I haven't been there since the change, and wondered if it's still operating in the same way.

Hopefully, harsh reality will set in with Aramark and they'll have a lot of empty rooms, and realize that they can't charge summer resort prices on a cold slushy snowy non-holiday midweek February day. Unless that happens, I will probably go back to staying in Oakhurst or Mariposa, and doing the 1-hour drive to the valley if we decide to go in mid winter.



Gary
Yosemite Photo Galleries: http://www.pbase.com/roberthouse/yo
Re: Prices in Yosemite this season
August 22, 2016 12:47PM
Aramark has said that they have not changed their prices and price changes have to be approved by the NPS and they were not going to be changed this year. From what I have seen they have not changed their prices yet. The $70/night deal that you saw is the same one that I have seen DNC offer. I have not eaten at the Food Court or the Lodge Cafeteria since the change but I have eaten at the Ahwahnee, Mountain Room, Degnan's Deli and got pizza at the Loft and it was the same prices DNC charged.
Re: Prices in Yosemite this season
August 23, 2016 10:53AM
While I was there I was told about (I didn't hear first hand) that charges for Curry Village in the Winter are the dollar amount corresponding to the temperature. Being from Alaska, my first thought was, "Will they pay me to stay there when it is negative temperatures?"
Re: Prices in Yosemite this season
August 23, 2016 02:46PM
Quote
chicagocwright
While I was there I was told about (I didn't hear first hand) that charges for Curry Village in the Winter are the dollar amount corresponding to the temperature. Being from Alaska, my first thought was, "Will they pay me to stay there when it is negative temperatures?"
LOL I have thought the same thing. Both DNC and Aramark have offered a discount package in the winter based on temperatures and, for some reason, I can't remember what they called that package. It should be called "Freeze and Sneeze."
avatar Re: Prices in Yosemite this season
August 23, 2016 03:24PM
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chicagocwright
Being from Alaska, my first thought was, "Will they pay me to stay there when it is negative temperatures?"

Yes, but you have to hug the pipes to keep them from freezing.
Re: Prices in Yosemite this season
August 23, 2016 09:26PM
I'd have no problem staying warm. I'm just not sure negative temperatures would cooperate.
Re: Prices in Yosemite this season
August 24, 2016 04:33AM
I stayed at Yosemite Lodge last February, mid-week, in the family suite for $143/night including tax. Same room for the same time is now being shown on the Aramark site for $212/night including tax; room is $40/night more, plus tax, on weekends. I also think that once they see they're under capacity, they'll adjust the prices downward. And maybe they'll learn how to list the hotels on Expedia, hotels.com, etc. too - as far as I can see the rooms can only be reserved through Aramark's painfully slow site.

I also noticed this statement on the site as it searched for room availability:

"Yosemite National Park, managed by Aramark, is an authorized concessioner of the National Park Service."

It seems that someone at Aramark failed not only basic economics (price is determined by supply/demand) but also high school English.
Re: Prices in Yosemite this season
August 24, 2016 11:25AM
I just got another email from Aramark; with my hopes up, I checked prices for a random, non-holiday midweek January Lodge visit (a time when I've personally seen walk-ins come up to the desk and ask the price (when DNC was in charge), and be quoted $139. Which made me feel good to have gotten the early booking sale deal of $89 or $99.

Now they want $205 per night. In January, midweek, during one of the 2 ugliest months (lacking fresh snow) of the year for the valley. I'm sure that's the "list" price, and possibly DNC had that as the "list" price also...but this is the same idea as when you look at the room prices listed on motel doors and find your $99 room is listed at $249.

However, they are offering a "Grand Grape" event and some other "culinary" event for "from" about $405 per night, 2 nights minimum. Whoopee, wine pairings and probably cheese tastings. That's what I go to Yosemite for...to get drunk in a fashionable way and hang around the hotel sampling gourmet food. And I can save $100 off the $300 cost of the meal and "Wine" that I can apply to my $810+taxes hotel bill. (note, the capital W in Wine indicates it's specially paired with the gourmet food by expert vintners who are taking a holiday from lowering the water table in our county with all their vineyards.

I'm glad they don't run the campground.



Gary
Yosemite Photo Galleries: http://www.pbase.com/roberthouse/yo




Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/24/2016 11:28AM by Sierrafan.
Re: Prices in Yosemite this season
August 30, 2016 02:44PM
Sounds like they are trying to cater to hipsters, good luck.
Re: Prices in Yosemite this season
August 30, 2016 07:12PM
Quote
Sierrafan
I just got another email from Aramark; with my hopes up, I checked prices for a random, non-holiday midweek January Lodge visit (a time when I've personally seen walk-ins come up to the desk and ask the price (when DNC was in charge), and be quoted $139. Which made me feel good to have gotten the early booking sale deal of $89 or $99.

Now they want $205 per night. In January, midweek, during one of the 2 ugliest months (lacking fresh snow) of the year for the valley. I'm sure that's the "list" price, and possibly DNC had that as the "list" price also...but this is the same idea as when you look at the room prices listed on motel doors and find your $99 room is listed at $249.

However, they are offering a "Grand Grape" event and some other "culinary" event for "from" about $405 per night, 2 nights minimum. Whoopee, wine pairings and probably cheese tastings. That's what I go to Yosemite for...to get drunk in a fashionable way and hang around the hotel sampling gourmet food. And I can save $100 off the $300 cost of the meal and "Wine" that I can apply to my $810+taxes hotel bill. (note, the capital W in Wine indicates it's specially paired with the gourmet food by expert vintners who are taking a holiday from lowering the water table in our county with all their vineyards.

I'm glad they don't run the campground.

The Grand Grape Celebration is what DNC called The Vintners Holiday. DNC also had the Chef's Holiday which is now called A Taste of Yosemite . DNC has those names so they had to be changed.

Just in case anyone wants to compare events between DNC and Aramark, I found website that had this info from 2015

"Special lodging packages for Vintners' Holidays are available at The Ahwahnee, Yosemite Lodge at the Falls or Curry Village, which include lodging, tickets to the Gala Vintners' Dinner, admission to the "Meet the Vintners" reception and four wine tasting seminars. Vintners' Holidays packages start at $448 per person based on double occupancy. Individual tickets for the Gala Dinner may be purchased at $199 per person. All prices include gratuity, but exclude tax. For more information on Yosemite's Vintners' Holidays at The Ahwahnee or to make reservations, call 801-559-4949 or visit www.YosemitePark.com/Vintners"

Here is info on the 2015 Chef's Holiday . "Special hotel packages for Chefs' Holidays are available at either The Ahwahnee or Yosemite Lodge at the Falls, which includes lodging, culinary demonstrations and tastings, a "Meet the Chefs" reception with wine and hors d'oeuvres, a behind-the-scenes kitchen tour and the five-course Chefs' Holidays Gala Dinner paired with wine in The Ahwahnee Dining Room. Packages start at $448 per person for accommodations at The Ahwahnee and $318 per person for Yosemite Lodge at the Falls. Individual tickets for the Gala Dinner may be purchased at a price of $199 per person, including gratuity and excluding tax."

You can find info on the Taste of Yosemite:
http://www.travelyosemite.com/special-offers/specials-packages/culinary-events/a-taste-of-yosemite-package/

For the Grape Celebration:

http://www.travelyosemite.com/special-offers/specials-packages/culinary-events/grand-grape-celebration-package/

I have not gone to either in the past or plan to in the future but posted just for information purposes.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/30/2016 07:19PM by parklover.
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