For 50 bucks, maybe your winter Destiny does await

Always on the lookout for new stuff, my iPhone 6 came out of my pocket as I approached the parking-lot-side entrance to the pedestrian bridge at Syracuse mega shopping, dining and entertainment complex Destiny USA.

The windows to their world were pitching the winter entertainment this time around.

Adult fun at Destiny USA.

Adult fun at Destiny USA.

Kids fun at Destiny USA.

Kids fun at Destiny USA.

Quite the idea, thought I. Throw down one big chunk of change instead of pulling out your wallet at each individual joint, and get your butt inside out of the cold. One side of the display for this “WinterFun DayPass” listed the establishments that catered to children, with a cost of $38 for the ticket. The other concentrated on the places with more adult-oriented activities, with the fee of $48.

That day I had a different mission, so I stuck the phone back in my pocket and went on with seeing “American Sniper” on a late Friday morning matinee.

This week I returned to investigate.

Balancing over the Canyon at WonderWorks.

Balancing over the Canyon at WonderWorks.

I spied a couple navigating the rope bridge high above the Canyon, one of the truly eye-catching features of top-floor adventure seller WonderWorks — or so I thought. The gentleman, traversing at a faster pace than his lady, yelled down to me, “taking a picture of the old guy, are you?” And he smiled. Bravo, man.

Here's the vibe that WonderWorks sells.

Here’s the vibe that WonderWorks sells.

I proceeded to the information desk that Destiny USA officials have set aside in this new wing specifically for the WinterFun DayPass. Even some two years after the opening of the new, green extension of what we used to call Carousel Center, there are still some empty spaces for which booths like this can be set up. New things are coming in still. The IHOP and Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville are both poised to open any day now.

Tony is ready to help folk with the WinterFun DayPass at Destiny USA in Syracuse, N.Y.

Tony is ready to help folk with the WinterFun DayPass at Destiny USA in Syracuse, N.Y.

A representative with a name tag that read Tony had a slew of brochures spread in front of him, and he was friendly and ready to answer my questions.

I saw and noted that the WinterFun DayPass had started Jan. 5 and runs through Feb. 28. “But there’s a blackout period between Feb. 14 and 22 because kids are off from school and the mall will be crazy already,” Tony said.

I asked him how sales were going. “It’s been really successful,” he said.

When I mentioned that I expected to post a story about the WinterFun DayPass here on Saturday and asked his last name, he declined to give it, and handed me the card of Destiny USA marketing director Sara Wallace. “You might want to contact our director,” he politely suggested.

I looked over the main pamphlet and decided it’s only an all-day fun pass if you like to spend a whole lot of time in each place you visit.

The smaller type says “Choose 4 of Destiny USA’s best attractions for 1 low price.”

There are some caveats attached to some of the locations, but not all. Here they all are:

5 Wits: One adventure.

Billy Beez: General admission, one adult free with child redemption.

CanyonClimb/SkyTykes: 1 ropes climb, age and height restrictions apply. (Oh, my, this is separate from WonderWorks, at least with this pass, so I find.)

Dave & Busters: $10 Power Card.

Lazer Tag: One game of Lazer Tag.

Mirror Maze:: General admission.

Pole Position Raceway: Race Package — Waive Temporary License (Age and Height Restrictions apply).

Revolutions: 2 games of bowling, including shoes/socks.

WonderWorks: General admission.

OptiGolf: 30 minutes of golf.

There are also four restaurants that include offers with the deal.

Panera Bread: Free U Pick Two with the purchase of one.

TGI Fridays: 15 percent off your meal (alchohol excluded).

The Melting Pot: 15 percent off your meal (alcohol excluded).

Cantina Laredo Free kid’s meal with the purchase of an entree.

OK, so it’s not unlimited everything at all of the participating places. Still, if you’re in the market for a way to spend a winter’s day with four distinct activities …

You can buy the WinterFun DayPass here as well as check out what Destiny USA has to say about the deals.

When I returned home, and email from Sara Wallace sat in my inbox. That Tony was good.

She asked what I wanted to know.

More, I said.

And here’s the background:

“We launched this for the first time over Summer 2014 – to great success,” Sara wrote back. “It was a basic program that offered all of the same experiences, but was a booklet of vouchers that offered people the opportunity to pick and choose where they’d like to go. Over the summer, we sold more than 4,000 tickets over the 60-use period and it was great to get feedback from families and groups that it was worthwhile and helped them experience many venues they had never been to before.

“This winter, we’re doing things a little differently. The experience is the same in that you can choose four venues for one price. What’s a little different is the process. With the feedback we got from the Summer pass, we decided to automate the vouchers and create one ticket that you can swipe at venues to make it more convenient for guests. So far, we’ve received great feedback on the new process, having sold more than 1,000 adult and children passes and a lot of questions about extending the program. We are currently planning to launch this program again during the summer period and we should have more information about that in the spring.”

Help is available on the rope climb.

Help is available on the rope climb.

Me? I’ve written a couple of times here already about KP and I playing different courses at OptiGolf, but we want to spend more than 30 minutes at the virtual layout. Bowling at Revolutions would be a nice addition to my repertoire. The CanyonClimb is a definite maybe. Pole Position and its little zippy cars, perhaps. My jury is still out.

Have you participated in a one-pass, multiple-place deal such as this? What four activities would you choose, and why? Is this a bargain or a bad idea, and why?

51 thoughts on “For 50 bucks, maybe your winter Destiny does await

  1. Your article makes me wish my kids were little again. This sounds like fun! I don’t get to the mall much any more, so I didn’t realize that they had a bowling alley and race track and…

    Still, I would rather be outside in all kinds of weather 🙂


  2. Dave and Busters, then the Canyon and the Laser Tag are all fairly good deals. Since you get $10 for D & B, this takes the amount down to $38 and Laser Tag can be costly. I would like to have a Pick 2 with a daughter or friend at Panera. I like their hazelnut coffee and go back for more than one cup. When the family has to get out of the house, it does come to a higher price these days. I think my grandkids would be thrilled and would use almost every one of the features…


  3. You are quite the investigative reporter, Mr. B. I wish we had this kind of indoor wonderland in my neck of the woods.

    The closest thing we have is at the Prudential Center in Boston, where Mr. B and I spent the weekend for a conference he had. An indoor wonderland of shops, restaurants, bars, spas, hotels all connected by a warm glass overpass. 🙂 I actually did venture out several times to breathe in some non-mall air. The air was particularly refreshing on Newbury Street. LOL. 🙂


  4. …interesting… I would do the rope climb…. I like this kind of stuff.
    However, living in Arizona… we don’t have to get out of the weather. We love our weather!
    When we go 4 wheeling…sometimes it feels like you are balancing on a rope! 🙂


  5. When we lived in Liverpool, just 3 miles from Carousel Center Mall (now Destiny), this was one of my favorite places to be. Of course, Border’s book store was what I gravitated to. I was sorry to hear that Border’s is gone. I’m not sure how I feel about all the changes at the mall. But, I’m betting the kids love it. 😉


  6. Cool Mark. I had to look up Destiny USA on Wiki – 7th largest in the US, mighty big. I’m a bit surprised they built it there when the population in Central New York(draw area) is only around 1 million. Then i read more about Syracuse and realized that it has been a hub (Transportation, educational, industrial, etc) for over 2 centuries and contains many services and infra structure that are greater than pop would indicate but typical for a hub.In fact Stracuse was recently rated as the 4th best place to live in the US – a mighty fine recommendation.

    Anyway, I digress. I’ve used those types of tickets with family and on my own before and if the services were worth it, they were a good value. I kind of balk at limitations and specific omissions that steer customers away from, or reduce access to the more popular venues. It is a good pricing strategy because it puts people into seats (or on rides or whatever) that are there but not being used. From a business perspective that means that any revenue received above variable costs (i.e. food eaten. electricity used,etc – per customer) is basically profit because the fixed costs (building costs, lease costs, parking maintenance, taxes, etc) are already covered by the profitable, high traffic times of the year.

    That being said, unless one knows the value of the services being discounted, the tickets can be a crap shoot, with the focus on crap. But if someone has been before and knows what they like or what has been recommended, it can be a very good deal. Ferreting out the value to the individual is pretty personal. What is fun for one could be valueless for another.

    A similar discount scheme that i really liked were those big discount books that charities or kids sports clubs used to sell for $40 or $50 that gave the user coupons for local businesses good for a year. Some were a percent off, some were a two for one deal, etc. I always got my money out of those and they were fun – letting you try new stuff at a cheaper rate. They often had omissions for busy periods but that was easy to work around by choice.

    I see I’ve rambled again -ha! – short answer , yes i have used those tickets but only recommend them if the services offer value for me.

    Interesting post Mark – thanks.


    • I respect and appreciate your zeal for research and investigation, as always, Paul. Yes, Syracuse was a bigger deal back in history because of its central location in New York state and its spot on the Erie Canal.

      You are right about the value of this offer being considered on a sliding scale per individual, too, taking various factors into consideration.

      I used to be a consumer of those entertainment coupon books, too, and found them useful here in the Syracuse area.

      And you are always welcome to comment in depth here, you know, my friend.


  7. have never heard of such a thing, but could be a fun way to get out of the cold. Curious especially about the food–mostly the chains represented? Seems a bit commercialized–sort of like Mall of America? I’d try it, but to include an entire family, it gets spendy. Last winter there was an ice palace set up behind the Mall of America and it was maybe $10 or so a ticket. We all went and enjoyed. They also had a Barbie Dream House exhibit for $25 or so and we took a pass. Can’t do it all. Or maybe you can do it all at Destiny USA 🙂 Be sure to let us know how it goes if you go.


    • Yes, the restaurants are chain-oriented, Liz. And the day ticket is pricey for a big family, but if you can stretch it for a day and consider it an amusement park … I don’t know. As you say, can’t do it all. And if I decide to take the ticket, I’ll be writing.


  8. i think it’s brilliant marketing by the mall, indoor entertainment for the whole family, in the winter, in places not much used at present. reasonable considering the hours of entertainment you could have with your family, depending on ages and likes. i’d go for: lazer tag, canyon climb, panera, and bowling. )

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hiya Buddy! 🙂 We both wrote about fifty bucks today! 🙂 And this looks like fun. But no, I haven’t tried anything like this. Yet. But I wouldn’t be opposed to it. But I don’t know if my ever increasing ADHD would let me stay indoors for long enough to get my money’s worth. I would probably give it a try on a stormy day though.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. The canyon climb looks just like the Go Ape high ropes that Steve did in the summer – except it’s inside and there is no rain! Give it a go mark – Steve loved it!


  11. Living in Orlando, the mecca of Theme Park enthusiasts, I have to say that I have found value in some but not all. The three and four day passes are good for vacationers who live elsewhere (It’s hard to see and do everything in one day). The yearly passes have never paid for themselves because I don’t go often enough. I’m thinking as my grandchildren are older, that might be a more useful deal. Florida resident passes and senior discounts have been a blessing whenever I had to force myself to go to one of the tourist destinations. I tend to avoid them whenever possible. When my son was a teenager and visiting, I once dropped him off at Downtown Disney’s video arcade. For the price of admission he was entertained from 10:00 am till 12:00am…so that was a pretty good deal. 🙂


  12. So I have two questions out of general curiosity…

    1. Why would the kids have a week off from school in the middle of February?

    2. A bowling center that rents out socks!?!? That’s a new one on me!

    I’d ask Tony, but he’d rather I speak with the director…

    Liked by 1 person

    • 1. They call it the mid-winter vacation around here, Bill. Believe me, the kids need it by then.

      2. Revolution is sort of a hipsters joint where people who may be trying bowling for the first time could drop in. And not know that you need socks for rented bowling shoes. My best guess.

      Tony would answer both but once he knew you were a blogger, send you to Sara as well. 🙂


  13. Well for me, you know, it’s all about the kids. Probably Lazer Tag 4 times over for my son. Of course mentally racking up price for a whole family plus food could put you well into the range of $300, but still a bargain when you consider amusement park costs.


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