Firstly the ride is absolutely worth it. The experience of getting to it is where I have reduced the rating to 3!
What we particularly despised- the cheating that happens openly. People hire guides to jump the queue. This isn’t fair for the people who are patiently waiting for their turn. The government must strictly look into this and stop it. Rates for everything can be standardised too for a satisfactory experience. The tourists must know how much they need to shell out for the experience they choose.
Phase 1 -
For coffee lovers- it has an amazing coffee shop. Do get your coffee and hot chocolate from there instead of the local vendors that approach you while in the queue.
Nice experience, highly charged food items, but they deserve it for the effort they make to provide it at that level. Skip renting the boots and jackets if you are going there in summers ( especially August) do not expect any snow.
Do carry light winter wear like hoodies to keep yourself warm.
Tip: there is no need for the pony ride if you can and enjoy walking. However one should take the ponies for the experience if they like as these kashmiri families depend on tourists completely for their living.
Try all kinds of food items sold on the way and while in the queue.