2009 Golden Tickets

Thursday, September 17, 2009 9:15 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

That's still not equality. There are have's and have not's and when it comes to tickets, you're a have.


Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

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Thursday, September 17, 2009 9:15 PM
LostKause's avatar

So much to cover...

rollergator said:
Let'smove along so that parks can read these threads and see less bitchingand moaning about the inevitable...and start figuring out how to do VQbetter.... :)

I'm sure that you noticed that's exactly where I was going with thesubject when I gave my opinion that SF rents out WAY too many Q-Bots. If they charged more, and tried to find a new and improved "sweetspot", they could still make buttloads of extra cash, while pissing offless people. As I mentioned, BG does this. It's $25 for 5 linejumps. SF gives unlimited line jumps.

Jeff said as a reply to FUN's post way up there:
I don't think that's true at all. I know some of the operations gurus(all in Sandusky, of course) pretty well. Short lines and keepingpeople moving is motivated first by a better experience.

Maybe it takes someone like Jeff, who knows people who work at the parkpretty well, or it takes someone like me, who has worked at the parkfor many seasons, to fully understand the frame of mind that Cedar Fairis in when it comes to fast operations.

Gonchypoo said:
Time is more than an issue than money to me.

And that makes you less qualified to understand how it makes people feel to get cut in front of with the park's approval.

There has been many time that I have seen park guests get annoyed withQ-Bot, especially people using gold. There has been more than one timethat I have had to witness, all day long, a gold botter and his friendsand family boasting loudly about how fantastic it is, while cutting infront ofeveryone. When I had a lot less money, visiting a SF park made me feelsick to my stomach because of the way the park and the gold botterstreated everyone else.

And Gonch, please try to understand that a lot of people, evenfamilies, go to amusement parks an a tight budget too. Not all of themare so lucky as you or me to not have to worry so much about moneywhile on vacation.

Jeff said:
I personally don't care one way or another. If people can wipe their ass with hundred dollar bills, more power to them.

I agree, to the point that it takes away from my pursuit of happiness. Lo-Q found a way to take away something that I used to have acces to,and give it to someone who pay them.


mlnem4s said:

So Gonch you think it is ok tocharge for priority/faster service to check out at the grocery store,department store, post office, security line at the airport, atrestaurants, etc?


I am not ashamed to say I believe the Q-bot program at SixFlags, in its current format, goes against my values or what I believe

And to add to that, all these other way to get a better experience,like first class seats and better, more expensive concert tickets, inno way take away from my experience the same way that pay-to-cut does.

Jason Hammond said:
If your going to go that far, then why not get rid of overnight mail service, one hour photo, stadium suites, etc.

None of those take away from the service that someone who pays for the cheaper services gets.

Lord Gonchar said:

mlnem4s said:
So Gonch you think it is ok to charge for priority/faster service to check out at the grocery store, department store, post office, security line at the airport, at restaurants, etc?

I'm not sure I believe that any of those are directly comparable to waiting in line for an amusement park ride.

...and I'm not sure how you can refuse to compare standing in line for anything else to amusement lines, but always bring up the better concert tickets and first class airplane seats.

Gonch said...


If enough people are buying into pay VQ systems to justify having them and at the same time if those that aren't are still coming in big enough numbers, then the people have spoken - they're ok with it.

Does anyone have a choice? If I desire not allowing people to cut in front of me, I have to buy it. BLACKMAIL!

Gonch said...


It's like Gator said way back there - we're well beyond the debate of "if" and should have moved onto the discussion of "how" a long time ago.

How about only limiting it so that only a few people can afford it, or maybe making it cheap enough for everyone, but limiting how many times a single person could use it?

Or better yet, find a way to allow people to only stand in one ride line at a time. This way, there would only be the same amount of people standing in line, both virtual and real, that are actually in the park. This would keep people from being in more than one ride line at a time, preventing the lines from getting clogged with an artificially over inflated number of people.

Come to think of it, I have been talking about how to improve flashpass for a very long time now.


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Thursday, September 17, 2009 9:17 PM
LostKause's avatar

GIGAFORCE01 said:


And i thought this conversation was about the golden tickets not on flash passes. I guess my eyes must be playing tricks on me :)

That's way too low. From what Gonch said in a previous flashpass thread, I believe it is somewhere around 15%.


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Thursday, September 17, 2009 9:54 PM
mlnem4s's avatar

ApolloAndy said:
That's still not equality. There are have's and have not's and when it comes to tickets, you're a have.

Everyone knows that full-time employees receive numerous park tickets and other perks as part of their overall compensation package. I don't think this falls under the issue of equality and the point I have made.

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Thursday, September 17, 2009 10:42 PM
Jeff's avatar

mlnem4s said:
Jeff, would you not agree that the Flash Pass system at Disney generates revenue for Disney simply because it enhances the park experience thus driving revenue via sustained or increased attendance while gate admission has rising in price thus generating even more revenue?

Doesn't matter what I think. Disney's system keeps people happy, but I can't with any authority conclude anything more. My experience has been that FastPass allows me to visit more attractions, not spend money. Get a pass for Big Thunder, see the Country Bears. Get a pass for Everest, look at monkeys. Get a pass for Soarin', ride the boat thing in The Land.

But again, in the context of Six Flags, it doesn't make a hill of beans difference. None of their parks entertain 17 million people in a year. None of their attractions can move 3,000+ an hour. Frankly, the Six Flags parks are in a solid position to offer an up-charge no-wait or virtual wait system.

That they may be inefficient in their operations is also irrelevant. The scale just doesn't matter. If they're setting aside 15% capacity to paid rides, and your wait would normally be an hour, so what, now it's nine minutes longer.

I think a lot of people argue about the wrong things when it comes to these systems, and it often comes down to, "Why do I have to pay more to get better service?" As someone who pays for better service for a lot of different things, I can't really help you.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Thursday, September 17, 2009 10:56 PM
a_hoffman50's avatar

Here in America we want things free and we want them now and we them done our way, because we can. - This has been another quality observation by Andy.

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Thursday, September 17, 2009 11:00 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

LostKause said:
And that makes you less qualified to understand how it makes people feel to get cut in front of with the park's approval.

Ha!

Oh, you were serious. I'm sorry.

I don't like the way you suggest that I have no idea what it's like. My wife and I have busted our asses in life to get where we are. 10 years ago I'd have thought people like us were rich. Now I look back and laugh at how naive that is.

If anything, I have the benefit of knowing both sides of the coin in my life.

There has been many time that I have seen park guests get annoyed withQ-Bot, especially people using gold.

Great...in all of those SF visists you talk about not making in years.

Want to talk about being qualified to make a judgement call? I think one should have visited a park offering Q-bot in the last couple of years to have any clue of what's really happening out there.

There has been more than one timethat I have had to witness, all day long, a gold botter and his friendsand family boasting loudly about how fantastic it is, while cutting infront ofeveryone.

That's a shame (and sounds a lot like a movie or TV cliche) but I guess people can be annoying whether their bragging about the Q-bot they're using or complaining about the Q-bot others are using.

More of an indictment on how some people act than anything, really.

How about only limiting it so that only a few people can afford it, or maybe making it cheap enough for everyone, but limiting how many times a single person could use it?

I wish they'd just do it at the gate already. If it's 'discrimination' or unfair inside the park, then maybe they should just do it before the unwashed masses enter. Let's make it $80 to get in in the first place and just end the artificial drama.

From what Gonch said in a previous flashpass thread, I believe it is somewhere around 15%.

So at this point you're either just making stuff up or you really just don't grasp the things I try to say.

Either way it explains a lot. :)

Jeff said:
I think a lot of people argue about the wrong things when it comes to these systems, and it often comes down to, "Why do I have to pay more to get better service?" As someone who pays for better service for a lot of different things, I can't really help you.

Yeah, pretty much. :)

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Thursday, September 17, 2009 11:48 PM
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Thursday, September 17, 2009 11:27 PM
Carrie M.'s avatar

LostKause said:


And to add to that, all these other way to get a better experience,like first class seats and better, more expensive concert tickets, inno way take away from my experience the same way that pay-to-cut does.

So two people show up to the airport at the same time for the same flight, and their arrival puts them 30 minutes before take off. One of them is a first class passenger who goes through the special first class security gate and makes the flight. The other is a coach passenger and, thanks to the long line at the regular security gate misses the flight. You don't think there's any reduction in service for the person who paid less as compared to the person who paid more?

Two people go to the same baseball game and one pays for general admission tickets and the other pays for more expensive covered boxed seats. It rains during the game and the person in general admission gets soaked while the one who paid more for his/her seat is dry and comfortable.

Furthermore, the popcorn the person in general admission purchased was also soaked because the vendor was out in the rain while the popcorn the person in the covered boxed seats purchased was dry and crisp because his/her vendor was working the covered section.

You don't think there's any reduction in service or experience for the person who paid less as compared to the person who paid more?


"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

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Thursday, September 17, 2009 11:38 PM
a_hoffman50's avatar

Golf clap for Carrie.

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Friday, September 18, 2009 12:43 AM
LostKause's avatar

In those very special and unique circumstances, Carrie, you win.

Cutting in front of someone in any line is a totally different beast altogether.

I really have no problem at all with people spending more to get more. I pay more for more all the time. I do have a problem with, among other things, some parks using flashpass as a crutch for their lousy operations.

I believe that my views on flashpass are very reasonable. I point to the sign once again that reads, (paraphrased) "Line jumping is defined as leaving the line for any reason (like going to ride another ride), and then returning. Line jumping is cause for removal from the park."

This industry wide rule has was put into effect in order to protect people from not getting their moneys worth, and to prevent people from essentially steeling rides out from under other riders. Lo-Q designed a way to profit from destroying the very rule that kept order at rides and attractions for as long as they have existed. Cutting in front of someone is still considered rude and inconsiderate, no matter what the circumstances.

I just thought of another way that pay-to-cut could be improved. Instead of letting people cut in front of everyone for a price, why notoffer an exclusive event for a price? No one gets cut in front of, andthose who want it and can afford to pay for it stay happy. Wait, I'vealready said that in the last 400 flashpass threads, and the parks whocare about the overall park experience already do this as analternative pay-to-cut.

Gonch, I don't have to visit SF parks to find out how lousy their operations still are. This is CoasterBuzz. I can read others bad experiences right here. :)


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Friday, September 18, 2009 12:49 AM
ApolloAndy's avatar

More importantly, it only takes away from you because you went to parks 10 years ago. People who I go to parks with these days (youth from my church) have never been to a park where there isn't q-bot.

The analog would be if any of us had flown in 50 years ago and had luckily gotten the first row of the plane and had luckily gotten no line at the counter and had luckily gotten a nice stewardess who would smuggle extra snacks and drinks. That used to be free, now it's pay. Luck gets replaced by money.

Or if I went to an open seating concert and luckily had gotten the front row at a concert (or had waited all day in the sun to get it) and had luckily shaken the artists hand during the show and had luckily gotten the t-shirt I wanted before they sold out. Used to be free, but now they sell it as the "premium experience."

It's not being taken away from anybody. It wasn't ours to begin with. We were just getting lucky and now the park is selling that.


Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

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Friday, September 18, 2009 12:55 AM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

LostKause said:
I really have no problem at all with people spending more to get more. I pay more for more all the time.

Just not when you go to amusement parks that offer pay-to-VQ systems. Then you choose to pay less and wait in stand-by lines.

Cutting in front of someone in any line is a totally different beast altogether.

Yeah, you keep saying that, but no one is cutting.

I suspect the VQ thing is a problem because while the end result is very similar to pretty much every alternative scenario that's been presented (in that those paying less get less), it's just more obvious what is happening with the VQ thing at parks.

People don't like to see the ugly. People want lied to. If there was some way to get VQ'ers on the ride without the stand-by line being aware of it, there wouldn't be a problem.

Which kinda leads into:

ApolloAndy said:
More importantly, it only takes away from you because you went to parks 10 years ago. People who I go to parks with these days (youth from my church) have never been to a park where there isn't q-bot.

Exactly. They already took from you when they went from PPR to RAD. You're just too young to rememeber when they did that.

LostKause said:
Instead of letting people cut in front of everyone for a price, why not offer an exclusive event for a price?

Because 99% of parks can't do that everyday.

A park like Disney World can and does with EMH..which should piss you off just as much. They make you leave one park early while people who pay them more (by booking on-property rooms) get to stay until closing.

Maybe SF should kick people who don't pay for Q-bot out early too. ;)

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Friday, September 18, 2009 1:01 AM
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Friday, September 18, 2009 1:36 AM
LostKause's avatar

We could go around and around, Gonch and AppoloAndy, but I'll just repeat myself and you'll just repeat yourself...lol

Except for

no one is cutting

In which my reply is, of course they are cutting. They keep calling it virtual queue, but it's not. Can we safely say that "cutting" and "line jumping" have the same meaning?

If so, read any park's description of line jumping, via their website, or signage in front of each ride. "for any reason", includes going to the restroom, grabbing some Dippin' dots, or waiting in another ride line, riding that ride.


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Friday, September 18, 2009 1:39 AM
a_hoffman50's avatar

It is not considered line jumping because they ARE waiting in line. It is just that you cannot see them waiting in line. They are virtually waiting in line. Thus the virtual queue.

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Friday, September 18, 2009 1:48 AM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

LostKause said:
In which my reply is, of course they are cutting. They keep calling it virtual queue, but it's not. Can we safely say that "cutting" and "line jumping" have the same meaning?

Sure it's the same thing, but people using gold Q-bot aren't doing that. They bought something else - preferred access to the rides. People in the 'normal' line bought stand-by admission.

That seems to be where the confusion lies.

Think of it as the park selling two different plans to enter their park (like parks that do PPR and RAD). This is a lot like that. People accessing the rides in different ways.

If so, read any park's description of line jumping, via their website, or signage in front of each ride. "for any reason", includes going to the restroom, grabbing some Dippin' dots, or waiting in another ride line, riding that ride.

Great and that still applies to people using the same plan. Everyone waiting in stand-by has to stay in order. No one should leave the line and try to get back in that same spot of enter the line in front of others.

It also applies to everyone using the VQ line. No one should leave and try to come back to the same spot or enter the line and move ahead of others.

No one is cutting in front of anyone.

(note: My response applies to systems that offer lessened wait. In the case of true VQ with uniform waits, Andy has it covered for the most part. Think of it as a 'middle tier' of service available.)

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Friday, September 18, 2009 1:51 AM
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Friday, September 18, 2009 9:09 AM
ridemcoaster's avatar

SFMMAddict said:
On my last trip to Disneyland, I went to get a fast pass for Space Mountain at 9:30 am and it said that my ride time would be at 7:30 pm. Since you cannot get a fast pass on another ride until you have used your first one, I hardly find a reservation time which is 10 hours away to be useful. The signs also said that the regular line was 70 mins. Since we were only able to stay until 6:00 pm we waited in line and it turned out to be only a 45 min. line.

I would say you screwed yourself out of a second fastpass as the policy for fastpass is you cannot obtain an new FP until the time on the ticket has elapsed -or- 2 hours have passed. So at the very most, you could have obtained a new FP at 11:31. This is one of the few ways you can technically have more than 1 FP at a time.

Disney is way smarter than that to prevent people from getting FPs for 2nd rides because the guest happened to get their 1st on on rides that tend to deplete their FPs early in the day. (Toy Story Mania for example).

Last edited by ridemcoaster, Friday, September 18, 2009 9:11 AM
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Friday, September 18, 2009 9:52 AM

My reaction to Q-Bot is two-sided, not unlike this never ending conversation. :)

We walked into SFOT early in the morning on some Spring Break Friday, and even before they dropped the ropes the size of the crowd was beginning to concern me. So I went to the Q-bot concession and asked if it was a good idea and the woman said very honestly "on a day like this? YES!" So I got in a long line (wondering why they didn't have q-bots to buy the q-bot) and bought one.

I will say it just about saved our lives. My partner is very cranky when it comes to crowds and lines and it allowed us to ride just about every ride without having to deal with all that. But- it also happened several times that when the thing told us we had, say, 90 minutes to wait, it called us in, say, 40. I could tell from the size of the line that we were getting on faster than those who were in standby, and even though I paid for the thing, started to feel kind of bad. I felt like I was cutting instead of relaxing somewhere out of line.

When we got to their Superman tower thing, the line was incredibly long, especially with only two (of the three, is it?) of the towers in working order. It called us early to that ride, too. (which, granted, nobody but us would know) But- you should've heard the abuse we and the operators took from those standing in line, which at that point had grown to almost 2 hours. I thought a fist fight was gonna break out, and it was a little scary. And part of me wanted to say "see ya, suckers", but the other part of me realized that something about it just didn't seem fair, and I felt sorry for the "have-nots". I also felt very, very sorry for the operators.

Our visit to SFOG was on a slow day and nobody had or needed one. I haven't been to a SF park since Gold was invented.

Disney's system seems better. I don't know, but at least it has the appearance of being fair, accessible to all, and honest in terms of wait time. (I also remember abuse from those standing in line for Soarin while we waltzed by.)

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Friday, September 18, 2009 11:00 AM
Jeff's avatar

LostKause said:
I do have a problem with, among other things, some parks using flashpass as a crutch for their lousy operations.

Your biggest problem is that you keep connecting these two things, and I don't believe there is a connection. That they offer paid queuing has nothing to do with the efficiency of their operations. If they're slow loading people, they'll be slow loading people whether they're standing in the normal line or coming up the exit. The incentive for these systems is not to compensate for anything, it's to make money. There's on cause and effect, as you suggest.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Friday, September 18, 2009 11:02 AM
Carrie M.'s avatar

ApolloAndy said:
More importantly, it only takes away from you because you went to parks 10 years ago. People who I go to parks with these days (youth from my church) have never been to a park where there isn't q-bot.

The analog would be if any of us had flown in 50 years ago and had luckily gotten the first row of the plane and had luckily gotten no line at the counter and had luckily gotten a nice stewardess who would smuggle extra snacks and drinks. That used to be free, now it's pay. Luck gets replaced by money....

I think that is exactly the reason why some are having trouble drawing the connection with qbot and first class, preferred seats, etc. Those other things have been around for so long that no one thinks about them as problematic.

The first class/preferred security line or ticketing line is the prime analogy in my opinion. Those lines were likely lines that everyone was able to use at one time. Then they marked those off for people who pay for the privilege and pulled staff away from those helping the regular customers.

You still get your ticket. You still get to go through security. You still get to board the plane. But you have to wait longer while those who paid more go first.

Qbot is the same thing. You still get to ride. But you have to wait longer while those who paid more go first.

There will come a day when the majority will only remember qbot as the way it's always been. And as parks fully embrace it and new rides are built, qbot will likely be accommodated in a way that is more streamlined than it is currently in some cases and it will be harder to notice the difference in experiences.


"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

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Friday, September 18, 2009 11:43 AM

Carrie M. said:

Two people go to the same baseball game and one pays for general admission tickets and the other pays for more expensive covered boxed seats. It rains during the game and the person in general admission gets soaked while the one who paid more for his/her seat is dry and comfortable.

Furthermore, the popcorn the person in general admission purchased was also soaked because the vendor was out in the rain while the popcorn the person in the covered boxed seats purchased was dry and crisp because his/her vendor was working the covered section.

You don't think there's any reduction in service or experience for the person who paid less as compared to the person who paid more?

I don't know if this is a valid comparison either. Sure the people in the box seats and suites have some extra amenities, which they pay for, but their experience of the game itself is pretty much the same as for the people in the bleachers. Now, if the people in the cheap seats would miss the first two or three innings, because they can't seat them until most of the people in the suites have been seated, then I would say the experience has been lessened. But then again, Mr. Snyder sells numerous seats for Redskin games that have a great view of a column and not so much of the field.

With concerts and sporting events, people know before they buy what the price points are. Perhaps the parks should do the same. Publish on their websites three tiers of admission: the basic price, price with basic virtual queuing device, and price with premium device, along with an explanation of what each entails. That way there can be no question of what one is getting for their money, and no complaints about people cutting the line. If the parks feel there is nothing underhanded or unfair about paid virtual queuing, they should be open about this as well.

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