2009 Golden Tickets

Wednesday, September 16, 2009 2:16 PM
BDesvignes's avatar

Q-bots aren't going anywhere as long as the park is making money on them. Unless their business is affected negatively by them they won't get rid of them. I think they're annoying, but I'm fine with the park sucking up other people's money so they can build new rides. I'm surprised more parks don't have them available. I never use them I just go on slow days to avoid the lines.


Da Bears

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009 2:38 PM
Jason Hammond's avatar

I'm not sure if everyone has forgot or if they just never knew. But Cedar Point (I'm not sure about the other CF parks) offers VIP Tours. I have never paid for it. Since it's my home park I have no need to. This is more along the line of what I was talking about. I'm not sure if LK agrees or not. But, it's more expensive and there's only a limited amount of tours offered each day. So, most guests probably never even notice them. There's probably more handicap guests at the park than VIP guests.


854 Coasters, 34 States, 7 Countries
http://www.rollercoasterfreak.com My YouTube

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009 3:46 PM

Cedar Point limits VIP Tours to five tours per day. I can't vouch for Six Flags or the Busch parks, however, but I can't imagine they're running 20 a day. FPs are obviously sold to a larger number of people, ergo, more people will use them. I'd be curious to see what (if) Six Flags parks limit their Q-bot usage to. Can they actually sell out of them?

I'm honestly not sure that they're all that intrusive or noticeable to parkgoers unless (a) you're aware of the FPers and you're actively looking for the users or where they might merge in the station/line or (b) you have a whole train of FPers that get to board at once. The latter is the situation that any park using this system wants to avoid, because it becomes much more obvious what's going on to people in the main queue.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009 4:11 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

My (perenniel) contribution to this topic:

There are two things going on: 1) Is it a good business decision? 2) Is it fair?

1) Obviously yes or it would have gone away.

2) I happen to think so (especially since there's first class airline seats and upcharge rides).

Note that #2 has very little affect on #1 (especially as less and less people can even remember when parks didn't have them).


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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Wednesday, September 16, 2009 4:27 PM
Jason Hammond's avatar

Cartman:

Don't you see? Forever it has been my dream to have my very own theme park, so that I could be alone in it, all day, every day. I love theme parks. But the lines! Everywhere you go, people, crowds. The rides are great, but... All the lines, lines, LINES! If there's one thing I hate, all the lines, lines, lines, LINES!! And then there get to be so many people that they make FastPass. So then there's lines for FastPass. You stand in line to get a ticket to stand in line later. Then there's lines for the bathrooms, lines for the drinks, lines for cantakuras and rare Kartankulas Plinks! ...And, so you see, this park is for me. Nobody else will be allowed in it.


854 Coasters, 34 States, 7 Countries
http://www.rollercoasterfreak.com My YouTube

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009 6:19 PM

I have used Q-bot at SFMM four times now. Each time there has been a very small number of Flash Pass users walking up to each ride at any given time. The effect of Flash Pass users on the regular queue has been negligible. I have also made a few visits when I did not get a Q-bot because the park was not that crowded. I have had a few good laughs when people have used Q-bot on days when there were little to no lines. Also, I find some of the comments about other parks sending out whole trains of Flash Pass users or half-empty trains because they don't take people from the regular queue very interesting. I have not seen that happen, but if it did that would be really bad. At SFMM they either have you merge into the regular queue or they have FP users board first then use the regular queue to fill the rest of the train. If that is not happening, some of the other parks have serious park operations problems.

Also my KBF pass expires on Jan 30 and my work schedule might be changing next year. I have already started to consider the possiblity that I might let my KBF pass expire if I can only visit on weekends for an extended period of time. I would have a lot more fun at SFMM with a Q-bot than I would at KBF standing in line all day.

Last edited by SFMMAddict, Wednesday, September 16, 2009 6:20 PM

My mother (1946-2009) once asked me why I go to Magic Mountain so much. I said I feel the most alive when I'm on a roller coaster.
2010 total visits: SFMM-9, KBF-2
2010 total ride laps: 437

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009 6:22 PM
Mamoosh's avatar

SFMMAddict said: Also my KBF pass expires on Jan 30 and my work schedule might be changing next year.

Let me guess: the paper you deliver is moving from morning delivery to afternoon.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009 9:59 PM
mlnem4s's avatar

Gonch, in response to your queries about my post...

Knowing there are other ways to implement a virtual queue system for FREE to ALL park guests, much like Disney Fast Pass or the FreeWay system Cedar Point implemented for a while, is something I could totally support. I think comparing the "ability to pay" for timed reservations versus not getting to a Fast Pass machine "in time" to get a reservation are not even remotely comparable in my opinion.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009 10:47 PM
LostKause's avatar

Jason Hammond said:
VIP Tours... I'm not sure if LK agrees or not. But, it's more expensive and there's only a limited amount of tours offered each day. So, most guests probably never even notice them.


I'm all for VIP tours. They are cost prohibitive enough for me to still have a positive experience without purchasing it. It's not 20% of the park cutting in front of me all day, it's probably less than 5 or 10 groups.

SFMMAddict said:
I find some of the comments about other parks sending out whole trains of Flash Pass users or half-empty trains because they don't take people from the regular queue very interesting. I have not seen that happen, but if it did that would be really bad.

SFGAdv did that a lot the last time that I was there, because the line of q-botters standing on the exit ramp was getting way out of hand. Most memorably was Batman & Robin: Chiller. What a nightmare.

SFMMAddict said:
At SFMM they either have you merge into the regular queue or they have FP users board first then use the regular queue to fill the rest of the train. If that is not happening, some of the other parks have serious park operations problems.

Having merge points before boarding the ride is much better than letting botter board from the ride exit. Lining up on the exit ramp slows down those exiting the train, which hinders dispatch times. It also hinders dispatch times because they can't open the air gates until botters load into the train. That method probably lowers a ride's capacity a significant amount.


EDIT - line breaks

Last edited by LostKause, Wednesday, September 16, 2009 10:49 PM
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Wednesday, September 16, 2009 11:14 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

LostKause said:
It's not 20% of the park cutting in front of me all day...

You really think the percentage is that high? (honest question)

Seriously, if a park is crowded with 20,000 to 30,000 guests, you really think between 4,000 and 6,000 people are using q-bot?

Really?

I understand you dislike it, but man, that's quite a claim.

If 5,000 people use q-bot (20% of a 25,000 person day - the kind of crowded day that you'd use q-bot) and we figure the lower cost regular bot, not the higher cost gold bot and we assume an economical 4 to a bot (it costs more per person if you add less people to a bot, and less if you add more) that's 1250 q-bots at $92 each (SFGAdv pricing) for a total of $115,000 additional revenue.

There's no chance in hell it's going away if it's making the parks money anywhere near that range - even after the split with the Lo-Q people.

However, I don't think it is. I suspect an estimate of 20% is ridiculously high. I've never been to a SF park where it seemed like 1 in 5 people were VQ'ing.

In fact, I think it's pretty safe to say that's an exaggerated number. All you have to do is take a look at the Lo-Q site to see that 2008 was the first year that 1,000,000 people used their systems. I assume that means at all the parks that use it over the course of the entire year.

Your 20% estimate would mean that SFGAdv alone gets 500,000 users per year. Come on! We both know that's not happening.

Quite simply, 20% of the people aren't using it. It's a much, much lower number.

I have no idea what that number is, but I suspect that it's a low enough number that your wait isn't impacted nearly as much as you let yourself believe. Then even if you happen to get hit with a day where lots of people are using it and it impacts your day...well, take a look at those $$$ figures again and you'll understand why it might just be worth it to risk pissing off a guest or ten.


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Wednesday, September 16, 2009 11:34 PM
CoasterDemon's avatar

SFGAmerica Demon now has the 3rd car permanently roped off for the exclusive use of Flash Pass holders. Even when there are none of them riding, and there is a que for the non-FP folks. That's 1/6 or slightly over 16% of the rides capacity. That kinda sucks.

Funny thing is, this is the ride I remember there being an employee at the station entrance, pairing up single riders. Sure, the ride isn't that popular anymore, but come on...

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009 11:44 PM
LostKause's avatar

You are right, Gonch. I pulled the number out of my butt without thinking really hard about how accurate it was.

But whatever the percentage is, you can't tell me that 10 or 15 years ago you wouldn't have had a problem with letting that many people cut in front of you the old fashioned way, by pushing their way through.

When people cut before pay-to-cut was implemented, I considered them to be stealing from me and everyone else in line. Now, some parks have decided to charge for the privilege of stealing from me and everyone else in line.

Read the sign... (paraphrased) "Line jumping is defined as leaving the line for any reason, and is cause for removal from the park". What a bunch of hypocrites!


Edited to put Gonch's name in the first sentence.

Last edited by LostKause, Wednesday, September 16, 2009 11:53 PM
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Wednesday, September 16, 2009 11:52 PM
LostKause's avatar

Thanks Demon.

CF is all about capacity. They would want as little empty seats to go out as possible. Better capacity means more rides, and more rides given means more happy customers. It is how their collective brain works. I hope they never get rid of that attitude. It's become almost a tradition.

And as strict as they are with safety, I can't imagine that they, or their insane insurance company, would allow 30 or 40 people to wait on the exit platform of any of their coasters.


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Thursday, September 17, 2009 12:07 AM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

CoasterDemon said:
That's 1/6 or slightly over 16% of the rides capacity. That kinda sucks.

Yeah, the way they've squeezed it onto some attractions leaves a bit to be desired. There's a lot of inconsistency.

LostKause said:
But whatever the percentage is, you can't tell me that 10 or 15 years ago you wouldn't have had a problem with letting that many people cut in front of you the old fashioned way, by pushing their way through.

Nope and I'm still not. But those that play by the rules, I'm fine with. The rules say that you can buy into a ride reservation system that reserves you a spot in line so you don't have to stand there.

When people cut before pay-to-cut was implemented, I considered them to be stealing from me and everyone else in line. Now, some parks have decided to charge for the privilege of stealing from me and everyone else in line.

Not really, you choose to pay basic admission and get a basic experience in return. You know that by paying only the gate price that others will have the ability to hold a place in line, receive express admission to a ride, reserve a ride time or even get FOL access.

You know what you're buying when you make the transaction. No one is stealing anything from you. If you don't like the terms of the purchase, it's up to you to decide that it's not a value to you.

In your defense, you have done that by not visiting SF and giving them your money for a transaction you don't find favorable.


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Thursday, September 17, 2009 12:09 AM
CoasterDemon's avatar

LostKause said:
Thanks Demon.

CF is all about capacity. They would want as little empty seats to go out as possible. Better capacity means more rides, and more rides given

You got that right! When I worked on a certain CP once-classic coaster (cough cough), the capacity was rated at 1250 an hour. We could do 1400 when we were on the ball! And, we opened our ride as early as we could, before 10am (not sure what time the rides are open now).

AND, our crew learned how to let people wait for the front seat, without slowing down the operation. From my understanding, some CPoint coasters you can no longer pick your seat on.

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Thursday, September 17, 2009 12:13 AM
Jason Hammond's avatar

LostKause said:
And as strict as they are with safety, I can't imagine that they, or their insane insurance company, would allow 30 or 40 people to wait on the exit platform of any of their coasters.

If the park were to implement a new system, they would most likely use the previously installed Fast Pass lanes. I believe Maverick is the only new coaster that doesn't have one. Though there is a set of stairs near the front row of the front train that could be utilized. The older coasters don't really have a need for fast pass. Even on crowded days, rides like Mine Ride, Corkscrew, Iron Dragon and such, don't really have long waits. However, If they wanted to come up with something, I'm sure they could figure something out without having people just lined up in the exit.

Last edited by Jason Hammond, Thursday, September 17, 2009 12:18 AM

854 Coasters, 34 States, 7 Countries
http://www.rollercoasterfreak.com My YouTube

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Thursday, September 17, 2009 1:04 AM

Having merge points before boarding the ride is much better than letting botter board from the ride exit. Lining up on the exit ramp slows down those exiting the train, which hinders dispatch times. It also hinders dispatch times because they can't open the air gates until botters load into the train. That method probably lowers a ride's capacity a significant amount.

I agree with you about that. SFMM has merge points in the lines for most of the coasters.

X2, Viper, Revolution, Tatsu, Deja Vu, Terminator Salvation, Riddler's Revenge, Batman, Scream, Colossus and Goliath have merge points.

On Ninja and Gold Rusher you come thru the exit but those never have lines anymore anyway.

On Superman you enter thru a separate door which leads to the main queue, then get in the next train. My guess is that is because there is not really anyplace to put a merge point.

On Log Jammer and Jet Stream you come thru the exit, but I suppose that is because there is not really an easy place for a merge point to be used.

On Roaring Rapids and Tidal Wave I don't know since I have not rode those in many years.

Last edited by SFMMAddict, Thursday, September 17, 2009 1:05 AM

My mother (1946-2009) once asked me why I go to Magic Mountain so much. I said I feel the most alive when I'm on a roller coaster.
2010 total visits: SFMM-9, KBF-2
2010 total ride laps: 437

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Thursday, September 17, 2009 1:41 PM
mlnem4s's avatar

The back and forth on this topic is interesting as always but nobody answers the real question which is: When there are FREE virtual queueing systems in place at some parks for ALL park guests to enjoy, why would anyone want to support a park that gouges money for the priviledge of basically line jumping?

We see Disney offer the service and we saw Cedar Point attempt their own version for a brief period and both systems are/were 100% free and accessible to all park guests. Neither created a sense of "elitism" based on financial worth and ability to pay for the priviledge of line jumping.

Going with Gonche's post above on the the potential revenue statistics of Q-bot for Six Flags, I have to say that I think if they put more energy and focus on working to improve guest services/employee training and leadership, eliminating ineffeciency and waste, and creating an overall better in park experience for guests they could easily raise the average paid ticket price thus generating the revenue from every single admission versus the arguably limited financial benefit from Q-bot. Example, if Six Flags Happy Land has 2 million guests right now, and knowing the park historically had attendance around 2.5 million before the "dark days" of Burke & Co., if Shapiro and team gained back that lost 500,000+ and the average paid ticket revenue increased by $5 that is $2.5 MILLION dollars in increased revenue.

Bottom line, there is still an issue of Six Flags not receiving the full value of gate admission and to me that is where the focus should be versus Q-bot which clearly hinders operations at times and annoys some park guests because of the "pay for the priviledge to line jump" concept.

Last edited by mlnem4s, Thursday, September 17, 2009 1:44 PM
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Thursday, September 17, 2009 1:54 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

mlnem4s said:
Bottom line, there is still an issue of Six Flags not receiving the full value of gate admission and to me that is where the focus should be versus Q-bot which clearly hinders operations at times and annoys some park guests because of the "pay for the priviledge to line jump" concept.

Wow. That's a stretch.

I agree entirely about gate integrity, but trying to tie it to Q-bot is going a pretty long way to say something against the pay-to-VQ system. Seems to me you're taking two separate issues and trying to make them one.

Here's a better option - get the attendance back, get the gate where it needs to be and still keep the Q-bot and its revenue. Now you're at $2.5 million plus Q-bot money. Yay!

The back and forth on this topic is interesting as always but nobody answers the real question which is: When there are FREE virtual queueing systems in place at some parks for ALL park guests to enjoy, why would anyone want to support a park that gouges money for the priviledge of basically line jumping?

Actually, I've answered it several times - you just seem to ignore it. Free systems discriminate on time instead of money. I prefer a system that lets me visit the park on my terms, doing what I please instead of having to alter my day to hurry and/or be in the right place at the right time to get a reserved spot in line. I'd rather just pay for the convenience of doing it my way. In other words, I'll pay for the sure thing rather than take a free chance in the lottery. Time is more of an issue than money to me.

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Thursday, September 17, 2009 2:24 PM
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Thursday, September 17, 2009 2:01 PM
Jeff's avatar

"Discrimination" is irrelevant. Paid systems generate revenue, free ones don't. There's nothing else to understand. If there is some kind of moral issue around that, then that's where your discussion is, but the motivation is pretty obvious.


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

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