99 Cent Drinks at Six Flags

I think the world is about to end because I agree with Jeff. :)

I really wish parks would start prohibiting loose articles in ride queues (at least on rides that have multiple trains). Everyone is so concerned with limiting queue length, but parks keep encouraging people to carry around their life with them. "Oh, let's offer more things people can carry like souvenir cups!"

The introduction of loose article bins on coasters at CP have noticeably decreased the rides' capacity. That alone should tell the parks it's not a good idea.

If they're so worried about making a buck off of people, offer pay lockers all around the park. Charge people one fee (maybe $10) and allow them to use any locker in the park as often as they want. Give them a small RFID tag, an electronic pass code or something so the system is accessible all over the park with only one fee.

Parks make money, guests are relatively happy because it's not that much of a hassle to stash their goods and everyone is happy because the queues all move faster. Sounds like a no-brainer to me. Everyone wins.

halltd you bring up a big issue that I have with todays theme parks. It seems that parks are starting to convert to having nothing in the queue, and there is nothing I hate more. After reading earlier posts, I actual thought of creating a thread about this, but as long as we are going off the topic I'll bring it up here.

Is it really a good idea to keep loose articles out of line and make everyone stuff everything in a locker? It seems that this year a lot of various parks have started using them at select coasters, or all coasters. There is nothing that frustrates me more. I first encountered the no loose articles in line policy at Cedar Point. It was moments after I had just purchased my souvineer cup. Then I try to get into a line and bam I'm not allowed to bring it in line with me.

I don't have people that want to stay back and hold on to my belongings, and I am at the park to enjoy my day not sit out and not ride things while others enjoy the rides. I was outraged at this policy. And I'm not spending money at ever coaster entrance on a locker (I know some offer for free but its very few, the only I can think of now is Universal).

So now at parks that have this rule, I have to constently think about my actions for the day. I can't buy photos, I can't buy souvineers, I can't play games and win a prize. It limits you so much, I don't see it good for park profit.

The thing that gets me going even more is I don't understand the importance of the policy. I honestly don't believe that capacity is improved so significantly that this policy should be in action.

Nothing makes me more angry then when I approach the ride with something I just spent my money on at the park and I get yelled at by the employee at the entrance of the ride saying I have to pay money to enjoy the day I paid for and the item I paid for. NOTHING!

My two cents... *** Edited 11/21/2007 6:57:19 AM UTC by IntaminHater***

If you don't think it affects a ride's capacity, just ask anyone who's worked on a coaster before and after the installation of the loose article bins. It most definitely has a negative affect on capacity.

Also, I agree about paying for a locker at each ride being dumb. That's why in my suggestion, you pay for the locker use once, and can use every locker in the park as often as you want for the entire day.

Carrie M.'s avatar
I don't know. I think there are some things folks do need to have on them at all times such as aspirin, inhalers, water bottles, cell phones, etc.

I was impressed with Holiday World's approach to this issue when I visited. The ride ops collected loose articles from the folks next in line before their train arrived. That allows folks to have what they need on them, but didn't slow down dispatching at all from what I experienced.

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

Lord Gonchar's avatar
Wow, I never realized people saw the cup thing as a hassle. I really had no idea.

I'm also guessing that every single person claiming it's a hassle doesn't have kids. :)

As kpjb so politely pointed out, I live by the cheap refill cup. Almost every park offers something like that and with the whole family, you can just score a couple and keep filling them all day on the cheap.

But I must admit a bit of jealousy towards the "it's a hassle" crowd. It's been a long time since the biggest hassle in my day on a park trip was carrying a cup. ;)

Then again, this time I know I'm the oddball. You'll rarely see me at a park with less than two camera bags...both filled with a lot more than cameras and lenses. On top of that we're not hardcore about riding...it's a rare instance when all four of us ride something at the same time that I can't carry a cup (or a camera bag) onto.

No point, really. Just surprised that so many find the cups to be a hassle.

Then again (again!) - I imagine the average family has a mix of ages and there's always someone (mom :) ) able to hold things. Seems like a problem for teens and/or hardcore riders/enthusiast-types...and we all know where the money is, right?

I think the locker issue crept up at all the major chains. BGE was being particularly vigilant about it back on opening day of Griffon, and from what I read, it didn't change during the season.

The problem I had with Busch was that it's such a big park, and my sister was being forced to check items (baseball cap/camera in a case) that she didn't necessarily want to check all the time.

It's cool that you could leave your items in a locker all day if you wanted to, but it severely limited picture-taking opportunities (I was trying to find out if digital picture taking was right for me).

As an example, I'd want to take pictures of Griffon when the sunlight conditions were right, and then it would be "Oh right, the camera is all the way back at Alpengeist--Never-mind."

When we got to LNM late in the evening and they made her check her stuff at the lockers behind us, I couldn't believe it. At night, the coaster was practically a walk-on. What was the point?

And if you're going to make people put objects in lockers, at least do it as others do it. Our first morning at CP this summer started off on the wrong foot when we fed the locker four quarters in front of MF and couldn't get the key out. Luckily, there was an attendant there to tell us that we needed a one-dollar token.

Name me any chain or park where you have use a one-dollar token besides Cedar Point. Is it our fault for not reading the stickers? Yes, but you've got four highly-wired individuals and a big blue coaster in the background that one of our crew had waited seven years to ride, and two of us were beyond ecstatic to be able to ride it again. I'm sure that attendant was busy all day long.

Lord Gonchar said:
It's been a long time since the biggest hassle in my day on a park trip was carrying a cup.

A cup is contraband if you visit a park with me. :) Thankfully my friends are all the same. We go to ride. We do anything and everything possible to maximize ride time for ourselves and those around us. We're normally the first ones secured in the train and normally the first ones out of the station. We don't run, push or make a scene. We're just efficient and know how to ride. Does it hinder our day? Not at all. It makes it even more enjoyable. :) But, I know we're a tad odd.

It was funny this year at CP because we got ride photos for "free". When we got the first one, we were all like, "ok, now WTF do we do with this?" We were all so used to not having any loose articles, we were a little taken aback. But, we still refused to use the loose article bins.

I have to admit that's one of the things I love about Disney though. You can carry a sweatshirt (or even backpack) with you all day and just plop it down on the ride with you. I'm sure we all know that's because their rides normally have no chance of ejecting your article. But still, it's nice. Even while at Disneyland and California Adventure this year, my friend Scott was able to take his digital SLR and tripod on every ride with us (including California Screamin', Tower of Terror and Space Mountain). *** Edited 11/21/2007 6:01:37 AM UTC by halltd***

Spinout said:

I hate the fact that they only give you ONE cup for your order. If you order 5 season passes, you still only get ONE cup. You can order all your season passes separately, but than it costs more money because of shipping charges.

I bought a family 4 pack at sfne and i got 4 cups so i dont understand what you are talking about.

I see the cup as a hassle, and I hate carrying backpacks around. I hardly even take my camera to parks anymore. I take the bare essentials like keys, wallet and sometimes a cell phone. I've lost 3 phones in 10 years (2 at SFDK and 1 at KW) but now I just wear pants that have a higher cut pocket. Years ago we'd always bring all kinds of crap to the park (my mom still insist on it when she comes) and by comparison it's liberating to go with nothing.
It is great to go with nothing, you just keep moving and moving, never have to stop at bins or lockers. It is also nice to have something. When I'm in line I want to check things on my phone. Especially with how people use cell phones these days its a great thing to do in a line. Now I've never lost a phone or anything on a ride but that doesn't mean I don't fear it. I'd rather be the person running to the bins then the person crying in the exit about my keys or cell phone. So naturally I have to leave things I want in the car. Taking pictures at parks, can't do that with my camera in the car. That's not what I want. I also don't want to be carrying a bag or wearing, the ever so popular in the coaster world, fanny pack.

I use to buy a souvenir cup each season, multiples depending on my park visits. I got cheap drinks (few years ago they didn't do 99 cents most refills were just free) and I would refill with water a lot as well. I was happy and hydrated all day long. Now that I have to be running around finding lockers at all kinds of parks now and paying all the time, I don't buy the cups. Since then I find myself near pass out in lines during the summer seasons which is the worst! Nothing makes a line worse then not being able to support yourself upright.

When I am at a park I don't usually get to visit, I love to pick myself up a couple souvenirs. All my shopping has to be conducted and the completion of the day however if its a park I can't leave items in the station of the rides. This limits what I am able to buy as pretty much the only stores open at the time of day I am leaving are at the park entrances. See something you love in that store as you exit the ride? Forget it. Now I leave with less items, also without the items I really wanted. Sure I can visit my car, but once I'm in the park, I'm in the park. I don't think I have ever gone back to the care unless I was leaving.

I understand that there is an impact on capacity with entrance lockers. All I am saying is I don't think the capacity benefit is enough to outweigh all the headache. I also think that this really discourages cup purchases, game plays, and souvenirs, ultimately taking down the overall in park profits.

It is just so much of an inconvenience to the people visiting the parks. First of all you have your employee at the entrance who is yelling at you not to bring your stuff and put it in a locker (they have a tendency to be called Locker Nazis and I have never experienced a friendly one). Sure I am sure they are nice friendly employees, but they say the same thing over and over again and seem to get fed up easy, not to mention take a lot of punishment from the guest that they are trying to enforce the policy on.

I can't have the items I want when I want them. I have to think about everything I obtain instead of enjoying my day. To top it off a lot more visitors are upset about losing items (pocket items) that they would normally leave on the station platform, but since they couldn't have lost them on the ride.

The more lockers I see the more disappointed in the industry I become....

Jeff said:
But you do have to worry about stashing your crap somewhere, especially at parks that don't allow you to bring it in line (which is something they should all do, especially those that are slow enough without people dropping their stuff somewhere). Besides, what's comfortable about carrying crap around all day?

Which is what the backpack is for. With my backpack, I can leave it in the available storage bins at the loading platform that my locals park offer...or set it aside in a designated area where everyone throws their purses and oversized stuffed animals.

Like you said, there's an issue with many people leaving their belongings behind in storage cubbies in the station or dropping it off on the side, but it merely is just a few seconds --- and so many people do it and if the parks are providing storage cubbies in the stations, what's to say people can't drop things off in the loading area?

And I personally don't mind carrying a backpack with just my keys, wallet, camera, sweatshirt and towel around. It's so light sometimes I forget I actually have something strapped to my back. You make it sound as if I'm suggesting people head out to the park with a fully packed cooler in their backpack. Not the case.

To date, I've never lost my keys, wallet (which I don't need) or anything else, and if I really need other clothes, I'll go back to the car for them. It's not like I'm hiking into the woods for weeks.

Just because you personally have not lost any keys or wallets to date doesn't mean I or anybody else want to take that risk.

I prefer the convenience of carrying everything that I might potentially need (and that usually is not a lot) so that when the time comes to it, I don't have to waste my time or anybody else in my party's time just to go back to the car. And I'll say it again, I don't consider carrying a light backpack with necessities on me as "carrying uncomfortable crap around all day."

The walking around the average park is hardly going to be augmented significantly by going back to the car.

I take it you haven't been to Magic Mountain then. ;)

Where the "walking around the average park" is by far an understatement in this case yet alone the hassle of the half mile walk or waiting for a tram to get back to the parking lot (again, referring to Magic Mountain.)

I'm sorry if I keep bringing up Magic Mountain as if it's a standard for the topic, but as it's the only Six Flags park I've been to (aside from the former Worlds of Adventure), all of the rebuttals you're giving me is applying to my experience. Anybody that has been to this park knows that going back to the car after you've been inside is a pain in the ass. It's not like you exit the park's entrance plaza and you're just a few steps from the parking lot.

And even outside of Magic Mountain as an example, I can confidently say that there are a good number of people that would rather have something on them in the park rather than make the trek back to the car park. You have to take into consideration that most people do not just visit by themselves or with just one other friend. There are families with young kids, or a solid group of friends. Why make them wait for you or have them go back to the parking lot with you when you can just whip out the souvenir bottle, camera, wallet, phone, etc. when you need it on the spot? Not only is more convenient, but it's time saved so you can enjoy more of what the park has to offer.

.. an even better deal..

Buy the cup at normal price. and we'll throw in a share of stock at no extra cost to you!!!

June 11th, 2001 - Gemini 100
VertiGo Rides - 82

With having a 4 year old daughter in a stroller it doesn't bother me to carry around a souvenir cup or two all day. Those big baskets on the bottom of the stroller come in handy for lugging around a backpack full of stuff. One of us has to sit off each ride anyway since my daughter isn't big enough to ride many big rides.

With a family of four the souvenir cup is the best way to save to some money at amusement parks. When I do have the stroller I usually avoid buying drinks altogether by bringing our small cooler full of bottles of water. How much do they charge for water at parks now? $3 or $4 a bottle? Why pay that much when I can get them for 13 cents a bottle at my local Costco?

When we are without the kids we don't carry anything into the park that we can't fit into our pockets.

kRaXLeRidAh said:
I prefer the convenience of carrying everything that I might potentially need (and that usually is not a lot) so that when the time comes to it, I don't have to waste my time or anybody else in my party's time just to go back to the car.

That's the problem I have with the bins. They're not efficient and hold up the line for EVERYONE while providing a convenience for some people so they don't have to "waste" their own time later in the day.

If you don't want to waste time going to your car to get something, don't waste everyone else's time getting in and out of the coaster train.

Maybe it's because I lived in NYC for many years, but I'm used to being efficient when a train comes into the station. If you don't get on/off the train quickly and efficiently, you get left behind. However, at parks, people just casually meander in and out of the trains while disrobing and chatting up their friends. It's annoying. I've seen people cross through the train, dump off stuff, get in the train, and then get back out again because they forgot to take off their LACED shoes on a floorless. I guess it really is true that people leave their brains at home when visiting parks.

Jeff's avatar
Few rides have had their capacity kicked in the nuts the way Magnum did when they put those stupid bins in there. It's a damn shame.

But consider this when it comes to loose article policies: Many, many rides now have separate load and unload stations, so you can't leave your crap there anyway.

I'll just never understand why people need to have "stuff" on them all of the time. I recently converted Diana, who was accustomed to having a purse on her all of the time. When I really talked her through it, she too realized that she didn't need anything while in the park save for a plastic card and a little cash. Try it. It's liberating.

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Phrazy

What about the school-day kids that can't go to there cars? They are going to want to buy souvenirs, and play games. If the park doesn't offer those bins, the park will lose out on a whole lot of money. People don't want to use lockers for everything they get. They might as well just not buy anything except food.
Vater's avatar
^^I agree. I never leave home without a George Costanza wallet, however when I visit a park I either make the wallet thinner or take just what I need out of it just so I don't have a bulky thing to carry around. I usually try and figure out a way to leave my keys behind too, even if I'm the one who drove to the park. I used to have a Jeep that I knew how to get into without the key, so I'd hide the key somewhere in the vehicle when I parked.

That said, I actually collect souvenir bottles from parks, so I tend to wait until we're about to leave before I buy one. Not the cheapest thing to do, but I guess my preference is not to have to carry something around all day just to save a few extra bucks.

Walking around empty-handed all day is liberating.

rollergator's avatar
Count me among the child-free, liberated, lowmaintenance park visitors.

If I were one of the parenting types, I am certain that all of that "freedom" would be taken - at that point, carrying a souvenir cup all day would become little/no added inconvenience.

HW has "the plan", in terms of not having the expense of employees serving drinks, and not having to carry around souvenir cups all day. For me, personally, it's an absolute STEAL to pay for drinks in the admission price.... ;)

You parental units have all my respect and admiration...and maybe even pity... :)

As for the question on if you can use these cups at all parks, last year I used my SFoG cup from 2005 at all four parks that I visited, no questions asked. I added one of the refill buckets this year, which I used at three of the parks that I visited. Again, worked just fine.

I am also one who hates taking much of anything with me or my group. So, what I have done is that my group get there early, ride things until we want to eat. Then, we go back to the car, grab the refill cup and bucket and head back into the park. Generally, we'll split something in the park (most meals at SF are more than enough for one person, and the pizza combo is a really good one to split) and then will split a drink in the refill cup and a bucket of popcorn.

That gives us *more* than enough food for lunch. Oh, and if you don't want to split the refillable cup with your buddy, ask them for two cups and then you can split it up into those. We'll carry these around for the afternoon while doing shows or rides where we can carry them on during the peak busy part of the day, and then we return them to the car and resume riding as night falls.

It works best if you are visiting the park with a girlfriend / wife / significant other, but it works with friends too (it works best as one thing to split for every two people). By doing it this way, it made the average cost of meals about $5 per person in the park (the pizza combo was $9, and two $1 refills made the total for that one $11.00, and you really don't need the popcorn), and only "wastes" about a total of ten minutes that day while you walk out of the park to your car and back in to get and put back the cup. Far better than the amount of time that you would actually waste by leaving the park and getting something for the same cost or higher.

There *are* good and even great deals to be found at the regional parks, you just need to be creative to get them. If you aren't willing to be creative or spend that extra 10 minutes during your visit, then I don't feel it is fair to complain about not getting the perks from it.

The destruction of capacity by using bins can be brought down significantly by having a smart station design. Eliminate the distance people have to travel, but keep enough space for loading and unloading riders to move around, and your bringing down your load times. Holiday world does it a great way when it comes to using time wisely for loose items. There are plenty of other creative ideas people can get with loose article bins, it just hasn't been explored that much. I recall some ride where they came around with a loose article cart and collected items from the guests as they were boarding. Once the train came back that cart was in the exit with all the stuff so they could pick it up on the way out but they would be off the platform too. I think this may have been at Volcano the blast coaster, but my memory is hazy. It's a unique approach.

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