Another pay-to-ride scheme, and this might be the worst of all...

Tuesday, June 5, 2007 2:13 AM
...to make it even worse, it's one I take advantage of.

What am I referring to? The Busch Parks' Platinum pass contains this "cool feature", wait once, ride twice. Good in FL on...Gwazi, Montu, Kumba, JtA, and Kraken.

Why's that so bad, re-rides rock! Yes, indeed they do. But not this way...

Previously, I never used my Platinum pass for re-rides other than by myself. I'd get off the ride, show the op my pass, and ask if I could "fill in" as a single. It was fast and easy, and did NOTHING to reduce capacity or waits for other patrons. It wasn't a hassle for the ops. Worked just fine. Been to SWF once and BGA twice doing this, with not a single *issue*.

Then came yesterday, and some non-coaster friends decided to pick up PPs and go with me. So, now we have a group of FIVE (!) people getting re-rides, and instead of "filling in", they want us to stay seated on the train and show our passes to the op on the exit side. By the time they recognize
you, and tell the op on the other side, the airgates have already opened and the next group is waiting to board. But they can't board, the people who just rode are riding...AGAIN?!??

Horrible for the ops to have to keep sending people back into the queue after they've crossed the gates. *Love* the way minimum-wage employees get to explain this re-ride policy.

Honestly, if it were me...it's not...I'd scrap the whole re-ride this and have early admission for the Platinum passholders, or late-night ERT once/twice a month, or SOMETHING else. This current method is just *killing* your poor ride-ops, and the other guests are NOT liking it.

I won't use the ride-again benefit again with a group, not until the kiddos go back to school. It just causes bad chaos...please Busch, re-think how you do this....

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Tuesday, June 5, 2007 2:23 AM
You just gotta love that.....
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Tuesday, June 5, 2007 8:16 AM
Wow, yeah, that's lame as can be.
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Tuesday, June 5, 2007 8:34 AM
I agree, Bill. I'd actually forgotten about the Platinum re-ride benefit at BGA. As a single rider using it exactly as you described, it's not a big deal, but with groups it plays havoc.
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Tuesday, June 5, 2007 8:55 AM
On Gwazi...missing that train is another 20 minutes of wait time! ;)

I was waiting for Montu this past Christmas break where some people re-rode (not sure of the program) in front of me and the group next to me. The group next to me were not the "understanding" type. There was yelling and cursing...and a sincere posibility for violence (which did not happen). These ops take the brunt of poor planning.

I'm on record as not liking most of these systems...BUT allowing somebody to cut your seat at the last moment...without warning...is as WRONG as it gets. People build up adrenaline and excitment...oops...sorry! ;)

P.S. No matter how good the short-term economics might be...I see no way that a system like Busch's is good for the company long-term. In general...pissing of customers and inciting violent urges does not bode well for the re-visit. ;)

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Tuesday, June 5, 2007 9:26 AM
I think VIP access is great. I think Q-Bots are a fantastic idea. I have FastLaned and been Universal Expressed and in most cases, I really like it. I love ERT. I'll do EAT too. But I think this policy sucks.

Cuz you know EVERYBODY and their momma with a Platinum Pass using their re-reride option will sit in one of two rows on a coaster. The front. The back. And that's about it.

Guests already willing to wait in a longer line to discover it moves half as fast, too? Not a happy buncha folks...to put it mildly.

It's one thing for a rideop to explain a policy to a guest once every fifteen minutes (or better yet, for a VIP guide to explain it and offer the guests a sales brochure) and another to explain it every other interval.

Dumb.

-CO

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Tuesday, June 5, 2007 9:48 AM
Oops...thanks Playa.

The re-ride policy isn't *supposed* to work in the front/back. That's the one thing they DID do right. Of course, people DID use it that way anyway, and that's just MORE grief for the ops.

I just feel bad how the minimum-wage folks ALWAYS get stuck doing the explaining. That's one thing that's no different whether your organization is public or a private business... ;)

I'm sure at the end of one of these busy Saturdays coming up, there's gonna be some *real* problems. Busch isn't shy about having alcohol ALL over the park....alcohol + heat + frustrating long waits (Gwazi esp.) + a last-minute "get back in queue, those people are re-riding" = BAD THINGS (TM).

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Tuesday, June 5, 2007 9:53 AM
But this is the way it's going to go as all parks struggle to come up with their own solutions to the demand for front-of-line/virtual queing options. Some parks will do something that makes sense (like Disney and FastPass) while others will do something awful, like Busch.

I guess sometimes it is about perception. Sure, this Platinum Pass thing looks bad, but in reality, how is it any different from any other system out there? You're cutting right to the front of the line after your first ride, thus meaning someone that was waiting has to wait just a little longer. Busch's system is obviously terrible to see in action, but that's because they failed to come up with a good way of disguising what it really is.

If anything, I give Busch a little credit here. They make no excuses and no attempt to put a spin on things- you're cutting to the front of the line and keeping someone else from riding, and that's exactly how it looks to you and to everyone else.

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Tuesday, June 5, 2007 10:08 AM
Memorial Day weekend I was at BGE with my sister's family. We used the Parent Swap program to make sure my sister and her husband got to ride some of the coasters the kids weren't big enough for. I got to re-ride using that. Let me tell you, while the program is a great idea, it needs to be implemented a bit better. We were perfectly willing to get up and take whatever empty seats we could find, but the ops were TELLING us to sit put, and not warning the guests being held ahead of time. Gates would open, those guests would start to come in, only to find us sitting there. Ugly.

Great idea, needs a little work.

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Tuesday, June 5, 2007 10:14 AM
Ahhhhh, Parent Swap.

Man, THOSE were the days. Half-a-dozen kiddie-to-midsize rides followed by no-wait access to a coaster with a long line.

I gotta admit it--that whupped every other system hands down. And you can't beat free!:)

-'Playa

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Tuesday, June 5, 2007 10:17 AM
If anything, I give Busch a little credit here.

I would agree IF they have this policy written dark and large BEFORE you enter the park. I'm pretty sure they don't warn the average guest about the policy at ANY time. You wait...and at the last possible minute you are asked to move back behind the gate...this is how you are notified that Busch has a cut policy.

Sad thing is...I have the pass and did not know I could do that. I'll use it to the fullest next time I go...like gator and his four friends did. I'll feel like a schmuck when I leave the station while a dad deals with crying kids...but I'll use it if they'll let me. The parks have made policies in such a way that anybody with the money would be fool not to utilize it.

You can tell gator feels guilty...but not enough to not ride! ;) I wonder how the parks look at the utilization of these systems? Do they look at everybody using it and think...this is great...the people love it! Or do they know that there are those of us out there that use the systems out of necessity...but still would prefer the older method?

A lot of this stuff is so new...that it is hard to tell what the long-term fall-out will be. Disney seems to have done it best. A lot of these chain parks seem to be grasping at straws... I'll go out on a limb here and predict this Busch system will not make it to 2008. ;)

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Tuesday, June 5, 2007 10:36 AM
Kings Island has a similar system for their gold pass holders with 2 major changes. First, it is only offered on Tuesday and second, it is only in a designated car. I have not been there on a Tuesday to take advantage of it but on it looks like that have a place to put a sign over the lines showing where Gold pass should sit and also letting others know that people in these lines may be taking double rides.
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Tuesday, June 5, 2007 10:54 AM

Jeffrey R Smith said:You can tell gator feels guilty...but not enough to not ride!

But...guilty enough to come here and complain in the hopes that I lose the "benefit". That's PRETTY guilty, if you ask me. ;)

Wouldn't surprise me in the least if some other PP-holders PM me and tell me to shut up and ride. I like the re-ride, just HATE (despise, loathe, and detest) the implementation.

Seriously, though, if I'm an attendant at Busch, this is enough to make me consider taking that *other* minimum-wage job, at the McD's across the street from the park.

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Tuesday, June 5, 2007 11:27 AM

Johde said:Kings Island has a similar system for their gold pass holders with 2 major changes. First, it is only offered on Tuesday and second, it is only in a designated car. I have not been there on a Tuesday to take advantage of it but on it looks like that have a place to put a sign over the lines showing where Gold pass should sit and also letting others know that people in these lines may be taking double rides.

"When I'm with you, every day feels like Double soup Tuesday" (Philip J. Fry, Futurama)

Honestly, this is exactly what I'm talking about....like marking the "big boy rows" on B&Ms, *informed* people have less reason to say they didn't know, and less right to complain.

True that Busch does post the Platinum pass *ride again* signs that say "Skip the line a second time"...but I doubt very much that people read something when it says at the very top that is doesn't pertain to them.

"THIS MEANS YOU!" ;)

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Tuesday, June 5, 2007 11:29 AM

rollergator said:
Wouldn't surprise me in the least if some other PP-holders PM me and tell me to shut up and ride. I like the re-ride, just HATE (despise, loathe, and detest) the implementation.

Shut Up & Ride It! :) (I'm such a whore)

I don't even know what I think about this one.

Seems that the more and more we go over this is really does come down to how well the park pulls the wool over the patrons eyes. People don't like the dirty work done out in the open. The more obvious it is that someone is getting a benefit, the uglier things seem to be.

I do think we found a candidate for a system that's even more upfront about it than Q-bot is. :)

The other theme that seems to reoccur is the prior knowledge thing that JRS brings up. Is the answer really as simple as renaming/describing the various methods of entry so that paying standard gate prices is now known as a stand-by ticket?

I still stand by what I've been saying since day one - this sort of thing isn't going away any time soon. More and more parks continue to find ways to encourage their guests to pay more and it's even coming around to the 'good' parks.

To me the cure (and this is just stating the obvious) is not just better implimentation, but even more importantly letting guests know that their 'regular' entry serves as a stand-by ticket of sorts - often you won't driectly experience any additional wait, but at times you may have to wait a little longer to get your ride.

I say that because as someone who understands the systems. I don't think I've ever gotten pissed for being forced a few spots back in line or waiting for one more train when I'm not using something like this and someone else is. I know how it works and it's not a problem for me.

Then again, as more and more parks do this and more and more people see things like this happening, the education/information takes care of itself. It's the infancy of a new way of doing things and it takes time for the word to spread. Even if nothing changed in the way these types of systems are used, worked and played out - I doubt we'll be discussing the same issues 10 years from now. It will just be how it is and people will 'get' it - much like they understand the current POP setup most parks use now rather than the PPR days of old.

I dunno. Just an open list of thoughts, ideas and probably more questions than answers. :)

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Tuesday, June 5, 2007 12:30 PM
I seem to remember Runaway Reptar at PKI being the re-ride at PKI the day we were there in 2002 (which was a Friday). I do seem to remember it only being a certain section of the train. I'm not sure why they would do something like that on such a low-capacity ride at such a highly attended park, but perks are perks.
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Tuesday, June 5, 2007 1:16 PM

Lord Gonchar said:


I say that because as someone who understands the systems. I don't think I've ever gotten pissed for being forced a few spots back in line or waiting for one more train when I'm not using something like this and someone else is. I know how it works and it's not a problem for me.


The only person I get pissed off at when that happens to me is myself for being to darned cheap to buy the qbot (or what ever).

As the old saying goes... you get what you pay for. And when park policy says if you pay more you get more, so be it.

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Tuesday, June 5, 2007 1:44 PM
I want the VIP super-duper-ultra-linejumper pass that lets me throw someone off the train anytime so I can have their seat. Heck with letting them get back behind the air gate, I want to be able to toss them out of the park. As long as I'm willing to pay more for the privilege than the park would lose from the other person, it should be a good business deal for the park. Especially if the people I throw out get the sales pitch for the linejumper pass as they're being escorted to the park exit. Hey, if I'm going to pay extra to cut in line, I want to do it with gusto. :)
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Tuesday, June 5, 2007 1:53 PM
Kicking people out of the park? What's the point of that? But I would like a Platinum snatch-other-people's snacks pass.

*smack smack* Ooh, they were hot, too! How long did you wait for these? Twenty minutes?

-CO
(who, in the real world, almost never buys park food)

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Tuesday, June 5, 2007 1:55 PM
I have the platinum passport and 95% of the time I don't utilize the re-ride because I feel bad about breaking up peoples parties and making them wait and wonder "why is this shmuck staying?"
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