Cedar Point - Fast Lane 6/28/15 review

Monday, July 27, 2015 8:04 PM

Remember- Our Timber-Rider has never been known for visiting the parks on the right day. He's also the one who was cheated out of a million dollars at the casino. I think his perception of the reality changes as time goes by...

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Wednesday, July 29, 2015 11:52 AM

Is the "cap" on FastLane sales a percentage of park attendance, or is it a set number? I've seen FastLane sold out on a somewhat busy but still being sold on an insanely busy HalloWeekends Saturday where the FastLane lines were pretty long.


But then again, what do I know?

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Thursday, July 30, 2015 10:19 AM

Don Helbig from Kings Island answered that same question on a forum on another website. He said that the "cap" was 20% of the forecasted days attendance. I don't know if that's been adjusted in the last year, but given how infrequently we hear about Fast Lane selling out I'd venture to say that number is still accurate.

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Thursday, August 6, 2015 9:28 PM
Timber-Rider's avatar

I think if the park wants to make serious money, they should get rid of fast lane, and go with in park fast tickets. Each major attraction could have a set price ticket for front of the line access. That way you could select which rides you want to ride, and not pay that big wristband ticket price for rides you might not want to ride. Also, it would save you from paying extra for those rides that are closed. as it doesn't matter if a major attraction is closed people are still going to pay the same price for fast lane if they are open or not. It might also save the fast lane folks money, if those rides close due to rain. As maybe their remaining tickets could be good for another visit, (Gives people incentive to return.)

Of course these tickets would just be for people who want to cut the line. I'm curious as to how those people who pay for fast lane feel when they paid extra to cut in line, and the ride they were hoping to ride most was closed. Or, all the rides closed due to rain. I think there should be a more fair system. And, all this talk about fast lane being under priced is nonsense, People aren't buying it because it's cheap, they are buying it because the park does not set limits on how many they sell. Though they claim they do. The comment of 20% of the estimate of the days business says it all.

Obviously that means what I said in another post, that they adjust the supposed amount every day, and most likely raise their limits to make sure they never sell out of fast lane, and if they do run out, up it again. These 1 hour waits for fast lane is kind of ridiculous to call it fast. I'm actually surprised some of you are willing to pay more to wait longer.


I didn't do it! I swear!!

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Thursday, August 6, 2015 10:50 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

I don't understand your logic at all. You say the way Cedar Point can make a ton of money is by allowing guests to pay less. Then you complain about the excessively high volume of people who are already buying this allegedly "over priced" thing. Why would Cedar Point ever do this?

You know what gives people an incentive to return? Having a good day at the park. Not having left over tickets.

Last edited by ApolloAndy, Thursday, August 6, 2015 10:51 PM

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, August 7, 2015 11:39 AM

I agree with you about his post in general. However, he does raise a good point about why there's an hour long line even for Fast Lane Plus. I've been on moderate days there and seen 30- and 45-minute Fast Lane lines for MF and Maverick. It looks like Cedar Point is starting to raise the price of Fast Lane & Plus on days where it's expected to be busy though. For instance, the lowest price for Fast Lane Plus tomorrow and next Saturday is $115 per person. People are still obviously buying it in large enough quantities so that there are long Fast Lane lines even at that price point. It still begs the question about whether they're leaving money on the table or whether the prices are still too low.

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Friday, August 7, 2015 2:44 PM
slithernoggin's avatar

Timber-Rider said:

Obviously that means what I said in another post, that they adjust the supposed amount every day, and most likely raise their limits to make sure they never sell out of fast lane, and if they do run out, up it again.

emphasis added

Why do you go to amusement parks at all? It seems as if you think everything and anything a for-profit business does is an underhanded attempt to rip you off.

Why can there be an hour long wait for some rides? Supply and demand. If Cedar Point decides to sell 1,000 Fast Lane passes Tuesday next, and at 1.52 pm Tuesday afternoon all 1,000 purchasers decide to head over to Maverick for a ride, there will be a line.


Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep.
--Fran Lebowitz

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Saturday, August 8, 2015 12:19 PM
LostKause's avatar

I'm going to make a t-shirt that reads, "We are the 80%!" LOL


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Monday, September 7, 2015 6:33 AM
sirloindude's avatar

Sorry I'm just getting around to this a month later, but I actually have to agree with Timber-Rider on this one. I don't care how long the regular line is: if I paid even the minimum for a Fastlane upgrade and I'm still waiting an hour, I think there's a problem somewhere. Now, if people feel like they got their money's worth, fantastic. That's what it's all about. However, I would argue that there's clearly a supply-and-demand issue if you find yourself in the situation Timber-Rider is describing.

This is definitely where the notion of dynamic pricing comes into play, and I suppose one could argue that this is simply an a la carte alternative to simply jacking the price at the gate up to $150 on those days or whatever. I would argue that it's a win for the park because on top of the people willing to shell out all that money for Fastlane, they still get the folks who will just pay regular price and maybe only get a few rides in during their day. However, I feel that it's a little deceptive to the folks who think they're going to get the full experience for just the cost of their admission (you start having to make sacrifices just to even experience a portion of what the resort has to offer).

Perhaps some of it is the psychology of thinking we have to ride every major ride at least once, and maybe a lot of people don't think that way. It's just hard for me to wrap my head around a park out in northern Ohio can have lines like they do and yet I can wind up at a Disney park in the dead of summer and not find lines nearly as long as Cedar Point is capable of pulling (at least on as many attractions simultaneously as Cedar Point), and Disney's front-of-the-line system is free for everyone. I know Disney isn't necessarily the best comparison, but looking at it just from the basis of both Cedar Point and Walt Disney World being amusement parks, it surprises me.

I also want to comment on the remark about there being certain times of the year/certain days to go to parks. It's true in so many facets of life, but it's just an interesting thought that unless I can get to Cedar Point during two slivers of its season, it isn't worth going because the crowds are so outrageous. I went on a Monday and Tuesday in early August 2013, and in a day and a half, I managed to only walk away with a grand total of ten rides (2 of which were on WindSeeker). It really is true at just about every major amusement park to some degree (never go on Saturdays during October, for example), but if my schedule doesn't allow me to get there during the prime time for low crowds, they don't get my money at all that season. In most cases, that's not an issue because most parks aren't packed as regularly as Cedar Point, but for some of the heavy hitters, I feel like I only have a narrow window or it won't be worth going at all.

Enjoying the success they do at Cedar Point is certainly a great "problem" to have, but I can also see it from the point of the frustrated individuals who don't always have the luxury of going during the quiet times or the finances to make the wait times go away. Also, realize that with limited exception, it's only enthusiasts who go to the level of research you see sometimes to figure out when the quiet times are. Not everyone is armed with that information, and I feel like there's an art of deception at play where they're suckered into paying their admission and then finding out that to be able to ride any of the good stuff without waiting two hours, they need to shell out more cash on top of it. It's sort of like the Spirit Airlines model, where you're enticed with a low fare and then nailed with fees left and right. This is another area where I'd argue that Disney does it better than anyone. Once you're in the park, it's basically the same experience for everyone as far as attractions go. Everyone has access to the same tools for maximizing the experience at no extra cost. I'd like to see some of these larger parks (Six Flags Great Adventure being another example) move in that direction, even if it means admission prices skyrocket. I think some of these regional parks have grown to exceptional levels that render the conventional pricing models obsolete.


13 Boomerang, 9 SLC, and 8 B-TR clones

www.grapeadventuresphotography.com

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Monday, September 7, 2015 11:45 AM

So no one will go to Cedar Point anymore because its too crowded?

Many comparisons of Cedar Point to Disney aren't really valid. Different type parks (on multiple levels) with different customer bases (on multiple levels) and operating seasons. Even if customers may not appreciate those differences, park management must do so.

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Monday, September 7, 2015 2:40 PM
sirloindude's avatar

Obviously people haven't stopped going in any significant numbers, and I admittedly doubt they will. It's just the a la carté nature of things that bothers me, but that's just me personally.

I also agree that Cedar Point and Disney are not the same thing, but I think that classifying Cedar Point as a regional park understates what it really is. Like any park, it has its quiet times, but it's obviously at the point where it can get enormously crowded pretty regularly, at least on many of the signature attractions. I just wonder if perhaps the "standard" pricing model that most regional parks live by is maybe not the most ideal model once a park moves past a certain size.

Again, it obviously works because it doesn't really require the park to predict its crowd levels the same way dynamic gate pricing would, but I suppose that I'm just disappointed that I have to try and work my schedule to keep some free time open during only a few select slivers of the year to ensure I don't hit the crowds. I've not gone for the past two years (I'm including 2015 as I just don't see it happening) simply because I couldn't hit that specific window.

Call it my way of lamenting, but I suppose I just think that while I'm definitely in favor of premium experiences being on offer, I don't understand a business model that can sock you with the enormous cost of Fastlane and still make you wait an hour for some rides. That seems like poor crowd management.


13 Boomerang, 9 SLC, and 8 B-TR clones

www.grapeadventuresphotography.com

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Monday, September 7, 2015 2:58 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

Doesn't CP offer a VIP experience where you get true front of the line on everything, everytime?

Last edited by ApolloAndy, Monday, September 7, 2015 2:59 PM

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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Monday, September 7, 2015 2:59 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

sirloindude said:

This is another area where I'd argue that Disney does it better than anyone. Once you're in the park, it's basically the same experience for everyone as far as attractions go. Everyone has access to the same tools for maximizing the experience at no extra cost.

I'd argue that what Disney does better than anyone (in pretty much any industry) is sell you this as truth. The inequality happens in lots of tiny ways across the course of a stay.

But since we're talking FastPass:

"With a theme park ticket, you can choose a set of FastPass+ experiences up to 30 days before the day of use for each day of admission. If you are staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel, you can start making your FastPass+ selections as early as 60 days―plus the number of days of your stay―prior to your check-in date."

Right there in its most base form, flat out, if you spend more money and stay with us, you have first dibs on FastPasses.


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Monday, September 7, 2015 3:15 PM
sirloindude's avatar

Andy, they do indeed.

Gonch, I also see your point and meant to bring it up earlier, but my rebuttal would be that at least at its core, everybody still has access to Fastpass. I could be less than a week out from a visit in the dead of summer, though, and still snag Fastpasses to the Magic Kingdom's mountain trio without an issue. You also don't have to worry about getting those Fastpasses and still wait a half an hour except in maybe a few situations. Sure, resort guests get to pick earlier, but it doesn't strike me as quite as heavy an impact as paying to get in and then having to drop another $75. Fastpass also has the added benefit of limited availability. You can limit the amount of Fastlane bands you sell, but all those people have to do is crowd Maverick, Millennium Force, or Dragster and the system loses its effectiveness.


13 Boomerang, 9 SLC, and 8 B-TR clones

www.grapeadventuresphotography.com

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Monday, September 7, 2015 3:16 PM

There are people right now who find value with Fast Lane and hour plus waits. Some people wouldn't find value with zero waits and a lower price. Cedar Point looks at all customers not just one group or another. Some people won't find value at what CP sets as it's profit maximizing price. Doesn't mean CP screwed up the pricing decision.

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Monday, September 7, 2015 6:59 PM
slithernoggin's avatar

sirloindude said:

... I don't care how long the regular line is: if I paid even the minimum for a Fastlane upgrade and I'm still waiting an hour, I think there's a problem somewhere.

I'd like to know the length of that regular line, though. If the regular line is four hours long, and a guest can chop three hours off that by handing over some money, that would likely be a worthwhile trade off to many.


Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep.
--Fran Lebowitz

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Monday, September 7, 2015 7:12 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

While I agree that some kind of solution to some kind of problem, if there are four hour lines throughout your park, you have other serious problems (one of which might be low gate price).


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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Monday, September 7, 2015 7:37 PM
slithernoggin's avatar

I was thinking along the lines of a new marquee coaster at a park having a four hour wait, not a park full of four hour waits. A park with lengthy waits on most or all rides indeed would be a park with issues.

I hear there's a boat, the Minnow, offering three hour tours, if you don't want to wait on line for four hours. :-)


Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep.
--Fran Lebowitz

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Sunday, September 13, 2015 8:17 AM

I don't think the gate admission price for Cedar Point could be considered low. Not terribly high and I know most locals don't pay that much but I wouldn't say low either. If by dynamic pricing you mean raising and lowering the admission price based on expected cowds any given day I don't get how that is going to work. Would these prices be listed weeks in advance on the calendar with the park hours or would it be admission roulette? I don't use fastlane but if there is going to ba a skip ahead system I don't really see where this one falls short. Sure sometimes people will wait an hour with it but as has been pointed out when that happens it's because the regular line is 3 hours long. If you want front of the line get the VIP package. As far as the entire park being nothing but lines it happens. It sucks if that's the day you picked but it's chance just like the weather. You could pick a day and have half the park not running because of wind and lightning. You could also pick a day and have absolutely wonderful things end up happening that you could never have planned for like ride night being switched to Millennium with only 3 trains worth of people attending and you get to ride 15 times in an hour. Nobody can gurantee you will have fun any given day.

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Sunday, September 13, 2015 12:40 PM
slithernoggin's avatar

At the theater, we use dynamic pricing. Some shows go on sale at a higher price -- Thanksgiving weekend shows, for example -- while others are moved to a high price point based on ticket sales.

If Cedar Fair were to move to dynamic pricing I'd guess the company would go with a similar (though far more complex, of course) approach, adjusting prices based on holidays, historical attendance patterns, and on-going ticket sales.


Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep.
--Fran Lebowitz

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