Cedar Point Announces Fast Lane On Facebook

Admittedly, I am assuming that people are buying these things as "front of the line" passes, not "wait reduction" passes. Perhaps I'm wrong. Although if people are waiting 40 minutes in the Fast Lane line and 2 hours in the regular line for Millennium, it certainly sounds like both groups are losing under the current system.


And then one day you find ten years have got behind you
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CP Chris said:

I agree with Travis. The $5 price hike is a step in the right direction, but it should probably be much more expensive if they're looking to limit/eliminate the existing problems that have been discussed here.

You guys are forgetting that Cedar Point is a business trying to maximize profits. If they tripled the cost of Fast Lane to $150, as Travis suggested, I'd imagine the buy rate would decrease by more than 2/3rds, making the Fast Lane program a waste of effort.

What they just did was very logical. Fast Lane sales are obviously exceeding their expectations, so they're gradually upping the price until they find the optimal balance. Again, for many users, the price just increased $10-15, not $5.

Last edited by Jeph,

CP Chris said:
Admittedly, I am assuming that people are buying these things as "front of the line" passes, not "wait reduction" passes. Perhaps I'm wrong. Although if people are waiting 40 minutes in the Fast Lane line and 2 hours in the regular line for Millennium, it certainly sounds like both groups are losing under the current system.

At least Cedar Point is being honest about it: They are selling it as "less wait" not "no wait".

--Dave Althoff, Jr.


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Carrie J.'s avatar

CP Chris said:

Admittedly, I am assuming that people are buying these things as "front of the line" passes, not "wait reduction" passes. Perhaps I'm wrong. Although if people are waiting 40 minutes in the Fast Lane line and 2 hours in the regular line for Millennium, it certainly sounds like both groups are losing under the current system.

And see, I'm not sold on the idea that people are expecting no waits with this program. Intuitively, if you buy into a system that gives you a wristband and no scheduled time to ride...and that same deal is open to the rest of the public...I can't see why a reasonable person would expect to not be waiting along side all of the other wristband wearers.

But they are waiting along side those wristband wearers for 1/3 of the time that they would have waited otherwise. Why is it so hard to believe that the majority might be satisfied with that?


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

Jeff's avatar

You can frame it as "1/3 the time," I frame it as "40 minutes," and that's too long. Since I'm pretty much always right, and everyone thinks like me, I'm sticking to that.


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

LostKause's avatar

Jeph said:

You guys are forgetting that Cedar Point is a business trying to maximize profits. If they tripled the cost of Fast Lane to $150, as Travis suggested, I'd imagine the buy rate would decrease by more than 2/3rds, making the Fast Lane program a waste of effort.

But I'd imagine the opposite. It's all speculation. I agree that they should dig deeper into finding the sweet spot, however, I believe that it's going to be a lot more than $65. In order to keep it working smoothly, they have to charge a price that is considered to be too expensive by the majority of people.

What they just did was very logical. Fast Lane sales are obviously exceeding their expectations, so they're gradually upping the price until they find the optimal balance.

But $55 is pretty close to $65, in my opinion. It needs to be more drastic if they want to keep everyone from buying it. Besides extra income, another goal is to keep those who do not or can not buy it satisfied as well. Making a 90 minute wait a 120 minute wait so people can cut in front of you does not create satisfied customers. It amplifies exactly what I dislike about these kinds of schemes. It causes those who don't pay to get less for their admission, so that they feel compelled to purchase the line cut pass. This creates less value.


I think that Cedar Point is increasing the price less than 2 weeks into the season speaks volumes about where prices are ultimately headed and how quickly that change needed to be made. I think where we may see this ultimately play out is a higher cost for the first person (somewhere in the $75 range as mentioned before) and a per person tack-on similar to the Six Flags model (say, $50 per additional person up to five additional people).

This model may be enough to dissuade some people currently engaged in the "hey, do you want to go in on this together?" mode to think longer and harder about doing so (who bears the brunt of the initial $75 fee, all parties in the newly formed buying group or just the individuals who were initially purchasing the passes?). It also has a high enough barrier to entry so that it will make people think a lot harder about shelling out the cash. There's a reason that the Gold Flash Pass at Great Adventure starts out at $80 (with an additional $44 per person charge).

We offer all consumers the right price (and no less), focused on true incremental behavior.
--Matt Ouimet

...also, referring to the Accesso e-commerce platform...

Provides real-time data and dynamic pricing modification.

Kind of says it all, doesn't it?

--Dave Althoff, Jr.


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ApolloAndy's avatar

LostKause said:In order to keep it working smoothly, they have to charge a price that is considered to be too expensive by the majority of people.



To rephrase this very valid point, when looking for the sweet spot pricing point, you should prefer a higher price point than "break even" because of the value you are taking from your non-wristband customers.

As an example, say you triple the price and you lose exactly 2/3 of your customers (ignoring fixed costs right now). Which situation do you prefer? Clearly, higher price/lower buy rate because it negatively affects the rest of your paying customers less and it makes more value for wristband purchasers.

So what that means is as you increase the price of the wristband, the value also increases which will continue to drive the price up (obviously not indefinitely, but probably more than you'd initially think) AND once you get to the break even point, you may even want to push the price up a little bit more if you're still devaluing base admission too much by having all these "cutters."

I would be surprised if this thing ends up less than $75 on busy Saturdays. Also, kudos to CF for creating different pricing structures for Saturdays vs. other days. I still don't quite understand why they don't do that at the gate (not in coupons, but just right up front on the sign).

Last edited by ApolloAndy,

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."

Jeff's avatar

Well, they kind of did last year when they boosted the gate for Halloweekends. I wouldn't be surprised if they did the same thing this year, and for eternity. When the park gets as crazy crowded as it does during September and October, I think you have to charge more to balance out your supply/demand curve a little.

Which gets me to thinking... maybe visiting in July isn't as problematic as it used to be. Perhaps I'll try this year!


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

Carrie J. said:
And see, I'm not sold on the idea that people are expecting no waits with this program.

I can't speak for CP but I was disappointed Saturday when I used a Q-bot and waited 20 minutes to ride Wild Eagle.

Jeff's avatar

Yeah, I thought that was a little weird too. I understand the thinking given the station layout, but why not use the elevator or something to get you right up to the platform?


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

Carrie J.'s avatar

As you should be, Tyler. After all, QBot gives you a scheduled time to ride. But the FL at CP doesn't.


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



Hello all…

I have been watching this discussion all week – and I thought that it could use some REAL LIFE “hard data” from someone (ME) who recently used FastLane at Cedar Point….I am just getting to sit down and write it out NOW.

I think these observations and comments will add a good bit to the discussion. This will not be a traditional “Trip Report” of I ate this and I ate that etc – but will focus on FastLane statistics and also relevant comments which I hope you find to be useful. I AM FAR PAST the point where I would normally count and keep track of rides – I am there to relax and enjoy – BUT IN THIS CASE I DID IT – specifically so I would have some solid data to share about FastLane.

With FastLane, I THINK various groups will use it to accomplish different things – 2 “goals” so to speak. I will focus on 2 of those goals – though there may be more:
#1 – ENTHUSIASTS will want to use this to maximize COASTER RIDES – and in most cases other thrill rides. Keep in mind that we are a MINORITY in the overall scheme of things – something that becomes apparent when we are at the parks on busy or even moderately busy days – BUT it is the minority that is RELEVANT to Coaster Buzz – so I will focus on this.
#2 - Other General Public – MOST purchasers of FastLane are probably buying it to make sure they get on every ride at least one time during the day. I think 90-95% of FastLane purchasers (maybe higher) will fall into this category – the “one big day a year” at the theme park.

ALSO – as a Cedar Fair Platinum Pass holder – I will add in comments about how THAT benefitted me.

BACKGROUND: I have not been to Cedar Point in 7 years – and might not return again for another 7 (who knows?). That being the case, I decided to TREAT MYSELF and pull out all the stops. I purchased FastLane for BOTH Friday May 18 and Saturday May 19 – they were two DRAMATICALLY DIFFERENT DAYS – and each one accomplished the 2 goals I listed above…..(NOTE: I was attending the ACE SpringCon as well – I am EXCLUDING any statistics from ERT or any event-specific benefits).
Here are the details:

Friday, May 18 – Goal – Ride as much as possible. Conditions: Great Weather and Light-Light side of Moderate crowds.

LIGHT CROWD DAY – a day most people would be “tempted” not to buy FastLane – but I was mindful that at CP – even “light crowd days” can still have long waits at many of the marquee coasters and thrill rides.
I was in the gate at 9 AM – a Platinum Pass Benefit (ALSO available to guests of Cedar Point properties – of which I was ALSO one – staying at Hotel Breakers). NOTE that if you have Early Entry AND FastLane, that FastLane does NOT start until 10 AM – you will have to do the regular walkbacks during this hour.

Millennium Force - I went immediately to Millennium Force and I got 7 rides in the first hour. This included a standard walk back for every ride – out the exit past the photo booth and in the entrance. At 10 AM – the floodgates open and the GP floods in. Instant 1 hour wait for MF. I NOW BEGAN USING FASTLANE. Note that in this case, the FastLane entrance (near Panda Express) results in a significantly shorter walkback to reride. The FL entrance bypasses the ENTIRE LINE – so for MF it is a true “cut the line” FL entrance. I was walking RIGHT UP to the air gates all day when I wanted to ride (1-2 train wait). By 11 AM, the line had swelled to 90 minutes – and it remained 75-90 minutes for the balance of the day.  for 23 rides in ONE DAY when I add on the 7 rides from the first hour. For the 16 rides I got X the 75 minute wait, this saved me a potential 20 Hours of queue time. Also – I opted to wait for front seat a few times – but if not choosing the front, using FL this was a virtual walkon ON THIS DAY.

Maverick - I headed to Maverick NEXT. When I got there it had a 45 minute wait. Using FastLane I walked right into the station and into the air gates. This is a true “cut the line” FL entrance. I rode it 6 more times during the day (total of 7 rides) – and the line was easily 1 hour (being conservative) most of the day. TIME SAVED USING FASTLANE = 7 hours. FASTLANE WALKBACK TO RERIDE = the same as the regular walkback.

Skyhawk - The non-coaster SkyHawk had NO LINE all day. Walk-on. In this case, FastLane did not matter. Rode it 8 times. This is a true “cut the line” FL entrance. No time saved.

Mean Streak - was running THE BEST/smoothest I have ever felt – especially in the front of the train. I rode it 4 times. It was a walk-on in the regular line BUT the FastLane Walkback is SIGNIFICANTLY SHORTER – you can re-enter right at the photo booth instead of the long loop back to the regular entrance. This is a true “cut the line” FL entrance. No time saved.

I headed to the front of the park.

Raptor - had a 75 minute wait at around 1 PM when I got there. FastLane put me right into the station ahead of the entire line. This is a true “cut the line” entrance. 1-2 train wait each time. I rode it 6 times in 40 minutes. WALKBACK IS SIGNIFICANTLY SHORTER than the regular walkback – FL entrance is RIGHT NEXT TO the Exit so you just turn around and re-enter instead of walking down the fence to the Main Midway Entrance. Time saved: 6 rides X 75 minutes = 7.5 Hours.

MaxAir - Entire queue area was FULL and spilled into the midway towards Giant Wheel. 45 minute wait all day and night. I rode MaxAir 8 times. . This is a true “cut the line” entrance. Walk-on/Next ride cycle every single time. Walkback is the same as the regular walkback. Time saved = 8 rides X 45 minutes = 6 hours.

Windseeker - Queue area was about half-full all day and night. 20-30 minute wait all day and night. I rode Windseeker 4 times. . This is a true “cut the line” entrance. Walk-on/Next ride cycle every single time. Walkback is the same as the regular walkback. Time saved = 4 rides X 25 minutes = 1 hour 40 minutes.

Top Thrill Dragster - This ride was coming off of a brief downtime when I first walked up to the FastLane queue – so it took about 15 minutes to get on the ride. Regular line was 90 minutes-2 hours all day. After that first ride, the FL line quickly shortened. FastLane usually resulted in about a 5 or 6 train wait for all rides but that first one. Walkback is THE SAME AS the regular walkback. I got 6 rides on Top Thrill Dragster. (My Heart resides with MF). This one is a true “cut the line”. Time saved = 6 rides x 90 minutes = 9 Hours.

Power Tower - I only rode this once (we have a shorter version at my home park – Dorney) . For FastLane, it puts you right into the loading area. The regular line was only 10-15 minutes. I walked right on. Walkback = the regular walkback. Time saved = 15 minutes

Magnum XL-200 - This is the ONLY ONE I encountered where FastLane does not function as a “cut the line” – FL functions as a WAIT REDUCTION service on Magnum. FL entrance merges you into the main queue in the cattle rails at the last loop right before the stairs up into the station. It is also the only place (that I encountered – I did not use EVERY FL ride entrance – Gemini, the water ride etc) where you come face to face with the GP who you are cutting in front of. WALKBACK is shorter than the regular walkback. FL will usually have a 15-20 minute wait – BUT the main line was 45 minutes long. I only rode it 2 times. Time saved =( 2 rides x 45 minutes regular line) MINUS( 2 rides x 20 minutes my actual wait) = 50 minutes saved.
NOTE: I was all over the park all day – I did not serially arrive at a ride and ride it ALL THOSE CIRCUITS AT ONCE and then move on – I was mixing it up – though each time I arrived at a ride I would ride it multiple times with walk backs. I have just put all the statistics GROUPED TOGETHER BY RIDE to make some sense of it from a FL perspective.

CONCLUSIONS:  IF YOUR GOAL IS TO MAXIMIZE COASTER AND THRILL RIDES, FASTLANE IS WORTH EVERY PENNY IF YOU BUY IT ON A LESS BUSY DAY – ON A LOWER CROWD DAY. VIRTUALLY EVERYTHING WILL BE A WALK-ON FOR YOU. Be aware that Wicked Twister, Mantis and Iron Dragon have no FL entrances – so if you are seeking those, be aware that they are not included in FL.

IT WAS WORTH EVERY PENNY due to the productivity I enjoyed!


However – it took its toll – I was WORN OUT (in a great way). I retired to Hotel Breakers for the night exhausted – Great view of the coaster skyline all night from Breakers East.

SATURDAY WOULD BE A DIFFERENT KIND OF DAY FOR ME – I wanted/needed to slow it down and RELAX. On Friday, FL had helped me accomplish productivity I had not expected AT ALL.

Saturday May 19 – Goal – RELAX – ride as I choose – this is the way that I think MOST purchasers of FL would use it OR to “get on every ride at least once”. Conditions: Great Weather and Heavy Moderate to Heavy Crowds.

I will boil this down to hard statistics and relevant Saturday-specific commentary as I have already described the Walk backs etc.

Millennium Force - At 9 AM (Early Entry – Platinum Pass) I went to Millennium Force (early) - and got on the first train. Rode it ONCE. Even the Early Entry line on a busy Saturday Morning was 30 minutes PLUS after my first ride. I only rode it 2 more times using FastLane. The FL line was down the steps and into the corridor below the station. 20 minute wait each time. ON THIS DAY, FL functioned as a Wait Reduction for MF – more than the “cut the line” it had been the day before.

Maverick - I headed to Maverick NEXT. When I got there it had a 20 minute wait (still during Early Entry). After the first ride, 10 AM had passed and I used FL to walk back and re-ride 3 more times. The line was instantly 1 hour 15 mins at opening – so I saved 3 hours and 45 minutes of waiting.

Skyhawk -The non-coaster SkyHawk had NO LINE at this time of day. Walk-on. In this case, FastLane did not matter. Rode it 3 times. No time saved.

Mean Streak - I rode it 2 times. It was a 20 minute wait in the regular line - 40 minutes saved.
TRAIN RIDE TO THE FRONT OF THE PARK.

MaxAir - Entire queue area was FULL and spilled into the midway towards Giant Wheel – longer than Friday’s line. 1 hour wait all day and night. I rode MaxAir 4 times. . Time saved = 4 rides X 1 hour = 4 hours.

Windseeker - Queue area was about full all day (the ride hit an extended downtime roughly 4-9 PM). 1 hour wait all day. I rode Windseeker 2 times. . Time saved = 2 rides X 1 hour = 2 hours.

RETIRED TO HOTEL BREAKERS at about 3 PM to relax by the pool. FastLane’s productivity for me over the 2 days allowed this! Headed back into the park about 7 PM for more rides (though they are included in the day-long statistics ride-by-ride up above).

CONCLUSIONS: IF YOUR GOAL IS TO GET ONTO COASTER AND THRILL RIDES AT LEAST ONE TIME EACH (and probably more), FASTLANE WILL DEFINITELY LET YOU ACCOMPLISH THIS EVEN ON A BUSY DAY. YOU WILL HAVE TO EXPECT THAT ON A BUSY DAY IT WILL FUNCTION MORE AS A WAIT-REDUCTION SYSTEM THAN AS A CUT THE LINE SYSTEM. Be aware that Wicked Twister, Mantis and Iron Dragon have no FL entrances – so if you are seeking those, be aware that they are not included in FL.

So that’s my contribution – I will be happy to answer questions.
Best Regards! - IwantIceCream

Last edited by IwantIceCream,
LostKause's avatar

Wow. Great nearly first post, IwantIceCream!

I have to ask, did Maverick (after 10am), Mean Streak, MaxAir, and Windseeker offer a wait reduction or a walk on on Saturday with FL?


Hi LK....

Maverick was a virtual walk-on with maybe 6-8 FastLaner's lined up (and all let in each time) into the air gate area - where you would then wait 2-3 trains for the individual rows (UNLIKE MF where the FL line was down the stairs into the corridor). Best you can do on Maverick. Again - this was right around 10 AM - but I rode it later and I do not recall any lengthening of the FL wait.

MeanStreak, MaxAir and WindSeeker - walk-on with FL - even on a busy Saturday - I would always board the very next ride cycle.

Thanks, IwantIceCream

Lord Gonchar's avatar

So, am I to assume that Dave's report that started this whole conversation is actually an account of a worst case scenario on the parks two most popular rides?

Because I'm starting to suspect it is.

Seems like, in general, the system works just fine. The ensuing conversation just got hung up on the 'worst case scenario' part of it.

Last edited by Lord Gonchar,

Hi LG -

I think his post illustrates the conflict between the 2 main "Goals" I presented. Also, he seems to be speaking of Saturday. I compared a Friday AND a Saturday.

At least as far as MY theory is concerned, Dave would have had "Goal 1" (ride and re-ride as often as possible) instead of Goal #2 - Get on everything once. (I do not pretend to be the ultimate authority - it is my own point of view - others may differ - it is a discussion.)

According to his post, he chose NOT to purchase FastLane - and for his circumstances, that seemed to be a decision he was satisfied with- he would not have accomplished a goal of endless rides on that particular day. Friday was the day for that. Enthusiasts seeking endless rides should target a midweek day and buy FL.

I can't help but think that the 40 minute wait that the FL Line Host was broadcasting may have been overstated. I observed more like 20 minutes - even though I only rode 3 times that particular day, I walked past numerous times and peered in to see.

Thanks, IwantIceCream

Last edited by IwantIceCream,
ApolloAndy's avatar

I suspect most GP's aim is "relax, ride as I choose and ride things where the wait time is commensurate with the thrill of the ride" more so than "get on everything once" though I know those people do exist.


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."

I agree with Lost, nice trip report for a non-trip report trip report!

Here's a question for you...

Looking back....after riding the way you did for the two days (as well as staying on property)...At what point financially would it have been a deal killer for you?

Thanks in advance for your reply.

Richie

PS - I am going to Dorney this Friday (With my school for "Music in the Parks") and I expect to purchsae a Fast Lane for the day. I will try to report back in similar fashion as part of a trip report. I know in advance the place will be PACKED. No cars in the lot...but tons of yellow tanks!


Here's To Shorter Lines & Longer Trip Reports!

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