Cedar Point Announces Fast Lane On Facebook

Lord Gonchar said:

I'm having a hard time understanding choosing to stand in 40 minute line and paying for the right to do so. I would think that would be enough of a deterrent to move people to other Fast Lane lines and disperse crowds using the wristbands better. Hence my comment that I would have expected this sort of situation to be a bit more self-regulating.

Well, once you're done fast-laneing all of the walk-on rides (as often as you'd like, until bored), you might as well use the relatively smaller fast-lane at the longer wait times too. It's not like you're going to go to Cedar Point, spend extra money to invest in rides, and then NOT ride the two tallest/fastest in the park.

The park is probably large enough in that you can see how much of a line you can skip at Raptor in the morning, and not even consider the fact that fast-lane people actually have to wait at the other coasters later in the day. Wouldn't cross my thoughts at all

Jeff said:

I doubt anyone bought the pass expecting to wait 40 minutes. That expectation was not set.

This is the reason why I don't think self regulation works at the beginning of the season. No one is expecting the 40 minurte wait. After enough people hear about that it will begin to self-regulate because won't see the reason to spend money to still stand in line.

And I don't think that the attraction of the other 17 offerings is going to deter people from standing in the 40 minute line. After Dragster, Millennium, and Maverick no other ride attracts people. Even Raptor has lost its draw based on what I saw this past Sunday morning. It had 0 line while Millennium was running 30 minutes. I think MaxAir Mike nailed it. People want to ride the big 3 and don't give a crap about anything else.

Jeff's avatar

I don't think you're getting my point. If it was priced high enough, there wouldn't be enough people using it to create 40 minutes waits, but at the same time, they could be pulling in the same amount of cash if they find that balance. If you price it at twice the cost and only half as many people buy it, you're still in the same place in terms of revenue, only the customers have a better experience, both Fast Lane and standby queuers.

If I plopped down that cash and waited that long, especially after using queue systems at other parks, I'd be pissed.


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

LostKause's avatar

As much as I hate Lo-Q and the way they screw up everything, Cedar Point should look into an agreement with them. It would be the lesser of two evils, in my opinion. ...Or else do front-of-the-line like Bush Gardens does it and sell one no-wait ticket per ride per upcharge sold. If you want to ride TTD or MF twice with no wait, you'll have to buy two packets of no wait tickets.

I also like the idea previously stated to promote the heck out of VIP. It's priced high enough that it wont mess up everyone else's fun. And let's face it, if you can afford to add another $50 to your admission for this crap, you can probably afford a VIP ticket.

It's all still just a scam though. :P


Lord Gonchar's avatar

Shades said:

I think MaxAir Mike nailed it. People want to ride the big 3 and don't give a crap about anything else.

I'll assume this means People using Fast Lane.

And if that's the case then the park seriously needs to adjust the system.

I'm just repeating myself, but I need to be either buying no wait or a wait outside of a standard queue.

I'm a little surprised that there's a market (at least as of this past weekend) for standing in a shorter line. 

Jeff said:

If you price it at twice the cost and only half as many people buy it, you're still in the same place in terms of revenue...

I believe we used to refer to that concept as "Gonch's business model" around here in the heyday of revenue discussion.

If I plopped down that cash and waited that long, especially after using queue systems at other parks, I'd be pissed.

Yes, very much so. My kneejerk reaction is that something needs to be tweaked.

I guess the question is whether people are pissed because they expected shorter waits or happy because they cut the wait to 1/3rd the stand-by. Like I said, maybe this speaks volumes in the other direction? I mean, they make no promises beyond empty marketing phrases like, "Speed through the line" and "limited waiting" - so perhaps people aren't that pissed? Maybe the idea of riding the big three at a fraction of the wait time is worth it for enough people? We'll see, I guess.


kpjb's avatar

Kennywood does it low-tech like CP, but adds a twist, in that your ride times are for specific times... you buy a pass to ride the coasters each hour at :00, :10, :20, etc so it regulates how many people are going to the station at any specific time. You can also only ride each ride once, unless you buy another pass.

Seems like CP may want to consider something along these lines, although for a park the size of the Point, they really should have gone with Qbots. Perhaps with a newer, less technology-impaired hierarchy this will come about in the future.


Hi

Jeff's avatar

Lord Gonchar said:
I believe we used to refer to that concept as "Gonch's business model" around here in the heyday of revenue discussion.

Get your hands out of your pants. :)


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

Lord Gonchar's avatar

My whole reason for posting here is the opportunity to put my hands in my pants.


kpjb said:

Kennywood does it low-tech like CP, but adds a twist, in that your ride times are for specific times...

I could really see the Kennywood system working out well for CP if they decide to stay with the low-tech model. It seems like it would take care of all the issues that have been discussed here, save for the occasional backup that may occur due to downtime. It spreads the distribution around to all the Fast Lane lines, and in doing so, ensures there will be little to no wait. As a bonus, I imagine it'll drive users to the attractions that they'd otherwise skip. For instance, you might not ride Mean Streak even with a Fast Lane pass, but you're probably more likely to ride it if you have a time scheduled specifically for that ride.


And then one day you find ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun

I posted my thoughts last week on PointBuzz (slightly edited):

I don't have an issue with the park trying new ways of creating revenue. Attendance over the last decade has flattened out and you must evolve to survive. I'm not going to support Fast Lane myself, being a pass holder, but I don't have issue with those that do. My only problem with it is the lack of checks and balances with people seemingly abusing the system and marathoning the more popular rides.

What I suggest is that yes, you can ride X ride as many times as you want in a day, but you have to experience another Fast Lane ride before you can ride again...Ala, you can ride MF, but before you can ride again (within a certain time period perhaps?) you have to ride TTD (or another FL ride) and then you can come back.

I dunno, I guess some sort of device that would be scanned would be the way to go, instead of a wristband. Or, use a barcode on the wristband, like Indiana Beach does when you enter a station. This way you only have to invest in the amount of scanners needed as opposed to thousands of devices that someone's just going to break. Why give thousands of people a chance to break your devices, when you can leave that up to a queue-host?

Also, I do agree that the $50 is actually too cheap of an option at this park. Heck, its $55 at Dorney for TEN rides! Practically double the cost based on the rides you're given. I was just there the other day and I hit all the coasters within an hour and a half...no FP needed! I asked the girl working at the FP booth how many she had sold that day, she said none. I wasn't surprised. With only what seemed to be about 4,000 people in the park, the rides were a virtual walkon all day.

Would limiting the amount of re-rides lessen the value of FL, even if prices were raised?


Michael McCormack

JW Addington's avatar

If only I could look into the future and see the lines on a beautiful Halloweekend Saturday! You are going to be forced to buy one or wait in a 4 hour line, caused by fast lane! But fast lane will be an hour or so wait.

VIP was fine. It was more likely to have to wait for the next train because of a parent swap or a handicap guest, than it was for a person using VIP. A system like fast lane at cedar point was not needed. The capacity of the rides at cedar point made the lines hardly stop moving, minus a breakdown.


When you visit CP, visit my mill. est. 1835
Raven-Phile's avatar

You *do* realize that Fast Lane merges with the regular line/station at some point, right? It's not like VIP in that you "lose your spot" because someone takes your seat.

JW Addington's avatar

Yes i do realize that! I was comparing "my seat" being taken by a VIP'er, parent swap, or handicap guest. It wasn't even an issue because it was few and far between.

But a lot of people are taking "my seat" with Fast Lane! multiple times over again! ;)


When you visit CP, visit my mill. est. 1835

I'm not sure that "self regulation" will become an issue at Cedar Point.

I may be completely off-base here, and I don't have any sound numbers to back me up. But remember, this system was piloted at Kings Island, a park which is, quite frankly, on a customer-vs. -capacity basis, a much busier park than Cedar Point.

Where I think the system kind of falls apart has to do with the number of visits. My WAG is that Cedar Point probably has a much lower visit count than Kings Island. That is, the average Cedar Point customer is visiting perhaps twice (remember there are a non-trivial number of people who go once per season, but there is also a non-trivial number of people who are there 10's of times per season, so it all balances out), whereas, because of its higher season pass count, Kings Island's visit count is probably closer to 3 or 4. My guess is that of all the parks in the chain, Cedar Point probably has the lowest number of visits per person per season, and Kings Island may be one of the highest (although Knott's may be higher).

With that as a guiding assumption, I would also assume therefore that the demand for Fast Lane is probably higher at Cedar Point that it is at any of the other parks. Add to that the larger crowds at Cedar Point than at other parks (except possibly Wonderland and Kings Island) and the demand at Cedar Point is pushed even higher compared with the other parks.

I'm guessing that the real answer for Cedar Point is that they need to charge more. Probably a lot more. Conversely, at some of the other parks they're likely to have trouble selling many of these at all even for $50.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.


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Carrie J.'s avatar

Finally, the never-ending FOL discussion takes on a slightly more interesting perspective: the value point. Many here are suggesting that FL should offer a shorter (even no) wait opportunity. But on a day like the one in question, the FL shortened the wait by 200%. I mean all they advertise for this product is a lesser wait time. They delivered...big time.

Seems to me that's really ok. If the expectation is a no wait experience, then I would guess you'd have to accept that this offer isn't for you. And let's be honest, with an expectation like that, you probably don't belong in the park at all on a day where the regular lines are at 2 hours.

If you limit your visits to the days when the crowds are more at your tolerance level then I would imagine the FL option would work just fine for you.

Is there any indication that folks were unhappy with the shortened wait time? I mean, other than from the coaster folks who have ERT as the standard. :-)


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

Jeff's avatar

You can spin the numbers that way, but do you really think that's what the customer expectation is? 40 minutes?


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

Carrie J.'s avatar

I don't think that's spinning numbers at all. It's fact. A 120-minute wait fell to 40 at the cost of $50. That's only about 63 cents per minute in saved time. Hahaha...now that's a spin of numbers.

I think it's unreasonable to think that $50 spent should entitle anyone to breeze by a 2-hour wait. If that means the price should be higher, then so be it.

But I really think the Q-bot system is the only one that seems reasonable to me for this access at all. Everyone waits...they just get to choose where they wait.


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

Jeff's avatar

OK, you're not spinning the numbers, but you're applying them to an expectation that doesn't exist. Maybe it's a strawman, but I suspect if you polled Fast Lane customers about whether or not it was OK to wait 40 minutes, they'd tell you no.

And I agree the price should be higher. If you sell fewer at a higher price and score the same revenue, everyone wins. The park gets its "revenue enhancement," Fast Lane buyers get a high value proposition and short waits, non-buyers see negligible impact on their wait time.


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

Lord Gonchar's avatar

Carrie's basically saying in detail exactly what I briefly questioned at the end of this post. (seriously, go read that last paragraph real quick)

I don't think she's necessarily wrong.

Like I said, maybe this speaks volumes in the other direction and it won't self regulate in the way that Shades suggested with less people buying once they see what they're getting, but rather this whole thing opens our eyes as to what the average guest sees as the value proposition. Getting rides on the most popular coasters as a 3-to-1 ratio isn't exactly something to scoff at.

Maybe the people are going to surprise us on this one?


ApolloAndy's avatar

How much "abuse" is there in the first place? I assume if the line is 40 minutes, even if you paid $50, there's a point pretty quickly (after you've ridden the big three once each?) that you say, "I'd rather walk on Gemini than wait 40 minutes for MF." How many people are willing to repeatedly wait in a 40 minute line for anything? And if the answer is "not many" then redistribution won't really help.


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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