Cedar Point Day 1 08/05/13: Not Even Fastlane Will Save You

Wednesday, August 7, 2013 12:18 PM
sirloindude's avatar

I think if you are able to devote a 50/50 split to Fastlane, you're selling WAY too many Fastlane passes.

The other thing is that even if Disney hits that split, their rides are so epic in terms of capacity that the waits are still fairly reasonable on both sides. Also, the number of times you can use Fastpasses in a day is drastically below what you can get out of a Fastlane pass. Granted, everybody can use the Fastpass system, but it just feels like the mix is better at Disney, or at least the capacity of the rides is high enough to where is doesn't really matter.


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

www.grapeadventuresphotography.com

+1Loading
Wednesday, August 7, 2013 12:23 PM
DejaVuNitro's avatar

Space Mountain goes 50/50 as does Soarin'. Both have two identical 'sides' that are dedicated one to stand by and one to FastPass. Other Disney rides may do a 50/50 split too but those are the two obvious ones.


I'm sheriff of this here rollercoaster.

+0
Wednesday, August 7, 2013 12:37 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

sirloindude said:

Granted, everybody can use the Fastpass system, but it just feels like the mix is better at Disney, or at least the capacity of the rides is high enough to where is doesn't really matter.

1. Everybody who gets to the machine before the passes run out can use the system. It's every bit as skewed and unequal as any other system.

2. Disney is better at hiding it and its uses. They're amazing at not making it feel as bad, even when it's worse.

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Wednesday, August 7, 2013 12:37 PM
+0
Wednesday, August 7, 2013 12:59 PM
sirloindude's avatar

In my opinion, though, if it doesn't feel as bad, it probably isn't. Either that, or Disney jumped on the game early enough in my life that I've grown accustomed to it being a way of life whereas Cedar Fair jumped in much later, thus leaving me with enough experience there to notice the change.

I guess I'm just saying that if eight of your star attractions are packing in hour+ waits (and I only know of eight, though there were others that were likely endless as well) and even your Fastlane folks are stuck in long lines, you've probably left money on the table somewhere.


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

www.grapeadventuresphotography.com

+2Loading
Wednesday, August 7, 2013 1:58 PM
rollergator's avatar

Lord Gonchar said:

Disney is better at hiding it and its uses. They're amazing at not making it feel as bad, even when it's worse.

As I've been saying for over 10 years now....Disney just *implements* better than anyone else. Never do I run across a guest in the OTHER line, FP or Standby, and have to decide who goes first. Even at Universal, the line merge-points are often unattended, and guests get to have that moment of uncomfortableness....."no, you first."

Ugh!

+1Loading
Wednesday, August 7, 2013 2:21 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

sirloindude said:

In my opinion, though, if it doesn't feel as bad, it probably isn't. Either that, or Disney jumped on the game early enough in my life that I've grown accustomed to it being a way of life whereas Cedar Fair jumped in much later, thus leaving me with enough experience there to notice the change.

I see it as the difference between seeing a magician do a magic trick and having the magician show you how the magic trick is done.

Same motions. Entirely different outcome.

I guess I'm just saying that if eight of your star attractions are packing in hour+ waits (and I only know of eight, though there were others that were likely endless as well) and even your Fastlane folks are stuck in long lines, you've probably left money on the table somewhere.

Absolutely.


+0
Wednesday, August 7, 2013 2:36 PM
Timber-Rider's avatar

There is another aspect of the way Cedar Point runs Fast Lane Program, which accounts for the longer waits for fast lane riders. And, that has to do with where the Fast Lane Line enters the Queue. One Millennium Force, the Fast Lane merges into the regular line at the bottom of the Ramp, where at that point regular riders are already waiting a 20 minutes to a half hour to ride. If they were not made to wait in the regular line at that point, their wait would be shorter, and there would be no bottle neck of riders.

Top Thrill Dragster also has Fast Lane riders, entering the Queue, where the regular wait from that point is also 20 minutes. The same for Magnum, where Fast lane riders enter the Queue one switch back before the stairs leading up to the station, which can be a lot longer than 20 minutes, depending on how many people are in the station. Might even add 30 minutes to their wait time.

The only rides that do Fast Lane right at Cedar Point, are Mean Streak and Blue Streak. Mean Streak's Fastlane is through the ride exit, and never saw a wait there at all. And at Blue Streak, it's just one turn, and you are in the station in just a couple minutes, while the regular line is close to 40 minutes. The Gate Keeper Fast Lane entrance is right at the bottom of the switch off point at the bottom of the stairs, so their wait is probably 15 to 30 minutes tops. While the regular line is 90 minutes to 2 hours.

Maverick's Fast Lane also enters the regular line at the bottom of the stairs in the Queue house. Which adds another 20 minutes to their wait there. Then it splits off again into the single rider line.

But, at each attraction, there is a queue worker, who decides how many Fast Lane people can enter the Queue, while holding back the main line. Which at Magnum, I saw as many as 30 fast lane people enter the Queue, setting the main line back another 5 minutes. As the Fast Lane guests are a constant flow of guests, not just a few here and there. A LOT.

I was thinking without Fast Lane, the lines would be a lot worse. Then I realized, that the way it is done, the waits for regular riders wouldn't change at all. The way they do it, maybe 10 to 15 minutes more tops. So, it's actually fair to everyone. If they just allowed fast lane people to march right into the station, while holding the main lines back, people waiting in the regular lines would be seeing a lot longer wait times.

I think they should get rid of it. Or, greatly reduce the number of passes they sell. or as I mentioned in another post, make it a ticket system, where they get maybe 10 to 15 cut to ride tickets for $50.00, and eliminate the ride over and over cut in line program. It would be more fair to everyone.

Last edited by Timber-Rider, Wednesday, August 7, 2013 2:47 PM

I didn't do it! I swear!!

+0
Wednesday, August 7, 2013 2:41 PM

This has been discussed before but it bears repeating. You can't create something from nothing. Ride capacities are fixed, so allocating more rides to the Fast Lane users will result in longer standby lines, and that's exactly what you're seeing happening at the most popular attractions at Cedar Fair parks. The issues just seem to be magnified at the big attractions at Cedar Point, particularly on MF, Maverick and TTD.

This seems to be a unique situation to Cedar Point. I've been to all of the largest Cedar Fair parks in the chain (eight in total) since the implementation of Fast Lane and the super-long Fast Lane lines have only been problematic at six rides - MF, TTD and Maverick at Cedar Point, Volcano at KD, Firehawk at KI and Nighthawk at Carowinds (the latter 3 being capacity nightmares).

Notice too that super popular rides at Six Flags parks like X2, Lex Luthor, Goliath at SFNE, Dare Devil Dive, X-Flight and most new coasters, including Full Throttle, are upcharge one-time-per-cut attractions on premium Flash Passes only. They're limiting pay-to-cut access to those coasters so the system isn't overwhelmed. The Gold Flash Pass now advertises a 50% reduction in wait time vs. the 75% being advertised before. Cedar Fair hasn't gone the restriction route yet (with the Volcano 2-ride limit last year being an exception), but I wouldn't be surprised to see additional tweaks to address that problem.

I would argue that Fast Lane has actually increased the demand for the more popular coasters at Cedar Point. Most people using Fast Lane at Cedar Point are going to want to ride the most popular coasters way more than the less popular stuff. I would bet that 70-80% of Fast Lane rides (excluding Plus) are taken on Maverick, Millennium Force and Raptor. The shorter Fast Lane wait times encourage more Fast Lane usage - not only in the numbers sold but also how often it's used - which again is being utilized at attractions with longer standby waits. That's why the 50% Fastlane/50% standby split is way too high, because you're giving more rides to a smaller segment of the population that really only want to ride the most popular attractions, exacerbating the problem even more on both the Fast Lane waits and even more with the lengthening of standby wait times.

+0
Wednesday, August 7, 2013 3:00 PM
Timber-Rider's avatar

It would also be more fair to everyone if the Queue ops kept both lines moving. By doing the "how many riders in your group" thing, and switch back and forth, instead of allowing every person that enters the fast lane enter the line before everyone else. Like I said, it ties up the line, when they are deciding who gets to do what. Keep everyone moving.

There was a time at blue streak, where the Queue op had both lines blocked, and left for some reason, and everyone was just standing there, and the line was not moving at all. I think that person went to open a switchback, as the main line was out under blue streaks Brake run. Then when he came back, he started writing on his little chart, and just left everyone standing.

I also noticed them doing this at Michigan's Adventure. As if they are manually counting fast lane riders, that enter every ride. On ST, I heard a queue op tell a ride operator that they had 17 fast lane riders in the last hour. While she held back the main line, while writing in her diary. :) Is this really necessary? They already know how many fast lane tickets they are selling, why count them again?


I didn't do it! I swear!!

+0
Wednesday, August 7, 2013 3:26 PM

But beyond how many Fast Lane passes they sell on any given day, I think they would also want to know how many FL rides were given on each ride during the day. Helps determine if they should keep a ride in the FL lineup and whether there should be an upcharge (like with FL plus).Doesn't seem to me they had as many issues at Cedar Point last year with Fast Lane. This year, despite price increases, they appear to be having issues. Maybe they just underestimated how popular the program would be with customers as more people became familiar with it? I would expect that they would have a period of adjustment as the program got started with minor tweaks going forward after it found a groove.Maybe limiting the number of FL rides you can get on the very popular rides (like Six Flags does with its top two rides at each park). In addition to increasing the FL prices and/or adding/changing the tiers.

+0
Wednesday, August 7, 2013 3:53 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Gary Dowdell said:

That's why the 50% Fastlane/50% standby split is way too high, because you're giving more rides to a smaller segment of the population that really only want to ride the most popular attractions, exacerbating the problem even more on both the Fast Lane waits and even more with the lengthening of standby wait times.

If the waits are longer - at some point shouldn't that in itself be a deterrent for more people getting in line? (on paper, at least) I mean seriously, who are these people paying $60 to wait 45 minutes in line? And who gets in a 2 hour line knowing people are slipping in a head of you all along the way. Either way people are choosing to make the lines this long. You get in line the wait increases, you don't and it doesn't.

But wait. You said it yourself - you can't create something from nothing. The ride capacity is fixed. Those attractions are still giving the same number of rides each day. All that's changed is who is getting those rides. Is that the 'real' bad thing witht he 50/50 split?

I'm still not sure why the ratio is a bad thing. Hell, upcharge ride capacity (often rides with limited capacity) goes 100% to the people who pay more. Perhaps this is foreshadowing a time when the most popular attractions become upcharge? In a sense, that line is already being blurred. The end result of unusually high demand is awfully similar to the end result of unusually low capacity. Why not solve the problem the same way?


+0
Wednesday, August 7, 2013 3:58 PM
rollergator's avatar

Gonch makes me think.....not sure if that's something I like, or not... ;~P

One major issue here is that parks advertise the newest, latest, greatest thrill ride HEAVILY. The marketing plans are geared to it. It gets the longest lines (even if, like GK, it has great capacity).

So with all the "guest management" concepts out there, you really DO need to have that big new thrill ride included as part of your POP admission...even if you're going to have it as an upcharge to bot it, VQ it, whatever, it needs to be *available* as part of your daily admission. If not, it's VERY off-putting for your regular once-a-year guests....

Not sure exactly where this all leads (maybe back to the A-E attractions at DisneyWorld?)...but it is interesting...and millions of dollars are at stake.

+0
Wednesday, August 7, 2013 4:10 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

rollergator said:

Gonch makes me think.....not sure if that's something I like, or not... ;~P

That's what I'm here for.

Not sure exactly where this all leads (maybe back to the A-E attractions at DisneyWorld?)...but it is interesting...and millions of dollars are at stake.

Yep. The old way was probably the best from most angles.

Or maybe we continue with the current POP/PPR? Pay to get in then pay again for access to the different rides.

It always worked in RCT. ;)

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Wednesday, August 7, 2013 4:12 PM
+0
Wednesday, August 7, 2013 4:18 PM
sirloindude's avatar

The problem is that Cedar Point is defined by roller coasters, so if you start up-charging for individual rides, you're drastically eating away at the entire point of your visit.

It keeps going back to my belief that Cedar Point has woefully underpriced themselves. If a Disney park can justify $100 for a one-day ticket (though I admit their reasons for doing so are far different), Cedar Point can absolutely justify it as well considering how many more rides there are.


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

www.grapeadventuresphotography.com

+0
Wednesday, August 7, 2013 4:21 PM
Timber-Rider's avatar

A lot of the people I talked to at Cedar Point, who were not using fast lane, think that Cedar Point should no longer label itself as a pay one price park any more. Along with MA being two parks for the price of one. As there are too many extra charges, that make those statements less legit.

They feel that they are being devalued, as in the park cares less about them, in favor of its customers that pay more, just because they can. I laughed when a guy said almost the exact same thing I said, when Fast lane first started. A guy said, they are like the guy who built Jurrassic Park. They are so busy coming up with ideas to milk their guest wallets, that they never stopped to think if they should. Without care of what would happen to their guests as a result.

Seems to be an awful lot of bitterness brewing. And, as far as I am concerned, having a lot of unhappy guest, is not the best way to do business. It brings the question up again, as how much will eventually be too much? And, it is very sad to me, that some of you think people should pay more to get what they want, which only makes the parks profits higher, an will not change the crowds one bit.


I didn't do it! I swear!!

+0
Wednesday, August 7, 2013 4:30 PM
Vater's avatar

Timber-Rider said:

A guy said, they are like the guy who built Jurrassic Park. They are so busy coming up with ideas to milk their guest wallets, that they never stopped to think if they should. Without care of what would happen to their guests as a result.

Yeah, but Timber-Rider, if the Cedar Point prices increase, the executives don't eat the tourists.

+8Loading
Wednesday, August 7, 2013 4:38 PM
sirloindude's avatar

To clarify, I get that with an increased admission price or with the current system, you're still potentially paying the same amount. I'm just saying that I don't like when everything gets turned into an a-la-carte situation, and I think that you stand a better chance of making people mad under the a-la-carte system.


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

www.grapeadventuresphotography.com

+0
Wednesday, August 7, 2013 4:59 PM

This is the best, most civil discussion I've seen on a coaster forum in a while. It's fun to see all sides of this argument.

The one thing that most would agree with at the moment is that there is an issue with the pricing and value of admission and/or Fast Lane at Cedar Point. There are a lot of potential things that could be tweaked, and I really believe we've just scratched the surface with most of the inputs that have been brought out. It's a complicated issue.

Timber-Rider said:

Seems to be an awful lot of bitterness brewing.

I didn't get that sense when I was there, and I'm not sure the general public really thinks about it as a "how Fast Lane affects everyone" issue in the way that it's been discussed here. I do believe that there may be some folks who purchased Fast Lane this year during the busy season and opt out of it next year because Fast Lane wait times were still too long.

+0
Wednesday, August 7, 2013 5:26 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Something that just came to mind...stick with me.

I've said forever now that I favor an approach that serves less people paying more. It makes more sense to me to see 10 people pay $100 than 100 people pay $10 for any given service.

But what seems to be happening with the upcharge access is trying to cover both bases. Attract the 10 people who would pay $100 while still pulling in the other 90 who will only pay $10.

When I look at it that way, I have a problem with it. You can't have your cake and eat it too. How does it make sense to try to offer two distinctly different options in the same house coexisting side-by-side? You can't be all things to all people...everyone is going to get shortchanged to some degree. (and in the case of our discussion here - it seem to be happening at CP where the lines are long no matter your access level)

That to me is the fundamental problem here. We've said forever that the parks underprice themselves at the gate. But it seems like they've found a way to attract those folks who would pay the higher gate price by asking them to pay it inside the park. The problem is that they seem to be too afraid of losing the rest who wouldn't pay...and as long as they waver in that, you get this weird dichotomy where you're trying of offer both an upscale and budget experience in the same location. It just really makes NO sense when I look at it like that.

Fast Lane is $60 at best. Admission is $45. You have enough people willing to pay $105 to visit your park that they alone create 45 minute lines for the most popular rides. How can you ignore that in terms of just bumping the gate? The market is there.

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Wednesday, August 7, 2013 5:27 PM
+0
Wednesday, August 7, 2013 5:41 PM
sirloindude's avatar

Bingo, and I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who feels that way.

The other problem is that you get some people who might be willing to pay the higher price but take advantage of the lower price, even at the sacrifice of riding less. What does the park accomplish at that point? Those folks would have paid more money but they basically beat the park at its own game and that results in lost revenue.

I know Cedar Fair is just a few years into the whole virtual queueing thing, so perhaps as time passes, the setup will improve.


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

www.grapeadventuresphotography.com

+0

You must be logged in to post

POP Forums - ©2021, POP World Media, LLC
Loading...