Editorial: Paid line skipping a lesson opportunity for kids

Posted Friday, June 27, 2014 9:35 AM | Contributed by Jeff

From the piece:

Theme parks, smelling money, now make it easy for parents to pay more to avoid the sweaty lines that can bring out the worst in children. But what lessons do kids learn when some of them march past the others to board the rides without waiting?

Read more from The New York Times.

Friday, June 27, 2014 9:49 AM

He stops just short of spouting some kind of "class war" nonsense, and actually makes some good points about how you can present the situation to your kid. However, I suspect a kid has to be a teenager before it even matters. At 4, and probably for some time to come, my kid isn't going to know the difference between Fastpass at Disney and Fastlane at Cedar Point, and I don't think he'll care one way or another.

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Friday, June 27, 2014 10:12 AM

I suspect that if you are making $100K a year, or whatever, it's nothing to pay to cut in front of everyone else. When you make 15 or $20K a year, it's harder to come up with the extra money, and so you see the issue differently. Cutting in line is taboo in many other situations.

A theme park will have a mixture of different kinds of people. Some rich people do not want to follow the rules, so theme parks offer them a solution. I only make $10 an hour. I have accepted that I am a second-class citizen.

BUT, for the record, because I refuse to allow people to cut in front of me, I will do whatever it takes to be able to afford a line cut pass when the situation calls for it. It's my way of getting back at those who feel like they are better than me. They are not.

As for what we are teaching our kids, we are teaching them that if they have more money, however they get it, they can break the rules. This is also true in many other areas of life, such as the criminal justice system, business, and government. That's just the world we live in today.

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Friday, June 27, 2014 10:15 AM

Saw this on NYT last night...didn't think he stopped that far short of "class war" type discussion, so I decided not to submit. ;~)

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Friday, June 27, 2014 10:22 AM

LostKause said:

It's my way of getting back at those who feel like they are better than me. They are not.

Or perhaps people don't actually feel this way?

As for what we are teaching our kids, we are teaching them that if they have more money, however they get it, they can break the rules.

What the hell, man? Why do you have to demonize people that have money?

...however they can get it...

What if they earn it? Can't we teach our kids that if they have money there will be more opportunities for them, and that if they want to have those opportunities available to them then they should strive to make more money?

...they can break the rules.

What rules? If a park has a rule that if you pay for it then you can skip to the front, then that's the rule. No rule is being broken.

Last edited by Bakeman31092, Friday, June 27, 2014 10:29 AM
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Friday, June 27, 2014 11:00 AM

LostKause said:

I have accepted that I am a second-class citizen.

This statement makes all of your complaints invalid. Assuming we have classes in this country (we don't), rather than making the choice to be a "first class" citizen, you'd rather sit back and complain about the "rules" that the evil rich folk "break."

I prefer to think of it as making more money allows me to acquire more things. And by "things" I don't necessarily mean material possessions. We all have the ability to do this. The fact that you've accepted that you will not make any changes in your life to afford more privileges (or graduate from the "second class," in your terms) is your problem, not the problem of the so-called "rich" or the "rules" or whatever.

The ability to afford a frigging front-of-line pass does not mean you are rich, by the way.

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Friday, June 27, 2014 11:07 AM

Well, he means that long established social rule that everyone waits their turn. But...

Travis, you kind of contradict yourself each time this argument comes up. On one hand you're saying that folks with low(er) income cant afford this perceived luxury. On the other hand you're quick to explain that you do your best to make sure you too have one in your hand. So it's possible that somehow everyone "can" afford it, but maybe they choose to spend their money elsewhere.

I still say this is going to be the new norm, and people just have to adjust their way of thinking. I see it as no different than better seats at the concert or the ball park, or preferred parking. You pay more for those things, and somehow it's ok with everybody. This is not. (oh, those people that can afford these things also likely drive better cars to get there. Is it common to follow those folks to the parking lot, check to see what they're driving, then stand there and complain that life ain't fair? I'd hope not)

One of these days everyone who remembers the basic "pay one price and everyone waits" policy will be dead and the Remainders will not know the difference. It will be accepted as an industry convention and everyone will be happy again.

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Friday, June 27, 2014 11:08 AM

If you pack lunch and dinner and eat at your car instead of dining in the park for two meals, drink water instead of buying one or two sodas, and forgo buying any souvenirs, you're starting to get close to being able to "afford" a fast-pass. Stay at the cheapest motel you can find, maybe only go one day instead of two, and you're there.

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Friday, June 27, 2014 11:20 AM

I think it's interesting that the author approaches the subject with examples and advice on how to explain to your child why and how we're line jumping. Not why and how we can't. Or shouldn't. I bet he's a Flashpass user himself...

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Friday, June 27, 2014 11:50 AM

LostKause said:

I have accepted that I am a second-class citizen.

This is self-realized destiny, and has nothing to do with the issue. I don't think you're second-class, and I doubt very much anyone else would think of you that way passing you in an upcharge queue. If you really think that your wage is ultimately what describes your place in the world, you will fail every time to impact it in a meaningful way.

Affording this stuff doesn't make you rich, it only describes your priorities.

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Friday, June 27, 2014 11:56 AM

RCMAC said:

So it's possible that somehow everyone "can" afford it, but maybe they choose to spend their money elsewhere.

As an example, I'm never going to pay for an "enhanced visit" to FL parks since I can go when you all are freezing yer butts off. But when I'm in CA, I'm much more likely to invest in FP since I'm probably already in for at least $1000 and the additional $50 or so at that point makes total sense...

It's not always about what you have, it IS often how you use it.

P.S. Yes, that IS what she said... :-P

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Friday, June 27, 2014 12:59 PM

It makes sense for the parks to do it. Lots of money to be made. The only thing that bothers me is it seems they sell too many of them. I've used the fast pass at a few parks myself. Some systems are better than others. But when you see 2 trains worth of people cutting in front of you. it's aggravating. Otherwise, it's easy to explain to a child the rules. Could be as simple as "those people spend their money on the pass, we spent ours on your college fund"

This past trip, instead of going for the fast pass, i spent an extra $40 total so we could go an extra evening to the park with the fun pass. Probably spent at least as much anyway with parking and food as the fast pass would have cost, as Bakerman mentioned already. Since one day was a monday, we didn't need the pass as much. I'd rather go on a less crowded day than worry about the fast pass, especially if it's the scheduled ride system - which is better as a whole IMO, but not so good for the individual with the pass.

Back to the money to be made by the parks - who knows (maybe someone) perhaps fast pass money is helping along some of these great coasters that are continually popping up. Couldn't hurt, that's for sure.

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Friday, June 27, 2014 1:19 PM

You're right Jeff. This guy from the New York Times totally misses the point of what a 'Thrill Park' is all about. I remember when you bought your park pass and waited in line with everyone else, it was so boring! Now I can't wait to get back to the line cutting trills parks have to offer today. To know all those poor saps I'm passing will have to wait till I get my ride; such the adrenaline rush. It is the fact that not everyone can comprehend the sheer exhilaration of line cutting that I can always count on an audience to my privilege.

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Friday, June 27, 2014 1:27 PM

The littlest of kids can understand the concept that you get more if you pay more. It's the basics of teaching the value of money at play.

Seems like it'd be harder to explain to your coaster club member child why the park closes for everyone else but stays open for them to ride during ERT sessions.

That's some real elitist bull**** right there.

In all seriousness, I cant believe this discussion still exists. Even funnier is the people who, 15 years later, still get angry. It's the equivalent of your crazy old great grandpa shaking his fist in the general direction of Germany and going off about "Those God Damned Krauts!"

We used to talk about how children who grew up in this environment that would one day be the adults who just see it as normal. Well, anyone under 20 doesn't remember when you couldn't skip to the front of the line at Disney and no one under 18 remembers a Six Flags without FOL access.

The complainers are that wacky old grandpa pining on about stuff that just doesn't matter anymore. You just have to kind of shrug it off, smile and say, Yeah, Grandpa. That was a long time ago."

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Friday, June 27, 2014 1:27 PM

Jeff said:

However, I suspect a kid has to be a teenager before it even matters. At 4, and probably for some time to come, my kid isn't going to know the difference between Fastpass at Disney and Fastlane at Cedar Point, and I don't think he'll care one way or another.

Actually, I'd suspect the opposite. A 4 year old doesn't understand "making more money allows me to acquire more things," or "an industry convention," or "how we're line jumping. Not why and how we can't. Or shouldn't," or "those people spend their money on the pass, we spent ours on your college fund." They do understand "when you see 2 trains worth of people cutting in front of you" means it's all right to cut in front of you.

As a teenager things like more $ = more things, etc make more sense.

Just to liven up the conversation, Is it all right to have a fast pass/flash pass system for restrooms? Sporting events could make a fortune.

Last edited by Captain Hawkeye, Friday, June 27, 2014 1:28 PM
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Friday, June 27, 2014 1:45 PM

I think the parks are missing some talking points.

They need to be out there saying

"Due to the money we make off people who choose to spend more

We Do Not have to raise regular ticket prices and have more money for New,Cool Rides and bathrooms"

Last edited by kevin38, Friday, June 27, 2014 1:47 PM
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Friday, June 27, 2014 1:54 PM

For the record Gonch, I didn't post this forum. You tell me why you so called thrill seeking, grand parent enthusiasts keep debating this non-issue. If pay-to-cut is so perfect, why try to convince the non-fans to buy in? Kinda defeats the purpose if everybody pays to cut. Though parks couldn't be more pleased with that scenario. I just admire how parks encourage people to pay more without adding a single service or attraction. Just change the rules so guests can climb over each other to get the advantage. If it's all part of the fun, then what's the problem?

Last edited by RC Madness, Friday, June 27, 2014 1:57 PM
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Friday, June 27, 2014 2:13 PM

RC Madness said:

For the record Gonch, I didn't post this forum.

Ok. Never said you did.

You tell me why you so called thrill seeking, grand parent enthusiasts keep debating this non-issue.

I can't tell you why. I don't know why. I said as much in my post - that I don't understand why this discussion still exists.

If pay-to-cut is so perfect, why try to convince the non-fans to buy in?

No one is trying to convince anyone to buy in. I think the argument is that it exists, it's here to stay, others are going to buy in, whining and bitching at best do no good and at worst is hilariously misguided given that the industry has changed the way it does business.

It's not in the process of changing, it has changed. It's done. It's over. The big parks offer tiered experiences. There's no discussion. There's no debate. It's done. It's been done. It's so done that Disney is on to a new version. Technically, the idea of FOL access is old hat and they're finding new ways to do it. FOL 2.0

Again, why does the debate even exist? There's nothing to debate. It's over.

Just change the rules so guests can climb over each other to get the advantage.

The magic "C" word - change.

That's the real root of the issue. "I'll be damned, if it was good enough the way it was before, it's should still be good now."

The only problem with that argument is the distinct inability to see beyond your own window. The way the industry did business before you was different than what you got used to which is different than what it is now and it will be different from that for the generation after.

Change is scary.

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Friday, June 27, 2014 2:24 PM

If parks could support tiered customer experiences, they already would have implemented them.

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Friday, June 27, 2014 2:33 PM

Not sure what your complaint about the 'complainers' is all about. I'm actually doing your job for you. Line cutting enthusiasts need to convince the masses not to buy in, right? Think about it... Quote me as much as you like if that helps Gonch.

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