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.

Saturday, June 28, 2014 5:28 PM

Lord Gonchar said:

In addition to that, if you're stressing and having anxiety over getting on rides, you're probably doing it wrong. (and wouldn't something like FOL access be the CURE for that, not the cause?)

Some of you guys make going to the park seem so hard.

I'm not sure if this is directed at me specifically but since I also mentioned stress/anxiety, I'll chime in. FOL access could be a cure (and indeed I have used it as such) but there is an "icky" factor that comes with this process for me personally (unrelated to economics) and I suspect many others that I better described in better detail in my post above. Again, personal preference.

Also, regarding your other comment about not liking how things change: you could be right and I could be turning into an old crank, but I actually think "change" can be great if it makes things better. When Holiday World rolled out "free" drinks and increased their gate price, I loved that change. Since they have stuck with it, it seems to have worked out well for both customers and the park itself.

One other example: my local grocer recently gutted their value card/points/discount/rewards system in favor of returning to an earlier model: low prices for all, no card needed. Their rationale was that the system became too confusing and customers preferred just knowing the price up-front. This is an example of (1) a change, and (2) changing by going back. Is your mind blown? Thus, it is possible and my dreams for the old black-and-white days of yore remain viable, despite claims that it's time to pull the chord on grandpa and grab some Applebees.

So it's not a matter of today vs yesterday. It's a matter of "do I like this or not?" I'm allowed to not like things. Not liking things is also a great agent of change. I want parks to try stuff, but I want them to get it right.

Last comment, regarding "make going to the park seem so hard." You might be right. My personal standards have increased. But the experiences have also decreased significantly. So long to all that, I guess, I'll miss the churros.

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Saturday, June 28, 2014 6:27 PM
slithernoggin's avatar

Jetsetter said:
... my dreams for the old black-and-white days of yore remain viable....

But your dreams of those old black-and-white days of yore are of a decade or two at most.

Pay one price admission, which created those days of yore when everyone bought a ticket into a park and then all waited in the same lines, didn't even exist until 1958; and most parks were not quick to adopt pay one price. Walt Disney World didn't abandon individual ride tickets until 1982 and the opening of EPCOT Center (as it was styled then).

And any park using the individual ticket system favored those with more disposable income. Those who could buy more tickets, or who could afford more D and E tickets, got preferential access to those rides.

So: parks using tiered ride access systems are indeed "changing by going back" -- back to the days before pay one price.


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

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Saturday, June 28, 2014 7:35 PM
Tommytheduck's avatar

The ONLY point I'm trying to make in this thread is that FOL access is had at the expense of others. It makes those who don't have it wait longer. I think that was the original driving force behind the Editorial that launched this thread. I don't understand how one could that point differently.

Edit: I typed out a lot more, but deleted it. It read too much like I was trying to make this thread about me, which, honestly, I'm not. (Still kinda reads like I am, so maybe I'll just shut up. I'm not that guy, really.)

I understand and/or agree with almost everything you guys are saying. But once again, I stand by the above paragraph. I'm sorry if you disagree, and that's fine, but just for fun, I'll quote from the Big Lebowski too... (it is, after all, my favorite movie)

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Saturday, June 28, 2014 7:45 PM
Jeff's avatar

It's not at the expense of others. The value proposition has changed, certainly, but rides don't magically have greater or lesser capacity. The value proposition is well-known before you enter the park, or you wouldn't be complaining about it here.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Saturday, June 28, 2014 9:01 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

It's made at the expense of other people who only exist *in the past.* Nobody going to Six Flags gets or expects to get the experience which existed 20 years ago i.e. equal lines for every one. That is no longer an option.

FoL absolutely takes (a very small number of) rides from the general public and funnels them to a select few. As a regular guest, you definitely can't get as many rides as you used to. *But you know that when you buy your ticket.* You know exactly how many rides you can expect to get and how long you can expect to wait. The sign says "45 minute waits on all rides." When you buy your ticket and then get in line, you agree with the value proposition that $50 is worth 45 minute lines all day. Nobody's taking anything from you because you agreed with it when you paid your money.

Last edited by ApolloAndy, Saturday, June 28, 2014 9:02 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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Saturday, June 28, 2014 9:42 PM
OhioStater's avatar

I'm late to chime in, but in all honestly that's because my eyes kept slipping right past this thread as I thought it was a resurrected one from about 4 - 5 years ago.

There seems to be a popular illusion that it's "rich people" versus "non-rich people", and that's what is really fueling the complaints. Ever since we started coining terms like "the 1%" and "the 99%", society has gotten very comfortable throwing barbs at those perceived to be stomping over "average" folk. Andy, I don't think it was necessarily intentional, but you even used the words "general public" and "select few". I would argue that this is merely an assumption. People with less income than others buy big shiny TVs, high-tier cable, computers, highest-speed-internet, and all sorts of other things that are deemed worth of their income. People just seem really, really annoyed, anxious, and downright bitter that parks around them have made this a possibility, and the logic really escapes me.

I really hate my preoccupation with using quotation marks. I'm working on it.

It's merely people who think it's worth it versus those who don't. And as a parent who is (pat on the back) pretty intent on teaching my kids all sorts of wonderful life lessons and how to treat all humans with respect, I see no teachable moment in purchasing a Fast Lane for my daughters if that day ever comes.

Last edited by OhioStater, Saturday, June 28, 2014 9:48 PM
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Saturday, June 28, 2014 11:13 PM
slithernoggin's avatar

Tommytheduck said:

It makes those who don't have it wait longer.

Not quite right.

It makes those who choose not to purchase FOL access wait longer.


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

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Saturday, June 28, 2014 11:26 PM
sws's avatar

Currently reviewing The Bill of Rights. Could have sworn that our forefathers had guaranteed all people equal access to all amusement park rides....

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Saturday, June 28, 2014 11:47 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

OhioStater said:

I see no teachable moment in purchasing a Fast Lane for my daughters if that day ever comes.

Meh. I also see no teachable moment in taking my kids to Disney or Six Flags or wherever in the first place, but we're probably going to do it anyway.

And just for context, we are generous with our own giving and teach the values of generosity, charity, and justice to our kids, so it's not that we don't see the issue. We're just choosing for that to not be one of the arenas in which we fight that fight.


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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Saturday, June 28, 2014 11:55 PM
LostKause's avatar

I don't understand something. Little billy goes to the park with his Church youth group and mommy only gives him $50 spending money at the park. A line cutter pass is $65, so he can't buy it. It's not that he chooses not to buy it. He doesn't have enough money to purchase it.

There is another boy who goes to the park with the church group. Little Bartholomew has parents who give him his weekly allowance of $1000 on his debt card. If he spends all of it, he just calls grandmother up on his smart phone to add more money to his spending account. If he wants to purchase a line cutter pass, he can choose to buy it, or not.

Can't is not a choice.™

Last edited by LostKause, Saturday, June 28, 2014 11:55 PM
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Sunday, June 29, 2014 12:01 AM
kpjb's avatar

Little Joey's parents are poor and can't afford the amusement park at all.

Little Timmy's parents have money but decide that the amusement park isn't the way they want to spend it.

If I drink water from the fountain because I don't feel like paying 5 bucks for a Sprite, I don't think the people drinking Sprite are doing it spitefully. Or Spritefully. (See what I did there?)

What's your point? There will always be someone who can't afford something that someone else can.


Hi

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Sunday, June 29, 2014 12:12 AM
sws's avatar

Last edited by sws, Sunday, June 29, 2014 12:22 AM
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Sunday, June 29, 2014 12:33 AM
Rickrollercoaster's avatar

Cock-a-doodle doo! The Cow goes moo!


"It's kind of fun to do the impossible." - Walt Disney
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Sunday, June 29, 2014 12:37 AM
sws's avatar

Looks like somebody has been hitting the brownies tonight.

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Sunday, June 29, 2014 12:52 AM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

The can't/won't argument was against the idea that somehow everyone doesn't have access to the system or that it's discriminatory in some horrible way.

Billy is more than free to come up with some more cash from somewhere (I suggest selling thinly cut coke to his church group mates) and buying in. No one is telling Billy he can't buy in except for his own wallet.

Can't is an excuse.™

And yes, by now you know the standard retort to "I'm f'n poor already!" is that someone poorer than you can't get through the gate in the first place. Are we boo-hooing for them?

Nope. Quite the opposite. Most seem to readily accept the idea of higher prices or dynamic pricing that is even more discriminatory at the gate, yet keeps it 'fair' (whatever the hell that means) inside the park.

All I've learned is that, in general, the anti-FOL crowd seems just as selfish as they claim the pro-FOL crowd is.


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Sunday, June 29, 2014 12:59 AM
Rickrollercoaster's avatar

sws said:

Looks like somebody has been hitting the brownies tonight.

I'm probably one of the few people that are actually deathly allergic to marijuana


"It's kind of fun to do the impossible." - Walt Disney
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Sunday, June 29, 2014 1:18 AM
OhioStater's avatar

Well that sucks.

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Sunday, June 29, 2014 10:14 AM

I haven't posted in a while but I feel like I have to on this one. It's too good of a topic to pass up on. I'll give you an example of our park visit to Canobie Lake last weekend.

They don't have a pay to cut system. It clearly says on their park map their policy on line cutting. People were saving spots in line for their friends and family members. Every ride we got on people were cutting and their park staff did absolutely zero about it. It was so annoying.

If they a fastpass system I would've bought it just to avoid that BS. Its a nice park with a good collection of rides.

On the line cutting topic. I don't see it as a class thing either. When I didn't make a lot of money I'd budget for being able to skip the lines. Now its more of a luxury that ill take advantage of when I know a park is going to be crowded.

Last edited by Coasterfantom2, Sunday, June 29, 2014 10:19 AM
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Sunday, June 29, 2014 10:39 AM
ApolloAndy's avatar

Whether people illegally cut the line and enforcement thereof (or whether the park runs rides at capacity or closes rides intentionally, etc.) seems independent of whether FoL is offered.


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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Sunday, June 29, 2014 1:17 PM

Back in 2000 I was in line for the front of Ghostrider. Then some thug and his 12 friends cut to the front. Tacked on 30 minutes to my wait. 'You shouldn't let line cutting subtrack from your experience.' Thats what he said, as the MF who cut in front of me.

Its beyond idiotic to have an on going debate the morality of cutting in line. The general population doesn't do it. It's an international thing that goes beyond culture. Is it true that certain establishments get bribed to allow people to cut. You bet, but it is done on the down low. As you pointed out Gonch, it is the parade of this practice that rubs people the wrong way.

Maybe it is not a class issue at. Maybe the reason majority of people don't buy in to pay-to-cut cause they think it's wrong. Advocates of pay to cut please explain how it benefits the majority of those made to wait. Cause at the end of the day it is the masses who will decide the future of your local amusement park. Are amusement parks going to continue to expand on this practice? Should they be smart about it so it can work for the majority or do you think that doesn't matter?

For instance, I did not mind it when someone was cutting at Disney when it was about free Fastpasses. Or, I didn't mind it as much when I hardly saw these people cutting past, and the number was pretty limited so I did not get the sense my wait time had been extended greatly. It is short sighted self-interest to just say, "Cutting was great for me." Well, of corse it was.

Last edited by RC Madness, Sunday, June 29, 2014 1:28 PM
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