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.

Sunday, June 29, 2014 1:33 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

RC Madness said:

Its beyond idiotic to have an on going debate the morality of cutting in line.

Yes, it is. Because no one is cutting in line. It's a separate line with a different level of access - and this sort of thing happens everywhere.

As you pointed out Gonch, it is the parade of this practice that rubs people the wrong way.

Yep. Because everywhere else the businesses are able to do this without it being quite so blatant. It feels more like a perceived slight the way parks do it now - however, Disney will have changed this in the future. They're getting closer and closer everyday.

The key will be to eliminate the line. If you don't know your place in line, you have no idea who is getting what.

This is why we don't notice it so much in everyday life - it happens in places where the order is not so obvious or blurred or a gray area of some kind.

For instance, I did not mind it when someone was cutting at Disney when it was about free Fastpasses.

Yeah, a lot of people feel this way. Somehow when you make money the decider, the panties start to bunch up. Something has to decide who becomes a have and who stays a have-not. Seems like most of the haters are ok with that something being anything but money.

I don't get it. Then again, I don't have to.

Just short sighted self-interest to say "Cutting was great for me." Well, of corse it was.

My estimate is that I've not used FOL access compared to using FOL access at a rate of about 30-to-1. In my life, I've bought in probably once out of every 30 trips I've made.

I'm entirely ok with the system.


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Sunday, June 29, 2014 2:35 PM

N0, wrong again. Separate lines that merge into the same ride is still cutting. Great that you are able to twist your head it into thinking it is something else. Most people don't have that skill. Twilight Zone had an elevator specific to Fastpassers, that was separate. Maybe parks can advertise every third train is for FOL access only.

As for my experience of pay-to-cut in other venues, I don't see it. But I'm in the north west so maybe its more formalized everywhere else. I hear you Gonch. I get you don't buy into that system all that often. But stop suggesting I'm playing a victim hear. I'm challenging the idea that greater access to line skipping has no relationship to those having to wait. Not true.

Again, as a park enthusiast I'm looking at the issue of diminished return for the masses who don't buy into it for whatever reason. Maybe you think they are big fans of it, or that it doesn't matter if they think it sucks that people cut. I think it matters if people in general don't like it but put up with it, or just choose not to go.

Last edited by RC Madness, Sunday, June 29, 2014 2:46 PM
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Sunday, June 29, 2014 2:43 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

If the parks had a system in which you could get $20 off your ticket, but you had to get punched by someone who paid $50 more, would that be unfair? Clearly not. Because you know exactly what you're getting when you pay and they know exactly what they're getting when they pay. In a different situation, punching someone is clearly immoral, but when they sign up for it, it's just part of the deal.

Madness' madness (anger) and madness (insanity) aside, I don't understand enthusiast aversion to Pay-to-cut. When I go to my home park, I don't care AT ALL what I ride and when I go anywhere else, I'm usually already dropping hundreds (possibly thousands) of dollars in travel, room, and tickets for a few hours in the park. You'd think dropping another $50 to double my rides would be the greatest thing ever.


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Sunday, June 29, 2014 2:49 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

RC Madness said:

Again, as a park enthusiast I'm looking at the issue of diminished return for the masses who don't buy into it for whatever reason. Maybe you think they are big fans of it, or that it doesn't matter if they think it sucks that people cut. I think it matters if people in general don't like it but put up with it, or just choose not to go.

This is by far the biggest difference in our world views. Having taken somewhere around 50-60 different friends to the park (often through church trips), the super vast majority of them don't even think about it. It's like expensive food and rides shutting down periodically. It's just part of the experience and most people can't imagine a park without it. In fact, most of my friends complain way more about the parking fee than anything else.

Also, a running joke around here is the number of people claiming <such and such decision> will finally drive away a large proportion of the customer base of the parks and they'll be forced to reverse it. A decade later and it's clearly not hurting any park anywhere.

Last edited by ApolloAndy, Sunday, June 29, 2014 2:51 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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Sunday, June 29, 2014 2:54 PM

No, you're right. I deserve to get punched in the face if I went to that park. Its just not the park I'd choose to go to. Cut, punch people in the face, whatever tickles your fancy. If you are willing to pay, I am sure some parks will try to accommodate. Again, I'm there for the rides and to see everyone have a good time. Just different I guess.

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Sunday, June 29, 2014 3:01 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

RC Madness said:

N0, wrong again. Separate lines that merge into the same ride is still cutting. Great that you are able to twist your head it into thinking it is something else. Most people don't have that skill. Twilight Zone had an elevator specific to Fastpassers, that was separate. Maybe parks can advertise every third train is for FOL access only.

12 of one or a dozen of another.

It's the exact same effect. You're hung up on the semantics of how it works.

As for my experience of pay-to-cut in other venues, I don't see it.

Exactly. Which is why it doesn't bother you.

RC Madness said:

Again, I'm there for the rides and to see everyone have a good time. Just different I guess.

So is everyone else. And we're all having that good time. Like Andy said, the complaints in discussions like this just aren't the reality of a real-world visit.

You're the exception.


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Sunday, June 29, 2014 3:49 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Double post.

So why is FOL an issue but this same outrage doesn't exists for upcharge rides? I mean, that's not even giving access to everyone, just those that pay more.

Or what about Knoebels POP. It's $36. Unless you want access to the wooden coasters - then it's $44. All those elitist bastards paying an extra $8 to access rides that my basic admission doesn't include. *shakes fist angrily*

The point of contention is the line. Once there's a line everyone goes in order dagnabbit! Everyone has pretty much confirmed that it's not the additional access that's the issue (no complaints about upcharge access or schemes like Knoebels and potential support for higher gateprices) - so it's not really an issue of haves vs have-nots. It's an issue of where the line is drawn and allowing the two to coexist.

That's so weird to me.

And what if they lowered the basic admission instead of making FOL cost more? Would there be less butthurt? Is the perceived slight that waits are longer for the same price. Perhaps the cost WAS indirectly lowered by having it not rise as quickly?

Or what if they built identical attractions, but one was for preferred access and always had a line that was a fraction of the other?

Or what if they simply changed the name of the admission tickets and forced the FOL upcharge at the gate selling two different admission tickets - a stand-by or basic admission for the current gate price and an platinum or preferred admission ticket for the current gate + FOL? What if it were simply sold as such from the second you arrive? End result is the same, but the semantics have changed.

There's so many shades of grey.


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Sunday, June 29, 2014 5:47 PM

I'd like to add that Disney was, indeed, a different experience. I didn't feel bad about line cutting with my FastPass, either. Not because it was free, though, but because I only got to do it three times in a day. For the other eleven rides and shows we took in at each park we got to watch others do it. Oh, well.

I think I'd rather pay more and get to do it all damn day. If I feel like it.

Last edited by RCMAC, Sunday, June 29, 2014 5:49 PM
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Sunday, June 29, 2014 8:10 PM
Tekwardo's avatar

It's offensive to see FOL access compared to attempted murder and sexual assault.


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Sunday, June 29, 2014 9:12 PM
sirloindude's avatar

I do find it interesting that it gets this much coverage when few parks ever get super-crowded enough for this to even matter. I can only think of maybe 10-20 parks nationwide (counting all of the Disney parks individually) that are regarded as being packed on a regular basis and even then they all have well-documented times of year when they're empty as well.

Last edited by sirloindude, Sunday, June 29, 2014 9:13 PM

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Sunday, June 29, 2014 10:48 PM
Pete's avatar

RC Madness said:
N0, wrong again. Separate lines that merge into the same ride is still cutting.

If that's true, then which line is doing the cutting, the regular line or the Fast Lane line? All those regular line people are cutting in on the Fast Lane merge point. Shouldn't people who paid more not be disrespected like that by people who bought the cheap tickets?

Last edited by Pete, Sunday, June 29, 2014 10:49 PM

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Sunday, June 29, 2014 11:17 PM
sws's avatar

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Sunday, June 29, 2014 11:56 PM
slithernoggin's avatar

Lord Gonchar said:

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

And this gets to the point that I have trouble wrapping my brain around.

I just don't understand how people -- the anti-FOL crowd -- are comfortable complaining that people have who chosen to use their disposable income to purchase FOL access are unfairly taking advantage of those who have not purchased FOL access.... when those same anti-FOL folks have chosen to use their disposable income to purchase preferential access to the park. It just seems, well, hypocritical to me.

If someone who doesn't approve of buying FOL access walks up to the gate of a park and buys a ticket, they're using their disposable income to buy something that many people can't afford. If they use a season pass to gain access to the park, or buy tickets online and bypass the ticket booths...they've bought something that many can't afford.


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Monday, June 30, 2014 12:17 AM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Or early ride time for passholders (or whatever the perk may be).

You purchased additional access to the rides. You're allowed into the park to ride when other people aren't even allowed inside, let alone into a slower moving line.

There's a ton of examples.


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Monday, June 30, 2014 12:28 AM
LostKause's avatar

The park is accepting bribes. They post a sign in the queue that tells people to not cut in line and then right under it have another sign advertising a way to pay them to be able to cut.

Line cutting is not a sporting event. Find the nearest cut pass sales location and take advantage or our cut pass today.

Many parks, like Cedar Fair park, have had spokespersons who have said that they offer a cut pass because some people are asking for it. People who do not want to wait in line have been asking the park to take money in exchange to allow them to cut. "I have more money than some of your other guests. I am willing to give it to you if you allow me to break the rules." The park says, "We are a business, and we want more money. We will take you up on that bribe."


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Monday, June 30, 2014 12:40 AM

Hey, suckers, I just got free fries! Where's yours? Oh! You can only afford to go once a year and a pass is too expensive? Oops, sorry! Well, excuse me, but I simply must run now and get ready for my exclusive ride time. Be careful going home! What's that? You're at the campgrounds up the road? Well, maybe I'll see you tomorrow. I'm at the Breakers using my passholder's discount. I know, let's meet at 9:30 at Slingshot for cheap rides. Ooooooh, shucks, that's right...my bad.....

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Monday, June 30, 2014 12:45 AM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

^^But I'm not sure it's cutting in line. It's separate access.

That's where you're missing the point. You go into a separate entrance.

Those with FOL wait in turn in their line and those without wait in turn in the stand-by line. No one is cutting in front of anyone, they're in different lines.

And I still don't understand why "luck of the draw" is ok when it's clearly not fair to everyone. What if I get lucky and hit lines at better times than you. I could easily be waiting less in general than you because I hit rides at time when lines are shorter. Is it unfair that I might have gotten more rides than you based on dumb luck even though we paid the same? If anything it's more unfair than you guys claim FOL is - at least with FOL that guy who got way more rides than you paid for it. Heck, a smart park visitor might even know how to play the crowd to get more rides than the average visitor...no different than they might buy FOL to get more rides.

Still not sure why the basic concepts suddenly change and become 'bad' when money exchanges hands.


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Monday, June 30, 2014 7:08 AM
Tekwardo's avatar

It's not a bribe it's a business model.

Stop trying to make it immoral.

It would be a lot easier to accept the opinion of not liking FOL access if the people complaining (and from what I see it's multiple people) weren't using it to be totally selfish and hypocritical.

It's not an issue of morality.


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Monday, June 30, 2014 8:24 AM
Bakeman31092's avatar

I was at CP last night and got in line for Gatekeeper at about 9:45 pm. The line was basically right at the Fast Lane merge point, yet the "elites" were still going through the FL entrance. Same thing was happening at Magnum. So maybe those of you that hate the system can take solace in the fact that a lot of people waste their money on these passes.

Last edited by Bakeman31092, Monday, June 30, 2014 8:26 AM
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Monday, June 30, 2014 8:58 AM

And you're assuming everyone has the queue setup memorized like some of us might. Instead, I see where a FastLane holder gets to a ride, knows they need to enter at a certain spot and does so without regard to where the merge point might be. They might feel foolish once they get there and realize, but I doubt it. "Elites" are like that, you know.

It's also difficult to point at somebody and tell them they wasted their money, especially at 9:45p. For all you know that band saved them all kinds of time through the day while you waited. Or, maybe they didn't get there until 5p and were able to bust out all the big rides without waiting, adding value to their short visit. I was in sales for years and the number one rule was never assume you know how people can or should spend their money.

A few weeks ago I treated a friend to a day at Kings Island. She hadn't been in years and we were looking forward to a "do it all day". When we got to the lot we were dismayed to see about 90 school busses and a huge crowd of kids at the gate. We decided right away to spring for FastLane+, knowing it would at least save us from spending tons of time waiting in the midst of high school kids and their antics. And it did. We accessed the major rides right away when standby lines were long. We also went on quite a few flats and rides like the Eiffel Tower and the train. Those rides were often a walk on, but we went ahead and used the FL entrance anyway, just to be silly, and woo-hoo'd the whole time. Maybe the five other people in line rolled their eyes at us when we went first, but we didn't care. We spent our money the way we wanted, had time to have a couple of beers and watch the Reds, and rode all the rides we wanted to. Twice.

My friend said it was one of the best amusement park days she'd ever had. Thanks, Kings Island and FastLane+!

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