Fast Lane allows line jump at Six Flags Worlds of Adventure

Posted Friday, June 29, 2001 5:06 AM | Contributed by Jeff

In a move that will likely spark controversy among enthusiasts, Six Flags Worlds of Adventure will now offer "Fast Lane" passes for $10, which will allow guests to enter a much shorter line on any five of the park's bigger attractions.

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Monday, July 1, 2019 11:48 AM
birdhombre's avatar

I know it's a typo, but given the context I'm amused that Tek 'queued' Travis rather than cuing him. Fortunately he used FastBuzz so he was right on cue.

Last edited by birdhombre, Monday, July 1, 2019 11:54 AM
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Monday, July 1, 2019 2:51 PM

I wonder why Cedar Point is selling tickets to Michigan residents which include parking, admission and all day drinks for less money than Holiday World charges. Isn't that something parks do when they are desperate for customers? This isn't just a temporary special, either. The ticket stands in Meijer stores up here have those tix available. The way that CF runs their system makes it feel like it's a crapshoot as to whether you will get to ride much because, the more FL passes they sell, the more they sell, the more they sell which means even longer waits for rides. Friends of mine who were at KI were told by a ride op that FL users don't have to wait, at all. They were giving 75% of the seats to FL users.

The thing that made me all warm and fuzzy feeling inside at KI, yesterday, was watching FL users save absolute no time in lines for anything but maybe 15 minutes for Diamondback and 25 minutes for FoF. It just boggles my mind when people buy those passes in advance. But, I guess if people really want to donate to corporations, have at it.

Last edited by zoug68, Monday, July 1, 2019 2:52 PM
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Monday, July 1, 2019 3:24 PM
Tekwardo's avatar

Why did it make you feel anything? I certainly don’t feel warm and fuzzy when my Fusion gets to the red light the same time as the Ferrari beside me does...


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Monday, July 1, 2019 3:34 PM

^^I was surprised the Michigan deal tickets are good all summer. If I recall, CP had a slow May and June last year, so deals up front would make sense and seems to have worked.

I've only made a handful of visits this year (8-10), but on most of those visits, the park has felt busier than I recall seeing this early last year. I'm not sure why they would need to continue that promotion into the rest of the season that wasn't an issue last year, but my extended family has benefited from those discounts so no gripes here.

Should be interesting in about a month to see if it has any impact on the second quarter results.

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Monday, July 1, 2019 4:38 PM
slithernoggin's avatar

zoug68 said:

I wonder why Cedar Point is selling tickets to Michigan residents which include parking, admission and all day drinks for less money than Holiday World charges. Isn't that something parks do when they are desperate for customers?

Desperate? Maybe.

But I'd say it's more likely that Cedar Fair is looking to increase business from Michigan. Many companies charge lower prices on products knowing they'll more than make up on volume what they lose on individual pricing.

Last edited by slithernoggin, Monday, July 1, 2019 4:39 PM

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

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Monday, July 1, 2019 9:11 PM
Fun's avatar

slithernoggin said:

zoug68 said:

I wonder why Cedar Point is selling tickets to Michigan residents which include parking, admission and all day drinks for less money than Holiday World charges. Isn't that something parks do when they are desperate for customers?

Desperate? Maybe.

But I'd say it's more likely that Cedar Fair is looking to increase business from Michigan. Many companies charge lower prices on products knowing they'll more than make up on volume what they lose on individual pricing.

It's not a volume strategy, it's a "something is better than nothing" strategy, and a "it's much harder to gain a new customer than retain one" strategy. Given the low price point, it could lower the barrier to the family booking a hotel room as well.

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Tuesday, July 2, 2019 12:52 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

zoug68 said:

The thing that made me all warm and fuzzy feeling inside at KI, yesterday, was watching FL users save absolute no time in lines for anything but maybe 15 minutes for Diamondback and 25 minutes for FoF. It just boggles my mind when people buy those passes in advance. But, I guess if people really want to donate to corporations, have at it.

Just because I gotta be me and I'm sitting in a hotel room, bored. 😉

Let's assume I ride both of those coasters twice. I have now saved 80 minutes.

Based on what you wrote, I'm assuming the rest of the park was walk-on or very near it.

How long does it take to queue, board, ride and exit in "walk-on" conditions? 5-to-10 minutes?

My 80 saved minutes potentially bought me between 8 and 16 additional rides over the course of my day.

Is that worth the cost of Fastlane? I think I might be able to argue that it is.

I think that might be a discussion we never fully worked through (surprisingly) in the countless FOL topics - what are the expectations when you buy into these systems?


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Tuesday, July 2, 2019 1:48 PM

My expectations haven't been to get the maximum number of rides in. My expectations have been to be able to quickly ditch my family (2 of which aren't yet "big ride" riders), grab a quick lap, and rejoin them all in about 15 minutes or so and continue enjoying my day.

I've used FL+ a few times getting only 5 laps in during the day, and I found a ton of value with this approach. Sure, you could look at it as paying $~20/ride, but I look at it as allowing me to have the best of both worlds - spending time with my young family and getting some rides in.

Even on slow days where I might only save on average 30 minutes per ride, that's worth it to me.


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Tuesday, July 2, 2019 2:35 PM

If I am at a park I frequent or semi-frequent and have ridden everything there countless times, my expectation when purchasing a FOL pass is to power ride. I usually spring for FOL in this case if I am by myself or with someone who I know will power ride with me. Last time I got FL+ at Cedar Point, I scored double digit Maverick rides, 4 or 5 Steel Vengeance rides (with a solid 30 minute wait for all but one of them), a half dozen Dragster rides, and several Millennium Force rides with the typical bottom of the ramp line when the regular wait was 60-70 minutes.

If I am at a new to me park, the FOL pass is there to give me a chance to experience as much as possible and to not spend time in line, but rather walking through the park and exploring.

There are also some parks I get to once a year or once every few years with local restaurants out of the park I look forward to visiting as much as the park itself. A FOL pass gives me the chance to leave the park for 2-3 hours and still have plenty of time.

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Tuesday, July 2, 2019 9:47 PM
slithernoggin's avatar

Yes, but...

You were able to afford admission to the park. Not everyone can. I don't see the difference between guests purchasing what they can afford.


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

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Tuesday, July 2, 2019 10:25 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

hambone said:

I'll have Travis's back here and say I'm opposed to the FOL passes on principle.

There's a lot to unpack there and I'm not going to quote it all.

Most of your post comes down to this - the business model changed.

Capacity is a set number.

Traditionally, parks either made you pay to enter and then distributed it on a first come, first serve basis or let you enter for free and purchase the available capacity a la carte (think parks that use ride tickets).

This is a new (20 year old) hybrid approach. You can still wait for unpurchased capacity to become available by standing in line or you can purchase some of the available ride capacity (or increased access to it as the case may be).

This is why the airline, hotel, concert tickets, or similar arguments don't quite make sense. You're not purchasing additional access to a finite resource in those cases. You're purchasing a different quality of the same product. You wouldn't want access to more rooms or airplane seats or concert seats - you just want access to better ones in those cases. It'd actually be more like buying a "first class" coaster ticket that included a cushioned seat and pillow neckrest and allowed you to board the train first.

Off the top of my head I can't think of a comparable situation (although I feel like there has to be - and they're gonna be painfully obvious when someone posts them) where there's a finite number of X and we buy different levels or increased access to those.

The problem is that after 20 years we're still making the wrong comparisons and getting angry over those apple vs oranges comparisons.

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Tuesday, July 2, 2019 10:40 PM
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Wednesday, July 3, 2019 7:34 AM

Gonch, we agree - these are not good comparisons! That’s exactly my point!

(And before I go further, let me acknowledge being a little provocative in my comment. I’m not hugely angry about the situation, but I do think it sucks - it puts me in a position of having a worse experience or making other people have a worse experience. Ugh - not a great choice.)

And we agree that the business model has changed. I just don’t think it’s a good business model, either from the standpoint of the customer experience or the business. It creates weird incentives: the longer they make lines, the more they can charge for the FOL pass! It alienates - what? - 80% of your customers, some of whom will not return, or not return as frequently. And it isn’t clear to me that it’s helping the bottom line much.

And, we agree that it’s a question of how to allocate scarce goods. I just don’t think it’s a very good approach - on principle. Yes, I’m fortunate in that I can afford a $60 gate as easily as a $50 gate; maybe I’d feel differently if I couldn’t.

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Wednesday, July 3, 2019 8:58 AM

Hmm... I’m thinking of my local casual dining restaurant or steakhouse that lets me “call ahead” on their corporate app. So I drive the 5 miles and when we arrive we are sent to a table while the the poor saps who walk in with me are told 25-30 minute wait. Same restaurant, same number of tables, same capacity.

Does this count? Maybe it’s actually less like FL+ at CP than the first tier SF offer that is basically a place holder. I dunno.

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Wednesday, July 3, 2019 9:09 AM

I think there is a tendency to view FOL systems through the eyes of an enthusiast which overstates the impact and more importantly the perceived impact of them.

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Wednesday, July 3, 2019 10:06 AM

Plus, keep in mind, all of those guests with FOL passes would have been in line with you anyway. It’s not like that batch of guests in the park wouldn’t be doing rides at all. Sure - the point in the regular queue that marked a 30 minute wait prior to a FOL system may now mark a 35 or 40 minute wait. But without FOL, the regular queue would just be a bit longer in length. The number of enthusiasts or kids who are passing you by time and again power riding is not making a significant difference.

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Wednesday, July 3, 2019 11:01 AM

I think in reality that FOL access is an issue at the most popular attractions at the most popular parks.

There's a reason that Cedar Point and the Disney parks are mentioned so frequently in these kinds of discussions. I'll stick with Cedar Point for the sake of this conversation. There are very few discussions about how Fast Lane has impacted the second-tier rides there, like Iron Dragon, Gemini, etc. The discussions almost always revolve around the rides that get the most Fast Lane action - Steel Vengeance, Maverick, Millennium Force and Top Thrill Dragster. I don't think that anyone can in good faith argue that Fast Lane usage at the most popular rides doesn't impact the standby wait times for these rides. It does. The debate is in just how much it does impact the standby wait times.

Fast Lane is by its very nature a relative proposition. If Fast Lane wait times were the same or longer than standby wait times, then Fast Lane would have no value. The value of Fast Lane increases as the difference between the Fast Lane wait times and standby wait times widens. Cedar Point understands this, which is one of the reasons why they give so much of the ride capacity - up to 50% - to Fast Lane users. They need to keep the gap between the Fast Lane wait times and standby wait times as wide as possible so as to keep the perceived value proposition high.

Let's be honest. There are very few Fast Lane users that don't think about how much time they're saving by having Fast Lane versus waiting in the standby line. Fast Laners will always justify their purchase by this metric, because it's literally the only tangible and objective thing they can use to measure the quality of their decision to purchase it. It gets back to the original premise - that everything is relative.

The more interesting question going forward is how can you balance both the need for a shorter FOL line and moving standby guests through at a decent pace on the most popular attractions? Is there a realistic scenario in which that can happen?

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Wednesday, July 3, 2019 11:19 AM
Tekwardo's avatar

How is your experience worse simply because of FOL?

The ONLY time I’ve had a worse experience was a couple times early when SF had introduced it and they weren’t managing it correctly. But that wasn’t because of FOL it was poor management.

You still got to go to a park. If you buy first class tickets on a plane, sure, you both get there at the same time. Nicer hotel/room? Sure your hotel/room isn’t diminished.

But if the flight or hotel is over booked? They’re not going to cancel the reservation of the person who paid more. Then you didn’t arrive at the same time. Then you may not have a room at all.

So im not sure how that makes much different or it’s an apples to oranges comparison. You pay for better access in all cases. You’re not guaranteed access in all cases, but you’re prioritized over others that did it pay more for better access.


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Wednesday, July 3, 2019 11:44 AM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Gary Dowdell said:

Let's be honest. There are very few Fast Lane users that don't think about how much time they're saving by having Fast Lane versus waiting in the standby line. Fast Laners will always justify their purchase by this metric, because it's literally the only tangible and objective thing they can use to measure the quality of their decision to purchase it. It gets back to the original premise - that everything is relative.

I disagree entirely. And that's kinda why I posed the question as to what people seek to achieve with FOL access.

The reason I disagree is that systems exist that simply "hold your place" rather than allowing actual FOL access.

We can run a million hypotheticals about what the actual guest does while they're virtually in line (and one could be ride other attractions - which goes back to time saving), but there are plenty of others.

While we haven't visited a park as a family in years, when we did regularly we were in a situation closer to what djDaemon describes above with riders and non-riders and the need to split up. This made it more convenient for us with the ability to not waste an hour standing in line. In this case, the Disney and basic SF systems were terrific. We weren't looking to maximize rides, just avoid the physical standing in line...and sometimes that time would be spent on other attractions that we could all ride.

The difference in the "reservation" and "front of line" systems is another variable.

"The more interesting question going forward is how can you balance both the need for a shorter FOL line and moving standby guests through at a decent pace on the most popular attractions? Is there a realistic scenario in which that can happen?"

I'd argue that it's perfectly acceptable as it is.

But if it's not, then price is the obvious regulator of a hard FOL access system. Other ptions would be reserved times or reserved/limited rides (like a ticket system - didn't Busch Gardens use something like this where their FOL got you a ride on each attraction), but still those feel like solutions looking for problems.

GoBucks89 said:

I think there is a tendency to view FOL systems through the eyes of an enthusiast which overstates the impact and more importantly the perceived impact of them.

Yeah. Not only enthusiasts, but also old people. Basically because we have a solid point of reference to compare to in our experience with pre-FOL days (aka: The Dark Ages).

The systems have been around long enought that the kids only know this world. We sound like old fogeys complaining that MTV used to play music. It's just how parks operate now and have for upwards of two decades in many cases.

Which, incidentally, is about how long it's been since MTV played music.


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Wednesday, July 3, 2019 12:42 PM

GoBucks89 said:

I think there is a tendency to view FOL systems through the eyes of an enthusiast which overstates the impact and more importantly the perceived impact of them.

^This^! And I think this is the case with a number of topics we discuss here. The typical park visitor doesn't care some of the things we get bent out of shape over. They go to parks expecting crowds, heat, waiting in line, spending a lot of money on food and drinks.

Every time I read that "FOL programs double wait times" I scratch my head. If those programs didn't exist, wouldn't the people that are using them be waiting in line somewhere anyway?


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Wednesday, July 3, 2019 12:52 PM

Lord Gonchar said:

I disagree entirely. And that's kinda why I posed the question as to what people seek to achieve with FOL access.

The reason I disagree is that systems exist that simply "hold your place" rather than allowing actual FOL access.

This is true at places that offer Q-Bots or similar reservation devices. This is not true at places that require wristbands, tickets, etc. where FOL access requires users to physically stand in line. If FOL access requires you to stand in line, the only thing that makes that access valuable is if your waits are shorter than the alternative - in this case - standby wait times. There's no other value proposition in those situations, except for perhaps shorter walks to the ride station.

Places that use Q-Bots or other digital reservation devices are a different story. It changes the value proposition because you can be in two places at once. The advantage of these systems is that they can regulate the supply of FOL access riders on the most popular attractions because of the reservation times. That's one of the reasons I prefer Six Flags way of handing FOL access compared with Cedar Fair. Six Flags system - and Disney to similar but lesser degree - is just much more fair for all affected parties.

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