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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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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Wednesday, July 3, 2019 1:07 PM

bigboy said:

Not necessarily. On some of the most popular coasters at CP the standby queue can suffer substantially due to two things - the management of the mix of FL and standby, and repeat FL riders. So if the mix is 50/50, you are now waiting twice as long as you otherwise would have. And if some of those are repeat riders, they're getting in a few laps before you even get one.

And I say this as an unabashed fan of FL.

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Wednesday, July 3, 2019 1:18 PM

Gary Dowdell said:

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.

I know. You just didn't quote that part of my post.

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.

Absolutely.

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.

Still with you. Still things I said or assumed were understood in my post.

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.

1. For Six Flags, reservation times are based on current wait times. The assumption is that if the line is a 30 minute wait, your reservation will be for 30 minutes from now. You can use this time to get in another line. You're still buying capacity ahead of standby folks if you use it in this way.

2. SF offers upcharges to the upcharges (Gold & Platinum) where the wait time is reduced and reservation times are cut to a fraction. Gold cuts the reservation time by 50% (a 30 minute line nets you a 15 minute reservation) and Platinum a 90% cut (a 30 minute line nets you a 3 minute reservation). And if you're a passholder with the Platinum Flashpass, you get a second ride for one wait.

And you can still double up on lines - which you can't do with the wristband "hard" FOL systems. Which means you can cut your wait and stand in two lines at once, then ride twice if you're a passholder. Which actually makes these systems less fair and much worse for the standby guest.

I mean, if a popular coaster has a 90 minute wait and I'm a passholder with a Platinum Flashpass, I can reserve a 10 minute reservation when you enter the queue. I can then skip next door an take a quick lap on a less popular flat ride or coaster. Come back and ride the popular coaster twice. I've gotten three rides while you're stood in the queue for 10 or 15 minutes of a 90 minute wait.

If I'm a maniac, I can pull this off upwards of 6, 7 or even 8 times in that 90 minute period - netting me 18 or 20 or more ride laps to your one.

bigboy said:

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?

Somewhere? Yes.

But FOL allows them to purchase capacity at a more than 1-to-1 ratio. (even with reservation-style systems because the time spent waiting for your equal reservation time can be used to acquire capacity on other rides)

Any number we toss out there is simply a hypothetical and we can design whatever scenario we want with hypothetical numbers. So I'm hesitant to even speculate on actual math. We just don't know exactly how it plays out on any given day in any given park except to say, FOL users get access to more of the available ride capacity. Beyond that, we're filling in blanks with guesses and speculation. (which I admittedly did above in the Six Flags Platinum scenario)

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Wednesday, July 3, 2019 1:20 PM
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Wednesday, July 3, 2019 1:19 PM

I get how repeat riders can increase your wait time, but I bet riders riding like that are the exception and not the rule. If they are running a 50/50 mix of FOL vs. standby, isn't it entirely possibly that, without a FOL system, those same 50 out of 100 riders are still waiting in line in front of you? Or waiting in front of you in another line later? I can't see how the cumulative time in line over a whole day isn't the same.

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Wednesday, July 3, 2019 1:26 PM

I find the idea that non- enthusiasts won’t notice the FOL people a little weird. They’re right there! There are ads all over the park about it! It’s in the park’s interest to make you notice them and feel envy. If you aren’t made a little miserable by waiting in your slow/non-moving line, they’re doing it wrong!

And yes, if half the seats in the train are going to FOL peeps, your wait is (almost) twice as long. Some of them would be in front of you in any case, but they are, as noted, taking multiple rides for your one. (And it’s worse than that, because your exposure to mechanical breakdown is increased.)

It’s true, the kids don’t know any different. They don’t know a world without facebook, relentless standardized testing, school shootings and (as long as I’m getting totally ridiculously disproportionate) the existential threat of climate change. I’m probably yelling at clouds. The clouds still suck.

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Wednesday, July 3, 2019 1:40 PM

bigboy said:

I get how repeat riders can increase your wait time, but I bet riders riding like that are the exception and not the rule.

That's one of these variables we can only speculate on. It's a fair enough assumption on your part, but it's equally fair to assume multiple rides (of whatever degree) in the same time as a standby rider.

I can't see how the cumulative time in line over a whole day isn't the same.

If you're just taking the same number of rides and using the FOL to spend less time in lines, then - and only then - yes.

But any additional saved time used to get on another ride - any time at all, just a tiny fraction of that saved wait time - means additional waits.

FOL has a cumulative effect. You save time, which gives you more time to save time. It's like reinvesting interest earned on an investment. The idea that you're not going to reinvest at least some portion of that saved time seems unlikely. And the second you reinvest that saved time, you're creating additional waits for those not playing the FOL market.

And, let's be clear here. Additional waits is just a different way of saying reduced capacity.

I still think that's where we look at this wrong. The effect on the guest might be seen as time, but the reality of what's happening is that a park has a certain capacity available each day. FOL allows guests to purchase some of that capacity. It reduces the capacity available to standby riders...which manifests on their end as additional wait times.

No one complains in a pay-per-ride park, but the same thing is happening. People are buying capacity at different levels.

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Wednesday, July 3, 2019 1:48 PM

hambone said:

I find the idea that non- enthusiasts won’t notice the FOL people a little weird. They’re right there! There are ads all over the park about it! It’s in the park’s interest to make you notice them and feel envy. If you aren’t made a little miserable by waiting in your slow/non-moving line, they’re doing it wrong!

I didn't say they didn't notice, just that they don't care as much as some like to think. Are there non-enthusiasts that get worked up over people paying for premium services that appear to inconvenience them? Sure. But for every one of those, there are 10 that are completely apathetic. This has come up in threads about crowds at Disney parks. Some like to assume that everyone at a crowded Disney park waiting in a line is absolutely miserable and I would contend that is simply not true. Does the average park goer like waiting in line? Of course not, but most people go in knowing that's part of the experience.

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Wednesday, July 3, 2019 2:56 PM

I fail to understand what the fuss is about. FL is a matter of practicality. Take my recent visit to Carowinds, which I tend to visit once a year. My flight didn't arrive in Charlotte until about 4pm; by the time I got Lyft to pick me up at the airport and take me to my hotel, dropped off my luggage and made it to Carowinds it was 5:30. That allowed me exactly 4 1/2 hours to spend at the park, including the time it took to get something to eat. Without FL I would have been lucky to get in 3 or 4 rides. Without FL there would have been little point in making the trip.

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Thursday, July 4, 2019 1:22 AM

slithernoggin said:

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.

This is what it comes down to for me when people complain about others with more money being able to afford FOL access.

To someone else, you're just someone with more money that can afford to go to an amusement park, or someone with more money that can afford a burger when they're there, or someone with more money that can afford a car to get you there.

Where do you draw the line on what's unfair?

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Thursday, July 4, 2019 10:15 AM

I think that’s a total irrelevancy. It’s not about the money, for me personally or as a matter of principle. In the context of what I spent at CP last summer, the cost of a FOL pass was trivial.

I think it’s a lousy way to ration a scarce good, to say “we’re going to take 50% of our capacity and hand it to this small group of people, so they can have an overabundance while the majority of you suffer.” It wouldn’t matter if they apportioned it by price or lottery or alphabetical order. It’s sanctioned selfishness.

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Thursday, July 4, 2019 11:22 AM

Isn’t it really quantity vs. quality that a FOL pass gets you? It was said earlier that spending more for a first class seat or a hotel suite isn’t the best analogy, but I think it can be with the right perspective. Spending more for first class on a flight gets you a higher quality experience. FOL gets you a higher quantity experience. For those who don’t spend extra for those perks, they either wait longer to ride or sit in less comfortable seats (and don’t get hot towels). Fewer rides per visit vs. less room to move. Time vs. comfort. What’s the difference?I’ve purchased exactly one FOL perk and it was really useful...and I didn’t feel guilty using it. But I usually opt to save that money and plan my park visits on days that are generally less crowded.

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Thursday, July 4, 2019 10:58 PM

hambone said:

I think it’s a lousy way to ration a scarce good, to say “we’re going to take 50% of our capacity and hand it to this small group of people, so they can have an overabundance while the majority of you suffer.”

In practice, this isn't what happens. The people who will marathon are a rounding error. So the people using Fast Lane would be in line regardless, while the capacity of the ride does not change.

Having more rides of is what works out. I guarantee your non-premium wait is shorter now than it was for Magnum in 1999, by a lot.

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Friday, July 5, 2019 10:44 AM

Bobbie1951 said:

Without FL there would have been little point in making the trip.

If FL weren't an option at all, would you have taken the trip? Or maybe you would have structured it a bit differently to allow you more time to experience the park better?

Your "trip" was a one-night affair with 4 hours in the park, so of course getting FL was part of the deal. There aren't many people, especially outside the enthusiast community, who would even entertain the thought of doing that, much less the disposable income to do it if they wanted.

I get the appeal of FOL to those who use it. The one time I had it with our Disney wristbands, it was great knowing we could show up at a pre-determined time and almost walk directly on the ride. Knowing you could spend less time in a ride queue is a great attraction to getting one. But, I've never even seriously considered getting one. The few times I've looked at their prices, I was amazed at the premium for it, even with the benefits it provided. I hate crowds, but as long as a line is actually moving, I've never hated waiting for a coaster.

When we were in a place when money was tight, I'd look at the FOLers and think "What a waste of money. If I could afford to buy one, there'd be so much more I'd rather spend it on - like another day at the park." Even now, with money not nearly as much as a hindrance, as I theoretically plan future trips with my family to new parks, I'd rather factor in a two-day ticket over a fast lane pass.

But I don't hold any negative feelings to the FOLers. They factored in their options and found it to be worth it. I'm happy they're having fun. I will hold some grudge, however, at how parks handle the FOL. If it's severely limiting those of us in the regular line, then there's a problem. Of course, they deserve some easier access, but there needs to be a limit - even 50/50 is doable in many situations.

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Friday, July 5, 2019 9:55 PM

I cant believe how many people are upset about this then and even now. I look at the people who pay for FL as people who are making my experience at the park better for the future. I would assume that extra revenue is going back into the park for more rides and/or theming. How do feel about the people who stay on site at a premium hotel and get in an hour before you? Pitchfork them?

I do understand the complaint about multiple laps and wish they had something where you can only do 2 rides in an hour for the same ride.

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Saturday, July 6, 2019 7:05 AM

Until you have purchased a FOL pass and want to ride something three times in an hour.

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Saturday, July 6, 2019 7:51 AM

Before creating a solution for a problem, you first have to determine if its a problem. I am not sure if people power riding with FoL access passes is a problem. Not sure how many people actually do that (from what I have seen, I think its less common than many people think). May well be the enthusiast eyes issue again (given the opportunity, enthusiasts would tend to power ride). Could actually be an issue but not something I know. Parks should have info on that.

With electronic systems, you can more easily put such limits in place. But if its not a problem, why pay to put in an electronic system?

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Saturday, July 6, 2019 9:57 AM

I think many of y’all are deliberately not understanding this.

Let’s say I get to a ride with a capacity of 1200 folks per hour at 11 am. In the Standby line ahead of me are 1000 proles. In another line are another 200 people who have paid for priority. With 1200 people in line in front of me, my wait should be an hour.

BUT, in the hour that I’m waiting, another 400 BougiePass buyers have joined the queue and been accommodated, making 600 proles and 600 bourgeoisie that have been served. (That’s the ratio I was seeing at CP; others have noted it above). There are still 400 proles in front of me; my wait has been extended 20 minutes. But, in those 20 minutes only 200 proles ride, because another 200 BougiePassers have come along and been served. I still have 10 minutes to go. And in those 10 minutes ... by this time I feel like Zeno’s arrow.

It does not matter if the BougiePassers are marathoning or skipping from ride to ride. They are still arriving at the ride after me and riding before me, lengthening my wait.

As for the idea that the BougiePass buyers are making my ticket more affordable: if you’re living in a world where management says, “we’re making so much from these FOL passes, let’s give the poors a break and lower our gate price” - well, there are any number of Disney pricing threads you could read through. The only way FOL passes are making the plebeian tickets cheaper is if they’re degrading the product so much that the parks have to lower their prices. That’s not a good bargain to me.

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Saturday, July 6, 2019 12:07 PM

hambone said:

BUT, in the hour that I’m waiting, another 400 BougiePass buyers have joined the queue and been accommodated, making 600 proles and 600 bourgeoisie that have been served. (That’s the ratio I was seeing at CP; others have noted it above). There are still 400 proles in front of me; my wait has been extended 20 minutes. But, in those 20 minutes only 200 proles ride, because another 200 BougiePassers have come along and been served. I still have 10 minutes to go. And in those 10 minutes ... by this time I feel like Zeno’s arrow.

At this rate you'll be on in infinity minutes. 😉

You're overcomplicating it.

If the ride has a capacity of 1200pph and the FOL line stays full enough to consisently give it 50% of the capacity, then your wait time will be 1 hour and 40 minutes under your assumptions.

600 people from the prole line in each hour. You're the 400th person in the second 600 (per your example).

But, again, if the FOL line ever dips enough to need less than 50% of any given train's capacity, you'll move quicker.

As the 1000th person in line for a ride that does 1200pph with a FOL line that consisently uses 50% of the capacity, your wait will be 1hr 40m. (and that's the conclusion you'd have come to if you continued your example one more level)

But this example makes a lot of assumptions about the FOL rate and time of arrival. Why would the FOL line be at a 1-to-5 ratio when you arrive (200 Bougie, 1000 Prole), but suddenly change to a 1-to-1 ratio once you're in line (400 arrive while 400 are served)?

Regardless, the FOL line never needs more than 50% of one train's seats in it at any given time to use half the capacity of the ride. (16 people on an 8-car B&M train)

Capacity is all that matters in doing the math.

It does not matter if the BougiePassers are marathoning or skipping from ride to ride. They are still arriving at the ride after me and riding before me, lengthening my wait.

But the capacity of the ride never changes. It absolutely matters whether they ride more than they would without the FOL access. In fact, it's the only thing that matters.

If they are riding more laps than they would without, they're taking seats from non-paying guests. Someone is getting less rides.

If they are riding the same number of laps as they would without, no one is being shorted rides, it's just the order in which everyone rides that changes.

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Saturday, July 6, 2019 12:11 PM
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Saturday, July 6, 2019 12:55 PM

I always assume that 50% of the train is for GP and 50% for fast lane. If you look at it that way how is your time getting any longer? Capacity doesnt change..

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Saturday, July 6, 2019 1:04 PM

Dale K said:

I always assume that 50% of the train is for GP and 50% for fast lane. If you look at it that way how is your time getting any longer? Capacity doesnt change..

Now I have to play the other side.

If an individual Fastlane user gets back in the FOL line at any time less than the length of the GP line, they're taking capacity quicker than the GP and reducing the capacity available to the GP riders.

However, on the whole, what you say is technically true. If capacity is split 50/50, then it is what it is regardless of who is boarding. But most discussion centers on the effect to the individual.

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Saturday, July 6, 2019 1:22 PM
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