Fast Lane Plus coming to Cedar Point

Friday, April 5, 2013 11:50 AM
Tekwardo's avatar

Yeah I gotta go with Jeff. I've seen people buy Fastlane on days that I'm reriding a bunch of times, and it's not affecting me at all. There are definitely days that people buy fastlane and the like without the need. Then you're paying a premium for something that the 'regular joe' gets for free. But it's always kind of been that way.

You could go and pay $54 to get into a park on a dead day before queue mgt or FOL passes were sold but becuase of differing factors get a few rides in, or you could go on another day for the same price and power ride the new offering and everything else.

I look at it more like now they're just giving people the ability to pay when they can't come on the dead days.


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Friday, April 5, 2013 12:53 PM

I also think that with the Lo-Q systems and FastLane that if you're concerned about the money, you have to look at a few things:

1) There are so many discounts that one can obtain that decrease the overall cost of a visit to a park so that buying a skip-the-line pass doesn't seem so bad. The Platinum passes to CF parks are much more expensive than Six Flags' season passes, but then they include so much to save you money, too. Free parking at CF parks saves you at LEAST 10 bucks a visit (I don't know if parking is the same everywhere in terms of cost, but Dorney was 12 bucks last season per visit). At the Six Flags parks, a parking pass defrays a huge cost in the end (although at Great Adventure, I usually upgrade to premium parking, so I still pay an extra 10 bucks per admission). If you're actually going enough times a season to make a pass worthwhile, the money you've saved alone pays for the occasional skipping line service.

2) If you pay to stay at a hotel for a few days, your costs will go up just as much or more than if you bought a FastLane bracelet. For instance, I drove to Cedar Point in July quite a few years ago, and I had to book a hotel months in advance because I knew it would take me at least two days to get through lines and do all I needed to do (plus the drive is 9.5 hours for me). However, if FastLane had existed, I wouldn't have had to stay an extra day, which would have saved me at least 20 bucks. Or I could have gotten to go to Kings Island while I was there as well, giving me a better overall experience because I got to do more parks (losing the financial benefit, but at least giving me a chance to see a park I might otherwise never get to see).

Also, from a non-financial point of view, I can see where a Skip Line pass looks like it is affecting other riders' wait times, but this is not always the case. I've made this point a million times, but I'll again share a Great Adventure example: on El Toro, the station is designed so poorly that people waiting for the front of the ride easily spill out onto the steps, making it look to line attendants like the ride is full. If you know that further back on the train there is little to no line, you use a Flashpass, and they send you up the stairs to the station, you can (nicely) move back to the back cars, where there is no line and no one filling seats, half the train will leave the station empty. So who did the Flashpass user affect if they moved to what would have otherwise been an empty seat. No one. This is actually a bad example because Toro is one of the few Flashpass coasters that the line goes directly to the front of the station instead of the back or middle, but I would then argue that a typical FP/FL user is interested in riding more and waiting for front seats less. They did buy the pass to wait for less time, after all.


"Look at us spinning out in the madness of a roller coaster" - Dave Matthews Band

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Friday, April 5, 2013 4:27 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

These things are all true but apples to apples, a regular admission is worse off (slightly?) than it was before Fast Pass because you could do all those things (discounts, hotel stays, ride new rides, go on dead days, pick the right seats) before.

I used to do all those things and get 100 utils from my day at the park. Now I do all those things and I get 90 utils.

For the Toro example, I assume FP users are no smarter or dumber than the average guest. A FP user still takes the same seat that a regular Joe would. There's no reason to believe FP users are more likely to take seats that regular Joes leave open. The only way that works is if parts of the train are blocked off permanently for FP use only, which has a ton of problems in its own right.

Last edited by ApolloAndy, Friday, April 5, 2013 4:33 PM

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Friday, April 5, 2013 11:15 PM

Andy, you're right on the Toro example for the public in general (and I don't mean that as a slam against the "GP"). I really wasn't thinking about the average person NOT figuring it out...ugh, I'm back to not wording stuff right. My brain is exploded from too much gore stimulus from Evil Dead tonight. So gross. Anyway, you're right. :)

Ugh, and if they blocked off parts of trains for Flashpass/FL users, that's a whole hot mess of problems.


"Look at us spinning out in the madness of a roller coaster" - Dave Matthews Band

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Friday, April 5, 2013 11:37 PM

bunky666 said:

My brain is exploded from too much gore stimulus from Evil Dead tonight.

Really? I went to see an early show and it left me kinda blank. I had to put in Friday the 13th Part 6 as consolation.

Fast Lane - I've heard that Cedar Fair implements it well, more power to them.

Last edited by GayCoasterGuy, Friday, April 5, 2013 11:39 PM
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Friday, April 5, 2013 11:38 PM
Timber-Rider's avatar

I am not saying that so called upity rich people are snubbing their noses at the little people. I am saying that the park is snubbing their noses at the little people in favor of the rich people.

And, as a business they should be looking out for the best for all of their customers,not just the people who they try more to please than their average customer.

Have you ever been to a black friday sale? If you want to talk about what makes good business sense. Lets say they have a top of the line TV set, with an unlimited supply. But you had to wait in line to get it. But, if you slip them $35.00 more to get in line in front of everyone else, you can go right to the front of the line, only for them to say...oh I'm sorry, that TV is not included in you first in line pass. IT you still want to be first in line, slip us another $20.00 and well get you the next one.

Everyone else is buying the same TV for $200.00. But, to take advantage of you in a hurry attitude, you have now paid $55.00 more than the TV is worth. Just because you can't wait, and they are banking on the fact that you don't want to wait so they can get more money from you.

You will argue and say, that it is not the same, but it is. You are buying the same product as everyone else, they have just found more ways to get you to pay more for it. I don't think they should be able to do it.

And, just because some makes a **** load of money, doesn't mean it's right. What will be next is a card to pay to get your gas before everyone else does.


I didn't do it! I swear!!

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Saturday, April 6, 2013 12:18 AM
sirloindude's avatar

I think what has happened, perhaps at major parks all over the place, is that admission hasn't increased proportionally to the value of the experience. Rather than jacking up the admission to the high level it could justifiably be at, they've instead decided to continue to allow lower-yielding segments of the market to still come experience these parks but the people who would have been willing to pay that high level of admission to instead pay for a separate service that basically makes crowds a non-issue.

If anything, the park has graciously opted to instead leave admission where it is so that on un-crowded days, everybody wins, but on crowded ones, people like me who are willing to drop more money on the experience have the chance to pay for a premium version of it. Well, that's me putting words in their mouth, but it's how I'd interpret the situation.

Really, the only time you lose is when you go at a crowded time. I don't go during busy times except on rare occasions, so I only have to get something like Fastlane once in a blue moon anyways. However, when I think of all the money I don't spend on park food and the like, I don't feel like I'm really getting gouged at all. I'm paying closer to what a day at the park should cost, but I'm devoting the money to skipping lines over mediocre eats.

Last edited by sirloindude, Saturday, April 6, 2013 1:20 AM

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Saturday, April 6, 2013 3:30 AM

GayCoasterGuy said:

bunky666 said:

My brain is exploded from too much gore stimulus from Evil Dead tonight.

Really? I went to see an early show and it left me kinda blank. I had to put in Friday the 13th Part 6 as consolation.

Fast Lane - I've heard that Cedar Fair implements it well, more power to them.

I don't mean Evil Dead blew my mind...more like it had a relentlessness to it that, when coupled with the gore, left me a little tired and overstimulated. Does that make sense? The actors were very flat though, and there were definite problems with the plot, as well as with the entire movie. I enjoyed it for what it was. I went in with an expectation of "this is either going to mess me up for life it's gonna be so gory, it's gonna mess me up for life because it's gonna be so scary, or it is just gonna suck from all angles". I left with a kind of confusion because it didn't meet any of my good or bad expectations.

I am wondering what all they cut out of it (pun intended) to get an R-rating and what the unrated BluRay (you know there will be one) will be like.

I guess my synopsis would be: fun, but it didn't do that much for me. Like Magnum. J/K...Evil Dead was less painful. ;)


"Look at us spinning out in the madness of a roller coaster" - Dave Matthews Band

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Saturday, April 6, 2013 9:03 AM
Jeff's avatar

Timber-Rider said:

And, as a business they should be looking out for the best for all of their customers,not just the people who they try more to please than their average customer.

Except this isn't what happens.


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

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Saturday, April 6, 2013 10:16 AM
LostKause's avatar

It isn't what happens, but it should be. Separating your customers into different tiers is not a good way to tell your average customer that their business is important to you. Blackmailing your customers is very profitable, but what if it alienates some of your customers?

"We're going to go ahead and let people cut in front of you. If you don't like that, you're going to need to pay up, so that you can cut to."

I just hate that.


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Saturday, April 6, 2013 1:47 PM

If your running a business, and you have customers that are willing to pay substantially more for a better service, anyone who is good at running a business would try to take advantage of that.

The difficult part (or at least more difficult) is finding the right balance between people paying more for better service, and not alienating your base customers.

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Saturday, April 6, 2013 2:15 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

This fall Disney's FastPass will be 14 years old. This season also marks the 13th year Q-bot has been available at SFOG. It was 10 years ago that Cedar Point first tried that whole FreeWay handstamp thing.

And we're still having this conversation.

It boggles my mind that anyone still fights the idea, finds it unfair, calls it screwing customers, wonks, whines, bends, folds or spindles.

For a real treat dig up some threads from like 2005 or 2006-ish where some people were actually claiming virtual queues were going to put parks out of business. Look, point and laugh at how shortshighted their ideas and understanding were. Then marvel at the insight that some of us (ahem) displayed in not only embracing, but understanding and painting pretty accurate pictures of where it was headed.

I've said it before and I'll say it a million times more - it's here to stay. It hasn't alienated customers. The fact that these systems continue to grow in both scale and cost seem to indicate exactly the opposite. They're very popular. And it's only going to become more pervasive. We've gone from simple one-size-fits-all plans to multiple tiers with varied pricing. The parks aren't just splitting you into "haves" and "have nots' anymore. They're splitting you into "the bottom 60%," "the middle 30%" and "the top 10%" - it's not 'just happening' either...it's already happened. It's done. There's nothing to discuss.

If you're 18 or 19, you probably don't remember Disney World without FastPasses. If you're in your mid-to-late teens, you probably don't remember a trip to Six Flags where there wasn't a separate entrance on the major attractions for people that paid more. The cultural shift has happened.

I suppose you can complain about it if you'd like, but you're complaining about something changing that existed before we knew who Britney Spears was. It's one step shy of your grandfather bitching that apples used to be 30 cents a bushel.


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Saturday, April 6, 2013 2:33 PM
rollergator's avatar

Oh, I'll keep "wonking" it - that's what we do, we're amusement park wonks. Or else we'd be visiting college football boards while watching the Spring games...

Wonking is part of the reason the systems keep getting tweaked. Typically for the better. I remember going to SFA and seeing FP-reserved seats going out empty on every lap. That doesn't seem to happen anymore - implementation keeps getting better. It's part of our "service" to the industry.

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Saturday, April 6, 2013 2:38 PM

Some would call it a service, I guess.

I'm sure many would call it something much less complimentary. ;)


"Look at us spinning out in the madness of a roller coaster" - Dave Matthews Band

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Saturday, April 6, 2013 3:12 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

But that's different, Gator. That's discussing the system, not complaining that it exists.

See the last paragraph of this post from a few pages back in this thread:

Lord Gonchar said 5 days ago:

At this point, I think we all understand this is the new face of the park experience. It has been for quite a while. The relevant discussion becomes how to take advantage of the situation on both sides - how to maximize the value of buying in and also how to best work around it if you're not.

Complaining about it is so 2005.

Oh, and I think you're giving 'us' a little too much credit. But if you like to think you changed the way SF does Flash Passes, then I'll play along. :)


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Saturday, April 6, 2013 3:53 PM
LostKause's avatar

I'm an old fogey. I miss the old days before this. :)

Last edited by LostKause, Saturday, April 6, 2013 4:04 PM
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Saturday, April 6, 2013 4:15 PM
rollergator's avatar

Lord Gonchar said:

Oh, and I think you're giving 'us' a little too much credit. But if you like to think you changed the way SF does Flash Passes, then I'll play along. :)

I like to think that successful businesses seek and utilize input from their customers. Accesso certainly wanted to hear from me directly in regards to my posting...LOL!

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Saturday, April 6, 2013 4:19 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

LostKause said:

I'm an old fogey. I miss the old days before this. :)

There's always been 60 minutes lines. You just don't have to stand in them now if you don't want to.

Yeah, that's horrible of them to do to us.


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Saturday, April 6, 2013 4:20 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

rollergator said:

Accesso certainly wanted to hear from me directly in regards to my posting...LOL!

Dare I inquire further?


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Saturday, April 6, 2013 4:34 PM
LostKause's avatar

The point isn't that the lines are 60 minutes long. The point is that they advertise Flash Pass on the same sign that they show an exaggerated line length. They lie about the length of the line to sell more Flash Passes.

I know it's here to stay. I think that some people get tired of seeing people cut in front of them, so they get it. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

And we haven't had this conversation in a while. I am just doing my part to show the newbs where I stand on the subject, even if it is a lost kause. :)

I'm really not as passionate about it as I used to be, even though I feel the same way.


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