Flashpass prices at Great Adventure have gone through the roof

Wednesday, October 29, 2008 3:32 PM

Maybe it's time to bring back "FAFL" ;)

http://web.archive.org/web/20010913180742/http://sfdl.coasterbuzz.com/fafl.asp

I'll admit things have improved greatly since those days, and I would even consider buying a gold one for SFGAdV once i finally get to visit.... still makes me smile, though. I also can't believe how cheap it was "back in the day".... daayyyumm!

Last edited by mfivsdarienlake, Wednesday, October 29, 2008 3:38 PM
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Wednesday, October 29, 2008 3:46 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

mfivsdarienlake said:
I also can't believe how cheap it was "back in the day".... daayyyumm!

Hey, SFA still uses the $15 ticket system.

So that puts an official stamp on the timeline, at least. It's been 8 seasons.

Kids driving to the park for the first time next year (the 16/17 year-old crowd) don't remember a time when VQ didn't exist.

matt. said:
I think there's a big difference in having the money for Flashpass and having the will to pay for Flashpass. I don't really think having and not having applies very well in this case.

Well said. I'm still not convinced that this looks like a line-up of the 'haves' of the world. ;)


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Wednesday, October 29, 2008 3:55 PM

Im wondering whether this end of season price rise is crucial to six flags hitting their "cash flow positive" year. I know that although LO_Q get 50% of profits on regular, Sf get a vast majority of Gold revenue.

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Thursday, October 30, 2008 12:21 AM
LostKause's avatar

About the quotes, I am using Firefox. I clicked the cute little quote button, quote brackets appeared, and I copied what I wanted and then pasted it in between "quote" and "end quote". I'll just not quote anymore.

Back to flashpass, it has devalued the park experience since it was implemented...

..."And I'm spent." That's all I've got.


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Thursday, October 30, 2008 12:23 AM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

I tend to quote with the 'quote' link at the end of the post that I want to quote and edit it from there.


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Thursday, October 30, 2008 2:06 AM

In this recession, Flashpass is all but dead - especially by next season

When word of mouth gets around about the need to buy these because ride capacity at the park continues to decline due to removal of more attractions than they install, plus poor ride operations - people will go to a different park for a better 'baseline' value - in this crappy economy, these local market folks will head to Morey's, Dorney, Hershey, and a few others if those parks do a half decent job of marketing themselves and the fact that SF without spending a boatload of extra cash on the Flashpass is a terrible value in comparison

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Thursday, October 30, 2008 8:55 AM

Lord Gonchar said:
Well said. I'm still not convinced that this looks like a line-up of the 'haves' of the world. ;)

Are you kidding? That looks like a bunch of over-privileged kids from Virginia! ;)


John
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Thursday, October 30, 2008 9:48 AM

;)

(At least, they look like the Haves' kids. You know the Haves. Nice couple, with the boat?)


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Thursday, October 30, 2008 12:45 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Juggalotus said:
Are you kidding? That looks like a bunch of over-privileged kids from Virginia! ;)

Well played. :)


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Thursday, October 30, 2008 1:55 PM

Rye.D.Ziner said:
In this recession, Flashpass is all but dead - especially by next season

When word of mouth gets around about the need to buy these because ride capacity at the park continues to decline due to removal of more attractions than they install, plus poor ride operations - people will go to a different park for a better 'baseline' value - in this crappy economy, these local market folks will head to Morey's, Dorney, Hershey, and a few others if those parks do a half decent job of marketing themselves and the fact that SF without spending a boatload of extra cash on the Flashpass is a terrible value in comparison

I don't understand how Dorney can be so empty on days when Great Adventure is packed. Dorney can pull in the crowds on Saturday nights in the Fall and Summer weekends but still doesn't compare to Great Adventure. Look at Haunt vs. Frightfest. 4 indoor haunted houses, 3 outdoor trails all for free at Haunt when Frightfest has no haunted houses, 2 outdoor trails (which cost $5.00 each time you want to walk through each of them!) and "scare zones" with 3 - 4 people at most .

Yet which park is more crowded? Dorney has 0 - 10 minute coaster lines while Great Adventure had 1+ hour waits on Sunday nights during October.

I think I mentioned it earler in this thread but people want the coasters and Great Adventure and I don't think anything will convince people to stop going no matter what the park does, including Flashpass.

Personally I'd rather go to Dorney for the park operations and flat ride selection but with the coasters at Great Adventure, I put up with their horrible policies (and usually try to go on a slow day to avoid lines)

I also don't think the economy will hurt Flashpass sales. People seem to be spending money as if nothing is happening. A month ago next to a local mall a restaurant area that is somewhat new all had lines of 1 1/2 - 2 hours on a Saturday night. Last night when the Phillies won the World Series I went to a store to get a shirt. Lines went to the end of the store and wrapped around. I waited 30 minutes since I got there somewhat early and found a short line but reports were it was up to a 2 hour line to check out and people were spending $50 - $100 at once like it was nothing (I think I was the only one in the store with a discount coupon). If people have money for that kind of stuff, I think they still have money for Flashpass.

Last edited by YoshiFan, Thursday, October 30, 2008 1:56 PM
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Thursday, October 30, 2008 6:19 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

I was under the impression that Dorney's major draw was the included water park. Probably doesn't help them too much around this time of year.

Re: Rye D. Ziner
People have been saying that around here for all 8 years that Fast Pass has existed. Not only is it still around, it's expanding.

Re: Lost Kause
I don't understand your argument. The fact that you're getting less for more (spoken as someone who visits Six Flags parks about 20 times a season and has never bought a fast pass) is just the nature of business. If they jacked up the price, you'd get less for more. If they increase parking, you'd get less for more. If they tore down a ride, you'd get less for more. If they let a whole bunch of people in the park for free, you'd get less for more. Why is the less for more incurred by fast pass so much more heinous than any other situation?


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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Friday, October 31, 2008 12:19 PM

Yoshifan,

I've read your reports on various sites and I know you always wonder why Dorney doesn't get the audience they should be able to get. I suspect a few reasons for the summer:

The coaster collection hosts many "big" rides that were either record holders when built, or have unique elements that are not in any other nearby park.

While Dorney has advertised, they did not advertise as heavily as Six Flags in the NY area. The audience seems to go from Ct. through Washington DC and out towards Philadelphia, so the PA and NJ audience are more likely to go, but the extra time from the NY area does have an effect as it is barely a one day trip.

Travel by car is a big thing, but the NYC area is made up of a lot of people who do not drive, and being able to take a bus from the city to the park and back is a huge thing. I don't recall any such buses to Dorney.

As for Fright Fest, I'd add that Halloweekends was not advertised in the NY area at all, and I only happened to see the Haunt ads this year and chose to go despite the cold weather. Fright Fest has been going on for so long, people just naturally go now if they hold season passes as it's an additional perk. For Dorney, it's a $21 pass after 6pm for non-passholders, which I expect would be the majority of visitors outside of PA and NJ, so the $10 for the two mazes at GAdv is still cheaper for most people.

I'm not saying Dorney's collection of rides is bad, but in many ways, it feels like a smaller park when you compare them (very hilly and lots of the flats are not that unique), and that doesn't help when people think about going someplace for rides.

As others have argued, I think removing so many flat rides pushes the flash pass situation more because there aren't as many rides to go on, so the lines get worse for the ones that are there. I truly miss Evolution and Jumping Jack Flash myself.

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Friday, October 31, 2008 10:51 PM
LostKause's avatar

ApolloAndy said:
...Why is the less for more incurred by fast pass so much more heinous than any other situation?

Let me answer your question with a few of my own. I don't expect them to be answered. Just ask yourself...

Ever since flashpass came along, what is the park's incentive to run the park at full capacity?

Hasn't flashpass chipped away at the universialy accepted concept of a line. Isn't having flashpass save your place in line while you ride something else the same thing as line jumping? Aren't their signs in every queue against line jumping?

Directly from the SFGAdv website...


"Guests are not permitted to save places in line or exit the line and return for any reason."

Flashpass saves your place in line and lets you return. It has the same outcome as if Mother waited in line while her sons and daughters went to ride other rides and then returned to the line with Mother.

Do you enjoy letting people push their way through the line with the excuse that "My friend is up there...I'm trying to get to my friend...excuse me, my friend is ahead in line"? No one does. Flashapss is exactly that, except that their is no friend in line up ahead.

It is wrong, and that's why flahpass is at least as heinous if not more heinous than the other situation that you mentioned.

...

Bold and italics does not work for me either.


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Friday, October 31, 2008 11:25 PM

LostKause said:


Flashpass saves your place in line and lets you return. It has the same outcome as if Mother waited in line while her sons and daughters went to ride other rides and then returned to the line with Mother.

Ah, but because it's officially sanctioned, it's somehow nothing like that.

Cue Gonch. ;)


My author website: mgrantroberts.com

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Saturday, November 1, 2008 12:04 AM

thrillfan said:
they did not advertise as heavily as Six Flags in the NY area. The audience seems to go from Ct. through Washington DC and out towards Philadelphia, so the PA and NJ audience are more likely to go, but the extra time from the NY area does have an effect as it is barely a one day trip.

Travel by car is a big thing, but the NYC area is made up of a lot of people who do not drive, and being able to take a bus from the city to the park and back is a huge thing. I don't recall any such buses to Dorney.

As for Fright Fest, I'd add that Halloweekends was not advertised in the NY area at all, and I only happened to see the Haunt ads this year and chose to go despite the cold weather. Fright Fest has been going on for so long, people just naturally go now if they hold season passes as it's an additional perk. For Dorney, it's a $21 pass after 6pm for non-passholders, which I expect would be the majority of visitors outside of PA and NJ, so the $10 for the two mazes at GAdv is still cheaper for most people.

I agree with that, I really think they need to advertise more. I heard a few Haunt ads on the radio but saw no commercials on TV but saw a lot for Frightfest.

LostKause said:
Ever since flashpass came along, what is the park's incentive to run the park at full capacity?

I thought that in the past as well and I think I might have mentioned it earlier in this thread but they really have been trying to run at full capacity this season. Nitro, Medusa and GASM were almost always running 3 trains or at the minimum 2. Batman, Skull Mountain, RMT, Rolling Thunder (usually only 1 side) ran 2 trains every trip to the park I took this season. The only coaster that sometimes ran 1 train was Superman and Kingda Ka only had 1 side running on maybe 1/2 my trips.

The amount of closed rides was a lot smaller this season as well but I guess that is also because there are less rides than ever to operate. Sky Ride was running on every visit since Mid June, Jolly Roger which always used to be closed I saw closed only once. The only closed rides I have seen in my last 5 trips other than on Family Fun Night were a few kiddie rides and the water rides.

Last edited by YoshiFan, Saturday, November 1, 2008 12:08 AM
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Saturday, November 1, 2008 12:06 AM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Ensign Smith said:
Cue Gonch. ;)

Thanks. :)

LostKause said:
Ever since flashpass came along, what is the park's incentive to run the park at full capacity?

Probably the guests who don't use it. The vast majority.

Hasn't flashpass chipped away at the universialy accepted concept of a line.

Qualify the line with the word "stand-by" and you'll see the problem in that logic. A stand-by line is nothing more than a bunch of people waiting for something on a first-come, first served basis. That's all ride queues ever were. They're evolving, thank God.

Isn't having flashpass save your place in line while you ride something else the same thing as line jumping?

Kinda. I like to think it's like making a reservation to ride though. (for a convenience fee, of course)

Aren't their signs in every queue against line jumping?

Yup.

Directly from the SFGAdv website...

"Guests are not permitted to save places in line or exit the line and return for any reason."

Yup.

Flashpass saves your place in line and lets you return. It has the same outcome as if Mother waited in line while her sons and daughters went to ride other rides and then returned to the line with Mother.

Yup. It's also like reserving a seat ahead of time. (again, for a fee)

It is wrong...

But waiting just 7 minutes to walk straight to the station and ride El Toro felt oh-so-right.

...and that's why flahpass is at least as heinous if not more heinous than the other situation that you mentioned.

So is the pay-to-play the problem? Are the free systems somehow ok? Are the indirect versions ok (like stay at a resort for perks)? What about things like the double rides or express lines for passholders? Or in-park discounts for passholders? Or the fact that a couple of teens can go faster and ride harder than I can and thus get more for their money? What about people who are able to get to the park as it opens and get walk-ons vs people who can only visit later and have to wait much longer?

Are all things which create an inequality among guests in the park bad or just the ones that are easy to see?


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Saturday, November 1, 2008 5:06 PM
LostKause's avatar

It's nothing like reserving your seat ahead of time, Gonch, for the simple reason that people can wait in line for other rides while pretending to wait in the flashpassed ride too. A person can not be in line for more than one ride without cutting in front of someone. That's just how the park makes flashpass sound okay.

The lines at SFGAdv were too long to begin with, mostly because of their location. They should have fixed that problem before offering a system that makes the lines longer.

I've been to SFA, SFGAdv, and SFO, and all 3 parks offered horrible experiences. After flashpass was introduced at SFGAdv, the experience was twice as bad.

Now we are seeing Busch Parks letting people cut on a trial basis this past year. I probably could have rode 3 or 4 more rides throughout the day if it wouldn't have been offered. One interesting thing that I noticed at BG this summer was that there didn't seem to be as many people using it as much than at SFGAdv. I don't know why this is because it seemed to be about the same price. Maybe the park put a tighter limit on how many cuts they offer?

Another interesting thing I'd like to point out is that at BG they didn't give you a time to come back. It was pure and simple line cutting. Hand them your ticket and you get in your seat. BG doesn't seem to try to make you think that it isn't cutting like SF does.

I'm not yet familair with how it is affecting Dollywood.

Disney's system is well run, but it still unbalances the amount of rides different peoople can get. I know how to best take advantage of fastpass, so I can ride everything plus more in a day. Someone else may not know as much about how it works, so they get less.

Line cutting systems do not make capacity on the rides any better. It gives those who pay more more rides and those who pay less less rides. POP is being muddied. It is evolving only is such a way that it is limiting to some and too accomidating for others.

So this brings me back to SF and the flashpass price increase...Maybe SF offers it to too many people. I hope that they realized this with the price increse and lowered the amount of q-bots they rent out each day. As a guy who doesn't want to use flashpass, I wouldn't mind flashpass was more limited, because it really does seem to clog up the lines.


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Saturday, November 1, 2008 5:39 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

None of your arguments make sense or jive with what I've seen recently at the parks.

LostKause said:
It's nothing like reserving your seat ahead of time, Gonch, for the simple reason that people can wait in line for other rides while pretending to wait in the flashpassed ride too. A person can not be in line for more than one ride without cutting in front of someone. That's just how the park makes flashpass sound okay.

So it's not a reservation if you can do other things too? Dude, that's the point of reservations EVRYWHERE in life. You reserve a time so you can do other things and just show up later.

If I make a restaurant reservation and see a movie beforehand instead of waiting an hour for a table, am I cutting in line? Am I ruining anyone else's experience? Or am I being smart and using the available tools to my advantage?

What if I reserve a time for Kingda Ka and go do El Toro while I'm waiting?

The lines at SFGAdv were too long to begin with, mostly because of their location. They should have fixed that problem before offering a system that makes the lines longer.

My last visit was a weekday in June of this past summer. Not a line in the park was more than 45 minutes.

I've been to SFA, SFGAdv, and SFO, and all 3 parks offered horrible experiences. After flashpass was introduced at SFGAdv, the experience was twice as bad.

I've been to 10 Six Flags parks in the past 8 seasons -several of them multiple times. I've had some bad experiences and some good ones. The last two or three seasons, our visits to SF parks have ben among the best park visits we've had and I've only bought FlashPass one time in the past three years. I've never waited more than 30 minutes for anything.

Now we are seeing Busch Parks letting people cut on a trial basis this past year.

Yup. Expect to see it more and more places too.

I probably could have rode 3 or 4 more rides throughout the day if it wouldn't have been offered.

I think the worst part is that you actually believe this. Care to give any stats/facts to back up that line of logic?

On top of that you seem to be measuring the value of your day only by the number of rides you get. I think the ride quantity in just one small part of the over all 'value equation' - ironic that I buy into VQ systems and don't put that much importance on the sheer number of rides I get. Maybe there's something to that?

Another interesting thing I'd like to point out is that at BG they didn't give you a time to come back. It was pure and simple line cutting. Hand them your ticket and you get in your seat. BG doesn't seem to try to make you think that it isn't cutting like SF does.

Sounds a lot like SF's ticket systems that's still in use at a few parks. It's silly and makes no sense.

I'm not yet familair with how it is affecting Dollywood.

My guess - not at all...except for some happier guests and additional revenue.

I know how to best take advantage of fastpass, so I can ride everything plus more in a day. Someone else may not know as much about how it works, so they get less.

And finally we get to the statement that reveals the truth.

I like systems I can exploit and dislike systems I can't. Look man, that's exactly what you're saying there. I know how to take advantage of the Disney system so I don't have anything bad to say. I don't feel I can use pay systems so they are bad because then I'm on the losing end of the deal.

Weak, dude. Weak.


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Saturday, November 1, 2008 7:58 PM

Lord Gonchar said:


LostKause said:


I probably could have rode 3 or 4 more rides throughout the day if it wouldn't have been offered.

I think the worst part is that you actually believe this. Care to give any stats/facts to back up that line of logic?

How could that logic be anything but correct? There are a finite number of rides offered in any given day, with a finite number of passengers that can be accomodated in said day. Unless (a) the rides are running at less than capacity or (b) the time/space continuum somehow expands to accomodate those guests who have paid for extra rides, riders who haven't paid for the perk are necessarily going to receive fewer rides. Maybe not every rider, but speaking about riders as a whole population.

Let's say SFMM's new bio-warfare-themed log ride, Germinator, has a throughput of 1,000 riders an hour. In a ten hour day, it can move 10,000 riders through one time. Now 1,000 guests buy FastCut for Germinator. The ride will now accomodate 1,000 FastCutters and 9,000 non-FastCutters.

Ah, you say, but the FastCutters would have ridden Germinator anyway, so no loss, no foul. What is neglected is that all those FastCutters are taking the time they would have spent in line for Germinator and are now riding X^3rd Power. Now, X^3rd Power also has a capacity of 10,000 riders/day. So those 1,000 FastCutters are displacing people who would have gotten rides (or additional rides) on X^3rd Power. So only 9,000 non-FastCutters get to ride X^3rd Power.

In any finite system with a finite number of rides available in a day, there are going to be riders displaced by the cheaters . . .er, FastCutters. And again, the only exception is when rides are not running at capacity. But then why bother with getting the perk?

Comparing it to going to a movie or a restaurant is not a valid comparison. Most movies and restaurants don't run at full capacity throughout a whole day. If you get to the restaurant at 1:00 and find a 30-minute wait because of guests making reservations, you will still get to eat at 1:30.


My author website: mgrantroberts.com

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Saturday, November 1, 2008 9:22 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Ensign Smith said:
How could that logic be anything but correct?

The logic is fine. It's the number I question. I don't think he lost that many rides over the course of his day.

Comparing it to going to a movie or a restaurant is not a valid comparison. Most movies and restaurants don't run at full capacity throughout a whole day. If you get to the restaurant at 1:00 and find a 30-minute wait because of guests making reservations, you will still get to eat at 1:30.

Oh, I disagree. I think that there are places that run to capacity during their operating hours.

However, even if we work on the assumption that a restaurant is only fully booked during peak hours, then it's exactly like a park in that early in the day and late at night you can often 'walk-on' or find reduced waits.

A restaraunt or movie or coaster or whatever has a finite number of seats. Regardless of when the demand peaks, I'm still reserving a seat.

That's all the line is - a claim to a seat. You get in line and claim your seat. If you're the 1500th person in line, you're claiming the 1500th open seat...and then you stand there and wait for it. If you use your Q-bot to reserve a seat (or spot in line) and you do so at the same moment you would've gotten in line, you still reserve that 1500th seat.

And yeah, the downside occurs when (or if) the person with a reservation joins another line. Then (for the purposes of overall park capacity) it's as if there's an additional person in the park as long as that person remains in two lines.

Can I complain that I got less for my money because I visited on a busy Saturday instead of a empty Tuesday? What if I visit on a day where Flash Pass use cuts the capacity by 5% compared to a day where it might cut capacity 10%?

There's so many variables in the park experience, that reducing it to this one element that slightly reduces one aspect of the park experience is almost funny.

Why not complain actively about every empty seat that goes out. Heck, just two empty seats every cycle on a B&M train reduces your potential to ride by over 6%. Just one empty seat on a PTC woodie train reduces capacity by 4%.

Complain when guests don't move fast enough the slow dispatches. Add just 4 or 5 second to every train leaving and on some coasters that could be reducing capacity another 4 or 5%.

Heck, make some bad choices during the day without realizing it and you might hit the wooden coaster line and wait 40 minutes when if you had come by just an hour later the line would only be 30 minutes. Then do the same thing with both big steelies in the park and you've wasted a half hour (enough for another lap on the woodie if you hit the queues at the right times).

Maybe if you wouldn't have stopped for a drink and a bathroom stop you'd have gotten on the train that dispatched as you entered the station. Instead there's a ill rider getting off and you have to wait an extra 5 minutes for them to clean the 'protein spill'.

I think you see where I'm going. The process is entirely random to begin with. Hell, even the amount you are personally affected by VQ users will vary based on the dumb luck of life.

Over the entire course of your day - the rides, the food, the shows, the atmosphere, the people, the fun, the sights, the sounds, the smells, the memories...all of that and you have a problem with getting one or two less laps on a coaster because of an implemented VQ system.

I just don't get it. It seems so trivial. And if the number of rides weighs that heavily in the enjoyment or value of your day, then I'd think you'd be the one buying into the system to maximize what is important to you.

The same way we 'smart' enthusiasts use their knowledge to hit rides at certain times, visit parks on certain days, tour parks in specific patterns, even exploit the free systems as Lost Kause said.

Either you're the kind of park visitor that goes with the flow and lets the chips fall, in which case the effect of VQ is just one of a countless number of factors or you're the 'get the most of your day" type in which case I would think youshould be the one buying into such a gift to your kind in the first place - the ability to reduce that randomness.


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