I am a hypocrite. I bought Fastlane.

Monday, April 8, 2013 10:07 AM

How many rides have the various parks built since each has implemented its own version of fast lane? You are often limited in terms of how you can implement the system with an existing ride/que mechanics. With a new ride, you can take that into account when designing the que. Are the implementations better with rides that are built after the fast lane like system is put into place?

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Monday, April 8, 2013 10:20 AM

That's a great question. I'm guessing that Gatekeeper, for example, will have a queue system designed specifically to handle Fastlane in a way that makes it smooth going for users and non-users.

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Monday, April 8, 2013 10:41 AM

Lord Gonchar said:

You've been lied to your whole lives with the kindergarten mentality that the world is fair, we all wait in line together and take our turn as the randomness of the line dictates. And you chose to believe the lie. It feels wrong to go against that.

But in reality, that's what you tell 5 years olds to keep things simple and make them shut up. The real world is infinitely more complex and rarely works on such simple principals.

This is so worth repeating. The education kids get anymore is full of the "everything is fair" mentality. I see it with my son and it pisses me off. GoBucks' "you've failed as a parent" comment is quite accurate, although I feel like I've have to fight the school system constantly on some of the 'values' they try to instill in him. And my son's school isn't even nearly as politically correct as others in our area.

I posted this on Facebook last week, partially in humor but mostly because I was simultaneously surprised and proud that he listens to me even when I'm unaware of it:

While watching The Lorax, Jake's 5-year-old friend exclaimed "Oh no! That's bad!" when the Onceler cut down a tree. Jake quickly replied, "It's only one tree. He's starting a business!"

Parenting win.

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Monday, April 8, 2013 11:22 AM

Once we were scooting past a bunch of unfortunates and I heard someone say "hey, how come they get to do that?" and her mom quietly explained "because they paid extra for it. We're not doing that today". The little girl rolled her eyes, but was accepting of the fact. I hope.
The best implementation of a system like this is when it's not obvious. Cedar Point advertises separate entrances and some are more successful than others. The best is Millenium Force, where at no time do you feel like you've just cut someone off from being next to ride.
I too have felt the Glare of the Waiters, have been called names (at Disney no less), and have even seen a fist fight break out over pay to cut.

Now, having said that,

Why is it we feel weird about it at amusement parks but not other places? If I go to a Broadway show or a concert tour I like to sit close. I know I have to pay more money to do that, sometimes hundreds of dollars. As other audience members in the back of the house watch me walk down the aisle do they hate me and call me names? No. Do I feel bad about where I'm going? No.

Tommy, when you take your son to Disney on Ice you guys can sit in the upper level or right by the ice. At the Cleveland Indians you can do the cheap seats or sit right behind the plate. You may have the job of explaining to your son that this is a special treat, but everyone else in the room will be ok with it, because they know and understand how you got there.

Travis, you're in show business, you of all people should get this. One day (I promise) your band will be wildly successful and your fans will clamor and, yes, pay more so they can sit at your feet while you play. And I have a feeling you won't have trouble cashing those checks. Ok, you might, because you're sweet that way. :-) But I sure wouldn't.

I know my examples here are about location, not wait times for an otherwise identical experience. But I can't think of an instance where "you get what you pay for" doesn't work to everyone's acceptance and eventual satisfaction. Except the amusement park, and I don't get it. .

Perhaps Angus Wynne and his Six Flags over Texas POP policy did us no favors in the end.

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Monday, April 8, 2013 11:31 AM

This is off topic, but I wanted to share something that relates to what Vater and Gonch have said (which is true):

I went to college to get my nursing degree years after a failed attempt at something else at Penn State (MY fault, not PSU's), and many of the students were a generation or two ahead of me. Even THEY had issues with "fairness" that I just didn't understand. In many of the classes, they complained and complained that they didn't get a "review" of what was going to be on tests, and that wasn't fair. I thought to myself, "since when do students get reviews of all the possible topics that are going to be on the tests?" Sure, reviews are nice, but wouldn't one assume that anything that was discussed or anything that was in the required reading could be on the test? Couldn't some past material from previous tests pop up to make sure you were oh, I don't know, LEARNING? These students, who were nearly all older than I was, complained so much about one teacher in particular that that teacher ended up writing a review sheet up for the upcoming test. I couldn't believe it!

Also related to this: I catch myself saying that the way things are run at certain businesses are not fair, or that the way employees are treated is not "fair", but then I remember: businesses are businesses. They want as few employees to do as much work as possible to maximize their profits and minimize their spending. Period. I don't like it, but then if I'm working for a company that is extremely bad about it, I can either stay there and deal with it, or I can leave and find a company better suited to my needs. It is the same with just about anything. If you really feel the system is unfair to you (again, the general you), there are many things you can do to speak with your dollars: you can stop patronizing the park altogether, you can absolutely refuse to use the system, you can cut back on other things and save money to go on trips to parks where fast passes are not used, etc. You can write letters and make phone calls with suggestions or complaints.

I'm not saying there's not an "ick" factor to Flashpass and related systems. There is. Definitely feels a little slimy, and honestly, it kind of gives everything a more hurried feel.

I'm actually a little surprised parks are making that much money on these systems because I would think if you've done everything at a park in one day that normally would have taken two days (or even three), wouldn't the parks lose money on food, beverages, and games, neutralizing the profit from VQ/STL systems? Again, my business sense is little to none, so correct me if I'm wrong.

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Monday, April 8, 2013 11:37 AM

Actually I would think that using a Flashpass would free up more of your time to go spend money on food, beverages and games.

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Monday, April 8, 2013 11:43 AM

^^ Maybe. On the other hand, if I'm done riding, why would I want to spend time trying to win cheap stuffed animals and eating crappy overpriced food? I'd just leave at that point (which I usually do). But again, that's just me, and I may be in the minority.

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Monday, April 8, 2013 12:37 PM

I understand that things in this world are not "fair." Monsanto sneaking a law into our budget that makes it impossible to sue them if their genetically modified food is found to make Americans sick is one of those. Monsanto is a company, and they are in the business of making a profit.

The rules of how a line works is something that humanity has followed for ages. A line moves, and the best way to make a line work for all the people involved is first come, first served. Seating on an airplane or at a theater, for example, has rules too. People in an auditorium can not sit in the exact same seat. There are physically better seats that have a higher demand, so the best way to distribute these seats is to have the people willing to pay more to be able to use the better seats. A line for a roller coaster already has a solution. First come first serve.

I'll admit that seating is sometimes first come first serve too.

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Monday, April 8, 2013 12:54 PM

I predict that next thing that they might do is have a "Front Lane" pass for like ten bucks that is the only thing that allows you to sit in the front.

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Monday, April 8, 2013 12:54 PM

RCMAC said:

Perhaps Angus Wynne and his Six Flags over Texas POP policy did us no favors in the end.

Heh. This.

Everyone pays one price with the expectation that they get the same thing - and they do. Access to the park. There's no guarantee involved beyond that.

But man, the old Pay-Per-Ride was WAY more fair (assuming it's the number of rides that determines "value" and "Fairness"). If a ride on the Super Rollie Coaster was $2, everyone that rode it had paid the same $2. If you rode it five times, you paid five times as much.

With POP you go on a busy day, have some bad luck with lines or play the crowd flow wrong and you could get very little for your money. With PPR, if the park was crowded you paid less because you rode less.

If it's funny that anyone believes life is fair, it's even funnier that they believe the POP system is.

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Monday, April 8, 2013 12:55 PM
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Monday, April 8, 2013 1:13 PM

Tyler Boes said:
I predict that next thing that they might do is have a "Front Lane" pass for like ten bucks that is the only thing that allows you to sit in the front.

A ride op sitting on a stool, holding a stick with a sign attached, blocking the front line que. For ONLY $10, you can have the front seat experience (Fast Lane has to pay additional as well), if not, feel free to sit anywhere else on the train. We will be more than happy to send the front seats out empty.

It sounds far fetched, but you never know! Maybe $5 would be better! ;)

I was hoping stuff like Fast Lane would stay out of Cedar Point, but i do understand why its there. I wonder if Dick was still there, if FL would be at the park.....hmmm.

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Monday, April 8, 2013 1:22 PM

bunky666 said:

if I'm working for a company that is extremely bad about it, I can either stay there and deal with it, or I can leave and find a company better suited to my needs. It is the same with just about anything. If you really feel the system is unfair to you (again, the general you), there are many things you can do

Quoting only the important bits...

This is how I live.

I just got laid off. Nine years with the same company and my whole department gets wiped out, even though it turned a profit and showed significant growth every quarter.

All this happened while my family has been looking to move into a bigger home. We've been upside-down on our townhouse for much longer than we'd hoped, and this year with the market improving we put our house up and found a buyer in record time that will actually put us a little on top when we expected at best to break even. Days later I'm told I'll soon be unemployed.

It sucks. It definitely hurts, and while the timing is never good to get laid off, now is certainly not opportune, especially in a lousy economy with record unemployment. But I'm not going to sit on my ass and bitch and moan and blame the economy, Obama, the government, or "the man," even though it's easy to do when they all present real obstacles to individual success thanks to the growing social entitlement mentality that everyone knows I'm so fond of. I'm currently marketing myself for the industry I'm in and will be pounding pavement until I'm working again. I'm responsible for what happens to me, regardless of how difficult the path or amount of outlying obstacles in the way.

So how does this apply to FastLane? If you have a problem with people using the system to cut in front of you, that's your problem. If you're a FastLane user and feel guilty when people give you the evil eye and complain, that's your problem. This jealousy and guilt crap is for the birds.

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Monday, April 8, 2013 1:26 PM

I fly Southwest a lot, and lately I've noticed that if their business select A 1-20 spots aren't taken they offer them to the rest of us for 40 bucks, cash on the spot. If seen Mr. A21 panic over this, but Ms. C45 rejoice! I've heard of people who went ahead and spent the money for early bird check in and still wound up in the B's.
I think 40 bucks is less than the increased fare for Business Select, which doesn't get you much on an airline like SWA except FOL access and maybe a free drink.

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Monday, April 8, 2013 1:36 PM

Seating on an airplane or at a theater, for example, has rules too. People in an auditorium can not sit in the exact same seat.

And not everyone in the park can ride the exact same ride at the same time (Which would be 'fair'). Everyone is paying to see the same program. Everyone is paying to enter the same park. Everyone is given the opportunity to pay more to get a better seat, be it getting a seat closer to the stage, or getting a seat faster than someone else. Actually, that's 'FAIR'. Everyone is given the same opportunity. There are limited amounts of pay to cut. There are limited amounts of closer seats. It's all about paying more and being first come.

Just like with concerts, where people may be the first to buy a ticket and decide NOT to buy front row, people going into a park may pay earlier and decide NOT to buy pay to cut. If you can't afford either or you don't want to pay more for either, that is, to put it like Vater, Your Fault.

There are physically better seats that have a higher demand, so the best way to distribute these seats is to have the people willing to pay more to be able to use the better seats.

What you don't seem to realize, unless I'm missreading you, is that this goes for either a concert or a park. There are better (Quicker) seats in higher demand, so the best way to distribute these seats is to have the people willing to pay more to be able to use the better (Quicker) seats.

A line for a roller coaster already has a solution. First come first serve.

The line to get tickets to a concert is the same way. And works the same. You can pay more for a better seat. Heck, you can even pay more to get access quicker.

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Monday, April 8, 2013 1:43 PM

EDIT: You can pretty much skip what I wrote below and read Tek's post instead. Same thing, said more eloquently by him. :-)

LostKause said:

People in an auditorium can not sit in the exact same seat.

You're ignoring the fact that an auditorium, like a coaster train, is a resource that is used multiple times.

In other words, two people can occupy the same seat in an auditorium, so long as they do it at different times. Which is exactly the same scenario as an amusement park attraction.

You're trying to make the premium service-for-a-premium price demon unique to amusement parks, but it's not. Airline tickets, concert tickets, etc., yadda, yadda... It's all the same - you pay more, you get more, almost always at the expense of those who pay less (they have less legroom so those in first class can have more, their view is obstructed by some dude with an afro in the row in front of them, etc.).

A line for a roller coaster already has a solution. First come first serve.

To Gonch's point, that's not the original solution (nor is it the most fair). Those who ride 10 times, pay to ride each of those 10 times. Those who only have time to ride once, pay for only one ride.

Last edited by djDaemon, Monday, April 8, 2013 1:44 PM
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Monday, April 8, 2013 1:50 PM

if you've done everything at a park in one day that normally would have taken two days (or even three)

Outside of Orlando, how many people go to the regional parks that mostly offer these for 2 or 3 days? Yes, a few go here and there, but the majority go for a day. And I'd bet even less go for an entire day as it is.

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Monday, April 8, 2013 1:55 PM

Have you ever been in a concert ticket lottery? It's where you come to the box office and get in line, and the first person in line gets wristband number 1 and so on down the line. At some appointed time they draw a number and the person with that wristband becomes the first in line, anyone behind him stays there. Anyone ahead of him goes, in order, to the end of the line.
Confusing, yes. Fair? Ummmm.... Yes.
Once I got there a little late and my number was 258. When they drew, the lucky number was 255 so suddenly I was 4th in line and got great seats. I was thrilled that my lateness had made me lucky, but I felt bad for the girl that got there at 6 in the morning thinking she was gonna be first. Not because it wasn't fair, but because she was a dummass and wound up being none too happy about it.

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Monday, April 8, 2013 3:13 PM

I see no reason to feel guilty about purchasing a Fast Lane pass or Flash Pass if not purchasing one is going to result in a bad day at the park. The only guilt I feel is over spending the money; unlike Tommy, I CAN'T afford it. There are circumstances in which there seems to be no other sensible option for enjoying a park's attractions. I could kick myself for not buying a Fast Lane pass last year at Kings Island because after spending the money to fly to Ohio, rent a car and stay in a motel, I went to all that trouble and expense to get in only two rides. The ride lines were that long. This year, on Good Friday, I went to SFGA and got only 4 rides because I didn't buy a Flash Pass and also because it took an hour and a half to get through the queue to have my season pass processed. Yesterday I went back to the park and managed to get 12 rides without purchasing a Flash Pass, as I was lucky enough to go on a day when the ride queues were very short. I had 4 rides on Nitro within my first half hour at the park and got 2 front-seat rides on Kingda Ka in record time, besides which I was fortunate enough to find a single rider in the front row queue on KK on each occasion. Sometimes things have a way of working out. However, I can well understand the frustration of people who are preempted by those with Flash Passes. This happened to me yesterday while waiting to ride El Toro. By midafternoon the ride queues had gotten longer and it took about 40 minutes to get on ET. I thought that I would be on the 2nd train to be dispatched but it turns out that the people in the row for which I was waiting - back, where the airtime is off the charts - had platinum Flash Passes, which allow two consecutive rides, so those people made me wait a little longer. Consecutive riding is about the only objection I have to the Flash Pass system, as that really does have a negative impact on those who are waiting to ride. Of course, the privilege of riding consecutively does not come cheap. It costs $115 for the first person, with a slight discount for additional people added to the pass, but anyone who can afford to spend that kind of money at an amusement park is way beyond my income bracket and undoubtedly beyond the income bracket of the average park patron. So that doesn't seem very fair but no-one ever said that life is fair, and you get what you pay for.

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Monday, April 8, 2013 4:02 PM

What I really don't understand is how this ever became an issue of fairness or morality. I can't think of anything in a capitalist society (short of government interference) that isn't a supply-demand thing. Where there's money, there's a way.

I also don't understand when it became immoral to have a lot of money. I know a whole lot of people who do really well for themselves, and exactly zero of them are trust fund babies. They earned that. And don't blame it on some liberal political agenda either. The right is just as guilty for trumpeting that someone is sticking it to the little man.

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Monday, April 8, 2013 4:54 PM

It's typically more of a leftist tactic to vilify the rich while appearing to look out for the 'working class' or whatever. The irony is that so many of the liberals that do this are quite well off themselves.

It's very much akin to Biden claiming that we should buy a shotgun for self defense (falsely claiming they're easier to use) while he's protected by dudes armed with so-called "assault weapons."

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