Pay Queue Syetems -- Flashpass etc.

Friday, July 28, 2006 9:12 AM
One thing that I don't like about Six Flags as it exists today is their heavy use of pay queue systems such as Flashpass (Qbot). I don't like the idea of paying a high admission price to get into the park and then having to pay even more to have a decent experience once you are there. In particular, I am referring to parks like SFGAdv where the operations are less than sterling.

Now, Universal is adopting a pay system as well. What will this do to their parks?

Will Disney, Cedar Fair or other parks start doing this in the future? Meanwhile we still have parks like KW, HW etc that don't need a queue system (free or pay) and that are unlikely to require an extra charge to avoid long waits.

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Friday, July 28, 2006 9:37 AM
Arthur - there was recently a lengthy and heated discussion on Virtual Queueing systems. You might try searching for it ;)

Edit - Found it!

http://www.coasterbuzz.com/forum.aspx?mode=thread&TopicID=44202


*** Edited 7/28/2006 1:51:41 PM UTC by Mamoosh***

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Friday, July 28, 2006 10:38 AM
Personally. I wish they'd do away with virtual queuing period--except for maybe at Disney. You shouldn't have to pay extra to have a good time at an amusement park. Your park admission is already enough money sometimes.

An amusement park is responsible for the time you have. If they have crappy operations, rides closed, poor service, etc., then they should be penalized by a lack of attendance, bad publicity, etc. Their poor performance shouldn't be an excuse to charge people even more to enjoy themselves.

I'm very much against Flash Pass. Parks should push people through lines using fast operations and max capacity trains.

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Friday, July 28, 2006 11:39 AM
I love them. (see the thread Moosh linked to :) )

Most big parks have some way of paying for line access whether it be heavily advertised or not.

Six Flags has Q-bot and the VIP thing. Disney has various programs. Universal has always offered it to hotel guests and now offers it for a fee to all. Cedar Point has a VIP deal. Hershey offers limited line access for an additional fee to certain hotel guests. It goes on and on if you research a little bit.

*** Edited 7/28/2006 3:40:07 PM UTC by Lord Gonchar***

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Friday, July 28, 2006 12:03 PM
Well, if SF is going to implement Flash Pass, then they should standardize it across the board--run it the same way at all their parks.

For the coasters, what they should do is set aside 1 row or 1 car for Flash Pass users only. They should have that row/car open to the public, with the understanding that this car/row will be used for Flash Pass guests when present. This way, GP get to fill in the row/car when there are no Flash Pass guests, and the GP are warned beforehand that if they queue for that certain row/car, then they may get bumped back.

When SF parks let Flash Pass guests pick wherever they want to sit, this I have a problem with. Lines should be designated, and GP should be forwarned. This seems like a more fair system. I also don't like the idea of FP guests "merging" with the regular line.

The way it was implemented at SFMM and sometimes at SFGAdv is ridiculous, unfair, and rude.

SF also should modify the loading platforms of older rides that now use Flash Pass so that things are more organized and that the exit queue isn't clogged.

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Friday, July 28, 2006 12:13 PM

Well, if SF is going to implement Flash Pass, then they should standardize it across the board--run it the same way at all their parks.

That I can agree with.

The ticket setup that merges with the line is flat out line cutting, even I cannot argue that one.

The electronic system may or may not have flaws in the way it's setup. I suppose each park did what they felt works best.

I'm wondering though if you feel just as slighted when someone does a baby swap or a handicapped person comes up the exit and you're bumped back one train because they filled in your spot?

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Friday, July 28, 2006 12:19 PM
It's funny that you bring up the CP VIP system. I remember at the Coastermania Q&A this year, John Hildebrandt said something to the effect that it wasn't fair for people to get to jump ahead of others. Everyone waits for the ride. I wish I would have thought about the VIP thing at the time. Apparently, it's everyone waits, unless you pay us $800+. Not that I wouldn't make the exact same business decision that they did. :)

http://www.cedarpoint.com/public/visit/vip.cfm *** Edited 7/28/2006 4:20:10 PM UTC by Jeff Young***

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Friday, July 28, 2006 12:29 PM
Nothing pissess me off more at an amusement than waiting in line for an hour plus, and than have people cut in front of you and make your wait even longer.

I already pay a mint to get into a park like six flags, why should I or anyone else have to pay more to get on a ride in a decent amount of time.

Maybe insted of a "fast pass", they should try a "fast crew" policy at the park and add more trains to the coasters. That would cut down the wait time. This comes from many experiances I have had at six flags parks. Not all, but most of the coaster crews are slow, and do nothing but mess around and drag there feet.

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Friday, July 28, 2006 1:05 PM
It's hit or miss for me....When I go to Universal we always stay at Royal Pacific or Hard Rock over New Year's Eve week (26th-1st) so I am always spoiled by those passes. Especially now that there aren't free ones anymore so even less people in line :).

But we just got back from a trip to SFGAm and they had that flash pass thing but I was with friends and stuff so we just leisurely rode some rides visited the waterpark, etc...in other words it wasn't that big of a deal to us that we had to wait in line.

So I guess to me it just depends on what situation I'm in.

Plus waiting in line can be good, you get to meet those hot girls standing next to you in the bikinis, or you might see someone famous, or you might see your neighbor! You just never know sometimes. ;)

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Friday, July 28, 2006 1:09 PM
I was at six flags great adv for 2 days last week. The first day we only got on 5 rides, it was hot and miserable in line.

The 2nd day we sprung for the gold flash pass. Without it you vcan't enjoy yourself in the park.

With that said though, I must admit I hate the whole idea. It's not right to rack you for admission, then rack you again just to make it a good day, and it's not fair to the other guests.

I am a season pass holder for Hershey Park. The are a good example (for the most part) on how to efficently load and unload trains. The DISPATCH times at six flags were unbeliveable horribe. They should pay them people by the dispact and not by the hour!

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Friday, July 28, 2006 1:22 PM
Im totally against it and heres why.

POP addmission is 49.99 but to actually enjoy the park its 99.99

SCREW THAT.

I don't visit them parks anyhow much, And they wonder why?

I could spend the day at several parks and get as many rides as I want, eat and in some cases pay for half the fuel to get there for their GATE price alone.


There are systems that work and systems that don't. The vitual @ which has its own separate entrance and enters toward the front of the line isn't too bad or too inconviniencing but the old FAST PASS with certain rows reserved dose nothing but PISS PEOPLE OFF.


You can take your 49.95 BOT and stick it IMHO. for the cost of both admission and a bot I'll visit two other parks, THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

Chuck

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Friday, July 28, 2006 1:27 PM

The 2nd day we sprung for the gold flash pass. Without it you can't enjoy yourself in the park.

With that said though, I must admit I hate the whole idea.


Another interesting observation.

I hear this more and more lately. People who absolutely despise the very idea of the system feeling that they have to buy into it and acting on that notion.

All that says to me is that it really is here to stay - even hardened enthusiasts are ponying up and paying to play.

I'm just waiting for the time to come when the FlashPass threads aren't full of complaints, but rather full of people sharing tips and advice on using the system to your advantage. ;)

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Friday, July 28, 2006 1:41 PM

rablat5 said:


When SF parks let Flash Pass guests pick wherever they want to sit, this I have a problem with. Lines should be designated, and GP should be forwarned. This seems like a more fair system. I also don't like the idea of FP guests "merging" with the regular line.


Nope, I *despise* this idea of a 'designated row' especially for the Q-bot type system (which I believe is the best). I waited as long as the next person, why dont they assign them a seat too?

I guess I should explain what I think is the proper implementation. The best setup is something like on S:ROS @ SFNE. There is the regular line and the Flash Pass line and both meet right at the door to the station. There is an attendant there who ushers in people from the regular line and the flash pass line in (virtually) equal amounts (assuming there are that many FPers waiting). Once in the station, everyone picks a row and no one is bumped.

I *do* think that the 'up the exit' routing of FPers is a monument to inefficiency. I can appreciate that no one likes to get bumped at the last second (even in the case of the handicapped). I think merging like S:ROS @ SFNE is a great way to avoid that. Coincidentally, that is the way that Disney handles things. :)

But the stories about what is happening @ GAdv are awful. I've never experienced such bad ops at that place. I've always considered them one of the better places outside of Disney/CP. I really hooe they get their ish together soon!
lata, jeremy

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Friday, July 28, 2006 1:42 PM
Yeah I know what your sayin. I rather hear people say the best way to take advantage of the system instead of throwing it away all together. ;)

There is one thing in my opinion that parks should do. You know how they have those coupons for 10 dollars off admission etc. on the back of pop cans?

Why couldn't they do a similar discount program with the endless varieties of fastpass?

Buy a qbot your first day and your second day you get one free? For example...

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Friday, July 28, 2006 1:53 PM
Kyle: Well @ SFNE, the qbot *was* five dollars off with an SF season pass...
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Friday, July 28, 2006 2:00 PM
Each time you went with your season pass or was it like a coupon for one time?
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Friday, July 28, 2006 2:12 PM
With inefficient ride ops they might as well drop POP and go back to pay-per-ride. They could even have the ticket price inversly proportional to the time you have to wait for your place in line.
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Friday, July 28, 2006 2:27 PM
Wasn't it JRS that proposed a 'stock market' system where it was pay-per-ride and the price fluctuated based on demand for the ride?

Neat idea on paper, but in practice...

...well, think of how people get angry because they don't understand why the q-bot user is "cutting in line" and now imagine someone questioning why they have to pay $2 to ride this time, but earlier it was only 60 cents.

Yikes!

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Friday, July 28, 2006 2:30 PM
Or better yet....I had to pay $3.50 to ride 10 minutes ago and now he got in line for 50 cents!
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Friday, July 28, 2006 2:50 PM
Jeremy is right on with the S:RoS at SFNE. If you're going to do it, at least do it right - merge before the station and let people pick rows. In fact, I think that is the perfect station design in just about all respects (save the front row queue actually feed 1-1 and 1-2). No special row lines clogging regular lines. Easy access to all rows. Just enough space to get a bunch of people into the station without creating a zoo (V2 comes to mind). Q-bot people merge pre-station and can wait the extra time for special rows...Sad that B:DK on the other end of the park has one of the worst stations I've ever seen.

You can't imagine how frustrating it is to be at GAdv. and see a car on chiller roped off (that's 20% of the capacity of the ride) and running empty half the day. That line is already the worst in the park, for crying out loud. If you're going to run it crappily, don't run it.

I know we've talked about the whole "conspiracy theory aspect" (that Six Flags purposely makes lines slower to increase Q-bot sales) which in general isn't the case, but on Medusa West they change the q-bot merge point from pre-station on crowded days to exit ramp on light days.

So, on light days they definitely have a longer load cycle (and worse capacity), not neccesarily intentionally, but as a result of trying to create more value for the q-bot customers.

*** Edited 7/28/2006 6:53:43 PM UTC by ApolloAndy***

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