Q-bot To Be Used For Rides at Dollywood

Monday, February 26, 2007 5:24 PM
Remember that HW also added some major rides and waterpark attractions to a park that really didn't have that much back then.

When HW was a small park, they charged small park prices. Now they charge mid-sized park prices. If Waldameer somehow could metamorphasize into a KW sized park, you could expect to pay around $30 instead of under $20 for Ride All Day. I would expect a $2 or $3 increase next year when Ravine Flyer II comes on board.


Arthur Bahl

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Monday, February 26, 2007 5:50 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar Yeah, I'll give you that. But there's one of two things at play here:

1. We're admitting that comparing parks on a one-to-one level is less than accurate and that many, many factors go into things. (which is something no one seems to do in those park business debate threads)

or

2. Other parks have added either bigger attractions or more attractions (or both) and not seen a price increase that is even close.

Example off the top of my head - CP. They've added MF, WT, TTD, Maverick, Skyhawk and MaXair (and that's just the rides) in that same time and their gate has only increased 10%. (less than 4 dollars)

So it's one or the other.

Either it's an apples-to-apples comparison and that 65% increase in Indiana is very striking or you can't just make an apples-to-apples comparison between parks because depending on countless factors, the situation is different. In which case one park adding Q-bot is not the end of the world and another not adding it is not set in stone. (because a small park that's become a medium park will eventually become a large park and face the same issues and decisions that current large parks do) And face it, would anyone have guessed two years ago that Dollywood would be the first major park outside of the SF chain to pick up the Q-bot?

So which is it, man?


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Monday, February 26, 2007 6:10 PM
*applause for Gonch*

Maybe I'm more capitalist than I give myself credit for, but I agree with you on option 2, Gonch. :)


"Life's What You Make It, So Let's Make It Rock!"
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Monday, February 26, 2007 6:24 PM
CP did a significant price cut in 2006 which left their regular admission price considerably below other comparable parks (SFGAdv, SFMM, etc.). Most of us probably agree that CP is an exceptional value if you are looking for big thrills because they have so much at a price that isn't much greater than many mid-sized parks.

This year my home park (KW) is having their first regular price increase in five years. They were overdue in some respects. Sure they did away with general admission 2 years ago but they also cut the senior and under 46" price when they did this change.


Arthur Bahl

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Monday, February 26, 2007 7:05 PM
Acoustic Viscosity's avatar 65%? What was Holiday World's gate price 7 years ago? Only $23?

AV Matt
Long live the Big Bad Wolf

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Monday, February 26, 2007 7:30 PM
rollergator's avatar ^ How many big rides did HW have before Legend opened...not *dissing* HW by any means (take it easy, Paula, LOL) - just that parks that have *one* major ride/coaster typically won't be able to justify a gate much beyond $20.

Gonch is sexy 'cause he does the research...I'm just a number-cruncher, LOL.

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Monday, February 26, 2007 7:42 PM
Being a long time Dollywood visitor, I really don't see why this is necessary. There is never a significant wait for any ride in the park - even during the peak season. Smoky Mountain Rampage and Thunderhead get longer lines, but that's about it.

I can't imagine how virtual queuing will be worked out on rides like the Slidewinder or the steam train.

*** Edited 2/27/2007 12:43:46 AM UTC by Dukeis#1***

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Monday, February 26, 2007 9:56 PM
I have visited the park 3 times and have never had a "long" wait except for the rides in the County Fair area where the load times are ridiculously long.

SDC has VIP Seating for an upcharge, but they wear wristbands. I'm not sure why a Q-bot would be needed as the shows there I didn't think were nearly as good as SDC's (and I'm not being a fanboy, it is just my opinion).

Are the lines EVER that long at DW? I honestly do not know and am curious.

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Monday, February 26, 2007 10:39 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

dannerman said:
Maybe I'm more capitalist than I give myself credit for, but I agree with you on option 2, Gonch.

Well, honestly, I lean towards option one being the truth myself. You just can't compare parks in the business sense they way it often happens around here. Numbers like price increase, attendance growth and stuff like that take on totally different meaning depending on the context. And pointing that out was my intention with the HW quip.


Acoustic Viscosity said:
65%? What was Holiday World's gate price 7 years ago? Only $23?

Yeah, I'm pretty sure it was $22.95. I know it was $26.95 in 2001 and that Park World article about the free drinks mentioned that the gate raised $4 the year free drinks were put into play (2000). I'm giving the benefit of the doubt and assuming no increase between 2000 & 2001.

At that rate it'll only be $62.95 in 2014. ;)


Gator said:
How many big rides did HW have before Legend opened...not *dissing* HW by any means (take it easy, Paula, LOL) - just that parks that have *one* major ride/coaster typically won't be able to justify a gate much beyond $20.

Exactly. And I really do agree (and some of you know this ;) ) that the growth drives and even justifies the price increase. My post was just another way of pointing out the differences between the 'big' parks that need to find additional revenue sources to continue growth and the smaller parks that have a long way to go before they hit the ceiling.


Gonch is sexy 'cause he does the research...

Damn straight! I just wish I could find some 2000/2001 gate prices for the SF parks. Those difference has got to be pretty close to that 65% number.

But I digress, that's not what this thread is technically about. It's about the fact that in 33 days, Q-bot for ride waits is official at a non-SF park. Even better - it's at one of the parks that commonly gets referenced to as one of the 'good' parks.

I still say this is just the beginning of the beginning.


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Tuesday, February 27, 2007 12:28 AM

Swoosh said:
SDC has VIP Seating for an upcharge, but they wear wristbands. I'm not sure why a Q-bot would be needed as the shows there I didn't think were nearly as good as SDC's (and I'm not being a fanboy, it is just my opinion).

Are the lines EVER that long at DW? I honestly do not know and am curious.


The shows at Dollywood are very popular – the large indoor theatres regularly fill to capacity. It’s a holdover from the days when the park was more live-entertainment oriented like Opryland. Virtual queuing is justifiable for the shows, as the theatres can actually develop long lines.

However with the big rides, minus Thunderhead and the Rampage, there is never any standing time. One can almost always walk right on, even when the park is packed. The Slidewinder’s line moves slow, but that’s because it has horrible throughput. (Infact, virtual queuing might actually hurt that ride)

*** Edited 2/27/2007 5:33:31 AM UTC by Dukeis#1***

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007 4:22 AM
Here's an idea for virtual queueing that could be free, make everyone still wait, but still give the benefits of being able to leave the line to take junior to the bathroom, as well as eliminate linejumping (it's foolproof)

Give *Everyone* a Qbot, slightly modified. When you scan it, it would give you a sequential number, as well as a time ESTIMATE. This would be updated over wi-fi to change based on downtime, and actual running eficiency. For example, if ride capacity is 800pph and they only ran 300 in the past hour, and there were 200 people in front of you, it would say 40 minutes instead of 30.

Now here's where it changes.. instead of cattle chutes minus the mooing, the queue is now a big open (shaded) patio with benches, specific smoking sections, maybe even arcade games. People can go anywhere they want (including leaving the line) because there number is on the bot, saving their place in line. When there number is close, it "calls" them and they go into a line at the station that is maybe 5 minute wait max. It fixes the line jumping because they can't just duck under when security is watching. If you get hungry, you can go eat something. Also you can get rid of the turnstiles because it will count it automatically.

If you take long geting a pizza and miss your turn, no problem.. as soon as your number is called your eligible to go in the station.

The only problem would be implementation, but it would solve soooo much, IMO.

Thoughts?


"Life's What You Make It, So Let's Make It Rock!"
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Tuesday, February 27, 2007 5:41 AM
After taking a closer look at CP, I see where QBOT might work well here. First, there are only a few coasters that have the long line problems. For many people it would be nice to be able to ride rides like Magnum or Gemini or some of the flats while waiting for MF or TTD. Second, unlike SFGAdv and SFMM, CPs admission price is quite reasonable for such a big park. This means CP could keep the park affordable for many people of Cleveland and Detroit who are impacted by the less than robust economy while making up for some of the lost revenue resulting from the relatively low admission price.

The important matters hare are: Don't compromise the operations. Visitors should be able to have a good time even without a Q-Bot. Second, keep the QBOT price reasonable. $30 for the first person is a bit high. Third, no QBOT Gold. CP doesn't need it as long as there are some coasters that have short waits.

IMO CP is an unusual case. It would have been best to introduce QBOT at the same time as the regular price was cut last year. That way no one would feel a loss in value received. You would have a choice: pay a price comparable to what you did before and spend less time in line OR pay less than before with slightly longer waits on some of the rides.

What's bad is when its a choice between paying for QBOT on top of an already high admission price or not having that good of a time. Thats where Six Flags has given the QBOT a bad image.


Arthur Bahl

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007 8:48 AM

Hopman said:
I wonder how long before CP gets the system. I can see the Ride ops having one more headach on their hands.

Yeah, they will have to worry about loading the Q-boters and it might cut in on their attempts to "entertain" the crowd waiting in the station. [/sarcasm]


"Yes... well... VICTORY IS MINE!"
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Tuesday, February 27, 2007 9:15 AM
As far as Cedar Fair is concerned, QBOTs might eventually appear in CP, KBF and the five former Paramount Parks. The attendance threshold where a queue system becomes significant in its effect is probably somewhere around 1.5 to 2 million depending upon the number of major attractions in the park and their capacity.

VF and WOF are both around 1 million attendance so this makes no sense in either of these smaller parks unless Cedar Fair decides to screw up the operations to make a QBOT essential to having a good experience. I doubt that this will happen. GL and MiA have even lower attendance making queue systems virtually useless in these parks. DP appears to be on the borderline with its 1.5 million attendance but given the number of coasters here, the use of such a system may be questionable at most. After all KW, with similar attendance, fewer coasters, and no waterpark within the gates doesn't need this.


Arthur Bahl

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007 12:02 PM
Dollywood might be testing the Q-bott waters, but it is not about to follow Six Flags example of intentional bad ride management to increase line-cutter profits. Dollywood has a good reputation with families so it has more to loose, should the park start to feel less hospitable. Unless the park is under new management is doubt management is unwilling to loose their soul over this.
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Tuesday, February 27, 2007 12:10 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

DWeaver said:
But as other parks begin to adopt this system, it will be interesting watch the opinions suddenly change from an "evil" money gouging, line-cutting system", to "much more legitimate option now that it's in a park I like" system.

Eerie in your accuracy. Downright scary, man. :)

Suddenly Q-bot isn't the problem, the way SF does it is the problem. It'll work fine at DW and probably would at several other parks too.

Sheesh! You guys are too much sometimes. ;)

The best part is those responses coming long after DWeaver already called you out on it.


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Tuesday, February 27, 2007 12:44 PM
That's the big matter at Six Flags. Make the park worth the prices charged and provide a decent experience even without a Q-Bot.

That means no one-train operation on big coasters or dragging the operation out. Naturally long lines are inevitable on brand new spectacular rides such as El Toro during their first season even with good operations and that's where the queue systems gome in. The same applies for rides with lasting appeal that continue to have long lines year after year.

As for Six Flags food prices and quality, the main reason why I am against this is because high food prices and poor quality detract from the overall park experience. If the prices are reasonable and the food is decent, I will eat more at the park and that enhances the overall park experience for me. I will concede that what I consider "reasonable" within a park is higher than ordinary street pricing. Its just that charging 2 or even 3 times such pricing is going too far.

On a related point, one of the reasons that value received can vary so much among parks is because, with the exception of the destination parks (Disney, Universal, Busch, and in some cases Herschend) amusement parks are generally part of a local or regional market. If CP were a Six Flags park run like SFGAdv, they would be struggling with low attendance. Many potential visitors would go to other parks such as KI instead or just stay home because of budget concerns (remember that the local economy here is not that great). On the other hand, SFGAdv has that enviable advantage of being near NYC and being considerably bigger than even its larger competitors (HP, Moreys, DP). So they can get away with this crap. After all, how many people in NJ are going to Ohio just because CP is a better run and more reasonably priced park with similar offerings.


Arthur Bahl

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007 1:45 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar Now Screamscape is saying that if things go well with the Q2Q at Dollywood then SDC could have a test system in place by this fall.

Tee hee. :)


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Tuesday, February 27, 2007 2:43 PM

Lord Gonchar said:

Suddenly Q-bot isn't the problem, the way SF does it is the problem. It'll work fine at DW and probably would at several other parks too.


Right. So if Six flags solves most of their capacity issues, and runs the Q-bot system almost identically to Dollywood's (which is highly likely under Shapiro), does this mean the Q-bot becomes less evil in the mind of some enthusiasts? Or is Gonch's "option 1" fully at play here?

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007 2:51 PM
rollergator's avatar I think the problem with SF's version of the Bot has *everything* to do with rides running at significantly less than full capacity. Strangely, I think this IS one of the areas that enthuisiasts and the GP agree *almost completely* - and I give the GP alot of credit for *recognizing* when rides are run at less-than-optimal capacity.
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