Quick Queue at BGA

Lord Gonchar's avatar
Disclaimer: I haven't seen an official release anywhere, but I've seen it mentioned on a few forums.

With that said it looks like BGA is in the initial phases of a full blown roll-out of their Quick Queue pass system.

From what I understand, for $24.95 ($19.95 for passholders) you get a pass that gives you express access (via seperate entrance) to at least seven rides at the park.

So here's another park getting their feet wet in the preferred access business.

Disney parks, Universal parks, Busch Gardens Africa, Six Flags parks, Dollywood - the list goes on.

How long before Cedar Fair has to give in or at least considers bringing it back in some capacity?

Pretty much all of the "big" parks (in terms of attendance) offer some sort of basic system that everyone can use. But I digress...

It seems we can add BGA to the list of parks using some sort of pay-to-play ride access system.

Kick The Sky's avatar
They wouldn't even have lines if they operated their rides properly! Honestly, how do you queue up a dueling wood coaster on a weekday in February? Come on...

Certain victory.

rollergator's avatar
I thought BGA's endless restraint-checking was unique to the park....until this past week's visit to SWT. One of the ops on Great White checked restraints on the back half of the train FOUR times, all while taking time to ridicule the new guy working the front end of the train (who MIGHT have been mentally-handicapped). Finally on his fourth pass through, I stopped him to ask if he could spend less time ridiculing and more time HELPING the new guy get adjusted - we broke a 12-minute dispatch time before that lap.

C'mon, Busch, if you're going to have rides in your parks at least ACT as though you care about dispatching them....kthxbye. ;)

ShiveringTim's avatar

Lord Gonchar said:

How long before Cedar Fair has to give in or at least considers bringing it back in some capacity?

I thought they did, but only in the extreme sense: http://www.cedarpoint.com/public/visit/vip.cfm

Scott - Proud Member of The Out-Of-Town Coaster Weirdos
LostKause's avatar
I hate the word "preferred". People who can throw money around expect to get their butt kissed when they are spending. Are we supposed to accept snobby behavior without question?

I know it's about money, but letting people cut in front of others for ANY reason is wrong.

And no matter how it is presented, yes, it IS line cutting. Standing in more than one line at a time should NOT be acceptable be society.

Does this system at BGA allow unlimited line cuts, or just one per ride per admission? Do people have to get a time to come back, or is it like the hotel key at Universal Orlando where you can just show up and ride whenever you want however many times you want?

Lord Gonchar's avatar

ShiveringTim said:
I thought they did, but only in the extreme sense: http://www.cedarpoint.com/public/visit/vip.cfm

Yeah, pretty much any park offers some sort of VIP thing, but that's not what I meant by, "basic system that anybody can use."

You gotta shell out big bucks for the VIP deals. These things that are $15 or $25 or $40 are at all the biggest, most visited parks with the sole exception of the Cedar Fair properties. They tried the FreeWay thing and dumped it. How about something more sophisticated and better planned than the handstamp plan?

LostKause said:Standing in more than one line at a time should NOT be acceptable be society.

At this point is it even a debate on whether it's right or wrong? The parks are clearly picking up on it and using it. It's not even a case of me trying to sound smart and say, "It's here to stay" anymore. It really is everywhere and it really isn't going anywhere.

At this point it seems like the real news in this area is who is implementing systems and who is doing it best.

LostKause's avatar
I'm not debating on right and wrong here. Just because the parks accept it as something that can make them more money doesn't mean that I should just shrug it off and move on. I am still offended that any park would put their "valued guests" in such a situation.

I really don't have to "debate" it anymore. Just count on me to interject my opinion on the subject when it comes up from time to time. I will not simply shrug like everyone else.


So everytime you purchase a coach ticket on an airline, do you feel that the first class passengers who paid more are getting their butt kissed?

They board first, get comfy wide seats, more leg room, and get more attention from the flight attendants with food and drink. They also exit first.

Is that wrong?

I see no difference in the amusement park world. If you pay more, you get more.

My favorite MJ tune: "Billie Jean" which I have been listening to alot now. RIP MJ.

Lord Gonchar's avatar

LostKause said:
I really don't have to "debate" it anymore. I will not simply shrug like everyone else.

Well, you're going to be not shrugging at an awful lot of parks. ;)

LostKause's avatar
It's been said 100 times before, Chitown, Those first class airline passengers do not take anything from me. Same goes for better seats in whatever sporting event/concert. Those who buy a line jumpers pass ARE taking rides from me, because they are waiting in more than one line at a time. This clogs the lines with people who aren't even there. On the other hand, I have no problem with any business selling "perks" as long as it doesn't interfere with the non-upgraded experience, like ert while the park is closed.

I am not the only one. A lot of people are offended by the way parks are treating those who choose not to shell another $30-50 per person. You can feel the tension in the queues. They scream and curse at train loads of Flash Passers and the ride ops who let them on. Negative feelings are normal in such a situation. No business should put people through that, no matter how fantastic the profit. They also run the risk of being accused of running ride less efficiently on purpose to boost profits. Bad feelings last longer than daily profit.

The last time I visited a SF park was 4 or 5 years ago because of the bad feelings.

Just remember that there are still many parks that won't make people have to deal with that kind of negativity. The number of parks may be shrinking ;) ;) ;) (insert sarcastic Dane Cook laugh here), but I don't have to like it.

It does make a difference. If you are in coach, and you want to get off the plane quickly, you won't be able to do that in coach.

First Class gets off first which means they are first in line to exit the plane. They bump you from getting off quicker.

My favorite MJ tune: "Billie Jean" which I have been listening to alot now. RIP MJ.

Lord Gonchar's avatar

LostKause said:
Those first class airline passengers do not take anything from me. Same goes for better seats in whatever sporting event/concert.

But what about people who pay to join a preferred members club (like a fan club for a music artist) and have first access to tickets.

They're taking your ability to get goods seats in the first place. Because you don't pay more for preferred access to tickets, you sit further away or in a worse location.

Or what about Ticketmaster auctions where a set number of tickets (or packages) are held and then sold to the highest bidders rather than at face value. This is one I have first-hand experience with.

I just went to a show where I bought tickets via auction on Ticketmaster - I got 4th row seats long after the floor was sold out because I was willing to pay more for those tickets. If there was no auction (and tickets held to be auctioned) someone would have gotten them at face value, but my willingness to pay more made them unavailable to someone who wanted to buy them before me.

In other words, I traded money for time and took something that would have been available to others if I wasn't willing to pay more for it. Instead, those 4th row seats weren't even available to people wanting to pay face value for their ticket and they were forced back a few rows in the theatre because of the people willing to pay more for better seats.

Just like a virtual queue.

I still say the only reason you find the virtual queue to be so wrong is that the 'dirtiness' happens right out in the open for all to see. You're possibly getting burned by people willing to pay more all the time, you just usually don't see it happening as blatantly as it does at the park.

rollergator's avatar
In virtually every business scenario imaginable, those who are willing to spend more will get more. It's even more true in the hospitality industry.

Probably related to the fact that we live in a capitalist economy, and businesses are in business to make money.... ;)

I was one of those arguing against these systems way back before the die was cast (late '90s). By this point, it's simply a matter of accepting the new reality, and learning to play the game by the new rules...

Resistance is futile....and (pardon the expression) a Lost Kause...

Post-post post... if you're going to make an argument against these systems (one with ANY merit in the eyes of the businesses running amusement parks) - then you'd better be able and willing to argue that they'll lose money in the longer-term by implementing. Failing to argue on financial grounds is...well, pointless.
*** Edited 5/28/2008 4:50:13 PM UTC by rollergator***

ApolloAndy's avatar
But arguing on moral grounds still has it's place. Not that I think it's immoral, I'm just saying...

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."

rollergator's avatar
^While I agree that arguing on moral grounds has its place, I have to insist that (virtually) no businesses will be convinced by that line of reasoning.

LOL, one of the things UF has decided to stress in its future admissions standards (just read this in the school paper yesterday) - ETHICS.

Food for thought.
Amusement park prices, in general, have been fairly constant over the past 5-10 years. Do you recall having to pay more to visit parks today than years ago (via main gate prices)? Cedar Point in 2002 admission was $42, the same as today. How is a park supposed to support itself with things like inflation, rising operating costs (utilities, wages, etc), and additional expansion ($20 million this year, $15 million the next) that is necessary for sustained growth without raising gate prices?

Two ways. First, increasing prices on food, souvenirs, and parking. It's the first logical step because your primary goal is to get people in the gate (keep gate prices constant and low). Once this is done, and prices increase, simple supply and demand will tell you people will begin to buy less (pack lunches or hit up a McDonald's), reducing per-cap revenue. (An example of this is say a Subway inside a park. $8 for a 6" sub! Are you kidding! Of course people are going to decrease their spending when that same sub is $2.50 outside the park. To me it would seem they would make more money by changing say, $8 for a 12" which is still a large margin over the regular price but apparently this is not the case or that is what the price would be.)

Now you have the same amount of revenue from ticket sales but diminishing returns on things like food. The only way to obtain additional income at this point is the addition of "pay" attractions (like slingshots, skyflyers, etc) and "add-ons" like Fastpass. It's simple business economics. The money has to come from somewhere and the evolution towards add-ons seem to point to the high profitability of them.

So is this immoral? No. They are a service company providing entertainment! Let's not get confused with something like a hospital charging inflated prices for a necessary medical treatment. This arguably could be immoral but that is a discussion for somewhere else. If McDonald's (a service company) was to increase all prices tomorrow by 50% would that be immoral? No, a poor business decision but not immoral. So if an amusement park wants to raise the gate price by "back dooring" it with Fastpasses then so be it. It obviously works if there is enough people cutting in line to aggravate you (Also, it suggests there are many people accepting it by paying for it). You have to remember as well that as a business they make their own rules and if you don't like them then don't visit.

I guess I just don't see the problem. They are a business that runs on profit. If they raise prices they do it because they have too. Also, a few years ago you had no choice but to wait in the 3+ hour line that you now can bypass, this is a benefit to visitors who now can maximize their utility (get the most out of their day). You may be paying more but you are also getting more for your money.

Final thought.
Any decision parks make may have pros and cons for consumers but without this capitalist goal to make money us enthusiasts wouldn't have seen the benefits of hyper, giga, strata, mega-loopers, floorless, inverted, (insert your favorite) coasters that exist today. It's all relative.

LostKause's avatar
"You may be paying more but you are also getting more for your money."

...At the expense of others.

I usually make this point in these discussions. The "perk" is a solution that is making the problem worse. Line cutters cause longer lines by waiting in more than one line at a time. Line cutter passes sell better when the lines are long. It offers no reason for the parks to run rides at a decent capacity.

Line jumping used to be a big no no.

What if retail stores started doing this. "For an extra $10 we will let you cut to the front of the 20 minute Wal-Mart line." Those with $10 to spare would buy this "perk" and make the 20 minute line 30 minutes of longer, thus creating an even higher demand for the line jumper pass.

That's why I feel it is immoral.

^ I'm waiting for a store to try that on Black Friday when lines can be 45 minutes to hours to check out at major stores (especially electronic stores).

Last year I mentioned us trying it at our store as a suggestion (but not that seriously). My reasoning was if people are willing to pay big bucks to cut at SF, would they pay an extra $5 in our store? I'm sure the outrage would be amazing and people would say they'd never return (and we get complaints that the 20 oz sodas are too expensive at $1.00 when SF sells them for $3.50 and people gladly pay that), yet in a park people are ok with it.

I totally agree with the idea that making it more available will kind of snowball to the point where the demand will be too high to sustain a non-fastpass customer line. Like you said, if so many people cut in line then after a while you will have no choice but to buy it.

I think the biggest problem right now is just that there is too much demand. They are making it more widely available than the park (and general public) can handle. At our local haunted house it is typical for there to a 2+hour wait on a Friday or Saturday night (it is highly regarded and in the top 10 in the nation, Dead Acres in Columbus, check it out). It already costs $15 but for $10 more you can skip the line and go in with the next group. Last fall, I did use this as I had other things going on that night where I couldn't spend that much time there, but the general public wasn't spending that much on the FOL privilege. In fact, my group was the only ones to take advantage of it that I saw. So what this would tell me is $25 is too much for most people to pay, and the amount of people the haunted house must accommodate is minimal. If parks like Six Flags were to charge more, there would be less of a demand (and public outcry) of people cutting.

Although many people say that fastpasses add to wait times, what would the wait times be if the people "cutting" you were just standing in front of you (like before the concept was used). The same right?

I think the real problem with these programs is they are too cheap (causing excess demand, but at the same time increased revenues). How the programs are managed make a big difference as well. Allowing people to "line up" in more than one ride, I concede, can be somewhat unfair to the general public (immoral is a strong word). It would help with public opinion if somethings were changed, that is for sure. I think programs like at Disney (as of a few years ago as I'm not current with their newest rules) where you can have only one fastpass for one ride at a time is a good thing, although they don't charge more for this privilege.

I guess my overall point is these programs are here to stay as long as some amount of people use them, all we can hope for is a redesign of rules and privileges.

And for people who have "gold" passes and such, do you object to the ability to cut lines on certain days?

LostKause's avatar
Awesome! A respectful poster who can have a conversation without being a smartypants! Kudos to you, Bucknut!

My response to you...

I believe that too many people are using VQ already. I think that your scenario is already at play. Raising the price would be an interesting way to fix the problem. I never thought of that. I am very surprised that I would not object to such a change. It would mean that less people would be cutting, therefore reducing the whole problem to an almost unnoticeable level.

...And that is my new stance on the subject. Charge more so even Gonch can't afford it! ;) The parks need to find a better balance.

I don't have a problem with VQ. I have a problem with how it is utilized. If they found a way to keep people from standing in more than one line at a time, I'd be all for it. When a "virtual you" is holding your place in line so you can get in line for something else and come back later, it has the same negative effects as line jumping. It's the same as someone standing in line and holding a place for you while you go ride some other rides.

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