Six Flags Announces Nation's Best Theme Park VIP Program

Thursday, March 15, 2007 12:05 PM

Jeff said:

halltd said:
Like I said, I'm only considering it at CP because I think it would be a blast to ride the coasters as many times as humanly possible in one day.
Which, as I said, you can do for standard admission most any early weekday in May.

Except for science days which usually clear out by 4pm and are ususally on a friday.

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Thursday, March 15, 2007 12:05 PM
Nonsense... I've been on a lot more rides than that any weekend in August, and that was without getting there at opening.
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Thursday, March 15, 2007 12:23 PM

Charles Nungester said:
Like I said before, Planning the big parks and asking for tips is a lot less expensive. Visit SFNE on a monday, No Gold bot needed 89 dollar savings. Pack a lunch 15 dollar savings.

Yeah, but you're still treating it like the goal of an amusement park visit is to do it as cheaply as possible. For some that may be true and for enthusiasts it's probably more true due to the sheer amount of travel and number of park visits involved with the hobby.

But just consider this novel idea for a second:

The goal of a trip to the amusement park is to have fun. The winner isn't the guy who opened up his wallet the least, it's the guy who had the best time.

I'm not saying you can't watch your dollars and still have a good time. Not even close.

But imagine for a second that (even on a budget) your goal is to have the best damn time possible. This is another option to maximize your visit and walk away with that ear-to-ear grin at the end of the day.

This sort of deal isn't meant for people on shoestring budgets or people looking to visit the park for as little as possible. It's meant for those people that just want to let go and do something ridiculous and have a great time - regardless of whether they had to save all summer for it or it's simply pocket change for them.

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Thursday, March 15, 2007 12:46 PM
So, what you're saying is...Joe Sixpack *might* be more concerned about the cost if his family were to visit 25-30 different parks during an operating season.

Which only begs the question: What IS Joe doing during the summer, watching BASEBALL? ;)

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Thursday, March 15, 2007 1:19 PM
Baseball can be a cheap day. I can get 4 tickets to a game 4 hotdogs and 12 cold beverages for 180 dollars. So 4 people can get a 4 games for about the price of 1 day as a VIP at a park. *** Edited 3/15/2007 5:21:23 PM UTC by dragonoffrost***
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Thursday, March 15, 2007 2:02 PM
Ironically, baseball is the only sport I know of that involves more "standing around waiting" than going to amusement park. LOL, must be related to the summer heat. ;)
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Thursday, March 15, 2007 2:13 PM
^^ Cheaper than the VIP treatment, but still counts as one 12 hour day (typical 3 hrs per game).

I could see the VIP treatment being used for special occasions other than just going for the sake of going. Birthdays, anniverseries, graduations, family reunions, etc. I wouldn't care about meeting some poor schmuck in a costume though.

I'm curious if you have a larger group, do you have more than one guide? What would the ratio be VIP patron/guide?

I wouldn't consider this a classism issue. Just another service provide to those that want it.

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Thursday, March 15, 2007 2:32 PM
Build some new rollercoasters, then I will spend money to come to your park.

No, I am not a teenager.

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Thursday, March 15, 2007 2:42 PM
While the whole package sounds interesting, they're really cutting corners when it comes to some of what they're offering.

1. Preferred Parking - if a family of four all get this package, Six Flags only has to park one car, when four are paying for the parking.
4. All meals - read: two.
5. Snacks - there is going to be some limit to these, and I bet it's going to be more strict than they lead you to believe.
6. Games - same thing as snacks.
7. A private character meet-and-greet with one favorite character - these characters can't speak, and the only real benefit of seeing them for more than 10 seconds is to get a picture with them which leads to
8. A complementary photograph - you get one? How much does a photo cost Six Flags to make? 30 cents? Come on, now.
9. A complementary attraction - I guess that's one up-charge attraction, but only one. And I assume that they will mandate what I could be, too. I know that the rock wall is much cheaper than the sky swing (or whatever it is called at your park), so Six Flags might even say some of the attractions are ineligible.

So is it worth $250? You be the judge.

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Thursday, March 15, 2007 2:43 PM

Jeff said:
Nonsense... I've been on a lot more rides than that any weekend in August, and that was without getting there at opening.

I said Major rides.

Just how many 1.5hr waits can you make in a 14 hour day Jeff? Sure you can hit others but it's taking away from say riding TTD and MF three times each, Knock on of them off for getting there at opening.

Chuck

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Thursday, March 15, 2007 3:00 PM
Gonch, SPending money don't guarantee you a good time at anything. You could still have a crappy INCLUDED MEAL, You could stil have crappy SERVICE and still run into CRAPPY or unfriendly ops. You could still get your car scratched in the parking lot.

If I go out to have a good time, I don't worry to much about cost, ALthough I do say it makes a difference sometimes on what I choose to do for that good time or where I go.

If I want to take a couple day trip to vegas, Your damn straight im gonna do everything I can in that couple days.

Don't get me wrong, I just think finding ways to do more with less is a challenge and adds to the gratification of it.

My comparison. Heres the trip we did in 2003.

Drive 9 hours to lakemont, Do lakemont, Degrossos and a little Knoebels on sat Kamp three nights at Knoebels
Sunday we did Steamtown in Scranton and A few rides at Knoebels
Monday we did Knoebels all day.
Tues Drive to Salem CT. Found Quassy by accident. Camp three nights in Salem.
Wed's Lake Compounce
Thurs SFNE
Fri SFGADV
Sat Dorney

Me and my brother did that whole trip on 400 each, Packed steaks, chops and ribs for the first three days and had a blast the whole trip with ERT conditions at almost every park but SFNE which cleared out late due to light rain.

Sorry but thats a trip to me, Not dumping a grand in one park for one day.

YMMV, If thats what he wants to do, By all means, If he finds value and quality to it. DO IT! If price isn't a issue, Do it!

Chuck, who's done things like this himself. Got a suite for the reds game ordered steaks (The reds got skunked and the steaks were overcooked and arrived in the 9th inning) It don't guarantee anything but getting more money from you.

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Thursday, March 15, 2007 3:08 PM
Sounds like more people to cut the line in front of me.

While I don't like these types of things much at all, it makes it worse when there are varying "levels" of line cutting available. How complicated are they going to get, and should there even be a regular queue anymore?

Granted, this doesn't bother me as much on non-crowded days, since it doesn't affect me that much. But the whole pay-to-cut thing, I just don't like. And parks just keep making it more complicated. And it isn't just Six Flags; Universal does it to. Thing is, even though I don't like it, I trust Universal to do a better job of implementing it, along with general operations, than Six Flags does. If Six Flags ran extremely efficiently, actually like they care about ALL their guests' experiences, then these line-cutting devices wouldn't have as much of a negative impact that they do.

On another note, someone mentioned that they wanted to use the Cedar Point system to ride as many coasters as they can. Does the system provide for this? As far as the Six Flags system goes, it doesn't much imply that you can ride until your heart's content. It basically sounds like you tell them what you like, and they plan your day accordingly. They'll probably have some sort of set schedule. Anyone have any ideas?

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Thursday, March 15, 2007 3:20 PM

SFoGswim said:
While the whole package sounds interesting, they're really cutting corners when it comes to some of what they're offering.

(list of 1,4,5,6,7,8,9 here)

So is it worth $250? You be the judge.


But you left out #2 and #3 - admission and FOL access (better than gold-bot). That eats up much of the cost right there.

That aside, what do the other parks offer for VIP services? Let's see:

Cedar Point ($350-$400)
-Admission
-Exculsive Parking
-FOL Access
-Priority Seating (restaraunts & shows)
-Two On-ride Photos
-Escort

Busch Gardens Africa ($199)
-Tour Guide (escort) for 8 hours
-FOL Access for 'all major rides'
-reserved seating to KaTonga & Pirates 4D
-lunch at the upper-level Crown Colony Restaurant
-feeding a giraffe on our Serengeti Safari Tour

Universal Orlando ($100-$120)
-Valet parking
-Refreshments (coffee, bottled water) upon check-in
-Opportunity for private character meet and greets
- Exclusive information and select backstage access (when available)
-Select discounts on Food and Merchandise
-Complimentary VIP gift
-Tour Credential Lanyard
-Priority entrance into at least eight (8) major attractions
-Tour Groups of up to 12 people (5 hours)
-Universal Express access after tour
-Tour prices do not include park admission

Sea World San Antonio ($70)
-Personalized attention from a SeaWorld Adventure Guide.
-Dolphin and sea lion feedings
-Preferred seating at one SeaWorld show
-A continental breakfast
-Guest appearances by SeaWorld animal caretakers and trainers
-FOL access to Great White, Steel Eel, Texas Splashdown, Rio Loco and Lost Lagoon
-3 1/2 hour group tour
-Park admission is not included

Walt Disney World (varies)
-Experience the VIP treatment as only Disney can provide. Our VIP Tour Services team customizes your vacation so you spend your time playing, not planning. From the moment you arrive, your personal VIP Guide is there to take care of everything - from creating your ideal itinerary to getting you the best seats in the house for live shows, parades and nighttime spectaculars. Prepare to be pampered with a Disney VIP Tour.
-$125 an hour, 6 hour minimum ($750 min)
-Park admission is not included

Hersheypark ($165-$195)
-Resort guests only (resort not included)
-Transportation to and from the Resort
-Five-Hour Personalized Concierge Service
-Unlimited Front-of-Line Ride Opportunity
-One Complimentary Ride Photo
-Complimentary Wheelchair and/or Stroller
-Complimentary Food & Beverage during concierge service
-Premium Seating at All Entertainment Venues/Shows
-Character Interaction in HERSHEYPARK
-15% Discount* on all Food and Beverage the day of the tour
-15% Discount* on all Retail locationsthe day of the tour
-*Food and beverage and retail discounts do not apply at freestanding carts

---

So there's a rundown of all the major 'VIP' deals that I know of offhand. I think they all sound fun and I think SF's is certainly a comparable (if not better) value.

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Thursday, March 15, 2007 3:44 PM
Value is really the question here. Like a lot of people said, there's no perceived value in it for them, so they're not going to do it. But, that's really the point. If everyone did it, there really wouldn't be any value in it either. Because then everyone would have front of the line access to rides. But, this is meant for a select few who feel their money is well spent on something like this. The value for me lies with the rides, and that's why I'd only consider doing it at Cedar Point.

In my discussions with Cedar Point, they ask that you don't just sit on a ride for an hour. They would like it if you exited after one ride, waited for a train to go by, and then get back on the next train. So, theoretically, you have maybe a 2-3 minute wait for each ride. Couple that with a 1-2 minute ride time and you have about 12 rides on MF in one hour if you want. To me, that's a bargain.

I've been to Cedar Point every single summer at least once since I was born. So, I know how to get the most of a day there. But, since I don't live right next to the park like a lot of people on here, I don't always get to pick the exact day I want to go. Plus, I've been to the park in May. I wasn't impressed. Part of the charm of the park to me is the people and tons of activity on the midways. If you go in May to get short queues, you also miss out on the atmosphere of the park. Not to mention lots of closed food outlets and just slow overall park operation. (May flies anyone?) I've experienced Cedar Point in most every way possible except this one. So, I think it would be great fun to try this once. Ya know, see what its like to experience the park in a new manner. Who knows, I might miss waiting in the queues and talking to my friends. But, the thing is, I won't know until I experience it. And, I'm big on experiencing new things. Why else would I take a job on a deserted island? :)

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Thursday, March 15, 2007 4:13 PM
I was thinking about getting it for CP this summer when I take the family but if they don't allow rerides for that kind of money its definitely not worth it. IMO its worth it at SF because you can stay on a ride like Eltoro for as long as you want because they do allow rerides *** Edited 3/15/2007 8:15:19 PM UTC by Ajrides***
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Thursday, March 15, 2007 4:14 PM
You'll have to excuse me if I bring up something that has already been brought up because I skimmed this after the first page...

I hate this idea. Downright HATE it. It's bad for park guests, enthusiasts or not.

By pushing things such as this, people start thinking that the only way they can completely enjoy the amusement park experience is by bending over. People who don't know any better- the uneducated masses- are going to be convinced through clever marketing that they're not going to get the most "bang for their buck" unless they have unlimited bucks to spend. And believe me, the masses are HUGE. Some will avoid amusement parks altogether, while others will actually dump the money and find out that they didn't get close to what they paid for.

I can see something like this at Disney, where they really do roll out the red carpet for you. After all, it's in their nature. But Six Flags? Are they capable of providing an experience that makes the $249 price worth the money? That remains to be seen, and if Six Flags does anything less that provide perfection, it's going to further harm their already-tarnished image.

And let's not forget how normal guests feel when they are standing on the outside of this "elite" group of park guests, seeing them get to the front of lines that they waited an hour for and lots of free things that they got nickeled and dimed for. Disney's FastPass is one thing- everyone gets to use it, so no one can complain- but when certain people have the ability to cut in front of lines while others don't, that creates a lot of unhappiness. It makes people less inclined to visit again because they realize they have to bend over to get the premium treatment and they're not willing to do it. And who can blame them?

Going to an amusement park is supposed to be something fun, not something you have to plan weeks ahead of time- something that crap like this is paving the way for. In the past I've always been one of those enthusiasts that cries for the traditional parks but has a genuine love for theme parks as well, but as more and more sh*t like this comes into play, I find myself less and less inclined to visit parks like Six Flags, Cedar Fair and Universal. I can see I'll be spending even more time at Knoebels and Lake Compounce this year and less time at Great Adventure!

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Thursday, March 15, 2007 4:25 PM

Ajrides said:I was thinking about getting it for CP this summer when I take the family but if they don't allow rerides for that kind of money its definitely not worth it.

You guys need to learn how to read. Did you not see how right above your post I said CP allows re-rides, they just make you get off the ride and wait for ONE train to go by.

As far as the VIP thing pissing off the "masses" at Six Flags, they already took care of that by introducing the Flash Pass. That system clearly flaunts the fact that if you pay them an additional $100, you can cut in line. Combined with a horrifically designed queue merge point leads to the Flash Pass system enraging guests. I've seen so many fights at SF parks because of that insane system and I don't even go to their parks that much. Like I've said before, a properly implemented VIP program like Cedar Point has, combined with just ONE queue for each ride is the best way to do this. Most of the CP fanboys haven't even seen VIP tours before and they've done this for years.

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Thursday, March 15, 2007 4:26 PM
^^Here's another 'logic stretching' analogy from Gonch for you, Rob.

What about parks that offer ticket-per-ride and POP admissions? Isn't that kind of creating the same idea? That you have to buy the POP to make the most of your day.

Go to Knoebels. (and I only use them as an example because they're the first ticket/pop park that came to mind)

Pay $10 and you'll get 5 rides on Phoenix. Pay $35 and you can ride as much as you want. Is it fair to those folks that can only afford $10 a person and went to Knoebels based on their 'family friendly pricing' that they can only ride 5 times while other people get to ride at will just because they were willing (or able) to pay more to do so?

I see definite parallels there - even if you have to open your mind a bit. It feels like the same thing on a bigger level with the VIP deal.

(and yes, what about line cutting blah blah blah - but the basic concept is there :) )

*** Edited 3/15/2007 8:27:23 PM UTC by Lord Gonchar***

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Thursday, March 15, 2007 4:27 PM
Unless things are changed, You'd pay it at SF and show up to two of the top three rides closed.

You want the front of the line for that?

I also don't buy the reride Bull. How's it not affecting other guest when say 4 seats of every other train are taken already?

Like I said, SF forces these expenses on it's guest to actually enjoy it and whats even worse than the reride to me was the old fastlane where seats went empty due to no fastlane people waiting and the onperating only one train.

I still want them to know it's actually a deterent for some to visit.

Why not go with expanding capacity and makeing everyones visit more enjoyable? Your gonna make more by getting more people to return and actually visit in the first place than to snag em with some gimmick and ripping them off.

Im not saying this in CP's case as they add capacity as needed or remove it.

Chuck

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Thursday, March 15, 2007 4:37 PM
Ouch. Haven't you stretched my sense of logic enough, Gonch? ;)

There is a big difference between wristbands and the VIP thing. Knoebels ticket-holders might be miffed that they can't ride endlessly like those people with POP wristbands but it's not like the wristband people are getting to cut to the front of the line or getting a whole bunch of extra perks. The only advantage they have is that their tickets never run dry- a premium perk that they paid a premium for. And when I use the word premium, it's in a very loose sense of the word.

We're not talking about limited rides vs. unlimited ride; $20 vs. $30- we're talking a huge difference in everything. Lines. Perks. Money. We're talking about something that separates people into two distinct groups- a privileged few that get to basically do whatever they want and whenever they want, and a much larger group that resents that group because they have to play by the rules that have existed for ages.

Maybe it's just my aversion to this whole "privilege" thing, which is getting way out of hand. Some people can board airplanes before others. Some people don't have to wait in line at the rental car counter. Some people can check into hotels without waiting. Some people can ride roller coasters by bypassing everyone and being seated in the next available seat. It's ridiculous. What happened to everyone being on the same level- no resentment because everyone had to wait in the same line for the same level of service? I'm all for capitalism but the fact that people with more money, more airline miles or more hotel points can do things quicker and better than other paying customers is getting to the point where it's beyond absurd.

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