Six Flags Announces Nation's Best Theme Park VIP Program

Friday, March 16, 2007 12:35 PM

sirloindude said:


If you were cranking out the full potential of Nitro, you wouldn't be bothered by all the Q-bot buyers filling up the one row because they're taking a borderline insignificant portion of the full capacity away.


Yeah that's the problem. I remember reading a photo trip report of SFGADV sometime last year in the fall and there was a sign up before the entrance to the park saying there were large crowds in the park that day and to expect longer than normal waits. They were only running 2 trains on Nitro and didn't add the 3rd train until 4:00 which was only a few hours away from park closing time. I have to believe this was intentional because if they knew crowds were going to be large, they would have to had known a 3rd train would be needed to keep the line moving as fast as possible.

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Friday, March 16, 2007 1:41 PM
We're too much, Gonch? Maybe you're too much :)

I agree with the person on here who said that it's ok if people want to spend money on premium things--as long as it doesn't take away from the regular customers. This is my problem with Flash Pass.

I still hold to using the following system if Six Flags insists on using Flash Pass:

--CLEARLY block off no more than 4 seats on each coaster
--bring the Flash Pass users up a separate entrance to the station; place an employee at that entrance
--mark the designated seats CLEARLY; have the employee direct the next 4 people to the reserved seats at the appropriate time

In this way, the regular guests are GUARANTEED use of most of the train. Plus, no one is directly cutting in front of them, since there are separate queues, as well as reserved seats.

Still, I'd rather them do away with it altogether. Whatever happened to good old-fashioned waiting in the same queue as everyone else, and the parks running at max capacity? Yoshifan's illustration shows Six Flags' seeming lack of care for the guests' enjoyment.

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Friday, March 16, 2007 1:51 PM
Where have they been around for years? Disney?

Im sorry, Theres not one SF park I could even compare to the Disney experience.

Early ride times and such perks are not hurting the public one bit but putting people in front of PAY ONE PRICE (Not PAY DIFFERENT LEVELS) a crock.

Sorry Gonch, You've got basically 7 people discussing this thread and 4 of them find a problem with it. Even if it's only 2 or 3 theres that percentage choosing to go elsewhere.

Chuck, who's not talking the VIP.

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Friday, March 16, 2007 1:54 PM

I still hold to using the following system if Six Flags insists on using Flash Pass:

--CLEARLY block off no more than 4 seats on each coaster
--bring the Flash Pass users up a separate entrance to the station; place an employee at that entrance
--mark the designated seats CLEARLY; have the employee direct the next 4 people to the reserved seats at the appropriate time

In this way, the regular guests are GUARANTEED use of most of the train. Plus, no one is directly cutting in front of them, since there are separate queues, as well as reserved seats.


Ok, I'm not just continuing to prod just for fun anymore, this is serious discussion.

Everytime I've used the virtual queue thing at a SF park (whether tickets or Q-bot) is has been like this.

I'm starting to wonder if I don't hate SF as much as the masses because I tend to get lucky on the days I hit. But I doubt I could do that consistently over 5 years. I see the operations and all that stuff and have even agree that is one place SF needs to step it up big time.

But as far as Q-bot goes it's worked exactly like you described every single time I've used it. (at SFOG, SFGAdv and SFGAm)

There's always a designated row (I do think on Deja Vu at SFOG the were filling two or three rows though), there's always an employee present and the q-bot users enter a sperate queue. (although a few times, it's been the exit ramp).

Seriously. I have only experienced using the virtual queue at those three parks, but I have used it more than once at both SFOG and SFGAdv and it's always worked that way.

So what's the deal here?

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Friday, March 16, 2007 1:58 PM

Charles Nungester said:
Where have they been around for years? Disney?

Im sorry, Theres not one SF park I could even compare to the Disney experience.

Early ride times and such perks are not hurting the public one bit but putting people in front of PAY ONE PRICE (Not PAY DIFFERENT LEVELS) a crock.

Sorry Gonch, You've got basically 7 people discussing this thread and 4 of them find a problem with it. Even if it's only 2 or 3 theres that percentage choosing to go elsewhere.

Chuck, who's not talking the VIP.


Whatever, Chuck. I love ya, but you have some twisted world views, my man.

I first used Q-bot at SF in 2002. That's 5 years. It has nothing to do with Disney.

And the fact that you still think these forums are representative of the general population scares the hell out of me. Let's go with your logic. If that's then case, the SF's attendance (on a same park basis - remember they sold off parks) should drop almost 50% this year because half the people in this thread don't like it.

Puh-leeze!

If we're representative of the public, then there's the 14% represented by me that would be more likely to go to a park using virtual queue systems because they don't want to stand around in long lines all day. So how much business is being lost at smaller parks for not offering this option?

*** Edited 3/16/2007 6:15:02 PM UTC by Lord Gonchar***

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Friday, March 16, 2007 2:03 PM
^^Gonch, SFGAdv basically used to do it this way a few to several years ago. I wish they'd go back to it.

Now, at least on some of their rides, the Flash Pass queue actually merges with the regular queue in the station (air gates side, not opposite), and when it's done this way, there are no designated rows. So, basically, they are cutting almost to the front of the same line that regular guests use.

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Friday, March 16, 2007 2:11 PM
Yeah, it has been a few years since I used it in Jersey.

SFGAm merged the line too. I suppose if a huge influx of FlashPass holders came along it could screw things up, but on something like a B&M you get 32 riders per cycle. As long as the average stays at 4 FlashPass users merged for every 28 people in the queue, things stay the same as it would be with a seperate queue and designated seats.

On the average that would still mean that 1-in-7 guests at the park buy a Q-bot. If that's the case then it's REALLY not going away anytime soon. (man, that's almost 3000 people on an average 20,000 attendance day)

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Friday, March 16, 2007 2:11 PM
The fact that these parks are only averaging about 2-3 percent increases in attendance is telling me they are doing something wrong.

Yeah, We've talked about saturation points for parks but I wonder just how many people visit these parks never to return.

Joe Shmoe Average walks into Pays one price to ride all day, Gets in line for a ride and sees four seats on every ride being given to people not waiting in line, Says to self, WTH? How can I do that and sees its another 49.95 to do so and says to self, WTH?

Sure we notice it more than the GP but to say they don't notice poor operations and special treatment and artifically inflated wait times due to said policy is surely affecting some of these people and they notice it.


Yeah, Your right but I don't think 5 years as FOR YEARS to me that means a decade or more (Yeah Im sick again) In 2002 I showed up to my first visit at Geauga then SFO to find one train operation on Villain, Serial Thriller and Batman. Then there were trains going out with empty rows because they were roped off on the normal Q side to Exit Fast Lane people that weren't there to take them.

Let me just say, I was the quiet one, The GP were furious.

Chuck

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Friday, March 16, 2007 2:13 PM
I had no problem with the way they did it at SFGAM and merged the line. Of course on the day I visited, All these people paid extra for nothing as there were no lines. :)

Chuck

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Friday, March 16, 2007 2:24 PM
Rablat - Your proposed method of using FlashPass is what's wrong with Six Flag's version. All you have to do is look at the master (Disney) and see how its done.

- Roping off rows of cars reserved for only FlashPass guests is stupid This not only causes confusion with the regular guests, it drops the overall capacity of the ride. For instance, if there are no FlashPassers, then the rows go empty. This was always my biggest issue with the FlashPass system.
- Bringing FlashPass users into the station separately causes confusion in already undersized and overcrowded stations. Take Nitro for instance. The FlashPass line comes into the back of the station. Its right next to the last row queue which is already long to begin with. If the FlashPasser wants to ride in the front row, they have to wiggle past the back row, the packed station, and the regular queue entrance. This usually causes fights and just slows down people getting into the trains on time.


The only way virtual queuing works properly is if you integrate the guests BEFORE you get into the station. Also, you can't give out more "ride reservations" than your ride can handle. If you notice, Soarin' at Epcot runs out of Fast Passes usually just after lunch. So, they give out all their "reservations" in a matter of three or four hours for the entire day. If done properly, virtual queuing has no impact on the regular line. It just allows you to do other things while you would normally be waiting in a line. You're still waiting in line, you're just not present. That's why Disney makes you go to the ride, get a ticket, and then come back to get on the ride. You can also only get one FastPass per hour (which usually equates to one at a time).

I'm all for virtual queuing if done correctly and doesn't affect the regular queue. Disney's version has no impact on the regular queue because those people would normally be standing in the line anyways, so the overall time would be the same. The line would physically just be longer in length, not in duration. It seems to me that Six Flags version is more like sanctioned line jumping because you can have more than one at a time. Plus, I think they give away WAY more places in line than they should. So, this makes the duration of the normal queue longer. It also lowers the overall capacity of the ride because of how they implemented the system at each station. *** Edited 3/16/2007 6:27:37 PM UTC by halltd***

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Friday, March 16, 2007 2:38 PM
^ Agreed. Disney does do it best, and it's open to everyone.

Back in the day, SFGAdv and SFA used to have a free system, where they had a limited number of tickets each day, and if you got there early enough, you could get fast lane tickets.

--There was a limited number of tickets.
--Each person only got 4 tickets.
--Each ticket had a time printed on it.
--THE SYSTEM WAS FREE AND OPEN TO EVERYONE (on a first-come, first served basis)

If Shapiro wants to emulate Disney, he should look at their Fast Pass system, too.

Seems that Six Flags may have gotten too greedy with Flash Pass. A big key to this system is "limits", which Disney gets, but Six Flags may be too greedy to implement a more "fair" system.

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Friday, March 16, 2007 2:42 PM

Charles Nungester said:
Go into any restaurant that don't offer reservations.

The wait is 1hr. Should you be allowed to pay a extra fifty bucks to get to the front of the line?.

NO! and everyone there waiting their turn is gonna be pissed when that couple that *JUST WALKED IN* gets a table immediately. Now some restaurants have virtual but it's given as a convinence and not a extra cost benifit

Chuck


I guess I shouldn't admit that I have done that before then, eh?

I have slipped the Maitre 'd an Andrew Jackson a few times to get seated faster in a primo spot...

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Friday, March 16, 2007 2:45 PM
Two things:


Back in the day, SFGAdv and SFA used to have a free system, where they had a limited number of tickets each day, and if you got there early enough, you could get fast lane tickets.

(I've said this a million times) Why is it 'bad' to discriminate using money as the decider, but 'good' when you use a combo of time & dumb luck?


Seems that Six Flags may have gotten too greedy with Flash Pass. A big key to this system is "limits", which Disney gets, but Six Flags may be too greedy to implement a more "fair" system.

But isn't the cost the limiting factor for SF's system. Not everyone can or will pay the Q-bot premium? And this is where it HAS to be one way or the other. Either cost limits the numbers or everyone is paying in which case, it's not as big a problem as you guys think just by the fact that so many are paying it. The two ideas can't co-exist.

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Friday, March 16, 2007 3:07 PM
I think the system is OK as long as guests know what they are paying for. End of story.
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Friday, March 16, 2007 3:18 PM

Rob Ascough said:
Precisely. It's one thing to call ahead and put your name down on a list- chances are you're still going to wait a bit for a table- but it's another thing to hand money to the person taking names and sit down before someone that's been waiting for 45 minutes. Money is money, and money DOES talk- but there are certain instances when everyone should be treated equally, regardless of how much or how little you have in your wallet to pay for ungraded service.

Some places do charge extra for reservations. To me, it's the same:

Call ahead and pay six flags $250 for "reservations" so you don't have to wait. You can just get right on the ride without waiting, right when you get there.

Call ahead and pay the restaurant for reservations so you don't have to wait. You can just sit down at a table without waiting, right when you get there.

What about places that don't charge for reservations? It's the same as those parks that don't charge for the fastpass.

This whole thread seems like a big b****fest from people who are jealous because they either can't/don't-want-to participate and spend the money, but as a result it may negatively affect them (which from my experience at parks like Dorney and CP, you won't notice it much, if at all. I practically live at Dorney because I live so close, and I only noticed it twice the entire summer - and that's going on average about 3-4 times a week. 2 visits spanning 3 days and I didn't see it at all at CP).

Where was all the bruhaha back when non-SF parks were doing the same thing? (CP, Dorney, Hershey, Busch, etc.)

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Friday, March 16, 2007 3:22 PM

redman822 said:

Charles Nungester said:
Go into any restaurant that don't offer reservations.

The wait is 1hr. Should you be allowed to pay a extra fifty bucks to get to the front of the line?.

NO! and everyone there waiting their turn is gonna be pissed when that couple that *JUST WALKED IN* gets a table immediately. Now some restaurants have virtual but it's given as a convinence and not a extra cost benifit

Chuck


I guess I shouldn't admit that I have done that before then, eh?

I have slipped the Maitre 'd an Andrew Jackson a few times to get seated faster in a primo spot...



If they had a Matridi, Im sure they had reservations available???????

Chuck

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Friday, March 16, 2007 3:53 PM
Yep, but I didn't have any the few times I did it...I was in from out of town and these were restaurants that booked up way in advance. In those occasions, it's amazing how all of a sudden a table opens up in a booked restaurant when an AJ appears.

I don't see it much different than if I was going to a park far away. If I feel that it is worth the extra cash to make my trip somewhere better, I have no problem flashing cash to make it so, whether it is a fine restaurant that is supposedly "booked solid" or an amusement park to get a "FlashPass".

I work hard so I can play hard.

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Friday, March 16, 2007 4:00 PM

I work hard so I can play hard.

:)

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Friday, March 16, 2007 4:04 PM
But redman, Didn't I state at restaurants that have no reservations?

I think almost everyones tryed to bribe to get a perk at one time or another. Doormen at sold out concerts used to make a killing.

Chuck

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Friday, March 16, 2007 4:34 PM

redman822 said:
In those occasions, it's amazing how all of a sudden a table opens up in a booked restaurant when an AJ appears.

Dang, the one time I made use of this "service" I spent a lot more than a Jackson.

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