Six Flags Exclusive Adventure

Saturday, August 11, 2007 11:38 PM
Here's a thought or two...

Most high schools and colleges are open by September 7. Who will they get to run the rides that day?

What if you buy such a ticket and the weather is lousy? (It is hurricane season on the east coast.)

It will be very interesting if someone attends and posts a trip report.

This thing costs more than a season pass with parking.


Here's To Shorter Lines & Longer Trip Reports!

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Sunday, August 12, 2007 1:13 PM
So let's say this "exclusive adventure" is some kind of success. What do you think the next step would be?

Exactly the response it should be. More exclusive days OR...gasp...an across the board price increase the likes of which we've never seen...complete with an advertising campaign touting limited patronage.

This is EXACTLY the system I have proposed for years (or a pay per ride) as the means to increasing profits...but more importantly...improving guest experience without pissing off your paying customers (pay to cut). The key word is paying.

I understand that class envy issues will dominate the conversation. I think...deep down in the soul...many are scared this type of pricing structure might succeed. If success is demonstrated...the whole business model may start changing across the board.

The writing is on the wall folks. Trip report after trip report complaining of long lines ruining the experience...people complaining about guest behaviors, etc. Parks with stagnant or declining bottom lines. The atmosphere is ripe for a change. You cannot continue to provide a below average experience for paying customers and expect to turn things around. Presently, they have been trying tiered experiences through pay to cut which has so many flaws...and ultimatley leads back to class envy issues.

The system being tried here...cuts out the class envy all together. Sure people might be temporarily mad...but they won't be mad on property. They'll complain on message boards and gather tempoary media coverage about the unfairness of it all...but ultimatley park's could become much like a fine steak restaurant. When is the last time you heard anybody complain about the pricing structure of a fine restaurant?

Yep...those who can't afford it don't go and they don't complain. They are left complaining about the stuff they can afford...like weather McDonald's is putting cheese on their burger with enough accuracy.

Maybe the day is coming when your average regional theme park does not want to be like McDonald's...but would rather be Ruth Chris.

What is wrong with this (irrational class envy argument aside)?

*** Edited 8/12/2007 5:16:05 PM UTC by Jeffrey R Smith***

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Sunday, August 12, 2007 5:24 PM

RatherGoodBear said:
^ Does this mean she assumes that having more money means better manners and behavior? Or does she mean that when people push past her in line she'll smell more expensive cologne and have clothing with designer labels brush against her?

What I can say, we have the same parents, but that's where any similarities end. She's Ivy League, I'm community college and trade school. I don't know that she'd care about the cologne, but she'd definitely be into the designer labels:)

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Sunday, August 12, 2007 11:35 PM

Lord Gonchar said:
Is this really the same night as the Dream Nite? Can someone point me to where that info is?

If so, that's total crap.

As far as the price and how many people would pay for this - I think we'd be surprised at how many would participate if this was heavily promoted.


I know for a fact that September 7th is the day for DARIEN LAKE's dream nite... i would only assume that theres would be the same day?

Seems to me like they are "double dipping"... letting some regulars in for a premium, to rake in extra dough to offset the costs...

smart, but somewhat stupid for the winners of the contest

Seems to me that since the park has to be open anyways for the dream nite people, they are using that as a "Test market" to see how many would attend. If nobody shows up, they don't lose out, because they had to stay open for dream nite anyways.

Those that came for the exclusive day assume the dream nite winners paid... the dream nite winners assume the guests are part of the other group of winners...

.... little do they know the dirty secret!

again, this is all just my assumptions... BUT... this is six flags we are talking about. *** Edited 8/13/2007 3:42:45 AM UTC by mfivsdarienlake***

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Monday, August 13, 2007 12:02 AM
Lord Gonchar's avatar I see what you're saying and I imagine they could pull it off that way, but we're not sure SFGAdv's Dream Nite is actually the 7th. I'd like to find that info but can't seem to.

If they doubled up on the Dream Nite winners with this promotion, that'd suck hard.

I don't even think SF would stoop that low. :)


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Monday, August 13, 2007 1:57 AM
Why are some people here so incredibly excited about the possibility that a normal amusement park day could cost at least 600% more within the near future? It seems like a very snobbish view if you ask me.

Let the rich folks have their one big day in the park with short lines for $300 (or their extra hour early in the morning, whatever). That may keep them from visiting on a normal day when all they want to do is cut in front of me and the normal everyday Joe's by "flashing" their money around. It won't bother me one bit as long as it doesn't give me less.

We are not only getting giddy over just denying inclusion for poor single adult who may have to go to a park alone like me, but we are also getting giddy at the turning away of families with kids. What if one of those kids would have become a Jr. coaster enthusiast if only they had the chance to visit an amusement park every once in a while? Right now most families can afford a park trip at least once a year.

Will little Johnie and Little Sally have to resort to riding their wagon down a hill from now on?

And it's not like amusement parks are not making a profit right now. Just because attendance is practically flat in most cases doesn't meant that they are unprofitable.

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Monday, August 13, 2007 2:56 AM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Dexter:
Why are some people here so incredibly excited about the possibility that a normal amusement park day could cost at least 600% more within the near future?

We are not only getting giddy over just denying inclusion for poor single adult who may have to go to a park alone like me, but we are also getting giddy at the turning away of families with kids. Will little Johnie and Little Sally have to resort to riding their wagon down a hill from now on?


Been said a million times, but before you get upset at the idea of someone being shut out of a $300, you'd better already be upset at the people shut out of a $50 day.

There's already a Johnny and Sally out there who are pulling the wagon out of the garage because they can't go to the parks at $50.

Life isn't fair.

It sucks, but it happens.

As for why someone might be excited by this kind of prospect? Because they can afford it (and/or justify the price) and the idea of a no-wait amusement park is pretty drool-worthy.

The only problem I have at this point, is that my last visit to SFGAdv was like this already...for the price of a season pass. (Full TR Here)

Sometimes dumb luck is enough. :)


JRS:
What is wrong with this (irrational class envy argument aside)?

Nothing. That's why you're getting the irrational class envy argument. :)


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Monday, August 13, 2007 9:09 AM

Lord Gonchar said:
Oh my god! They're actually trying it! (to a degree)

"Your Night. Your Park. Ever thought about having Six Flags Great Adventure all to yourself? Then you don't want to miss Six Flags Exclusive Adventure, Friday, September 7.


Surprising- especially to me- is my issue with the advertising and not the concept itself. It's terribly misleading from the very first line. "Have the park all to yourself." Yeah, you and some other people.

Maybe I'm overly-tired on this Monday morning but I'd rather see a few days like this each season instead of virtual queing and VIP passes. Want to blow hundreds of dollars to "plus" your amusement park experience? Why not do it on a day when other people want the same thing? That way there are no different pricing tiers on regular daus, meaning everyone waits in the same line and gets the same level of service.

I'm curious to know what the "limited' number is. A few years ago we bought tickets to IOA's HHN months in advance because tickets were supposedly limited, but when we got into the park, I had never seen crowds like that. What was the limit? When there were no more guests willing to pay for admission for that particular night?

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Monday, August 13, 2007 9:55 AM

Jeffrey R Smith said:What is wrong with this (irrational class envy argument aside)?

It's not envy. It's pity. I have no desire to hang out in a park with a bunch of self-important idiots who think they are too good to rub shoulders with the "commoners". Let them have a day. I won't be envying them, I'll be laughing at them for such a blatant waste of money. *** Edited 8/13/2007 1:55:59 PM UTC by millrace***

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Monday, August 13, 2007 10:26 AM
So your argument is that people who want to pay premium for a better experience (ala a fine steak house) are "self-important idiots who think they are too good to rub shoulders with the commoners?"

No personal insinuation meant...but this argument itself seems to wreak of irrationality and plain old hatred. Why does the way somebody else decides to spend their money invoke such response?

On the flip side...why would somebody with the means to afford a better experience want to hang with individuals who feel as millrace?

This is a fascinating sociological phenomenon on full display every time this debate comes up. At the crux of the debate is the uncertainty of whether regional amusement parks demand for product are more in line with a McDonald's pricing structure OR a fine steak house.

It appears we are in the beginning stages of finding out. It also appears that some are scared to death to know the truth.

I've let it known that I no longer have interest in the regional themers. Their food and service suck. The lines are too long...yada yada. For me, the experience is just not fun no matter the cost. All factors in attending a regional theme park are too random and inconsistent for me to enjoy the experience they presently offer.

If a new pricing structure and limited patronage that could come with such a structure leads to a BETTER EXPERIENCE at the park...then maybe I would come back.

Sadly...my desire to actually have consistent fun at a park would make me a "self-important idiot" to some of you.

If this is not irrational class envy...then what is?

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Monday, August 13, 2007 10:36 AM
Gemini's avatar

Rob Ascough said:
That way there are no different pricing tiers

Why do amusement parks have pricing tiers on drinks? Shouldn't everyone pay the same price to get the same size drink?

I won't even bring up concert venues that charge more to sit closer to the stage.


millrace said:
bunch of self-important idiots who think they are too good to rub shoulders with the "commoners".


I'll be laughing at them for such a blatant waste of money.

Who are you to criticize what someone finds value in? Are people who fly also self-important idiots because they see the value in paying a premium to make their trip 4 hours long instead of 40 hours via a car? Instead of understanding that those who take advantage of Six Flags' offer do so to maximize their amusement park experience, you dive right into the "snob" argument. Maybe it isn't envy, but it's a red flag for something.


Walt Schmidt - Co-Publisher, PointBuzz

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Monday, August 13, 2007 10:47 AM
I'm critcizing the use of the term "class envy". If somebody is going to divide this into "classes" and criticize those who they think have "class envy" then I think I am free to criticize those who feel envied.

*** Edited 8/13/2007 2:53:15 PM UTC by millrace***

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Monday, August 13, 2007 10:51 AM
Not sure I want to waste time getting into this again, but since it's a slow morning at the office, I'll bite.

There is a huge difference between paying different amounts of money for different drink sizes and paying different amounts of money to dictate your position in a line... which is what these virtual queing and VIP programs do. If I buy a large soda and the guy behind me buys a small one, it has no effect on either of us because there is no correlation betwen the two drinks. There is, however, a correlation between paying more to jump ahead of someone in line. It's a matter of selling something that shouldn't be sold. Of course, that's just my opinion, but I can tell you right now that changing my mind on that is going to be impossible regardless of how many other examples of pricing tiers are listed. In my mind, there are certain things that can be sold and certain things that shouldn't be sold.

Regardless, I stand by what I said. If people want to spend more money for what's being defined as a "better" experience, why not limit it to a few people on a few days?

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Monday, August 13, 2007 10:53 AM
I'll mention that I have really enjoyed the few premium services I've purchased in amusement parks. A private cabana at Soak City, some hideously overpriced character meals in Disney parks. All of them offer more private experiences that one could have with "just admission" plus some time in a line, in exchange for a fee, but I've valued each one of them. Heck, even some enthusiast events qualify for this category.

The cabana, in particular, is interesting. It's nice not having to vulture a tube, or wait in line for food, or send my kids rushing over to grab a table that just emptied so that we can eat lunch. Is it worth it? In a strict economic sense, probably not. Free tubes are available. The lines aren't really that long. Tables do come open. Was it "worth it"? Absolutely. We had a stress-free day in the waterpark, in exchange for an extra $60 for the four of us.

My hat's off to SF for trying this experiment. It may fall flat on its face, but it's about time someone tried to push the boundaries of what is, really, a pretty staid industry.


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Monday, August 13, 2007 10:59 AM

There is, however, a correlation between paying more to jump ahead of someone in line. It's a matter of selling something that shouldn't be sold. Of course, that's just my opinion, but I can tell you right now that changing my mind on that is going to be impossible regardless of how many other examples of pricing tiers are listed.

I'd say the cabana example is exactly the same. It takes tubes, real estate, and tables that *could have* been used for the general public, and reserves them for a chosen few who paid for the privilege.

Here's a possibly-related observation. Each new person entering the park on the same day as you is *also* going to cause you grief by increasing your wait in lines. In particular, season passholders---who paid much less than you as a day guest did to enter the park---are lengthening your time in line. Is that better, worse, or unrelated to someone who pays *extra* to be in two places at once?


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Monday, August 13, 2007 11:10 AM
Trust me, I understand how it can be proven this makes sense on some level. To me, it's all about perception and not much else. I'm waiting in line and someone who paid more money is walking by me and taking "my spot" (even though it might not actually be my spot, it's the spot of someone waiting ahead of me), and that makes me angry. For me, that's really what it comes down to.

Selling a cabana? That's fine- chances are I wouldn't have found one anyway. But I can certainly find a place in line for a ride, and once I do, I don't want to give it up for any reason.

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Monday, August 13, 2007 11:17 AM
What about those tubes in the unsold cabanas, just sitting there, mocking you, while you're at the edge of the wavepool waiting for someone to give one up? ;)
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Monday, August 13, 2007 11:26 AM
I'll probably think about how I blew my money by going to a waterpark and wasting my time in the wave pool ;)
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Monday, August 13, 2007 12:48 PM
Gemini's avatar

Rob Ascough said:
There is a huge difference between paying different amounts of money for different drink sizes and paying different amounts of money to dictate your position in a line

There's a difference, but I don't think it's huge. The point was that you pay more to get more.

Like you said, there are examples everywhere. Concerts, first class versus coach on a plane, even the government. You can get your passport faster if you pay more money.


Walt Schmidt - Co-Publisher, PointBuzz

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Monday, August 13, 2007 1:03 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Like you said, there are examples everywhere.

And in all of those situations, I wouldn't say the person spending the money is 'stupid' and I wouldn;'t theorize that they do it to 'avoid the commoners' - so what do I know? :)

The most interesting aspect of the whole discussion to me is how the side that doesn't like things like this has made assumptions about the people who find value in the upcharges...none of which seem to be true based on the comments I've read from the 'spenders' over the years.

No one is paying more because they don't like you or think they're better than you. They're paying it because it represents a value to them.

Hell, if our little group here represents a microcosm of the real world - then the verdict is pretty split.


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