Six Flags over Georgia's "Gold" Q-Bot.

Tuesday, October 22, 2002 4:30 PM

A few people have asked me what I meant by my "debugging the Gold bot" comment in my recent SFoG trip report.

First, let me explain more thoroughly what the "Gold" QBot is. For a flat $15 extra, on top of the other QBot fees, you get a special bot that's advertised as giving you half the wait. So if the line is an hour, and you scan it, your bot will give you a 30 minute virtual wait.

I have some qualms about this, but went ahead and got one. We can argue all day about whether this gives preferential treatment to people who are willing to shell out the dough, but this idea is FAR from unique -- just look at deluxe seating at sporting events, concerts, even movies; or frequent flyer programs and "First Class" seating on airlines.

Anyway, after a ride on Superman: Ultimate Flight, Joe and I went back to the FastLane reservation station to get another ride. The message it gave us was "Cannot reserve yet." (or words to that effect)

We flipped through the little guide, and this message wasn't listed ANYWHERE. After a few attempts (spread out over a half-hour period), we finally gave up and went back up to the QBot counter to ask what this meant. After some confusion on the part of the manager, he determined the problem:

Ok, so the Gold bot cuts the wait time for a given ride in half. This means that if you scan a given ride quickly after riding it, you may possibly end up with two rides in the time that "normal" patrons would get on once. The system would have none of that, and so it was telling us we COULDN'T scan it again until enough time had elapsed that our "half the wait" was in fact as long as the full wait would have been.

I discussed this a bit with him. I pointed out that this PARTIALLY defeated the "purpose" of the Gold Bot. I say partially because we were perfectly free to go off and ride something else still, we just couldn't put ourselves back in the Superman queue. This IS actually a fair thing to dictate, but is also a bit confusing -- the "half the wait" feature of the QBot is conditional.

He said they were "still working out bugs in the new software", and thanked me for "helping them discover problems with it". In fact, he handed us a card that gave us a ride on Superman at roughly the time we would have had in the first place. This was a VERY nice gesture. I'm still not clear if the "problem" was that we should have been able to get the ride in the first place, or just that the message should have been documented. I can see arguments either way.

So, keep it civil, but -- what does everyone think, of both the "Gold bot" idea, and what it SHOULD do if you try to rescan a ride "too quickly"?

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--Greg
"For all we know, Stonehenge is just the ruined supports for an early roller coaster." -- RCT2 manual
My page

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Tuesday, October 22, 2002 4:42 PM
The gold Q-Bot idea... I don't really have much of an opinion on it, but I've used Q-Bot this year and last year during my visits to SFoG and I liked it. I think if the park is going to have it programmed so that it doesn't let you rescan at the ride until the full time elapses, it should be explained in detail at the rental counter so that guests will know before they make the decision to pay the extra-extra fee.

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Jonathan Hawkins
Starcoasters.com
"There is a cluster of bees at the top of the lift. Sorry for the inconvenience."

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Tuesday, October 22, 2002 5:14 PM

What I do know is that pass was a first class move by the Six Flags over Georgia Management. Its nice to see that they have good people down there.

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Fav Steel: Millenium Force Fav Wood: Viper

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Tuesday, October 22, 2002 5:22 PM
At SFGA, they called it Premium QBot (which if you read my TR, we turned down). QBot definitely takes some skill on your part, especially in a large park. You must be adept at figuring out queues at other rides that you don't use QBot on, to make sure you make your next appointment. To give you an example my friend Shannon and I had to run from the Topspin to Nitro in thick crowds. Thank goodness for the 10-minute window of time.
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Dude, you're getting an Intamin!
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Wednesday, October 23, 2002 1:45 AM

Intamin Fan said:
You must be adept at figuring out queues at other rides that you don't use QBot on, to make sure you make your next appointment. To give you an example my friend Shannon and I had to run from the Topspin to Nitro in thick crowds.

You should have seen my OJesque moves from Skull Mountain to Nitro, or Rolling Thunder to Viper to Medusa! Q-Bot definately takes some skills. But it is a great feature, especially if you are visiting a park away from home on a crowded day. And it's kind of funny, probably about a hundred kids will ask you during the course of the day, "What is that and where did you get it".

*** This post was edited by JDB on 10/23/2002. ***

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Wednesday, October 23, 2002 4:32 AM
I read an arcticle on the Q-bot in Newsweek magazine,and it sounded really cool! This would work great at AW, I could ride Greezed Lightnin' twice while waiting for the Serial Thriller on the Q-bot! Will they ever get them?

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I like SF,other parks might be better. But is it really my fault I live in texas?

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Wednesday, October 23, 2002 7:13 AM
Okay, I didnt write my TR for CC7 @ SFGAdv, but during that time I actually used a Q-bot. I'll be the first to admitt that the Q-bot lies, it does NOT equal the "normal" wait. I would have to say that in each instance where we used the Q-bot (save Viper where there really was no line anyway) the Q-bot time was *significantly* shorter than the regular line (note, there was no "Premiun" or "Gold" option offered to us).

All in all though, I'm not sure I really liked the q-bot that much. I mean, it did exactly what it said it would do in reducing our "in queue" time. But in doing so, there was a lot of back-tracking and roaming hither and tither. Now "T" is not very good with flat rides (I though I was going to lose her on the frisbee :)) so we didnt do those during our waits and GAdv seemed to be lacking in shows that day. So to me, it saved us some time, but I didnt know what to do. Often the time was so short that it wasnt enough to ride a different (nearby) coaster so we just sat around (though, in this instance, that was *not* a bad thing).

Basically, I think it's only a very good thing if you want to check out the non-coaster things. I dont think I've *yet* gone to a park where I was NOT able to get on all the coasters I wanted to.

Now to actually answer Greg's question, I think that the gold members should NOT get to ride the same ride once in the so-called "normal wait time". I also feel that this should be documented. By cutting the time in half the gold members still recieve a premium, they just cannot use that premium back to back. Sounds fair to me, and honestly, I feel that is the way that most people would use it anyway as the so-called "GP" tends to ride everything once before re-riding anything.
lata, jeremy
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"To get inside this head of mine, would take a monkey-wrench, and a lot of wine" Res How I Do

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Wednesday, October 23, 2002 1:36 PM
I agree with your comments about flat rides or shows Jeremy. If you read my TR, you'll see we rode a lot of flat rides, including 3 rounds on the Frisbee. I'm sure we all know people who won't do flats. So what do you do? I still remember one of the funniest lines ever off of the defunct Thrillride. In the annual survey, it asked what's your favorite show, and someone said, they have shows? We also had some people asking us where we got the QBot. And I would say "You know were the big blue ride that never runs is (Evolution)? And they all would say "Yeah", well look around there". I swear the thing is a conspiracy to keep you in shape, says I-Fan who's gained 20 pounds on some medication I have to take.
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Dude, you're getting an Intamin!
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Wednesday, October 23, 2002 1:40 PM
Here's my question: Is the Q-Bot actually Gold? ;)

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Jes
Jes's Roller Coasters DJ Jes
Six Flags Worlds Of Adventure 2002 Ride-Ops Crew (Have Fun Trying To Find Me!)

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Wednesday, October 23, 2002 3:59 PM
No, it's blue with two green buttons.
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Dude, you're getting an Intamin!
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Wednesday, October 23, 2002 6:14 PM
D'oh! I just had to ask...

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Jes
Jes's Roller Coasters DJ Jes
Six Flags Worlds Of Adventure 2002 Ride-Ops Crew (Have Fun Trying To Find Me!)

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Wednesday, October 23, 2002 7:38 PM

My "gold" bot DID have a yellow circle around the LCD screen, although the body was blue. I didn't note of the "regular" bots had that circle or not.

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--Greg
"For all we know, Stonehenge is just the ruined supports for an early roller coaster." -- RCT2 manual
My page

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Thursday, October 24, 2002 7:00 AM
Sorry Greggie, my Q-bot also had a strip od "sunshine yellow" on it.

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"To get inside this head of mine, would take a monkey-wrench, and a lot of wine" Res How I Do

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Thursday, October 24, 2002 7:06 AM

Ok, wasn't sure.

The more I think about it, the more I believe "no quick rescans" IS the correct policy. My only "gripe" at all on Saturday was that the message wasn't documented, so we didn't know what was happening.

After all, consider what would happen if a sufficient number of Gold Bot holders kept rescanning the same ride. The people in the "regular" line (including non-premium Bots) would slow to a CRAWL.

The whole Gold bot is a touchy issue anyway -- it's a form of legalized line-jumping after all. (Although, as Jeremy points out, even the plain ol' Bot is usually quicker than the actual line. Bot positioning is a guesstime of the line length, to "put you at the end", but real-world capacity is rarely as high as theoretical max.)

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--Greg
"For all we know, Stonehenge is just the ruined supports for an early roller coaster." -- RCT2 manual
My page

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Thursday, October 24, 2002 7:21 AM

Geez, a premium pay-to-linejump program on top of a not-so-premium pay-to-linejump program.

I'm afriad we are headed to an end where how many rides we get to ride is based on how much $$$ we are willing to fork out at the main gate.

What's next a Platinum Q-Bot that offers only 1/4 the wait, then a Titanium Q-Bot that offers "Instant On" Access.

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David Bowers
Mayor, Coasterville

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Thursday, October 24, 2002 7:43 AM
I personally will wait for the "Plutonium Q-bot", in which the rides will be delivered straight to my living room. :)
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Thursday, October 24, 2002 7:44 AM
I think that would be called the 'Plu - Bot.'

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Hallowave

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Thursday, October 24, 2002 12:42 PM

I'm personally opposed to any virtual-que system that requires an extra fee. Disney and Cedar Point have perfectly good systems that don't require extra dough. Of couse, I just want the most bang for my buck, and am not necessarily out to make more money for the parks...

On the other hand, It's possible that Six Flags could be losing money on this prospect. Think anout it: At CP and Disney, the passes usualy sell out entirely. That means that the maximum number of people are wandering th midway, instead of standing in line. Each one of those people, therefore, has more time to play games, eat, and buy stuff. In short, they have the maximum number of people in a position to spend more than they would on a virtual que. While not all will, a good many will probably buy a Dippin Dots they wouldn't otherwise have, or spend some time in arcade. When you make people pay, you lose a lot of that opportunity, because a much, much smaller number of people use the system. Does the fact that they pay make up for the loss in number of people? I don't know. I just thought I'd bring it up, and see what everyone else thinks.

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Thursday, October 24, 2002 1:41 PM
Let's see, you're attacking the virtual queue system for pay, but praising the buying of overpriced merchandise and food. Consider this, let's say you own 10 park t-shirts, a baseball cap, and a pin or two (probably a good average for any hardcore enthusiast). You paid an average of $15-$20 for the shirts alone. Guess what? The park just got you (the unsuspecting tourist, yeah right) to advertise for them. Advertising is expensive, and you're a walking billboard. Amazing isn't it? And we saw lots of people with QBots the other night at SFGA. We actually had to wait with 20-30 other QBot holders on Nitro at night. Lastly people, it's your choice whether to spend money on QBots, Haunted Houses, Premium Parking, Skycoasters, expensive food etc. No one is forcing anyone to do anything.
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Dude, you're getting an Intamin!
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Thursday, October 24, 2002 2:12 PM
My paying for a shirt doesn't delay anyone else getting on a ride. The gold Q-bot delays other getting on and thus reduces their park experience.
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