Posted Thursday, May 1, 2008 9:51 AM | Contributed by Jeff
For both amusement parks and guests, V.I.P. access is a win-win proposition. Guests can jump to the front of the line, experience parts of the park they normally wouldn’t see and ride their favorite rollercoaster over and over again. Meanwhile, amusement parks get to win that most valuable of non-corporeal commercial properties: customer loyalty.
Read more from Forbes Traveler via MSNBC.
I'd argue that in hard economic times, you'd rather get more butts in doors versus fewer, yet bigger butts. ;)
*** This post was edited by janfrederick 5/1/2008 12:13:51 PM ***
In addition, anytime you have (as a soon-to-be 26 year-old) uppity parents/in-law's (when you might not be yourself) who like to go to amusement parks, but aren't accustomed to standing in line or waiting for things and are in their 40's and 50's, then VIP's are also completely legitimate in my book.
But if a park is close enough to drive to, then standing in a queue is absolutely a rite of passage...
It seems like they're confusing season passes and the VIP experience once they start talking about Dollywood.
Or is it just me?
Btw, just got done listening to the podcast, and it would have been funny if at the very end during the outtakes, you were saying, "...and I'm still looking for the parking prices!!" [on Great America's website]
I'll never accept it as normal.
The journalist buried the lead. And I guess you can construe a season pass as a VIP experience, but that is not typically how one thinks about it.
I can't believe people still question the existence and validity of systems like VIP programs and Flash Pass and FastPass or whatever after all of this time. This is now the 7th or 8th season that these have been available to the general park-going public.
Closing in on a decade. Think about that.
You realize that means that the teenage visitors probably don't remember a time when these systems didn't exist. It's just normal to them...and it won't be many more years before those kids are the mothers and fathers taking their own children to the park.
The implication that people who use these systems "piss away money" or are "spoiled brats" or have a "sense of entitlement" simply isn't true. That's such an old stereotype - that people who can spend or choose to spend freely are like that...especially in this case. Look at the people using the systems at the parks - it's far from the stereotype that the haters try to perpetuate. It's teens. It's middle class families. It's moms and dads who work hard and want the most for their money.
Why spend hundreds of dollars to stand in line after line all day long when for a few bucks more you can avoid the hassle? It's not about an "I'm better than you" mentality - it's about finding value in a purchase...
..and a lot of people are seeing that value and have been for almost 10 years now.
Don't expect anything to change anytime soon...or ever.
And even if you don't get extra perks with a season pass, isn't it true that after about your third visit you are getting in with free admission?
So why is it that we have come to accept season passes as something other than elite or privileged, but we are still declaring inequity in the Flash Pass-style programs?
Yes, they should if continuing to offer the perks. They use a curtain on airlines and it's more about not exposing the coach people to how badly they are being treated compared with the first class passengers up front getting a peek at the little people. Since the theme parks don't use this technique, it remains extremely offensive - they should just rope off the stalls dedicated to the flashpass seats on a ride. Like it mentions in a few posts back, if there are no flashpassers entering those seats, the attendants can fill them by motioning for more riders from the general public queues. It's a simple strategy that is more in line with the airline curtain courtesy.
I experienced a horrible example at SF Great Escape this summer of how the system can be misused and abused: We waited in line for front seat of the Comet since there were only about six people ahead of us. The flashpass seats were clearly marked as the center car of the train by overhead signs. The incompetant foreigner workers from Ukraine were obliviously letting the flasspassers take whatever seat they wanted instead. Well, duh - of course every single pair, one by one chose the front seat as we waited for about six trains of flashpassers to finally clear through. Just when it was going to be our turn on the next train twenty minutes later, another set of flashpassers can along and of course chose the front seat. Everyone in line for the front seat including us were yelling at the attendants for allowing the abuse of the flashpass system, but the workers didn't understand English anyway - I guess that explains why they couldn't read the word 'FlashPass' clearly written on signs above the middle car of the train*** This post was edited by Rye.D.Ziner 5/4/2008 2:21:15 AM ***
It wouldn't be such a valuable "purchase" (pay-off) if everyone bought it though. Your "few bucks" is almost the price of another admission at a SF park, btw. an additional Thirty-something Dollars is not a "few bucks" to some people.
Those who have the money to throw around are less likely to have a problem with it. Standing in "line after line all day long" is partially the result of these systems in the first place. Line cutting scams make lines longer because of the added "virtual" people waiting in line.
Just because it is still around after almost 10 years doesn't make it right. We've been sold out, and that line cutting is no longer wrong.
I think that it is important to remember that before all this line cutting stuff, everyone was treated fairly. Parks should be ashamed that they choose to profit by offering to let people cut.
You do realize that theme parks exist to make money, right?
So embed it into my brain all my life that it is wrong to cut the line and then charge people money to cut in front of me...Does that sound right to you?
Someone will say next, "But you have the option to buy a line cut as well, so it really is fair", in which I would reply, "But why should I pay to cut in front of everyone else when I don't like for other people to cut in front of me?" Just because it is now acceptable to be a jerk doesn't mean that I should be a jerk.
Cutting in line is still wrong no matter if it is offered as a perk or not.
About any other perks, including Season Passes, i see no problem at all with that. Be allowed to visit a park as much as you want does not infringe on anyone else's positive experience at the park. I am all for any perk that doesn't take away from some one else...and the profit that it may bring.
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