I'm thinking of going to SFGAm on Sunday. Should I buy a fastpass? I've never been there before so I have no idea what the park will be like.
Hang on, let me check...
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I thought maybe someone was familiar with the place. I guess not. Not sure why you replied like you did though.Last edited by PointMan, Thursday, September 27, 2018 2:06 PM
If you had known why he replied that way it would be because you wouldn't have asked the question
Familiar or not, questions like that can get tiresome. No one can ever tell what a park will be like on a certain day. Maybe someone here can venture an educated guess, but those that engage in the conversation are ones that have been there before, which is really no help whatsoever. Factors involve events, hours, promotions, and last but not least, weather. Sometimes Sundays during haunt season aren’t as busy. Check their schedule.
I think the best advice is to not buy the Flashpass until you get there, see the parking lot, and do a lap around the place. That just makes sense.
Sorry if you felt snarked.
RMCAC: Personally, I think that's an old wives' tale. You can never tell how busy a park is going to be until it hits around 1-2 PM. Most people don't want wake up early to go to a park, and most bus groups filter in slowly and get there well after rope drop. Sure, you can buy the pass after the crowds start pouring in, but if its an unlimited pass, you've just wasted a few hours that you could have been using it. I could see waiting and counting crowds if you're buying a limited use pass though.
Personally, I think that you should be able to predict crowds easily enough to strategically use the pass.
My diagnosis for a Sunday in late September at a big park: It will be relatively dead at rope drop -- due to church and people being lazy and sleeping in. But I think it will get pretty crowded by the afternoon - pending the weather, but these days parks have been known to halt operations or even shut down with bad weather so that's not really a welcome thing anymore. As the kiddies are in school, Saturday and Sunday are the only days that families can really go, so Sundays are pretty popular days in addition to Saturdays after the summer. Plus, people want to go to FrightFest for the night events, so the later you go, the more appealing it will be for people.
So if you are making a quick run through to grab the credits and get out -- and maybe you see yourself going back there soon -- just really go hard after rope drop: go to the low capacity coasters first (the wild mouse, the RMC, etc.), and leave the capacity B&M coasters until later. You should be able to get in all the credits and maybe a few re-rides on your favorites. If you really don't see yourself getting back there in a while and/or you prefer getting 10-15 rides in on your favorites then splurge for the priority pass and don't think twice.
If you see yourself going to a lot of other SF parks, you could get a high level membership, this gives you automatic front of queue access for 1-2 rides a day.
It’s gonna be busy unless it isn’t.
But then again, what do I know?
I don't know why you would ask the question at all if you already have committed to going. You'll know when you get there.
You can never tell how busy a park is going to be until it hits around 1-2 PM.
This is wholly incorrect. Most medium and larger parks dedicated a fair amount of resources to predict crowd size. Disney even has a small army of actuaries to work the numbers.
I think that the question was more about if he should plan on buying the priority pass or not. To your point directed at me: I think that we're saying the same thing -- that you should do your homework ahead of time and you should be able to determine how crowded the park will be based on known factors. Personally, I think that its best to decide if you want to buy the priority pass before going. If you want to commit to it, you might as well have it the whole day (unless its not an unlimited ride pass).
My main point is that its unreliable to judge how long the lines will be at 3:00 PM based on how empty the parking lot is at 10:45 AM (when the park opens at 11:00 AM). I can't tell you how many times I've been one of the first guests in the parking lot -- and at rope drop everything was a walk-on, but by the time it got to 2-3 PM the park was getting crowded and the rides were getting some decent lines.
RMCAC: Personally, I think that's an old wives' tale. You can never tell how busy a park is going to be until it hits around 1-2 PM. Most people don't want wake up early to go to a park, and most bus groups filter in slowly and get there well after rope drop.
My diagnosis for a Sunday in late September at a big park: It will be relatively dead at rope drop -- due to church and people being lazy and sleeping in. But I think it will get pretty crowded by the afternoon - pending the weather,
Maybe not universal, but pretty sound logic.
Had this happen to us on a Sunday during Spring Break at SFOT. We were walking on rides like crazy while all the good Texan Christians were at church and all the lazy Texans were being lazy. Around 3:30 PM, the place was so beyond crowded that we left, despite this being on vacation and our only opportunity to visit. We'd been enough in the past, and done enough already that day that FastPass was not justifiable.
Personally, since this is your only visit to SFGrAm, if you can afford it, you should do it. Even if the lines are only medium, it would be worth it. You won't have to deal with noisy people in line, the Line Jumpers, of which there are a lot at SFGrAm, or the inevitable beatdown by said Line Jumpers.
I don't know if this it the OP's situation, but I've never understood how enthusiasts will spend $500 to get into a park and not $60 to double or triple their rides (or just to not have to wait in line because waiting sucks).Last edited by ApolloAndy, Sunday, September 30, 2018 11:53 AM
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Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."
So one thing:
I recommend deciding on getting it beforehand. I don't necessarily recommend getting it online. As people have mentioned, they'll never really sell-out, so to save on the "convenience fee" unless it would be a huge hassle to buy it at the park, just buy it at the park, and you won't have to pay the online convenience fee. Here's a recent anecdote (so recent it was actually yesterday):
I bought the Quick Queue for SeaWorld Tampa. Its advertised as "starting at $20" but they use dynamic pricing, so it was actually about $41. Oh well.
The only rides that I ever actually needed it for were Cheetah Hunt and Cobra's Curse.
Cheetah Hunt was advertised between 15-30 minutes all day. Actual wait time... who knows. Unfortunately, a drawback to their Quick Queue is that it only gets you into the station with no line or only 3-4 people in your life. Once you're in "gen pop" you have to wait with everyone else. It looks like BGT generally has three trains in the station before you load. With the dual loading station that's six trains. So really, you probably wait a minimum of about 8-10 minutes in gen pop, and you cut out about 15 minutes of the line with the pass. As I was by myself, I could seat hawk and skip a dispatch or two by looking out for single riders and jumping in with them (third wheels). I got 12 rides in on Cheetah Hunt throughout the day. I guarantee you no other guest in the entire park did that.
Cobra's Curse had a line that got up to 40 minutes per the sign. I believe it, but I never actually saw what the line looked like. Its a silly kid oriented ride. RCDB lists it as "thrill" but I'd call it Family at best. I also don't the spinny's. It was a credit grab, but on principle I rode again to use the pass that I paid for. I guess the line gets so long because each train only fits eight people, and its the newest ride. Also, like Cheetah Hunt, they're both towards the front of the park.
Kumba, Montu, and The Sand Serpent (literally just a wild mouse that you would see at a beach park) were all completely walk-ons and wouldn't even open the Quick Queue line. Shiekra was more or less a walk-on, I waited a bit in the station, the dispatches were slow, and they had trouble getting some out at all, but I don't think I would have gained any advantage by using the Quick Queue.
Early on the day, I thought that the purchase was going to be a bust. As most of the rides were all walk-ons. But as I thought that Maverick's baby sister was the best ride at the park by far, it was probably worth it to spam re-rides on it when other guests were probably lucky to get two. Kumba and Montu are fun but they're a little tough for me to re-ride 10-15 times in a day. Very intense and the nausea sets in. All vertical G's and no airtime. I got 7x on Kumba and 4x on Montu. I like Shiekra a lot, but it was having dispatch issues, and even broken down when I was in line. I like vertical drop coasters a lot, but I only got 3x in. So getting the 12x in on Cheetah Hunt may have made it worth it. That would have been six hours of standing in line. I probably spent about 45 minutes in aggregate (also probably I was a single rider and jumped ahead some).
One thing to note about Quick Queue: As I had mentioned, the pass only gets you up to the station, and unfortunately the queues are pretty deep. I feel like most of the big ticket expensive parks like to only allow the size of the train into the station to clear things along, make things less ugly, and give you a job to enjoy the line theming instead of looking over the shoulder of the person in front of you. Since I believe Universal only lets the size of the train/group in the station, maybe this is why their Priority Pass is so expensive. You really cut the whole line. And at the Disney, the FastPass does the same thing. I also believe at SF or CF, you go to designated rows on the exit side.
Crowded stations sound like a similar problem with Hershey's Fast Track program (besides the only 1 use per ride). At Hershey you still could have a 20+ minute wait for some rides especially if the person controlling the merge point lets a lot of people in past that point and don't keep the stairs or ramp to the station clear. It is the biggest problems at Storm Runner and Wildcat.
I'm not sure about other CF and SF parks but at Great Adventure, all coasters have merge points before or at the station except Runaway Mine Train that goes up the exit. At Dorney, every Fast Lane line merges at the station as well. I prefer that system so you can choose your row and don't have to deal with empty rows going out if no one is at the exit waiting.Last edited by YoshiFan, Monday, October 1, 2018 6:22 PM
Other than Cheetah Hunt (I haven’t been to the park since Cobra’s Curse opened) I have never seen Quick Queue as a necessity at BGT. That said, if you have the money to spare and want to be able to ride Cheetah Hunt whenever you want throughout the day (and the log flume too, it can get quite the line) then it is worth it.
The biggest issue at BGT comes down to slow dispatches and crowded stations. What should be walk ons for rides like Montu easily become 15-20 minute station waits when they have no crowd control in the station and only dispatch one train every five minutes.
As soon as I saw the title I knew the direction the thread would go. Did not disappoint.
If a lot of people decide to go it’s likely to be busy.
I think the Montu crew was trained by the Kraken crew. That's not good, if you're wondering.
The Kraken crew were downright speedy, even with VR, compared to any crew at Darien Lake.
But then again, what do I know?
I'm late to the conversation... Take a look at the prices of the cutpasses on the day you want to go. If it is more expensive than usual, the park is probably expecting larger crowds than normal. If it is at its cheapest, the lines will probably be mostly short. No crystal ball required.
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I don't know if this it the OP's situation, but I've never understood how enthusiasts will spend $500 to get into a park and not $60 to double or triple their rides (or just to not have to wait in line because waiting sucks).
It's not my situation. I live 45 minutes away now and have never been to the park. As I was planning on going alone, it was going to be a cheap trip to see what coasters I could ride. I've recently lost 60 lbs and until recently I've been forced to take a hiatus from riding coasters. Due to weight and other life situations.
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