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The pros and cons of a park offering a fast pass


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I hated virtual queuing at Holiday World last year. At one point I almost missed my chance at riding Legend because my wait went from 45 minutes down to about 5 almost instantly. I was like hey I have time to go get food. Nope! About the time I get to the food place in the park I check my quick queue app and see that my rides has just changed to a 5 minute wait for no reason whatsoever. So I start walking toward the ride. By the time I get there I am down to 0 minute wait and it is time to ride. I asked the ride op why it changed so much so quick and they said well because nobody was in line. Other times it lets you in the Voyage queue with a full line down the stairs and people already lining up downstairs inside. Makes no sense. On day 2 of Holiwood Nights I had waited almost an hour for a virtual queue and only had like 5 minutes left to wait. I had to skip my ride entirely because I had a walkback scheduled I did not want to miss. If a virtual queue reaches 2 hours for anything it shuts off and will not let any body new join for a while. If its 2 hours before park close well the virtual queue closes down for the day.

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My thoughts are that restricting FL might have little effect on queue times. 

  1. CF sells season and daily passes at the lowest possible price to maximize sales that maximize revenue. When purchasing passes, people typically do not think about queue times.
  2. CF sells FL at the highest possible price to maximize sales that maximize revenue.
  3. A minority purchase daily FL as a one-off splurge. A smaller minority purchase season FL.
  4. Restricting FL could result in CF increasing the price of passes to compensate for lost FL revenue. However, increasing the price of passes could counterintuitively reduce revenue due to reduced sales.
  5. Alternatively, CF could reduce the price of passes, and increase sales and maintain revenue. (See bullet item 1).
  6. The net result could be that queue times remain about the same, because even though there are fewer FL, significantly more people attend CF parks, because more passes are sold at a lower price.

My daughter and I have season FL, but we choose not to abuse that privilege. Opening Saturday, we rode four coasters together.

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Are there any ride ops or line separators on this board who can clear up what the actual procedure is supposed to be for Fast Lane? How many people are you supposed to let through a cycle? That kind of thing.

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From my experience, the coaster ride operators have white boards they use to log the number of FL riders each hour. I'm going to KI tomorrow and I'll ask the operators if they have FL quotas. My guess is they limit the number of FL per an hour.

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On 5/11/2021 at 11:07 AM, ldhudsonjr said:

If there's someone reading this that's worked as a line separator, I'd love to hear how this is supposed to work. I'm aware there are probably things about this I don't know. Either way, I think it might be good to try and create a little more consistency here.

I worked on Orion last season. In terms of being told what to do with fast passes, it's basically use your best judgement, there was no set guidelines. If there were more than a few in Fast Lane that would fill more than 1/3 of a train, I'd split it up into multiple personally. Whether I took from the regular line first or not just depended on my mood at that moment. Fast Lane usually had single riders, so in the event of that, I'd use them to fill out the train to get as many people as possible. In row selection, if you asked for a row, I'd give it to you (I'd let you know how long the wait would be if it was a little wait, but I never said no)

 

At the end of the day, I personally did whatever I could to fit as many people on a train as possible. I mostly set a limit of 1/3 of a train for FL. If I saw frequent users, I might be a little more inclined to have them wait another train. Overall, the real issue is twofold, the inconsistency from ride ops and the overselling on the part of the park.

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3 hours ago, IceePirate said:

At the end of the day, I personally did whatever I could to fit as many people on a train as possible. I mostly set a limit of 1/3 of a train for FL. If I saw frequent users, I might be a little more inclined to have them wait another train. Overall, the real issue is twofold, the inconsistency from ride ops and the overselling on the part of the park.

I agree completely on both counts. On the topic of overselling, I was hearing that Steel Vengeance was at a 91 minute wait in FL last weekend, so yeah they are definitely selling too many.

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There are NO pros.  They are 100% offered out of greed and because people will pay for them. 
 

Great operations, single rider lines and free lockers/no carry on items would be far superior and give all guests a great experience with shorter waits.   
 

All paid fast passes just give some guests a better experience while making a worse experience for the majority. 
 

But B class theme parks like Cedar Fair and C class parks like Six Flags reallY don’t care about giving the best experience.  Their business models depend on cheap Season passes and they know people will Come back because they got them with the cheap season pass, not because of a high quality experience. 

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While these past weekends were frustrating, I'm sure as the season goes on, things will improve. Opening weekends have always been hectic, and I can also attest to the "do what you think works best" for Fastlane mentality. It will improve as the season goes on. Like said earlier, Fastlane ultimately does drive profit, but can assure you they still care about guest experience. We can't judge the entire 2021 season off of 4 hectic days of a crowded park with fresh staff.

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Diamondback is probably the number one FL ride. Note, it is FL and not FL+. My recent experience is that FL fill about 30% of each train. It seems the line separator allows FL to generally pick their seats. The line separator then must fill the remaining 70%. The trains can seat 32 riders and 70% is about 22 seats. The line separator does not have time between trains to logistically fill all 22 empty seats, because they cannot mentally log which seats are still available. My experience is that typically 6 seats of each trains are empty. That equates to about 27% empty seats of the 22 non-FL available seats. Overall, this equates to about only HALF of each train being occupied by non-FL passengers. On Sunday, one of the ride operators saw I was counting empty seats and without prompting acknowledged it was near impossible to completely fill a train. A solution I don't have, but my guess is FL is reducing non-FL capacity during busy times to about 50%.

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It is possible to fill a train if they take on the operations of Mystic.  Orion does a fairly good job as well.   Row requests are not guaranteed and on busy days they should do a little more enforcement of that so that 27% of the train doesn't go out empty.

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On 5/21/2021 at 2:00 AM, super7 said:

There are NO pros.  They are 100% offered out of greed and because people will pay for them. 
 

Great operations, single rider lines and free lockers/no carry on items would be far superior and give all guests a great experience with shorter waits.   
 

All paid fast passes just give some guests a better experience while making a worse experience for the majority. 
 

But B class theme parks like Cedar Fair and C class parks like Six Flags reallY don’t care about giving the best experience.  Their business models depend on cheap Season passes and they know people will Come back because they got them with the cheap season pass, not because of a high quality experience. 

My opinion after using single rider lines during Winterfest they just do not work well. I would prefer to just purchase a fastlane.You have families and friends using single rider line because the line seems shorter. They just tell the others in their party to say they are single riders. The line separator then uses single riders to fill empty seats. Which at worst is 1 "single rider" per cycle. At best a couple. Then sometimes those families that pretended to be "single riders" ignore the lane they were assigned and go sit together with their party. This causes confusion because suddenly someone is without a seat and has to wait on the platform for another cycle.

 

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On 5/22/2021 at 2:58 AM, SnakePlissken said:

My opinion after using single rider lines during Winterfest they just do not work well. I would prefer to just purchase a fastlane.You have families and friends using single rider line because the line seems shorter. They just tell the others in their party to say they are single riders. The line separator then uses single riders to fill empty seats. Which at worst is 1 "single rider" per cycle. At best a couple. Then sometimes those families that pretended to be "single riders" ignore the lane they were assigned and go sit together with their party. This causes confusion because suddenly someone is without a seat and has to wait on the platform for another cycle.

 

Single rider lines aren’t a special skip the line queue for those traveling solo.  They are fit anyone willing to ride with a stranger.  To maximize capacity and fill every empty seat.   Every guest in the park has the right to use a single rider line. 

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24 minutes ago, super7 said:

Single rider lines aren’t a special skip the line queue for those traveling solo.  They are fit anyone willing to ride with a stranger.  To maximize capacity and fill every empty seat.   Every guest in the park has the right to use a single rider line. 

I never said they were a "special skip the line for those traveling solo". I know how they work and what they are intended for. I was explaining why they do not seem to work well.  Maybe they work better at Disney or maybe they work better if it was being used on a ride that was more than 2 riders per row. I have no idea. As I stated I have only really used them at King's Island and only during Winterfest so far.

To your point every guest has a right to use them yes they do. But that is not intended either. If every single guest uses the single rider line it would defeat the purpose of having a single rider line as that line would be insanely long and the normal line would be short.

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27 minutes ago, SnakePlissken said:

I never said they were a "special skip the line for those traveling solo". I know how they work and what they are intended for. I was explaining why they do not seem to work well.  Maybe they work better at Disney or maybe they work better if it was being used on a ride that was more than 2 riders per row. I have no idea. As I stated I have only really used them at King's Island and only during Winterfest so far.

To your point every guest has a right to use them yes they do. But that is not intended either. If every single guest uses the single rider line it would defeat the purpose of having a single rider line as that line would be insanely long and the normal line would be short.

They work because they fill every empty seat (if the ride ops are efficient).   Every seat utilized = shorter overall wait for everyone 

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My two cents on the subject.   Before Fast Lane,  I could ride everything I wanted at both KI and CP even on busy days because of the excellent capacity.   For example,  when the line for Diamondback was all the way to Reds Hall of Fame ( sorry but the new name of that place escapes me.) the wait would just be 45 minutes-the same from the entrance to The Beast with full switchbacks. Now the waits have doubled.   The wait for Maverick at CP has especially become a nightmare.   I am realistic and know Fast Lane is here to stay but I don't understand why the system is supposed to make it so those who cannot afford it should have miserable time at the park so that those who can afford it can have a great time.   This is in no way meant to criticize those who buy Fast Lane-the issue is not their problem.   I am just wondering if the parks are selling too many Fast Lanes.  At any rate I just might get Fast Lane next time I am at KI.   I guess if you can't beat them, then join them. lol.

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  • 1 month later...

I think although Fast Lane hurts non-FL guests' experience (because it has to), the issue got much worse when they started selling the season pass add-on version.

It used to be that you could go to the park on a less busy day and next to no one would buy the FL add-on. On these days you could still get the fast moving lines we fondly remember.

Now, since many have the perk as a season pass add-on, they will never wait in the regular line regardless of what day they go. This has resulted in a more defined A and B grade experience between FL and non-FL. I think the typical day at the park for the traditional season passholder has suffered quite a bit.

People accepted original add-on to ticket/entry FL so they moved on to FL plus.

People accepted FL Plus so they moved on to season pass Fast Lane.

It's quite a move they pulled because they essentially got people to pay additional money for something which as a group they were already getting-- shorter waits in line.

If I were running the park, I'd eliminate FL while increasing season pass prices because I think delivering a consistently good experience is more important than a cheaper experience that can be hit or miss.

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Here are 24 pages for of fun reading back when FL was first being mentioned....a lot of posts about it is so expensive at $50 that nobody will spend that and thus we will not even notice a slow down in the lines...and now they sell out the $500ish and $850ish season long plans...and CP has hour long FL lines now

 

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