Vote of the week: How much would you pay to skip a line?
SeaWorld San Diego
this week announced a new ride reservation system, Quick Queue. For $19.95, you get one pass to the front of the queue on the park's three rides, Journey To Atlantis, Shipwreck Rapids and Wild Arctic, a second pass through the line on your choice of one of those three, plus one free ride on both the park's SkyTower and Bayside SkyRide.
The combo ticket for the SkyTower and SkyRide costs $5, so you basically are looking at $14.95 for skipping four queues here. That works out to about $3.75 per queue.
SeaWorld says that the price for Quick Queue is seasonal, so it might go up or down based upon demand. Which makes sense, I guess. The more people in the park, the longer the lines are, which makes skipping those lines more valuable.
Which brings me to this week's vote. How much would it be worth, to you, to skip a queue at a theme park? Let's price this per hour of wait time skipped.
So if you'd be willing to spend $10 to skip a two-hour queue, vote for $5 in the poll below. (That $5 per hour of line skipped.) Round to the nearest dollar, please.
Let's do some math here. If you are spending $60 on a theme park ticket for the day, and getting on 10 rides, you're spending $6 per ride. If you spend an extra $20 to get on four more rides that you wouldn't have been able to fit in otherwise, then you've spent $80 for 14 rides, which works out to about $5.70 a ride, a better price per ride.
You'll have to work the numbers based on the parks you attend and how many rides you typically work in during a visit. But I'd be interested in seeing what you decide. (And, I bet, some theme parks would love to see these results, too.)
Talk about your calculations, in the comments, please. And have a great weekend in the parks!
We are buying the Express Plus Pass to Universal Orlando as we are not staying on site. We did this last time and we were done with both parks easily before 6pm. For us it was definitely worth the price. I found out BGA has a Quick Queue ticket for unlimited entry to their attractions and shows, and so does Sea World Orlando. I believe the BGA Quick Queue ticket is like $26.95 per person and the Sea World Orlando one is about the same, depending on seasons. We will probably do it for BGA but we are deciding if it's worth it for Sea World. There are not quite as many attractions and we've never had a hard time getting into any of the shows, AND the lines for their rides are nothing compared to Disney. I imagine Manta will be PACKED but I understand their queue will be an attraction in and of itself.
Another way to look at this would be, how much more would you be willing to pay per night to stay at a Universal Orlando hotel, versus a similar quality hotel, knowing that staying at UO gets you a free pass on all UO's rides? Then divide that by the amount of additional time you would have spent waiting in line that day.
The only time I paid for something like that was at Magic Mountain for the flash pass and it was not worth it. The long wait rides did not have a flash pass access and the ones that did have flash pass did not have long enough line to justify skipping.
Robert, I must add that at Disney World I would choose to stay on site to be a part of the magic hours. Technically not skipping the lines, but it does allow access to the park for only certain guests.
Instead of (or in addition to) a pass that worked all day at different attractions, how about a Fastpass-type machine that took credit/debit cards for an instant pass, with the price fluctuating automatically according to what the waiting time was.
Personally I don't see the real need to pay for front-of-the-line access. If you get to the park for opening time and ride the attractions which are prone to lengthy lines before mosts guest arrive you don't really need to fork out the cash.
I think I would probably pay $4 max. I have paid around $25 in the past for an express pass at Universal Studios Florida and IOA, which I think was worth it. We used the pass on 9 rides at IOA and 8 rides at the studios I think. It enabled us to ride all the rides we wanted on a pretty busy day at each park and we mostly avoided waiting over an hour in queues.
I'd be willing to pay quite a bit to skip any and all lines. The parks need to institute a flexible system of payment and cost based on that day's park attendance. It's a big pot of gold that the parks need to start looking at more seriously, especially Disney which seems intent on packing their SoCal resort with cheap AP passes.
$30, which I believe is the price of a flashpass at SFGA
It really depends on teh time of the year and what you have more of on your trip: Time or Money. I have commented on this topic several times. Weigh your options.
I've never paid for anything like that and probably never will. I think they're unfair to other park guests who have to wait in line, for one thing. Generally though, I've never gone to a park and not ridden everything I had intended to ride in one day, unless of course a ride was closed or something like that.
When going to a theme park, you have to expect to stand in some sort of line. Personally, I don't mind the lines. You get to meet people from all over the world. When I was in line for Soarin' in Feb., my son and I met a very sweet family from Australia. We found out they were doing the Grand Gathering experiences, it was their first time at WDW, etc. So to me, I'm not going to pay for something that isn't really that bad. My mom has always had the best attitude about waiting in long lines and she did her best to pass it on to me, thus I am trying to pass it onto my sons. I'm not going to pay for a special ticket to get to the front of the line. I'll need that extra money for souvenirs and of course the five dollar bottle of water :-)
I try to avoid lines by going during certain times of the year. Usually I'm successful in doing so. I might pay a little to cut for a certain ride if the line is ridiculous, but I think that a lot of people would have that idea...thus raising the price of the passes. It's a good way to take advantage of people's desire for instant gratification, but all it does for the rest of us is make the line longer.
For us there is no other way to go to Magic Mountain as a 1 nighter/1.5 day attraction. We'd either Sacrifice some, or have no repeats. And heaven forbid a Coaster goes down part of the day & you'd wasted 2 of your calculated hours.
I think it is very telling about our society that there is a market for indulging peoples' impatience. While I may long for a world where I'm the only person at the park who happens to wanna ride Millenium Force that day such a thing just doesn't exist.
I agree that this indulges people's impatience. Why I like FastPass is that while I am not lazy, I am restless. I'd rather be walking or running than standing. With FastPass, I end up doing more walking and less standing.
One thing we may not be taking into account is that paying for a line-skipping pass is not only about people being impatient -- it may actually be cost-effective. Because some people can't do everything they want to do at a particular park (and at a pace that is enjoyable to them) in one day, they sometimes decide to spend two days at that park.
The problem of the whole concept is that charging for 'skipping the line' actually makes the lines longer for the rest of the park guests who didn't pony up the ransom.
Big Bell, Disney's model works well, at least giving guests the perception that they're getting on more rides.
FWIW, SeaWorld is selling 500 Quick Queue passes per day, and it hasn't sold out any days yet. That's a negligible amount, which should have no effect on the regular ("stand by") queue.
The only free fastpass system I know of is Disney's. Everyone else charges something for the privilege. I like Disney's system, because it lends itself to making a touring plan quite easily, and without the extra expense, seems to be the fairest version. Although, since it is the most accessible of the fastpass systems, it also causes the longest waits when you are in the regular standby line. There is nothing worse than almost making it to the ride when a huge group of fastpass users hit the queue and delay your departure by another 10 minutes!
I am a bit torn on this. I would never pay more for the privilege of skipping lines. Theme parks already cost enough as it is with tickets, food, etc. However, when they are included as a perk of staying on-site, like Universal does, it is hard to pass up.
Personally, I don't prefer to pay to skip in line. I mean, the Express Passes, as I've not yet been to Disney to experience Fast Passes (which I assume aren't much better), only allow you to skip the majority of the line, not really to the very end of the line, so my skepticism is palpable.
If you're a passholder to ANY park, there shouldn't be any reason to pay to skip lines. You have the ability to go back to the park again-- so GO! (when it's not that busy)
This is one of those "slippery slope" issues when it comes to park operations. Personally, if I was going to an out of town big name park (DLR,WDW) who offered a free queueing system, Id use it. When it comes to a SF/SW-esque park w/ a paid system, I wouldnt use it. I already pay enough to visit their property, why should I pay more to cut in line..
The good thing about something like this at WDW is that most of the themed rides with fast pass entrances skip the unthemed part of the queue and place you into the beginning of the themed queue. I would no doubt pay max dollars to be able to walk into nothing more than 15 minute waits on every major attraction each day. The only thing is will something like this be available per day or for length of stay? and if so, pricing structure would be an issue, I would think to make it attractive enough to buy into it, but still cost/people-flow effective for the parks; making it an issue for the companies.
This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.