Cedar Fair Announces FAST LANE
Cedar Fair, the last major holdout in the "Fastpass" Wars, has announced FAST LANE, their very own ride reservation system. This up-charge pass allows park visitors to bypass the lines on several major park attractions during certain hours of the day. Currently, only Kings Island is offering this pass and it costs $50 (plus park admission).
Read more about FAST LANE here.
I'm not crazy about the cost (seems like $20 - $25 would be more than adequate), but I do like that the time-frame is limited and does not bump up against those coveted "after-dark" coaster rides we all so dearly love.
I'm already skeptical about this. What happens if a LOT of people buy this Fast Lane feature that day? Then the people who paid for it are still waiting in lines? And the people who did not pay the upcharge are just finding less and less value in the park ticket they paid for.
Well, $50 for a fast lane kind of grantees getting in quickly because not many people would pony up that kind of cash.
Very interesting, my understand was that Cedar Fair thought these types of systems to be gimmicky and unfair to the other park-goers. I guess like airlines, amusement parks can't pass up extra revenue. I really hate these cheap rudimentary systems that are often implemented with no consideration for how it will inconvenience other guests; unlike Disney there are no algorithms that work to keep bottlenecks from happening. Shame on you Cedar Fair.
But...but...but...why is Son Of Beast not included???????
There is talk about having the Gravity Group (whose offices are very close to Kings Island) come in and fix Son of Beast... so maybe, next year?
I recall Knott's testing this during the holidays I believe, but think it was for $40
At some of the parks, I can see this being successful. Despite Cedar Point's ability to move lines pretty quickly, anyone who has been there on the weekends or in the middle of the summer knows exactly how long the lines can get for some rides. Kings Island on the weekends is usually a madhouse too, even with a large free waterpark. If those are the only times you can get to those parks and you have the money, paying to cut in line isn't such a bad idea. When taking into consideration their still relatively low ticket prices, $40-$50 really isn't a whole lot more. A discount ticket (found just about anywhere) plus a fast lane pass is about the same price as a general admission ticket to any of the Orlando parks.
They sell a limited amount of wristbands per day.
I'm not a fan of these. I think it will really hurt the average visitor's experience, and inevitably the parks as people will stop going.
There is a cap on the number sold each day, so that should control the crowds a bit... unless they all get in line for the same ride!
It's interesting that Cedar Fair is finally trying a skip the line pass as well. This Kings Island system certainly sounds a lot better than the one Knott's is/was trying (don't know if they are still offering it). At Knott's, the pass was $40, and would get you ONE priority boarding on Boomerang, GhostRider, Timber Mountain Log Ride, Silver Bullet, Pony Express, Sierra Sidewinder, and Supreme Scream, plus one ride on Screamin' Swing (normally an upcharge). I don't know if they limited sales of this or not, but from my observation (I didn't actually use the pass) it looked like Hate to Wait users would go up the exit, and ride operators would only let a certain number of people on a ride at a time. For example, on GhostRider they would let between 5-10 guests ride on every third train. This kept the regular line moving, while allowing the people with the pass a much shorter wait (5 minutes or so as opposed to 75). I could see Kings Island using a similar method at the attractions to keep regular line moving while giving Fast Lane users a significantly reduced waiting time.
Disney has already figured out the best system for this that is fair and free to everyone. It sounds like a way to make extra income..... short term may work.... long term.... may cause people who were not willing to pay the extra to quit paying for any ticket at all.
They actually had a free system some years ago at Cedar Point called freeway I believe. I thought it worked great. They handed out a designated amount of passes for each ride per hour. They only did it for a handful of rides, but it was quite a godsend during those first couple years of Millennium Force, when the lines were often in excess of three hours.
Obviously, I think Disney's system is best, but if this is implemented at Cedar Point, I would get it every single time for at least one day during a visit.
Admission prices are already too high so why add another $50 to it. They should have a pass like Disney and have a time table and amount of passes you can get durning that time. If you have a pass or two for rides that is all you can get till after your time has passed to get on one of them.
If they charge $80 a ticket like Disney then they can offer a fastpass system like theirs. Until then they will sell upcharge fastpasses to those who really want it to make up for the $35-$40 tickets the majority of people pay to enter (or the $80 something dollar season passes). Their system sounds better than Six Flags Flash Pass, Six Flags is too complicated with 3 levels. This Fast Lane sounds like the gold version of SF Flash Pass (which is $69 at Magic Mountain) but is $19 cheaper than theirs. It is good deal for those visiting the park from another state/country who only have one day to visit the park and want to be able to experience everything and reride their favorites.
I am curious as to why they wouldn't attach this to staying at their resort, a la Universal. That seems like a good plan to me.
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