Will you pay to skip the lines at a theme park this year?
Written by Robert Niles
We've been talking a lot about theme park's ride reservation systems lately. Disney's testing its new, NextGen "xPass" system this week, and Jim Hill's got a great description of how that system's working. At the same time, Universal Orlando is testing a new Q-Bot system for ride reservations, and chains such as Cedar Fair are expanding their reservation systems.Tweet
It might be free of charge, but Toy Story Midway Mania is likely Disney's toughest FastPass to get.
Disney remains unique in the industry in offering its ride reservation service, Fastpass, for free to daily visitors. (You do have to be staying at a Disney Hotel to be considered for inclusion in the xPass trial.) Universal Orlando offers its Universal Express access to on-site hotel guests at no additional charge, as well. But at all the other chains, if you want to skip a line, you have to pay first.
Will you consider buying one of these skip-the-line tickets this year? That's our vote of the week. Let's review what the ride-skipping options are at the major theme park chains:
Universal Studios Hollywood: The Front of Line pass gets you access to the priority boarding lane or reserved seating area at all attractions, as well as access to behind-the-scenes presentations at Waterworld, Terminator2: 3D, and Animal Actors. The price is $149, but that also includes park admission, which is $77 at the gate.
SeaWorld and Busch Gardens: Quick Queue offers two options, one that allows a single time skipping the line, and another that allows unlimited skips. Prices range from $15 - $55, based on the option you select, as well as the day and park you visit.
Cedar Fair parks (including Knott's Berry Farm, Kings Island and Cedar Point): Fast Lane gives you unlimited skips to selected attractions. Prices range from $30 - $55, based on when and which park you visit. Discounts are available if you buy multiple passes.
Six Flags parks: Flash Pass offers three levels: On the Regular level, you don't get to skip any waits, but don't have to stay in the actual line. The Gold level offers you sharply reduced wait times, and the Platinum level allows you to ride twice after the shorter Gold-level waits. Prices are $45 for the Regular option, $60 for Gold and $105 for Platinum. Discounts are available for buying multiple passes at once.
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