Flashpass: An Expose
Six Flags Great America:
What I thought about those new Flashpasses at Six Flags Great America.
I just got back from Six Flags Great America today and did the Flash Pass for the first time. Because I am a Season Pass holder, I got $10 off of the price for a regular two person one which comes to $29 (after discount). The regular pass allows you to reserve a spot in line for paticular rides based on the ride's wait time. So, for example, the dark Knight was 1.5 hours so we reserved at 4 and had to wait to 5:30 or later to enter the ride. You do all of this on a little "game boy" type of machine which makes it very convient since unlike Disney's Fastpass, you do not need to be anywhere near the ride you want to go on. The Flashpass vibrates when your time is up. It also helps to know what the wait times on some of the more popular rides so you can plan accordingly. However, if you lose or forget to return it, they charge you $250 and they actully hold an ID as colateral. The other downside is that it is not on every roller coaster at SFGA and allows you only to reserve for one thing at a time. So if you chose a two hour or more attraction, you can't get another one after an hour like most Fastpasses. The gold is very similar, except you only have to wait 2/3 of the time making more like Disney's Fastpass of about an hour. You also get one machine per group so all people gotta want to go on or willing to wait to put their rides in. The group can't split up their times on attractions. All in all, its a pretty good idea and pretty simple, but they made us sit through a video to understand (people in my video did not understand). Also, it is a bummer that it costs so much money, but very tech cool!
Comments in chronological order. Most recent at the bottom. Scroll down to respond.
I thought that the flashpass at Great America was a huge ripoff. First at most other parks this feature is part of your admission fee. Second, they do not mention in advance that you can only schedule one ride at a time. At other parks you can visit each ride and collect a flash pass tickets for each ride, and then go back to those rides when your time becomes available. Unfortuantely, the park is so busy that it is even worse if you do not purchase the flashpass. We were there on Aug 11. and the wait for the Superman ride easily was over 2 hours.
For the average person going into the park, it would not be worth it. I did a little research before I ever did it. Remember, this Flashpass is not very new, but rather, been around for about 2 years. Yeah, I wish it was free too, but how do you make that technology free? I like the concept, but is a bit misleading. Disney does it the best because you have to be present to get the fastpass and everybody gets a chance. I am mixed, but I would do it again. To make sure nobody is confused, they make us watch a movie even though I understood. Many in the group didn't.
From Ben James
Posted August 22, 2008 at 1:10 PM
Quite frankly, I am not impressed with the way SF: Great America runs the "Flash" pass system. I don't agree with those of us who have waited in line for like forever to be cut off when we get close because a flash pass purchaser can cut ahead. On most rides, I encountered a road block of sorts where a ride op would stop the main line and let them in. Most of the time this person would hold the main line for 15-20 minutes while waiting on Flash Pass users to show up. It just didn't seem fair.
At least at SF: St. Louis flash pass users went in the exit and had to wait a train or 2 before being boarded. not cutting off the line from those who wait hours. and only a handful of people are actually affected by which row the user chooses.
This is just my little rant as to what I observed last month when I visited.
Thats how it ran for me Ben. Yeah, it is "cutting", but so is all the other versions of Flashpass, Fastpass, or Express Pass.
Heh, for me, this is kinda funny. At my home park, Six Flags America (I also have a season pass), it's so unpopulated that they only have one flash pass for $20- you get a few pieces of paper or something for each ride, and when you show up through the exit, they rip off part of you're piece of "paper" and you get to go on the next ride.
You get about 3 for each ride, but I've never bought it because I thought it was a waist of money, because they only have 6 coasters running (I went yesterday and I'm going again tomarrow with the same friend), and I think only 2 are good enough to wait over half an hour for.
From Ben James
Posted August 23, 2008 at 8:05 AM
You may be right, but at least at my home park... you don't feel like your being cut off. At SF: Great America it really seemed to inconvenience the guests who couldn't or wouldn't afford the pass. I am in favor of a pay system for flash pass... But, not the way they have it operate at SFGA. Plain and simple.
I don't mind if they go in the exit and are worked into the ride just, don't ever cut off the line (20 minutes or more with or without pass users entering) from those who have waited forever.
From steve lee
Posted August 23, 2008 at 3:01 PM
Bob, with the exception of Disney can you name a few parks where this service is provided with your admission? Heck, I'll settle for just one.
We just got back from Six Flags Great America after spending 3 days there. We did not use Flashpass on Friday but bought Flashpass Gold for both Saturday and Sunday. There were few people using Flashpass on both days so there was no more than 4 or 5 guests interrupting the line at any time. We drove 400 miles to the park and wanted to make sure that we could ride everything, so Flashpass was a must. The queue lines on some rides combine the Flashpass riders and regular queue pretty far back from the loading platform. So it looks like the line is being held up for Flashpass holders but in most cases they hold the line back even if there are no Flashpass riders arriving. If they do not the load platform gets crazy.
By the way, Six Flags Great America was wonderful. We are planning a return trip for next year.
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