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Six Flags Announces "Nation's Best VIP Program"


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Actually, Disney's Fastpass isn't as far away from the Qbot systems of the world than you'd think.

 

Sure it's free ... but there are ways to 'abuse' the system. And most people don't know about it. It's only hard-core Disney people that know the tricks of the Fastpass.

 

That you don't have to exactly show up during the hour it's displayed

 

That certain rides are disconnected from the system

 

That you can get a faspass at DL and DCA for the same time since they are on seperate systems

 

Again, while I think the FP system is the cream of the crop, IF they offered a Qbot type up-charge system I'd certainly use that as well. Maybe not every visit, but I would. I can't imagine going to a SF park with Qbot on and NOT using it. Does that make me an elitist? I don't think so. It makes me smart.

 

Again, with this VIP thing, for me it's obviously not worth it. But if people use it, and it makes SF more money, and the SF stock goes up ... good for me.

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I really don't see the point in fighting over whether fast passes are good or not. But IMO, they do make the wait for the rest of the people worse. If you had a family of 4 (lets say two kids 6 and 12). Now, the 6 year old wont want to go on the rides the rest of the family does. Now the 12 year old might want to go on some of the kid rides with the 6 year old. The two kids aren't old enough to stay by themselves...so a parent might stay with each kid. One pair going on big rides, and the other pair going on some thrill rides. Now, the parents might switch of taking the older kid on the ride, and staying with the younger kid. Plus figure a family with a little kid wont want to stay all night, because more then 12 hours all day is long for a kid that young. So the family will have to leave early.

 

OK, so now you have this family that wants to do as much as they can and they don't really want to wait that long for rides. Then you take some rich season pass holders, with fast passes, that cut in front of the stand by. That makes the wait longer for that family. And remember, the family doesn't want to pay for the fast passes so they are stuck in the situation they have.

 

Now its a Saturday in July, and this is the only time they can go. I mean, it really isn't fair that people can use a Q-Bot/FP just because they have the money....and you cant say "well don't go" because you should have the right to go. And I'm not trying to complain like i told everyone not to do, but I don't think it is right.

 

But people should have the right to pay more for a shorter line. They should put a limit on it then, or give a free fast pass to each person. Then everyone has a right to have a good day.

 

 

So, that is just my point of view. I'm sure no one will agree with it.

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Parktrips I was laughing so much at your communist comment I spit the water out of my mouth. But on a serious note this can only be good for six flags. Like I said before it a lot of benefits they get and it will fit better in different parks, and the whole flashpash system is not that great either. If you are at Disneyland in summer you will probably get about 3 flashpasses the whole day.

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^ Yeah, but USH's backstage tour that is $150 offers WAY more than any Six Flags can offer. The chance to walk around on movie sets.

 

Personally I could care less. If people want to pay that much money ... fine.

 

But it's stupid. Anybody can come online, ask how to get the most out of their theme-park day at any Six Flags park and save ALOT of money.

 

Also, can you REALLY stay at any six flags park ALL DAY? I know I can't. I can't remember the last time I opened and closed a Six Flags park.

I wouldn't expect you to want to do this, you're not the target audience. Obviously anyone can go online and look for ways to save a lot of money doing a day at a park. But they OBVIOUSLY are not targeting the "penny pinching" family with this who are browsing the internet looking for a value.

 

This is the kind of thing that is VERY appealing to a family, with money, who is coming out to So Cal for the "once in a lifetime" family vacation and doing the end-all be-all in tourist attractions.

 

I mean, think about it, people pay $300+ to go pet a dolphin for 45 minutes at Discovery Cove, and while *I* may not personally pay that amount per person to do that, they obviously have proved that there are enough people out there who will.

 

Think about all those added cost VIP tours at Walt Disney World, I beleive some of them are more expensive than this! Hell, Elissa and I paid $60 each to ride around on a Segway for an hour...TWICE!!! FOR AN HOUR!

 

And to someone who has never been, coming out to SFMM with 15 coasters that has been "seen on TV" for years *IS* a big deal, and that person probably could spend a full day at the park.

 

There may be someone (like myself) who finds ZERO value in "walking around movie sets" but may actually find GREAT value in having a day at one of the most popular amusement parks in the world and getting VIP treatment.

 

I agree with all the people who are saying "Why are you blasting this when all the other parks do the same thing?"

 

Face it, this isn't for *YOU* (meaning all the people who seem to be against this), but it DOES make perfect sense. No one is forcing you buy into so why make a big deal out of it?

 

--Robb "It's not 'stupid' you just don't seem to get it." Alvey

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I agree with all the people who are saying "Why are you blasting this when all the other parks do the same thing?"

 

The other parks for the most part have better operations than most SF parks and also don't have the Flashpass (except for Disney with Fastpass but that's free so I see it as being different). I just see this as one more way lines will be longer even if the impact is minimal because lines are usually worse to begin with.

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^ You do realize that this isn't something that's for the masses, right? It's like the Valet parking they have at SFMM, I think there are only 50 spaces. I would be surprised if they expect more than 100 people per day to take advantage of this. So how does what you said make sense?

 

--Robb "How many first class seats versus coach are on most planes?" Alvey

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Parks really just can't win with enthusiasts. Everyone freaks out when a park closes, yet also freaks out when a park is doing things to stay in business. Money to cover operating expenses/make a profit doesn't just magically show up in the parks bank accounts.

 

Sure these "line cutting" systems add to the wait time, but when looking at the grand scheme of the things from the parks point of view: an extra 5-15 minutes of wait time is a fair trade off for the revenue. Guests expect to wait in line at a theme park; It's not like they close the ride down between 12pm-2pm exclusively for (insert premium line cutting system here). Not to mention the fact parks have built in "checks" such as limiting sales and scheduling ride times to help prevent any one ride from being over loaded by premium line cutting people.

 

Lets say you're the GM of a park: do you turn down the extra cash because you want slighty shorter lines?

 

I bet everyone saying these systems suck would glady use them if they could justify the expense. Hell, anyone who has ever gone to a coaster event with ERT has essentially done the same thing. Aren't coaster events a perk not offered to everyone?

 

But anyways...back to the topic at hand: good for Six Flags. Contrary to what everyone wants to believe, there is a big market out there for this. Put yourself in the shoes of a high income "GP" family. You know as well as I do that your kid will at some point probably be blown away by all the marketing hype of a Six Flags park's coaster collection and want to go. Do you want a hassle free day with everything included and no waiting at all, or do you save a few dollars and buy flashpasses (and still have to wait in shorter lines), still have to wait in line for food, wait to meet a character, etc. The answer is simple: if you can afford the $249, you're doing that! That's who Six Flags is targeting. Not enthusiasts or the average family.

 

Hell, if I was in a situation where I could afford to spend $249 on a Six Flags park...I'd totally go this route. That, to me, would be a small price to pay to basically avoid all the hassles we give SF parks sh*t for. It's like having your own private coaster event for the day.

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^Robb you are forgetting that for some, no matter what SF does they are going to get bashed. I would be shocked if more then 30 people a day do this so that is what one extra train wait in your line. I am sure people will survive that extra wait.

 

The way I look at it if all these people who hate SF so much would just stop coming then the rest of us would not need any form of Flashpass.

 

Rich "The more people who complain the more I want a VIP tour" Bitner

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I'm skeptical simply because, while the program seems decent in theory, in practice, I dont think a park like SFMM is capable of effectively pulling it off--for both the normal guests or the VIP guests.

 

 

 

For example, I've practically stopped asking for my Xtreme Playpass food discounts, as every time I show them my card, they give me a dumb stare and the stare into the cashregister hoping they can figure out what to do with it. They then go search the back for a lead or manager to come over and punch in the discount for them. Hell, I've even had to argue with them as they claimed my pass wasn't actually an Xtreme Playpass--when it was! It said right on the card!

 

And SFMM operations cant even effectively handle the regular fastpass, let alone something like this! If they were to dedicate staff members to manage the FP/VIP while the normal operators cycled, that would be one thing. But when its 100 degrees outside and crews are locked in positions with minimal employees, SFMM simply cant handle the added stress of a system like this.

 

 

The inclusion of a "VIP Host" will definitely ease some of this stress, without question. But the lack of communication between departments leads me to believe that it wont ultimately change anything.

 

So basically, as a guy who hasn't visited SF parks outside of CA, my arguement is simply it is too soon to impliment this program effectively at SFMM. No matter how easy it is for the intended customer to drop the money on these passes, that wont stop them from noticing when they dont get an "as advertised" expirence.

 

 

-Jahan

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Argh! I *hate* the argument that it is "not fair". All sorts of business and industries offer more opportunities and faster/better experiences for people who can pay more - it is called capitalism! Look at first class seats on airlines - those have been around for almost as long as the airline industry has and offer preferred boarding, lounge access, more room, larger baggage allowances, etc. Is that not "Fair" to me because I can only afford coach? NO! If it was that important to me to have those benefits I would find a way to get them. You even see it on a local level in retail with Wal-Mart Vs. Target - I could go to Wal-Mart and shop in a dirty store with long lines to save a few bucks...but I feel my time and experience is more important to me so I am willing to pay a little more each time and have a shorter wait to check out with employees that have more than 1 tooth! It's the same thing as the six flags vip program on a much more micro level.

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I think I would do it. It's not like I can go every week to SFMM for example so if I visit it I would want it to be something special. It's better to spend more money to guarantee a great day instead of having a unsatisfying day and having to go back to the park in the future to do everything properly like you want.

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I’m surprised with the kind of reactions to this.

 

I think it is a brilliant light of things, and ideas they are finally heading for.

As a business, especially in the entertainment amusement industry one size does not fit all. You have to offer options and varieties to shake things up and keep them returning. (sorry kids they parks want money, not to just bring smiles)

 

As other company’s have proven priced programs not only offer great options for some, but offer strong sources of revenue for return.

 

Most the parks do and have VIP public programs, why not the Six Flags chains. If anything it makes the parks sound more professional and mature offering such programs.

 

So what’s the big deal? I mean really. Six Flags is heading in the right direction I think.(And for the record I hate Six Flags park operations, so anything that impresses me is a strong statement)

 

This could and should bring in a few extra guests with a little more money to spend along with giving family’s yet another option.

 

My only concern as some others have said is this. Are the parks truly in the position to do this? If they do this they need to do it right the first time. SF has a huge image problem and no matter what you market or promote the image is so sour it will take years to overcome.

All attempts made need to be 1000% solid and pre tested fully before going public. And that is what I believe the company has missed from the start. They implement ideas but do not strive for overall, and allow the partial outcome to become the norm.

 

Time will tell, but I do see some parks having big issues. Hopefully they will be able to pull it off.

 

*Also for anyone who thinks these programs are unfair, and everyone should only have free systems.

Ok when you stay at a hotel, you pay lets say 60 dollars a night in a small 2 double bed room over looking the parking lot.

Meanwhile that same hotels offers suite rooms from 1,200 with a balcony, maid, hey whatever.

You get what you pay for. For those who want to pay higher for more options that is their personal choice like flying coach or first class. These are businesses not charities.

 

Those who also pay the premium price believe it or not offset costs to the avg. Joes in some cases.

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SF has a huge image problem and no matter what you market or promote the image is so sour it will take years to overcome

 

I have to put in my 2 cents here. I don't necessarily agree with this. Image problems to enthusiasts and locals- yes - the GP - probably not. I went to SFMM and had a great day and did not experience any of the problems I so often hear about. - But I was also not looking for them. I even had a great time at Darien Lake! However - in my home park - Canada's Wonderland - I see more and notice issues. I think that the image problem is somewhat perceived and not always a problem for everyone.

 

Having worked at Disney - I have very high standards as well, but image is also subjective.

 

My thoughts - the bottom line is Money. If Six Flags can get this to work - great for them. Will it help their image - NO! especially among the enthusiast crowd. SO, you can bash parks all you want and for almost any reason, but keep in mind - a lot of people will still go and pay full price for the day and the revenue from enthusiasts who choose not ot go truly won't be missed.

 

Please don't take this wrong - I like parks and rollercoasters as much as the rest of you and this move by Six Flags doesn't change my opinion of them - it is just good business and will generate revenue (which benefits us all in terms of new attractions and investments).

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