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SF Fiesta Texas prioritizes Goliath front row for Flash Pass


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AWESOME new policy at Six Flags Fiesta Texas foreshadows future policies for all SF parks? Now that's sound business strategy. (sic)

 

Via Screamscape:

 

Park News - (4/24/08 - UPDATE) The issue about Flash Pass guests all getting front row seats is true it seems and verified in a letter from the park from a Guest Service Coordinator who writes, “The new attraction will be seating Flash Pass users in the front row; however, other riders will be able to ride in the front row if there are empty seats/no Flash Pass holders. The loading for the ride will begin with the last row and guests will be seated from back to front. I apologize if this has caused any inconvenience.”

 

We’ve gotten word of a horrible new policy at Six Flags Fiesta Texas. From what our reader tell us the park is now pretty much reserving all front row seats on the new Goliath for Flash Pass users. It seems that the only way a regular guest can take a ride in the front row is if they get lucky and there are no Flash Pass users waiting in line when they get to the station. Our source has complained to the park, but apparently they are clueless and don’t understand that what they are doing is wrong by essentially turning the front row of the coaster into an Upcharge attraction. They should be handling this the way virtually ever other queue system does by either mixing the Flash Pass guests with regular guests at a “merge point” somewhere near the end of the queue or have the ride ops blend them in randomly where they can. Can anyone else confirm this?

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I'm not sure I see what the problem here is.

 

Shouldn't people who pay for better service get a better seat on the train?

 

And it's not like they are letting the front row go empty if there isn't any Flash Pass riders there.

 

IMO, Flash Pass type systems are already a fantastic value as it is, but getting a better seat on the train is even a greater added value.

 

--Robb

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^ Did you do your research before you bought the gold Flash Pass to know what rides it was good for or what rides were down?

 

What may not have been a good value for you could be a GREAT value for someone else if their ride tastes were different.

 

--Robb

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I'm not sure I see what the problem here is.

 

Shouldn't people who pay for better service get a better seat on the train?

 

And it's not like they are letting the front row go empty if there isn't any Flash Pass riders there.

 

IMO, Flash Pass type systems are already a fantastic value as it is, but getting a better seat on the train is even a greater added value.

 

--Robb

 

Shouldn't Flass Pass people be happy that they don't have to stand in line in the first place? Isn't that enough? I see that first point, but I don't agree with it. However, I have to say that the system is already a good value, but it is just getting better with a better seat. The problem is, I can see a lot of non-Fast Passers getting more bitter about it then they already are.

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I'm not sure I see what the problem here is.

 

Shouldn't people who pay for better service get a better seat on the train?

 

And it's not like they are letting the front row go empty if there isn't any Flash Pass riders there.

 

--Robb

 

I guess it all boils down to how you treat your customers. If you can get away with it, why not do it? As for me, Six Flags's policies will send me elsewhere. My business is of no obvious value to them.

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I don't have a problem with flashpass holders being guaranteed the front row. Like Robb said, it's a premium product that deserves premium service. However, I disagree with completely excluding regular guests from the front row unless the flashpass queue is empty. How often do you think that the flashpass queue of their brand new ride will be completely empty during the summer? Im guessing not very often. Besides, people already wait longer for the front as it is...I can only imagine how happy those guests will be having to wait even longer waiting for the flashpass line to be empty. I'm sure they will be real willing to upgrade to a season pass/spend money in the park/recommend the park to their friends.

 

It also seems like it would actually be defeating the purpose of the flashpass, since people will be waiting in the flashpass line just for the front row. And as much as we know that flashpass only guarantees "reduced wait times"...the "GP" certainly doesn't. They expect to get on the ride right away because they paid more.

 

They should switch back and forth between loading flashpass and regular guests in the front (adjusting the ratio accordingly if the flashpass line gets TOO long).

 

But that's just my meaningless opinion because I'm not affected by the policy and have no real reason to complain. I'd have to see how the policy works in person to really form an accurate opinion. FWIW, I also don't think this policy will last (much like the no re-entry that almost was).

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Blocking off rows for flash pass only slows down the stand by line tremendously. I think Robb once said they were blocking off several rows on Tatsu just for flash pass, and letting the rows go empty when no flash pass riders were there. I'm glad they're at least making sure no seats go empty. Flash pass, when done right, in conjunction with a single riders line is the way to go.

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We never bought it. We just had a TERRIBLE experience at SFFT, I'm talking Alabama Adventure bad. Every ride disappointed, over half of the major attractions didn't open until much later in the day, and it was extremely understaffed...during a Saturday in Spring Break. It was the worst Six Flags experience I have ever had.

 

Well, that may be your problem right there. You went on a SATURDAY during SPRING BREAK. Maybe you should have gotten Flash Pass:

 

Here's what's it's good on:

 

Boomerang - Low Capacity Ride.

Bugs' White Water Rapids - Great log flume without having to wait.

Poltergeist - Great coaster! Ride it many times without waiting!

Road Runner Express - Also a great coaster! Ride it many times.

Scooby-Doo Ghostblasters - Low Capacity Dark Ride.

Scream - Lower Capacity drop tower.

Superman: Krypton Coaster - Great coaster! Ride this many times.

The Gully Washer - It's a rapids ride. Did you even bother?

The Rattler - Get your credit without having to wait.

Tony Hawk's Big Spin - Low capacity decent spinner.

Goliath - You get to ride in the front!

 

Seriously, how is getting the Flash Pass *NOT* a good value and a way to insure you'll have a better day at the park?

 

I just don't get it. We are all park and roller coaster enthusaists and when a park offers a way for us to have a better day, why are so many people against this?

 

When I spend THOUSANDS of dollars on a trip, spending an extra $33 per person to skip the lines on every ride is NOTHING.

 

--Robb

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Blocking off rows for flash pass only slows down the stand by line tremendously. I think Robb once said they were blocking off several rows on Tatsu just for flash pass, and letting the rows go empty when no flash pass riders were there.

I also saw SFMM do this a couple of times. That issue has since been addressed.

 

--Robb

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I absolutely LOVE the flash pass at Six Flags Fiesta Texas and think the front seat thing is just icing on the cake. We enthusiasts pay hundreds even thousands of dollars to travel across the country and ride rides. It only makes sense to pay a little more and have the lines eliminated.

 

I flew my family to San Antonio to visit SFFT and SWT over spring break. Both parks were very crowded but at Fiesta Texas I was able to buy the gold Flash Pass and we never waited more than 10 minutes to get on a ride. We could plan our rides around the show times and we had a wonderfull day and did all the things we wanted.

 

It was a different story at Sea World. The crowds were huge and the lines were long. We missed all the show times because we were in line to ride the rides. So without a Flash Pass system we were able to ride 5 rides and see one show. Needless to say our trip to Fiesta Texas was WAY better than Sea World.

 

In the scheme of the whole trip an extra $140 dollars wasn't really a big deal but it sure made our trip to Fiesta Texas GREAT!

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Blocking off rows for flash pass only slows down the stand by line tremendously. I think Robb once said they were blocking off several rows on Tatsu just for flash pass, and letting the rows go empty when no flash pass riders were there.

I also saw SFMM do this a couple of times. That issue has since been addressed.

 

--Robb

 

It's good to know that has been addressed. I remember when I was at SFMM in June of 2006, they had 3 or 4 rows blocked off for Flash Pass users on Tatsu. If there was no one in the flash pass line, they would send the train out with empty rows, while the 2 hour line wasn't getting any smaller. This happened all day long. Thankfully, though, I had Flash Passes. The funny thing is, I didn't pay anything for them! Some lady gave them to us because she was leaving. I also found more on the ground in X's queue later that day! I didn't even use them all and still have the rest as keepsakes. My point is, before that, I always thought Flash Passes, Q-Bots, or whatever were a complete waste of money. After actually experiencing using some, it was great! As you said, Robb, it really does make your experience all the better, especially in my case where I had only one day to ride ALL the coasters at SFMM, and especially during peak times!

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Believe me, I love the Flash Pass! I use it most every time I'm at SFOG. But at SFFT, my complaint is that I felt the rides were not even good there. I agree, it is a good value for those who enjoy the rides there. I'm not saying it's not a good value, but that I did not enjoy the park - therefore it wouldn't have helped my day. I think if I paid $101, the front seat on Goliath would have been an added bonus.

 

I think I could take each ride listed above, and rant about my experience on that day (even Krypton Coaster), but then this thread would get off topic and people would flame me so I will keep quiet.

 

I see your point, but I'd have to ask, how long did you wait in line for some of those rides and would it have been worth $33 if you didn't like the place to get out of there SOONER? Or would you have possibly given a coaster a 2nd try if you didn't have to wait in line?

 

These are all things I think about when I buy a Flash Pass type system and why it helps add value to my day.

 

I would be curious to hear about your day. I guess I would always question any park enthusiast that chooses to go to a major park on a Saturday of one of the busiest periods of the year not long after the park opened for their season, not choose to get the queue skipping system and then complain about it. What did you expect? While I can totally appreciate someone having a 'bad day' at a park, I'm not sure I would have expected to have a 'good day' given the scenario you describe. Did you post about it in your TR? I might have missed it.

 

The other thing that I'd like everyone to consider before this gets blown out of control is that at the moment they are doing doing this on *ONE RIDE* - company wide.

 

So perhaps it's another policy that they are testing out.

 

There are a LOT of ideas out there on how to run a park, or make change, and you'll never know if they will succeed or not until you at least try them.

 

I give them props for at least trying stuff like this. And if the majority of the general public love it....GREAT! And if not, I don't see them keeping a policy that upsets people.

 

--Robb

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The purpose of a Flash Pass is to offer the ride experience at a reduced wait.

 

To now have it include an improved ride experience at a lesser wait, isn't a good idea, in my opinion. That's asking for trouble. I don't see it being a sweeping success.

 

 

 

 

-Jahan

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Do you HAVE to sit in the front seat with Flashpass? That would actually piss me off!

 

I remember several parks early on in the Qbot craze would assign certain rows to FlashPass people. I'd rather just have a merge point in the station and choose my own row.

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Meh, I'm split on the subject. If I want to ride B:TR in the front, but some FP people come, I'm sure they get to go ahead of you, and last time I was in SFGADv, I saw alot of people getting pissed that I got to cut infron of them, let alone go ahead on the ride. Personaly I'm not forking out 30 bucks to ride in the front unless it's at a new park. That too and I don't usally ride in the fron anyways!

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Yeah, I remember that on Tatsu, back in the day, always getting put into the last row. I would have preferred at the time to be able to choose the front. They did fix that issue.

 

So I'm wondering why they don't learn chain wide, a few things.

 

1.) When building coaster stations, plan enough room in the station so people waiting for the front row don't bottleneck the main line.

 

2.) Now that flashpass is a reality, or Q-bots, why isn't there a dedicated line to them? Usually, they send guests up through the exits. It would be much easier for them to coordinate FP users. Mummy at Universal (Hollywood) I think is the best solution I've seen. People bypassing the main line have their own place to stand at the loading platform, and then get placed into the "q" line by the ride ops, wait one train, and they are on. It requires a slightly larger station, but it gives the ops the ability to place guests much faster on the coaster. Certainly beats blocking off rows or just having FP people having to push their way into the bitter herd.

 

What's really bad is that on some of the coaster not designed for FP - SFMM's Batman - is that the exit is so narrow, that it almost isn't pratical for them to have FP's entrance be the exit.

 

3.) If there's enough people in line, why don't they just put all FP people on one train - and not open the gates for the normals, not just the front row? Basically rotate trains for SFFT Goliath. It would certainly move the FP line much, much faster.

 

There should be some effort into providing a pleasnat experience for all guests.

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While I've never been a fan of flash pass-type systems, I'm usually not one to argue that they are unfair, because usually, they are. In this case, they are still fair for the users, but really screw over everybody else.

 

I have no problem with Flash pass users getting to choose their row, however, it's not cool at all when it becomes exclusive. Once you start eliminating traditional opportunities to regular guests, then a big problem arises. I really hope this isn't a policy that is going to be spread throughout the chain. I'm curious to find out if Shapiro has anything to do with this, or if it's an SFFT management decision. Either way, it makes me even more disappointed with the park.

 

By the way Robb, here is the trip report from when Tyler and I went to the park. There's a little extra at the bottom of this update as well. I completely expected the park to be busy, given that it was a Saturday on spring break, but as Tyler said, the staffing and operations were horrible. We visited SFOT a week earlier, also on a spring break Saturday, and the difference was night and day. Plus, the coasters that we got on at SFFT were really underwhelming. I'm trying to write the experience off given that it was just one visit, but either way, it was an extremely disappointing day.

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I can see how the general public will get pissed at this, but for us enthusiasts, just go down the road to Sea World and get on the front seat of Great White. Same ride... or pretty much any other Six Flags park. I mean, it's Batman.

 

But if you can afford Flashpass then get it.

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I don't think a Saturday during Spring break is any excuse for a park to have a bad day. If anything, the day should be better because they should be prepared for the amount of guests and capacity that will be coming in the park.

 

Tell an average guest "Oh, its your fault you had a bad day because you didn't come at the right time. Come back in 2 weeks when Spring Break is over," and that guest will never step foot in the park again.

 

I think flash pass users should be able to sit in any row they want, if I used one on Goliath and they said "Oh, you can only sit in the front" it'd be completely useless to me. There's no reason to have a designated area where they have guests sit, just let them merge with the regular line right at the loading gates so they can skip the majority of the line, and sit wherever they want.

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Yes, the flashpass system shunts you the front row I believe. I personally agree as well that Superman is boring and a waste of time minus the cool parts with the helix. Honestly, the ries is very drawn out. It is fun and very smooth but is basically just a giant family looping floorless. I have been on much much better rides. SFFT I am not impressed with at all.

 

--David

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I don't think a Saturday during Spring break is any excuse for a park to have a bad day. If anything, the day should be better because they should be prepared for the amount of guests and capacity that will be coming in the park.

 

Tell an average guest "Oh, its your fault you had a bad day because you didn't come at the right time. Come back in 2 weeks when Spring Break is over," and that guest will never step foot in the park again.

So then why do we always suggest to our members to avoid going to major parks on a Saturday?

 

By process of elimiation there is going to be a "best time" and a "worst time" to go to just about anything where the public is involved.

 

For example, a major motion picture. Do you want to go on opening night and have to wait hours and risk not getting a good seat, or do you go on a dead Wednesday at 11am when all the kiddies are in school or people are at work?

 

You go to a popular restaurant at 5:30pm on a Saturday to wait an hour and a half for a table or go on Tuesday at 8:30 and get right in.

 

I mean, even when I get my hair cut, I know not to go at 6:00pm in the evening when everyone else is getting off work. I go either right when the store opens or right before they close.

 

I agree that just because it's a busy Saturday is not an "excuse" but I think my level of expectation would be different from going on a busy seasonal Saturday versus a mid-week day.

 

--Robb

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Meh, I'm split on the subject. If I want to ride B:TR in the front, but some FP people come, I'm sure they get to go ahead of you, and last time I was in SFGADv, I saw alot of people getting pissed that I got to cut infron of them, let alone go ahead on the ride. Personaly I'm not forking out 30 bucks to ride in the front unless it's at a new park. That too and I don't usally ride in the fron anyways!

 

I don't think Six Flags is expecting customers to buy the Flash Pass solely for the front row. It seems to be just an added incentive. Any word on if they are even advertising "Ride in the front on Goliath with the Flash Pass!" or if it's just from word of mouth. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out.

 

I think it's going to be both ideas. Usually the front line row is the longest line for roller coasters. Maybe, they feel that for the people that ride front row usually can't now, and thus they have to buy the flash pass to ride front. Technically, they say that you can ride in the front row as long as their are no people. How many time are there going to be no people for a new ride, and now front row seating? Who knows?

 

I don't really care either way because I don't care for the front row. It's because I don't care for all that wind in your face. However, I do want to ride front row for Invertigo to see it works on the towers. Other than that, forget it for me.

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I don't agree with this at all. From what I understand, guests in the regular line can't even wait for the front if they want. If they get to the turnstile and FP users are already in the front row, they have to go to another assigned row. In my mind they'll selling the front seat and that's not right. The proper way to do it is to merge the 2 groups before the station so that everyone has an equal chance to getting the front seat if that's what they want.

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^Your right. Closing off the front of the line to regular guests shouldn't happen. Even if its the back row I don't find that acceptable, everyone should be able to sit where they want. Merging the lines at the loading gates, IMO, is the best way to do it.

 

I agree that just because it's a busy Saturday is not an "excuse" but I think my level of expectation would be different from going on a busy seasonal Saturday versus a mid-week day.

 

Exactly. That's YOUR level of expectation.

 

A family of guests making their "once a year trip" to the park don't care if it's Saturday, or Monday, or if Robb Alvey suggets to avoid parks on certain days. They are paying to get in, operations need to be up to par.

 

It being a busy day is a completely different topic. People going to parks on Saturdays know it's going to be busy. If a line has 20 people in it for a soda, and a guest gets through it in 10 minutes, they've got nothing to complain about.

 

But when a line has 20 people in it and you can tell the park is understaffed and not prepared for such crowds and the line takes a half hour, or 45 minutes, that's not the guests fault for picking a busy day to go to the park.

 

That's the parks fault for not preparing adequately for a Saturday during Spring Break when even they know its going to be busy. What it comes down to is just plain, lousy customer service, and it leaves a bad taste in the guests mouth.

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