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What do you think of Fast Passes?


Do you like and use Fast Passes at theme Parks?  

144 members have voted

  1. 1. Do you like and use Fast Passes at theme Parks?

    • Yes, I like them and I use them often
      82
    • I think it is cool that parks offer something like that, but I don't use them
      29
    • I use them but I don't really like the concept
      17
    • I don't like them
      16


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I've only used them three times. Back in 2001 at the Disney World parks (which were of course free), and at Six Flags Great Adventure (good thing too, as we just got finished riding the coasters when the downpour came around 6 PM) and Cedar Point. I've never been angered at people using them except at Six Flags Great America where they would wait for more fast passers to come through at some of the rides, even if the stations were next to empty... they'd just cut the main line off.

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I have no problem with any type of skip the line system provided it meets the following three criteria:

 

1. The system has minimal effect on those who choose not to use it.

2. The system is reasonably priced for the benefit that it offers.

3. The system offers the same riding preferences afforded to regular guests.

 

In my opinion, the Q-bot system is the best of the modern skip the line passes as it best meets all three of these criteria. Most parks I've visited do a good job of merging guests in with the regular line and I haven't noticed a significant impact when waiting in regular lines at these parks. The Six Flags Flash Pass is not cheap, but it isn't extremely expensive, and the Dollywood Q2Q system (which uses Q-bots as well) is the cheapest I've seen anywhere. As for other systems, Disney's Fastpass is great, as it is similar to a free version of Q-bots (though with a few additional limitations), and Fast Lane, though being the most expensive, also has the largest benefits in most situations. I've also used Quick Queue at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, which was good for the price but did limit your seating choices, as well as the Go Fast Pass at Great Escape (similar to unlimited Quick Queue) and Hersheypark's Fast Track, which is easily the worst system I've tried for a variety of reasons (expensive, limited ride selection and return time, no seating choice, etc.)

 

The question of whether or not I'll get a skip the line pass depends on several factors, the most important of which are crowd level and visit frequency. I would never buy a pass at one of my local parks unless I was visiting with someone who had never been and likely wouldn't be visiting again. I would also never buy a pass at an out of state park if the crowds were manageable and I could do everything I was interested in without one. Most of the times that I've used one have been on TPR trips where they are included. However, when visiting a major park on a crowded day that I won't likely return to for several years, I definitely like having the option of purchasing a skip the line pass and would do so if I felt it was necessary to enjoy the park.

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When it comes to drawing a line between rich & poor, that's a load of nonsense IMO. If there are things in your life that you "can't" buy because of your income or social standing, going to a theme park probably isn't the best way to spend your money period. It isn't the park's fault that your income is seemingly too low to buy anything beyond admission to the park. If your day is going to be somehow ruined because you don't have the funds to buy all that you want beyond admission, be it souvenirs, food, or the paid front-of-line passes, either keep saving your money until you can or don't go. Anyone who would spend the money taking themselves & their family to a park only to turn around and blame that park about rich people having a better time because they can pay for extras is completely nuts, and not someone I would ever want to go to a park with.

 

There are so many ways to save money when going to theme parks that even "rich" people should do because otherwise they're wasting money. This would include including not staying at the $500/night hotel when the $100 or less/night hotel nearby is just fine, bringing outside food/snacks instead of paying $18 for a cheeseburger/fries inside the park (depending on park rules), researching the best legitimate means to purchase discount admission, going on less crowded days so the upcharge front-of-the-line pass has little to no value, finding the best cost/value ratio amongst available souvenirs (i.e. buying an $8 pin that lasts forever instead of a $20 plushie that the dog eats or a $25 t-shirt that kid outgrows), etc. This is how financially responsible people of any income level can visit parks, have a great time, and minimize the financial impact the day(s) at the park will have.

 

Don't blame the park for dangling all the upcharges in your face. The park exists to make money. Those upcharge options do exactly that. The park is not forcing guests to buy them, or a guest's day will be somehow ruined. They're optional conveniences that are 100% OUR CHOICE whether to buy them or not. That same choice-making goes all the way down to exactly what day a guest decided to visit the park on. Didn't know that summer Saturday was going to be really busy? That's already showing an alarming level of ignorance about the place you're about to blow a ton of money visiting. Be as knowledgeable as possible about the park you're about to visit and you'll be able to make the best choices possible money-wise. In this age of information, there really is no excuse other than laziness to not do that.

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I've only used them three times. Back in 2001 at the Disney World parks (which were of course free) . . .

 

Nit-picky point: Disney's Fast Pass is not "free." It's part of your admission.

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I have no issues with Fast pass at all. I don't see why buying a fast pass to skip the line is any worse than buying a first class plane ticket or getting a deluxe suite hotel room and being treated much better than people in coach or a normal room. I'm against real serious cuts between the classes, and there are real examples of class warfare that need to be discussed (just not on TPR). But we don't have to strip every single perk or luxury. If you have a lot of money, there's no reason you shouldn't be able to spend your money on a fancy room, better treatment on a plane, or skipping the line in a theme park (it's not even that expensive).

 

As far as how often I use Fast pass, it depends. On the one hand, I'm impatient and do not like to waste my time in line. On the other hand, I'm cheap and try and avoid spending a lot of money when I go to a park. I mostly use Fast Pass when I'm on a TPR trip and it's included. Other than that, I've only gotten a Fast Pass one other time when visiting SFOT because I live in So Cal and don't get to visit that park often. Combine that with the fact that it was extremely crowded and SFOT has HORRIBLE operations and getting that Gold Flash Pass was worth every single penny I paid. So it depends on the situation and the park for me.

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I love them and have no issues with them. I think they are the best way to actually experience a park that you have only one or two days to visit. Case in point: last summer my family was insistant that we go to Kings Island as I was leaving the country for a couple years and I insisted that we get Fast Lane. We only had one day and my little brother had just reached 54" inches and this would be his first time there so I wanted him to have a good time as the only day that was goingt work all of us was a Saturday at the beginning of August. So I paid for all four Fast Lanes (Mom exculded as she doesnt ride as much). Granted I dont pay for much but Im still on the line where if I was to pay for most of it, I wouldnt have been going. After we got home, Mom said repeatedly that that day was the best time she had at a theme park in a while and she said I was right in insisting on the Fast Lane.

 

I just think that some people just dont want to have ... fun (for the lack of a better word). They see something they dont really like and they get all up in arms about it. I've been on the recieving end of being in a long line for a coaster and watching people with skip the line passes get right on. I just took it as a lesson to either go at a time when the lines arnt massive or (if I have to go when I know that the lines are going to be massive) I budget for the pass. If I have to wait another month or two for this then I will. For example, Im in Japan for the first time this entire summer and Im budgeting to go on one long park expedition and I have passes to all the major parks that Im going to already in the budget. From what I am saving and what I need to go on the trip, I cant go till middle to late July as the skip the line passes for Universal, Fuji-Q, etc. put me over the budget for June. So I wait.

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I've only used them three times. Back in 2001 at the Disney World parks (which were of course free) . . .

 

Nit-picky point: Disney's Fast Pass is not "free." It's part of your admission.

 

but EVERYONE who enters the park gets the same option to use it.

 

there's no upcharge for it. In terms of the conversation here, I'd say that pretty much would qualify it as "free"

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I've only used them three times. Back in 2001 at the Disney World parks (which were of course free) . . .

 

Nit-picky point: Disney's Fast Pass is not "free." It's part of your admission.

 

but EVERYONE who enters the park gets the same option to use it.

 

there's no upcharge for it. In terms of the conversation here, I'd say that pretty much would qualify it as "free"

 

I have no illusions that anything at a park is "free," be it Fast Pass at Disney or Pepsi at Holiday World.

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I am all for Fast Passes. Sometimes, especially when traveling, you have a specific period of time to be in the park. It's a great way of doubling down financially to ensure you enjoy every attraction. Yeah, nobody likes it when a rich local twit buys one just to 'skip the line,' but I feel this happens much less often than travelers just trying to make sure they enjoy the park that they traveled thousands of miles to get to.

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I'm tire of people complaining about the rich only able to buy fast pass. It's a choice. I don't make tons of money but if I'm going to a certain park, I'll save until I have the money for fast pass. It hardly affects the regular lines.

It's a choice not a class barrier.

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I've only used them three times. Back in 2001 at the Disney World parks (which were of course free) . . .

 

Nit-picky point: Disney's Fast Pass is not "free." It's part of your admission.

 

It was free for me! I was 16 and my parents paid for my ticket.

 

Wasn't free for your parents, though.

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Well, there really was no good option in the poll to express the way I feel about fast passes, so I will have to explain. My thoughts on them are that, assuming certain conditions are met, I really could care less whether or not parks sell them or how much they charge.

 

The main problem I've experience with fast passes (glad someone else noticed this about SF Great America) is that if the park doesn't run the operation properly, things can turn into a nightmare for non-fast pass guests (which are the vast majority of a park's guests in a given day). My friend and I went to SFGA three summers ago, and it was a total disaster for most of the guests in the park. Instead of slowly "feeding" fast pass users into the main line, they would just shut down the main lines for several minutes and wait for the fast pass lane to fill up before letting those people thru. This in turn created 1.5 hour lines for rides that probably would have only been maybe an hour or so long (or even less) without such a fustercluck system they had in place (no idea if they still do this, but I can tell you it's unlikely I'm going to find out, as a certain place will have to ice over before I go back to that park all due to that rotten experience). It's one thing to have a crowded park and know you will be waiting in a line (which happens and is usually understandable); but it's a whole different story when the lines you are in are grossly exacerbated by poor park fast pass polices.

 

As for the rich vs poor thing, I don't think that the hotel room or airline seat analogy is that good of a comparison to what is going on with fast passes (whether you like them or not). If I fly coach I can compensate (to a large degree) for what I won't get in first class. I can pack a lunch and only have to purchase a bottle of water on the plane to take care of food and drink, and I can bring a tablet, music player, laptop, etc, to entertain myself with, and I can choose a certain seat or part of the plane to make my trip more comfortable (assuming the airline allows that). And most importantly, I will arrive at the same destination at exactly the same time as the person in business or first class and pay half or less of what they paid for the trip. And if I choose to sit in the "nosebleed" section at a concert or sporting event, I can bring a pair of binoculars to compensate for sitting further away from the action, so I can see just as well as the person who is within spitting distance from the stage. But with something like a fast pass, there really is no way (other than perhaps planning two days at the park rather than one, and then that defeats the purpose because you are still spending extra money) to compensate (well, you could also be a really fast runner when the chain drops!).

Though as I said, I am used to waiting in lines at parks and it really doesn't bother me much (well, anything over 34 or 40 minutes starts to get really old, especially depending on what ride you are waiting for), and as long as I don't feel that the line I'm in is being made a whole lot longer by fast pass users, I'm OK with it.

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I love the damn things. The only thing I love more are single rider lines. Most of the parks I visit I have one day and I will have traveled a long way to be there. It doesn't make any sense for me to spend a lot of money on air travel and hotels just to miss out on attractions and have to stand around bored for hours.

 

So in that sense, all the parks I've visited so far where I have bought one have been a long distance away, I probably won't ever go back to or there's no way to do everything I want to do without one. I'm so glad they have that option, otherwise I feel like a lot of the places I went on my last 6 week trip would have been tiring and I wouldn't have gotten everything done.

 

Some of the bigger Six Flags (Great Adventure, Great America and Magic Mountain) annoy me a little because it is essential that you buy one to get everything done in a day, but then look at the number of coasters in those parks! If you are an enthusiast on your first visit why wouldn't you want to get everything done without wasting 3 days of your time waiting in line? Vacation time is precious and sometimes it is more financially viable to spend less time in a park but buy an add-on like Flash Pass to get everything done. It's not a "rich person" thing. It's often more expensive to pay for a hotel, tickets, food etc for an extra night, than it is to buy a Flash Pass/fast pass.

 

I do not understand people who complain about it so much. Some people act as if you're taking something away from someone else when buying them. Where is the logic in that?

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^ Single Rider queues are the best of all worlds, it's a crime they aren't utilized at more parks. Shorter lines for riders, no effect on standby queues, happier guests for the park, full trains leaving the station. LOVE em.

 

I love the electronic ones such as the Q-Bot and Disney systems, cause they automatically spread out the people so that there is minimal effect on the standby users, and you don't actually have to stand in line while waiting which is the best part. I used Fast Lane at Cedar Point, and while it was still an advantage, I found it to be less of one there, particularly on rides like Maverick because depending on where the FL line merged with the regular line, you could still be standing there for 45 minutes on a not-too-busy day.

 

Like a couple other people have said I never buy FL/FP at my home parks SFDK and CGA..I go there often enough that if something is busy I just skip it and get it later or if the whole park is busy I just leave and come back later (granted that's a luxury afforded a SP holder than the GP might not have).

 

SFMM is a kind of "semi-home park" for me since its about a 6 hour drive but its still doable and I usually go at least a couple times a year. At SFMM I almost always buy FastPass, as I can't be quite as choosy about what days I go, so sometimes I have no choice but to go on a busy day. Last year my friends wanted to go to SFMM with me but they only day they could go was Saturday of Labor Day weekend..ugh. Boy did FP save our butts that day.

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In the past, I was one of the people against the idea of them...then I went on a TPR tour and got one for Canada's Wonderland. That was a godsend! I would have NEVER been able to ride everything in that park if it weren't for FastLane. I've been a convert ever since.

 

Nowadays, I will only buy them if I know it's going to be crowded the day I'm visiting. I don't like to buy them ahead of time anymore after being screwed by a rain day at SFOG in 2013. I always do the research to see the price and the ride list, and I'll always keep the idea of buying one on the table.

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I love fast passes. When I travel, it's to a place that I'm not likely to get back to any time soon. So, a fast pass is a godsend. It allows me to get in all the rides without really having to worry or be too stressed about planning my day. They are absolutely worth the money.

 

Now that being said, I won't buy a fast pass at my home park or somewhere I go often. That just doesn't make sense.

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Co-sign on the "rich person" thing. I don't get offended by much, but it's offensive to assume that about someone, imo.

 

I certainly don't have to defend myself to this board, but I was raised in a middle class/working class household, I live in Center City Philly (not cheap) because of my jobs, and currently have a rent payment AND a mortgage AND bills AND loans I'm paying off as the missus and I just bought and are rehabbing our first home. We're also in the early stages of planning a wedding.

 

To do all of that I have to work two jobs (THREE if you count the small amount of money I make DJing). I buy a season pass so that I don't have to pay each time I go to the park. I'll skimp on doing other things I like to do like taking the missus out to dinner and a movie, or I'll pack lunches instead of ordering or stopping for fast food or whatever. I budget my money so that when a friend calls and offers to go up to the park with me, I have some extra money so its not a waste of a day off standing in line.

 

Because I don't drive, I'm usually at the closest park/my home park, and when I go its on a much needed day off. My point is I hustle to earn a living and its my right to spend that hard earned income on the leisure activity of my choice, which is going to parks. I'll get a FP anytime the line is longer than I feel like waiting (30 minutes seems to be my threshold), but I am far from rich.

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I love them!

 

I don't purchase them before my visit as I try to plan on days that aren't busy. If it is busy however, my ass will be running to the fastpass kiosk .

 

The only time it ever bothered me (not to have one) was at Halloween Horror Nights. I just could not budget for three of them for my family as they are really fairly expensive and I just didn't have the funds. I wasn't irritated with the park, but more with myself - but those lines were pretty brutal.

 

Oh well though, lesson learned. Next year - there will be passes.

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I personally like fast passes but don't ever get as I see little value in them. For me and my dad we always hustle at parks with little breaks between rides and get to park typically 45min before opening which ends up saving hours. Pretty much as long as you can get ahead and stay ahead of the crowds and try to go on less crowded days you can act like a human fast pass saving a lot of money. The one time I've ever used a fast pass was at SFMM this summer and I thought it was nice since I was with people new to the park , but if I wasn't with them I probably would've gotten on more rides running like a wild man than with a fast pass. Simple thing is if your really good at hustling at parks and are good at navigating fast passes serve little to no value. Coupling that with single rider lines you're actually faster than someone using a fast pass about 75% of the time

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I used to be part of the crowd that really disliked them, but after buying one for the first time a couple of years ago, it's really spoilt me to the point where I can't really queue for rides anymore.

 

Personally I buy them nearly every time I go to a park, mainly because I don't go to parks that often, and when I do go I want to make the most of it by getting as many rides in as I can. It also doesn't help that when I get time off work to go somewhere, it's usually when other people have time off to go out too (easter/weekends/etc).

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I usually don't end up buying them because I try to go on days that aren't crowded and try to always arrive early. I've found that if you are at a park when it opens you can usually ride most of the major attractions within the first hour and a half before the crowds get there. Especially with the Halloween events, you can usually get through the majority of the houses in the first couple of hours before it gets really crowded if you are there when they open the gates. Horror Nights used to offer a ticket option where you could get into the Studios park around like 4pm then stay in the park in a gated off section and wait for the Horror Nights event to open. I did that for a few years and was able to ride most of the major rides in the studios before the park closed, then get through 4 or 5 houses while the waits were still short.

 

With that being said if a park is crowded or it's a new park and I only have one day and I want to be sure I can ride everything I absolutely buy one. And I think it's great that most parks are starting to offer the service even if it is for an additional (sometimes excessive) charge.

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