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Are upcharge passes really worth it?


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Fast Lane, Flash Pass, Fastpass, Express Pass. They go by so many different names, but they all work the same. Pay an extra fee on top of park admission, sometimes nearly as much as $50 or more, and skip the lines. It seems every park and chain has one of these plans nowadays. Are these really worth it to pay an extra $50 bucks on top of nearly $100? I guess if you visit during peak season it would make sense, but then I never do. What about anyone else?

Edited by WestCoasterKing
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We got our FastPassPLUS tickets about three months before we got to Cedar Point. We got them for the Saturday, the day after CoasterMania! They cost us $95 each. The time we saved on a few coasters and a few flats as well.... I would buy it again, easily. It made it easier not having to run and get there an hour early, like the Hotel gives us. And we had ridden so much the day before, it was really easy to slow down...just a bit. And discover other parts of the park, we might have missed, if we'd kept going for just the coasters and flats and nothing else. Except food, lol.

 

I think it depends on the park you're getting it for. And the time of year, etc.

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Fast Lane, Flash Pass, Fastpass, Express Pass. They go by so many different names, but they all work the same. Pay an extra fee on top of park admission, sometimes nearly as much as $50 or more. It seems every park and chain has one of these plans nowadays. Are these really worth it to pay an extra $50 bucks on top of nearly $100? I guess if you visit during peak season it would make sense, but then I never do. What about anyone else?

 

I mean if you're on a time crunch and you're visiting a park you never have, and don't know when you'll be back in the area, I would say they're a must. I drove to D.C to visit family last year, and got a good deal on a fast lane + and single ticket combo for Kings Dominon, while the park wasn't slammed it did get me multiple rides on Volcano, which is low capacity, and while I didn't really need it for most of the other rides, it did give me more rerides than I would have gotten had I waited in the 10-15 min stand by lines. Now, if I'm going to one of my local parks ( Dollywood, SFOG) then I know not to go at peak times unless unavoidable, and those will be the only instances I would get a flash pass in though situations.

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Depends on the time and the park. For example, every time I go to Canada's Wonderland, you never need a Fast Pass as most things are walk-on.

 

But I went to Six Flags Magic Mountain over the march break, it was impossible to enjoy the park without flash pass. There were 6+ rides that were over a 2 hour wait and it was sunny and hot outside. In that case, we had to spend 115 USD on the Platinum Flash Pass each (2 people) plus 15$ each for X2, easily bringing it to over 200 USD including the tickets, but it was 100% worth it. We were only there one day and we live across the country so in that case yes, the upcharge pass was not only worth it, but necessary.

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Back in 2015, my family and I spent one day at both Universal Orlando parks. I had not gone to either parks since 2005, and I still have yet to make a return trip since the last. The extra $$ we spent that day on getting the Express lane that gets us priority waits once per ride was absolutely worth it. We would not have gotten on the rides we wanted to if we stood in the stand-by line all the time. We opted to skip some rides in favor of re-rides on some favorites too (rode both Mummy and RRR twice).

 

I think beenagins87 said it best already:

I mean if you're on a time crunch and you're visiting a park you never have, and don't know when you'll be back in the area, I would say they're a must.

 

For a park I regularly visit even more than once a year, I can't quite find the reason to pay extra. I go to Kings Island at least twice in a year, once in the summer and once in the Fall. Fall time on a Sunday, I know I'll get plenty of rides in on the coasters I want, so it justifies me not needing their FastLane+ when I visit in the summer and wait in line patiently.

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As others have said, I don't get skip the line passes at my local parks. I know the days to avoid and even if it's crowded, I know I can ride things another day.

 

However, if I only have one day at a park I rarely visit, I splurge for the skip the line pass. I did it at Carowinds last year. 90% of the rides were walk-ons, but the price alone was worth it since the ride I cared about (Fury) had a long line and I could ride it at will.

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I do even for my local parks. I don't buy season passes anymore as I don't frequent my local parks like I used to and I don't spend full days in parks anymore so in order to cram in as much as I want in the limited time I'm in a park I opt for the fast pass to get through my day. At Cedar Point it's worth it for Maverick alone. As much as I absolutely love that ride the wait for it seems to take forever.

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Speaking of upcharges, as most of you know whenever we visit Cedar Point we buy a VIP Tour. . . And this year we are doing a VIP Tour at Dollywood. Next year we are doing one at SFMM. So to ask if an upcharge is worth it, I would say yes. Then again, I can't stand wait more than 2 minutes for anything.

 

If we aren't doing a VIP Tour then we ALWAYS buy the top tier line skip program that the park offers, even if it's a park we frequent.

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For me they are worth every penny. Total time saver because I can get in two to three times more rides in a single visit. It is like going to the park an extra day or more yet only physically being there one day. I have never done it at my home park of VF because I can go anytime, know the slow times to visit and have been on all the rides hundreds of times so it is not worth it to me for that. But when visiting other parks I usually do. It saves me the time and money of visiting another day. It is pretty simple, if you don't think it is worth it then don't buy one. If you do think it is worth it, buy one and enjoy all the convenience of short waiting times. If you think that others who purchase Fast Passes ruin your experience at the park then quit going. Just please stop complaining about them, they are here to stay.

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As many have said, if you're going to a new park on what you know is going to be a busy weekend, then buy the passes in advance or once you get in the gate.

 

If you don't mind waiting in long lines, then don't buy one.

 

Or go when you know the lines won't be long (IE: when schools are still in session, or days where rain showers might be in the forecast).

 

And the biggest rule...don't complain about skip the line passes just because you can't afford them. Budget for it well in advance, or simply don't go to the parks on busy days.

 

It's really that simple.

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as others have said, it really depends on the park.

 

when my Husband and I travel, we *never* buy fastlane/fastpass etc. . . but we always budget 2-3 days for parks we really want to spend time in, so take it very leisurely.

 

of course, we also consider waiting in lines part of the experience and use that time to slow down, enjoy people watching and chatting.

 

We're not "multiple re-rides in the same day" people either, so for most things, we ride it once, then move on to next thing, and if we liked it, we'll go back later (or on a different day) for additional rides. For example: we spent 3 days at BGT and got multiple rides on Cheetah Hunt over those 3 days, (most often two rides per day, once in morning once at night) but never bought a fast pass, or similar, instead we just waited in the lines and took our time.

 

even at a park we only spent one day in: Seaworld Orlando, we didn't get Fastpass, but managed to get on everything except for Journey to Atlantis (a sad miss), but we were absolutely ready to get into the hour+ wait, and we were actually headed to that line when everything went down for storms and after 2 hours (and it was obvious nothing was coming back up) we just gave up and left.

 

so yeah. . for ME? I tend not to buy.

 

as Bill said, we did FastLane+ at CP a few Saturdays ago. Would I have bought it if I were there with my Hubby?

no, likely not, ESPECIALLY since we were there the day before and it was so dead we got on everything, and we were going to be there the Monday after as well.

 

So did it help cut the lines and we got to ride things much quicker on that Saturday? absolutely. And if we were only going to be there one day, then yeah, I'd buy it again. But since we were doing multiple days, if I had been with spouse, we woudln't have gotten it and would have spent Sat riding mostly flats, and things with not long lines, and maybe waited in a couple of long coaster lines as breaks. . then would have gone back on Monday for re-rides.

 

it's really up to the individual. .but as a standard, we do not buy them.

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My friend and I did Kings Island the day after Coastermania.

It was a Saturday so we knew it would be busy. It was PACKED.

We both bought the FastLane Plus (I think around $83) and would do so again in a heartbeat.

We rode everything we NO wait in line, and we even got 2 rides on Mystic Timbers while everyone else was waiting in a 120+ minute wait.

 

SInce I am only at the park once every few years, it was totally worth the $$. The time you save is value enough.

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I think that they are worth it to a degree. In the UK we have one shot passes for a single ride, value packages for 4-5 rides and then the unlimited ones. The thing is the one shots are way too cheap and are oversold (£5 for most coasters but Smiler and Galactica are £10 which is daylight robbery imo, I think £8 would be better for everything) and so on the only days busy enough to be worth buying an unlimited fast track with 60+ minute queues, the unlimited pass which is £85 at Thorpe Park and £95 at Alton Towers. This is due to the 10-20 minute fast track queues which really just end up making an unlimited pass completely useless especially with a ride on all the major coasters once at Thorpe Park being £40 and £35 at Alton Towers which means you could just get say these twice and then queue up for everything else and get pretty similar value for a bit less. I think its worth it more at Alton Towers where fastrack is less used but to counter this theres long walks between rides so that reduces the value I guess.

 

I will never buy a fast track at a UK park but with deals like at PortAventura where its like 40 euro for unlimited for a week its hard to say no. Foreign parks I would consider it but probably not full packages just 1 or 2 major rides with huge queues. I tend to just visit at less busy periods.

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Depends generally on price, ride selection, function (not every pass works the same) and the crowd level in the park I'm going to. If I don't think I can enjoy the park without it, I go for it. I'm growing less and less patient of long lines especially when I go to parks alone and want to ride as many rides as much as possible.

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Depends generally on price, ride selection, function (not every pass works the same) and the crowd level in the park I'm going to. If I don't think I can enjoy the park without it, I go for it. I'm growing less and less patient of long lines especially when I go to parks alone and want to ride as many rides as much as possible.

 

To add to cookiex: it also depends on the weather, how often you visit a park, the company you are with, the time you have to spend in the park, and the sense of value you place on your recreational budget.

Edited by larrygator
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I have never regretted buying a fast pass, even at times when they weren't strictly necessary. Case in point, a few weeks ago at Dollywood on a Tuesday. We skipped 20 minute lines on FireChaser Express and Mystery Mine over and over. That isn't a terrible line, and I'd gladly wait in that for such an awesome ride. But the fact that we had 10 skips meant that we eliminated 200 minutes worth of lines that day--effectively lengthening the operating day by over 3 hours! If staying 3 hours past closing is appealing to you, then the Time Saver Pass is appealing to you. It's expensive to plan theme park trips, I get that. But if a park has an effective fast pass system, then it's worth buying it.

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I've made my (unpopular) opinion on these things well known in the past, so I think I'll just keep my 2 cents to myself this time around!

No no I wanna hear it.

 

WTF? His opinion is clearly that it is not worth it. He already told you that without actually writing it.

Edited by larrygator
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I've made my (unpopular) opinion on these things well known in the past, so I think I'll just keep my 2 cents to myself this time around!

No no I wanna hear it.

 

WTF? His opinion is clearly that it is not worth it. He already told you that without actually writing it.

 

 

FWIW, I do think that the question is purely subjective, as whether it's worth it is going to be based on each individual's personal situation, and preference. So, I think it's kind of hard for one person to tell another person whether or not it's "worth it", across the board. My unpopular opinion has more to do with the concept in general, and that's what I'm just keeping to myself!

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It probably depends on your disposable income.

 

that's not true *at all*

 

if one thinks the pass is worth it, then you SAVE to afford it and budget it in.

 

it has nothing at all to do with "disposable" income and everything to do with whether or not one thinks it's worth it.

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it really doesn't have anything to do with how much money you have.

 

I'd recommend checking out this thread from the "Ask Alvey" forum:

 

http://www.themeparkreview.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=27861

 

 

if you think it's worth it, one finds a way to make it happen. period. it's all about budgeting.

 

 

Edited to add: and keep in mind, I've already responded that I personally never buy them (two weeks ago excepted, and Bill bought them because I said i'd do whatever he wanted for our CP trip)

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