New Steel Vengeance Locker System for 2021

Tuesday, June 1, 2021 12:50 AM

I realize there are bigger problems in the world, but does anyone else (I’m particularly asking Fast Lane users) dislike SV’s new queue setup?

My opening day FL experience was decent: I merged into the pre-locker tunnel, which wasn’t very full. After putting my phone in a locker, I was sent to the left FL staircase, which was mostly empty. I didn’t time it, but I felt like I got on the ride pretty quickly.

Today, however, the merged tunnel was much more full, and I was sent to a jam packed right standby staircase, which I realized is significantly longer (in distance) than the left one!

I waited a full 45 minutes to ride, 30 after the merge point. That’s without using the lockers, since I stored my phone prior to riding.

The party in front of me in the pre-locker tunnel was sent to the left staircase, and they got on the ride almost 10 minutes before me. (They even took time to use the lockers.) I thought maybe I was being too sensitive, but I overheard a non-FL party behind me in the right staircase complaining about the same thing.

There also seemed to be more guest confusion today leading up to the lockers. Some guests thought they needed to “cut” the merged line to get to the lockers and then double back. Some large parties didn’t understand why employees were forcing the entire party to go to the lockers, rather than just one person.

Finally, and I’m not sure what caused this, but the FL line today was barely shorter than the standby line for my first ride, and exactly equal with the standby line for my second ride.

The end result is a quick FL ride on SV seems to be a thing of the past. The merge point is now so far back from the station, it’s hard to see how the FL line will ever be less than ~30 minutes. That’s not too impactful on very crowded days, but on uncrowded days, or at times with few FL users, the FL value for this ride has diminished significantly.

TL;DR: My main suggestion at this point is to fill less of the merged tunnel before the lockers and/or use one staircase only (for everyone). I realize the park wants to ensure a constant flow of guests to the station, but I think the park can accomplish that by frequently sending small groups of riders to the lockers from the merge point, thereby still providing a meaningful FL experience.

I’m sorry for my rant! I really do appreciate the park finding a way to allow guests to keep their phones in line without compromising safety or the ride’s capacity. I just wish it didn’t come at the expense of FL users. Lol

Last edited by Top Thrill 182, Tuesday, June 1, 2021 1:16 AM

Thrills Around the Corner!

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Tuesday, June 1, 2021 8:09 AM
BlueGemini's avatar

First time riding SV this summer and only complaint I had was the announcement. Could not hear them! They need to install some speaker in lieu of using that little hand held portable speaker!

Other than that it was pretty flawless. Great idea, they need to implement the free locker system to all rides. Or offer season pass members a season long locker option, much like the drink plans.

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Tuesday, June 1, 2021 9:24 AM

I don't like the Fastlane setup either. When I was there the park wasn't that crowded so we by-passed no more then 10 minutes of the regular line. Apart from that, it's a logistical mess.

I think they should just route the FL straight to the lockers and then up the stairs to the left only. Not only would that improve the experience for FL users but it would significantly reduce the congestion where everyone from the "merge tunnel" has to double-back to the lockers and then back to the line.

Last edited by Scott Cameron, Tuesday, June 1, 2021 9:25 AM
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Tuesday, June 1, 2021 7:42 PM
DRE420's avatar

My FL experience this past Sunday differed from my first visit opening weekend. On that first Sunday, the FL line merged with the regular queue before the tunnel and then split again after the lockers with the FL line utilizing the left side staircase as before. This past Sunday was the same except they have now eliminated the left staircase for FL only and send the majority of the people who need lockers up those stairs instead. It ended up adding 35 to 40 mins additional to my wait compared to opening weekend adding only about 15 mins more to the wait. It would be nice for a future tweak for those who don't need the free locker (which is great imo, just placed in the wrong spot).

Last edited by DRE420, Tuesday, June 1, 2021 7:44 PM
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Tuesday, June 1, 2021 8:42 PM

I think there's a series of problems that sort of all combine to make the situation irritable for all involved, but to me, it's more to do with Fastlane itself rather than the lockers. 1.) Fastlane Plus is too oversold at Cedar Point. All season Fastlane Plus is a bad idea because they can't control how many of those people show up on a given day and often times the busiest days are probably when most of them show up which happen to also be when they sell the most single day Fastlane Plus. 2.) They allow unlimited rides on the same ride. 3.) The Fastlane Plus demand for Steel Vengeance and Maverick seems to far exceed the demand at any other ride. 4.) The capacity of these two rides in particular is not very good to begin with.

In the case of Maverick and Steel Vengeance, they're dedicating 50% of the ride's capacity to Fastlane Plus and these people are still waiting quite a while before they can merge in. The standby line is also moving twice as slow as it would without Fastlane Plus. I don't find the setup with the lockers to be unreasonable. It should be about a 20-30 minute wait through the tunnel. Fastlane promises "less waiting," not "no waiting." The problem is there's hundreds more Fastlane Plus people waiting to merge before the tunnel. A Fastlane Plus line of nothing last year would be 20 minutes this year. 30 minutes last year might be 50 this year. Splitting or not splitting again after the tunnel is not going to make a big difference. It should be about 50-50 either way. Half to the left, half to the right. Fastpass to the left, everyone else to the right. Front of the train to the right, back of the train to the left. It shouldn't matter much as long as they send half the people one way and half the people the other way. Opening weekend, it seemed like every train had an empty row or two because they were trying so hard to keep things equal and sort of overthinking things so much so that they weren't filling up all the rows by the time the gates opened.

My opinion is they ought to cater more to the people buying Fastlane once or twice a summer that probably travel from distance and probably stay in their hotels (bread and butter high value customers), and not to the power riders who buy all season Fastlane, live within an hour, and go 7 days a week to eat a meal plan meal and power ride the same ride over and over. Maybe Fastlane should allow one ride on each of the major attractions or possibly have it so you need to wait x amount of time in between rides on the same ride or possibly that you have to ride something else in between. The demand for the top two dogs is just too much compared to the other rides. Another thought is the price is just too low and it's not "exclusive" enough. Look at the pricing on Universal Orlando's Express offerings during June or July. It's about double the cost of Fastlane Plus. I wouldn't pay it, but as a regular guest there I don't remember ever feeling like the line was moving much slower than it should be due to their pay to cut scheme.

I guess from a financial perspective, it's a good problem to have because lots of Fastlanes are getting sold, but from a guest satisfaction standpoint, both the purchasers and the non-purchasers are unhappy with what's going on at those two rides (and maybe Dragster to a lesser degree). I'd really love to know if they've thought through the math from a management/customer satisfaction perspective when they came up with the program. It's simple, it makes money, but I think they could do better in striking a balance. Whether it's a higher price point or a tweaked offering, I'm not sure, but I don't think it's optimal now.

Last edited by MDOmnis, Tuesday, June 1, 2021 8:48 PM

-Matt

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Tuesday, June 1, 2021 8:57 PM
DRE420's avatar

Hmm, from my experience both times this season, they have consistently let an even number of both regular queue and FL queue in at the split, toggling between the two lines every 2 to 4 people. Maverick and TTD are the only two rides at the park where they dedicate a while train to FL customers, and that's simply because it works better with the dual loading platform.

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Tuesday, June 1, 2021 9:22 PM

Yea - doesn't really matter if it's 2-2-2-2 or 24-24-24-24 or 12-12-12-12. 50% of the capacity is dedicated to Fastlane and the Fastlane line is still 60-90 minutes at times and when it is the standby line which might be an hour and half without Fastlane turns into three. The end result is both groups are unhappy. The Fastlane program needs to be tweaked.


-Matt

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Tuesday, June 1, 2021 9:35 PM
DRE420's avatar

How about making some suggestions to Carrie at an event like WCO or CoasterMania where you can get some face to face time in? I'm sure she would love to hear your feedback.

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Tuesday, June 1, 2021 10:11 PM

MDOmnis I wholeheartedly agree with one of your points and have been saying it here since 2019: Fastlane is grossly underpriced and oversold. I don't believe the all-season option is the problem though. I could be wrong but I don't think the "7 day power-rider meal-plan" enthusiast is the one shelling out $900 for all season Fastlane. Another thing I noticed is all season wasn't for sale this year. Once they announced that Fastlane would be sold this year all season was still listed as sold out.

Obviously this is because they know how many were already sold in 2019/2020. But I don't think it's because they were oversold and more likely because they're still trying to (somewhat) limit capacity. The problem lies in their daily price and lack of dynamic system to increase the price.

This past Sunday was busy. It was to be expected of course because of the storm the forced them to close early Friday and the high winds Saturday. So everyone that had plans that weekend decided Sunday was their day. It didn't help that CP decided to honor any park reservation for Friday/Saturday to be used any day that weekend which resulted in Sunday being "oversold" in general.

Anyway the point I'm making related to Fastlane is I was at Joe Cool waiting for my all season wristband and some people in front of me bought a FL+ for $120. I couldn't believe it. That's practically giving it away. To use your comparison, UO was charging $300 over Memorial weekend. Could CP get away with $300? Maybe. I think the more appropriate price would've been $250.

I know they have a revenue target they want to hit. But if they charged $250 instead of $120 they'd only have to sell it to 48% as many people to hit that target. And as you said, that makes a better experience for both FL and non-FL users. I don't think the all-season Fastlane crowd has that much of an impact. They may increase the in-park FL users by 5% or in extreme cases 10% but apart from that I think they're a drop in the bucket compared to daily FL sold.

Last edited by Scott Cameron, Tuesday, June 1, 2021 10:13 PM
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Tuesday, June 1, 2021 10:34 PM

Here's a thought; using the pre-existing Fast Lane turnstiles, I feel like a limited-access rule for SV and Maverick could be quickly implemented by using the turnstile systems they already have (and are pretty much unused currently). Fast Lane users would scan in to unlock the entrance turnstile and enter the line, then scan out at the very end of the line to mark their wristband as used for that ride. (With two scans at beginning and end, if someone scans into the line, but leaves before they finish the line and scan out, they can re-enter.) Whether it is on a time delay system (i.e. no re-rides for 30 minutes) or just a one-use system, if someone's wristband has been marked as used already, the entrance turnstile would not unlock. Plus, by having a ride host monitor at the end of the line (as they already do for Fast Lane), the park can make sure that every Fast Lane user scans their wristband at the end of the line to mark it as used and begin the lockout. It certainly isn't ideal to limit access like this, but as MDOmnis said above, what's going on right now quite frankly isn't ideal for anyone.

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Wednesday, June 2, 2021 6:25 AM
djDaemon's avatar

MDOmnis said:

...have it so you need to wait x amount of time in between rides on the same ride or possibly that you have to ride something else in between.

If they're not going to increase the price, these are probably the most effective ways to limit the impact of FLP. The only problem with forcing guests to ride something in between is that SV and Maverick are close enough to one another that it's not going to help much where help is most needed, and forcing guests to ride 2 other FLP rides before repeating might be a bit confusing.

So while increasing the price seems like the best solution, a time based limit might be a close second, since in that case it would some force guests back on the midway where they might be inclined to spend more money.

Last edited by djDaemon, Wednesday, June 2, 2021 6:26 AM

Brandon

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Wednesday, June 2, 2021 11:08 AM
Uncle Steve's avatar

I think there should be ride limits on FL & FLP
Like 2 rides, per ride, per day, or something.

After all, the dining pass isn't unlimited.
But boy if it was...

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Wednesday, June 2, 2021 11:40 AM
DRE420's avatar

Some people are just mad at the existence of FL. For example, I had a guy at KI last fall threaten me while I walked past his family to get on Orion. It's petty and childish imo. Why threaten me for utilizing something I paid for? It's the same as getting mad at a first class passenger on a flight where you have a coach ticket.

Last edited by DRE420, Wednesday, June 2, 2021 11:41 AM
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Wednesday, June 2, 2021 11:59 AM

Yeah that's pretty nuts. Don't fault the person that paid for it. Blame the park if anything.

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Wednesday, June 2, 2021 12:03 PM
djDaemon's avatar

I wholeheartedly agree, but you can imagine the frustration of someone who saved up for a CP vacation, and finds his family stuck in an hour-plus line getting lapped by FL riders. Certainly not something to threaten someone over, but I can understand the frustration. But as you mention, it was just directed at the wrong entity.


Brandon

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Wednesday, June 2, 2021 12:19 PM
DRE420's avatar

I used to be that frustrated guy with his family watching FL users fly past me, sometimes multiple times to my 1 ride, but I never threatened anyone. My remedy was to spend some of my stimulus money on all season FL for my family.

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Wednesday, June 2, 2021 1:58 PM

If you decide to take away unlimited rides you need to do that in a new season with a new price point. The all season FLP is a good deal as is, but not if it's only one ride a day

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Wednesday, June 2, 2021 2:59 PM
djDaemon's avatar

No, they don't need to do that. Read the fine print: "Fast Lane restrictions may apply." I'm sure similar language exists to justify Platinum Pass holders and resort guests losing exclusive access to Early Entry.


Brandon

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Wednesday, June 2, 2021 3:39 PM
DRE420's avatar

From a business ethics standpoint, they should.

Last edited by DRE420, Wednesday, June 2, 2021 3:53 PM
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Wednesday, June 2, 2021 4:25 PM

Kennywood, for instance, has a relatively cheap FL offer on their list of pay-to-cuts that gives you 1 trip on every coaster. No flats. The day we were there (in ‘19) the flats had short lines and having access to the coasters was a real time saver. Especially for Steelers the Ride where standby was 1.5 hours. We walked on. It left me wondering why everyone wasn’t doing it. It wasn’t that expensive.

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