Editorial: Why theme parks should be classless

QueueTheme parks thrived before the arrival of paid queue jumping and closer-to-entrance premium parking, so they could certainly survive without them now.

The economic recession of the past five years has actually increased the amount of money being squeezed out of the theme park customer on better-than-the-rest upgrades.

It is hard to imagine that the income generated from Fastracks, Speedy Passes, Q-Bots and premium car parking is integral to the attractions’ futures.

Parks have taken advantage of post-credit crunch stability in visitor numbers, as more people choose to holiday in the UK than travel abroad.

Rich v Poor

Unfortunately the class-war concept of people being able to ‘enhance’ their day at the direct expense of other guests leaves a sour taste in the mouth.

What’s hard to accept is when a day out where everyone is looking for escapism from the realities of life, features stark reminders of how the privileged in society can step over those less fortunate.

The negative knock-on effect of having fast-tracked guests board rides before those that cannot – or will not – pay up to nearly £100 for the privilege all day is relatively obvious.

The recent occurrences of Alton Towers reducing its opening hours has the effect of guests feeling they need to pay to get more out of their day, or to get on as many rides as possible.

Skeptics would argue that that effect is desirable, or possibly even the main motivation of the hours cut.

In an industry whose objective should be to have its guests leave with long-lasting memories of enchantment, more and more of them are undoubtedly walking away feeling an undervalued second-best.

4 comments

  1. Jason Foulger says:

    I work at a small theme park in lowestoft called pleasurewood hills. There we dont give customers the chance to buy fastpasses as they are only given out to those who are disables and/or unable to queue. Also there is no ‘privilege parking’ which I feel both of these are a big positive for the park as it means there is no ‘class seperation’

    • Janey says:

      I live within 45 minutes of Pleasurewood Hills and have been there often. I always notice the lack of frustrated queuers’ faces which I see at Alton and Thorpe, for example. I think it helps give the park a better reputation. :)

  2. Dean says:

    I always try and buy a fast track or two to ensure I make the most of my day as I don’t know when I’ll be back next… l work for my money and can spend it how I like and am glad for the opportunity to enhance my visit – I would possibly not go if I knew it was in season and couldn’t skip a few queues. I admit shortening opening hours is pain in the ass and not helping customer experience at all. I plan my day right and manage to get on most rides on any day I go with the aid of a few fast tracks, and others arrive late and leave early missing the quietest times of day, and complain they have only got on a few rides – the cheek! Maybe if I could only just afford to go and not buy fast tracks, then my opinion on them might be different; but as it is I am happy to spend my hard earned cash to enjoy myself more (especially when I get free sun tickets)!

    Imagine how much money they make from the sales of fast track etc. Surely that has a positive effect on investment within the parks, which people will complain if they don’t invest in the parks sufficiently (even though to be honest regardless of what parks do they will always complain!)

  3. Dan Woolford says:

    Everything is about money now, The parks are now turning into shopping areas, as apposed to places you would go to for a fun time…I understand that the parks need to take in money to stay running, but they’re just getting greedy now