Theme 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.