03
Sep
2002
11:23

Ruminations on Theme Park “Speed Passes”

We went to the Six Flags theme park this past weekend, which made me contemplate the new “speed pass” phenomenon that seems to have inundated theme parks across the land. For those of you not familiar with “Speed Passes”, they’re basically little beeper sized gadgets that you pay an extra $10 to use for the day. At the entrance of each ride is an electronic station where you scan your speed pass and it electronically puts you in line. You can then go off and do whatever else you want instead of waiting in line for the ride. When your electronic “place” gets near the front, the beeper alerts you so you can go to the privileged “speed pass” entrance and claim your place near the front of the line. This is nice for you because you didn’t actually have to wait in the line, and it’s nice for the park because instead of standing there in line with your money just happily sitting in your pocket you can be off buying a $2.25 bottle of water or spending loads of money on a ring toss game trying to win a giant stuffed banana that you probably could have bought for one tenth of what it cost you to keep playing until you won it. Not to mention the $10 they already picked from your pocket to rent the speed pass.
Now this led me to think about the future of “Speed Passes”. Sure they’re great right now, when you can just be-bop to the front of the line, but eventually if more and more people start using speed passes, then you’ll have to wait in line to register your speed pass to begin with and then when it beeps you, you go wait in the now ever growing special speed pass entrance line. This will necessitate speed pass evolution. For example, they could then put out the “VIP Speed Pass”, which for a mere $50 allows you to bypass all the normal speed pass peons and go straight to the the secret VIP entrance taking you to the front of the speed pass line.
If that wasn’t enough, perhaps you could get a Super VVIP speed pass (for only $500) which allows you take the secret elevator to the special entrance room where you then jump in an air chute which deposits you directly onto an empty seat on the ride.
For the ultimate experience however, you would get the Super Mega VVVIP “Vengeance” pass ($2500 per ride). This allows you to get in the super secret futuristic air pod which takes you to the fully catered “selection room”. Here a wall of plasma monitors shows you each and every seat on the ride. You then wait for them to fill, and select your victim. That person is then dropped through a trap door which leads back to the end of the line and you are deposited on the ride by a huge, overly elaborate (yet extreme comfy) mechanism.
Oh sure you laugh now, but they also laughed about ever putting a man on the moon! Just wait until the day you find yourself plummeting through a trap door to the end of the ride only to see my evil grin sitting in your place on the souvenir snapshot monitor at the end of the ride.

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