Are fastpass systems creating economic inequality in our amusement parks?
The concept seems like a wonderful idea – get past the long lines at at your local amusement park, just pay a few extra bucks for your admission. But, is it really that great of an idea, or is it creating more problems than it solves?
Today, we’ll look at arguments both for and against the “fastpass” system – as well as historical background on the topic.
First, a quick history…of lines.
Lines have been with us for most of eternity. The Bible speaks of how the animals lined up, two by two to get into Noah’s Ark. Lines also developed during the Great Depression, waiting for food at the local soup kitchen. At the same time, the concept of legally jumping the line was born.
Let’s face it, those unicorns probably should have gotten a fastpass…
So, on one side of the argument, a paid fastpass-type system effectively “punishes” those who can’t wait, by charging them more for their day at the park.
Now, the flipside of the argument, is that much like traffic fines, those with more disposable income will simply pay the extra amount, as it really doesn’t mean much to them. But, does this mean there’s a “class system” developing in our amusement and theme parks?
I don’t think so.
Why? Because we’ve had a class system in our parks for decades – it’s just that so many people now have access to the “upper echelon.”
Hear me out – if you’ve ever been to an amusement or theme park when a celebrity is there, you know (or knew) that they wouldn’t ever stand in line. They would be shuttled up the exit by staff members to get on the ride with as little fanfare (and fan interaction) as possible.
True fans of Disneyland and California’s Great America should also know about the secret clubs that are in the park, designed for those with deep pockets – 33 and The Consulate, respectively.
While The Consulate is no longer used for it’s original purpose, the fact that it was set up for that purpose 40 years ago shows that the “class culture” has been with us for quite some time.
So is it class warfare in our parks? No. Does it suck to wait an extra few minutes – sure. Is it worth the extra cash to skip the line?
Maybe the better question is this: are you willing to give parks more of your money to feel richer?