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  1. #1

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    Post VIP Perks At Parks Nationwide - Worth The Extra $$$ ?

    If you've ever visited Six Flags, Sea World, or Universal during the busy season, you are already well aware of the pains associated with waiting in long (often uncovered) lines. For those who have vowed never to make that mistake again, and all those who would learn from your mistake, there is another option. Many parks offer front of line and/or VIP type privileges for an extra fee. Many of these options include passes which shorten your wait in line as well as providing reserved seating for shows and other unique perks which help buffer the big prices commanded for such service.

    Is it worth the extra price to pet a penguin and/or ride Spiderman without waiting? Perhaps. We recommend asking lots of questions and seeking the comments of others before buying your tickets. Find out how busy the park is likely to be, what the VIP or front of line pass options and prices are, and if it would be worth it to you to fork over the extra money for accelerated access to the attractions at the top of your list.

    Both Universal's VIP Tour (over $199 per person) and Sea World's Adventure Express Tour (just under $100 per person) are top values if crowds would otherwise be heavy. However, for as little as $31 (less in the off season) Universal also offers the "Universal Express pass" which provides front of line privileges without the guided tour. Disneyland offers several tours as well as a VIP tour - however, these seem best suited for the visitor who would like to learn more about the history of the park than riding lots of attractions - still, they are worth a look. Even Six Flags and many of the other regional parks are in on the express pass/VIP tour bandwagon. Six Flags Magic Mountain offers an expensive VIP tour starting at a huge $249 per person, but front of line privileges can be had for just $20 with the "Flash Pass".

    But the greatest bargain of all continues to be Disney's "FASTPASS" which remains free to daily park guests. Nearly all other parks have moved toward a fee model for these types of services. A comprehensive guide to Disney's FASTPASS was compiled by MiceChatter, Darkbeer, and is linked HERE.

    Not all of these options would necessarily be worth the extra price at all times of the year, and complications such as multi-park tickets and "Hoppers" abound, so take your time and research in advance to maximize your day. A busy summer day at the park with the kids does not have to mean huge waits in line - if you plan accordingly and have a little extra money to spend.

    For pricing and options, we looked at the sites for Universal Orlando, Sea World Orlando, Disneyland, and Six Flags Magic Mountain, however we would also recommend an excellent article regarding, Wall Street Journal reporter, Charles Passy's experience with several VIP tours, linked HERE

    What is your experience with front of line passes and VIP tours? Was it worth it?

    (Thank you to MiceChatter Pratt55 for help with this article)


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    Last edited by Dustysage; 05-23-2007 at 03:49 PM. Reason: Universal VIP Tour Price Change - Now $199
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  2. #2

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    Re: VIP Perks At Parks Nationwide - Worth The Extra $$$ ?

    This is a good topic. I've never been able to justify spending more money for front of the line passes as typically, on crowded days, I've found that when you're in line you're practically forced to have a conversation with the people you're with, or even somebody you'd just met. But, at USH's latest Halloween Horror Nights, my boyfriend and I went and we bought the VIP tickets. While it was pricey, it was nice not having to wait in the lines for the mazes. That's all that was offered with the VIP ticket. Oh, and a little neck-lanyard with a paper ticket at the end that they poked holes in when you went into an attraction. I suppose that conversation can be overrated.

  3. #3

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    Re: VIP Perks At Parks Nationwide - Worth The Extra $$$ ?

    We have used the Q-bot (Flashpass) at Six Flags Over Texas, Six Flags Over Georgia and Six Flags Great Adventure. IMO they are great and I don't feel guilty about skipping the lines one bit.


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    Re: VIP Perks At Parks Nationwide - Worth The Extra $$$ ?

    We tried Flashpass at Six Flags MM a few years ago and it was a horrible waste of money. We watched people get in the standby line at the same time we got in the FlashPass line proceed to get on the ride before us. It saved us time on 'The Riddler' but was not worth the extra money for us.

    I am hoping they have improved the system since then.
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  5. #5

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    Re: VIP Perks At Parks Nationwide - Worth The Extra $$$ ?

    My brother, Mr. LL, and I used the flashpass at Six Flags MM in 2001. It was worth the extra money considering we went on a Sat or Sun in July. Mr. LL and I recently paid for the front of the line perks at USH. We loved it.

    Now that we're "grown ups" we can't go to parks during the week like we used to when we were in college so that leaves the weekends. If we can swing it we'll most likely pay for front of the line privileges whenever we go to different parks.


  6. #6

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    Re: VIP Perks At Parks Nationwide - Worth The Extra $$$ ?

    Quote Originally Posted by dramaqueen View Post
    We tried Flashpass at Six Flags MM a few years ago and it was a horrible waste of money. We watched people get in the standby line at the same time we got in the FlashPass line proceed to get on the ride before us. It saved us time on 'The Riddler' but was not worth the extra money for us.

    I am hoping they have improved the system since then.
    Yeah, the Flashpass at SFMM (Tickets) isn't too great. Plus, your at SFMM.


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    Re: VIP Perks At Parks Nationwide - Worth The Extra $$$ ?

    I think its the way they organize their queues- It is like herding cattle! Once you get to the loading area it is so unorganized- like every man for himself. It would have worked much better if they didn't just dump you up there, but had more attendants, or at least better delineated queues.

    My husband is not a big rollercoaster fan (he is a big guy and unless the harness fits him well, he feels very nervous) and that day really turned him off thrill parks in general. We left after only a few hours.

    I do agree that Fastpass is one of the best incarnations of this concept- it has saved me lots of time on many occasions. I am cheap, so I don't think I would be inclined to pay for this type of priviledge anywhere else.
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  8. #8

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    Re: VIP Perks At Parks Nationwide - Worth The Extra $$$ ?

    Used the USH Express Pass last time we went....and it was well worth the extra money. We went in the middle of summer on a Saturday, so you can imagine the crowds! I'm not positive but I think it was around an additional $50.00 per person. Since we were getting in on Travel Agent rates, it was a bargain. Wolfette got to ride Mummy over and over and over again....OK, maybe not what I wanted to do, but worth the bucks since we only go to USH once every 10 years or so.
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  9. #9

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    Re: VIP Perks At Parks Nationwide - Worth The Extra $$$ ?

    we did the VIP tour at USH in 2005 and it was a blast. with the tour you get to go on everything and have more information about the attractions as well. Not only that but you get to have an enhanced backstage tour. and following the tours your able to go on whatever attractions you want again with minimal wait, and this was July so it was quite nice. I recommend the tour to anyone who has an extra day in southern cali.

  10. #10

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    Re: VIP Perks At Parks Nationwide - Worth The Extra $$$ ?

    Universal's VIP Tour was well worth it. For one, the over-$100 price does include park admission. And it's not just a ride pass; we enjoyed backstage access, soundstage access, and other elements which are not available to general admission guests. So there was definitely a value-add. A meal was included, as were little touches like ponchos for the Jurassic River Adventure. On the backstage tour we were permitted to get out, stand near sets, and take photos - at several opportunities. It's not something I would do every time, but it was definitely worth it.

  11. #11

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    The husband and friends did the front-of-the-line thing at Magic Mountain once, and it was ok, but it wasn't entirely worth the money, because one or two of the very popular rides wasn't included, and one or two rides that *were* included were definitely not rides you'd need a front-of-the-line advantage for. I doubt they'd do it again, but then, we don't make our once-a-year visit anymore.

    I've done VIP/backstage tours at Sea World San Diego a number of times, and I've always enjoyed those. For one tour, it's the only way to get into a particular area where you can see the animals that they've rescued and are treating as well as an are where animals are getting breaks from shows and stuff.

    On another tour, it was a double-good day because included was the opportunity to pet a penguin, and since one of the people in our group was a huge penguin lover, that was definitely a plus. Later in the tour, the other members of the tour were more or less non-existent, so by the time we got to the belugas, it was mostly a tour for our group, especially since the person who was telling us about the belugas was someone we had already gotten to know. Another of our group loves belugas, so she was not only able to spend a lot of time up close watching them, but she also got to get a hug from one and a picture of that. Being able to see the walrusses up close was fun too.

    But my absolute favorite VIP tour was free. Above-mentioned person that we had gotten to know was one of a few people in charge of the polar bear area, and of the arctic foxes as well. We'd spent probably an hour or two talking to him already at Wild Arctic, and then he offered to take the three of us backstage to show us more. We of course said ok. He took us to where the polar bear office was, and we were able to see the polar bears up close and personal. No touching though - he was the only one allowed to do that. We were also able to see the new residence built for the arctic foxes. Best time ever.

  12. #12

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    Re: VIP Perks At Parks Nationwide - Worth The Extra $$$ ?

    Universal has raised the price of their VIP tour to $199. However, they have also lengthened it and added features (from their web site):

    It's your once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to feel like a celebrity for the day!
    Follow in the footsteps that only Hollywood heavyweights have walked before.

    Go behind-the-scenes and visit closed-sets. Listen to stories only Hollywood insiders hear about the making of some of the most famous films and TV shows.

    Since Universal Studios Hollywood is a real, working movie studio, our production locations and sets change everyday, which means you never know what, or who, you might see. It's 6 hours of total movie-making immersion.

    • Explore working soundstages where NBC's hit series Crossing Jordan is filmed.
    • Tour the amazingly expansive backlot and visit actual sets like Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds.
    • Gain entry to production locations and studio facilities not open to the general public.
    • Roam the enormous, incredible prop warehouse. (Just imagine the photo opportunities!)
    • Witness the world's first sound effects stage and more moviemaking history.
    And now, the Universal Studios Hollywood VIP Experience combines craftsmanship and cutting edge technology like never before.

    • See how sets are crafted and decorated in the Staff Shop, Mill Shop and Sign Shop.
    • Watch as the Lighting Department brings dimension and life to interiors and exteriors alike.
    PLUS you’ll enjoy VIP privileges at Universal Studios Hollywood theme park:

    • Entry to the VIP Lounge - This is your time to feel like a star. Start your day off with a continental breakfast in the luxurious VIP lounge.
    • Front-of-line access to ALL shows and attractions - Just like a true celebrity you will go to the front of the line.
    • VIP reserved seating at ALL shows - Do what Hollywood's elite do and reserve your seats so you can see (and be seen).
    • Backstage "meet & greets" with the stars of Terminator 2®: 3D, WaterWorld® and Universal's Animal Actors. You'll be 'star-struck!' (Seasonal)
    • An All-You-Can-Eat pass - With your senses on overload, you're bound to work up an appetite. Just show your All-You-Can-Eat pass and you can dine at a variety of restaurants.
    • Valet Parking - Drive up and hand over your keys just like the Hollywood heavyweights do.
    • And a photo to remember your day - Capture your incredible experience with a personalized photo that turns all your special moments into a lifetime of memories.

    * All VIP Tour content is subject to availability based on production schedules and other factors.


    Limited availability only, and reservations are required.

    In order to provide exceptional personal attention, spaces for the VIP Experience are very limited. Advance reservations are required. Children aged 5 and under are not allowed on this tour.

    You can order your VIP Experience voucher for yourself or friends and family at our online ticket store. When you receive your voucher, call the VIP Tour office to reserve your VIP Experience time.

    If you would like to book a VIP Experience within the upcoming 7 days, please call the VIP office directly to book your tour via telephone.



    VIP Experience office (818) 622-5120

    The VIP Experience is available every day, but to keep the tour exclusive, space is limited. Please be sure to book ahead of time to get the VIP Experience that works best for you! Reservations are taken on a first come, first-served basis.

    We also offer private VIP Tours - please call our VIP Office for more information.



    Get over $100 in Universal coupons when you buy your VIP Experience Voucher online!

    • Worth over $100 in savings for when you visit!
    • Save on food, drinks and merchandise in the park and on CityWalk.
    • You'll get your savings coupons automatically as a thank you for buying your tickets online!


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