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Earlier this year we heard about Cedar Fair trademarking the name "FastPay," with obvious implications that it would represent some sort of tie-in to the new point of sale systems that have been installed in almost all the parks. Mr. Ouimet confirmed during a conference call that the FastPay system is debuting at Dorney Park this year as a trial, and if successful could be rolled out to all the parks.
In the past that method has led to programs that worked (Fast Lane) and others that did not so much (Fun Perks). But for this Summer the FastPay program is in operation at Dorney Park and it is being pushed pretty hard, and rightfully so since this is a test year.
FastPay is a wrist band that works just like cash at all the food and retail locations in the park, but not at game stands. The main push is for it to be used at Wildwater Kingdom, as keeping your cash and cards on hand when in your bathing suit can be complicated. There are two types of FastPay wrist bands, permanent ones that are aimed at season pass holders, and one time use bands that are meant for day visitors.
From the park's entrance gates up to the entrance to the water park there are numerous signs promoting the product, and along that path is also the purchase kiosks seen above. You can also pick up your FastPay band at the ticket booths, guest relations, and any retail store inside the park.
The promotional materials for the program stress that it functions just like a gift card, including the fact that unused balances will stay on the band. You can purchase them with cash or credit cards, and right now to help introduce the bands they're giving an extra 10% onto the bands for free (up to $10 maximum) - that's free money kiddies!
If you use the machines along the walkway the set up is simple, any in today's world we're all getting accustomed to these types of sales. If you can figure out your local Redbox, this will be simple. Once you obtain the band you can use it right away and all receipts will show your current balance.
Sounds like a great idea, right? I will be interested to see how it catches on over the course of the year - I didn't see anyone purchasing them today but I certainly did not stand around for an hour watching, either.
It's especially smart for parents who have older children that frequent the park, or even on a single day trip if they want to separate for a while then the kids can still have purchasing power. Or right now if you're a regular visitor to the park you could load up and get up to $10 free! I suppose overall we will know how this pilot year turned out if the program expands next year to all the parks... or goes away.
I haven't been to the park much since it opened (stupid endlessly busy "real life") so there were some new things I saw today, and stuff I missed back when the park opened. Above are the huge ads on the back of the Good Time Theatre, which have been changed from just advertising Dinosaurs Alive! to also showing off All Wheel Sports (which opens at the end of this month) and also this year's souvenir cup - coke products - and their free refills on the day of purchase.
There's a new united front I sense when at the park, coming from Cedar Fair corporate on certain things, like the souvenir cups for example. I've seen the other parks pushing them as well, and while most pushes are for pay-extra concepts, it is still sort of nice to see new ideas and practices flowing out into the parks at once. Definitely a sign of the new management.
Early Entry for season pass holders, a part of the focus on moving season pass sales, is also chain-wide as far as I can tell. At Dorney Park pass holders can enter a half hour early to ride Stinger, Steel Force, the Antique Carousel, and take part of buy one get one on the Screamin' Swing.
The giant Coke bottles for recycling are appreciated as well. Go green!
The park's landscaping team has the property looking better than ever. There's seriously a ton of mobile planters around all the midways, and displays like the Talongarden, as I call it, seen above. Even the super awkward giant concrete plaza by Stinger now has some additional plants to help break things up.
I made a loop around Wildwater Kingdom since I hadn't been there since it opened for the year, pretty much things look like in the past. I did spot this sign for Runaway River, which easily could have been new last year, but I hadn't noticed it and thought it looked pretty snazzy. So I took a picture, and here it is. Enjoy.
Ooh, those clouds are UGLY. Blue sky appeared as I was leaving, of course. This is the park's second wave pool, and I noticed the entire side of it is now roped off and a part of The Retreat. Looks like they've taken the cabana concept and 'dumbed it down' into just having one large space you can pay extra to enter, with lots of shade umbrellas, chairs and lounges. Again, I think this is new this year but could have existed last year. Definitely a part of the company's "premium offerings" plan come to life.
I do believe that Hang Time received a repaint this year too, along with the Sea Dragon as well (not pictured). This is Hang Time's 16th season at the park... that's pretty hard to believe! Folks still line up for it though, you can see it was a full ride when I took this shot.
The former go karts are an area of inactivity at this point. Not sure if we will see this section reused for a Haunt come the Fall, or if it will be off limits for good. There's a fence up when you approach it, but it is gated so technically it could still be used.
Ugh. It looks like Dorney Park is celebrating Yolocoaster out at Six Flags Magic Mountain! I kid, I kid.
Here's a random, though pretty, shot of the fountain that is now at the deadest of ends with the go karts closed and Demon Drop boxing it in. The trout pond fountain is looking great, and I'm greatly pleased that the park has put the effort into maintaining it. The trout looked healthy, too!
I probably should have ordered this photo differently, placing it up top when I discussed the landscaping efforts at the park this year. I'm digging the christmas tree style arrangement seen here, complete with a starlike fern at the top. Maybe this is an indication that a Christmas event will start soon at the park? Anyone want to take that one and run with it? Ha.
I'll leave with one side of the park's Summer season billboard. I really like the ads that started last year and continued into 2013, hopefully the company sticks with whatever advertising firm they're now using for a couple more years.
We'll keep up with the park as the season progresses!