Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Six Flags Entertainment Details New Reservation System for Park Visits

© Six Flags
In an effort to manage attendance in order to keep workers and guests safe, Six Flags Entertainment has announced details of a new reservation system that will be employed when the chain of theme parks reopen.

In a press release from the company, they state that the 'user-friendly process will allow parks to manage daily attendance levels and avoid overcrowding in accordance with Centers for Disease Control recommendations on social distancing."

Any visitor with a single day ticket, group ticket, Membership or Season Pass will have to reserve their visit on Six Flags' website.  Six Flags says the entire process will only take 5 to 7 minutes.  Visitors will enter a number from their ticket or pass, then select the date and approximate time they want to arrive.  They will then see a brief video regarding social distancing and sanitization processes at the parks, acknowledge the company's health policy and pay for parking, if applicable.

This process is required to visit, as those who do not complete the process cannot enter the park.  However, it is noted that if guests show up and there is room and a reservation can be completed at that time, they may be able to enter.

© Six Flags
If a date is full guests can also sign up for a waitlist in case of cancellations or additional inventory becoming available.  Six Flags will send online visit reminders prior to the visit date.  Also of note, Diamond and Diamond Elite Members will get added to a "priority waitlist," followed by regular members and passholders, all above single day tickets.

There are a ton of details on the reservation website.  Here are some other interesting notes:

• Initially when parks reopen for a short period only Members and Passholders will be able to visit the parks, after that time all ticket holders may reserve.

• When reservations begin the entire 2020 season for each park will be open to be booked, however, additional inventory will be added to the calendars over time on purpose.

• A reservation can be made for a 'party,' or all guests visiting together.  Different order numbers, pass numbers, ticket numbers, etc., can be added to one reservation.

• Using the online system there can only be on reservation at a time per pass.  Six Flags customer service can be contacted for additional reservations to be manually made.

© Six Flags
• You can join waitlists for multiple days, but as soon as you're granted access to one you're removed from the other days' waitlist that you signed up for.

• If you arrive early for your reservation you may have to wait for your time, and if you're late they will let you in at an appropriate time that you can fit, so as not to cause crowding in the entrance facilities.

• Regarding guests who do not cancel their reservation and do not show up, Six Flags states that they "are subject to penalties such as reduced system priority and blockout periods."

This is the first information we've got for a reservation system for park-visiting in the U.S., and I expect there to be many more such systems for chains such as Cedar Fair, SeaWorld Entertainment, Universal and Disney in the future.  I'm sure there will be a huge amount of test and adjust to learn how it will work off-paper with actual, unpredictable, and always complicated humans, but it's certainly a smart and safe approach to dealing with the pandemic fallout.