I had a great 4th of July!
Dan and I went to Elitch’s amusement park in Denver. I hadn’t been there in almost 20 years!
It was cool re-experiencing the place as an adult. (Life was way different when I was a brooding, melancholy teenager.)
I remember feeling so self-conscious the last time I was there. Standing in lines for 45-60 minutes, waiting to get on a single ride, was bullshit. In line you had to face all different types of people waiting around, moving at a snail’s pace, looked bored as fuck. Some of them stared at you with blank gazes, not even realizing they were staring. Both grown adults and children alike, looked like they were not happy to be there…
…until that coveted moment when they reached the front of the line.
My boyfriend hates waiting in line (so do I), so obviously we wanted some kind of VIP ticket.
Scouring Elitch’s website, policies, and packages, I tried to figure out which ticket to buy. There were too many choices.
It was 5pm. Almost approaching 6pm. The park closed at 10pm.
I debated with myself: should we just wait for the weekend, then get a VIP pass to enjoy all day long so we could ‘max’ its value?
Then I caught myself: “Wait a second. Why can’t we ‘max’ it tonight for a few hours with a VIP pass?” There was no reason to wait.
I purchased a $40 VIP pass for each of us. It lets you skip the wait, and cut to the front of the line for certain rides. (Not all rides, just certain ones.)
We’d leave at 6:00, get there at 7:00, and have three hours to enjoy ourselves.
(In an abundant twist of fate, as we were standing in line to get inside the amusement park, some guy gave us HIS VIP bracelets as he was leaving. Sweet!)
Over the years, I’ve realized my top priority is to enjoy life to the max, without having to endure ridiculous delays. And that starts with me making better decisions.
I knew that “saving money” at Elitch’s wasn’t my top priority. Saving time was.
The general atmosphere of people standing around waiting is, “Life is a drag.” And that’s not an atmosphere I care to immerse myself in.
It was interesting being on “the other side.”
Some people gave us confused looks as we skipped to the front of the line. Some people questioned how much we paid for the privilege to do so. Some people were surprised to discover there was even such a thing as a VIP pass. One girl called us “lucky.”
What I found interesting was that the VIP experience at Elitch’s wasn’t consistent across the rides.
Sometimes as VIPs, we had to fend for ourselves — we had to unlatch the chain and let ourselves into the front of the line, with no Elitch’s attendant present. Awkward.
Other times, we were waved by Elitch’s attendees to come closer to the front of the line, as if they were expecting us to barge through an already jam-packed stairway.
Only on ONE ride, there was a line dedicated entirely to VIPs. THAT was ideal! The line was empty, except for us! We got to shoot straight to the front, without having to engage in Low-Value Conversations (LVCs) explaining or defending ourselves to the masses — those who didn’t “get it.”
I was convinced Elitch’s didn’t understand what it means to provide a true VIP experience.
The inconsistency made crave a better system. The possibility for a better system made me excited.
A true VIP experience is:
- free of drama
- fast (but not rushed)
Even back when I was a teenager, the culture of Elitch’s was very much about standing in line forever, waiting for a few quick moments of a thrill.
In that kind of atmosphere, having a VIP pass seems almost blasphemous.
To make matters worse, I found myself “feeling bad” for all the people who were waiting. Our VIP pass offered “unlimited cutting to the front of the line,” but I felt guilty about using it.
Dan reminded me, “We paid extra to skip the line. They chose not to.”
I’m a firm believer that EVERYBODY can have a VIP experience if they choose to.
This would require businesses to restructure a few things and get rid of inefficiencies. It would also require people to stop giving their money to businesses that don’t cater to the VIP mentality.
I’m also a firm believer of premium businesses treating ALL of their visitors as VIPs (save for the pain-in-the-ass customers, who get the ‘delete’ button).
You can do this by having an organized website, a seamless brand, a well-functioning shopping cart, a laser-precise sales funnel, plentiful email communication that’s crisp and easy to read, and a commitment to delivering your best without stressing about perfection.
The nature of a VIP experience is twofold:
1. The person being the “VIP” has to truly believe they’re worthy of the experience.
2. The company or person delivering the VIP experience has to structure and deliver it in a way that truly feels like “the best.”
The best possible experience Dan and I could have had at Elitch’s would have been something like the following:
We get unlimited cutting in line on ALL rides, not just certain rides. Enter a ride, go through a line specifically for VIPs (without having to explain or defend ourselves to the “masses”), shoot straight to the front of the line with a VIP-dedicated Elitch’s attendant standing by, and wait a maximum of 2 or 3 minutes for our ride. Rinse and repeat, regardless of what others think of us.
Maybe someday the Amazons or Googles of the world will buy out Elitch’s and disrupt the shit out of the amusement park business model!
In the spirit of Independence Day — we all have the freedom to wait as long as we want. We also have the freedom to STOP waiting and jump to the front of the line, like a VIP.
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