Monday, August 20, 2012

Quick Review: SeaWorld Orlando's Quick Queue

The same day I tried out SeaWorld's All-Day Dining Deal, I was also able to try out their Quick Queue front of line pass.  This is another quick review of the important details and what you need to know before you buy this extra option.

1.  Like Universal's Express Pass, and unlike Disney's current FASTPASS system, Quick Queue is an up-charge offering.  The standard Quick Queue costs $14.99 to $24.99, and only provides a single ride on each attraction.  The unlimited Quick Queue costs $19.99 to $34.99, and provides unlimited usage as long as it's not "abused."  Annual pass holders receive a discount when backed through the pass member website, otherwise prices vary based on season and holidays.

2.  Quick Queue provides front of line access to 6 attractions: Manta, Turtle Trek, Journey to Atlantis, Kraken, Sky Tower, Wild Arctic, as well as reserved seating at some showings of the Shamu show, currently One Ocean.  It's a safe bet that Antarctica- Empire of the Penguin will be added to the list once it opens next year.

3.  Guests at Official SeaWorld Hotel Partners receive Quick Queue Unlimited free of charge, but only a limited amount of complimentary passes are available each day.

4.  Like the Dining Deal, you must wear a wristband all day that informs ride ops of your Quick Queue status.  If you purchase the pass online or at the self-serve ticket kiosks, you receive a card that must be exchanged for a wristband at one of the eligible attractions.

5.  Because it's a limited offering, Quick Queue users literally bypass the entire line, entering at the loading station.  At Journey to Atlantis, this meant that the employee loading the ride did not have time to give us our wristbands before we boarded, and we had to wait until later to make the exchange.  At Turtle Trek, you do not bypass the two viewing tanks that are holding areas before the 3D movie.  While I think the manatee and sea turtle viewing are integral to the attraction, I have seen some complaints about having to wait inside the extra amount of time.

6.  Quick Queue massively shortens lines for rides that are consistently busy, like the roller coasters or Journey to Atlantis.  Other attractions tend to be more or less crowded based on whether nearby shows have recently ended.  Wild Arctic is the most striking example, shifting from literally nobody in line to a 40 minute wait whenever the crowd emerges from Shamu Stadium.

Since SeaWorld Orlando features few attractions that benefit from Quick Queue, its usefulness is entirely based on how much you want to ride those attractions.  If you plan to ride the coasters multiple times, then the Unlimited pass is probably worth the money.  If you have only a limited amount of time to visit the park and have to do everything, then the standard Quick Queue is probably sufficient.  However, the average SeaWorld visitor is going to see too little benefit for the extra cost, and would be better off just visiting attractions while most guests are in attendance at nearby shows.

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