In time for summer, Universal Studios Hollywood has turned to a new level of theme park special treatment. For $299, guests get valet parking, breakfast sequestered away from the crowds in a luxury lounge, special access to the studio back lot, unlimited line-skipping on rides, a personal tour guide and lunch by the studio's executive chef. There's also swag such as hand sanitizer, mints and a poncho so you don't get wet on the “Jurassic Park” water ride. "Be pampered like a star," the flackage says.
In the New York Times:
As stratification becomes more pronounced in all corners of America, from air travel to Broadway shows to health care, theme parks in recent years have been adopting a similarly tiered model, with special access and perks for those willing to pay.
Now Universal Studios Hollywood has pushed the practice to a new level....
“Consumers want what they want,” said Xiomara Wiley, senior vice president for marketing and sales at Universal Studios Hollywood, which charges $80 for a no-frills ticket and $149 for one that allows for limited line-skipping.
But others see it differently. While there is no “Occupy Universal” movement blossoming, some customers contend that the park has created a conspicuous class system that threatens to overshadow the fun.
“It creates haves and have-nots, which is disturbing,” said Robin McQuay, a teacher and fervent fan of theme parks. “There’s this feeling of, ‘Aren’t you a loser because you can’t afford to be a line-skipping V.I.P.?’ ”