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VIP pass to Space Needle

Fredericton, Canada
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VIP pass to Space Needle

We will be in Settle (first time) for a very short stay over the labor day weekend. I see tickets to the Space Needle offer a "VIP ticket" allowing you to 'skip the line'. The cost is roughly double - $34 vs $19.

Any idea whether it is worth it? I have no problem paying the extra if it indeed saves us waiting in line, but have no idea how long the normal wait is or what it might be like on Sunday or Monday of the labor day weekend or if I just end up in a line of VIP holders - haha.

western WA
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1. Re: VIP pass to Space Needle

I think you can decide at the time. Prebuying a regular ticket online does not stop you from waiting in line.

Bumbershoot is on Labor Day weekend so expect massive crowds all over Seattle Center. You won't be able to get on the main grounds of Seattle Center unless you have a ticket. It is a great festival, so consider putting your money toward a festival pass instead of a VIP Space Needle pass, perhaps!

Summer weekends are always mobbed at the Needle. If you go later in the day, such as around 7:30pm for sunset and twilight, the lines should be less.

Fredericton, Canada
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2. Re: VIP pass to Space Needle

Thanks ainwa ...

Bumbershoot looks great - but with only 1.5 days in Seatlle, it doesn't make sense to spend that much time there.

If we don't have a pass to Bumbershoot and therefore can't get onto the Seattle Center grounds - it sounds like a visit to the Space Needle will not be possible Sept 2 or Sept 3 - is that correct?

Washington
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3. Re: VIP pass to Space Needle

No, you can still visit the Space Needle and not attend Bumbershoot. Just know that it will be busy, busy, time. I probably wouldn't upgrade. If you really want to go, far better to go for lunch - then at least you will get the view + a meal for your $, and your reservation will get you through the line.

Though the Space Needle is iconic, other view options to consider on that busy weekend away from the Seattle Center would be:

1. Seattle Great Wheel on the Seattle Waterfront ($13), fabulous view

http://seattlegreatwheel.com/

2. Smith Tower $7.50, open daily, 35 floors, http://www.smithtower.com/Observation.html

3. Columbia Tower, 73rd floor, $9, hours vary. Call ahead to make sure they are open 206-386-5151.

4. Volunteer Park Water Tower (free) 108 steps to the top.

western WA
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4. Re: VIP pass to Space Needle

I've been to the Space Needle on Bumbershoot weekend. There is not a lot of crossover because the festival has so much going on people tend not to leave it. We went up in the evening and it was only the normal amount of busy. Still, pretty busy on a summer weekend! I really prefer the view in the evening, so that's why I'd go then.

Smith Tower can close for events so be sure to confirm with them that they are open. There is a Starbucks on the 40th floor of the Columbia City building which has a free view. I still like the Space Needle though. I had a season pass for a few years so I've been up dozens of times.

Fredericton, Canada
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5. Re: VIP pass to Space Needle

Thanks!

I think we'll try for the evening trip up and maybe even splurge on dinner up there! It looks like we can get reservations - albeit - the earliest was 9 or 9:30 - that still works well for us for vacation dinner.

Seattle, Washington
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6. Re: VIP pass to Space Needle

You can visit the Space Needle during Bumbershoot (as well as Chihuly Garden and Glass, Pacific Science Center, EMP/Sci Fi museum etc.)

I posted recently that earlier this month I had out of town visitors and after just showing up at the Space Needle one day to find a massive line we bought tickets on line for the next day. Unfortunately the ticket line is the short line and when we showed up the next day we were confronted with a huge line again. The wait time was listed as an hour but there was no way the people at the back of the line were looking at a one hour wait. Apparently it was revised shortly thereafter to something like 1.5 hours or more. I don't know the exact time. I noted that the queue area was not even full so potentially lines (and waits) could be longer.

This was the weekend of the culmination of Seafair and Fleet Week (the first weekend of August) so it was very busy in Seattle generally. I have noticed that posts indicating that most hotels in town are booked Labor Day weekend so I would be prepared for a big crowd at the Space Needle.

In any event as we were pressed for time we upgraded at the will call window to VIP passes. Basically they take your existing tickets, you pay the difference and they give you a lanyard with a viewing guide pamplet and VIP pass. With this we walked past the line. At the bag security check we were taken next. We then walked past the line backed up for photos (a photo is included with all admissions now to the best of my knowledge and you have to stop for a photo -- or at least wait while those in front of you have their photos taken) and then were sent to a VIP elevator line. That is, one of two elevators was the VIP elevator and the other was the regular elevator. The elevator still only comes maybe once every 10-15 minutes though so you may have to wait as we did for the next elevator.

Once I got up top we noticed that the observation deck was quite different than I remembered. It was not very crowded and there was seating inside where people were having drinks etc. There was definitely a crowd but it felt disproportionately light to the numbers of people in the gift shop and in line.

I began to suspect that the incremental stops for bag check and photo (and the placement of these), the reduced regular admission elevator capacity and the elevator timing could be part of an integrated strategy intended to slow the process of getting up to the observation deck. This might be for two reasons: 1) to try to make the experience up top more enjoyable and leisurely and 2) to increase sales of VIP passes. I am speculating of course based on my observations.

Bottom line is that the VIP pass could substantially speed up your ascent.

Getting that in advance is an option and allows you to avoid waiting in another line at the ticket office but for VIP passes you will still have to go to the will-call window to get your lanyards and guides. Of course $34 is pretty steep for maybe an hour max up on the observation deck and there is a service charge for buying on line. When you buy on line you also get a confirmation and have to register your tickets with the names of the people using the tickets. Finally if you buy in advance you could show up and find no line or a short line and then most of the benefit of the VIP pass is out the window .... The Space Needle is open all day and into the night. It stands to reason that the line has to dissipate sometime. I just don't know when for sure. Again it is likely to be busy on the holiday weekend and in general from mid-morning to early afternoon has been very crowded.

If you wait to buy on the day of there is the added wait of a ticket line and if you have a tight itinerary you may not have many options on when to go so you could end up being there and looking at the back of a line.

Of course if it looks bad (and there is a board on the outside portion of the queue telling you the estimated wait time) you can always get VIP tickets and this is at the will call window.

Another option is to make a reservation at Sky City. You will find that appetizers, soups and salads are competitively priced but dinner entrees are about $20 more than a comparable entree would be at another restaurant and this is essentially the value of a ticket to the observation deck. Of course you don't have to wait an hour. You take a private elevator to the rotating restaurant, which itself has great views and afterwards you can go up to the observation deck. The lunch menu by comparison has less of a markup on entrees. There is a $25/pp minimum food and beverage charge but with a glass of wine or a beer and a little something to eat you will get there in a hurry (market priced, not unduly marked up). Look at this link for info on dress, menus, access to the o-deck, etc. www.spaceneedle.com/restaurant/index.html

western WA
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7. Re: VIP pass to Space Needle

It gets fully dark about 9. If you get the 9pm reservation, can you go up to the observation deck before that time? Going up at 8:15 would be great. Then you'd get late sunset sky. I don't know the rules about dining, as I haven't eaten there in a very long time. Other people report that the food is good. I know they have won awards for using Washington wines extensively.

Issaquah, Washington
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8. Re: VIP pass to Space Needle

I ate dinner at the Space Needle in April and we got there early and went up to the observation deck about 30 minutes before our reservation. We got to use the elevator for the restaurant and had a very short wait.

Fredericton, Canada
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9. Re: VIP pass to Space Needle

Great info - thanks to you all!

Looking forward to seeing Seattle and the Space Needle!

10. Re: VIP pass to Space Needle

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