6/19 - SFWOA - Worst Trip Ever!

Associated parks:

Wednesday, June 20, 2001 9:46 AM
I apologize in advance if this turns into a novel, I have a lot to cover here.

Every year my family (myself, wife, daughter) drive from Florida to western Pennsylvania to visit our families, during our two week trips we always make sure to hit a few northern parks with friends an family. This year one of our choices was SFWOA, bumping CP for the first time since 1995 - solely on the addition of X-Flight. We planned on going with my mother, brother, sister and one of my sister's friends, this made a nice group of 7 with varying tastes on ride preference. Sounded like a fun day with chances to get all kinds of different rides in.

We got off to a late start due to a dentist appointment my sister had. Using the directions my mother had received directly from the park we headed out at about 11am. We hit I-80 west and got off on the appropriate exit. Soon we were following 2 lane roads through what I’d call “farm country”. We literally saw speed limits of 25mph and followed tractors for miles at a times; frustrating at best. We finally arrived at a six flags parking lot as the clock was nearing 1pm only to have a girl at the gate wave us away. We were directed around to what was essentially the other side of the lot. As were entered we saw the “parking $8” sign. Yikes! Even in Orlando where they milk every possible dollar from you all the parks are only $6 parking. No big deal, it was vacation, my philosophy is you make money to spend it. However $8 is steep for a place to leave my car while I spend more money in their park. We parked and headed for the gate only to realize were we given directions to the “Wild Life” side of the park, when in reality we had no plans on staying on that side at all. On top of this the sign at the entrance listed no less that 6 rides that would be down for the day. We hit the gate with coupons for $10 off admission and after grabbing out tix entered the park at 1:30 pm to find little to no crowd - it was starting to look up. After much confusion (this is one of the worst laid-out parks in existence) we found our way to the ferry taking people to the wild rides side of the park. The line looked fairly short so we took our spot. After standing there for about 5 or 10 minutes and seeing no ferry in sight, we asked an employee who told us we were looking at a 30 to 45 minute wait. Sheesh! We agreed that walking would be a better option. So again after more confusion we found the bridge to the other side.

2pm - we finally make it to the wild rides side of the park. First stop was Raging Wolf Bobs. Only a one train wait yet it took almost 15 minutes to get our ride in and meet our party at the exit. If this was any indication of the horrible load times I’d read about, then it looked to be true. As for the ride itself, not bad but nothing to write home about - a decent way to start the day but no reason to ride again.

From here we headed toward B:KF. While those of us who wanted to ride got in line, the rest of our group grabbed some drinks. There was only a two train wait on Batman but again, loading and dispatch times were dismal and our two train wait, ride and return to our party took just over 20 minutes - and they were running two trains! Again, I found the ride to be fun but nothing I needed to go out of my way to get back on. The only other floorless I have ridden is Kraken and it blew B:KF out of the water.

We met the others looking for liquid refreshment only to find that the place they had stopped had no ice today. Yes, that’s right! It was 90 degrees out and this drink vendor could not provide ice for drinks!

We haeded up the pathway a bit and found some drinks with ice and pizza and sat across from B:KF and had lunch.

From here 5 of us wanted to catch a cooling ride on Grizzly Run, while my wife planned on letting my daughter take a spin on the carousel in that area. We split up and headed to Grizzly Run with plans on meeting them afterwards near the carousel. The line for Grizzly run stretched almost to the main entry point for the ride. We decided to stand and stick it out. After standing for roughly 10 minutes and not moving I head towards the front of the line to see what was up. It seemed they were having problems with the ride. We decided to try again later and headed off to find the carousel. In hindsight we went a little to far before we realized we needed to head back and turn. My mother caught an employee sort of leaning against a fence and asked where the carousel was. His honest to God response was, “I don’t know, I don’t think there’s one around here”. In reality all we had to do was turn right by where we asked him and it was just up the path. So now due to unhelpful employees and complete lack of signage it took what seemed like forever to simply walk from grizzly run to the carousel. My wife and daughter were waiting for us. Now it was my turn to take her on Road Runner Express. My sister and here friend decided to come along for fun. We had what would have been considered a “walk-on” at any other park (no wait, next train in we’d get on) yet somehow the process of waiting for the train to stop, be unloaded, us to get on, the ride itself and the unloading process took another 20 minutes. This was some of the slowest staff I have ever seen.

From there me, my sister and her friend decided to jump across and hit the Double Loop and the Villain; meanwhile my brother and daughter were going to hit the bumper cars.

We got on the double loop with no wait - we did time it as just under 4 minutes from the time the train returned to the station and the time it left again. This ride was less than thrilling but I did find it unusually smooth.

We headed over to Villain and had a two train wait. They were running two trains. Again the total time spent here was somewhere in the 15 to 20 minute range. I’ve been to 15 parks in 5 states and I’d expect a two train wait to move MUCH faster. I expected a lot more from this ride from what I’ve read. I was good but like the others we rode before it, nothing to write home about.

Upon exiting we saw the others waiting for us only to hear a story of how my daughter was turned away from the bumper cars. From what I understand her height was dead on to the limit and she was riding with my brother who is clearly much taller than the requirement yet they turned them away. There was also supposedly much younger and smaller children on the ride before them. This is coming from the rest of my family so I can neither confirm nor deny it - but why would they have to lie about it.

At this point in the day we have my wife, my daughter and myself (all what I would consider “enthusiasts”) and my sister, brother, mother and friend (all not “enthusiasts“) questioning the level of quality and service that SFWOA was providing.

At this point we split up again with my mother, wife and daughter heading to the Looney Tunes “kiddie” area of the park while the rest of us tried Serial Thriller. We again had only a one train wait but as was becoming the norm for the day took roughly 20 minutes to get our ride in. We decided riding Serial Thriller was very similar to being in a boxing match. It had a neat little layout but getting my head so beat up, just wasn’t worth it. The others went to ride Cuyahoga River Logging Co. while I stayed behind to snap some pictures of B:KF and Serial Thriller. We all met up in the Looney Tunes area of the park. Oddly enough this turned out to be the best section of the park. My only complaint here was that the ride operators did not help the children off of the ride - again this was a first to me and I’ve been to many parks. We were really beginning to feel like once the park got our money that they didn’t care about our experience.

From there we headed past the City Hall games area to grab a few more drinks. This time it took three stops before we found a vendor able to provide ice with their drinks. At one stop a gentleman in front of us was told there was no ice. He asked if the soda would still be cold from the fountain. The employees reply, “I don’t know but it’ll still cost you $2.50 to refill your cup” - Unreal!

After finding drinks with ice my sister, her friend and myself decided to try Mind Eraser. We had a walk-on to the back seat and the entire experience still took 10 minutes. (we later timed dispatch at 7 to 8 minutes per train) As for the ride - I liked it a lot! I’d heard bad things about boomerangs but we all agreed that it was good fun.

We then got in line for S:UE only to find it was down. So we went back and met everyone. We decided to sit and wait for S:UE to reopen while the other rode the monorail. We sat a grand total of 40 to 45 minutes before they were finished and rejoined our group. By that time S:UE was up again so we go on. There was a one train wait and again load and dispatch times were abysmal. S:UE was cool but again somehow not what I had expected.

It was now just past 7pm and we decided to split again with the 3 coaster riders going to X-Flight and the other heading to the water park area. We entered the queue to X-Flight and were told by an employee that the wait was about 1 hour. This is what we came for so it was no problem. While standing in line I watched the loading and dispatch operation. They were running 2 trains but it seemed totally unefficient. They’d load one train and send it. While it made the run, the other train was loaded. It was not sent until the 1st train returned an unloaded. Then the process was repeated. I make no claims as to being a coaster operation genius but this seemed to be only slightly quicker than just running one train and hardly what I expected from a coaster with dual station loading. As we were standing in the last long row in the queue (near the loop) a train flew by and we (and many others) spotted something fly from the train and hit a girl just under her shoulder (above her breast). No one was injured and it made for something interesting for everyone in line to discuss but it made me wonder about safety on this ride. Heck, standing in line was dangerous! It was no more than 2 train later when the announcement came across, “We’re having a slight delay folks. We’ll have X-Flight running again as soon as possible”. We decided to sticking out. To cut an already long story short someone on one of the trains was injured (and taken out on a stretcher) when something flew from the pocket of another rider and struck him. Ride Ops made a quick announcement about emptying your pockets before riding but it wasn’t enforced - I know because my pockets were not empty when I boarded. The ride itself was very good, but again nothing I felt I needed to come back for. We did it and it was done.

It was now 8:30 pm and we noticed queue lines and refreshment areas being closed. We tried to find more drinks but nothing was open to get a drink. Maybe Six Flags doesn’t want our money after all...especially considering that closing time was 10pm! We tried to make a run for the Big Dipper but were turned away. It was a full hour and a half before the official closing of the park but no one was being let on any more rides and all refreshment vendors had closed! We decided to start heading out and find guest relations before we left. On our way out we noticed people were still being let on the Americana Ferris Wheel. We decided to end our day with it and a simply spin on the ride turned into a half hour. More ridiculous loading times!

It was now after 9pm and getting dark so we made a beeline towards the bridge (no reason to even consider the ferry - what a joke that is) Along the way my wife caught and employee and asked if there was a guest relations area on the wild life side of the park. This employee was very nice and apologized many times as my wife relayed our story and calmly explained that this was “The Worst Park We’ve Ever Been To”. He assured us that guest relations was located near the exit on that side and that it would be open.

As we made the trek we began discussing just how slow and rude the employees seemed for the most part. We talked about the lack of signs and how poorly the park was laid out, the lack of ice, the early closings, etc. and decided for sure that were wanted to complain. We got to guest relations to find it pretty crowded for 9:45 pm. My wife stood in line. Yes most of the people there were already complaining but my wife is the GM at a Marriott hotel and knows how to complain - she hears it day in and day out from here own guests. Customer satisfaction is certain something she takes seriously in her profession and she expects others to respond in similar fashion. She made here way to the desk and began telling the story of the day. I swear it was like a scene from a movie with people gathering around and chiming in “Yeah, she’s right” or “We noticed that too”. It was hilarious. In the end the guy was of little help. He apologized and offered to “file a report”. She refused to leave until given the number of someone higher up the chain, which she got (we plan on giving them a call later today). In the end the guy at guests relations response was “that’s all I can do”. My wife asked if they cared about guests leaving the park happy and satisfied. His response was “of course we do”. My wife then asked why she was being allowed to leave the park totally disgusted with the place. His response was again that we was doing all he could and that a report would be filed.

As a funny side note we stopped at a gas station about 5 miles away from the park to refill and get drinks (since the park didn’t seem to be to big on giving guests refreshments on a 90 degree day). The guy working the counter there struck up conversation and soon was hearing about our day. He than explain that he works and lives in the area but still makes the drive to Cedar Point because SFWOA is so bad.

I’d have to agree!
Wednesday, June 20, 2001 10:28 AM
Upon re-reading that report, I noticed I failed to mention the garbage everywhere. Litter was a serious problem in most areas of the park and on sveral occasions we saw garbage bags laying full next to garbage cans as if someone emptied the garbage can and switched bags, then left the old one lying beside the garbage can. UGH!

I'd also like to point out that I haven't been online since the 12th and I used my brother's computer to post this report. I did some quick surfing of CoasterBuzz and saw the whole "SFWOA bashing" thing. Please don't think this report is just more of the same - I'm simply relaying the facts of our day.
Wednesday, June 20, 2001 10:38 AM

Lord Gonchar said:
"Upon re-reading that report, I noticed I failed to mention the garbage everywhere. Litter was a serious problem in most areas of the park and on sveral occasions we saw garbage bags laying full next to garbage cans as if someone emptied the garbage can and switched bags, then left the old one lying beside the garbage can.

So your saying, that even in the queues and the queue house there was garbage also? If you are going to imply you saw garbage everywhere. I dont understand, when I was there (Memorial Day weekend) I rarely saw garbage. I guess this all must have happen after June?? (Referring also to other TR)

Dayuum, Your HOT!
Wednesday, June 20, 2001 11:15 AM
I think "garbage everywhere" is just a figure of speach. I seriously doubt if he meant it was literally EVERYWHERE... having clear it off of the coaster seats, having to pick it out of your french fry cup, and so on and so on and so on.

No need to be so literal about things, Coasterr.

"I wasn't always this cynical, but then I started kindergarden..."
Wednesday, June 20, 2001 11:22 AM

SLFAKE said:
No need to be so literal about things, Coaster

Why cant I be?. With all the SFWoA bashing going, I would like to know the truth. And for you info, I did read another TR on another coastersite (About WoA) inwhich they DID say that there was trash everywhere. According to that TR, they were serious about everywhere.

Dayuum, Your HOT!

*** This post was edited by Coasterr on 6/20/2001. *** *** This post was edited by Coasterr on 6/20/2001. ***
Wednesday, June 20, 2001 11:34 AM
Bash is such a harsh word. I mean people complain about this place for a reason. It's true some have fun here (I used to, infact), but most are disgusted. I visited this park ever since I was a little kid. I have stuck up for the park every year since last. Sure they add cool coasters, but this Six Flags nonsense must stop. I mean you know something's wrong when just about every TR written here is negative toward SFGL. I shouldn't say Six Flags generally. I have only been to one other SF park, that being StL, and had the time of my life. They will never be a world class park even if they recieve 20 new coasters every year that are top of the line. They need to go back to the basics and start there. It wouldn't hurt to train employees better, which I feel is the problem.

"We took pop music and we kicked its arse"
Wednesday, June 20, 2001 11:46 AM
I agree whole heartedly, what a complete waste of an amusement park. I talked to a marketing employee at SFwoa and he said they planned on outdrawing Cedar Point, I laughed and almost puked in disgust. SFwoa is the ghetto of amusement parks, what a waste of perfectly good rides in a terrible park. The X-Flight, Mind Eraser, and Serial Thriller are all Vekoma rides and they all are garbage, the best one is the Mind Eraser if you can believe that.
Wednesday, June 20, 2001 11:51 AM
I have to disagree with on thing that Lord Gonchar said, and that was when you said that the park was layed out awfully. I think that SFWoA is one of the better layed out parks, everything branches off the main midway.
Wednesday, June 20, 2001 1:07 PM
A couple of replies here.

1. No there was not literally garbage everywhere but yes, I did see many discarded cups and park maps in queue lines.

2. I stand by my opinion on park layout. I prefer parks laid out more like IOA - a nice big circle with everything easily accessable. Even CP has a very good layour as the front half is basically a big midway and the back half a circle. You don't have to travel off the beaten path to get to the attractions. SFWOA seemed like a collection of randomly placed attractions.

3. After reading the numerous bad reports about SFWOA I have to agree that it's not bashing but must have SOME basis in truth. Not that many people sit around trying to put down a park for lack of anything better to do.

Again, just telling it how I (we) saw it. I'll let you know how that phone call to the offices goes if my wife ever gets back...
Wednesday, June 20, 2001 1:51 PM
I certainly don't want to dispute anyone's experience at this park because I have seen some of the same issue mentioned in the TR. Maybe all the negative press this park is getting will cause them to shape up, especially when people just stop going.

However, I just can't help but think that people are now walking into this park with huge chips on their shoulders, expecting crap, then getting all upset when that's what they find. Lord even mentions several times that he heard previous negative reports. I spent about a week at this park back in early June, and I was pleasantly surprised how well things were running. The few issues I did have with the park were nothing that I wouldn't find at other parks.

But the thing I find most interesting about this report is how negative this person sounds before they even set foot in the park. They seemed ready to rip the park to shreds from the beginning, and proceeded to pick the park apart. Comments like, "the ride was ok, nothing to write home about" smack of someone *determined* not to like anything about the park. I have been to over 50 different parks around the country, and I have *yet* to attend one where I didn't find something that I could enjoy very much, and we're talking from Disneyland to SFEG. Ok, so you had a really bad day at this park, so that means B&M, Intamin and CCI get punished as well?

So I guess I just wonder how someone could be so eloquent in their descriptions of how devasatingly bad the park is, but not give that same type description of rides that are "nothing to write home about? Why the complete negative spin?

Remember, your relatives had no choice in the matter either! *** This post was edited by DWeaver on 6/20/2001. ***
Wednesday, June 20, 2001 2:22 PM
If you go somewhere looking for a bad time, you ARE going to find it. and it doesn't matter where either.
I still have not seen any overflowing trash cans or litter in any amount that was "abnormal" to an amusement park.
And twenty minute dispatch times? Can you say "exaggeration!" I know when your waiting for something, 2-3 minutes can seem like forever, but come on! The longest I've seen is 8-10 and that was on X-flight, which is still inexcusable, I'll admit.
If you have a beef about SFWoA that's fine, but there is a HATRED for this place displayed by some people that I don't understand. No place can possibly be as bad as SFWoA is being portrayed around here. Conversely, no place will ever be as good as some people claim Cedar Point is either!

"SFWoA bashing IS a sporting event at Coasterbuzz"
Wednesday, June 20, 2001 2:29 PM
We shouldn't be arguing about SFWoA bashing in the trip reports. These trip reports are true and honest OPINIONS (key word there). God people, he's posting what he saw and experienced at the park and here you come denying everything and 'correcting' his opinions about the park. You are partly at fault for 'arousing' even more park bashing.

Dang it, the troll tricked me into feeding it again.;)
...A natural force simply known as, Millennium Force... *** This post was edited by force312 on 6/20/2001. ***
Wednesday, June 20, 2001 2:35 PM
BTW, I completely agree that someone VERY high up needs to hear these complaints about the park.

Remember, your relatives had no choice in the matter either!
Wednesday, June 20, 2001 2:41 PM
That is you if you beleive everything posted here is "true an honest" Unfortunately, some people have agendas and its obvious sometimes. I'm not correcting anyone's opinions. Have any darn opinion you want. But don't let your preconceived opinions obstruct the facts.

I went looking for dirty, disusting paths and overflowing trash can my last trip there after reading these TR's. I found none. So either I have only gone on "good" days or some people are making things seem worse than they are.

By the way, the bashing was here long before I was so don't even try to accuse me of "arousing" it. Have you naticed a nice TR about SfWoA (there have been a few) goes ignored while a negative one gets more attention than any other post on this board? I have.

"SFWoA bashing IS a sporting event at Coasterbuzz" *** This post was edited by G-Money on 6/20/2001. ***
Wednesday, June 20, 2001 2:46 PM
DWeaver, I did go into writing this report with a negative outlook. I wrote it this morning after a horrible yesterday. So maybe that's why it seems a bit slanted.

However, I was more than exited to go. In fact if you look back to the forum a few weeks ago, I was one of the folks saying SFWOA would probably give CP a run for their money and title of "best park in Ohio" - then I visited the park.

I really didn't think any of there rides were too great. Villain was much rougher than I had expected and certainly wasn't the world class woodie I'd read about. Batman was uninspired B&M fare. Maybe I was spoiled by riding Kraken before this one, but as far as floorless B&M's go - B:KF doesn't touch Kraken. X-Flight was a neat ride and certainly a cool experience but if I never rode it again in my life, I honestly wouldn't feel like I missed much. I honestly had the most fun in the rear seat of mind eraser. The other coasters in the park were less than average in my experience.

If anything I went into the park expecting too much, perhaps.

G-Money - Not 20 minutes dispatch times. Perhaps I could've been more clear. 20 minutes from enterting the queue line to exiting. Sounds good except that we never had more than a 1 (a few had two as I mentioned) train wait. When B:KF is running two trains, and we waited past the first and got on the second, yet the entire time spent at the ride was 20 minutes - there's a serious capacity issue. We were at the park (coaster side) for almost 7 hours and ended up not having enough time to ride all 10 coasters. That's ridiculous. We didn't move slow or unefficiently, we waited while the rides ops moved though what seemed like molasses to do their jobs. I understand most coasters had one train running and it was appropriate as many times I saw trains running less than half full.

Maybe it was just a slow day in general in the park, but all I can say is it was the single worst amusement park experience I've ever had and I won't return.
Wednesday, June 20, 2001 2:54 PM
force312, I completely agree, and I try not to use that word. But, I see nothing wrong with commenting on *anything* posted on a message board, even a TR. I'm not disputing the experience, just asking my own questions ;)

Remember, your relatives had no choice in the matter either!
Wednesday, June 20, 2001 4:24 PM
What was the crowd like that day?
i have noticed that Geauga Lake just can't handle the large crowds...

The three times I went this year (all being slower days) the park was kept clean and organized....I feel so bad this is happening...again.
Thursday, June 21, 2001 4:36 AM
Wow, there has been a lot of legitimate complaints posted on this park, but really, complaining over 15-20 minute total wait and ride times? As far as the park layout goes, two parks were combined, they were not in some "master plan" when they were originally concieved. When we went there last year, we found the layout of the ride park to be just fine. Minimal walking between major rides. It's a shame you couldn't just enjoy your day.
Thursday, June 21, 2001 6:18 AM
I was at the park yesturday (6-20). As far as trrash goes there were sweeps out and about in the morning, but by the afternoon the edges of pathes were lined with trash the majority of the trash barrels were overflowing. On top of that when we were i nline for X-Flight a lady in front of us couldn't reach the trash can cause she was already pat it. She asked the one employee i nthe entire park working an entrance if he could please throw it away for her. He took it from her dropped it on the ground and said just leave it there we have to clean it up anyways.
I have this to say though the seaworld side was wonderfully clean and the people over there were extremely friendly and helpful.
Thursday, June 21, 2001 7:00 AM

G-Money said:
"That is you if you beleive everything posted here is "true an honest" Unfortunately, some people have agendas and its obvious sometimes."
Agendas? Agendas for what? What could anyone possibly gain by having an agenda to dog a park?

These are amusement parks, not regions.

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