Cedar Point 5/5/18

Sunday, May 6, 2018 2:16 AM

I am going to start by saying I am 35 years old and have been a chronic amusement park goer since I was 11. Been to all the major parks in the USA, Asia, Europe, been to many of them several times, and while many of them are great i've seen my share of really crappy ones as well. So this negative review doesn't come without merit: I've been to Mt Olympus, Laronde, FujiQ, all the winners.

I understand the enthusiast community very well. CP is one of those parks that has a very passionate fanbase and will bash everything I say under the excuse "but its opening day," "its early in the season they are low staffed," "college kids aren't out yet," and give me lots of reasons they think its acceptable to have a terribly ran park.

I am going to make a blanket statement the park was a total mess and there is no excuse for what took place today.
There were plenty of ride ops working on Maverick this morning, that didn't cause a delayed opening.
There were plenty of ride ops working on Millennium Force this morning, that didn't cause a delayed opening.
There were plenty of ride ops working on Valravn this morning, that didn't cause a delayed opening.
There were plenty of ride ops working Gatekeeper this morning, that didn't cause a delayed opening.

Yes you read that right, these are all of the "early entry" rides. and NONE of them were open during early entry. One coaster was open during early entry, Steel Vengeance, and its a good thing it was because it shut down not long after that.

They finally got Valravn open at 7:30 PM, Dragster opened at 8PM (and promptly broke down), Corkscrew and Gatekeeper I don't know when they opened. Never got Wicked Twister, Maxair, or Windseeker running.

I don't know if their union maintenance guys are trying to stick it to the management, or if there just a serious lack of them, but there was definitely a SERIOUS lack of maintenance at this park.
Dragster was cycling all morning but didn't open until 8PM. That leads me to believe it didn't do its pre season cycles. So one of the most famous rides on the face of the planet they didn't bother to get it ready for opening day??

Also when we walked through the Wicked Twister area Wicked Twister, Maxair, Windseeker, Troika, Giant Wheel, Dodgems, and Tiki Twirl were ALL closed! At like 6 in afternoon on a nice 70 degree busy day. Seriously WTF. I know Wicked Twister, Windseeker, and Maxair were closed all day. Not sure about the others.

And to make matters worse it felt like more than half the food stands were closed and the ones that were open all had 30 minute to 1 hour waits. We waited 45 minutes at Panda and over 50 minutes for a burger at Coasters Drive In. Now this I actually understand is purely staffing based: big park and small job market around it before school gets out...I can let this one slide a bit. But that whole ordeal just made a bad situation much worse.

I hadn't been to CP in a while because the last time I visited it was the same thing. All the big coasters had delayed openings which made early entry useless, they were all breaking down a lot throughout the day, and it just left a really sour taste in my mouth. Sad to see nothing has changed. I've been to CP 5x and haven't had a good day at the park since 2006. CP doesn't deserve all the praise that it gets, honestly the park sucks, and much as I hate to say it makes SFMM and SFGADV actually look decent.

Last edited by the_man, Sunday, May 6, 2018 3:08 AM
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Sunday, May 6, 2018 8:24 AM

This would make a fun post over at PointBuzz.

I live in Ohio and visit CP a lot. I’m not a great defender, but the issues you present don’t seem like the norm, at least for later in the season. They do, however, seem like the norm for any given opening day lately and I wouldn’t be caught dead there expecting an A+ experience.

One thing I know is they didn’t get much of a dress rehearsal day. Friday was really windy and most rides didn’t operate.

I wouldn’t be surprised if their maintenance department isn’t spread pretty thin, even on a regular basis. And I don’t know how staffing runs, but I’ve always had the impression that it’s pretty much a crew of local boys.

I’m sorry you had a crappy time. Did you sound off to the park?

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Sunday, May 6, 2018 8:36 AM

TimberRider - is that you?

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Sunday, May 6, 2018 10:51 AM

I've seen a few similar reviews from Saturday, and a few responses that suggest this is typical for a CP opening day. I don't understand why that's the case, but apparently it's the norm. My suggestion is to try back in late August, week before Labor Day. We were there last year and everything was a walk-on except Maverick and Valravn, those were about 20 minutes.

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Sunday, May 6, 2018 11:19 AM

I’ve never been to Cedar Point (or most other parks) for opening day, but this seems to be the norm. And not just at CP. We came to Darien Lake to camp overnight for opening weekend. Same story. Half the rides closed, 2/3 food & games closed, beautiful weather, big crowds. Oh and their new for 2018 Coaster is still under construction. Now of course none of this is on the scale of Cedar Point. But I think a lot of it stems from trying to open earlier and earlier in the year. If you can’t staff the park and/or be ready to open, then you shouldn’t be opening the park. It just looks bad.

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Sunday, May 6, 2018 11:50 AM

I’ve been to my fair share of opening days at regional parks and they have uniformly bad. I’ve stopped going to them and find that by waiting a few weeks to allow the workers to learn their jobs things go much smoother. I’ve been down at SDC this weekend for the ACE event, yesterday was the perfect storm of a large amount of band kids, a regional hospital picnic, great weather and 400+ coaster enthusiasts. The park was packed (more then I’ve ever seen) but lines for the most part ran smoothly that I didn’t here much complaining from the GP I talked to (the park gave us ACErs Trailblazer passes so that was really nice) unlike the reports I heard about opening day a few weeks ago. Going opening day for the glory of being one of the first riders is not worth it unless you can be part of media day.

I’ve made a tradition the last few years of hitting Cedar Point for a few days before Coasterstock and I’ve had some great days, despite millions of school kids, running a park requires a lot of routine jobs, and it takes practice to do those jobs well.

Last edited by Touchdown, Sunday, May 6, 2018 11:50 AM
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Sunday, May 6, 2018 5:28 PM

This sucks to hear. We went for the Hoedown on Tues and it went off pretty much like a well oiled machine. (I heard Mon and Wed didn't go as well.)

With all of the trouble they seem to be having this weekend, I'm glad we got to go when we did. Kudos to them for the Hoedown. I think they did a smart thing trying to spread some of the eagerness out to some earlier days. Hopefully they get this sorted out.

I hear today is single train operations on SV and they handed out boarding passes which quickly ran out.

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Sunday, May 6, 2018 6:14 PM

Not having been there, I have to wonder to some extent if the spring season may have impacted the park much more than normal. You have to remember that about 3 weeks ago, all of Northwest Ohio was blanketed in Ice and snow, several inches to be complete. While not unheard of, it is unusual for that to occur the second weekend in April.

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Sunday, May 6, 2018 6:28 PM

I was there yesterday and it wasn’t nearly as bad as some of the folks on Twitter and Facebook make it out to be.

The suckiest thing was that other than Steel Vengeance, nothing was ready for Early Entry. The thought of getting laps on everything else while the masses went to Steel Vengeance was tempting. But when not a single coaster had cycled from 8:30-9am waiting for rope drop, we headed back to SV.

Valravn and Dragster were down but being actively worked on all day. Those downtimes may have been Opening Day related, but to me it was no different than any other day when they go down for several hours. Wicked Twister, Maxair, and Power Tower were likely just staffing issues. When Power Tower did open - it was only the two drop towers.

This was also the first time I had ever seen signage showing rides like Carousel and Cedar Downs would only operate from 10-3. Again, staffing.

I wonder if opening for the first weekend in May instead of the second has really made it that much more difficult to get up and running these last few years.

Either way - we had an excellent time. I’ll brag and say I got a SV ride before the accident. But if even if I hadn’t, I still would have had an excellent time.

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Sunday, May 6, 2018 7:47 PM

the_man said:

I've been to CP 5x and haven't had a good day at the park since 2006. CP doesn't deserve all the praise that it gets, honestly the park sucks...

You should have put this first so I could stop reading until getting here. You have been to Cedar Point 5 times in 12 years and not once had a good day?

I hope by the time you're 55 you get at least one.

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Monday, May 7, 2018 4:30 PM

Obviously this TR was my first post, as i've always been more of a reader and observer than a complainer. But what really peeves me off about this situation is that it keeps happening every time I go to CP, where so many of the coasters are not ready for early entry. I keep getting suckered into spending to staying on property and then we end up walking around playing a game of trying to figure out what is open or going to open soon

I can see a bunch of people in a room and brainstorm ways to increase revenues

Finance guy: "We can drive revenue and length of stay by offering a perk of early entry."

Everyone: "Yea thats a great idea!"

Maintenance manager: "Cool, does this mean i'm going to get additional labor hours to make sure the rides are running since we are going to be open longer?"

Finance guy: "F that, that cost money, you can deal with it."

President: "What the finance guy said. Lets do it!"

And it doesn't matter to them anyway because they're not the ones getting yelled at, they got young kids making $9 an hour that can stand there and get yelled at. They know they are getting peoples business anyway because of how little competition there is in the regional amusement park industry.

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Monday, May 7, 2018 5:57 PM

I think you have a gross misunderstanding of how the company operates.

Staffing challenges do seem to get worse, but ride issues on opening day is hardly a new phenomenon, at any park. Crews were cycling rides the last two weeks, but it doesn't mean that stuff doesn't still not work.

I'm not being an apologist, but if you have a bad time every time, I'm a little skeptical that the problem lies entirely with the park.

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Tuesday, May 8, 2018 12:10 AM

Jeff said:

I'm not being an apologist, but if you have a bad time every time, I'm a little skeptical that the problem lies entirely with the park.

Spoken like a man who's never been to a Six Flags.

(I kid, I kid)

(Except I'm really not kidding.)

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Tuesday, May 8, 2018 3:12 PM

I debated between going to CP or Waldameer for Opening Day and opted to take the family to Waldameer. Glad we made that choice as only the Spider was down and all other rides including their new Zamperla Samba Balloon were up and running. Granted, Waldameer is a fraction the size of CP, but regardless, it was nice to see the park in tip-top shape, with friendly employees and all of the classics operating as expected. Ravine Flyer 2 is still hauling and was tracking beautifully after 10 years.

Hoping to get to CP the week of Memorial Day as by then the usual bugs and kinks are mostly worked out and the staffing improves. At least that's how it usually works... ;)

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Tuesday, May 8, 2018 3:58 PM

Jeff said:

Staffing challenges do seem to get worse

^This.^ I'm in a different part of the country, but my company has had a harder time finding part time help in the last 2 years than in any of my prior 18 years there. There's a number of reasons why, mainly the economy driving down unemployment and employers traditionally staffed by full time employees paying high hourly rates to part time employees working below the average weekly hours threshold of the affordable care act.

If you go to a park five times and can't find a way to enjoy it even one time, you're definitely not operating on my scale of "any bad day at a park beats the hell out of a good day at work." There's plenty of ways to just luck into having a good time, largely by avoiding traditionally crowded days, days when the weather stays bad from open to close, and days when less than stellar operations are widely reported like opening weekend.

Last edited by bigboy, Tuesday, May 8, 2018 4:25 PM
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Tuesday, May 8, 2018 6:29 PM

Said this in my original post and will say it again because nobody seems to be reading my original post. All the major coasters closed in the morning were NOT because of being short staffed of seasonal college age workers. There were plenty of workers there to open the rides in the morning.

They were closed because lack of maintenance staffing (usually full time, higher pay employees). It's their job to put the rides together in the pre-season and make sure they are running reliably, its their third shift workers that do preventive maintenance, and its their first shift workers that make sure the rides are ready for operations to get them on time in the morning.

All the rides around Wicked Twister being closed at night, all the flats that had limited hours, and the crappy food service, that is a lack of seasonal staff. The issues of the coasters not being ready and being unreliable are because they don't budget the proper amount of maintenance staff for the huge amount of rides they have.

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Tuesday, May 8, 2018 6:36 PM

Also the last time I went to CP before this Dragster, MF, and Maverick all had delayed openings (this is before Gatekeeper and Valravn were built) and none of them opened until well after the park opened for day guests.

And not only that, after they opened all three of those coasters broke down while we were in line (for all of them). Maverick broke down at least 2 or 3 times while we were in line and it was closed several times we walked by it. Dragster was breaking down all day as well, and we waited outside MF's entrance for it to open, it opened and ran for 30 minutes or so, and broke down again while we were in line. Wicked Twister also broke down while we were in line.

I understand that Intamin makes crappy rides and this is probably why they haven't bought one in a long time, but this kind of crap is totally unnaceptable. All of these major rides shouldn't constantly be breaking down.

And what is the excuse for Gatekeeper and Valravn both having delayed openings? Is going 0/2 on B&Ms in addition to being 0/4 on Intamin's something that I should expect when I go to CP?

Look at California Screamin at DCA, an Intamin LIM launch coaster. I've ridden that thing probably 50x over the course of many years and have never seen it break down. Not once. It runs five trains, launches a train once every minute, and runs like a well oiled machine.

I have ridden Maverick 6 times and seen it broken down at least 10x.

Last edited by the_man, Tuesday, May 8, 2018 6:59 PM
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Tuesday, May 8, 2018 9:35 PM

the_man said:

They were closed because lack of maintenance staffing (usually full time, higher pay employees). I

How exactly did you come to this conclusion?

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Wednesday, May 9, 2018 12:50 AM

Do you have to ask? He's the man. He's been to like, 67 theme parks all over the world...many of them several times.

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Wednesday, May 9, 2018 2:13 AM

Because each coaster had like 5 kids standing on the platform waiting around for the ride to be handed over to them.

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