CoasterBuzz Podcast #165 posted

Posted Monday, December 7, 2009 1:13 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Jeff, Carrie, Mike and Pat review this week's news in the amusement industry.

  • Jeff goes to Disney World. What did they really do to Space Mountain? It didn't seem that different, aside from a lot of paint. New Hall of Presidents film is way cool. "Peterman" was doing the Candlelight Processional. Snow in Houston made travel difficult, and Seattle to Orlando is a lot longer than it looks.
  • Osborne Family Christmas light display at Disney Hollywood Studios is completely amazing.
  • The Kings Island versus Mason tax issue seems to sway overwhelmingly against. The panel seems to agree that it seems like an arbitrary money grab.
  • Universal Orlando fined by OSHA for accident involving worker in Dueling Dragons low zone, fences coming.
  • Six Flags Great America "saves" a family coaster from Kiddieland, but really they get a cheap ride that will be easy to market to families. Hardly the philanthropic cause it sounds like on the surface.
  • Busch Entertainment sale complete, new company called SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment.
  • Check out the Busch Gardens Christmas Town photos in the Day in Pictures forum.
  • Speaking of Christmas events, remember the one they started at Kings Island? Cedar Fair should have given it some time. Insert "old man's gotta go" rant here.
  • Yet another proposal for a Six Flags bankruptcy plan, including the suggestion that Six Flags shouldn't get to decide the only plan. Carrie doesn't care, she just wants to hear about the outcome of the bankruptcy.
  • A guy with a robotic wheel chair makes a big scene about how poorly Disney World treated him over his sweet chair. We can't help but feel that there's a certain amount of douchebaggery going on from him. Jeff can't honestly believe he would be "harassed" after just being at the parks, given their own employees and the accommodations they make.
  • The electric scooter thing is still out of control at Disney World. Jeff's wife wondered if you'd see the same thing at the Disney parks in Paris or Tokyo. They've become a crutch for anyone who just doesn't want to walk. Carrie believes that culturally even doctors want to treat the symptoms instead of the cause, and this is representative of that.
  • Additional thoughts on the goings on at Disney World during the holidays, including how they measure wait times.
  • CoasterBuzz Club is $25 per year. You can join or renew today. Enjoy CoasterBuzz with no ads.

Link: CoasterBuzz Podcast

Monday, December 7, 2009 10:47 AM

(haven't listened yet...but will...)

Space Mountain didn't just get a lot of paint, it also got some new walls and ceilings so that the "show building" (where the ride is) is isolated from the loading platforms. Pity that the paint on some of those new walls was so poorly applied that by the time I got there...one day *before* the official re-opening...it was already peeling off in large Chang-like chunks.

The other thing that Space Mountain got were a bunch of video game consoles in the queue in an effort to entertain the people who are stuck waiting in a short line that almost never moves. But I'll get to that rant another time. :)

--Dave Althoff, Jr.


    /X\        _      *** Respect rides. They do not respect you. ***
/XXX\ /X\ /X\_ _ /X\__ _ _ _____
/XXXXX\ /XXX\ /XXXX\_ /X\ /XXXXX\ /X\ /X\ /XXXXX
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Monday, December 7, 2009 12:13 PM
Jeff's avatar

Yeah, I think I mentioned that those games were not actually active ("proceed to the station"), and I can only wonder how short they are to keep people actually moving. +1 for dedicating the entire right side to the FastPass lane. :)


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Monday, December 7, 2009 1:52 PM

I got to see some people playing them, and the games are pretty short. It's a series of short, related but self-contained games, so one could easily move from controller to controller between games, and then it shuts down for a while. It's a neat idea, but it's also a shame that capacity is so low that such a tactic is necessary.

If they were running FastPass on the right-hand side, that is a dramatic improvement over what I saw on my last visit. That night, because the ride had been down for several hours, they were running *both sides* for FastPass in an effort to clear the backlog, so the people on the left hand queue really needed those games...

FastPass wouldn't be so bad if they would control the percentages at the merge point instead of just running the fastpass lane until it runs out of people, then sneaking the main queue into the gaps. And how they operate it is entirely dependent on who is operating the merge point.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.


    /X\        _      *** Respect rides. They do not respect you. ***
/XXX\ /X\ /X\_ _ /X\__ _ _ _____
/XXXXX\ /XXX\ /XXXX\_ /X\ /XXXXX\ /X\ /X\ /XXXXX
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Monday, December 7, 2009 1:56 PM
Jeff's avatar

No, FastPass "wouldn't be so bad" if they controlled the percentage in a way that favored standby. That's really what you're after. If they give out 100 passes for a time slot and use them all, then they are doing what they set out to do. The point of the pass is to not wait, not wait less.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Monday, December 7, 2009 2:16 PM

For the first hour that I waited for a ride where I got frozen out of FastPass, the attendant was letting as many fastpass people through who could fit through the gate, and the line I was standing in did not move at all unless someone bailed out.

Then there was a shift change.

After the shift change, the ride started running at about 80% FastPass. I would hardly call that "favoring standby". But at that point, the standby line actually started moving, and in fact by the time I got off the ride it was down to a metered 30 minute wait...and there was still no waiting in the FastPass queue.

Under crush loading there needs to be some control over the percentages either way, otherwise they would be better off just going 100% FastPass. But then, another park tried that once and we all know how well that worked out......

--Dave Althoff, Jr.


    /X\        _      *** Respect rides. They do not respect you. ***
/XXX\ /X\ /X\_ _ /X\__ _ _ _____
/XXXXX\ /XXX\ /XXXX\_ /X\ /XXXXX\ /X\ /X\ /XXXXX
_/XXXXXXX\__/XXXXX\/XXXXXXXX\_/XXX\_/XXXXXXX\__/XXX\_/XXX\_/\_/XXXXXX

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Monday, December 7, 2009 7:37 PM
LostKause's avatar

If you want to talk about treating the symptoms instead of the cause, Fastpass is still a very bad idea. High capacity should be the obvious solution.

Another thing that gets me, Some people CAN'T walk around a busy park all day long. Those people need a scooter, or else they can't visit. I know this from experience, as my mom can't go unless she has a scooter and a nearby hotel for an afternoon nap.

(Haven't listened to the podcast yet. I might later.)


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Monday, December 7, 2009 8:06 PM
Carrie M.'s avatar

LostKause said:


Another thing that gets me, Some people CAN'T walk around a busy park all day long. Those people need a scooter, or else they can't visit. I know this from experience, as my mom can't go unless she has a scooter and a nearby hotel for an afternoon nap.

(Haven't listened to the podcast yet. I might later.)

Easy, tiger. Listen to the podcast to hear the discussion. That same point was made.


"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

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Monday, December 7, 2009 8:13 PM
rollergator's avatar

"tiger"? LOL, that just means something completely different this week...but there has been some incredible comedy material, no? ;)

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Monday, December 7, 2009 8:32 PM

^ You mean a cheating, car-wrecking golfer who has a floozie for every day of the month? :)


Coaster Junkie from NH
I drive in & out of Boston, so I ride coasters to relax!

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Monday, December 7, 2009 8:39 PM
Carrie M.'s avatar

Whoops... wasn't meaning to make that connection. lol


"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

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Monday, December 7, 2009 8:55 PM
LostKause's avatar

lol. It reminded me of Spiderman. That's what MJ Watson calls Peter Parker.

GRrrrr! HA!


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Monday, December 7, 2009 9:08 PM
Jeff's avatar

I'd love to know what ride isn't running at capacity.

Seriously, every time people start to object to FastPass, it's because they didn't get one. I've been there four times in the last three years, in crowded and "off-season" times, and I have zero complaints about the system.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Monday, December 7, 2009 11:17 PM
LostKause's avatar

I get many fastpasses every time I am there. People have no choice, if they want to keep up.

I'm talking about designing the rides to have a higher capacity in the first place. Look at Haunted Mansion or Pirates. Great capacity; short wait.

Lets save it for the next big debate.


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Monday, December 7, 2009 11:27 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Maybe they should give FastPasses for the scooter line.


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Tuesday, December 8, 2009 12:19 AM
Jeff's avatar

OK, and what are the low capacity rides then?


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009 1:44 AM
The Mole's avatar

Jeff said:
I'd love to know what ride isn't running at capacity.

Seriously, every time people start to object to FastPass, it's because they didn't get one. I've been there four times in the last three years, in crowded and "off-season" times, and I have zero complaints about the system.

My problem with FastPass isn't with not getting one, or hell, even how it affects parks. It's with TDO and TDA management, their ideas for it, and trying to get more out of it than it actually is. But that's another discussion for another day...

As for electronic scooters, when I went in July (yes, July) I saw many many scooters, but didn't suffer from the murderous stampedes of fat, lazy people. Maybe I have blinders on, maybe it was just crowded and they couldn't fully accelerate, but I didn't see it on this trip. What I saw more was grandma or grandpa (yes, who usually were overweight) on them taking the kids around the park with mom and dad. Go figure, maybe I'm lucky and should thank my luck.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009 8:12 AM

Dumbo is low capacity, but they are fixing that.


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Tuesday, December 8, 2009 8:16 AM

Man, I was happy for Fastpass this weekend. We got into Disney Hollywood Studios and about 11:45 grabbed Fastpasses for Toy Story Mania. Our return time was between 6:10 and 7:10pm! So, we basically did everything else we wanted to do in the park while we "waited" for Toy Story.

When we arrived at our Fastpass time the Standby line was 110 minutes long. No way we would have attempted to ride at that time with several young kids in tow. I think our wait time with Fastpass was less than 15 minutes...typical of most waits for other attractions in the park that day.

(That is one great, FAMILY ride...by the way.)

As for the scooters...we had no more trouble with them than we did all of the strollers. Now, to be honest, we had a stroller for our three year old but we just took one of those lightweight, SMALL, umbrella strollers. The issue these days is most of the strollers are SUV size and getting those through a crowd or a store is difficult at best. Then you have double wides, Eddie Bauers, etc.

Now, another interesting benefit of Fastpass lines is that you don't need as much queue space. On a single ride that doesn't mean a lot (though they crammed Toy Story Mania into a pretty small building) but if you add up the potential area you could save on multiple attractions in a park then you could start seeing enough square footage saved to add other attractions, merchandise locations, etc.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009 9:44 AM

Dumbo is low capacity

But it doesn't have Fastpass, so it is not subject to LK's rant.

I'm guessing that Toy Story, Jungle Cruise, or Primeval Whirl are the lowest-capacity FP attractions.

Last edited by Brian Noble, Tuesday, December 8, 2009 9:46 AM
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