CoasterBuzz Podcast #195 posted

Posted Monday, October 25, 2010 12:49 AM | Contributed by Jeff

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

  • BooBuzz on a Friday night at Cedar Point was an epic success. Gonch hit the haunts, Carrie got her first ride on Dragster while she was disappointed with Breakers Express. Crazy busy weekends for Cedar Point again this year.
  • Park staffing late in the year is clearly a problem for Cedar Point.
  • Carrie did the VIP tour at Dorney Park, a perk for her Coasting For Kids fundraising. You can still donate to Give Kids The World.
  • SeaWorld Orlando births a new orca. Jeff loves the circle of life stuff, blood and all.
  • Area around Carowinds wants to clean up and better deal with traffic.
  • Morey's ditches its giant slide, and we all wonder where they went. Was it the nuckle burns?
  • Pony Express investigation complete at Knott's, brake fins were apparently painted, contributing to failure. Was someone fired?
  • Cedar Point says "changes not required" to asylum attractions in response to mental illness advocacy group.
  • Holiday World sets another attendance record. What will the Kentucky Kingdom impact be?
  • A thrill park on International Drive in Orlando: Viable?
  • Busch Gardens Tampa is building a low to the ground, multiple launch ride. Gonch is skeptical, Jeff thinks the proximity to scenery can make or break it.
  • Still no word on what's up with Hollywood Rip Ride Rocket at Universal Studios Florida.
  • Q Funding calls out Dick Kinzel, wants a vote to split CEO and board duties. Hilariously, the SEC filing references CoasterBuzz.
  • Church and school groups criticize scorn lover story of haunt attractions at Busch Gardens Tampa. Kids are stupid, sure, but they're not that stupid.
  • Six Flags Magic Mountain announces Green Lantern. Strange low capacity choice for a park that size.
  • Legoland Florida is doing a good job keeping the park on the news radar. So not like Hard Rock Park. The Lego brand is very strong right now.
  • Seattle waterfront Ferris wheel? Jeff is all for it.
  • You can get the latest headlines on CoasterBuzz from the Twitter. Follow us @coasterbuzz. You can also like us on Facebook.
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Link: CoasterBuzz Podcast

Monday, October 25, 2010 2:15 AM

I'm not surprised about the end of season staffing problems. That's what happens when you cut the bonus for seasonal workers.

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Monday, October 25, 2010 9:41 AM

Jeff: That would be Plymouth Rock Cafe.

Thanks, Paula

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Monday, October 25, 2010 9:58 AM

Now I'm kind of concerned that I've been on giant slides all these years and never ridden them correctly. Apparently I've been missing that "tingly" feeling in my butt....

Nice podcast, you three. And let met just commend you on those shout-outs. ;)

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Monday, October 25, 2010 11:25 AM

It's hard to say if people are making two visits (regular season and HalloWeekends) to Cedar Point. The park still gets around 3 million guests in a season, the same as they have for the past 30 years in shorter seasons. A couple years, maybe 1993/94, the park did upwards of around 3.5 million, back when there weren't 100,000 guest HalloWeekends in October. So apparently there has been a shift in how and when guests visit the park.

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Monday, October 25, 2010 1:19 PM

Raven Maven said:


Jeff: That would be Plymouth Rock Cafe.

Thanks, Paula

That's exactly what we said just a few minutes later when the name came to us. :)

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Monday, October 25, 2010 2:40 PM

Or when Carrie looked it up. ;)

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Monday, October 25, 2010 2:48 PM

Anyone care to take a stab at why Cedar Point continues to have staffing issues, especially at what has become a financially critical point in the season, when we are in the middle of the worst unemployment crisis the country has seen since the Great Depression? It certainly is not the fault of the HR department.

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Monday, October 25, 2010 2:52 PM

Yeah, I'm not really buying that argument. And even if it's a genuine problem, so what? It's their problem, and they're big boys. They can find a way to fix it if they want.

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Monday, October 25, 2010 3:22 PM

Sure there is a staffing issue. But people still show up in ridiculous numbers every October. The incentive to increase the staff is a number appoaching zero.

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Monday, October 25, 2010 3:33 PM

Even IF the economy sucks, can the quantity and quality of employees be found if they are not paid "appropriately"?

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Monday, October 25, 2010 3:43 PM

Bozman hit it on the head, if you ask me. I mean, who needs 200 employees (or whatever) if guests are still beating down the doors when you have 50 (or whatever)?

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Monday, October 25, 2010 4:05 PM

I think you know where I put the blame on a lack of investment in HR.

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Monday, October 25, 2010 4:06 PM

^Apollo? ;)

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Monday, October 25, 2010 8:08 PM

While many of you think staffing is a "non-issue," to me personally it is a core issue when it comes to the financial health and success of the company. How much money was lost because food stands weren't open? How much money was lost because food or merch locations were understaffed creating long waits and people just gave up waiting? As Carrie pointed out, hotel rooms are a mess due to staffing issues, how is that negatively affecting the bottom line of out-of-park revenue? How much time and revenue is lost in having a non-stop revolving door of employees versus building a "team-spirit mentality" that is prevelant at places like Holiday World, Dollywood, etc? It's all Business 101 and at a time with a hefty debt load, a major investor breathing down your neck for "change" and a need to be "performance ready" every time the gates open to capture every dollar possible, I think I would be taking a very serious look at HR and adapting policies that bring it into the 21st century (or at least the 1990's, lol)

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Monday, October 25, 2010 8:59 PM

Great point, mlmem4s. Plus, that potential unearned profit could go towards adding some incentive for the employees to stay throughout the slow season.

I haven't listened to the podcast yet, but I have some experience with this...

My experience with Cedar Point is that applicants are pressured into contracting themselves into staying later into the Fall season before they are even hired, or during the hiring process. Once the late season rolls around, they figure out that it was probably a mistake, especially the ones who live a long distance form the park. During those last operating weeks, employees get a lot less hours, and those who can't go back and forth from home to the park really suffer.

In CP's defense, they do offer free rent during that time, so that does add $20 - $30 to your small paycheck.

I've noticed, even back when the bonus was $1 per hour, that a lot of people give up because of this, go home early, and break their contractual agreement with the park.

My personal story is that I found it really boring to work at Cedar Point during the late season, with all of the time off, and a lot less money to spend.

Too bad they wouldn't let me bring my money tree into the dorm. ;)

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Monday, October 25, 2010 9:02 PM

mlnem4s said:How much money was lost because food stands weren't open? How much money was lost because food or merch locations were understaffed creating long waits and people just gave up waiting?

Given the fact that the park was at, or near capacity over the last 3 Saturdays, all stands were open as far as I could tell, with plenty of people waiting in line, I would say that the ratio of money lost compared to the amount of salary not paid was jack / squat.

Of course you always have the option of leaving the park, but again, with the park at capacity who wants to leave just to have the hassle of getting back in? that was the question I had to answer the last 2 Saturdays, and while I have no love for Cedar Fair concessions, it was by far the lesser of two evils.

Edited because I suck at quotes.

Last edited by Bozman, Monday, October 25, 2010 9:03 PM
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Tuesday, October 26, 2010 11:51 AM

In response to Carrie's comments about Breakers Express. We last stayed there in early June, 2008. During our visit we were really surprised how pleasant our visit was. Most likely this was due to season just beginning, and the resort probably deteriorates as the season goes on up until October, when you stayed. I feel it's still better than most hotels in Sandusky.

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010 3:58 PM

I'm glad your experience was better than mine. I will say that my experience with the front desk at check-in was quite pleasant. My complaint resides solely with the quality of the room. I know it's slim pickings for quality hotels in Sandusky, but I still think there's no excuse for charging that much money for that little quality.

And really, is it ever really ok to offer a dirty room in a hotel?

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010 4:09 PM

We always seem to have a problem with dirty rooms in the late season at the point. When we stay in May or early June the rooms are alot cleaner. And, I agree with you Carreie there is no reason to charge that much money for such little quality. But, as has been posted before in other threads the majority of us still pay it for the convienence.

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