Darien Lake first time 6/24, Conneaut a no-go :(

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Thursday, June 29, 2006 7:14 PM
I decided to cut my trip short, the first 'run' of my trip is here http://www.coasterbuzz.com/forum.aspx?mode=thread&TopicID=45023

I left my Aunt's house in Springfield, Mass on Saturday around noon. I had planned to stop at lots of places, Seabreeze, Darien, Martin's, maybe even Marineland. And DEFINITELY Conneaut. Well, plans changed and I decided to make it a quick trip back home to Chicago, and I would only stop at the musts.

I've always wanted to go to Conneaut. I also decided that since I had the Six Flags pass I bought at Great Adventure a couple days prior, I could stop by Darien Lake. I arrived there around 7:45PM. I knew it was a Saturday, and prepared myself for going into another Six Flags park (never been here!).

My first ride was Viper. I really don't mind Arrow's too much, and this one always looked kinda nice in pics - especially with it's new 'phantom's revenge' paint job.

I lined up for the 2nd to back seat. Wearing my Devo "man is what man thinks" geeky tee, I knew I would get some funny looks. There are some inbred looking things on the back, not too different from some of the people I was standing in line with. "Must mean your a f*g" I heard from the couple lined up for the very back.

I wasn't in the best mood. Tired, hungry, alone, in a Six Flags park. I usually confront this sort of thing pretty head on, seeing that I am actually a f*g, but was encountering this sort of stupid behavior, which could be looked at as homophobia, hate crime, hate, whatever.

So I decided to be nice instead. I turned around to the 20 or 30 something couple (I won't judge, but there seemed to be a lot of 'local' types {see Deliverance, Wrong Turn, Hills have eyes, etc.}, and this pair was one of em!).

I smiled and asked them if they had been on this before, and asked how it was. Funny how when your nice to a stranger(s), after the get over the shock of realizing your not being mean or sarcastic, that it can actually make for a 'nice encounter' between two humans. The told me Superman was great, etc.... and they liked this one too.

So I stepped in, camera in hand. I know I know, but I didn't see any signs prohibiting cameras, etc. The attendant came over to me and kneeled down... "sir, cameras are not allowed on the ride.." I said "I'm sorry, I'll just put it in my pocket then" and smiled. He repeated himself in robotic six flags form... I told him that it was securely in my pocket and it would be safe.

He didn't let up. I told him I would like to speak to his manager. He said he was the manager. I said I would like to speak to his area supervisor.

Now picture this... I'm sitting there, being nice as possible. This guy was basically yelling at me. The station was crowding up. He then walked over to the phone and made a call and sat down. Then the phone rang, he picked it up, then walked back over to me. "He'll be right over, could you step over here." I was waiting for him to make some initiative so all these people didn't have to wait.

He went back over to the booth, throwing a fit the whole way. He told me he just has to do his job, and that he has 2 kids at home. I felt a little bad... So finally the manager came over (the attendant ran down the exit to catch a 'smoke' and greet him to tell him 'his side of the story' on the way up).

He basically told me 'cameras aren't allowed on the ride' b/c it can fly off and hurt someone. So I emptied my pockets - cell phone, wallet and big set of keys, and put them on the wooden exit rail. "So you want all this too? This can hurt someone too if it flys out" The camera was in a secure, buttoned pocket, and all this was in my open side pockets. He then proceeded to explain to me that a camera is much more dangerous than these items. OK... I kept cool and presented a very mature, adult debate (working on this stuff, it's tough!)

He said "were gonna let you on this time, but you can't bring your camera on again." Nice :) I know there are rules and stuff.. is it the 'If we see it in your hands, it can't go on' rule? Didn't say that anywhere. All the kids had cell phones, etc.. I thanked him and told him I would like to get my seat back now. He said go ahead. I told him I would like to make sure I get the seat that I was waiting for, before he left. I know it sounds b*tchy, but I was very nice about it.

So anyway, rode Viper, good ride. When I got off, I walked over the the attendant who I initially had it in with.. I told him I was sorry for giving him such a hard time, that I know he was only trying to do his job. He said "it's been a long day," and apologized. Good to make good out of a bad scene I guess.

Geez! Six Flags training, I dunno?

I moseyed over to the hang and bang. I don't mind these, they're rough, but more interesting to me than the Batmen (I've ridden them too much, always the same ride). The station was packed. One train. Loading was slow. I mean SLOW. I coulndn't figure out what was going on! So I walked out, back down, and out. I asked the attendant at the entrance why they were only running one train, and he said that the line wasn't "long enough."

Over to Superman. Wow, 2 trains! Slow loading. VERY slow loading. One of the attendants spent a good amount of time literally screaming at a kid jumping in line "I don't care, go to the end" on and on. I was embarassed for her. I started to pull my cam out to video her. Wanted to show her how she looked and ask her if she talks to all the guests that way. Put the camera away, Billy, you're not her boss, the little voice in my head said.

Superman was great. Looong not so exciting helices though...

Seems like Six Flags must have an across the board policy with seatbelts/lapbars and how you load the guests now. It's very slow. I mean rediculous.

Next was Predator. This thing looks great! Waited for the back seat. I knew it was gonna be rough by what I heard, and I could also see people's heads bouncing around on the ride.. Spent most of my time in line telling the 2 kids behind me why they cannot go ahead of me. One train operation. Slow loading. Like El Toro, all seatbelts, then do lap bars. I only waited 3 trains, but it was like 20 minutes.

Down the first drop, bam-pow! Hit a massive pothole/curb on the way down! OUch. That hurt. I mean hurt. Not since the Texas Cyclone was remodeled did I get hurt on the way down a drop. The drop after the first turn was bad too. OK, I'm ready to get off. The thing screemed around the curves, and some airtime. Could be a great top coaster if it got the TLC is deserves...

Ok, it's 9pm, I wanna get the other '2 credits' and high tail it outta here. Lots of teens smoking not only in the makeshift 'smoking permitted' areas, but all over the park.

I go over to the boomerang. Only one train to get the 2nd to back. I get in. Harnesses are checked. Harnesses are checked again. Then Harnesses pop up. Then down again. Then checked again. "May I have your attention... " the ride is broken down. So, uh, can we get out!?? After 5 mins, mr. maintenance comes up and tells mr. operator to let up the bars and tell us we can get back in line. So most people do. I just want the darn credit. I'm not gonna wait long! hehe :)

About 15 mins later, get my ride. I don't mind these things. I then walk over to Mind Eraser and get the 2nd to back on that. Now there's not many people in the station. Typical hang and bang, but this one has mist under it by the first drop. Nice touch! I still like these things!

I finished up my day taking night pics of the hurricane/big top ride (not sure the name, it used to be 'big top' at Great America) with my new digital camera. I felt bad about giving the guy at Viper a hard time (even though it was rediculous/inconsistent on six flags part). I decided to go give him a compliment in the name of safety.

The girl in guest relations was elated that I wanted to give someone a compliment. She gave me the form, and I wrote down only the good parts. Said he should be commended for his safety awareness, and that it must be a tough job (I know, I've done it!). That made me feel better, hope he gets the recognition.

Got in my car and found a true flea bag/trucker motel near Erie, Pa. Everything else was full, I was desperate for a bed. The bed was clean, but everything else was pretty grose! Looked like the place hadn't seen a soul in years. But I got my sleep, and got up the next morn excited for my long awaited rides on the Conneaut Blue Streak!

Before getting on the highway for my 1/2 hour drive to Conneaut, I thought I'd better phone first to make sure the ride was open. "Parks open, but the Blue Streak ISN'T!" What!!!?? "We're trying to get it open some time next week." I was really dissapointed, and later found out (here on Coasterbuzz) that the poor thing got hit by lighting.

Guess I'll have to go back. *** Edited 6/29/2006 11:21:51 PM UTC by J7G3***

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Thursday, June 29, 2006 7:27 PM
Blue Streak is open again. The only problem was the chain motor being burned out by the ligntning strike.
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Friday, June 30, 2006 1:29 AM
I know! It really stinks having missed it. How is it running these days? Have you ridden it with both NAD and Vettle trains? Which is better?
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Friday, June 30, 2006 2:44 AM
Hey, why aren't the comments about the locals getting the same reaction as Nate's comment about the south or Intamin Fan's comment about the midwest?

Stirring the pot. :)

And what's with the dissing the locals this season? It's the 'in' thing for TR's this year?

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Friday, June 30, 2006 3:15 AM
Sorry Gonchar :) Didn't mean to offend anyone. Actually, the whole 'local' or 'whitetrash' thing has a special place for me since I was raised (I mean reared) in Indiana :)

Really though, it was pretty rough there! Between bling bling poser thug types and the rest with poor dental hygeine, and bigger ears than me... It was quite the crowd.

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Friday, June 30, 2006 3:46 AM
No offense taken at all. Just an observation.
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Friday, June 30, 2006 6:47 AM
LG: Because nobody reads trip to Darien Lake. ;)

BTW: The generic name for GAms former Big Top ride (now Ricochet in SWT) is "Swing Around".

As for the "locals" thing, I think people just get used to traveling in similar circles and for whatever reason, this year, when they've ventured out of these circles, it has brushed them more than in years past.

I blame the gas prices! :)
lata, jeremy

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Friday, June 30, 2006 6:59 AM

J7G3 said:
I know! It really stinks having missed it. How is it running these days? Have you ridden it with both NAD and Vettle trains? Which is better?

I prefer the Vettle trains--much smoother ride and airtime experience. The NAD trains were a different experience--a much heavier train and a little more out of control. Hope you get a chance to get back to CLP. Hopefully when you return both the bug and train will be up and running as well.

Back to DL, I had the same experience with Predator--looks great but hammers very bad!

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Friday, June 30, 2006 9:19 AM
WHy do people like to torment ride ops who enforce the camera policy? Just do what they say, avoid making a scene,and then, if it really bothers you, go register a complaint at guest services.
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Friday, June 30, 2006 12:12 PM

millrace said:
WHy do people like to torment ride ops who enforce the camera policy? Just do what they say, avoid making a scene,and then, if it really bothers you, go register a complaint at guest services.

I was already sitting in the train, and I was alone. What was I supposed to do with my brand new digital camera? He was the one who made the scene. I was calm cool and collected ;)

Yes, I stuck to my guns, and in the end apologized (as did he) and gave him a compliment... Then when the 'area manager' came up, he was a blubbering mess, inconsistent on rules, and pretty much totally confused.

I hear ya... don't torment, but there's also a point where people doing a job are so far off, I'm not gonna get pushed around either...

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Friday, June 30, 2006 12:41 PM
So, let me get this straight. Those hateful homophobes that were judging you were those local inbread Deliverance types?

Uh-huh.

And you couldn't just hand over your camera, and decided to question the rules and in turn made a scene. Yet you were embarassed for the ride op at superman. She was making such a scene you had to fight the temptation to videotape the incident, to show her how silly she looked.

Uh-huh.

So...
1. Are you serious?
2. Did you read through this TR before posting it?

At least it's good to see at the end of the day you enjoyed yourself.

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Friday, June 30, 2006 12:45 PM
Understanding the Camera policy... but the ride ops at Darien are like ride Nazis or something. Grew up in Buffalo so I had my fair share of DL experiences (I also agree about the locals)! One time before riding Predator, the attendeant came through and checked the lap bars, my long leg kept the bar from going down any further. After he checked my bar, I readjusted my leg slightly. The attendant then realized my bar was up a little more than should be... comes over to me and says.. "Next time I catch you doing that I am going to throw you off the ride, and stapled me."(apparently he thought I was trying to keep the bar farther up on purpose) Safety is good, but we could have been a little nicer about it!!
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Friday, June 30, 2006 12:55 PM

Danimales said:
So, let me get this straight. Those hateful homophobes that were judging you were those local inbread Deliverance types?

Uh-huh.

And you couldn't just hand over your camera, and decided to question the rules and in turn made a scene. Yet you were embarassed for the ride op at superman. She was making such a scene you had to fight the temptation to videotape the incident, to show her how silly she looked.

Uh-huh.

So...
1. Are you serious?
2. Did you read through this TR before posting it?

At least it's good to see at the end of the day you enjoyed yourself.


1. Not too serious, how bout you?

2. No, let me re-read it.

Hey, I'm human too. I was poking fun, but never without poking fun at myself as well. I didn't call them hateful homophobes. Just the fact that the way they were acting was just as obnoxious as the way I was thinking. Did YOU read the TR?

And I asked the ride attendant at Viper to hold my camera, and he said no. So, I could have walked off, put it in my pocket, then got back in line. No. There were kids everywhere on that platform with cell phones...

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Friday, June 30, 2006 1:21 PM
Gay people :)
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Friday, June 30, 2006 1:24 PM
Your TR makes you sound like a jerkoff honestly. I don't know you and so I can't decide if you really are one.

Although since the ride op wouldn't let you put your camera in your pocket secured I thought that was a bit anal on the staff's side. Holding up the ride is something that would irritate the heck out of me if I were someone in line. It would be beneficial for both parties to leave the ride platform, duke it out, and find out who is right. ;)

But seriously, it sounds like you had a decent time there. I haven't been to DL in a long long time. But there's really nothing new that is drawing me back to the park. My wife would like to visit the park just to ride her first S:RoS and then bolt out of there before poor operations and customer service drives her out of her mind.

~Rob Willi

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Friday, June 30, 2006 1:24 PM
I would like to know why a camera in a buttoned pocket isn't allowed? Even strict Cedar Point allows me to ride with my digital camera in a buttoned pocket!
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Friday, June 30, 2006 1:32 PM

CPLady said:
I would like to know why a camera in a buttoned pocket isn't allowed? Even strict Cedar Point allows me to ride with my digital camera in a buttoned pocket!

Thanks CPLady! I agree!

HeyIsntThatRob - I agree, I was a bit of a jerkoff. That's why I apologized to him and gave him a written compliment in guest relations (at that point it didn't matter who was right/wrong, just wanted to make good of the situation.)

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Saturday, July 1, 2006 12:36 PM
J7G3, I think you may have reacted in the way you did because someone had just shouted something hateful at you. Not that you're not justified in reacting however you would want, of course... But if that hadn't happened, you might have reacted to the camera issue in a different way. Regardless, I applaud you for taking the "high road" - if that were me I don't think I would have returned nastiness with kindness - but that's what WE're supposed to be doing, right??? Not always easy when you're dealing with "a bunch of inbred things."

Anyway, I'm sure you realize (or realizeD, prior to the incident) that the crew staff can't really take personal responsibility for any of your carry on items while you ride. On rare occasions when I've brought a camera to a park, I make sure it's in the pocket well before any of the ride ops can even see me. But heck, I'm afraid my SUNGLASSES will get bent when I put them into my cargo pockets, never mind a digital camera..... but you're right in that ANY of the objects you pulled out of your pockets could be a harmful projectile if they're let go during the ride.

But good for you for having a great time on your own at the park. *** Edited 7/1/2006 4:36:44 PM UTC by ophthodoc***

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Saturday, July 1, 2006 4:49 PM

HeyIsntThatRob? said:My wife would like to visit the park just to ride her first S:RoS and then bolt out of there before poor operations and customer service drives her out of her mind.

*Precisely* what I had in mind when I returned to the park. Score the missing Viper credit, ride the daylights out of RoS, and get OUT of there..."mismanaged" is certainly a buzzword for that park - maybe Del Holland's younger brother is GM... ;) ....geez!

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Saturday, July 1, 2006 5:15 PM

He went back over to the booth, throwing a fit the whole way. He told me he just has to do his job, and that he has 2 kids at home. I felt a little bad... So finally the manager came over (the attendant ran down the exit to catch a 'smoke' and greet him to tell him 'his side of the story' on the way up).


That reminds me of the dude at Six Flags America that was complaining on his cell phone about how much he hates his job as he's checking the restraints on the Wild One.

That's always nice to hear.

I have been to Darien twice and have no desire to go back, unless I am "passing through" but I would rather go back to Seabreeze or even Marineland instead. :)

Too bad you didn't get to Conneaut! You will love it. Don't forget Waldameer as well. Nice little park, just watch out for the gangsta wannabe kids. ;)

-Tina

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