Difference is night and day

Wednesday, July 6, 2005 9:48 PM
I recently took a trip to Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom and had a decent time. Mostly I went because it is a cheap way to get a six flags pass, and I like thunder run and wanted to ride their shuttle loop (although it was down when I was there). There was something that I was disappointed when I went, and it had to do with guest relations, and overall customer service.

When I went, I thought that the price of the season pass would be 49.99, like it is online. However I was not aware that it was just an online price, and the price at the park was 59.99, so I had to pay 10 dollars more than I thought. When I went up to guest relations, they were kind of brief and said I could not get a rebate, or pay the 49.99 online price, so I had to live with paying 10 dollars more. Not the biggest deal, but they did not seem accomendating, or even sorry for the inconvience or confusion.

However there was more not so hot customer service to follow. I went on the water ride Penguin's blizzard river rapids, and I had with me these season pass coupons that you get with the season pass (like bring a friend free). However on the ride they got wet, and were not ruined, but I thought it would not be a bad idea to exchange them for a dry one. So I went to the season pass processing pass, and asked if I could exchange them for a new one. I was quickly answered with a no, and the employee did not even ask her supervisor or anything like that. I am not sure what the big deal is in exchanging a wet coupon packet for a dry one, but they seemed like it was a big deal.

Also Change was only running one train, and even though the park was not packed, its line was very long. Greezed Lightning was not open when I was there, and several shops, rides, and stuff were closed besides that. Consdiering this was sunday (july 3) and july fourth weekend, this seemed not acceptable. The park actually did have some people there, and although I did get on the wooden coasters with virtually no lines, the other rides had long waits. So I skipped Change.

Just recently I went to a weekeday (tuesday) at Paramount Kings Island, my home park and had a great time. All the major rides except for Delerium were opened, and running the maximum number of trains, even though the park was not that crowded. Italian job with 3 trains, really moves people and capacity wise might be close to the Beast, or other decent capacity rides at the park.

However the difference in customer serviecs, is shown in this following example. I was thirsty after riding the Italian Job, and wanted to relax before a Beast night ride. So I decided to get an ICEE and relax for a little bit. I gave the guy my 3 dollars, but they were having trouble with the register. So since it was taking a while to put my money in, he gave my money back and said it was free. I was not expecting that, and was greatly appreciative that he would do such a nice gesture. It just shows the difference in philosophy in both parks, and how they differ on values when it comes to guest experience.

I ended up using the money for fries and a drink, so the park still ended up getting my money , and actually a little more. I rode the beast front seat, and it was good like always. Actually had a shorter line than expected, so walked by and went on Adventure Express for a night ride on it.

I think 80 percent of guest, our repeat guest, meaning that this is not the first time in the park. So it seems that Paramount, Disney, Universal, Busch, and Cedar Fair understand that, and value the guest experience, knowing that it will effect if and how many times they visit the park again. Six Flags does not realize this, or is just beginning to understand this. Perhaps it could explain their not so great attendance, while other parks are doing great.

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Wednesday, July 6, 2005 11:00 PM
Good points here. I see the same thing at SFDL. Rude supervisors, 1 train operation, rides closed for no reason.

Both Paramount and Cedar Fair run on such a higher level that that is a major reason why Six Flags stock is selling for $4.00 a share and Cedar Fair's is up over $30.00.

Alot of the complaints with Six Flags parks aren't the lack of rides, they have tons, but the customer service.

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Wednesday, July 6, 2005 11:21 PM

Beast Fan said: Italian job with 3 trains, really moves people and capacity wise might be close to the Beast, or other decent capacity rides at the park.

I will admit that IJ moves relatively quickly, but has nowhere near the capacity of the Beast. IJ runs 12 riders per train; Beast runs 36. I doubt that IJ gets 3 trains through in the time Beast gets 1.

I agree that Paramount service is better than SF though.

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Wednesday, July 6, 2005 11:52 PM
DJ, have you clocked it?

It's been a while since I clocked the Beast, but when I've measured it, it was running at around 900 PPH. When I clocked Italian Job with two trains it was running 600 PPH easily, and with three they were getting out very close to the 45-second interval. If they make that interval, they'll move 900 PPH.

It takes less time to dispatch an Italian Job train than it takes to move a train on The Beast from the ready brake into the station. I expect the capacities on the two rides are very close. Next time I go, I promise I'll clock them both. :)

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Thursday, July 7, 2005 11:26 AM
Does IJ:ST at PKI have the separated load/unload like they do at PCW? That really helped move the peeps along, and I thought it had *really good* capacity considering...

On most of my visits to SFKK (none recent), Chang (no 'E') was running one train....no biggie to me, I think it's rough (lots of people disagree, and that's cool, I'd rather wait in line for Thunder Run (which also *should* be running two trains, LOL)...

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Thursday, July 7, 2005 2:17 PM
I agree. SFKK is a nice park, great coasters, like Greezed Lightnin', which i rode 10 times the last time i was there, but the guest services lack a lot of things.

The service at PKI is much better, and all of their rides are great. Especially SOB in the front seat.

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Thursday, July 7, 2005 2:17 PM
Yes, unload/load are separate at PKI.
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Thursday, July 7, 2005 2:28 PM
I was just at PKI this past weekend, and was blown away by how nice and friendly everyone was to us. We, at one point, after so many Racer rides that were non-racing runs, we complained to one of the ops. The first ride they were not locked in, and the ride op apologized. The next two times we got back in the station, they took care of it for us.

I also liked the fact that we were asked each time about our rides (not on the loud speaker, but personally to myself and my usband. We did geek out this weekend with wearing the varied coaster t-shirts, but it's that they notices, and seemed to care!).

And in terms of night and day, that staff at IJ:ST are incredible. They are nice and organized and seriously have the line control thing down. There is no way that that, and the loading platform ride could work at any SF park.

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Thursday, July 7, 2005 5:19 PM
Rideman, this past Monday I clocked IJ to pass the time in line. Fastest dispatch was 50 seconds; longest was over 90, average was about 75.
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Thursday, July 7, 2005 5:50 PM
Some SF Parks are better than others and some are making a point to correct customer service. I know the trend is to bash SF as a whole but really it's now time to bash just the parks that are for what they are lacking. On a recent trip to SF GAdv I saw All the operating coaster running max trains except S:UF and the only 2 coasters not operational were Batman:The Chiller (rumored to be operational soon) and Kingda Ka (we all know that situation). Staff was being very friendly and helpful. Saying excuse me when they checked restraints and such. The only thing I could say is they need more staff to stop stacking. Cause I can almost gaurantee that the one train ops on S:UF were due to an issue with the second train. *Hint to GAdv* get another train for that ride. One train ops on it is deadly for wait times and then VIP and QBot almost cause a riot over there when that line gets long.
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Thursday, July 7, 2005 6:53 PM
0:50 = 864 PPH (minimum interval)
1:30 = 480 PPH (maximum interval)
1:15 = 576 PPH (average interval)

Any numbers for The Beast?

The formula is: (3600/i) * r
where i = dispatch interval [seconds]
and r = passengers per dispatch [people]

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Thursday, July 7, 2005 7:14 PM
RideMan: I was a former ride operator on the Beast, 2001-2003, and with the new braking system 900 people a hour is what the capacity typically was. I think once, when I was checking lapbars, I broke 1000, but that was very rare. With the skid brakes the capacity was actually a little better, but I could be wrong. I only worked one year with the skid brakes.

The reason why I would say that , even though the skids could only stack one train on the bridge (brake run), was that blocks 2 and 3 were not grouped. So a train could be going over lift one, as long as the train ahead was up around halfway up lift 2. However now the train ahead has to clear lift 2, before the train can go over lift 1. So that is why lift 1 is so slow, because it is waiting for the other train to get over lift 2. Once it does, you will notice that it speeds up, but then goes over slowly over the top, like it does regardless of the position of the other train.

Italian Job with a good crew working might be able to cycle 3 trains before the Beast does 1. Considering the ride is probably a minute, and 30 seconds to unload, and 30 seconds to load. So that gives a cycle time of 2 minutes. So that is 90 cycles of 12 a person, or a theoretical capacity of 1080. The best I did with the Beast when I was working there was 30 cycles and 1020 people or so. So I think they are around equal, but then again, perhaps someone that works there or knows more about this could comment.

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Thursday, July 7, 2005 9:55 PM
No way are they going to get 1,080 PPH on Italian Job. The brick-wall limit on that thing is the 45 seconds that it takes to get from the station to the last tunnel. The absolute minimum dispatch interval is 45 seconds because the ride can't dispatch until the block brake (with the show) is clear...that's the only set of brakes between the launch and the end of the ride. So it's limited to 960 PPH. The only way they could improve on that would be to cut down or eliminate the mid-course show. I'm not sure how long the show runs, but just eliminating it might not be enough to shorten the cycle time. It takes about 15 seconds to get from the show to the safety brake, and then some additional time to get to unload. So if they get an insanely great crew and a couple thousand expert riders who aren't carrying any crap with them, it might be possible to get the cycle time down to 40 seconds (1,080 PPH), but that would be exhausting for the crew, and that might require moving the trains in the station faster/closer together than they're designed to go.

I know what you mean about the new Beast blocking. I guess the mid-course brake shed was once a block brake. I don't quite understand why they require that the train clear the second lift before the next train can clear the first lift; in theory (and in fact I think this is how Adventure Express was, if it isn't now) the block between the lifts could end about half-way up the second lift. The problem with that is that it would be possible to get two trains on the second lift, which could get messy. But it wouldn't be unsafe.

But then, that isn't nearly so mystifying as the blocking rule that prevents a train on the holding brake from entering the station until after the train that just left the station passes the switch. Once the train leaves the station, it isn't coming back; they should close the station brakes and let the next train start coming in. Perhaps refuse to open the brakes for parking until the train ahead passes the switch, but it takes long enough to get from the holding brake into the station that it shouldn't be a problem under normal conditions.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Sunday, July 10, 2005 1:08 AM
Beast Fan, if you think the customer service at SFKK is bad, try visiting SFA. Worst ride ops ever!
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Sunday, July 10, 2005 1:11 AM
I liked SFA. Friendly staff, good operations, great ride selection. I would say the same thing about my exp. at SFGAm...
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Sunday, July 10, 2005 1:19 AM
Tekno maybe I just hit SFA on a bad day then. Every ride op was acting like it was either really painful to do their job or just generally disinterested. I was beginning to think I was back at SFWOA circa 2003.
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Sunday, July 10, 2005 2:11 AM
Thillerman1 you are right SFA is the worst customer service ever. SFA is the worst park I have ever visited,just read some of my past posts.Lazy employees, dirty park, many broken down seats on rides. I have said this before: I will never visit SFA again!

SF Darian Lake also likes to make you wait 1 hour or more to ride Superman and run just 1 train. Run the 2nd train Please!!!

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Sunday, July 10, 2005 3:58 AM
That's the thing about SF parks. They are all run based on the local management of each respective park. You can't just lump the whole chain together.

SFGAm just seems to get it right in the SF chain. On a consistent basis, the coasters at this park run like this:

Whizzer: 2-3 trains

Demon: Always 2 trains, sometimes 3

Viper: Always 2 trains

Raging Bull: 2-3 trains

Deja Vu: duh, 1 train

American Eagle: 2 trains on both sides

Iron Wolf: Always 2 trains

Spacely Sprocket Rockets: duh, 1 train

Vertical Velocity: duh, 1 train

Batman: The Ride: Always 2 trains

Superman: Ultimate Flight: Always 2 trains unless one of them has problems.

Ragin Cajun: between 4-5 cars.

Bottomline: Unless the coaster is just set up for one train, this park will run multiple trains even on light attendance days.

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Sunday, July 10, 2005 4:22 AM
That was one of the things I did like bout SFGAm, I thought that (at the time) everything needed painting, and the staff could have stood to be a little friendlier in some places the day I was there (don't get me wrong, was some nice ones in the park, but majority was 'meh'), but they did have good capacity all day.

I do want to get back up there, still need Spacely & Whizzer (hopefully), and they've added 4 new ones since I've been. Plus I miss Raging Bull.

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Sunday, July 10, 2005 12:47 PM
I was pretty dissapointed with PKI this past weekend. It was their fourth of July celebration and they closed all major lines except for the Italian Job at 8pm for the fireworks which were to start at 10pm and did not re-open them after. The park was packed.

SFGA on the other hand was awesome, they kept all their lines open right up until the park closed at 10pm and allowed everyone to get their ride. They generally hit their intervals, when I timed Batman they hit interval to the very second.

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