Dorney Park or Hersheypark

Tuesday, January 18, 2005 3:48 PM
"I have never seen two trains on Laser"

Laser hardly ever runs 2 trains for a good reason. When it does, the 2nd train WILL sit in reduction. The ride cycle time is so short (around 30 seconds - you try to safely load a train that fast) that the queue line has to be REALLY busy in order for them to get the extra benefit from two trains.

"and have seen two trains on Talon about half the time"

Talon almost always uses two trains, except for repairs or other non-normal operating reasons. Same thing with Steel Force - If its not running all 3 trains.

"There were also some bizarre procedures going on in which they only loaded half the train on some rides."

Thunderhawk (& the now defunct Hercules) will have the back cars of the train closed off if rider volume is light and simply for maintenance reasons. Why run the train with just one or two people several times, when they can wait just a little bit longer and have an half full train - and still keep things organized on the loading platform. Also guests on the midway will see that a coaster is not 'running' when it is in the station waiting and will often bypass the ride. By limiting seats they have do a better 'job' with the non-enthusiast guest.

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Tuesday, January 18, 2005 3:59 PM
Actually the reason for closing off the back cars on light days are because of the seat belts. I talked with a supervisor at Thunderhawk the one day about it, and they have to buckle every seatbelt that doesn't have someone in it. This greatly slows down operation if you're sending out half-filled trains on a regular basis if the crowd is light. So, they close them down to prevent the "scattering effect" where people have a tendency of sitting in the seats that are buckled, and leaving the unbuckled ones empty. It greatly speeds up efficiency in the long-run since they only have to check half the train and don't have to buckle 6-10 seatbelts every dispatch.
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Tuesday, January 18, 2005 4:17 PM
Isn't it a little ridiculous to worry about efficiency when you're only filling half the train anyway?



Laser hardly ever runs 2 trains for a good reason. When it does, the 2nd train WILL sit in reduction. The ride cycle time is so short (around 30 seconds - you try to safely load a train that fast)

That's simply untrue. It takes more than 30 seconds to get up the lift, much less to complete the entire cycle.

dptalon135: I'm impressed that you were at Dorney every single day this past season to witness Talon's operations. Really, that's quite a feat.

-Nate

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Tuesday, January 18, 2005 4:30 PM
No, it's not ridiculous. You're confusing 'efficiency' with 'capacity'.

They don't do it to increase capacity - they only do it on light days anyway. However, they are running more efficiently. There's a big difference.

For someone who mocks me for saying similar things, I'm surprised you said 'That's simply untrue', because it's not. It may be your perception, that is true, but you can't blanketly say it's wrong. Do you know how the coaster operates? The "lift" chain actually goes through the station. This means that a second train can not begin to enter the station until the first train clears the lift hill. From the point that the train clears the lift, it's just under 30 seconds until that train hits reduction. No matter how good your crew is, you'll have stacking. Thus, they only run it on really busy days in order to get capacity as high as possible.

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Tuesday, January 18, 2005 4:40 PM

coasterdude318 said:
dptalon135: I'm impressed that you were at Dorney every single day this past season to witness Talon's operations. Really, that's quite a feat.

Yeah I know... that happens when you work there...

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Tuesday, January 18, 2005 4:56 PM
Capacity vs efficiency:

I would rather see a coaster dispatched in a reasonable length of time (efficency) then to see the crew waste time trying to fill EVERY seat (capacity).

I forget what park I was at, but I remember a crew actually moving single riders around to make room for double riders, etc, holding up the train to look for single riders etc to fill the seats. The trains went out completey and totally full, but loading took "forever". Almost 100% capacity, but terrible efficiency.

On the other hand... Knoebels Phoenix is a good example of Efficency. I've seen trains dispatched with 4 or 5 seats in a row filled with single riders. The crew did nothing to try to fill them. Buzz bars went up, people got out of the train, new people got into the train, buzz bars came down and were checked, and the train was dispatched. VERY efficient. Capacity was not 100%... but it wasn't terribly bad... however the EFFICIENT operation made up for not sending out every train with every single seat filled.

When I'm waiting in line, I'd rather see a train dispatched efficiently than have the crew go through a big production number just to fill every single solitary seat at the cost of very slow dispatch times.

There is a fine line... go for the capacity, as long as that does not tear down the efficiency.

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Tuesday, January 18, 2005 5:06 PM
^ Exactly! Which is why half the train is closed of on the Thunderhawk when crowds are low.
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Tuesday, January 18, 2005 5:16 PM
ROFL....wait 'til SLFAKE gets to SFAW to ride Viper...they absolutely positively refuse to dispatch, EVER! Took over 10, closer to about 15 minutes to send out one train, due to their monkeying around trying to make CERTAIN that no single riders left...I understand liability and all, but would it have killed them to either A) put up some decent signage, or B) to have filled the sinlge seats in SOME sort of efficient manner...

Worst.Crew.EVER!

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Tuesday, January 18, 2005 5:18 PM
Gee, I thought vs. topics weren't allowed on CB.
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Tuesday, January 18, 2005 5:24 PM
It's not a vs. topic.

Someone was asking for comparisons on the 2 parks to they could make an educated decision on which park to visit.

With the exception of one or 2 people in this thread, most have mentioned their experiences, and even offered what motivators would be better for each park (i.e. "coke - go to hershey, peps - go to dorney" etc.)

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Tuesday, January 18, 2005 6:03 PM
LOL, how can you go wrong, both parks have an Anton AND a Schmeck...even if both Schmecks are *over-tamed*...

Did I mention I hate Pennsylvanians? ;)

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Tuesday, January 18, 2005 6:08 PM
Dorney, for wild water kingdom and Hydra

Hershey,for Storm Runner and Tidal force

Either way you should get wet and a new credit *** Edited 1/18/2005 11:09:30 PM UTC by funnel cake***

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Tuesday, January 18, 2005 6:30 PM

dannerman said:
No, it's not ridiculous. You're confusing 'efficiency' with 'capacity'.

But why is there a need to be efficient if there is no line? Why sacrifice guest experience for unnecessary efficiency? Look, if there's no line, the extra thirty seconds it takes to deal with seatbelts in the back half of the train isn't going to hurt anybody. If there is a line and they're only filling half the train, then capacity is being sacrificed for the sake of efficiency. It just seems like a bizarre and unnecessary procedure to me.



For someone who mocks me for saying similar things, I'm surprised you said 'That's simply untrue', because it's not.

Do you think it might be possible I forgot about the train advance situation on Laser? The difference between what I said and the things you say is that I didn't tell him his experiences were wrong. I was trying to correct what I thought was an incorrect fact.

I'm surprised that you'd praise CP for running five trains on Dragster when a fifth train is questionable, but excuse Dorney from running two trains on their ride when it's needed. What was it that was said in the other thread? That extra thirty seconds is still an extra thirty seconds to load a train? Why change your mind now?


dptalon135 said:
Yeah I know... that happens when you work there...

Wow, those 92-hour work weeks must be tough.

-Nate
*** Edited 1/18/2005 11:39:32 PM UTC by coasterdude318***

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Tuesday, January 18, 2005 6:42 PM
For me, it's simply a choice of "do I go East on I-78 (to Dorney) or West (to Hershey)?" The parks are about the same distance from my house, and take the same amount of time to get there. But far more often, I've gone toward Hershey. In fact since 2000, I've been at Dorney twice, both on Halloweekends. So why is this? Hmmmm.

I enjoy the coasters and other rides at both parks, and I don't kid myself that I'm expert enough to thoroughly dissect a riding experience, park operations (beyond the obvious), etc. As far as I'm concerned they're fun, period. Some more fun than others.

One thing I really like about Hershey is the way the coasters and other rides interact with the terrain and with each other. Obviously, it takes more effort to design and construct a ride that comes crosses over, under or through an existing ride. And many of the rides pass through the different "areas" of the park. Even "tame" rides like the train and monorail interact with other rides. You can't do that with clones.

Dorney's rides on the other hand are more self-contained, and the park itself seems like its more terraced along the hillside. For example, compare Talon and Great Bear. Is that bad? No, I like both rides; I just like the way Hershey is laid out better.

Dorney also has a few deadends which I don't like. That wall beyond Laser always makes me think of the marching band in Animal House. And I keep missing that bridge crossing over to Steel Force (which I'll chalk up to 4 years between visits). Even in Hershey's Midway America, which is basically the end of the road, the path kind of loops around, so you don't necessarily have to leave the exact same way you came in.

Not that there aren't things about Hershey I don't like. Comet takes a ridiculously long time to load and dispatch. IMO it's because of the seatbelts. Most people end up sitting on them, and the part toward the outside of the car barely comes up beyond most people's thighs making it a ***** to buckle. I prefer Storm Runner's OTSRs to that contraption. Every time I was there this past year, the returning train would have to sit outside the station for a good 2-3 minutes. I'm not a fan of their pizza, and their Whip is kinda lame. Point for Dorney.

But I think the one thing I definitely don't like about Dorney is the large percentage of unchaperoned kids-- I guess the park's proximity to the city and most of the burbs makes it easy to just drop em off and pick them up 6 hours later. In October when I left the park (after 11) there were a number of teens and even pre-teens standing alongside Route 222 (a 4-lane highway) waiting to be picked up. I think that's the biggest knock I have against Dorney and why I prefer Hershey.

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Tuesday, January 18, 2005 7:08 PM

coasterdude318 said:
But why is there a need to be efficient if there is no line? Why sacrifice guest experience for unnecessary efficiency? Look, if there's no line, the extra thirty seconds it takes to deal with seatbelts in the back half of the train isn't going to hurt anybody. If there is a line and they're only filling half the train, then capacity is being sacrificed for the sake of efficiency. It just seems like a bizarre and unnecessary procedure to me.

See above effect on how when a guest see's a running coaster versus a coaster in the station. If its not moving, its assumed to be closed (or broken).



Wow, those 92-hour work weeks must be tough.

Especially when you have access to train logs [ie when the trains where on/off the track] for the times you are 'off-duty.' Also a fairly large portion of Dorney's employee's actually work over 80 hours a week, and its actually can be quite fun! *** Edited 1/19/2005 2:42:20 AM UTC by UdoTch***

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Tuesday, January 18, 2005 7:53 PM

coasterdude318 said:
B
ut why is there a need to be efficient if there is no line? Why sacrifice guest experience for unnecessary efficiency?

Because guest experience isn't sacrificed. Would you be happy with a park who insists on pairing up single riders on a slow day? Probably not. You'd be saying "c'mon, why can't you just dispatch this train already?"

Try looking at "the big picture". That is, look at it from the park's point of view where all guests are equal. It seems like you're looking at it from the point of view of King Nate. If something slows *YOU* down, it's not the best operation. Never mind the 12 other people sitting in the train that are each inconvenienced an extra minute. We must wait for your majesty. *sarcasm off*



Do you think it might be possible I forgot about the train advance situation on Laser?

Nope. I think it's possible you were misinformed.


The difference between what I said and the things you say is that I didn't tell him his experiences were wrong. I was trying to correct what I thought was an incorrect fact.

First, his post was based on his experiences of working at the park. Second, I was trying to correct what I thought was an incorrect fact. You said that half the time Talon is running only 1 train. I was saying that is not the case. I just didn't bother with the extra 2 paragraphs to make it clear I wasn't contradicting your [limited] experience, but rather pointing out that your experience is not indicative of normal operation. I've been there too much to know exact numbers, but I'm not exaggerating when I say I'm at that park around 80% of the days it's open. How much have you been at the park?


I'm surprised that you'd praise CP for running five trains on Dragster when a fifth train is questionable, but excuse Dorney from running two trains on their ride when it's needed. What was it that was said in the other thread? That extra thirty seconds is still an extra thirty seconds to load a train? Why change your mind now?

I'm not changing my mind. There's a huge difference when the line is 2 hours long and when the line is 20 minutes. Again, King Nate, contrary to what you think, a second train is not needed on the Laser except on saturdays and occasionally on fridays when I've personally experienced lines just under an hour - with 2 trains. Yes, you are correct - that extra train will help capacity (even if minimally). However, when the guest is waiting 9 minutes instead of 10 minutes, a competent business person will question if it's really worth all the extra stress and wearing down of the employees. In an attempt to be crystal clear, if the line for TTD is under an hour, then I don't think that 5th train should be used, either. That's not changing what was said.

Now that you mention it - why are YOU changing your mind? Didn't you say that if there's a significant amount of stacking, it doesn't help? Well, there's definitely significant stacking each and every time I've seen Laser running 2 trains. Somewhere to the tune of 30-60 seconds where the train is sitting, motionless, in reduction.

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Tuesday, January 18, 2005 9:51 PM

UdoTch said:
See above effect on how when a guest see's a running coaster versus a coaster in the station. If its not moving, its assumed to be closed (or broken).

That's some bizarre reasoning, if you ask me. I don't think there's any common assumption that a ride is closed if it isn't cycling every minute. If that were the case, why bother to staff a person at a ride entrance when it goes down as many parks do? And even so, why would a park even care if someone thought a ride was closed simply because it wasn't cycling? Parks really don't care what people ride as long as they spend money. If they were that concerned with seeing a ride cycling, wouldn't they be running two trains? As for people working 80+ hours/week, I don't buy that. I certainly believe many work over 40, but I highly doubt many (if any) work 80. If they do, that'd certainly make Dorney yet another exception among parks.


dannerman said:
guest experience isn't sacrificed. Would you be happy with a park who insists on pairing up single riders on a slow day? Probably not.

I'm not suggesting the park pair up single riders. I don't know where that came from, but nobody in this thread ever suggested that. In fact, the park actually tends to pair up singles more when they're only filling half the train as opposed to when they aren't, so I don't understand what you're trying to argue there. What I suggested is that the park let people sit where they want. By not doing so, you are sacrificing guest experience for some "efficiency" that isn't needed or met. You obviously don't understand what I'm trying to argue, which is fine. Thanks for asking for clarification and not being an ass about it. Oops, nevermind.


Nope. I think it's possible you were misinformed.

There you go, putting words in my mouth again (or suggesting that my personal knowledge/experience is incorrect). Anybody can clearly see how the ride works. But I skipped Dorney this past year, and simply forgot about it. If it makes you feel better to suggest I didn't know that fact, though, I'm glad.


First, his post was based on his experiences of working at the park.

Maybe, but there was a discrepency between what we were considering a "cycle." I consider the lift part of the cycle on a two-train coaster. In fact, I still consider it part of the cycle time for Laser. So I do stand by that Laser's cycle time is much longer than 30 seconds. It's just that in this particular case the figure for cycle time is not equal to time allowed for loading a second train without stacking. I did not tell him his experiences were wrong; I argued what was considered "cycle time."


Second, I was trying to correct what I thought was an incorrect fact. You said that half the time Talon is running only 1 train.

No, I said during at least half of my visits Talon was running just one train. Justify it how you wish, but when you argue that, you're essentially saying that my experiences were wrong or that I didn't experience what I really did. Next time argue that one's experiences aren't indicitive of the norm, but not that a person is lying or that a person's experiences are wrong. And look, I did that in one sentence!


I'm not changing my mind. There's a huge difference when the line is 2 hours long and when the line is 20 minutes.

When I visited CP, the line for TTD was less than 40 minutes line, and yet all five trains were operating. I pointed out that a fifth train did not help capacity. When I visited Dorney, the line for Laser was approaching, if not exceeding, 20 minutes.



Now that you mention it - why are YOU changing your mind? Didn't you say that if there's a significant amount of stacking, it doesn't help?

Well, as you pointed out, the situations are somewhat different. However, I also never complained that Dorney only ran one train; I just pointed it out. In addition, I don't believe there should be significant stacking on Laser with a good crew. Counting times to advance the train from the final brakes to the holding brake before the station, a crew should have somewhere around a minute to load and dispatch a train. That's do-able with a good crew. The only "stacking" would be when that train is traveling up the lift. For a ride that's blocked for three trains, I don't think running two is unreasonable in crowds.

-Nate
*** Edited 1/19/2005 2:52:00 AM UTC by coasterdude318***

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Tuesday, January 18, 2005 10:14 PM
First, I congratulate you on almost an entire message of twisting what I said to suit your needs and essentially making up everything else. For that, I'm not even going to bother responding to most of the message.

As for the Laser, You have 28.9 seconds to advance, load, and dispatch a train (and clear the lift hill) before the 2nd train will be stopped, stacked.

The funny thing... after re-reading the thread, I've found that the only one who seems to have a bias that will "defend it to the bitter end" is you. With the exception of 'Dorney Rules', all have provided an analysis of the positives of each park.

Seriously, all other debates aside, why exactly do you have such an anti-CF bias anyway?

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Tuesday, January 18, 2005 10:45 PM
If you look at my original post in this thread, I did analyze what I liked about Hershey and what I didn't like about Dorney (and also a couple of things that I liked). So I don't agree with your claim that I haven't provided any analysis.

I don't have a bias against CF either. I grew up with Valleyfair as a homepark and always enjoyed my time there. I do think Cedar Point is overrated, but I appreciate what they do well. Dorney has never - and probably will never - do anything but frustrate me. I think it's generally an ugly, soul-less park where I have never had an exceptional time. If that constitutes a bias, so be it.

Finally, as for twisting your words, I don't believe I did such a thing. If I did, it was not intentional, and perhaps there was a further miscommunication between us. For instance, I still don't understand what purpose the "load half of the train" policy serves. And by the way, does the 28.9 second figure for Laser include time from the top of the lift to the final holding brake? That figure seems short to me, but I admit I've never timed it.

-Nate

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Tuesday, January 18, 2005 11:17 PM
The 28.9 seconds is the instant when the train is off the lift (defined by the ride computer as the point it cannot be stopped if needed), and stops at the instant it hits the first brake. According to a friend of mine who worked on the coaster, 28.9/28.8 is usually what it's at on a normal day. If it goes faster than 27.9 (in the rain) or slower than 32.0 then they have to shut it down for safety reasons. Too fast - the brakes may not slow it down fast enough/safely. Too slow, and there's a slim chance it could valley between the 2 loops. To the best of my knowledge, it has never gone slower than 32.0 seconds.

As for the closing off half the train, I agree that it can be a bit annoying if you wanted to sit in a particular seat (the back). From my talking with the supervisor on the Thunderhawk this past year, the decision to close off the back seats is at the discretion of the supervisor based on crowd levels. Now, I realize these numbers are assumptions, but I'm trying to explain this, so please bear with me. Let's assume that to check a train, it takes 1 unit of work if a row is full (to check the lapbar and visually check seatbelt). 2 units for a row with 1 person (buckle seatbelt of empty seat) and 3 units for an empty row. efficiency would obviously be 0.5units/guest (12 rows * 1 unit / 24 guests). Let's assume that each unit of work equates to 5 seconds. That would be approximately 60 seconds to check and dispatch the train (let's assume a good crew just for the sake of argument ;) ). Now if crowd concentration is at about half of a train, and the rows aren't closed off, it would range between at best 12units/12guests = 1unit/guest at best, assuming each guest sat in a seat where the buckle was already unbuckled, and no one sat where it was already buckled (you have to check 6 empty rows, assuming 1 unit/row since they're already buckled, and 6 full rows for a total of 12) to at worst 24units/12 guests = 2 units/guest. Time wise, using the above assumption, would be between 60-120 seconds. In other words, it can take up to twice as long to dispatch the train (every single dispatch). Assuming 4 minutes per cycle (including load/unload), that's 15 dispatches per hour, or wasting up to 15 minutes per hour.. time that could be used for another 3-4 dispatches of the train instead of keeping guests waiting while the attendant buckles all the seatbelts.

By closing off half the train, they bring it down to 6 units of work / 12 guests = 0.5unit/guest again. Using the above assumption, 30 seconds.

So you could see an improvement between 2-4 times by closing off the back 2 trains. The gp aren't really going to care much about not being able to sit in a certain seat. Even if they do, chances are they'll forget about it as soon as they go over the first drop, if not 5 minutes down the midway.

I agree, it can be a bit of an inconvenience, and even annoying if you're not a park regular, but [in theory] the supervisor of the ride is supposed to keep an eye on crowd concentration and adjust as needed. From what this girl told me, if there's more than (approximately) 30 or so guests in line, they're supposed to start opening up rows to accomodate.

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