Gatekeeper reaches one million rider mark

Posted Thursday, July 18, 2013 8:44 PM | Contributed by VitaminsAndGravy

One in a million. Literally. That’s the luck of Marie Saenz from Milford, Mich., who was the one millionth rider to take flight on GateKeeper - the tallest, fastest and longest wing coaster in the world. Saenz was awarded a $500 Cedar Point shopping spree, a VIP tour of the park and exclusive access to GateKeeper for the rest of the season. GateKeeper now joins the ranks of legendary high-capacity rides at the park, such as Millennium Force, Raptor and Magnum XL-200.

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Thursday, July 18, 2013 8:47 PM

This early in the season? This has ridiculously ridiculous capacity. (No, that wasn't a typo)

Friday, July 19, 2013 1:17 PM

::Waits for some nerd to calculate how many riders/hr they are averaging::

Friday, July 19, 2013 1:20 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

No need to. This article points out that they're giving approximately 1600 rides per hour.

"We are giving approximately 1,600 rides per hour. It has definitely been a huge success for the park. Our guests love GateKeeper."

Some quick nerd math to double check:

1,000,000 rides / 1600 per hour = 625 hours

625 hours / 11 hours per day (on average) = 56 days

The 1,000,000th rider occured on the parks 67th operating day.

Account for downtime and shorter operating hours early in the season and you're in the ballpark. Probably 1500-1600 per hour.

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Friday, July 19, 2013 1:26 PM
Friday, July 19, 2013 1:28 PM
LostKause's avatar

I approve! That is very good capacity. Good job B&M and Cedar Point! I still need to get my butt to Cedar Point and ride it!

Friday, July 19, 2013 1:29 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Imagine what it would be if they weren't intentionally lowering it to sell more Fast Lane Plus wristbands!

Friday, July 19, 2013 1:32 PM
LostKause's avatar

Nope. Luckily, Cedar Point hasn't caught on to that selling technique yet.

Last edited by LostKause, Friday, July 19, 2013 1:32 PM
Friday, July 19, 2013 5:29 PM
Timber-Rider's avatar

According to your math Lord Gonchar, I am surprised they didn't reach the million mark sooner. Though I think there were days earlier in the season where the park was not open for a full 11 hour day. So that might account for the extra days it took to get to 1,000,000 according to your math.

It may also be that they might not have been running at the 1600 per hour capacity every day. maybe running just 2 trains instead of 3. I have been at the park, where their rides don't always run every train. Not that it matters.

This just means the park is seeing bigger crowds, due to Gate Keeper. Though I'm sure some of the other coasters in the park see a million riders every year as well. It's just another PR campaign.

I didn't do it! I swear!!

Friday, July 19, 2013 11:06 PM

How is the exact number even figured out? They're only counting riders once they're on the trains right? And then what do they count one side and then the other? Left to right row by row? It's not like everyone is in a single file line and "hey you're one million!" Just seems like they just randomly picked someone and said you're the one!

Michael McCormack

Friday, July 19, 2013 11:08 PM
Tommytheduck's avatar

To expand on Gonch's math, 1600 riders per hour = a full train dispatched every 1 min 21 seconds. Pretty impressive. I'd say for the most part they are accomplishing that, as they have trains climbing the lift before the previous train even hits the midcourse.

Friday, July 19, 2013 11:37 PM
LostKause's avatar

BirdofPrey, Cedar Point and other parks keep track of how many riders take a ride by using the turnstiles. Each hour they send a ride host to the turnstiles to write the number on the daily paperwork. The park uses these numbers to determine exactly how popular a ride is, and in some instances, what time of the day it is most popular.

That data is pretty important to the ride operations office.

Saturday, July 20, 2013 2:53 AM
bjames's avatar

1600 an hour? That seems incredible! I mean, the average LONG line might have a few hundred people in it. Does this mean that you will never wait much longer than 30 minutes for a ride? Impressive.

Saturday, July 20, 2013 7:58 AM
ApolloAndy's avatar

To piggy back on LK's comment, turnstiles are not 100% accurate (how many times have you seen kids spinning them?) but they're "pretty close."

Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

Saturday, July 20, 2013 10:18 AM

LostKause said:
BirdofPrey, Cedar Point and other parks keep track of how many riders take a ride by using the turnstiles.

That data is pretty important to the ride operations office.

And I never understood why. I can't think of any other parks off hand, but I don't encounter many actual turn styles anymore besides those at CP. Maybe Disney has invisible ones with electronic eyes.

CP has always thought it important to track ridership from an operations standpoint. I remember when I worked there 100 years ago they would actually post the previous day's numbers on a list in the operations office. The foremen would look at the number for their rides when they checked in and notify the crew. CP&LERR was always at the top, obviously. Contests would arise between ride crews, and you'd see challenges noted on the list, or congratulatory notes. "hey, Calypso, we beat you yesterday! Bring it!" (although I don't think we actually said "bring it" 100 years ago.)

Anyway, I guess it helps the park determine popularity and efficiency, and thus... guest satisfaction? But to me it always seemed like a peculiar way of micro-managing.

And why not KI or Carowinds?

LK, I'm curious. Where did your Western Cruise/Paddlewheel Excursion fall on that list?

Last edited by RCMAC, Saturday, July 20, 2013 10:21 AM
Saturday, July 20, 2013 10:29 AM
sirloindude's avatar

I kinda like it. I think it helps the park know how rides are doing from a popularity standpoint (which I can imagine helps in determining ROI), and frankly, I applaud any park who takes initiative to deliver efficient operations.

Saturday, July 20, 2013 11:00 AM

RCMAC said:
And I never understood why. I can't think of any other parks off hand, but I don't encounter many actual turn styles anymore besides those at CP. Maybe Disney has invisible ones with electronic eyes.

Correct, Disney uses a system that is scarily accurate at detecting whether the light beam being broken is by a person or a trailing bag (or even two people side by side) for most of their major attractions. At Universal they use a slightly different method. They may use a turnstile or light beam method at the entry/exit, but their main way is to count any empty seats per dispatch, take the total dispatches that hour by available seats and subtract your empties.

Original BlueStreak64

Saturday, July 20, 2013 12:24 PM
LostKause's avatar

RCMAC, I recall seeing Paddlewheel Excursions have between 50 and 60 riders per hour on an average slow day, and between 100 and 200 per hour on busier days. On very slow days, I remember having zero riders per hour a few times. No wonder the ride was shut down forever. Would it have helped the ride if they had made the entrance less out-of-the-way, or had a sign on the main midway behind TTD's tower? It was a really great ride.

I noticed at Hersheypark last month that the turnstiles were at the exits instead of the entrances of the coasters. This seems like a better way to count riders, because with a turnstile at the entrance, riders who may leave the line during a ride closure may be counted anyways. It's still not perfect though.

Also, on rides that do not have turnstiles at whatever park, I have noticed the ride hosts clicking a counter as the ride begins. Camp Snoopy at Cedar Point uses manual counters attached to the control panels, for example.

Cedar Point uses this information to determine if a ride is gaining or losing popularity. This helps to figure out what rides could be removed with less impact, or what area of the park needs new attractions in order to space out the crowds, among other reasons. The data of what visitors are doing and when is invaluable to the operating of the park as a whole. A lot of decisions are not made before looking at the data. It is something that the park offices place a lot of importance on.

Last edited by LostKause, Sunday, July 21, 2013 12:24 AM
Saturday, July 20, 2013 11:49 PM

BGW still has turnstiles at exits as well.

2017 Trips: WDW, Dollywood, Cedar Point, KI, SDC, BGW, BGT, SWO, Universal Orlando

Sunday, July 21, 2013 10:12 PM
Timber-Rider's avatar

They could also be counting folks, to see if the rides queue is long enough, or in some cases if it even needs a queue. At a park like Cedar Point, available land is becoming scarce, so they are most likely going over every inch of land looking for places where they might want to add a new attraction, and removing a queue that is not needed, might allow them the extra space for expanding. That is along with, counting folks to keep track of a rides popularity.

I noticed after the first year that Mantis was open, they added an additional queue area to the ride, which cut down on people spilling out onto the midway. Michigan's Adventure also added queue areas to rides that never had them before. And. they have people that will figure out to the exact foot, how much of an area they need for the queue by counting riders.

Some of the largest queues I have ever seen are either Cedar Point, or Walt Disney World, though Disney moves its masses much more efficiently. Some of their rides even have moving conveyer belts, to keep guests moving quickly when they leave attractions, so that there is no bottle neck of riders attempting to leave a ride. I thought that was pretty cool.

I didn't do it! I swear!!

Monday, July 22, 2013 12:33 AM

How would a daily total of riders necessarily tell anyone how long a line is? The coaster could be a walk on all day but still run right on schedule with full trains all day, too. Ride count doesn't tell how many got in line or how long they waited there. It tells how many people rode.

Last edited by RCMAC, Monday, July 22, 2013 12:44 AM

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