Geauga Lake 5/2/04 'Opening Day' (long)

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Sunday, May 2, 2004 1:48 PM
I arrived early at the park, pulling in at about 8:45. The new signs out front definitely let you know what park you are at. The park has added some beautiful Geauga Lake signs. Right away I knew something was different when I followed cones to the parking booths. No one was pulling in so I stopped to pay and something happened that bothered a lot of people. I had to pay to park even though I had my old Six Flags pass voucher and I would be getting a season parking pass. I'll get to that later, it's nothing to dwell on.

The parking lot:

There were workers every 15 or so feet, all directing you to your spot. It's no longer a free for all. I followed cones to a spot and the man pulled me up all the way. I'm sure Six Flags did this! It was great, never had I felt so much help parking my car. It was about 10 til 9 and I proceeded to the season pass center. I waited until 9 and it opened promply. It's nice crossing old Geauga Lake road and not having to wait on traffic. This is a definite plus. You cross the road and are greeted by happy faces passing out new park maps.

The entrance and season pass center:

Just waiting the ten minutes outside of the season pass center 6 people that worked there talked to me and asked how we were doing. What park was I at? Once the doors opened it took almost 25 minutes for me to get my pass processed and then get season parking on it. The lady said the machines were all new and apparently everything was running very slow. I can see how this would have created an hour line later in the day. They were all very friendly and helpful, but it went back to paying the $8 to park and then having to buy season pass parking. They told me to go to Guest Relations and all I needed to do was show them the receipt I had just received. So once at Guest Relations . . . 'You need the receipt they gave you at the parking booth.' Oh the one everyone puts on their dash. Well it all worked out and I got my $8 back but it seems like such a hassle because I waited in that line twice and saw that it was about 9:20 and already they had given 6 people refunds. They need to get the communication better with the parking booths and the rest of the park.

The opening:

Well I didn't have a brother by the name of Bill Spehn and my last name isn't Kinzel, so I watched the opening ceremony from the other side of the gates. It looked like there was a very nice gathering and I could actually see the balloons and everything. I heard someone speak and it was very exciting to hear. They cut a ribbon and the park was open for 2004! Following this ceremony they went on to play a loud Geauga Lake theme song. I liked how they had something like that personalized for the park. Okay, so I was about 5th in line to get into the park for the first time. I got in at 9:30 and there were executives everywhere. Many of them greeted me and I told them I had to get to the Dominator. There was food sitting out for the VIPs I suppose.

The Dominator:

It was strange walking up to the ride and not seeing the Gotham City junk. I loved that touch, but it's fine without it. It fits into Power City very well. There was a small gathering right before the steps to the station. A lady started to talk to me and introduced herself as Bill Spehn's sister and she told me a great deal about the park. I guess she had never been on the ride but wow was she in for a treat. There were two workers checking heights - they let us in. Once up in the station everyone was very enthusiastic and there was another man by a turnstyle I suppose acting as a valve so that the station doesn't get packed like it used to. I always hate when the station gets flooded like that of Magnum. There were plenty of open seats along with ride ops. 5 ride ups on the platform. That is crazy! Never before would we expect to see that many workers at this park. They were fast at loading the train and had to inform many people they couldn't ride because they had water bottles or cameras. This is a crazy policy to have. They told them to sit on loose shoes, hats or to put glasses in their shirt. If not, they would have to secure those items in lockers in the front of the park. This is a problem for those that come alone, I saw many people get turned away. If all you get from this huge trip report Do not attempt to have anything on you if you want to ride the Dominator. Okay, but as for the ride - it was an excellent ride, the first train dispatched of the season. It seemed like the blocks weren't grabbing at all. The air is still great off the blocks. During the ride, watch your hands after the final helix because there is some shrubery that is less than a foot from the left side of the train. I think once CF gets some new wheels on this ride it will be a lot smoother. After the ride you are still dumped into the gift shop and it's the same setup. I managed 2 more rides on the Dominator before it was even 9:50. It's great getting into the park so early - no one was there and everything was a walk on. Well, everything that was open.

The Villain: At 10:00 this ride wasn't open. I don't know exactly what time it opened but I was told 'technical difficulties' so I moved on, I returned later however and caught a great ride in the last seat. No seatbelts were added to this ride and it's almost exactly the same, except. . . the trick track is bearable now. Villain was running so fast and smooth. It never let up. Even onto the final brakes it was smooth. I don't know what they did but you don't have to hold onto the bar in fear of popping a bladder. I noticed they have the anti-rollbacks before the flat turn around. This ride is running so fast now I don't see how it could possibly need this. It gives a nice 'clink clink clink' though. Villain has made a total 360 from last year. I can see getting addicted to riding this woodie. I only got one ride and I would like to see what the front of the train has to offer. 2 trains and 4 ops made for a fast loading.

The Double Loop:

At 10:00 this old gem was open and was running 2 trains. I knew CF meant business when I saw the purple train going up the hill. Only 3 ops when I was there. They didn't do the Arrow dance nor have the enthusiasm of other ops in the park, but they did their job and I got a ride. Nothing different about any parts of this ride. It's the same old ride and I still love it.

Headspin:

I attacked this ride early in the day before it broke down. 5 ops on the platform, one of them sitting there checking heights. They loaded this ride very fast and it was in the station a little under a minute before it was dispatched again. I walked right on and rode towards the back. Nothing was added to or taken from this ride. Only thing that was different was the 'Mind Eraser' sign is just two posts now.

Big Dipper:

My first time to this part of the park and at 10:30 this ride was down. It was testing, but down. I was told to check back in 5 minutes. Well, it didn't end up opening til around noon so I'm glad I didn't stick around. Another delayed opening in the park, but it was worth it. I walked on to the ride and they had 3 ops at the time. I sat 2:1 and was amazed. I saw a guy get into 1:3 and mock the ride pretending he was getting on Maggie. I'm sure this is the ejector seat. Well, to his surprise it was. So many fanboys were in the park and had never been on a lot of these rides and were shocked to see the Dipper is better than Blue Streak. The retracking was nice and there is some excellent padding in these trains now. The padding was only in the train they were running. The other train was sitting there loaded with dummies and sandbags, minus the padding. Overall, a great ride and the seatbelts weren't overbearing at all. I did notice however the wheels were doing a great amount of squealing. They never did this and it reminded me of the noise you will hear on MS or BS. Is this a Cedar Fair thing?

Time Warp:

Both sides running! Plenty of help. No line. This ride was a walk on. Not only were both sides working, but they were running together. If only this ride was as good as it looked. I rode 'Thigh Warp' once and got off on the account of bruising.

Thunderhawk:

Two trains! A lady was checking heights again. The only thing wrong with this ride now is that the photo booth is gone and I don't even think there is a camera on the circuit anymore. The trains would barely stack and they would dispatch the other one. Interesting to hear Geauga Lake now saying 'ready' and 'ready ready' when the block has cleared. I like this CF touch on this ride. They really hauled some and got us out of there. Front seat ride. It seemed extra fast and the lake wasn't half as dirty looking as it normally is. I saw a man on a boat fishing to our left. What would he be doing on Geauga Lake?

Beaver Land Mine Ride:

Plenty of ops. Be ready for the exit to your right. This is awkward after going to the left all those years. If you are up front, you exit through the op box. Strange. One time through and they still use the horn. I got a nice front seat ride.

Former Wildlife side:

I took a hike to the other side of the park and had to take the newly moved floating bridge. It could definitely use some more benches. Once on the other side I rode the pirate ship and left. There is no reason to be over there. There are a couple flats and closed food stands. It looked gloomy and needs some TLC. I understand though, it will one day be our next Power City.

Texas Twister:

Final ride of the day for us around 3:30 or so was TT. About two supervisors and 5 ops packed the box and they gave two people a ride. It was covered in bird crap so they had to wash the ride down pretty good and dry it to let the guests on. Well, lets just say they didn't get it all. You can still put your stuff in the boxes down in the front, no need to get a locker. One cycle, but I was the first guest of '04 on it so I was happy.

The closed/broken down rides:

This didn't bother me at all but I would like to point out if this was still a Six Flags park it would have been grilled last night. Raging Wolf Bobs was down but they are finally getting some track on the first hill. There were workers all over this ride all day. SV didn't have anyone working on it when I was there. However, the train is on and there is a ton of junk on the platform. I doubt it is operating today. Headspin got stuck on the lift and closed for a while. Big Dipper opened late. Villain got stuck on the hill. Dominator got stuck on the brakes. Double Loop got stuck on the hill. Thunderhawk opened late. What about X-Flight? Yeah, what about that ride. It had over an hour wait for one train operation. I have no details on the station. I didn't want to wait that long to ride it. I've been on it enough in my life.

The exit:

Just as I entered the park through cones, I left through them. People directed me the proper way and my window was down and a man asked why I was leaving. We talked for a bit and he told me to come back. Overall everyone in the parking lot was cheery and happy to talk and guide everyone the right way. I know it was early in the day and it's just the first day of the season, but if that enthusiasm is kept up, this park could easily surpass CP in customer service. I was very pleased with my day. CF was doing everything they could. It's the first visit I've had to this park that I've seen Presidents and other high executives walking around the park. I can't wait to get back.

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Sunday, May 2, 2004 2:28 PM
Good TR Zach....I'm glad you had a good time at the park. I'm really psyched to get to go here sometime.
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Sunday, May 2, 2004 2:49 PM
X-flight had over an hour wait? When? I rode around Noon and the line didn't even fill the first queue. Later in the day we rode again and it was another short wait. They are only filling the station with one train worth of guests, causing the line to look longer than it really is. It sure makes the platform easier to navagate.
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Sunday, May 2, 2004 3:21 PM
We were there around 2 or so road BD, Thunderhawk, Dominator, Villian, and Boardwalk Typhoon, and took our time walked around a bit to kill time and were out of the park around 4 give or take a few. So far CF seems to be running the park cleaner and running the coasters more efficient. While waiting for Dominator one of the ride crew members started yelling were stacking were stacking, so I'm guessing CF isn't going to put up with the slow workers SF had in past seasons, but then again the park just opened it can get better and it can get worse, who knows.

But for what its worth, I hope CF can really make this park something, because as of now its still my least favorite park that we frequent.

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Sunday, May 2, 2004 3:23 PM
Give it time.
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