Geauga Lake Opening Day: The Excellent, The Good, and The Bad

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Saturday, May 1, 2004 1:24 PM
Geauga Lake Opening Day 2004
Date: May 1, 2004
Weather: Cloudy to Partly Sunny 65 Degrees, Thunderstorms Heading In.

Hello Coaster Fans Who Are Breaking Out All Their Old Geauga Lake Gear Since They Stored It Away In a Vault Since They Figured It Would Be Millions Someday (isn’t it funny how life turns out,)

Wow, were to start? I’ll try to keep this short and sweet for everyone. I only spent two hours at the park this morning, since I haven’t seen my wife in 5 days due to a business trip I’ve been on, and she comes home in just a while.

There are SOOoo many excellent things and SOOoo many things to improve at Geauga Lake. First off as for the whole “Feel” of Geauga Lake it seems like a ½ opened Six Flags Worlds of Adventure that parts of it feel like you walked into a thirty year abandoned park. There are now VERY nice Geauga Lake signs up pointing you to the entrance of the parking lot (somewhat 3D wood signs.) The parking lot has been painted with lines and is MUCH better laid out with traffic flow patterns. And get this; they have people directing you!!! WOW Just like CP it flows very well. And when you leave they have cones that keep you in the right lane instead of (like the past) oncoming traffic.

The main gate is VERY nice (looks just like the old Geauga Lake.) They have very nice greeters welcoming you and handing you a temp. map (the official ones haven’t been printed in time.) The metal detectors are GONE!! First thing inside the park you noticed to your right in the Emporium…no more Looney Tunes! Cedar Fair did an EXCELLENT job redoing these small things so if you didn’t know it before, you won’t notice it now. And the shops actually look VERY well put together. I was QUITE impressed with the TONS and TONS of Geauga Lake stuff the park already had made. And it’s very nice stuff too! The prices were around $15 for T-shirts $35 for sweatshirts, and a combo deal of $19 for hat and t-shirt. It was kind of funny since I noticed that Geauga Lake had some original Geauga Lake stuff that SFWoA had been trying to get rid of for a long time. They even already had Geauga Lake penny press logos along with Dominator, and Thunderhawk ones.

The rides:

Quite a few things were not running…more than we were lead to believe. S:UE…err…Steel Venom didn’t even look close to running since there was stuff laying all over it’s launch area. So the rumored “holding break will now turned off” will have to wait. The GIANT Superman sign has been removed. There are LOTS and LOTS of CF ride restrictions signs everywhere for all rides (just like at CP.) A few attractions had signs saying “Closed…sorry for the inconvenience” or “this ride is being renovated…sorry for the inconvenience” Some of those rides are Steel Venom, Mr. Hydes (only had two cars on it), Yo Yo, Texas Twister (just like the good ‘Ol Days had mechanics all over it). X-Flight had only ONE train on it running (the other one was covered in plastic)…long line as usual. Another HUGE thing everyone noticed is the ride ops at the beginning of each line, and at the entrance into the station and all over the platforms!! This helped A LOT with people but also caused a little confusion on compared to past rules.

Villain I was told I could take my backpack up with me, but when I went to lay it on the edge, they told me, “You have to ride with it Sir.” Umm, OK? I didn’t mind at all, but I just had an evil flash back with that lady and her Cell Phone. Before, you couldn’t carry anything on it, now they want you to? Oh well, doesn’t bother me. Though I found out, you can’t ride with a cane like one guy tried to. Now on the strange note, on Thunderhawk, and Dominator, you can’t even COME close to them with a back pack. As you approach, they tell you to go put them in a locker….that’s fine, but the closest lockers are X-Flight. I don’t understand this, since the station is only one (unlike X-Flight or Mforce.) If anyone can help with this I would like to know.

The biggest shocker of all was seeing Time Warp run with BOTH sides!! WOW! It looks so much better that way! Villain is FINALLY fixed!! The retracking job did WONDERS to this ride!! The first pull it is smooth as glass and the trick track is awesome! Funny thing was I found myself bracing for certain parts of the ride after 100+ rides last year, and then nothing happen…nice and smooth! Great gentle floating air time on some hills and forceful on others. The only part, that I would say still needs retracking is the third turnaround but the hill before and after is MUCH better!

The South Side:

The floating boardwalk is strange now…it’s like Déjà vu. When I first went around the board walk, the other walkway was also open. When I took the paved walk way, somehow they closed it down when I was on it taking some pics of the RWB retracking job and I had to climb the fence to get out. The South side is…Ummm…I don’t know how to explain it. It’s like an abandoned Sea World of 30 years ago, or any other park for that matter. A LOT of signs have been taking down so it leaves a ghost pattern where they were with holes. Of course many buildings aren’t opened (ie. Shark Attack…which I think would make an AWESOME dark ride building.) MBT IS open! Pirates Theater is closed due to some type of awards thing (It DOES list it as an official attraction on the hard official park maps around the park) There are still animals in the park!! You can hear the sea lions barking like crazy; which brings up the point, who is taking care of them/paying for them? Zebras are also still in the park. The map(s) show the South gate being part of the park but the wall ends before that. The wall starts at old Tiger Island and goes towards the Ski Stadium (which all the old Batman stuff is being ripped out right now) and goes all the way right to the old flamingo exhibit. A LOT of stores and food places have closed for remodeling signs on them. Yo Yo says it’s being remodeled. The Giant Net Climb, now won’t let adults climb on them…they better let me! The kiddie rides have the structure but no canvas over them yet on the South Side. There is also a HUGE flooding problem with the Bayou (as usual) and it's flooded out onto the midway...and we all know what CF thinks of water sitting on the midways.

Kidwords (old Boomtown):

Now this is a strange place. It’s not to bad (given a short time.) It still has the comical feel and looks…with out the characters. Some of the rides look a little strange without the cartoons. But again, if you didn’t know they were there, you wouldn’t notice them missing. There is a TON of mechanics, carpenters and what not working down here. They have actually built the rides and props to go with them pretty fast. They were working on the old Taz ride at the time. The old Marvin ride looks great! Marvin’s helmet is gone which lead to the Larger Than Life complex. The gate surrounding it is gone, but there are height signs EVERYWHERE! This area needs A LOT of paint, but other than that it’s not to bad.

The staff:

The staff was great, energetic (except those on the South side, which looked VERY bored.) Bill was walking around all the park, with about 3 other managers, I talked to him, and told him I’m looking forward to an excellent year and he talked a little about things they were working on right now. It’s gonna be great in the upcoming years when he has time to do changes he wants to do. This guy really does care about the park. Big Dipper was only testing so I didn’t get to try it out, but the op at the entrance was very kind and said to keep checking back often. LOTS of sweeps were walking around and saying hi to everyone.

In all the park wasn’t as bad as I was expecting, but there is a TON of work that will probably take all year and then some to pull off. I’m hoping the park can get the rides up and running according to CF standards soon, because right now it feels like SFWoA on a bad day. A few people I saw kept going up to rides and had to be pointed to running rides. The parks landscaping looks great for opening day and having to cover up all the construction…I think that will take a year before they can really show off the park. I’m looking forward to everything, and it was just great to get back to Geauga Lake! Many pictures to come very soon :) *** Edited 5/1/2004 6:15:08 PM UTC by RollerCoasterGod***

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Saturday, May 1, 2004 1:57 PM
Awesome TR, I will probably wait until July or August to take a trip up there, even though it was VERY tempting to go today.
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Saturday, May 1, 2004 2:02 PM
Thanks for the TR! I'll have pics up, too tommorrow night...
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Saturday, May 1, 2004 5:31 PM
Ah good, someone else already covered it and I don't have to type a TR from today. Very good TR, covered pretty much everything. I'm sure I had to see you today. What time did you get into the park? I love how the gates open at 9:30 as I caught 3 Dominator rides (including the first of the year!! ;)) before a light crowd was into the park.
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Saturday, May 1, 2004 7:00 PM
There still is no south side to Geauga Lake.

What a mess. I'm surprised it isn't much worse. Sounds like there's a great deal of training to be done regarding the correct carry-on procedures, as some people are still obviously making things up as they go along.

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Saturday, May 1, 2004 7:07 PM
I know that pic is of Geauga Lake from 2000, but I can't make out anything? What is the point of it?

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Saturday, May 1, 2004 7:47 PM
the 'south side' is really EAST. south is a road
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Saturday, May 1, 2004 8:35 PM
Geauga Lake:
Raptor Jo's POV:

The excellent: The drive to GL is such cake compared to the journey to CP for us. ALL highway-what a joy!! :)
Another excellent: Being included on the invite only list so got in park way early, got to snack on pastries, listen to the speeches and watch the ribbon cuttings. Pretty cool! Another excellent, seeing TONS of Po!nters (managers and other wise) making me very excited about my CP trip tomorrow (on personal CP business) and making me look forward to the CP season to begin. It was a busy day introducing my fiance to tons of people. Saw MANY former CP ride ops, either running rides or just visiting the park. Also got to see many GOCC'ers :)
Another excellent: Dominator, X-Flight, & Villian.
Dominator was it's usual excellent self. It was my fiance's 1st floorless and he loved it. Wait'll he rides Medusa! ;) Too bad we can't convert Mantis into a masterpiece like these!! X-Flight actually running excellent, very little waits (20 minutes both times) and listening to my fiance laugh and curse the whole ride was classic! :) Villian was also kicking some serious butt! :) A coaster such as this makes you really *sigh* when you think about MS!
More Excellent: The CF touch could be seen throughout the park. The cleanliness, the employees smiles and their enthusiasm made it feel very much like CP. (Especially when the TL on Villian accidentially said "Cedar Point will not be responsible for lost items" :)) Listening to the ride spiels was a nice touch too! :)
Bestest excellent: NO crowds-longest wait time for us was X-Flight, everything else pretty much a walk on :)

The Good: The weather. Forecast was not very promising but despite some really threatening looking clouds, no rain, no storms. Warm temperatures and off and on blue skies all day. Even the drive home we only hit rain 2 or 3x and nothing bad. Thank you Mother Nature!! :)
I only spent $30.00 for GL stuff. Yes, that is good! ;)

The Bad: No Steel Venom or Bobs Whatever that thing is, no Dr Hyde drop thing. No biggie to us really. The biggest bad I feel was some of the guests. First my fiance said he over heard one of the invited guests whining about the fact that the games were NOT free during the VIP time. WTH???? :(
I overheard a guest whining about the coasters that were down (hello? there are how many OTHER coasters to ride?)
It was obvious that many people expected EVERYTHING to be different and EVERYTHING to be running now that CF took over. It was OPENING DAY for goodness sake! I can tell you that as a CP opening day regular I can never recall recently where EVERY coaster was up and running and/or stayed running the entire day! A coaster's performance is not influenced by WHO owns the park! Or am I wrong about that? I feel if GL could have had ALL the coasters up and running, they certainly would have!

All in all we had a WONDERFUL day and really look forward to our trips this season to see how the CF touch shines on Geauga Lake! :)

Jo
2000 Raptor Crew
2002 Raptor Crew
2003 Raptor Crew

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Saturday, May 1, 2004 9:04 PM
I have a long trip report coming soon... Great day at the park!!! I saw some guy with a white shirt on, that from a distanced looked like chief Wahoo. Closer inspection it turned out to be Bill Spehn! His face was sooooo red. I am sure he has been in the sun for the past 23 days NON STOP! I saw him 10-12 times throughout the park today. Workers from the old WoA said they didnt have access to the higher management, and had no idea what they even looked like, or even knew there name. Bill was walking and talking with anyone who approached him.

1EJ

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Saturday, May 1, 2004 9:53 PM
I arrived at the park today around 11AM. It instantly felt like a better place when four traffic attendants directed us to the nearest parking spot. It was surprising to see so few cars in the parking lot. I guess the weather forecast scared everybody off. Too bad because it didn’t rain the whole time we were there.

My happy buzz from the parking lot was killed on my walk to Big Dipper, when I realized that it was closed. Along with Mr. Hyde’s Nasty Fall, Head Spin, their observation tower ride, Parkview Express, El Dorado, Steel Venom, and X-flight. All closed at the same time. Talk about bad luck. I was beginning to wonder if I would get to ride anything. It didn’t take long before X-flight opened, and we got a ride with very little wait. Later in the day we went back to X-flight it still had a short line even with one train running. Ride ops at the turnstile position were limiting the number of people on the platform, causing it to look much longer of a line than it really was. In the end though it made the platform a much more comfortable place to be.

Other highlights of my day included being on a shutdown at Villian and having Cedar Point employees there tease me that I should fix it. The shutdowns were everywhere, but didn’t last too long. From what a heard talking to a few maintenance friends that work at the park, Six Flags didn’t have their employees starting winter overhauls. They just waited it out until the sale was final. I’m sure those guys there had their hands full when the ball finally got rolling. The flume ride and Texas Twister were not even inspected until today. (Just what I was told.)

One other thing that was strange today was with the park being so slow and shutdowns all over the place. It was hard to tell if the rides were open or not. Every time I saw an entrance person I had to stop and think if they were there because the ride was closed or if they were just enforcing ride admission policies.

As far as the loose article situation mentioned above, it was nice not having to exit the rides threw a minefield of loose articles. I personally love the Cedar Fair rule of having to take your loose articles with you rather than breaking my neck exiting the platform. It would be nice though if there were some lockers closer to the rides prohibiting loose articles past the entrance.

Despite the shaky operations at the park it was still a great time. There are sweeps everywhere and not a spot of garbage. As said in other posts, the employees were all using their pleases and thank-yous. Even got some sincere apologies at the closed rides.

I hadn’t been to the park in 2 years because of the state of the place. Now I can’t wait to go back again.

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Saturday, May 1, 2004 9:55 PM
I don't think that people would complain as much about rides not being open if not for this comment-

"All but one of the park's 60-plus rides - the Raging Wolf Bobs roller coaster - are expected to be operating Saturday, said Tom Jones, Geauga Lake's director of maintenance. "

Frank, who never goes to a park opening day expecting perfection.

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Saturday, May 1, 2004 10:02 PM

LuvRaptor said:
Dominator was it's usual excellent self. It was my fiance's 1st floorless and he loved it. Wait'll he rides Medusa! Too bad we can't convert Mantis into a masterpiece like these!!

Though I absolutely adored Mantis when it opened, I must admit that my interest in the ride has waned as the years have passed. However, that all changed instantly when I had a couple of trimless rides last fall. It was as fast, smooth, and intense as it was in '96. Smooth, you ask? Believe it. The headbanging just goes away. IMHO, Mantis becomes a masterpiece all over again when you can snag a rare trimless ride. I might even go so far as to call it a top 5 ride. Of course, YMMV.

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Saturday, May 1, 2004 10:31 PM
Marvin's helmet gone...wonder if I can still build one and put it in my yard! That thing was great.

From the reports, seems like the prices haven't changed, or have gone down very little, but that T-Shirt w/ hat is a deal (if you really want that sort of stuff)

Question I have, is what difference in food is now available, and what about the prices?

Can anyone give me a rundown of what they spent? What besides coasters and rides is offered now that the animals are gone? It is an AMUSEMENT park, and there has to be something besides rides for the masses, or the families won't go!

*** Edited 5/2/2004 2:44:45 AM UTC by midwave***

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Saturday, May 1, 2004 10:36 PM
All I can say is, boy what a difference a company can make.

Villain - 2 trains, 4 people checking restraints, one operator, one at entrance, no stacking (we actually were checked and had to wait to be dispatched), greased and running pretty darn good.

Double Loop - 2 trains, no stacking for what I saw, didn't ride so not sure how many employees in station besides operator and entrance. Slight down period.

Dominator - 2 trains, no stacking, running good but still has that vibration when sitting in back row.

Big Dipper - 1 train but effecient, (2nd train had test dummies) it now has seat belts and the retrack is nice, now they just need to smooth out the bottom of the first drop and the ride is golden.

Beaver Land Mine Ride - still those same loud obnoxious brakes. LOL Only get one lap instead of two and you exit on the right hand side instead of left.

Serial Thriller - 2 trains and looked like no stacking, didn't ride but I'm sure plenty of staffing like the rest of the rides.

Steel Venom - well maybe next time. It was down.

It seemed as though almost everything was down (most for short periods of time) at one point during the day. Some rides didn't open with the park, but eventually opened at some point. Time Warp with both sides running was a new one to me. El Dorado ran early, but closed. Texas Twister, Big Dipper, the log flume, Merry Oldies and Shipwreck Falls (maybe others) didn't open right away but eventually did. Dominator was down for awhile but opened again.

I've never seen so many upper management out in a park and a ton of security. And sweeps, holy cow the amount of sweeps. While the metal detectors were gone, they did search bags before you could enter the park. Oh, also a few reporters and whatnot asking questions or had cameras rolling.

Season pass processing (or trading) was pretty painless and quick.

Employees were plentiful and courteous. Got a lot of good morning/afternoon, how has your day been so far, have a nice day, etc etc.

It was a pretty good day at the park considering the limited amount of time CF had in getting it ready. I only see good things in GL's future.

Oh and Marvin's Helmet is in the bone yard. :) *** Edited 5/2/2004 2:42:38 AM UTC by loriu***

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Saturday, May 1, 2004 10:48 PM

loriu said:Oh and Marvin's Helmet is in the bone yard.

Loriu, what is the 'boneyard'? Is that a junkyard I can buy that at? :)

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Saturday, May 1, 2004 11:08 PM
That new exit to the right at Beaver Land Mine Ride had me and a few other people confused. I heard the ride op say " please exit to the right" but insinct said left. Thats the way it always was before. lol
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Sunday, May 2, 2004 12:09 AM
What's this Serial Thriller you speak of? ;)
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Sunday, May 2, 2004 12:24 AM
Oh yes and no one has mentioned anything about the return of DDR. The Arcade by Texas Twister has DDR Megamix and the 4th mix can be found over by Big Dipper and the old theater. I spent a great deal of time on the Mega Mix machine. Rihard - that was so weird exiting through the op box on Beaver! What is up with that?
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Sunday, May 2, 2004 12:41 AM
For what its worth....

Arthur Treachers, Taco Bell, We're Rolling Pretzel, Mr. Hero and Subway, Ben and Jerry and a few other chains are still at the park.

1ej

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Sunday, May 2, 2004 12:44 AM
I wonder if they will offer a season pass holders lounge like sf did?

It was kind of a nice place to go sit and grab a quick byte to eat.

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