Geauga Lake: "The more things change, the more..."

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Saturday, May 1, 2004 10:23 PM
Geauga Lake Trip Report
May 1st, 2004

"The more things change, the more they stay the same."

Since many details have already been reported by Roller Coaster God, I'll stick to the essentials. And keep in mind, I was a guest today, and I payed $35.00 to get in.

I am allowed into the park at 9:30. Lots of VIPs are there allready. No park guides. Just an 8.5" x 11" B&W map, kinda like Kennywood's.

From talking to friends, most rides people got there at 8:00 am, for a 9:00 soft opening. Except most things didn't open until 9:30.

First stop, Kidworks Playzone. I say hi to the new leads down there and let them get back to work. Large signs at the entrances to rides, and two new ride operator booths. Taz has been sawed off from his ride, and the hole covered up by a metal square. The central fountain still says Boomtown. Overall, the playzone looks weird. It looks as though someone tryed to keep as much as possible, and just took a chainsaw to whatever had to go, so playzone looks aqward. Cheese blocks, on a Jeep adventure ride? Signs that say "Welcome to the..." and then a filed off post. This part of the park needs some help. If it's not supposed to be themed, then get the themed stuff out.

From how I understand it, there are a handfull of Corporate Six Flags employees still at Geauga Lake. Their job now is remove all Six Flags property, and keep a watchful eye on the new management. All the Batman, Looney Tunes and SF stuff will likely go back to the corporate boneyard in Oklahoma. Some stuff was just destroyed. All signs, music, merchandise will be removed, if it hasn't allready. There does seem to be some tension at the park because the Six Flags employees are staying until they get all of the animals out, including the Zebras, Sea Lions, fish, etc. Once the animals are out, SF leaves Ohio for good. It seems like Cedar Fair wants them out sooner then later, as in, now.

Now, Power City. This part of the park, where redone, looks good. The virtual theatre is gone, leaving the metal framework sitting idly. Guests are climbing on the structure. Texas Twister is closed, but will later open (around 2:30?).

Dominator has no sign or logo yet, but CF style employees. Queen Jackie (a ride op) and another guy at the line entrance, one at the top of the steps, and 5 person operation upstairs. No stacking to speak of. Excellent sign of things to come. No items may be left on the platform. Now the bad: The logos in the seats have been removed by means of cutting the foam down about a quarter of an inch. The foam is exposed, and then covered by what looks like a sealent. The modification looks like someone took a kitchen knife to each seat. The emblems on the side of the cars have been pryed off. It looks half assed, for any park operation. Oh yea, Power City gift shop doesn't have any Dominator mechandise. I know your shipments haven't come in yet, but, still, a little, weird. Plenty of merchandise for the (closed) Steel Venom though.

On to the Southside to see my old Mission: Bermuda Triangle. The Bounty area is open with two operators on the Spider. We never had that many people on a normal day! Happy Harbor is open with one of my team members from last year as the TL. I am very proud to say "She was one of mine!"

Finally, up to MBT, which Cedar Fair finally worked out a deal with Sea World to use the film and rights. Who knows for how many seasons. My friend Mark is now the TL of this ride, and he's an enthusiastic simulator lover just like me. Anyway, I tell him all I know about the secrets of the bermuda triangle, including how to unlock the mop closet, lol. BTW, the ride still sucks, and no pre-shows or TV today.

Totally off the record, this part of the park is MESSED UP! Sure, it's all smiles over at the park entrance, but Zone 4 "South" side is in shambles. Talk about a ghost town. There is no draw to come over here.

Back to to Coyote Creek, where Villain front seat is a delight, but e-stops on the breaks with me on it. Yea. 15 minutes later, I hit Double Loop. Chug chug, up the lift we go, and then we slow to a stop. E-stop, again. It was my harness that caused the ride to auto-stop. Yea for me? Anyway, 30 minutes of my day has been stopped on a ride, not so cool. Now some more bad stuff:

Closed today:

  • Raging Wolf Bobs
  • Mr. Hydes
  • Steel Venom
  • Sky Scraper
  • Ferry Boats
  • Haybailer
  • Grizzly Run
  • Larger Than Life Slides
  • Yo-Yo
  • Starfish & Thriller Bees (I know, but I still miss 'em.)

Late openings:

  • Texas Twister (2:30?)
  • Bel-Aire Express (3:30?)

Break downs:

  • Head-Spin (I never saw it run, I believe it was open at some point)
  • Villain
  • Double Loop
  • Dominator (Quite a few hours)
  • X-Flight to one train (I consider that broken down)

Geauga Lake and Tom Jones are having a bit of a maintainence issue, but they will get it right. I don't think it's acceptable to write it off as "Opening Day Allowences", because some guests only come once a year. You have to have as much open everyday for every guest.

After this small fiasco on Double Loop, I meet Andre Ransom, the full time ride manager. He's a really nice guy and I'm impressed with his changes so far. Ride crews are looking great! Now some love for the rides crews:

  • Domintator: 5 ops, 2 line attendents
  • Villain: 5 ops, 2 line attendents
  • X-Flight: 5 ops, 2 line attendents
  • Thunderhawk: 5 ops, 1 line attendent
  • Double Loop: 4 ops, ? line attendents
  • Time Warp: Both side running in sync... WOW!
  • Americana: (Ferris wheel) First time I've ever seen it running without a line more than 10 minutes. These guys had it running down with a very small wait. Great JOB!
  • Several flat rides had two operators and there were employees at almost every ride entrance. Do my eyes decieveth me?

Back to the story. One more stop in Power City for a Skycoaster flight. My buddy Ray is a site controller now, so he offered me a ride so his new crew could get some more practice. Flippin' scary doing the ripcord by yourself... so high up there... dangling like a christmas ornament from a tree 100 feet up. ::Yoink!:: I pull the cord and feel my insides start to fly up. What a drop! Great ride, but I think I wouldn't have gone if I had to pay.

Next stop, 50's midway. Didn't really want to do Big Dipper. Steel Venom has no ride logo anywhere. I now notice that any ride logo that had to be changed has not been replaced. For instance, SV's only mention of the ride on the safety sign in, not-so-big print. Some big ride signs are in order for this park.

I hit up Villain one more time after Thunderhawk, the same old hang and bang it used to be. (I was running out of rides by now!) This would have been a great ride on the Villain except I was in the last row behind a male and female. They wanted to leave their soda sipper on the platform, but could not. So they took it on the ride, at which point the lid flew off, soaking him, her, and me with Pepsi. I was kinda upset about that, so I will write to Geauga Lake about their policies of allowing riders to take their beverages on the ride. They sell sodas in line, so they really need some bins up on the platform, or those guests should have had to leave the mug before enterting the line.

I hit X-Flight with a well manageable single train wait, for a great ride. They have Millennium Force style seating now, where only a train load of guests are permitted on the platform at a time, however, no assigned seating per say.

Well, after this it's time for Jes to say goodbye to some old friends. Everyone in rides (my old department) was out in full force today, and looking really good. Aparently there are some 250 people in the department, and Cedar Fair would love to have more. If you'd like to apply, you can do so online at http://www.geaugalake.com . This year will be good, but I think really the main thing I got from today is that the park simply isn't ready. Today felt like a preview day, because, ignoring the fact that there really was media and suits on hand, there was a hell of a lot left to be done. I look forward to visitng this park the same time next year and seeing what a full 365 days will produce. I said my final goodbyes to my friends at the Park around 4:15, and left for the day.

And with that, I'd like to say goodbye to everyone here too! Coasterbuzz and other coaster sites have been fun and something I've enjoyed doing since 2000, but I do sense that it's time for me to find another hobby besides buzzing. I'll still lurk around I suppose, but my days of posting will end when I leave for Cedar Point May 5th. Thanks guys, it's been fun. Be sure to visit me at Raptor, you might win a special prize ;).

-Jes *** Edited 5/2/2004 4:58:17 AM UTC by Zero-G***

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Sunday, May 2, 2004 12:19 AM
Sad to see you go Jes. Great report - covering every square inch of the park. Good luck with Cedar Point.
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Sunday, May 2, 2004 12:46 AM
From the sounds of that, it looks like the potential is defently there, and putting into perspective that cedar fair has had very little time to work on getting the Six Flags/Warner Bros. stuff out they seem to be on the way. I will be there for Coaster Con, hopefully by that time it will look like 100% Geauga Lake, not 50% Six Flags World of Adventure, 50% Geauga Lake, With things like Boomtown and The Dominator, i think some of that was the quickest way to get those logos out with out having to order new trains or things of that nature. I also agree in a year i think it will be alot better, once Cedar Fair gets a full off season to work with it, not 3 weeks.

-rctfreak-

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