Guests turned away from Cedar Point's Millennium Force

Posted Thursday, May 20, 2004 8:15 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Cedar Point has imposed restrictive measures on its Millennium Force roller coaster in the wake of the accident that killed a man at Six Flags New England. The changes come down from the manufacturer, and prevent many guests that could ride in previous years to ride today.

Read more from WEWS/Cleveland.

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Thursday, May 20, 2004 9:02 AM
Well, it only makes sense and it was only a matter of time since it was an Intamin & opened the same year as the other 2 Supermans...

...but I must say, the Millennium Force ride-ops were NOT lax in the least. Unlike the various Superman ride-ops at New England or Darien Lake, MF Ride-Ops made sure that you were sitting back in your seat and they definately stapled you down to make sure you weren't going anywhere (at least in my experiences last year). It's a good safety procedure by all the ride-ops... but sometimes, they push on it a little too hard, and makes for a little uncomfortable.

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Thursday, May 20, 2004 9:19 AM
Explain something to me....

I thought the "correct" position for the belts on S:RoS (and I am assuming MF) was to be UNDER side support bar of the seat, not over? Also, why do you want SLACK in the belt? Wouldn't you want less slack? Slack would mean you can move... no slack means you are pinned.

Just curious.

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Thursday, May 20, 2004 9:27 AM
The slack they are referring to is the amount of belt that is left after the belt is pulled tight. The article worded it wrong.
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Thursday, May 20, 2004 9:36 AM
So, what are the new maximum rider dimensions (in terms of waist size?) for a ride on MF now then?

Best,

B

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Thursday, May 20, 2004 9:38 AM
this is rediculous...if theres something wrong with the ride, fix it...a rollercoaster is built for the people, so why the hell should we be following its rules...i say slap on some new restraints, i could care less if its a tad less comfortable, its a rollercoaster not a lazy boy...my point is, the manufacturer is the one that designed the faulty restraints (i dont care what anyone says, they're faulty in my eyes, or else 3 people would still be alive right now...even if some of it was the riders fault, the restraints shouldnt even allow any other position but the standard riders position), so instead of denying people to ride and not to mention embarassing the hell out of them, why not just alter the damn restraints?

dont get me wrong, i think the t-bar designs are very comfortable...but seeing so many accidents directly related to them, im not so sure i feel safe on them anymore...maybe its just me but when i get back to the station i'd rather be thinking 'wow what a ride' not 'thank god i actually made it back alive'

i dont know, im babbling. i just think the rollercoaster should be modified to our needs not the other way around, its not that hard of a problem to identify...people are falling out, over and over and over again, and the restraints are supposed to hold them in...hmmm what do you change...well you could change the type of people able to ride so only certain people can ride, or you can make new restraints that can hold heavier loads and a lot more people can have fun...i can see how restricting the fun at an amusement park works, seeing how they dont exists to make people happy or anything. great decision cedar point, thumbs up! blah

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Thursday, May 20, 2004 10:12 AM
I don't know if it is just my computer or what, but I can't see who posted that last long post. Anyways, in some ways I agree with this person, and in others I don’t agree at all.

The biggest problem I have with the whole post is the "so why the hell should we be following its rules..." statement. We should be following its rules because that is what keeps us safe from falling out. If we don't follow the rules then we are at fault, but it is the park that gets blamed the majority of the time.

I agree in the fact that it just doesn't seem right that a large portion (no pun intended) of it's riders are now not able to ride. I, myself, am a pretty big woman. I don't deny that. I have always been able to ride Millennium Force, though, and now I'm afraid it sounds like I wont be able too. Does this upset me? Of course, because truthfully, Millennium Force was the biggest reason I went to that park anymore. I like Raptor and Magnum and Gemini, but they don't hold a candle to Millennium Force. I haven't rode Top Thrill Dragster yet though because I am too big for that, and I have gained a little weight last year and wasn't able to ride Wicked Twister, but I have rode it before so I wasn't in the least upset. Would I have liked to ride Top Thrill Dragster, of course, but I’m not going to blame them because I couldn’t. They were only looking out for my safety. It isn’t the parks fault I’m fat. It is my own. I take full responsibility for that (well I do blame my parents for not teaching me good eating habits when I was younger…but that’s a different story!).

I don't like the new shorter belts or the new rule one bit, but crying about it isn't going to do anything either. I understand that my weight is what is keeping me off of the rides that I want to ride. I also understand that they want to keep the people who ride it safe. It is really a no win situation in my eyes. Will I be going to Cedar Point this year? No, probably not. I have lost the interest in that park over the years, but this is just the tip of the iceberg that would make me not go. It may not be right, it may not be fair, but it is my personal decision.*** This post was edited by Sarah Jackson 5/20/2004 10:14:02 AM ***

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Thursday, May 20, 2004 10:24 AM
The thing that irks me the most is the way Cedar Point is handling this. It has probably been there before now, but on their website, it lists the rider restrictions. When it gets to the part about size and weight, it says :

Due to rider restraint system requirements, guests of exceptional size may not be accommodated on some of our rides. This may apply, but not be limited to, males who exceed 6’2”, and those who exceed 225 pounds, have a 40” waistline or 52” chest or females who exceed 200 pounds or wear size 18 or larger. Each person has different body proportions, so it is impossible to determine exact size and weight.


First of all, I've heard (from the other thread about this before the article) that some people as small as a 36" waiste were turned away...I don't know the circumstances, but I seriously doubt someone with a 36" waist is of "exceptional size."

Continuing on that is my second point. The term "exceptional size" is very misleading in this case. From dictionary.com, the second definition of exceptional:

Well above average; extraordinary.

I am slightly above the posted restrictions on Cedar Point's website (above), but I am by no means "well above average" in terms of my size. I am very much football player sized (probably smaller actually since there is a distinct lack of muscle in the upper body).

My solution: Why can't the hyper restraint system be more like the Inatmin Impulses be used? Have the seat belt attached to the lap bar (have 2 if you need!) and have that connect to the seat. You still get the primary hydraulic lock on the restraint itself, then the back up of the seat belt incase that fails. Have two connections like on the impulses so that the smaller riders don't have 8 inches of room if the restrain fails.

Maybe I just ramble...but thsoe are my 2 cents.

Kev

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Thursday, May 20, 2004 10:32 AM
My hunch: the park will continue this policy thru the season. During the next off-season the trains will be modified and everything will be pretty much back to normal. Thats just a hunch.

But here's what it boils down to, folks:

There are 14 other adult coasters at CP. Why would you skip the park because you can't ride one? What if you got to the park and MF was closed for the day for maintenance...would you still go in and ride the other rides? We are not a Millennium Force Enthusiasts we're coaster enthusiasts...if 14 other coasters can't make us happy perhaps we need a different hobby?

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Thursday, May 20, 2004 10:48 AM
Mamoosh, that commonly used example has some slight psychological differences than the current situation. In that example, no one is able to ride MF and thus park patrons, while upset at not being able to ride the ride, are psychologically placated by the fact that other riding eligible patrons are also not able to ride. In the current procedural operation, the ride has been excluded to some but not all and the tip of the iceberg is the fact that people who have previously been able to ride are being excluded. A patron is now going to have the feeling of discrimination, a feeling that evokes strong emotions inside. Discrimination leads to public outcry. It is not difficult to see why people would be upset and I do not think it is easy to just say that there are 15 other coasters in the park. People are a lot more forgiving if they feel they are not being discriminated against and that is what this policy is coming off as. I would be less inclined to visit any park if I felt that I was being discriminated against in any manner.
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Thursday, May 20, 2004 10:59 AM

I understand that my weight is what is keeping me off of the rides that I want to ride.
But that's not what's keeping you off of the ride. Generally speaking, I slam enthusiasts who think that they're experts when it comes to ride safety, but this is a rare case where common sense is all you need to see that this new restriction is insane. You know from experience that there was never any way in hell you were ever going to come out of that ride, unless the belt broke, the bar came loose and you then stood up or hung out of the train.

You can't ride because Intamin is trying to cover their asses because people keep getting killed on their rides due, so far, to improperly restrained people, caused by human error. At SFNE, we might even be able to reason that the belts, 11" longer than others, were just too long to be safe, and combined with a lap bar not checked or pushed down, ejected a rider. How many failures is that on behalf of SFNE?

I have no doubt I can ride, but I'm still not going to stand by and pretend everything is OK with this.

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Thursday, May 20, 2004 11:01 AM

"Generally speaking, I slam enthusiasts who think that they're experts when it comes to ride safety, but this is a rare case where common sense is all you need to see that this new restriction is insane."

Yeah Jeff, you really do deserve to be slammed! ;) I'm sure this post will be removed before people read it but here goes- Does anyone know what actually know what happened on Perilous? The bar was downa dn the belt was locked, she didnt "fall out", the forces of the ride ripped her in half! Large riders have been know to dislocate thier legs on Intamin coasters. Is it Intamins fault? Uh... NO! Those "new requirements" were handed down a LONG time ago, the park just didn't enforce them! The ONLY park that actually did was KBF with Xcel and Perilous (after the PP mess of course). The rules have always been there. Anyway, I'm sure they will re-do the restraints at the end of this season, maybe something like StormRunner's restraint system is in order (without the OTSR part).

"You know from experience that there was never any way in hell you were ever going to come out of that ride, unless the belt broke, the bar came loose and you then stood up or hung out of the train."

See again, YOU may not come out and neither may he, but how do you draw the line? If certain fat people can ride without being injured and others can't, then obviously it's an easy call, fat people dont ride at all! YOu can't judge it, thats why there are ride restrictions! Some kids under 54 inches are tall enough to have a safe ride on Raptor, but SINCE the manufacturer mandated the rule for everyone, it's not up to us to pick and choose when we feel like enforcing the rule.

"You can't ride because Intamin is trying to cover their asses because people keep getting killed on their rides due, so far, to improperly restrained people, caused by human error."

For once you're right, Intamin is coverring thier asses by REMINDING PARKS to folow thier rider requirements, which have ALWYAS BEEN THERE. Again, are you a safety expert? Have you read the operating procedures for Intamins? It's all right there, all S.O.P., the parks in violation of S.O.P. when they don't enforce those kinds of rules, whether they (or anyone else) agrees with them or not.*** This post was edited by ThePhantomLives 5/20/2004 11:15:09 AM ***

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Thursday, May 20, 2004 11:04 AM
If this provides any motivation for some people to live healthier lifestyles then I guess this could be a positive. If anough people are unable to ride some of these machines then I can only guess that this would hurt the park's bottom line. I can't imagine the park will settle for this if indeed a good perecentage of their guests are turned away. This would be just plain stupid business practice.
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Thursday, May 20, 2004 11:05 AM
Mamoosh, for me, like I said I have lost most interest in the park over the years. When I do actually go to the park it is during Halloweekends. Typically I don't ride any of the coasters during that time except Millennium Force and Magnum, and very rarely Raptor. I do the haunted houses and watch the live shows and enjoy the atmosphere.

For the mention of if it were broke down would I still go? Yes, IF I am already up there. I am not going to drive the 4 hours, pay for 2 nights hotel and drive the 4 hours back home because I know For Certain that I am not going to be able to ride Millennium Force. You may see it as stupid, but every ones opinions always differ. Like Eric H said, it is about the public discrimination for being over weight. Large people, like myself, have it hard enough with people making fun of them or laughing at them, an amusement park is the last place I want to encounter this when all I am trying to do is have a good time. I’ll save myself the extra humiliation because I know what it feels like. I was the one who was not allowed on V2 at CoasterBuzz Con or on Flight of Fear at BeastBuzz last year because of my weight.

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Thursday, May 20, 2004 11:07 AM
sarah, i do agree with you on many of your statements, but i just feel if they'r going to do something about these accidents, they should do it in a way that suits everyone and fixes the problem, and doesnt just try to avoid it

and refusing riders of 'exceptional size' isnt even the complete answer anyway, that girl who died on hydro was a normal size person, but i think if i remember right someone mentioned that she turned around or something...so now you have restraints that are faulty for the big, and just as bad for the smaller/normal size person. i just dont see how letting these restraints go untouched is the answer. i know if i were any of the parks with the t-bar i would definately ask for a different restraint system for the safety of guests, not to mention people dont tend to flock to the rollercoasters that catapult its riders to their deaths, so i would also do it for the better of the business of the park.

hell premier modified their restraints on PLENTY of coasters so i dont see how retrofitting the intamin mega trains would be such a big deal...just modify one train at a time and have both the normal t-bar and the modified trains running at the same time until all of them are fitted, if they were modified i'd think the bar would just be a lot bigger and cover a lot more lap, so even if they did do that i dont think the ride ops would be thrown off too much...but duh i know that'll never happen but still something NEEDS to be done to the t-bar, not to the people riding with them.

and btw, if my name doesnt show up again (i have no idea why it didnt, but oh well)...im FreakLogic, ive been here a couple years just...dorment

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Thursday, May 20, 2004 11:12 AM
I think the real crime here is the fact that Millennium Force simply lacks the kind of forces that would eject a rider. MF's air is floater air, not ejector air. The ride itself makes the previous restraints work.

Side Note: did Xcelerator's belt get shortened too? Or is it still the same as when it opened?

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Thursday, May 20, 2004 11:17 AM
I noticed on sunday how shallow the seat is on the Force compared with rides like TTD and Magnum. On The latter of the two, the seat backs are significantly further back so more of your butt is in the seat, where on the Force and the Supermans you have less butt in the seat. When you close the lap bar down and if you are of exceptional size, that bar is up against you legs and not your lap, so with enough force its possible to be ejected from a train since the lap bar isn't in your lap. Again... on Magnum and TTD, your butt is in the seat and the bar is in yor lap and your legs are bent more so.

You can tell since this design was introduced that Intiman has changed it serveral times over

Rideman explained all this to me on Sunday

I assume Force will run throughout the season but reopen next year with the same seats and t-bars as TTD

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Thursday, May 20, 2004 11:20 AM
Xcel's has always had the 2 inches of slack rule, so the belts are effectively shorter anyway. Yes, MF is a forcless pile and won't eject anyone, but thats not up to us or CP to descide. Intamin handed the rules down BACK IN 2000, not now, it's been on CP's shoulders as to whether or not they enforce the rules. Yes it is VERY VERY lame to see that so many enthusiasts can't ride, but don't get mad at Intamin, get mad at the PARKS for not properly screening and restraining thier riders!

Anyone remember the European ACE trip where a large group of people couldnt ride EGF even though they fit on MF? Whats the diff here? We can whine and cry about it all we want, but how is it that certain parks have had this policy in place since day 1 and when other descide parks adopt it, they're suddenly "totally insane"?

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Thursday, May 20, 2004 11:23 AM
Sarah - my comments were not directed at you or anyone in particular. I'm also not commenting on the policy itself. I'm merely saying that there are other rides at Cedar Point that make a visit worthy.

If we enjoyed the park before Millie was built - when there was a "measly" 13 coasters - then we should be able to enjoy it with 15...of which we can ride 14!

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Thursday, May 20, 2004 11:24 AM
Well said Moosh, MF stinks anyway! ;)
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