i know at Geauga Lake only a few of the coasters (Steel Venom, Dominator and Villian) have recordings...i actually love speiling. I liked adding personal touched whenever i could. Like singing happy birthday to someone on the ferris wheel.
I know SFA just switched to pure recordings over the last two years. They used to have the ride ops just do the speil, but I rarely heard them do it and when they did it lacked any enthusiasm, you couldn't understand it, or they messed it up somehow. The recordings are always run so the appropriate information is always given, they are clear, and the newer themed messages are a lot of fun. Batwing, for instance, informs guests, or "crime fighters" to exit towards the center of the "hanger" and ensures them that "their efforts have made Gotham City a safer place." I'm not sure of how the whole thing goes, but it sounds really good and they'll hopefully do a similiar thing for the other coasters. ALL the rides, kids rides included, have the prerecorded boarding/unboarding announcements.
I'm pretty sure the first time I *noticed* a recorded speil was back in 1992 at Great America's Batman: The Ride. Of course, that was just supposed to be an integrated part of the theming. Since then, the automation has spread...my guess is it is a CYA type move.
I would love to use a headset, as I find it annoying trying to spiel while working controls, as there is always something going on that might make me have to interrupt the spiel. It could be a phone call, or even the need to let the ride-hosts know they need to recheck certain rows. (If anyone has ridden an Intamin Impulse, you probably know what I am talking about, since on those you may often hear a phrase like "recheck harnesses.") What is also annoying is using a hand mic, as it ties up a hand. Being a ride operator, I now appreciate auto-spiels, though the best in my opinion would be a mix between the two, with the spieler having a headset.
The best autospeils though, in my humble opinion, at the Cedar Fair parks I go to are probably Wicked Twister and Top Thrill Dragster. They have great music that gets you into the mood, which in away is just as good as someone spieling.
Luckily, I think the company I work for likes to make ride stations very operator friendly. This enables the ride-hosts to focus on the number one part of the job, that being safety. Autospeils, while in some cases boring, help ensure that instructions are clearly given, and that ride-hosts can focus on their primary responsibilities with less hassle.
What sucks, tho, is that regardless if its an autospiel or a live person so few people pay attention!
Recent case in point: at Knotts this past weekend the lead op would constantly get on the PA and announce that jackets, sweaters, etc., could NOT be tied at the waist but instead had to be worn. Yet train after train people sat and buckled themselves with a sweatshirt or sweater tied around their waist, only to have one of the ride ops ask them to put it on.
Avalanche Sam, Yes the WT and TTD ones are good but what about MF? That's also a great one!
Yes no one pays attention to it but it's all for legal purposes.
I personally think it is better for ride ops to do it because they can help explain how to get in. The headset is CRUCIAL on Mantis since it's a stand up. The ride op can check retraints and tell the operator at controls what rows to unlock. On Raptor it's more for fun, yelling at people for getting into the trains to slow. Ten seconds later "Theres the floor your out the door Enjoy your flight on Raptor" They really get into it.
Headsets would be awesome...but they aren't really used that often.
When I worked at the Adventuredome, I'd have killed for a headset especially when running two trains or three boats on the larger rides. Its hard to do your job and deal with people and deal with a speil at the same time.
Now I work seasonally at Disney doing parking. Apparently once upon a time they tried to get headset mics for the trams but the reception wasn't good. That would be awesome considering how many times we have to keep getting on and off the back to check things...
As for recorded speils, they get the point across but in most situations people dont listen...so Id say the best would be a balance between a recording while in line and a live person on the platform. *** Edited 10/21/2004 8:19:25 PM UTC by haiderodes***
I agree that operators have too much to look at to worry about spieling. But that's why Raptor, Mantis, and DT have someone who's checking restraints do the spiel. Magnum didn't have the headset but still had the front load person do the spiel. It's not real distracting to say a spiel you've said thousands of times during the season. In fact it's like second nature.
Ride Of Steel brings up a good point most people don't realize. You can control (to a point) the urgentness of the message thereby causing people to enter the train more quickly. It's weird, but it's true. The more excited you are, the more excited they are to get on that train.
That's right Blaster. They always say "QUICKLY QUICKLY QUICKLY QUICKLY ENTER THE TRAIN. Have one person from your party put your loose things in the bin and quickly get seated and an operator will be around to help you with your shoulder harness. We'll be bringing you up 145 dropping you 119 at a 45 degree angle going 57 mph flipping you upside down 6 times 4 ways, seein you back here in 232, CLEAR! When beth says your clear then you are outta here. The floor will sink you will sail, enjoy your flight on Raptor."
By the time you've read that speil that's how long it takes them to load a train and dispatch it. And I do believe that the guy doing spiels helps alot. He can just check restraints and talk at the same time, which isn't as hard as doing controls and doing spiels, which I think would be very difficult and demanding.
Its especially demanding when management gets tired of people playing with the control panel mics and puts in a straight 6 inch long steel bar instead of the bendy metal thing so now in addition to watching the station, monitors, and listening for the train to skip a dog, you also have to bend all the way over until you are practically kissing the panel to talk into the mic just to clear the train...with those people standing in line asking you questions at the same time...
whose smart idea was it anyway put a control panel on the loading side? well it was the adventuredome after all...aka ghettoest theme park in the west
this discussion made me think...we always talk about station design with guests and guest flow in mind, what about operator comfort, saftey, and efficiency. maybe ill start a new thread on that? *** Edited 10/22/2004 7:45:16 AM UTC by haiderodes***
For whatever reason, Canyon Blaster (an arrow looping coaster) likes to skip a dog every once and while. From my estimation it occurs when only one of the two chain dogs attaches to the lift and the train falls back to attach the second one. That's my guess since they never really explained it...it seemed to happen mostly when the train's weight was off balance.
Procedure called for us to immediately stop the lift if we heard it skip. You could tell because it would make a TREMENDOUSLY loud bang and the entire lift would shake (you could see it on the monitor). If the train was past the last large dome support then we would let it go, if you didnt stop the lift, youd get written up.
My solution for avoiding this would be to add a brake on the short run to the lift. The train has a lot of speed on the drop out of the station and as a result "passes" the chain on its way up the lift. It falls back onto the chain making the chain "jump". If they would just get the train and chain to go the same speed, I doubt it would happen.
It was really hard to detect when the park was busy because its indoors and the sound reflects. So you couldnt tell if it was the boat ride that was making the noise or if it was something else. One time I was working in park op base (under the lift) and I didnt even notice it, until maintenance called me and asked me why i didnt call it in...