The forcast for Saturday was calling for a very nice day..high 80s and low humidity...which is what we got. First the stats, then the story...
Bonus - I saved 5 bucks off for the three of us with a coupon from Dunkin' Doughnuts. It paid for our parking.
Crowd: Very family oriented - well behaved - not a line cutter or wayward smoker all day. Even though the lot was about 1/3 full (I expected more) there were a lot of people in the park. [3 Flags!]
Security: Thankfully, not a big need for security today. I didn't see too many people in suits either. One guy was in a tower with binoculars scanning the parking lot. He was there when we left the park too. [5 Flags!]
Water Temperature - On most attractions, very comfortable [5 Flags!] (with the exception being the interactive play area) [4 flags!]
Water Quality - I didn't take bacteria readings, but it looked very clean. [5 Flags]
Bathroom & Park Cleanliness - Nice [5 1/2 Flags!] Though more bathrooms are needed by the attractions as opposed to the restaurants and shops.
Food Selection - If you don't like Papa Johns, Chicken Strips, or Teds, you will have a rough time. [2 Flags!]
Food Quality/Value - Papa Johns was like frozen Elio's. [1 Flag1] We each had a personal pizza and a drink. That set us back nearly 40 bucks for the 3 of us. [0 Flags!]. The service wsa very slow and if the girl behind the counter moved any slower she would have been going backwards. For 40 bucks, I would have like to have been even remotely satisfied. It was just bad.
Atmosphere - [5 Flags!] People were having a good time. The music had a few country tunes mixed in, including the appropriate Brad Paisley hit, "Water."
Operations - [1 1/2 flags] There were a few things that we would see as opposed to the normal population. Here is where things could have been better.
1) Most of the launching dishes have two feeder slots where you get on and off. ON several slides, this wasn't being used and the lines would have moved much faster if one chute would load - while the other launched, and they kept switching off. This was not the case. On the multi-rider slides (one max of 3 riders - the other 4) Tubes were loaded one at a time, then launched. This knocked out a whole section of stairway and slowed things down considerably.
2) On "Hurricane Mountain" one guard / attendent is assigned to three chutes. It's chaotic and slow. A few more people would get the tubes moving. The line for the Orange slide was the fastest moving and in my opinion the most fun. The green and yellow (multi-person canoe style boat) was the slowest line and though comfortable, wasn't as fast as I thought it would be.
3) I didn't do the new slide: "Tornado" as the line for it was very long, but I have never seen such big tubes being carried up by riders. Most tubes of (4 person - clover leaf style) are lifted to the platform via conveyors.
4) The interactive area has an impressive selection of things to do and play with - but many are not working. (Most people just move on to the next thing - but this was a noticable negative).
5) The wave pool became very annoying (and I knew this going in) every hour - for 15 minutes - the entire pool is evacuated and the people are angry as they head back to the chairs en-mass. We were hit with bad timing twice today. People were boo-ing the guards. The guards were not allowing people to hold on to the wall at all, which I thought was weird. (Both of these instances seem to be only at Hurricane Harbor and nowhere else.) I think the best waves though were along the wall. The pool was crowded, but not insane.
I have to say though that being a lifeguard at a wavepool might be the hardest job in a water park. There is CONSTANT whistleblowing, but since there is so much of it, a lot of it goes unnoticed.
Now - back to the "Flash Pass Concept." Two of the biggest attractions in terms of entertaining as many people as possible at the same time has to be the wave pool and the Take It Eee Zee Creek (Endless river type of attraction). What Six Flags has done is remove a HUGE number of tubes from the river attraction and made getting a tube an aggressive sport. At the three entrances /exits, people are creeping farther and farther up river asking, begging almost bribing peeps in tubes if they are still going to be using their tubes. I would say the ratio of people walking the river to riding on a tube were easily 3 to 1. As the crowd started getting lighter, the ratio didn't change. The deal is they want you to RENT a tube for the day at a cost of ($8 for a single and $13 for a double) so that you would have the comfort of having a tube on hand. These tubes can now be used in the wave pool (when they aren't kicking everyone out I suppose), but have to be watched or stored when you are doing other things.
I know you can get a cabana rental if you want more privacy (you pay more - you get more) but this move changes the attraction for everyone else. Without flass pass you can get on any ride if you wait for it, but now you literally have to walk instead of ride. So much for taking it eee zee. I walked 4 times around (2 times each on 2 seperate occasions) and could not score a tube.
People were CLEARLY not happy about this and when I approached various guards about it, I was told that there was nothing they could do. A teen who took a tube from a slide into the river was met with fierce whistle blowing and was told he had to remove the tube at once. Later, when I went to the tube rental place to complainI was told, "We offer a limited number of tubes on the river for convenience."
Pay to play has reached the harbor.
Other - Just the usual nonsense...get there early (we entered 1/2 hour after opening) - get a good lounge chair for your stuff (wave pool or play area), hide your contraband (snacks, juice boxes) inside wrapped towells and have fun!!!
ONe last thing...there are a few volleyball nets in a sand area. If you take one of the few lounge chiars over there - it feels like you are in the middle of EVERYTHING, yet somewhat very private and secluded. The sand art display was small but beautiful!
Thank you for reading this.
Here's To Shorter Lines & Longer Trip Reports!
So people were practically begging for a free tube instead of paying $8?
The one thing SF still does wrong (CF does too) is try to draw with the low gate/admission and then make it up inside the park. It's time to just make the gate representative of what it should be and leave the annoyances inside behind.
Tack $5 or $10 onto the water park admission and put the stupid tubes back.
Then tack on another $5 or $10 and bring that in-park meal down from $40 to $30.
I'm not sure I believe that another $15 or $20 on the gate loses so many customers that it's better to just get them there to hope you don't piss them off too much once they show at the lower price.
My local waterpark (Noah's Ark) pretty much gave up on the pay to rent tubes. They dropped the price of a single tube to $1 rental ($5 deposit) and a double to $2 ($5 deposit) years ago I remember them being $10 and $20 respectively (plus a $10 deposit)
The tube rentals is one reason I don't go for the 3 park pass. I am not paying $8 for a tube on top of a locker each time I go to the waterpark, when Dorney has free tubes and plenty of them, so many that the lazy rivers sometimes get jammed up with all the empty tubes in the way. The other reason I don't get the 3 park pass is the bad operating schedule, they don't go to daily operations until mid to late June (and started daily operations a week later at the last minute this year) and cut back hours this year closing at 5:30 earlier in the season.
Gonch - - -> The primary example of your (well made) point is Discovery Cove. They have one of the highest single-day admissions that I can think of, and yet EVERYTHING (Snorkel, food, drinks, towells) is included. The only thing that costs extra are the photos that are taken of your dolphin experience and the souvineers that you pay for.
Yoshi - - - > Those extra empty tubes at Dorney would have come in handy yesterday!!!!
Here's To Shorter Lines & Longer Trip Reports!
The opening year at Zoombize Bay, they rented tubes. The lazy river had more people walking in it then floating. This made it tough to float as you kept running into walkers. They also allowed tubes in the wave pool which would knock over people standing in the wave pool. Worst of both IMO.
Year 2 they did away with tube rental and banned them from the wave pool. It is now much more enjoyable day at the park.
Before you can be older and wiser you first have to be young and stupid.
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