I think it's about time we discussed this.....

Thursday, July 27, 2006 2:45 PM

Lord Gonchar said:

Aside from MF, no one is really citing example of rides turning away "supersized Americans" in large (or even relevant) numbers.

LG: I love you like a play-cousin, but this is a ridiculous standard to hold people too. *Very Few* of us are in a position to watch hundreds of people even *attempting* to board a ride so there will likely never be an "example of rides turingin away 'supersized American' in large (or even relavent) numbers". Think about it, when you're in a coaster station you maybe see a hundred...two hundred people boarding. And, admittedly, the majority of those people are small-ish tween/teen/young adults who *dont* have overweight issues. So you're right, people aren't really citing examples.

However, I've seen people turned away on S:ROS (SFNE), Hypersonic (PKD) and B:TR (SFGAm..my God-brother even), so 'anecdotally' is does happen. But it's ludicrous to ask any of us to provide 'statitiscally (sp) significant' numbers as we are just in no position to gather that data.

As if we dont talk out of our azz about random ish daily here (I've heard the podcasts...;))
lata, jeremy

PlaceHolder for Castor & Pollux

Thursday, July 27, 2006 2:48 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar I think you guys are blurring the line between the safety of Intamin restraints and the ability to accomodate all riders. Two different issues entirely. I'm not talking about the safety of any companies restraints in any capacity.

With that said:

No ride can accomodate everyone. It's just not possible.

Should a guy who weighs 500lbs be able to ride? 600lbs? 700lbs? What about someone 7 feet tall? 7 1/2 feet? 8 feet? The line HAS to be drawn somewhere.

So the companies design their rides in a way they see fit. Obviously they attempt to throw the widest net possible to cover as many riders as possible. The cutoff line varies a little, but in general it's obvious who can and cannot safely ride based on size. It is not a widespread problem.

Even if 1 in 500 people is turned away (2 or 3 per hour based on most big rides capacity) - that's not a problem. The ride still accomodates 99.8% of riders. If you ask me, that's a marvel of engineering.

(note: I pulled the 1-in-500 number out of my ass just to make an example. Face it, NO coaster or ride outside of MF turns away one person every 15 or 20 trains/cycles.)

So are we really complaining about these ride's ability to hold riders of all types or are we complaining about changes made to MF due to apparent safety issues with a similar ride in New England?

In my eyes it's two diferent discussions entirely.

EDIT - Jeremy squeezed that post in while I was typing but mine still applies. I am pulling a random number out of my ass. It's a number that seems ridiculously high and still, it's a non-issue.

So anyone have a better idea? What about some of you ride-ops? How many people truly get turned away from any given ride in your opinion?

*** Edited 7/27/2006 6:52:01 PM UTC by Lord Gonchar***

Thursday, July 27, 2006 2:54 PM
They're two separate issues, I think, but they're pretty clearly linked. I agree that no restraint can accommodate everyone. That much should be obvious. I also agree it's not a widespread problem.

However, whenever this issue gets brought up, Millennium Force is inevitably going to be mentioned because enthusiasts seem pissed off over that one more than any other. Maybe that's because Millennium Force is more discriminating than others. Maybe it's because the restrictions changed after the incident at SFNE. Whatever the reason, people always point to Millennium Force when complaining about restraints that don't accommodate everyone (or, at the least, accomodate enough people).

Personally, I'm not complaining about either issue. But I think the argument goes that Intamin should have been able to reconfigure the Millennium Force restraints to be safe *and* continue to accomodate the same riders it did before the safety flaw became apparent. Of course, I think those people who can't ride now should never have been allowed to ride in the first place. :)


Thursday, July 27, 2006 2:56 PM
I'm not saying that Intamin restraints- or ANY restraints for that matter- should be designed to accomodate people of enormous size or outrageous proportion. I don't think that any coaster should be expected to accomodate someone that weighs 500 pounds, no matter how well they "carry their weight".

What I'm saying is that other ride manufacturers have done it, so why can't Intamin? I have NEVER seen someone turned away from Nitro at Great Adventure and I've ridden that coaster a lot. I've visited SFNE and SFA once after the Superman rides were built and I saw a few people turned away from them. How is it that B&M was able to design something that has proven to be fatality-proof while Intamin designed something that was obviously flawed and has still done nothing about it?

Thursday, July 27, 2006 3:01 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar See, I don't consider it a flaw. They've drawn their line in the sand. It's just in a different spot than B&M's line. They still accomodate a ridiculously wide range of people. They're not required, nor should they be expected, to do anything other than provide a safe ride for those who do fit within the requirements of the restraint system.

Suppose they wanted to build a ride that only fit people between 5'6" and 5'9" and between 130 and 150 pounds. That's fine. It doesn't make sense, but it's fine.

If it were really such a problem, the parks would see the consequences and reconsider when it comes time to buy a new ride.

*** Edited 7/27/2006 7:02:15 PM UTC by Lord Gonchar***

Thursday, July 27, 2006 3:09 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

coasterdude318 said:
Maybe that's because Millennium Force is more discriminating than others. Maybe it's because the restrictions changed after the incident at SFNE.

I agree with your entire post, but wanted to pick these lines out. It's interesting.

One of two things happened with MF. Either a certain segment of riders was riding unsafely prior to the change or the park is being overly cautious since the change.

Either way it's in the name of potential safety.

How is that a bad thing?

I have a feeling that if the requirements for riders would have been so stringent from the start that we'd see a lot less complaints.

Enthusiasts for some reason don't adapt to change very well. (MF size requirements, SF price restructuring, unprofitable parks closing, etc.)

Thursday, July 27, 2006 3:25 PM
Yep. In a way, this whole thing about Intamin restraints and their ability to accomodate larger riders, since Intamin *did* change their restraints (once for Xcelerator & TTD and again for Storm Runner, Kingda Ka, etc). The only rides that remain a problem are Millennium Force and the S:ROS clones. Three of those four have significantly modified their restraints. The other is operating with tighter restrictions. I can't blame Cedar Point for not spending the cash to totally reconfigure the trains for different restraints unless it was a major problem for them...and so I'm inclined to believe that it isn't.


Thursday, July 27, 2006 3:30 PM
But don't you think Cedar Fair should have pressured Intamin to fix the restraints, since many people that could once ride were turned away in subsequent years?
Thursday, July 27, 2006 3:32 PM
I gotta agree with Nate.

Several factors in several accidents helped to cause them.

Still bottom line, Allowed or mistakenly dispatched with the restrain up or in a non securing possition comes down to the ops.

Sad but true.


Thursday, July 27, 2006 3:37 PM
I am what I would consider overweight, and realize that I need to lose 5 or 40. I am 5'11" and weigh around 235.

If a ride manufacturer determines that my big rear is not fit to ride in a safe manner, I am fine with that and will fully accept it, since their restrictions should be for my own safety.

My problem lies with the inconsistency of the seat belt lengths on both MF and SROS at New England.

I was just at SFNE a few weeks ago and tried the test seat and had absolutely no problem with the belt or the lap bar, as a matter of fact, the belt on the test seat had at least 6-8 inches of slack.

Once I attempted to board the coaster in the second row, I was unable to get the seat belt fastened, it was around 2 inches short of even closing.

So, I switched seats with my wife and was able to get that belt buckled with relative ease, leaving around 3-4 inches of slack.

This same issue happened last season at Cedar Point on MF, the test seat was fine, but once on the ride, I needed to switch seats with my wife in order to ride.

As stated at the beginning of my post, if it is for my own safety, I do not have a problem with not being permitted to ride, however I feel the parks have a responsibility to make sure the belt lengths on the coasters are all the same as the test seats.

If I can "ride" the test seat, then my fat butt should be able to take a lap on the coaster.

Just my 2 pennnies !

Thursday, July 27, 2006 3:51 PM
That's a park maintenance issue, not a manufacturer issue. It's true that those Intamin hypercoaster trains originally had seatbelts of different lengths due to the stadium-style seating. I believe all that was fixed (or was supposed to be fixed) when they reconfigured the restraints. Inconsistency in seatbelt length comes down to park maintenance.

Charles Nungester said:
I gotta agree with Nate.
Still bottom line, Allowed or mistakenly dispatched with the restrain up or in a non securing possition comes down to the ops.

But that's not what I said. In fact, it's the complete opposite of what I said. It's entirely impossible to tell whether the train was dispatched with the deceased's restraint fully up (unlikely) or in a "non-securing position." Okay, I guess it's obvious it was in such a position since he was thrown from the train. My point is that there was no way for the operators to know what was a securing position and what wasn't. That's Intamin's fault, and that's why those restraings were flawed.

I believe Cedar Fair would have pressured Intamin into fixing Millennium Force's restraints had they felt the issue was big enough to warrant the time and money. It seems to me they've determined it just isn't worth it.


Thursday, July 27, 2006 3:56 PM
I just can't believe CF is content with their star attraction turning away as many guests as it has to. And, since the same company responsible for all this sillyness is currently building them another ride, you would think they would take care of their previous ride issues...Millennium Force restraints and Dragster's reliability ;)
SOB's biggest fanboy!
Thursday, July 27, 2006 3:57 PM
Jeff's avatar

Rob Ascough said:
But whatever... there are arguably downsides to getting tattoos...
None of which are health issues, only yours.

Rob Ascough said:
But don't you think Cedar Fair should have pressured Intamin to fix the restraints, since many people that could once ride were turned away in subsequent years?
Don't you think they've been doing that from the beginning? Do you think they want to deal with pissed off people? Sorry to sound like a fanboy, but I know those people, and the last thing in the world they want is pissed off guests. It's not a money issue.

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

Thursday, July 27, 2006 3:58 PM
^ Huh? What the heck are you talking about? If there aren't health issues with tattoos right now, I'm sure someone will eventually find one. Injecting ink into your skin can't be any better in the long run than filling your lungs with nicotine or your liver with alcohol. Besides, don't make this an issue of what I am for and against, as it has nothing to do with the actual debate going on.

So CF has applied pressure to Intamin to fix MF's restraints? I guess they've been doing that in between signing contracts for new Intamin coasters? "We disagree with you not fixing the restraints but what the hell, we'll buy two more coasters anyway."

re: Nate-

And that surprises me. It's not like the coaster hadn't opened to the public- it was a ride that was in operation for a few years before the sudden changes were made. Since CF seems to pride themselves on good customer relations, I'm surprised they would want to convey that message to their guests. They basically said "oh well" to the people that could no longer ride and more or less admitted to unsafe operation of the ride before the SFNE incident. I would think that the park would have changed trains or restraints for the sole purpose of showing people that there was a problem but there isn't any longer.

*** Edited 7/27/2006 8:03:41 PM UTC by Rob Ascough***

Thursday, July 27, 2006 4:13 PM
Well, if it isn't a money issue, then why don't they go ahead and get it done, either by Intamin or an outside contractor? I've heard enough of this "Ohio law states...directive by the ride manufacturer...blah, blah, blah. Just fix your ride and remove Intamin's "band aids". ;) *** Edited 7/27/2006 8:19:44 PM UTC by Marky Mark***
SOB's biggest fanboy!
Thursday, July 27, 2006 4:18 PM
Because in the end, making sure those few guests are satisfied really isn't that important?
Thursday, July 27, 2006 4:22 PM
If Jeff says Cedar Fair has been pressuring Intamin for a fix on the MF restraints, then that's probably accurate. Why that hasn't happened isn't for me to say because I don't know, but there's little sense in speculating. The point is that Cedar Fair wants to correct it and it apparently cannot be done at this time.

If Intamin is unwilling or unable to do it, then Cedar Fair is basically SOL. Having an outside contractor do the work would be ridiculously stupid because you're absolving Intamin of any liability. That is, if Cedar Point just changed the restraints on their own and something happened, Cedar Point is at fault.

I still think that while Cedar Point obviously wants to minimize guest satisfaction, this issue either isn't big enough or costing them enough to correct it right now. But again, that's largely speculation.


Thursday, July 27, 2006 4:28 PM
Well, I just threw that "outside contractor" stuff in there. I know CF would never let anybody else touch that ride. This is the one and only topic that annoys the crap out of me. As I said before...i'm a fatty and this is the only damn ride I can't get on.
SOB's biggest fanboy!
Thursday, July 27, 2006 4:31 PM
I agree that CF contracting someone else to do the work isn't the right thing. Isn't that the mess that Disney got themselves into when they made changes to California Screamin' and then an accident occured? Still, I'm not sure that pressuring Intamin to make changes and then buying a coaster from them is sending the right message.

Maybe the issue isn't costing them a lot, but I would still think that they'd want a minimum of problems with what is probably their #1 attraction. I can't imagine that the press from a few years ago (when the change was made) was positive.

Thursday, July 27, 2006 4:42 PM
janfrederick's avatar Wow, I go to a long meeting and come back and need a half an hour to catch up. ;)

Rollergator said:

Disney rides are built to accommodate the *widest* possible range of guest dimensions...IMO. Not that I *know* anything, just based on experience....and I have seen guests turned away from MF in my one visit since the restraints changed...

Just a funny aside here. I am related to Francis X Bushman who played the bad guy in the original Ben Hur. His son was an imagineer. He was a thick boned guy (runs in the family) and Walt used him to test out seats when he was building the park. Anyway, Walt went out of his way to make sure all sizes of people had a good time. Then again, Peter Pan is quite different from MF.

*** Edited 7/27/2006 9:28:12 PM UTC by janfrederick***

"I go out at 3 o' clock for a quart of milk and come home to my son treating his body like an amusement park!" - Estelle Costanza

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