June 13 & 14 SFA -Should we wait next year for Shapiro co come around?

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I had high hopes for this park, but it just disappointed me. It's not the workers, or even the rides. It's the fact that not all the rides are open at this park. I believe it's low staffing, and not because they are all broke, but it's ridiculous to see so many rides down. It's the second week of June, and this park is acting likes it's April or something.

On the first day, we got there late, and a number of rides were closed such as Joker's Jinx, Avalanche, Two Face, Falling Star, the Tea Cups, Tower of Doom, the train, Pirate's Flight, Octopus and maybe Skull Mountain. Some of these did open after a particular time though. However, they should be open right when the park is open. There's no excuse for this. It's the second of June. The thing is that almost ALL the games are open. I saw ALL 8-10 games open near Hurricane Harbor, but yet they can't get enough people to open ALL or most of the rides when the park opens. It's ridiculous.

On, the second day these rides never opened. They are the Octopus, train, Two Face, Avalanche, Tower of Doom, and the Antique Cars. Pirate's Flight opened later, and they were having trouble with Skull Mountain, and Mind Eraser. Is this park always understaffed on weekdays, and rides braking down all the time. What's wrong here? Are there not enough qualified mechanics, or what? Low-staffing is just ridiculous. Skull Mountain trying to open in 70 degree weather with the wind blowing is kind of ridiculous also. Why open that at all? Open something else instead. They have that other water ride open plus the waterpark.

As for the rides, I've got to ride, I will give my opinion.

Superman Ride of Steel-Wow!! This was very surprising. I compare it to Goliath at SFOG. It's just airtime, and helix galore. What can you say. 10/10

Joker's Jinx: It's a great ride even though I believe that Mr. Freeze is a little better. The helixes, and inversions are nice. It still gets a 10/10 though.

Roar: I don't get the point of a coaster like this. I does nothing for me. I'm an out and back wooden type of person, or something that gives me some type of air. Didn't feel it on this ride. 3/10

Wild One: This is a nice gem with air, and roughness. It's a great coaster (GCI-kidding). 10/10

Batwing: It reminds me of Superman Ultimate Flight that's just a little rougher. I rode X-Flight, and I wasn't into it. I changed my mind with this ride. 10/10

Avalanche: It's a wonderful Chance Alpine Bobs. The second day it wasn't open at all though. Sometimes they would run it forward only, and than they would only run it backwards. Than, sometimes they would run it both ways. 10/10

Falling Star: It was disappointing. It was hoping for more airtime, but got none. It's a good ride though (not great) in my opinion. 7/10

Skull Mountain: I like that drop where you go over the tires. Other than that, it's just like any other log ride. Because of that, it gets a good rating, and not a why should I go on this ride type of rating. 7/10

Let me reiterate, when there is enough staff for almost all the game people to be open, there should be enough staff for the all the rides to be too.

I also don't think the park is worth $50. I counted 24 thrilling, and family rides excluding the waterpark, and kids rides. Places like SFGAdv, and SFOT have a lot more rides, and they are charging only $5 more. SFOT has 12 coasters, and SFGAdv has 13. Yet, the park can't have at least maybe 23 of them open. In my opinion, the less rides you have in the park, the less rides you can afford to have closed. You don't have that many so you shouldn't have a number of them closed.

I went to another park before this park, and it wasn't low-staffed. It had more than enough people at the park. They had 5 people at each coaster. It's a small park just like SFA. It's Dorney Park. So, what's the excuse SF. Why can a park like Dorney get enough workers, but SFA can't? My homepark is also low staffed which is just as ridiculous, but yet you look at another park like Dorney, and wonder how in the heck they can get people at that park (workers) with nothing closed except durning storms? If it wasn't for rides being closed, this park would = Dorney Park which = a nice park. If the rides were open, I believe this park is better than Disneyland, and Universal Studios. It's Shapiro not knowing what he's doing. And I am more of a fan for SF than CF.

Pagoda Gift Shop's avatar
Out of your 10 point scale, you gave five 10's, two 7's, and one 3. Shouldn't you just use a 3 point scale instead?

The ride thing is disappointing, but not all that surprising unfortunately.

Welcome to the disgrace that is SFA. I'm pretty fed up with the park at this point. I don't blame you much for complaining.

Snyder ought to get out of his office at FedEx field and head down the road to SFA. He needs to see that this place isn't run like it should be, and hasn't been for years.

What will it take? Who knows. I don't know if it's a case of Shapiro not knowing what he's doing--if he had seen all that, he may have had a fit. Maybe it's the lack of a good GM. I know I wasn't a huge fan of the park during some of the time of the last GM, but it sounds like this park is up to its old tricks again and can't seem to make a huge, lasting improvement.

coastin' since 1985

Schools don't get out in P.G. County until June 14th. With schools not out and Seniors out for Senior week in Ocean City, the park gets what they can to run the rides. I honestly think Maryland/Virginia schools let out later than everyone else in the country thanks to the fact that parents want 5 days built into the school calendar to cover snow days.

As far as games staffed. I'm sure those people are temp employees or volunteers. Did you notice most, if not all of their name tags were hand written and not engraved? People that operate rides have to be trained and certified to operate the rides, they just can't walk up and start pressing a button.

I've read a number of positive reports about the park this week, funny how yours is negative.

*** Edited 6/15/2007 5:34:31 PM UTC by coasterguts***

A day at the park is what you make it!

^It's a weekday compared to a weekend. Flats aren't a main priority to most people, and most people probably don't care about Two Face being open or not. Avalanche and Two Face were my main problems. Avalanche is a great ride in my opinion, but it didn't open the second day. My parents wanted to get on other rides, but they weren't working. The Tower Of Doom open would have been an extra bonus. I didn't need to get on that ride, but it would have been nice to try that one.

Shapiro said that he would get more moms, and more seniors into these parks so they wouldn't be so low staffed. Where are they?

I hate when rides are down, and there are 4 sups just walking around together. I've seen this twice with different people. Can't they operate a ride?

^ Then they should either train those people so they become certified, or they should alert people that a certain portion of the rides won't be operating and adjust their admission accordingly.
Just don't go there anymore. You CAN do much better with Hershey, Dorney, Kings Dominion, and Busch Gardens, to name a few. They don't want you there anyways. The management shows us through their actions that they really don't want ANYONE there. Why burden them with trying to give them your business?
I typed a long reply and then my DSL connection got lost. So I'll try to remember what I typed. Basically, this is a problem every beginning and end of the season. The kids are either not out of school, or they are returning to school. My Mom--for instance--works for the Baltimore County Public School System and doesn't get out until June the 18th.

There were a high number of snow days in the Baltimore area, and I believe that the D.C. area actually got hammered worse than we did. Some of these were justified and others were people being too cautious. Unfortunately, rules are rules, and you have to make up the days, even though your school lacks air-conditioning and it's 95-degrees outside. I doubt there's a whole lot of learning going on in that environment.

In 2002, I went to Texas and saw one possible solution for lack of workers--and they're called temporary workers. They were working at some of the food stalls at SFOT. To my memory, I don't remember a single ride down. Contrast this with SFFT where there were a significant amount of flats down. Some of them did open later, and some not at all. It was really disappointing to see their Skyscraper sitting idle all day.

One of the things I have seen gone missing in recent years is the international guest-worker program. The year I worked there in 03', we had a sizable crew from Brazil, as well as, a few other Eastern-European countries. This does cost extra money though in the form of transportation and lodging. I do think there's a healthy benefit though in that they learn to speak English better, and you have a fully-staffed park.

Warning: About to get political
You could get a lot of employees from the D.C. area from the local malls and 7-11's in the College Park area, for example. The problem is that you have to train them to speak English and there's that little thing called a green card or social security card that they may lack. But there are plenty of willing people who want to work. Maybe the amnesty program could work for SFA as well? [politics off]

Spinout asked why there are so many more employees at Dorney then SFA. Unfortunately, Allentown is a very depressed area in spots. You take what you can get, and I'm sure the cost of living is significantly cheaper than the D.C./Baltimore area. You're not going to survive on a SFA paycheck alone.

Spinout also wanted to know why they just can't take employees off of games, and throw them on the rides. This has been discussed before, and I believe someone said because they are part of two different revenue systems.

It does take time to train someone on a ride. When I worked there in 03', if we were to be put onto a ride, they would have to show us the ride, explain all the safety devices etc., and then we would have to take a test before we could ever operate an attraction. It's for the guest's safety, as well as, the safety of the ride. An unbalanced ride, for example, could cause damage to the ride.

And please Spinout, don't make blanket statements like "Most people probably don't care if Two-Face is open or not," because they do. There are only three Invertigo's in the States, and they're spread out across the country. They are far superior in ride comfort and enjoyability to their Boomerang counterparts, not to mention the SLC's.

SFA, unfortunately, has long had a stigma attached to it. Growing up, it was the place to go if you live near DC and you don't feel like traveling to a "real" park (KD, BG, Hershey, etc). That's the kind of stigma it lived with in the Wild/Adventure World days, and I know SF has tried to pump it up into being a park on even footing with those others, but some things are hard to change, it seems.
I don't know... It seems to me the park is on the right track... Things they are adding this season:

- New Speaker and Sound System in park

- Complete set of new shows, including one new stage.

- One new tram, one refurbished tram and they actually installed a tram lane for the first time in park history.

- A lot of work was done on Skull Mountain/Typhoon Sea Coaster trying to increase it's reliability.

- Not to mention they are working on getting plans for a new Human Resources building approved by the county so they can invest in training the parks staff. Something they don't have now.

- Expansion of the food court

- Three floats for the parade. We are talking actual professionally made floats.

Just because your not seeing new rides at the park, don't think the company isn't making an investment.

A day at the park is what you make it!


SFA was truly a horrible experience 2 years ago. It was basically the east coast version of SFMM as far as operations when I visited.

I survived a Japanese typhoon and the Togo flat ride of death!!!!!!
I realize that all coasters are different but you stated that you liked Batwing and not X flight. Did you realize they are the same layout?

Spinout said:

I also don't think the park is worth $50. I counted 24 thrilling, and family rides excluding the waterpark, and kids rides. Places like SFGAdv, and SFOT have a lot more rides, and they are charging only $5 more. SFOT has 12 coasters, and SFGAdv has 13. Yet, the park can't have at least maybe 23 of them open. In my opinion, the less rides you have in the park, the less rides you can afford to have closed. You don't have that many so you shouldn't have a number of them closed.

Also remember, the parks at SFGadv and SFOT don't include the cost of the water park in their ticket. Where as admission to SFA's water park is included with the price. Also, the water park is the biggest attraction at SFA, not the rides. Any day of the week you will probably just as many people or more in Hurricane Harbor than the dry park. *** Edited 6/16/2007 12:13:28 AM UTC by coasterguts***

A day at the park is what you make it!

OP AWESOME, it is possible to like the exact layout of one ride and not another. Case in point: I love Joker's Jinx, because for the most part it delivers a fairly smooth ride and I could ride it all day long. But, I don't like either of the Flight of Fears with the same layout (with extra midcourse brake) because they aren't as smooth and rerideable.

Coasterguts, I wouldn't argue with you that the park isn't making investments this year. It's just that a whole lot more should have been done over the years--and to play BatwingFanSFA's broken record--a larger amount of the revenue investment was going to the bigger parks.

And SFA could be one of those larger parks with more investment. There's plenty of room for more attractions and infrastructure.Granted, Six Flags dumped some of their parks this year and that's a few less parks to feed financially. Things I'd still like to see happen:

a) A bathroom and sitdown restaurant in lower Gotham City
b) Four flats to replace the four that have been taken out
c) Another kiddie section somewhere in Gotham City. Once you've passed into Gotham City, you've passed into a "no small kids allowed zone," so to speak
d) More investment in Hurricane Harbor. After going to both SFNE's HH and SFGAM's HH, our little HH could use many more slides and there's room!
e) A family steel coaster like Blackbeard's Lost Treasure Train at SFGAdv., or a spinning coaster, wild mouse etc.

I-Fan, I don't think your list is unreasonable and I think in time we will see those improvements. My comment wasn't directed toward you. I think the park wants to get the infrastructure in place and fix the existing problems before adding more to the park.

A day at the park is what you make it!

I went to SFA for the first time back in early May, and had a great time. All of the rides were open except for Skull Mountain, the park was clean, and the employees were nice. Sure, as far as Six Flags parks go, it's no SFGAm or SFoG, but it has a solid collection of coasters. Roar, Wild One, and Poltergeist all surprised me.
matt.'s avatar

thrillerman1 said:

Not to pile on here, but for me you could put every park I've visited in the "BGE" and "KD" spots.

matt.'s avatar

Shivtim said:
Roar, Wild One, and Poltergeist all surprised me.

Poltergeist would have been a big surprise for me, too! ;)

^Ha, oops, Joker's Jinx.

Let me reiterate, when there is enough staff for almost all the game people to be open, there should be enough staff for the all the rides to be too.

At MIA you only have to be 14 to work games while to run rides you have to be 16.

Timbers crew 08

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