Kennywood-"Bad Ops! Bad!" (day 8 0f 10)

Associated parks:
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Saturday, June 28, 2003 10:37 PM
Don't worry. I'm skipping day 7 for now. That was at CP, as were days 9&10, and they will all be combined into the final TR for this particular trip. Besides, I want to end on a high note.

Not that Kennywood isn't a high note, but............

Thier ride ops suXored. Big Time. Now if you or someone you know is a ride op there, take note: that is a generality. Meaning in general, they suck. At least on the day I was there, which was Wed June 4th. To be sure, as with all parks, there were exceptions to the rule. There was some that did there job quite well; but I could count them on one hand.

Also, bare in mind that I was Cedar Point just the day before, as well as HW days earlier. And those ops are the litmus test for all other ops on this trip, and all future trips. And I hope I hit Pittsburgh on a day just after a major sport team lost their title bid, or news broke of some major calamity nearby. I hope others who have visited this fine park got the customer service befitting of a classic gem.

And that's part of the problem. Had I been to travelling carnie show, I wouldn't have noticed the rudeness (by indifference) that the employees displayed. For sure, as you enter, there is a batallion of what I expected was sr park management; friendly, smiling, approachable. But after you walk through that tunnel under Kennywood Ave, it was clear the inmates were running the asylum.

OK, maybe a bit harsh. But I was so sorely dissapointed in the attention the ops (notice-not staff) were paying to the customer. There are many places within reasonable distance to spend my vacation dollars, and making me feel thanked that I chose to spend it there wouldn't kill anyone, would it?

Case in point: the young man running The Whip. You have a classic ride, with a lot of history. Why not take a cue from the Point and have the op say even a little something about the ride as you wait or are boarding? Hell, I'd have settled for anything, really. But no. He said nada. Zilch. Zip. He would let however many people in he estimated would fill the vehicles, then let in a few more to fill the empty ones. The ride would start, do it's thing, and then come to a stop. All the while while not saying a damn thing! Not even a "please wait until the ride comes to a ..." or a "Welcome to The Whip", or even a "thanks for riding and enjoy the rest of your day at...". No words were spoken whatsoever!!!!!

Folks, that is being rude by indifference. Plain and simple. He couldn't even crack a smile. Please tell me this is not the norm!?! Unfortunately, while the rest of the ops spoke, they still exhibited the personality of a Vancombe Lady (Cheahhh...you know what?....uh-uh!) If you don't know the Mad TV sketch I'm referring to, suffice to say that the ops appeared as if they would rather be doing anything else but be there. Sad! Those that actually had something going for them still acted like it was a typical fast food joint type job.

Unacceptable, especially here. When you walk into the park, your greeted by a sign celebrating it's 105th year of operation. The park has many classic rides that are extremely rare. The grounds are nice. The paths are, for the most part (meaning spitting aside), clean. The feel is very old-fashioned. It needs ride ops who act PROUD to have been selected to work there. It currently can be likened to having a Hilton staffed with a crew from a seedy pay-by-the-hour motel. It just doesn't jive with the atmosphere the park obviously tries to invoke. Time to get tough with the staff, I say! And a little note about the uniforms. There pleasing enough, but make the staff at least hike them up to their waste!!! Goodness, the one op on the Racer was wearing them in typical gangbang mode; down past his buttocks. I don't want to see anyone's ass when I'm at a park, let alone the ops'. At least the shirt was tucked in, but still very shoddy. I guess after watching all the swell shows on the park on Travel, Dicovery, etc, I went in with Huge expectations for this park. And after visiting the other parks I mentioned, I just assumed they would have a staff to match. The park certainly deserves it, so why not at least try. As I said, there where those that tried, but their efforts were in vain.

Another example. When Phantom's Revenge was down for a while around 5ish, the guy at the queue entrance who holds the "must be this high.." stick acted annoyed that people would ask how long it would be down for, or why it was down at all. I'm positive he had no clue to the answer to those, but it's all in the delivery. He just would say "I don't know, come back later!". One could probably use those words and come off politely; if one tried. But again, he would just be snotty, or worse, be monitone (stoned) in his reply. Look we paid hard earned money to come here. We pay your damn wages!! Show a modicum of respect for the patron! What a concept.....

As you can tell, I was pretty cheesed at the over-all "who gives a @#*%" attitude that was well on display. Yes I have way more examples, but you get the picture. I should also add that actually a lot of the ops would indeed be polite if you approached them and broke into their conversations amongst themselves about what party they were going to this weekend. It was mainly that PR guy and Whip op that were outright rude. But the staff here is sorely in need of training on customer service. The 2 ops helping people off Exterminator just kept going through the paces of lifting the lap bars and straightening the cars, all the while carrying on their own personal conversations, with no "thank you" whatsoever. Sigh.......

And a note to the park. Please cover the area leading to Lost Kennywood that passes under PR. It was a cloudy day, and the folks who stopped in that area thought it was starting to rain. It wasn't. Spitting is a sport there. Even girls and little children were spitting all over the place. And I don't think those folks were getting spit on purposely by the riders on PR, but spat on they were. Gross...

Jack Rabbit: Fun, with a surprising amount of air for the size. However, the restraints are too loose in my opinion. I hope someone never tries something foolish on this, because I was standing on my feet almost on that double-down. My hands had never come down to grab a buzz bar so fast in my life! Even with the bar down, there is a lot of room, and I'm a husky guy! Great fun, and I always end up almost standing on a Miller. B+

Racer: Well, most Millers anyway. Fun, but by far the tamest Miller I have ever ridden. But what it lacks in outright thrills it makes up for in sheer pleasure. Goofy all the way. Also I never felt a train undulate so much as on this ride. The cars themselves felt rickety, especially going out of the station and on up the lift hill. I'll never forget that. Rode many times.:) B

Thunderbolt: Gives CTR in WA a run for it's money as the best Miller I have ridden. Nasty good fun with more wonderful stand-up action! A-

Phantom's Revenge: Nice drops followed by great air on the bunnies. Interesting lap bar configuration, and a great view. A bit too short, but so what. A-

Exterminator: My first and only spinning mouse. Rode twice, and had incredible spin action both times. Being in the dark only adds to the confusion. Smiles all the way through!! B

Also rode the Noah's Ark, the Old Mill, and some flying ride where you would fly up/out and then fall back towards the center, and then up/out again, then back towards.... I love that ride, whatever it's called. Faster and more intense than any Disney version, for sure.

And I tried the Belgium Waffle with strawberries and vanilla ice cream. Heavenly!.

I will recommend this park and try to get back. But I do sincerely hope they try to bring the ops up to the level that the rest of the park is already at. I am curious what other visitors feel about the ops they have encountered there. I really do hope they were in a rare funk that day. A park with such a history is expected to offer something a bit classier than your average Flag does.

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I've gotten the Point of life, and can now pass away a happy man!.......

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Saturday, June 28, 2003 11:00 PM
Good report but please just because a ride ops wears his pants pass his ass doesn't mean he's a gang member. I wear my pants pass my ass, and I'm not a gang member. Some of us like to wear it like that because it's comfortable, not because it's the style.

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Holla at your boy!

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Saturday, June 28, 2003 11:09 PM
Gangbanger style is what I meant. It's just the word I and others use to identify the style with which the clothes are worn, as you mentioned. I admit, the name for that style comes from a stereotype, but by no means do I believe that 80% of teenage boys are gang members.
And that style is fine for leisure wear, but unnaceptable for that job. I don't let my staff wear their uniforms that way becuase it's un-classy. You don't have the right to be as comfortable as you please on the job. You do need to be presentable, however.
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I've gotten the Point of life, and can now pass away a happy man!.......
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Sunday, June 29, 2003 5:53 AM
All parks have people who spit, go to Cedar Point and walk under Skyride.....

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CCI Lives On!
-Patrick

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Sunday, June 29, 2003 7:40 AM
Cpc44. No doubt. But I don't know if there's something in the water that causes those folks in Pittsburgh to over-salvitate or what, but it was not normal. All over the park, everywhere you went, folks spit. Even the ops, but not outwardly. It wasn't chew or anything, just spit. And it was everywhere. I've been to a lot of parks in my days, and never seen it to such an extent. No worries, just making note of it.

Oh, and one last thing Kennywood: please clean up that pile of garbage under PR's station. When your waiting in line and your next, you get a good view of what's under there, and it ain't pretty. Again, your way better than that.....

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I've gotten the Point of life, and can now pass away a happy man!.......
*** This post was edited by Robocoaster 6/29/2003 2:30:34 PM ***

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Sunday, June 29, 2003 8:31 AM
The Flying ride is called the Flying Carpet yess it's my favorite ride

No, I think the ride he was refering to was Swing Around on top of the stage, by the Merry- go-round.

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Sunday, June 29, 2003 8:46 AM
Swing Around.. That was it! thanks. Great ride:)

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I've gotten the Point of life, and can now pass away a happy man!.......

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Sunday, June 29, 2003 9:03 AM

Robocoaster said:


Now if you or someone you know is a ride op there, take note: that is a generality. Meaning in general, they suck.


Hey, thanks alot. Enjoy your day. We are not allowed to wear our shorts that low and catching them is part of the supervisors job. Did you let Guest Services know about the ops you encountered?

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2002/2003
KWTM
*** This post was edited by beeman65 6/29/2003 1:08:04 PM ***
*** This post was edited by beeman65 6/29/2003 1:08:31 PM ***

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Sunday, June 29, 2003 9:04 AM
Umm, no offense but I didn't find the ride ops at CP overly friendly either when I went there for a two-day trip. Just about all had a work-weary look on their faces and they repeated the "Please enjoy the rest of your day..." phrase in monotone voices. It didn't get to me though, after a while it would be repetitious for me too. I'd be rather worried if a ride op was overly friendly actually. It would bother me if they were outright rude, but not being ecstatic on the job is hardly grounds for criticism IMO.
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Sunday, June 29, 2003 9:23 AM
Many, many people have told me the ops at CP have been extremely "SF-like" this year and not seeming like they care about their job as much as in the past. They were talking about how they weren't saying their spiels anymore and that the entire mood and atmosphere was just "down" from what it's been in the past. Maybe it's the weather. Maybe it's TTD and some responses they've heard from people while it's closed. Either way, I know quite a few upset by their "performance" so far this season.

The Dorney ops I encounted weren't very enthusiast about their jobs either. I had to ask 5 employees before I could find where their indoor restaurants were or even a park map! When I'm asking people in the Laser area and all the way up to Camp Snoopy about these things, I would hope there would be a place closer for maps besides 'the front'. At least someone finally pointed out where the Red Garter Saloon was.

Sorry about the Kennywood ops, Rob. If someone has to wear their pants that low to be comfortable, it's time for new pants, lol. It's not a Pennsylvania thing with the ops as Hershey was a dream park! Nice TR. :)

-Danny
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Coaster Insomniacs

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Sunday, June 29, 2003 9:37 AM
beeman, didn't have time to even locate guest relations. I had been wanting to get there forever and had almost, but not quite 6 hours to get everything in. And I didn't write a comment card when I got home, because I'm one of masses that, rather than say something, would think twice about retuning somewhere that offers poor service.

I did mention that there actually were ops who did a good job, particularly a few on Phantom's Revenge. And I said the ops were polite when you needed to ask them something. Even the op on the whip, and the guy at the queue of PR, most likely have had improper training, which is the fault of the sr staff. But you just don't put yourself out there as one of America's finest traditional amusement parks without as top-notch staff. Outside the ops, the rest of the crew I encountered were good. The help at the lockers, the food pavillion, etc, all were polite and seemed to enjoy their jobs. The same couldn't be said of the ops as a group. Even the ops on the elevated control platform of the Racer never exhibited any joy. I rode many times, and they always appeared bored to tears. That's understandable, but c'mon, make an effort to appear to be having fun. And as I said, Thank yous and enjoy your days were in short supply (except on PR).

I report my experience, nothing more. I said I hope I caught it on an off-day. Kennywood itself is a fun place; it would be even better if the ops got into the spirit of things.
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I've gotten the Point of life, and can now pass away a happy man!.......

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Sunday, June 29, 2003 9:48 AM

Koaster King said:


The Dorney ops I encounted weren't very enthusiast about their jobs either. I had to ask 5 employees before I could find where their indoor restaurants were or even a park map! When I'm asking people in the Laser area and all the way up to Camp Snoopy about these things, I would hope there would be a place closer for maps besides 'the front'. At least someone finally pointed out where the Red Garter Saloon was.


The Dorney ops this year are a mere shell of the amazing staff they had last year. One of the reasons we liked Dorney so much last year was the "CP-like" staff. This year it's become very "SF-like". It really does make a difference.

I attribute it to the general decline of western civilization. No one cares about much anymore - especially their jobs. Sad.

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www.coasterimage.com
Dorney Park Visits in 2003: 10

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Sunday, June 29, 2003 10:08 AM
Robo, you went in early June? That is early in the season and a little early before people start quitting and/or are fired. Maybe the bad apples you encountered aren't there anymore.

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2002/2003
KWTM

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Sunday, June 29, 2003 10:25 AM
Beeman, I hope so. I had heard a lot about how great the park was. Never heard anything about the crew, positive or negative. I hope they hire a lot and weed out the lesser ones; that would make sense. And to the park's credit, few others seem to have had the same experience.

And for all I know, there may not be a p.a. system for the Whip, although that wouldn't neccesarily excuse the whole thing. I'm hoping that as the season progresses, the cream rises to the top. Next time, whenever that is, I will make it a point to visit later in the summer.

You seem like someone who works there (or has), or knows someone who does. And it appears you care. Keep it up!

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I've gotten the Point of life, and can now pass away a happy man!.......
*** This post was edited by Robocoaster 6/29/2003 2:28:25 PM ***

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Sunday, June 29, 2003 11:14 AM
Good TR, Rob. Perhaps the intended point of your slam on some of the ops is making it's way from Coasterbuzz back to the park. It sure seems like it given the responses above. Regardless, I am glad you at least got there (jealous), and had a fairly nice day. You also weren't struck by lightning. ;)
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Join MY coaster club! - It's absolutely FREE!
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Sunday, June 29, 2003 11:52 AM
Still not funny, nasai, Keep the day job. ;)

-Danny, not that I can do any better...
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Listen to MY silly music- It's Caffeine FREE!

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Sunday, June 29, 2003 1:36 PM
Robo, yeah I work there. I started last season and this is probably my last one. Come back on July 15 when we'll try to be our best :) (Note: Its Italian Day and the buisest day of the year, heh)

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2002/2003
KWTM

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Sunday, June 29, 2003 2:32 PM
Okay, so Kennywood isn't Disneyland. It's not supposed to be. It's a Western PA institution that has survived when others have fallen by the wayside. The locals don't want to know or care to know the history of the Whip, Old Mill,etc. They want to get on the ride as quickly as possible. (I'm always amused by the fact that the locals complain if they have to wait more than ten minutes to get on a ride!)While you may think that the crews lack in social graces, I've found that usually they are very efficient. It's hot,sticky boring,stressfull work with very long days (sometimes up to 14 hours). It's a miracle that anybody can keep a park staffed these days, especially considering that many only want the paycheck not the work.

I've been going there since 1957, and I've yet to be disappointed. I've been to a great many parks over the years, worked for one (work for an independent now) and I always make it a point to go to KW when I'm in the area.
*** This post was edited by Dutchman 6/29/2003 6:48:20 PM ***

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Sunday, June 29, 2003 5:03 PM
nasai said:
Good TR, Rob.

>.....AGREED...thanks Rob, and Rob...:)

Perhaps the intended point of your slam on some of the ops is making it's way from Coasterbuzz back to the park.

>.....I believe many of us have received word back from parks based on statements made here....may not always be what you WANT to hear, but the parks ARE listening (even if they disagree), and some of them *do* respond. Businesses that don't want constructive ctriticism, usually don't survive 100 years...

bill, happy that his ONE day at KW went much better....and I too focus heavily on the STAFF when determining the merits/demerits of park visits

It seems today, that all you see, are violins in movies, and sax on TV....

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Sunday, June 29, 2003 9:07 PM
Beeman; wish I could make it! My heritage is Italian/ Basque on my mom's side. What rides do you work? Anyway, you seem to be articulate and intelligent and the park would do well to have more like you.

Dutchman: You make a good point, but no amount of rationalizing excuses the behavior of the guy at the PR queue. Equally, you don't have to be at Disneyland to expect that you will hear something from a ride op, especially when there is no auto-recording. But this op on the Whip said absolutley nothing at all!

It was a very cool overcast day, following a day after the park closed at 5pm, so long hot days were not a factor on my visit. And as I stated, when the park itself puts out the claim to be The Finest Traditional Amusement Park, (check the website if you don't believe me), is it not reasonable to expect excellent service to back up that claim? If the park didn't boast, I doubt I would've been so dismayed.

That being said, I do look forward to a return visit.:)

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I've gotten the Point of life, and can now pass away a happy man!.......
*** This post was edited by Robocoaster 6/30/2003 1:09:08 AM ***

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