Since it'd be against the TOS to post what I'd really like to say here, I'll leave it to the numbers:
The event starts at 7pm and ends at 1am. (some outdoor areas begin a 8pm)
That's 5 to 6 hours of time for the Haunt.
The lines for the Haunt attractions were in the 2-3 hours range.
Do the math. :(
We skipped out before 11pm - completely frustrated by the long lines and general mediocrity.
Yikes! Did you get to see any of the haunted stuff at all? 2-3 hour wait times aren't exactly surprising for KI but I feel for ya! The last time I visited one of their haunts it was PACKED.
For those interested in the BUSINESS of amusement parks - Gonch has a kind of *marketing target* on his back. Prototypical "ideal customer". Clearly KI needs more things to do, some limit on the number of people admitted, and some Halloween-type competition (LeSourdsville and Coney come to mind, but clearly some other folks could come along with haunted hayrides, scary walk-thrus, etc., and do pretty well).The longest I've ever waited for Haunted attractions was at HHN...and since then, I've become an advocate for Busch's Howl-O-Scream (longest wait this year, first Friday of the event, was about 20 mins).
Should have gone Friday night Gonch, I did a Fri-Saturday thing this weekend on Friday night I did:
-Trail of Terror
-Red Beard's Revenge
-Son of Beast
Then on Saturday during the day I did:
-Flight of Fear
Then I sat down for the Fright Feast. $13 for all you can eat roasted chicken, pulled pork, chips, cole slaw, rolls, brownies, cookies, cake and all you can drink soda on top of a front of the line pass to Urgent Scare, there is a reason this event sells out for them every Saturday, its one of the best deals in the park.
So then I did Urgent Scare right at 7, Shake Rattle and Roll, then managed to luck into walking up to the Crypt right as it reopened and only waited one ride cycle, and then against my better judgement waited an hour and a half for the Beast to end the night leaving at 9:30. You can have fun at Cedar Point on a Saturday in October because they have attractions that have no line (Scare Zones) but why so many people flock to KI on a Saturday is beyond me, 2+hour waits for everything is not a fun way to spend your day. They really should look into opening the indoor haunts earlier in the day (3) so that you give people a fighting chance to do a majority of them on a Saturday.
For those interested in the BUSINESS of amusement parks - Gonch has a kind of *marketing target* on his back. Prototypical "ideal customer".
My thoughts exactly. :)
Clearly KI needs more things to do, some limit on the number of people admitted, and some Halloween-type competition (LeSourdsville and Coney come to mind, but clearly some other folks could come along with haunted hayrides, scary walk-thrus, etc., and do pretty well).
Here was our theory:
The problem is twofold - value and convenience.
Any local haunted house or hayride or haunted trail or whatever the hell the local community has going on is going to be a single experience, last a few minutes and cost $10.
The alternative is to go to Kings Island for $26 (online) and experience 13 attractions in one place.
It also doesn't help that it becomes a convenient and 'safe' evening for the kids to enjoy the season as well. Mom and dad can load up the SUV and drop little Jimmy and his group of friends off for a night of Halloween fun and not really have to worry about them. (the babysitter thing)
We were there just a hair over 4 hours. Wanna know what we did?
1. Got coffee at Starbucks ont he way in.
2. Got a lap on Italian Job because our son refuses to ride it and we were sans children.
3. Urgent Scare
End of list.
It doesn't help that the attractions themselves are average at best and the in-park vibe is completely lacking. No one roaming, nothing special - just a lot of fog machines and static decorations (standard skeleton and spiderweb stuff) all over the place.
There were several characters working the entrance area at 7pm, but by the time we left around 11pm they were long gone.
To get an idea of the lines - Urgent Scare took place in the Action FX Theater in the back of the park. The line filled the standard queue area (the infield all the way from the theater door all the way back to where you cross under racer) and then all the way back to Zephyr from there. (seriously, stop a get a visual on how ridiculous that is)
This is all in stark contrast to the daytime thing they do for the kids. That was very well done and left nothing but a good taste in our mouths. Hell, I even raved about it on last week's podcast.
The difference was night and day. (pun intended)
So getting back to Gator's ideas, here's the thing - most of what he suggests is in play already.
There's plenty to do at KI's Haunt - something stupid like 13 haunt-specific attractions and many of the rides are open (pretty much all major ones).
There's also tons of other local Halloween attractions in the area. I've heard more commercials on the radio than I can count. Ads and flyers are posted all over the place in my neck of the woods - each place claimign to be scarier than the next.
I thought a little about trying to limit the numbers coming in at KI, but the truth is, the event just isn't that good. This is one case where I'm not sure Gonch's business model would work. (boy, I've going against my own conventional wisdom a lot lately, huh?)
I think it works best for the park to just give the gate away and let the cards fall where they may. I don't think people were too pissed because even if they go two or three haunts in and a ride or two; it's worth the $25 - especially compared to alternatives for a Saturday night in the Halloween season. Not to mantion that the group of teens in front of us 5 guys and 1 girl easily spent $30 just in the midway portion of the line for Urgent Scare - drinks, pretzels, lemon chills - you name it and one of them ate it...and they were least likely to complain and most likely to be happy to have an night out hanging with their friends.
Sure, big spender Gonch who is willing to drop some cash for a good time wasn't happy, but it didn't matter. Kings Island doesn't need me there...and I'm not even sure they wanted me. I got in with my pass, spent 9 bucks on coffee and left halfway through the event.
I didn't see the value. The other 35,000 people there did. :)
How were the lines getting in? I was at Dorney last Saturday and it took over an hour to purchase tickets and go through security. Lines at both gates were poorly defined, plus it seemed like credit transactions were taking an inordinate amount of time.
Even with the metal detectors, it was quick getting in. But that was with a pass. I didn't even notice what the ticket lines were like.
From the time we approached the entrance plaza until getting inside the park was maybe two minutes - just a couple of people in front of us at both lines.
Come to think of it, it's always been quick and easy getting into the park at KI.
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