Kings Island loses power on July 4th

Posted Monday, July 5, 2010 1:28 PM | Contributed by CoasterKrazy

Most of the rides, shops and restaurants that closed about 6:30 p.m. were reopened by 9:30 p.m., said Don Helbig. Some park visitors had to be escorted off stopped rides, he said. No injuries were reported, and a 10 p.m. fireworks show was expected to go on as scheduled, even as some power still was being restored.

Read more from The Cincinnati Enquirer and WCPO/Cincinnati.

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Monday, July 5, 2010 2:16 PM

I'm really on the fence about this one with regard to the lack of refunds. On one hand, it almost feels like it's a weather event, but on the other hand, would it have really hurt them to give out comps? Seems to me they'd make more money that way (noting that it'd be reasonable to have to give your ticket for the day to get the comp). One also might argue though that there were eight hours prior to the outage, and some time after as well. Tough call. And who knows, maybe they couldn't generate tickets anyway if they didn't have power.

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Monday, July 5, 2010 2:43 PM

One should always ask themselves, "What would Holiday World do?"

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Monday, July 5, 2010 4:57 PM

I understand that if someone got their at 10 AM and their was an outage at the end of the day, but my scenario was a bit different. I arrived with 5 others to purchase Starlight tickets at 6:00 PM. We were heading to kiddie land with a 3 year old under 40 inches. Atleast 3 of the rides including the only coaster for under 40 inches was closed, the changing areas were without power and many eateries closed.

I would of thought that at 6:00-6:30 an hour into the outage they may be telling people. Within an hour I asked for a refund or raincheck and was refused. If you ask me, if they were selling tickets knowing of the outage, that if fradulant business practices, or at minimum unethical. Shame on them.

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Monday, July 5, 2010 5:26 PM

I was there today and Top Gun, Adventure Express and one of the Racer Tracks were closed. The waterpark was a madhouse as well, so we cut our day short.

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Monday, July 5, 2010 5:27 PM

@Chris, sorry to hear about your poor experience. I can honestly tell you from all the years I worked in the industry, very few parks are equiped or even put any forethought into how to handle such a situation and it certainly is not funneled down to the line-level staff. It really falls on the status quo of "no rainchecks." The mom-and-pop parks tend to be the most flexible and willing to help. Very rarely have I ever witnessed a "corporate park" give a guest a refund..I am talking maybe 5 times in the 10 years or so I worked in the industry. It really is sad they don't see how the negative experience hurts their bottom line in what is now a competitive entertainment-recreation market.

Last edited by mlnem4s, Monday, July 5, 2010 5:29 PM
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Monday, July 5, 2010 5:28 PM

Ethical considerations aside, it seems that giving out free passes would be a better business move. By not compensating people, they gain some potentially horrid publicity and pissed off customers, for little gain. If they had provided some avenue for compensation, they gain customer goodwill and good publicity, not to mention possible repeat customers that might not have returned otherwise.

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Monday, July 5, 2010 5:56 PM

This is far from the first time KI has had power issues, They've been rotating rides and the like because of it for a couple years now, Maybe more.

KD had this problem at one time and they closed FOF permanently because of it, Kinzel made the additional capacity available to get the ride reopened.
when CF took over.

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Monday, July 5, 2010 7:48 PM

As a worker in the entertainment community (cinema), I see it more than beneficial to hand out comps in a situation like this. Not only do you have the guests in the park on day "x" of the outage (making money when power was available), but you will also get them back for that second visit that they normally wouldn't have made, possibly bringing more people and spending more money in the process. And if they don't come back- nothing lost!

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Monday, July 5, 2010 7:56 PM

mlnem4s said:
One should always ask themselves, "What would Holiday World do?"

Or not. No park is perfect, not even Holiday World.

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Monday, July 5, 2010 8:40 PM

The power company even said it was a problem with KI's equipment and not theirs. I would have thought that would merit refunds, whereas if it was not KI's fault it wouldn't have.

I can't say it was "like a weather issue" if the problem was preventable/caused by KI.

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Monday, July 5, 2010 9:40 PM

Charles Nungester said:
This is far from the first time KI has had power issues, They've been rotating rides and the like because of it for a couple years now, Maybe more.

KD had this problem at one time and they closed FOF permanently because of it, Kinzel made the additional capacity available to get the ride reopened.
when CF took over.

What? I was the electrical and controls engineer for Paramount Parks from 97 until about 6 months after Cedar Fair took over. FoF was going away because KD had a big collection of extremely high maintenance rides. KD had the first AVC (active var compensator) on their lim coaster, and so FoF was no longer causing any real problems. Volcano got it's own feed back to the substation, and their system was expanded again for IJ. It's possible that CF has done more work since then, especially to add the B&M, but FoF was not going away due to power problems.

KI was pushing the limits on their system when I was there. We had talked about bringing in a feed from the North, and then feeding from two directions. That discussion started during the planning for SoB. The park already has a ring bus and a couple of laterals, but it only really has one feed.

During the 6 months I was with CF, I spent several weeks touring their park. Although they do have more than one feed, their system looked to be stretched a little thin as well. It also looked somewhat Rube Goldberg.

At most of these parks, the infrastructure is just approaching the end of it's useful life, and they don't have a replacement program in place like the utilities do. Then you add in some of these newer rides that are harder on the system, and things are going to happen.

Heck, if they gave comps, they'd actually make more money. If everything was dark, then they probably weren't selling a lot of t-shirts and drinks either.

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Tuesday, July 6, 2010 8:22 AM

The infrastructure at Cedar Fair parks will not get improved while Kinzel is CEO. That is as close to "fact" as you are going to get. On his list of priorities preventative maintenance doesn't even make page 6.

Refunds are a bit of a pain but I recall one instance when Kinzel approved them. It was for a big private, corporate event. I think it was Honda but it might have been Saturn. They rented the park and on a Saturday and had a ton of rooms in the hotels. The day was a complete wash out. I don't think much of anything got open.

While they did not issue rainchecks on that day they did work out a deal with the company after the fact that gave comp tickets to basically anyone who wanted to come back. By and large though very few people have the authority to issue comp tickets.

When I was there Kinzel's policy was basically, do not offer anything. People could yell and scream but mid level, full time managers weren't empowered to do anything let alone seasonals. What often happened is the guest went home irate, wrote a letter to Kinzel, and then he offered them some type of olive branch. So, we worked that guest up into a lather and ruined their experience only for him to capitulate after the fact. In that case he likely gave them tickets or a deep discount for a return to the hotel when I could have easily (and more cheaply) upgraded their room, given them some discount coupons or even Starlight tickets and kept them happy.

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Tuesday, July 6, 2010 9:21 AM

I would think Kinzel wouldn't mind upgrading the infrastructure, but that it would 'count' as all their capital improvements for the year. What park really wants to take that trade?

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Tuesday, July 6, 2010 10:03 AM

Power&Control said:
During the 6 months I was with CF, I spent several weeks touring their park. Although they do have more than one feed, their system looked to be stretched a little thin as well. It also looked somewhat Rube Goldberg.

That's what happens when ya got Professor Lucifer Gorgonzola Butts for a CEO : )

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Tuesday, July 6, 2010 10:32 PM

Update on my status. Kings Island called today, (after sending them an email and filing a complaint with the BBB,) They have added my name to a database that will give me 5 Startlight passes this season. So they have basically rain-checked me.

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Tuesday, July 6, 2010 10:39 PM

Yeah it sounds like the crap started hitting the fan, so KI is doing damage control.

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Tuesday, July 6, 2010 10:46 PM

Oh, if I knew they offered starlight admissions, then I would've said it was a no-brainer that they should've been handing those out. Get people coming back for the time they were missing, when apparently they couldn't spend money anyway (I assume) if shops had no power.

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Wednesday, July 7, 2010 12:36 AM

Yeah, that's pretty much basic customer service, isn't it?

If Kennywood closes before about 6, they give out full day passes to everyone. After 6, you get a Night Rider pass.

Why would you not want people to return?

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Wednesday, July 7, 2010 5:36 AM

I do agree the comp starlight tickets would have been the way to go in this situation. Isn't that what CP ultimately ended up giving out after the big power outage in 2003?

As for not telling guests about the outage on the way in, I'm not entirely ready to believe that. It seems like the kind of thing they'd throw some signs up for, and several years of working amusement parks has taught me that your average guest wouldn't see a sign if it smacked them in the face. If in fact there were no signs warning of the issues, then yah, I'll concede that was a poor decision on the park's part.

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