Kings Island Opening Day

Sunday, April 20, 2014 11:26 AM
Jeff's avatar

Staaber said:
I've never been to any park on any busy day and had to wait over 45 minutes just to get into the park. They were unprepared, you can't argue that.

I am arguing that you're wrong. It was little more than circumstance. To Gonch's point they have the same system as Cedar Point. If the same crowd showed up at CP, you would have the same outcome. I can very much guarantee that. In fact, CP has had days like that. Have you been there for any of the big record Halloweekends days in the last few years? I'm guessing you haven't been to many parks, and zero on a day as busy as KI's opening day this year.

Cedar Point is the best park period, always will be, no one can compare. They have their act together, and it shows, their #1 and will continue to be year after year.....

You know, I consider many people working at CP close personal friends, and even I can't stand blatant fanboyism. It doesn't support your opinion or your argument, and it annoys the piss out of others. You might want to dial it back a little.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Phrazy

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Sunday, April 20, 2014 11:52 AM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

rollergator said:

On Mummy, single riders hold up dispatches by a factor of absolutely zero. Same for Spiderman, Expedition Everest, Transformers, etc. It's fairly simple to pre-load and have rides running to capacity with no delays whatsoever.

Well, you've pointed out the exception. But, you know, regular regional park coaster operations where people just put themselves in whatever row they want and wait to ride. I'd still bet that if it's only a couple of seats going out empty that capacity isn't really all that affected.


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Sunday, April 20, 2014 12:13 PM

I also opted to attend opening day as a means to justify the time & effort for driving down from Michigan to go to the Media Day event the day before which was very well done as has been stated by others that attended on this site. I went in with the expectation that it would be busy and the crowds that showed up were beyond those expectations. I sort of figured it would be a mad house when the traffic was backing up on the exit ramp from eastbound I-71.

Upon getting to the parking lot 40 minutes later, I walked up to the entrance plaza and there was a sea of people that I have not seen before in my (albeit few) previous visits to KI. I tried to find where the season passholders’ line was located but caught a glimpse of the new entrance queue screens that stated all lines were for this group. While waiting in the masses for about 25 minutes to finally enter the park, I took time to think of why the crowd was so huge.

I knew that Kings Island has significantly more passholders than Cedar Point does…I thought I read somewhere that CP has an average of 15% of passholders making up its daily attendance while KI has 40% but I can’t find that statistic anywhere online. I would imagine that a *great* majority of visitors on opening day were passholders which resulted in none of them having special early entry privileges; a classic example of where when everyone is special, no one is.

I highly doubt any school or church groups were there that day with schools being closed and churches probably not organizing a picnic day on a religious holiday. I can’t really believe that many people bought a one-day admission ticket and opted to take work off on Friday when they could more easily attend on Saturday.

However, one can never underestimate the power of a beautiful spring day after a particularly nasty winter, the massive hype and attraction of a brand new shiny rollie coaster, and the time-tested ‘shove kids out of the way’ allure of getting a free t-shirt as incentives to make a spur of the moment decision to hit up the local amusement park.

After waiting an hour to ride Diamondback and 10 minutes to fly around on Windseeker, I took a lap around the park to enjoy the weather and observe the crowds at various attractions. After this, I checked out of the park at 2pm for the day which wasn’t disappointing as I knew I would be back at KI later this season a couple more times on the way back from a trip to Dollywood and for BansheeBuzz.

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Sunday, April 20, 2014 12:24 PM
LostKause's avatar

I did see a few groups in the park. I can't remember for sure, but I think that one of the groups were all wearing pink t-shirts. My friends and I were looking for LaRosa's Pizza, walked into Festhaus, saw how many people were in there, a lot of them wearing the colored t-shirts, and decided to go to the one on International Street instead.

About this annoying Cedar Point vs. Kings Island crap that someone here is trying to start, this is CoasterBuzz. We are all smart enough to see that your fandom for one park over another is making your opinion uninteresting. Start another topic or go over to PointBuzz if you want to talk about Cedar Point, please. It's like which ball team is the best, or whatever. it is very uninteresting.


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Sunday, April 20, 2014 12:54 PM
SHIVERINGTIMBERS's avatar

Travis, I was in the outside seat in row four for that ride on Diamondback.

Is seat assigning really necessary? The huddled masses seem to do a good job of filling the gates themselves. The ride ops checking the restraints see an opening as soon as the riders start loading and can fill them from the people waiting in the station. When seats are assigned there is basically nobody handy to fill empty seats.

The ride ops were working hard and doing their best Fr. It has to be a tough job keeping an eye on rider height, filtering fast lane riders, and having to keep track of how many riders you sent to what lane. Then there are the groups that want to ride together. Just let the people find a gate and coordinate their own group ride. Then the op at the station entrance only has to keep the station from getting crowded. This system works just fine on Raptor, Millie, Magnum. top thrill, etc.

As for fast lane riders I did see them being let on first and not filtered in like at CP. I am not against fast lane but on opening day, when you have a shiny new big coaster, and you are giving out limited first rider shirts, fast lane should have been limited to one ride on Banshee. You get a ticket for Banshee with your wrist ban and if you want to ride again wait with the masses or go power ride everything else. You can't tell me some if not several fast lane riders did not snag more than one shirt.


My name is Mike, and I'm a coasterholic.

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Sunday, April 20, 2014 1:00 PM

I would be willing to bet that some of the clusterbomb at the gate and seemingly slow operations were also just a case of season opener glitchiness. No matter how many times a park practices, there are a ton of things that can go wrong when there are a bunch of new employees, a new ride, new additions to season pass benefits, etc. Great Adventure was nearly empty for opening day, with only station waits for all but the most slow loading rides, but getting into the park was a disaster because employees were having trouble with the computers and the new fingerprint scanners. Patrons who were told to get their season passes processed first before using them to get food and merchandise ignored this direction and slowed down lines further. Could it have been done better? Yes, but sometimes the only way to do things better is to learn from mistakes.

I don't think filling a train with single riders really helps if the op has to look for singles. This is where it can be up to the riders to ask, "hey, anyone have just one/two/three in their party" before the next train loads. I saw this a LOT at GrAdv, and actually at the Dueling Dragons at Universal. In fact, most of my 10 or 11 quick rides on that coaster were from me asking people if they had an extra seat. If you see half empty trains go out on a regular basis, you can also suggest to the park that they implement a single rider line. They may or may not do it, but it can never hurt to make constructive suggestions.


"Look at us spinning out in the madness of a roller coaster" - Dave Matthews Band

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Sunday, April 20, 2014 1:24 PM

From what I have seen, Disney does it best when it comes to filling trains. When you get to the station, you are assigned a row. You can request the front if you like, where there is a separate line. All the rest of the rows are filled on a first come - first served basis. Any time there is a group with an odd number* one of the single riders is paired up. So when the train is ready to board, every seat is filled.

I think it could work at the Cedar Fair parks if they were to have a single rider line that emptied into the station near the front or back of the train. Then, whenever there are seats not taken by the normal riders, the singles are sent to fill in. No calling and waiting for singles in the station, and every seat gets filled.

*Odd number may not apply to test track, but it works more or less the same way.

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Sunday, April 20, 2014 2:26 PM
Raven-Phile's avatar

I'm in the opposite boat, it seems. I was quite impressed at the sheer amount of people who were there, and later in the day, we had 0 problems getting in the gate.

It was amazing to people watch, and then just go ride whenever I wanted. The day was so much more enjoyable that way. The platinum pass, plus fastlane, plus season meal pass, plus the discounts on merchandise, make this a place I plan on spending a lot more time at this summer.

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Sunday, April 20, 2014 2:32 PM
TTD 120mph's avatar

LostKause said:

Start another topic or go over to PointBuzz if you want to talk about Cedar Point, please.

Actually, we don't want to hear that kind of fanboyism over there either. :)


-Adam G-

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Sunday, April 20, 2014 4:09 PM

My apologies to everyone didn't mean to upset anyone was just venting my frustrations.

Jeff my apologies to you to. Just was very frustrated is all. Think they could do some things better hope they will. I will go back, want to go back.

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Sunday, April 20, 2014 4:35 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

0g said:

From what I have seen, Disney does it best when it comes to filling trains. When you get to the station, you are assigned a row. You can request the front if you like, where there is a separate line. All the rest of the rows are filled on a first come - first served basis. Any time there is a group with an odd number* one of the single riders is paired up. So when the train is ready to board, every seat is filled.

Yes, but this also takes an extra op. (Unless you do height check/greeting in the station which is a terrible idea if the line is more than 5 minutes).


Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

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Sunday, April 20, 2014 6:05 PM

The brother and I did the same...decided to extend Media Day into an Opening Day twofer. I admit, we got a late start (found an excellent beer/wine shop 10 minutes from KI and stocked up on excellent drinkage for the weekend..took more time than anticipated).

By the time we arrived at 1pm, there was a 2 hour wait (almost to the back corner of the parking lot) for passes, with no one telling folks they didn't have to wait in line. Luckily, we didn't wait and saw signage towards the front for single admittance on your barcode. Phew. We went back later for our pictures, and it was maybe a 15 minute wait. They staffed this very well and it was incredibly efficient.

We could see the brass band serenading the Banshee line by the Eiffel tower, so we decided to head straight to the Beast, which I haven't ridden since the year it opened. Seeing it was a 2 hour wait, we splurged for non-Banshee fast passes. Was the best $100 we ever spent. Our longest ride wait was 25 minutes, and that was on Delirium. We were walkons for Diamondback and Beast early in the day, which was lovely. 20 minutes or so at night.

I agree that a LOT of workers were incredibly friendly and polite. Vortex ride ops were probably my least favorite, not very energetic. And the Racer ride ops were terribly slow. Seemed like every other train they had to measure a kid. Why don't the ride ops measure them when they enter the queue? If they are the right height, they can enter the queue....if not, they can't. Boom, no more waiting.

I do agree that empty seats are an issue. On Diamondback, we noticed between 6 and 8 empty seats on most of the trains...which is almost 1/4 of the capacity. They really should have a single rider queue...I really wonder why they don't on higher capacity rides. Matt...are you listening?

Finally, the wait for food was absolutely ridiculous. My brother and I skipped lunch due to the waits...and bailed on BierGarden as well. We ended up back at the Chicken Shack...and that's the best food I've had at either CP or KI. Quick and delish. And, they gave us the employee discount (20%) because they couldn't get our season pass barcodes (10%) to work. Now THAT is customer service. But Matt should realize he is giving up dollars by not having food ops 100% staffed on early weekends. First impressions are important.

And, I heard that first riders for Banshee arrived at 7:30 AM..and that the longest wait was around 4 hours. Thank goodness for media day! But overall, I was impressed by the rides, the layout, and the people...and will be back. Only on a less busy day...

Last edited by TechieTechie, Sunday, April 20, 2014 6:07 PM
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Sunday, April 20, 2014 6:19 PM

About opening day-

I'm gonna go back to my theory that the "problem" was a noon opening. There were people (like me) sitting in their cars waiting to go in at 8:15 that morning. The parking lot was 3/4 of the way full by noon so everyone who would normally arrive for a regular busy day weren't allowed into the park at the usual time, but instead FOUR HOURS worth of arriving guests congregated outside waiting to get in. Had the park just set their schedule to regular hours in the first place (like opening day for Diamondback) they at the very least would have seemed more in control of the situation.

By the time that initial crush cleared in an hour or so, things at the gate got better. This is why guys like Josh, Jeph, and Adam were wise to wait. All they dealt with was a busy day, and like all good enthusiasts, whiled away the time finding alternate activities. :-)

About season passes-

When I was standing on the outskirts of that crowd (moving farther and farther back the whole time - I literally saw each and every arriving person find a place in that ever-growing line) it became clear to me just how many people were there on a pass. I'm going with everybody. Oh, there were a few that had those online single day tickets in their hand, but not many. The supervisor up there on the walkway tried his best to inform the pass holders that immediate processing wasn't necessary, but I saw a lot go for it anyway.

Proving and re-proving that the vast majority of the GP visitors aren't like us. They don't seem to care that they picked the "wrong" day to go, they don't seem to latch onto the fact that season pass processing might've been taken care of sooner or later than that very moment, and (aside from that one lovely gal that made Travis' aquaintance) apparently don't mind waiting for pizza.
We might look at that and say "DUMBasses", but maybe they don't care about it as much as we do. There's one place where I'd bet we're all the same, though- we all went home and talked about it, right?

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Sunday, April 20, 2014 6:29 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

RCMAC said:

Proving and re-proving that the vast majority of the GP visitors aren't like us. They don't seem to care that they picked the "wrong" day to go, they don't seem to latch onto the fact that season pass processing might've been taken care of sooner or later than that very moment, and (aside from that one lovely gal that made Travis' aquaintance) apparently don't mind waiting for pizza.
We might look at that and say "DUMBasses", but maybe they don't care about it as much as we do.

Exactly.


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Sunday, April 20, 2014 7:30 PM

rollergator said:

On Mummy, single riders hold up dispatches by a factor of absolutely zero. Same for Spiderman, Expedition Everest, Transformers, etc. It's fairly simple to pre-load and have rides running to capacity with no delays whatsoever. "Groupers" can be good eating, but they can also be employees who help keep lines moving.

Yep, the often overlooked grouper can make or break ride capacity. If you don't have a grouper, then you just hope the guests take care of it themselves (works about half the time or a little more, surprisingly enough, mostly because no one wants to wait more than they have to, so they get that extra bit of efficiency done themselves) or the fill-in person(s) are ready and in a good spot. Coincidentally enough, this is the position that consistently makes me twitch a bit when I'm visiting a park (I can't turn off my operations side, it doesn't work).


Original BlueStreak64

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Sunday, April 20, 2014 8:36 PM

I was there for media day on Thursday, snagged 4 rides on banshee. A winner for KI and B&M. I also decided to go on Friday, knowing full well it would be packed.

I left at 11:20, and it took me 30 minutes to make the 5 mile trip to the park (staying at a nearby hotel). Finally got to the gate 10 minutes before open, and it was a freaking zoo. With KI's digital monitors at the gate, I was expecting to see a couple lanes saying "Gold/Platinum pass members entrance", like CP does now. But nope. By the time it turned 12PM, people were holding up their passes, facing the gate, as if to say "WTF?! I'm a gold passholder let me in!!".

I didn't learn until the next day, that they normally let everyone into a gated area when early entry begins, and then have a seperate entrance for gold/platinum passholders. Just like CP used to do. I had never been to KI for early entry before.

Finally got into the park at around 12:20, and went around with my friends and knocked out credits we needed. The Firehawk line was ridiculous, stand there for 10 minutes, and then they let like 8 people in, followed by another 10 minute wait. It was probably just over an hour wait, but it sure seemed longer than that because of all the standing around we did. I have zero problem with fast lane existing, I just hope KI starts handling the queues better.

Later that evening I waited just over an hour for diamondback. That line was continuously moving, even with fast laners, so It didn't seem so bad.

I was going to get skyline to eat, but the lines were super packed and at a standstill. So instead we went to the juke box diner, and the wait wasnt that bad, given the crowds.

Overall, me and my friends got about 6 coaster rides in, including diamondback and firehawk. Decent time had, despite the crowds. There are certainly things that could have been better, but I got free food and rides on banshee and bat the day before, with little wait, and if it wasn't for media day, there is no way I would have attended opening day. So I'm not going to complain like a spoiled child.

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Monday, April 21, 2014 9:29 AM
Pagoda Gift Shop's avatar

Opening day is a great day to get something to eat and sit by the fountain. If you get to ride some stuff, that's just bonus.

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Monday, April 21, 2014 9:55 AM
rollergator's avatar

Lord Gonchar said:

But, you know, regular regional park coaster operations where people just put themselves in whatever row they want and wait to ride. I'd still bet that if it's only a couple of seats going out empty that capacity isn't really all that affected.

On average, I'd say it's typically about 8-10% of seats that go out empty on a 4-across train (most of my experience is B&M since I live in their showroom). That's not insignificant IMO, and would be about 150 rides per hour on a 1600pph ride...at the end of the day, it's almost like having the ride open an extra hour! And considering how cheap a minimum-wage employee is, and how expensive rides are to buy and operate...I'd have the grouper on hand.

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Monday, April 21, 2014 12:48 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Et tu, Bill?

Now you're trapping me into this overly-specific language game.

I don't believe that capacity is all that affected when the the usual number of empty seats go out compared to a non-grouper situation where they call for single riders. (which I feel describes operations on the coasters at most of the regional parks)


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Monday, April 21, 2014 2:39 PM
rollergator's avatar

On that last point, we're more than in agreement. Without proper grouping, a single-riders line that feeds in at the last possible moment (and does in fact hold up dispatches) is worse than not having a SR line at all.

As a matter of fact, I can even name an offending ride offhand - Pandemonium from SFNE...ironic that the name matched the station loading procedure.

edited: because worse and worth sound similar, but don't work the same...

Last edited by rollergator, Monday, April 21, 2014 8:25 PM
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