La Ronde, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
La Ronde is like a giant ashtray. The only queues that were not enveloped in a blue haze were those for the kiddy rides (Dragon and Toboggan Nordique), but while these were less hazy, they certainly were not smoke-free. Plus, we were always walking on gobs of smokers spit. There were no efforts to curb smoking in lines, and the groundskeepers never pick up the butts. Le Vampire is surrounded by grey gravel mixed in with thousands of cigarette butts, so it really does resemble a giant ash tray. Besides damaging our health, the rampant smoking also endangers one of my favorite coasters, Le Monstre, a giant woodie, which has dominated the parks's skyline since 1985 [edited]. If some stray butt burns it down, I'll be very disappointed but not surprised.
La Ronde staff just don't give a #$%# about anything. There was frequent line-cutting -- we even got into an argument with a grey-haired chaperone whose 8 to 11-year old charges were cutting past hundreds of people lined up for Le Vampire. His only defence was, "well, I didn't tell them to cut in line." Staff also didn't do anything about patrons climbing the fence and wooden superstructure of Le Monstre. I thought they would discourage climbing on wooden roller coasters...
La Ronde does not attempt to serve patrons efficiently. Second trains were not operated on Vampire, Cobra, and SuperMenege. They added a second train to Le Monstre only after lines exceeded 45 minutes. Le Monstre was operating only one of the two tracks -- aren't racing coasters supposed to race? The staff at SuperMenage were slow as molasses in January, and not because they were doing their job - they were busy gossiping while slowly walking back to their stations after checking restraints.
The whole park seemed understaffed since many of the flat rides were running with only one operator (where we've seen up to three operating in the past), and several rides were closed (including the relatively new Tornade, and the classic and always-scary haunted mansion).
Boomerang was having mechanical problems and shut down for the day before we had a chance to ride it. We also did not ride Cobra. (This one broke down while we were in line, and restarted just as we were leaving the park.)
But here's the positive: Le Vampire, which is apparently a clone of "Batman the Ride" at other Six Flags parks, is an amazing ride, the best coaster at La Ronde. This inverted coaster is very compact, with every piece of track in close proximity to at least two or three other sections of track. It's disorientating, which improves the thrill of the ride. The waits were relatively long (75 minutes at 4:30 pm), but this could have been reduced by 2/3 by operating two trains.
Le Monstre, a 1985 [edited] woodie, is still a good ride, with lots of curves and dives, and Six Flags finally cleaned repainted the infamous walls in the world’s grossest queue. (I sincerely hope they keep it clean -- the gum-wads are already beginning to accumulate.)
We finally figured out how to access the backside of the island and found a parking spot just two rows from the gate. We walked through the gate at 10:20 - no line whatsoever. From the gate, we walked right onto Dragon. Dragon is a cute family coaster / dark ride with lots of flashing lights, haunting music and creepy dragon heads. It's a short ride that scares little kids, but they love it -- several were begging the ride-op to go again since there was no line.
As always, La Ronde's food services are very reasonably priced. This including McDonalds. However, I don't think Subway will sell too many $10 subs this season.
Six Flags has done well to improve the park facilities. Their investments are especially visible in new rides and buildings. However, the staff performance at La Ronde is significantly inferior to those of other Six Flags parks I've visited (Great Escape and Darien Lake). That's my two cents. *** Edited 6/8/2004 1:15:25 PM UTC by greatwhitenorth*** *** Edited 6/8/2004 1:16:55 PM UTC by greatwhitenorth***
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