Mechanics wrestle with Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point

Posted Friday, August 8, 2003 5:34 AM | Contributed by supermandl34

Since the $25 million Top Thrill Dragster's May 4 opening at Cedar Point amusement park, it has been shut down several times to accommodate a fickle, prototypical hydraulic system required to launch the ride out of its berth. Consultants say the problems associated with a prototypical ride of this magnitude are to be expected.

Read more from The Toledo Blade.

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Friday, August 8, 2003 5:57 AM
Exactly: the magnitude of CP's problems with TTD are related to the magnitude of the ride. In fact, when you really think about what this ride has acheived, it's amazing they've got it to work at all! :-) Lets not let our enthusiasm desensitise us to just what engineering marvels these new generations of coasters are.

Whatever the cause, these problems, though very frustrating for all concerned, will be ironed out and TTD will give people the jolt of a lifetime for many years to come.

To Paraphrase the late, great George Tilyou:

"To enquiring friends: TTD has troubles today that It had not yesterday. It had troubles yesterday which It has not today. We'll get it working better than ever. Admission to see the world's highest coaster -- Drinks for the long suffering engineers!" :-)

I think CP should give me a job as head of PR!!! :-)

All the best.

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Friday, August 8, 2003 6:00 AM
Janice states that, "It’s not a daily, but an hourly situation with the ride."

Yet when it come to stating the ride's uptime, she says it has been open more days than it been closed and refused to tell the reporter how many hours of uptime versus downtime there has been.

Interesting dichotomy....

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--George H
Currency Tracking Experiment...Where's George.com
*** This post was edited by redman822 8/8/2003 10:01:45 AM ***

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Friday, August 8, 2003 6:24 AM
Mamoosh's avatar And to think no one believed us So Cal enthusiasts when we stated after the announcement that Dragster would experience major downtime. "Oh no...this is Cedar Point...that won't happen."

But what really has me in a quandry is that Six Flags gets slammed constantly for delays and closures on X and the three Deja Vus but everyone treats Cedar Point with kid gloves and understanding when it comes to Dragster. Why the double standard?

mOOSH

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It's coming Aug 18th, and your 2004 will never be the same!

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Friday, August 8, 2003 6:31 AM
Well put beyond Oblivion . They will work out the bugs on this mamoth machine. Alot of newer coasters are extreamely complicated and they get alot of wear and tear. Heck I'm still waiting for 6 flags to fix X Flights 3 train -2 station operation and thats going on three yrs now.

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WOOF !

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Friday, August 8, 2003 6:32 AM
Because there is a long-detailed history with Six Flags. Show me another ride at Cedar Point that experienced even 1/4 of the problems opening as TTD has seen. CP hasn't made this a habit yet. If they do, they will hear about it too.*** This post was edited by wahoo skipper 8/8/2003 10:33:44 AM ***
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Friday, August 8, 2003 6:45 AM
I agree 100% with Wahoo and Dennis. I was SFMM earlier this year and Colossus was closed as well as Deja Vu Ninja was open in the morning but then closed later. Also, at SFMM not all trains were running on all rides which really upsets me when the there are huge lines. Only one side of Superman was open.

And as Dennis said X has been having problems going on three years now. It seems that TDD is the first major problem has had to deal with quite frankly. Wicked Twister has a few minor glitches in the beginning but they worked those out.

I don't know if Momoosh I agree CP is treated with kid gloves they are getting some major flack for the TDD not operating regularly.

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Friday, August 8, 2003 7:34 AM
Also back when I bought season passes to SFWoA everytime i went they have a list of rides that wont be open usually 3-4 rides, now on the other hand I go to Cedar Point and TTD is the first coaster ive EVER seen that has a sign saying that it will not be open, but I only went once last year so I am not aware of problems with Wicked Twister.
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Friday, August 8, 2003 7:35 AM
Jeff's avatar Seriously, I think CP gets plenty of flack for the most part. But I do tend to agree with the others. X has had three seasons, and the DV's, well, I suppose we could pin that on Vekoma, though I still fail to understand how the technology is that substantially different than the standard inverted boomerangs.

I think Wahoo put it perfectly... Dragster's problems represent an anomaly, not a trend. While Dragster has been up and down on my visits, I've not had any problem getting on Millennium Force, Magnum, Wicked Twister, Raptor, etc. Show me the trip reports where people can say the same about X closures and being able to get on everything else. I certainly haven't seen them.

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Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com - Sillynonsense.com
DELETED! What time does the water show start?*** This post was edited by Jeff 8/8/2003 11:37:02 AM ***

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Friday, August 8, 2003 8:27 AM
Mamoosh's avatar I should have been more clear in my point. I'm comparing problems with delayed openings and coaster reliability chain to chain, and the trend for each began only pretty recently.

Look at the last few years:

Cedar Fair has had it's share of problems: Dragster, Xcelerator, and Perilous Plunge have all seen major problems; Wicket Twister was closed for a while shortly after opening; and even Steel Venom had problems early on.

Paramount had problems with Stealth, Volcano, Hypersonic, and Drop Zone.

Busch had problems with Rhino Rally.

Six Flags has had problems with the three GIBs, X, STE, and Acrophobia.

I'm sure there are others but my point is made. In the last few years, when parks have been trying to push the limits, all the major chains have ALL experienced more problems than usual. Why take only one chain to task when it seems to be a trend across the board?

mOOSH

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It's coming Aug 18th, and your 2004 will never be the same!

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Friday, August 8, 2003 8:42 AM
I think the real reason SF takes so much flak when they have a major ride problem is that they do not inform the consumer in what might be considered a fair and even-handed manner. With TTD, for instance - CP has been extremely forthcoming and apologetic about the problems. X is still having problems, yet SFMM does nothing to inform the customer as to the status of the ride - or, if they do inform the customers, the information is often wrong.

Moreover, most of the reports I've read indicate that X is not the only coaster that will not be open on a given day. As many as 5 other coasters have been closed at the same time; at CP, we do not see this problem; there are so many other coasters with which we can amuse ourselves, and almost all of them are going to be open on a given day, even if TTD is not.

Now, before someone tries to play the "SFMM is a year-round park" card, keep in mind that the closed ride problem has also been seen by me personally at SFA, SFGAdv, and SFWoA. If your park has a brand new thrill ride or coaster that is closed more days than not, and yet does not give riders enough other options for riding on a given day - well, then that park and its chain deserve the derision they get.

I am not a Six Flags hater. I almost always enjoy my visits at Six Flags parks. However, just because other chains have had to close new rides as well does not equate to equal treatment of the situation. Six Flags parks get more flak in similar situations because they deserve more flak overall - especially when the brand-new thrill ride du jour is the only reason to go to the park.

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Harry Baer IV

"Do you think it was a bear?"
"A bear? Bears are sweet! Besides, you ever seen a bear with 40 foot feet?"

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Friday, August 8, 2003 9:16 AM
"Six Flags has had problems with the three GIBs, X, STE, and Acrophobia."

Can we include Mr. Freeze 1 and 2 and Batman and Robin: The Chiller for completeness?

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--Maddie--
What do I Listen-To?
May the Schwarz be with you.

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Friday, August 8, 2003 9:37 AM
I was very hard on CP and TTD early this season! I believe Cedarfair's early decisions to continue advertising TTD as if it were actually running on any semi-consistent basis was rude and deceitful! I lead a chorus of complaints about this situation.

However, there is no way any resonable/objective observer could ever compare SFMM's operations to CP! SFMM shows a consistent pattern of mutiple ride closures on any given day no matter what time of year. I have a log that shows 19 of the last 20 times I have been to SFMM on random visits the past 3 years, there have been 2 or more coasters closed! Some days it has been as high as 7 coasters at one time! This says nothing of the multiple non-coaster rides that ultimately will be closed on any given visit. Furthermore, SFMM guest relations has shown consistent inability to honestly explain their consistent product failures. In fairness to SFMM guest services employees, there is no defense for the park's dismal operations. This would have to rank as one of the worst jobs available.

Cedar Point has never shown any consistent pattern that would even remotely resemble SFMM. They have a huge PR nightmare with TTD and their questionable adverisement of the ride, for sure! However, a quick look at my trusty travel folder shows that in my last 20 visits to CP over a 9 year span, there has NEVER been more than one coaster down on any given day.

In fairness, my travel log is not a scientific study. Maybe I have randomly hit SFMM at the worst of times and visited CP on the best of days. However, if you look at any coaster message board and talk to most amusement park enthusiasts, a consistent theme appears. The theme parallels my travel folder. That theme is that SFMM (while having many a fun coaster) has TERRIBLE operations. This includes guest services, maintenance, staff friendliness, and cleanliness. You just DO NOT have the same comments and observations about CP! CP has consistently provided a fair product at a fair price, for most people. You almost always leave CP satisfied. At SFMM you have to struggle to take the good with the bad just to leave satisfied.

The vast difference in public and enthusiasts opinions of SFMM and CP are obvious. It has taken years for these two parks to develope their well-earned reputations. For this reason CP demands and deserves a benefit of the doubt that SFMM will NEVER (at least until they change their operations for quite a few years) get from the public, and especially us enthusiasts who follow this stuff religiously!

I am all about calling out problems when I see them. I have done this for CP and SFMM on this board! But any attempt to compare these two parks as if they are even close to "equals" is laughable to the objective and well-informed. When SFMM goes through a 5-6 year time period in which they clean the park, treat their guests with some respect, consistently have most of their coasters running, and generally show their customers a good value for their money (all traits that CP has been doing for years)----THEN SFMM will receive the same benefit of the doubt that CP is now getting. Everybody realizes that the circumstances surrounding TTD is unusual for a park of CP's reputation. IF the same thing was happening at SFMM, you can bet that the insults from enthusiasts would be much louder than they are now for CP! This is the direct result of SFMM's years of poor operations! These two parks are not equals, therfore they will not be treated as equals.

This is only fair and just. SFMM has made their bed..................................

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Give me wood! :-)
328 and counting!
*** This post was edited by Jeffrey R Smith 8/8/2003 1:43:41 PM ***

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Friday, August 8, 2003 9:54 AM
Mamoosh's avatar Gee...another anti-SFMM rant from Jeffrey Smith...what a surprise!

Jeffrey - this is NOT a Cedar Point vs. SFMM issue.

Maddie - I never said my list was complete, hence "I'm sure there are others." Sure, add Mr Freeze and Chiller. I'll also add California Screaming and Tomb Raider to the list.

Baeritone - Disney does it the best, listing all rides and their maintenence schedule on their website. Could SFMM do more? Sure...but then so could have Knotts when having problems with Xcelerator, PKD when having problems with Hypersonic, Busch when having problems with Rhino Rally. Few parks go further than a sign at the front gate with a list of rides closed.

I'm not a fanboy of any chain. None are perfect. I see the good and bad in all of them.

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It's coming Aug 18th, and your 2004 will never be the same!

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Friday, August 8, 2003 10:22 AM
Agreed, mOOSH. I probably come closer fanboi status with Cedar Point (note: NOT Cedar Fair overall - Dorney is a shell of the park it could be, IMO) than any other park. However, there is a reason for that - the park gives me what I want on a more consistent basis. Therefore, on the rare occasions when it can't give me one specific experience, I'm far more willing to shrug it off - because there's so much to do there that I'll have a good time anyway. That is why I think CP gets slack when things DO go wrong.

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Harry Baer IV

"Do you think it was a bear?"
"A bear? Bears are sweet! Besides, you ever seen a bear with 40 foot feet?"

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Friday, August 8, 2003 10:32 AM
How does that U2 song go?

Oh yeah...'Lemon...'

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Friday, August 8, 2003 10:34 AM
Moosh...I don't know why you don't understand. People's attitudes towards a park are directly related to the park's attitude towards it's guest. Not all Six Flag's parks are bad, but I think when people think of Six Flags, they need to think in particular of SFMM. And as you know, it has horrible guest services, horrible operations, and deserves any criticism it gets. Cedar Fair, and Cedar Point in particular have not had these issues.

To put it in perspective for you..which would you rather spend a week at. SFMM, or Cedar Point? Knott's or Kentucky Kingdom? I'd take the worst operating day Cedar Point ever had, over the best one SFMM had. Because it would still be better!

So yes Moosh, you are right. There is a double standard. I think if parks like SFMM were taken out of the equation, people would think of the situations more equally. But as long as some of the Six Flag's parks are run really bad, well....people are going to have a bias against it and the company. And that's completely understandable.

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Friday, August 8, 2003 10:54 AM
Moosh says:

"But what really has me in a quandry is that Six Flags gets slammed constantly for delays and closures on X and the three Deja Vus but everyone treats Cedar Point with kid gloves and understanding when it comes to Dragster. Why the double standard?"

You asked why the double standard! My post tells you EXACTLY why there is a double standard. Others are telling you the same thing, with less words than I! :-)

You obviously don't want a discussion of "Why the double standard?" If you don't want to hear the answer, don't ask the question.

It appears that your bias toward SFMM has no end. The fact is that SFMM is not held in nearly as high esteem as CP is. Therefore CP gets the benefit of the doubt ("double standard") when SFMM does not.

We all have our bias's Moosh! My experiences with SFMM are well documented. I try to discuss my point of view in a detailed manner. I make no personal attacks on anyone until first shots are fired! Why do you choose not to discuss the "points" I bring up in my posts? May it be that there is no way to defend SFMM? Or is it just a knee-jerk reaction to belittle anybody that would dare say anything bad about SFMM?

I'm left to assume that you believe that CP has "come down" to SFMM's level now that they have problems with one ride! You have a right to that point of view. I happen to think it is sad that the only way you can defend your park is to gloat when CP has troubles. I'd rather hear you speak of the great services and accomplishments of SFMM. Believe me, I wish I could read that kind of post and believe it. However, I think I will be waiting a long time for that. You just keep bashing other parks and hope that others will believe they are at SFMM's level. I've seen no evidence that anyone truly believes that!

You say:

"Gee...another anti-SFMM rant from Jeffrey Smith...what a surprise! Jeffrey - this is NOT a Cedar Point vs. SFMM issue."

You offer nothing in terms of point-counterpoint that would even indicate you are willing to discuss why there is a double-standard. This IS a CP versus SFMM issue! CP deserves the benefit of the doubt based upon a long history of good operations. SFMM does not!

I have a good history on this board for discussing positives and negatives for many different issues. I have praised SFFT, Knoebels, HW, Disney, and others. I have bashed CP and SFMM and provided details about why I dislike aspects of these parks! You choose not to discuss details as to why I dislike SFMM! It must be easy just to throw personal insults!

I've got a history of explaining my bias's and reasons for posting right up-front for all to see! Do you---Moosh—have the same type of history? I honestly do not know! Though I must admit I do not recall a bad word about SFMM from you! I could be wrong though!

If you would like to explain to me why my post is wrong based upon the content and details of my post---I'm all ears! If you are just going to dismiss the facts and details of my post by attacking my integrity---SAVE IT! We've heard and seen it all before! It is the consistent quality of a man who has had his feelings hurt to make general accusations, rather than deal with the actual content of a post!

If you do not want your feelings hurt, then don't ask a question like "why the double standard?"

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Give me wood! :-)
328 and counting!

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Friday, August 8, 2003 11:35 AM
Mamoosh's avatar Some of you are STILL missing the point.

I am not discussing a SINGLE Six Flags park, nor a SINGLE Cedar Fair park, nor any SINGLE park, PERIOD. I am not attempting to bash or speak negatively of any park chain, I am trying to discuss the recent problems that they've all been facing.

This has nothing to do with having my feelings hurt. What Mr Smith or anyone else thinks about SFMM or any park has no impact on my feelings what-so-ever. I don't feel personally attacked. Just as when I state my opinion that The Beast and Timbers are overrated does not mean I'm personally attacking someone who happens to love those coasters.

My dislike of SFMM is well known. Yes, SFMM sucks. That's why I've been there once this year and have yet to ride Scream. That discussion is tired and old, and it's not one I'm interested in having right now. You wanna judge the entire SF chain on how SFMM has operated the last few years? Fine...then I wanna judge the entire CF chain on how Knotts has operated the last few years. Is that fair? NO!

My point is that people have no problem jumping on the SF-bashing bandwagon -- and yes, for the most park the chain has earned it -- and yet give other park chains leeway when they have the EXACT same problems with delayed ride openings and ride closures.

That phenomenon has been happening A LOT in the last few years to A LOT of parks, not just parks in the SF chain. It's happening because parks and manufacturers are trying to push the boundaries and come up with new innovations.

Honestly I should not have started this discussion in this thread, I should have started it in the other news item about problematic rides, where it's more on-topic.

I'm sorry for getting this news thread off-track. Time to get back to discussing Dragster and what mechanics are doing to fix it.

mOOSH


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It's coming Aug 18th, and your 2004 will never be the same!

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Friday, August 8, 2003 12:14 PM
Some people will never get it, Moosh. don't worry, I agree with you fully on the issue at hand.

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Is that a Q-bot in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

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