NO GOLIATH and WAIT WHAT?

Wednesday, May 7, 2014 4:13 PM

Whoever would have thought it was a bad idea to plan a trip around the opening weekend of a new wooden coaster at a Six Flags park after one of the worst winters ever? Who could possibly have foreseen this terrible tragedy?


2012 SFGAm Visits: 26 2012 Season Whizzer Rides: 84 X Flight Rides: 91

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Wednesday, May 7, 2014 4:56 PM
sirloindude's avatar

I actually have some sympathy here. It's a pretty reasonable expectation that a park should have its new ride open by the start of the season, especially at a park that has a later start to the season than many others. Bad weather or not, it's just amusing that Six Flags parks often seem to open their rides a ways into the season. Everybody else manages to get them open, and as Steve pointed out, Sandusky and Mason aren't exactly known for being tropical paradises in the winter months.

I get that Chicago got borderline annihilated (my airline has a hub there), but it's just interesting to me. Zumanjaro still isn't open either, and you can't convince me that Jersey had it that bad. It just strikes me as poor planning.


13 Boomerang, 9 SLC, and 8 B-TR clones

www.grapeadventuresphotography.com

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Wednesday, May 7, 2014 5:45 PM

[IMG]

Charles Nungester said:

I don't buy the weather argument,

I have to disagree, having worked in construction the weather definitely plays a part in a construction timeline. Do you think its easier to have to dig out the parts to the rides from snow?
Sky Screamer parts at SFNE

Last edited by gamerguy, Wednesday, May 7, 2014 5:46 PM
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Wednesday, May 7, 2014 5:45 PM

^^ If Jersey got it half as bad as we did in Southeastern PA (which could be quite likely...not that far away), they got pounded.

I have sympathy for the planning aspect, but I also think one must know: NEVER EVER plan for a ride to open as scheduled. Ever. You live and you learn though, right?


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

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Wednesday, May 7, 2014 5:47 PM
Vater's avatar

Weather aside, isn't there the better-than-remote possibility, whether or not Joe Customerservice promised it would be open, that there could potentially be other unforeseen circumstances that would delay the ride's opening? I mean, certainly enough of a chance to not drop hundreds of dollars on airfare.

On one hand, I could almost excuse a non-enthusiast making this mistake, not really being aware of Six Flags' tendency to delay new ride openings, and possibly being absent-minded to the potential that technical glitches (or weather, etc.) might cause said delay.

On the other hand, I don't know any non-enthusiasts who would travel 700 miles to visit a park on its opening day solely to ride the new ride.

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Wednesday, May 7, 2014 7:31 PM

I thought it was pretty standard for Six Flags not to have their new coasters open until after Memorial Day. Sure it's frustrating but wouldn't a packed amusement park also require a full staff? Being a seasonal park is it more cost effective to finish construction later in the season when there are more guests potentially in the park than to open it on opening day and have a larger staff on slower weekends after opening weekend? Does everything work ideally on opening day? Isn't it better to open a new ride after everything else is up and running and normalized?

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Wednesday, May 7, 2014 8:47 PM
sirloindude's avatar

I look at it from the perspective that the opening was scheduled so late to begin with. Were the trip scheduled for opening day, it would be one thing, but with the opening scheduled so late anyway, I'm a little inclined to have some sympathy.

I'm also partly inclined to feel bad because a similar situation happened to me with GoldStriker last year. Mind you, that trip was going to happen regardless and GoldStriker was supposed to be a bonus, but I thought it was kind of lame that the ride had already been tested and had a successful media day only to close again for several weeks. If I'm not mistaken, I believe that was due to the need for more noise abatement installations along the track, but even so, it was still frustrating.

I guess I just subscribe to the fact that some contingency needs to be considered, especially when you are planning on opening well after the season starts to begin with. Whether intentional or not, it just makes it look like the park was unprepared.


13 Boomerang, 9 SLC, and 8 B-TR clones

www.grapeadventuresphotography.com

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Wednesday, May 7, 2014 10:12 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Seems to me it's a uniquely enthusiast problem.

Most people aren't nearly as worried about the opening date beyond finding out when the ride actually opens and very few travel long distances to ride new rides and an even smaller subset does it so far in advance.

The ride opening isn't a problem unless you make it one.


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Wednesday, May 7, 2014 11:12 PM
Fun's avatar

I can't disagree more Gonch.

This isn't a shortfall that only affects enthusiasts. It doesn't matter if some or even most are saying "no big deal", there is always a segment of visitors who are visiting solely for that ride. That was my family as a kid (you know, pre-enthusiast days). We didn't have money for multiple trips. Parents would take time off of work and we accepted that we were locked in, especially for visits to parks in other states. If rides were closed, that was it and there was no do-over. If the weather was bad, we still went and made the best of it.

Park operators ought to get it right from day one, and every day there after. This is why Six Flags should feel embarrassed about having a reputation of opening rides late, when others in the industry seem to have a much better track record.

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Wednesday, May 7, 2014 11:27 PM
Vater's avatar

Visiting solely for that new ride is fine. But it makes more sense to me to visit later in the season when more than likely it's a) open and b) worked out any potential issues and is running more consistently (less downtime). To me, visiting the park the day a new ride is supposed to open is a crapshoot. Honestly, I was pleasantly surprised I305 was operating on KD's opening day of 2010...and yes, it did break down for a while in the evening. Yeah, I would have been disappointed if it hadn't opened at all...but I went there with the expectation that that was a possibility (this was Intamin we were talking about, after all).

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Thursday, May 8, 2014 12:15 AM
slithernoggin's avatar

I can't really wrap my brain around the idea of planning and paying for a trip to ride something I do not know for sure is operating. Then again, I'm so cheap I buy my shoes in thrift stores...


Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep.
--Fran Lebowitz

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Thursday, May 8, 2014 12:18 AM

I don't know that you can call a "standard" for Six Flags or anyone else. What happens happens, and when it's ready it's ready.

Their mistake might've been announcing a definite date. That's just asking for trouble from a marketing and customer service standpoint if indeed something unforeseen comes along to cause a delay.

Maybe the smart thing is to just say "coming this spring" or "new, summer of 2014", (like Disney and Universal do, both in a place where there's great weather year round...) and not be making big fat promises.

I'm sure this is as disappointing to the park as well as patrons and I can assure you there's no ulterior motive behind the delay. Instead, there's a publicity department that is faced with back peddling, notifying media outlets, changing schedules, getting inspections, and fielding demands and complaints from the Bobbies of the world. They'd much rather have a park packed from opening day on, with people eager to ride the new ride, and spending money. But sometimes it's just not possible.

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Thursday, May 8, 2014 12:25 AM
sirloindude's avatar

Some people can only go at certain times, though. My CGA visit last year was pretty much a spring-or-not-at-all visit. As I mentioned earlier, my visit wasn't really based on getting to ride GoldStriker, but it's a bit of a bummer knowing that I'd made it over there only to find it SBNO while whatever soundproofing was being retroactively installed.

If anything, I'd say enthusiasts stand a better shot of avoiding similar disappointments as we've seen enough delayed openings to know to probably plan visits for later in the year.

I'm not trying to imply that Six Flags is a bunch of terrible people and that enthusiasts deserve on-time ride openings, dangit! I'm just saying that I can understand a degree of disappointment.

Now, on the subject of US Airways modifying the ticket because of the delayed roller coaster opening, yeah, I would be shocked if that happened.


13 Boomerang, 9 SLC, and 8 B-TR clones

www.grapeadventuresphotography.com

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Thursday, May 8, 2014 12:38 AM

In Bobbie's defense, and correct me if I'm wrong, but I seem to recall that she's a blogger and the fact that she would try to arrange a trip particularly to coincide with the opening of a new ride makes sense.
It also makes sense that if for some reason said trip was spoiled there would be a financial responsibility on her part and that would (and should) go with the territory as a business loss/expense.

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Thursday, May 8, 2014 12:42 AM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Fun said:

This isn't a shortfall that only affects enthusiasts. It doesn't matter if some or even most are saying "no big deal", there is always a segment of visitors who are visiting solely for that ride. That was my family as a kid (you know, pre-enthusiast days). We didn't have money for multiple trips.

Then you wouldn't go unless you know it's open - especially easy in this day and age. This is only an issue for a certain type of visitor and the number of those people is so low that it doesn't matter one bit. Not even a little. Not even enough for this to be worth my typing.

RCMAC said:

Their mistake might've been announcing a definite date. That's just asking for trouble from a marketing and customer service standpoint if indeed something unforeseen comes along to cause a delay.

Maybe the smart thing is to just say "coming this spring" or "new, summer of 2014", (like Disney and Universal do, both in a place where there's great weather year round...) and not be making big fat promises.

There you go. That's the ONLY reason this is remotely an issue. Not sure what the OCD thing with having a new ride open when the park opens is. What about the year-round parks? Rides open when they open.

If your intention is to visit a park, you check hours and make sure it will be open when you visit. If your intention is to ride a brand new ride, why would you approach it any differently?

And the conspiracy that it encourages repeat visits? Pfft! I'd say just the opposite. Anyone whose main motivation is the new coaster, can only make one (or lmited) visits and with an ounce of common sense is waiting to visit.

This is one of those things that seems like an issue within our little bubble, but affects such a low number of people that it's funny that this discussion has even gone this far.


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Thursday, May 8, 2014 2:04 PM
Bobbie1951's avatar

Thank you, RCMAC. That pretty much sums it up.

As to Raven-Phile having no sympathy, let's be fair here. If the park had told me "We expect Goliath to open on Memorial Day weekend" or "The projected date is May 24" or something along those lines, I certainly wouldn't have booked the trip. But that's not what they told me; they said that it WILL open on Memorial Day weekend. To say that to someone about to make travel plans is plain out WRONG if there's any possibility of a setback in the coaster's opening. I understand that things happen which are beyond anyone's control but the guy with whom I spoke was so positive as to when Goliath would open that I had no reason to doubt him. If you can't take the word of someone employed by Six Flags to answer questions about the park's operations, whose word can you take?


Bobbie

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Thursday, May 8, 2014 2:18 PM
Raven-Phile's avatar

Let's be fair here, you know you should never take "hard dates" on the opening of *any* ride or piece of machinery seriously. This doesn't just apply to Six Flags, or even strictly amusement related things.

Common sense tells you this is a bad idea. I understand that you think the park shouldn't have said "oh, it'll be open then", but unless you were told explicitly by the manufacturer that it will meet the deadline with 100% certainty, you haven't a leg to stand on.

Even if I wasn't a fan of roller coasters, I'd still know better. You goofed, and I get it - you're kicking yourself for it, but it's 100% your own fault.

So, the bucket of sympathy is still empty over here.

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Thursday, May 8, 2014 2:39 PM
slithernoggin's avatar

If I called the park's person in charge of the construction project and they assured me the ride would open on a certain day, I'd take them at their word. Not the front line customer service person, though.


Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep.
--Fran Lebowitz

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Thursday, May 8, 2014 3:04 PM

Bobbie1951 said:

To say that to someone about to make travel plans is plain out WRONG if there's any possibility of a setback in the coaster's opening.

And yet your very next sentence is:

I understand that things happen which are beyond anyone's control...

So, you clearly understood there was risk here, regardless of what the person on the other end of the phone said. And yet you still booked a ticket.

That alone leaves very little room for sympathy. That you're apparently ok with defrauding the insurance company in order to make up for your poor decision making leaves absolutely NO room for sympathy, IMO.


Brandon | Facebook

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Thursday, May 8, 2014 4:30 PM

sirloindude said:

I actually have some sympathy here. It's a pretty reasonable expectation that a park should have its new ride open by the start of the season, especially at a park that has a later start to the season than many others.

Well, genius, why do you think that park has a later start to their season? (cue the Jeopardy music)..............

answer: Their weather sucks. This year was much worse than usual. It's well documented.

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