Ohio Labor Day Weekend - Part 2 - Geauga Lake

Associated parks:
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Tuesday, September 7, 2004 1:16 PM
This is part two to the Ohio Labor Day trip report. If you haven't read the first one, I encourage you to do so or else a lot of what's in here won't make sense. As stated before, we ended up doing Geauga Lake on Sunday because we were too bushed to drive all the way out to Kennywood. Geauga Lake was originally going to be a short day, not a full day. It turned out still being a short day.

We arrived at the park around 1pm. We used some coupons we got from Cedar Point for 19.95 admission and entered the park. We were first struck by how much cleaner the park was than our previous visit in 2001. We walked out of our 2001 visit with a vow never to return. With Cedar Fair taking over, we thought we should give the park another chance.

We grabbed a locker at the front of the park and headed out to do some of the rides. Shannon has to carry around some necessary medications including emergency medications that she might need at the spur of the moment. She had them all in her purse. Anyways, because Dominator had a curved drop, she thought she might want to try it. Well we get up to the station (no one was at the front of the line to check people) and were told that she couldnt ride and that she would have to take her purse back up to the front of the park and put it in a locker. There are no bins at any of the rides, no lockers near the ride, nothing. This brings me to my biggest gripe against Cedar Fair in general. Their excess articles policy.

I can see the reason why you don't want people carrying stuff on rides. These things become missiles if let go during the course of a ride. I have no problem whatsoever with a park saying you cant take this or that on a ride or that you have to have a strap on your glasses in order to ride. No problems. It's the disposition of the stuff that you normally carry or accumulate that irks me when it comes to Cedar Fair parks. People end up buying things, winning stuff, or just have a need to carry certain items like medication or things for the kids. What's worse is that that Cedar Point's policies are inconsistant. Some rides you can take stuff with you. Some you can't. Some have lockers. Others dont. Two rides have bins for your stuff. Other rides don't. One of the reasons we rode Raptor so many times was there was a bin for stuff there. The fact that you have to pay a buck to put your stuff away for rides like Millenium Force and Dragster irks me. I guess thats one thing my local Six Flags has on Cedar Fair. All the rides have bins to put your stuff in while you ride. Maybe I'm just too used to that luxury. I don't know. I will say one thing. The fact that Shannon was told to go back to the front of the park to deposit her purse if she wanted to ride put a damper on the entire ride. Shannon didn't want to ride anything and the day ended up turning into a repeat of our day there in 2001.

Anyways, I still rode the rides and then we high-tailed it out of the park by six in the evening. The park was dead the entire time we were there. Every ride except for X-Flight and the ferris wheel were walk ons. The one disturbing thing I heard over and over all day from people was they wished the Cedar Fair never bought the park and that it was run better before. Well, in some ways I have to disagree. Ride operations were slightly better, customer service was slightly better, and except for our one incident on Dominator, we didn't have any more real negative experiences.

Here is a summary of rides/activities...

Dominator: Managed to get a few rides on it, even if Shannon refused to ride out of principle. The corkscrew was a bit rough, otherwise it was a very fun ride. Better than I remembered from the last time.

Thunderhawk: Call me crazy, but I love SLC's. Yes, I know I'm crazy. Anyways, got all my rides up in the front row and had no pain. Sure there was some headbanging but the head cushioning seemed to take care of it pretty good. I love the layout on these things. Part of me hopes they will repaint this with something less obnoxious than the red and aqua colors that are there now, but then I look at Wildcat and Iron Dragon at CP and hope they keep their mitts off the paint scheme of the ride.

Raging Wolf Bobs: The first half was extremely rough. The second half was better. Still a poor excuse for a wooden coaster.

Villian: A much better excuse for a wooden coaster. Had some nice pops of air, some great laterals, and had lots of giggle factor. A bit rough, but not overly so. I don't hate the G-trains as much as some people do.

Big Dipper: A good classic. A bit rough, but it seemed to fit the ride. A very fun layout with some nice pops of air and a lot of side to side movement in a car without seat dividers. Woo hoo!

XFlight: I still maintain that this is a better flyer than the Superman clones. More intense layout and much more disorienting. The restraint system doesn't really make you feel secure though, like the B&M restraints do.

Texas Twister: Much better ride than Great America's new top spin. The program was similar but allowed for more spin and gave a more intese ride.

Steel Venom: Was closed and yet again I was eluded the credit for this ride as it was closed the last time I was at the park.

I skipped Head Spin and Beaver Land Mine Ride.

The park has a long way to go yet, I think to be a decent park. They don't need to be another Cedar Point, but they do need to work on things if they want to be the type of park that Cedar Fair envisions them to be, a family picnic park. Shannon isn't really thrilled with the park because of what happened and has vowed never to return. My critism isn't that harsh, however. It should be noted, though, that one small incident can affect having a return customer and having good word of mouth. Many enthusiasts think that customer service at a park isn't important just as long as there is good rides. That works if you are just there to power ride the park. Problem is that the average guest isn't there for that purpose. Customer service is critical for running a park and even the smallest incident, like Shannon's incident (which I feel isnt enough to justify not returning, but I'm not her and I don't share the same values that she does regarding park service) ruined her day for her and she will now not only never visit the park again (unless I drag her back ;)) but she will talk ill of the park to her friends and family. Not a good thing for a park that is struggling the way that Geauga Lake is right now. I just hope they can get their act together before it's too late.

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Tuesday, September 7, 2004 2:46 PM
I agree that it is a nice convenience to be able to drop off things when you ride. But if one is going to let their entire day be ruined by a slight incident like that, it does not appear they are trying to have fun.
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Tuesday, September 7, 2004 2:55 PM
People that nitpick about why a park in 2004 isn't like it was in the 80s or early 90s don't appear like they're trying to have fun either.

Great TRs Bob. My first trip to GL wasn't too exciting and satisfying but we found some fun on getting stuck on Villain and then getting a reride on it for the final ride of the night (15 minutes after closing) and the front seat of Dominator. Ride ops telling us how "the fun was never here" was amusing as well. ;)

+Danny

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