PKI and Son of Beast disaster, 5/28/00

Associated parks:
None

Monday, May 29, 2000 12:25 PM
I should warn ahead of time that this is going to be a very negative trip report, much more so then normal even for a bad day. I had to calm myself down for a night to properly write it.

The day started with storms, and an announcement that Sonny wouldn't open until about noon. By reflex, I tacked on about an hour to it due to the storms. Little did I know. I was with two friends, one of whom was on his lone trip of the year to PKI and very anxious to ride Sonny. So we settled in for the morning wait. About 10:30, the rain stops for the last time and the sun quickly comes out.

Three hours passed. My friends are starting to get impatient, so I start checking through the Top Gun queue to see what's up. Around 1:30, people start to appear on the platform, testing the automated announcements and otherwise seeming to ready the station for testing. Around that time, as well, trackwalkers appear around the final bend, exiting the station. We all think the same thing: "At last". The line workers inform the line that Sonny will open "soon".

Around this time, as well, we notice that there's a camera crew from a local television station (12) and the park's Public Relations Critter, Jeffery Seibert. I overhear him, out of the earshot of the line, telling the crew that the ride may be down "a while" due to problems with the trackwalking.

2pm comes and goes, and then I notice something that makes my heart sink. Maintenance is up in cherry-pickers, apparently working on the loop track. At this point we figure that Sonny's opening is a long time to come, so we leave the line to go to lunch. The park tags the Grand Opening as 4pm. After lunch, we return to Sonny...still down. But encouragingly, a ride crew has appeared in the control booth, apparently awaiting word to begin testing. The park's word is that once trackwalking is complete, the ride will open. We get on to ride Top Gun at about 3pm, and afterward, I see somethi最 琀栀愀琀 挀愀甀猀攀搀 洀攀 琀漀 搀漀 猀漀洀攀琀栀椀渀最 琀漀琀愀氀氀礀 漀甀琀 漀昀 挀栀愀爀愀挀琀攀爀 昀漀爀 洀攀⸀⸀⸀戀爀攀愀欀 椀渀琀漀 愀 猀琀爀攀愀洀 漀昀 漀戀猀挀攀渀椀琀椀攀猀⸀㰀戀爀㸀਀㰀戀爀㸀਀吀栀攀 挀栀攀爀爀礀 瀀椀挀欀攀爀猀 挀氀甀猀琀攀爀攀搀 愀爀漀甀渀搀 琀栀攀 氀漀漀瀀 眀攀爀攀 猀琀椀氀氀 琀栀攀爀攀Ⰰ 戀甀琀 琀栀攀礀✀搀 戀攀攀渀 樀漀椀渀攀搀 戀礀 愀 挀爀愀渀攀 愀渀搀 琀眀漀 猀攀瀀愀爀愀琀攀 洀愀椀渀琀攀渀愀渀挀攀 挀爀攀眀猀⸀⸀⸀漀渀攀 愀氀漀渀最 琀栀攀 椀渀昀愀洀漀甀猀 猀攀挀漀渀搀 栀椀氀氀 爀椀猀攀Ⰰ 漀渀攀 渀攀愀爀 琀栀攀 戀氀漀挀欀 戀爀愀欀攀猀⸀  䈀漀琀栀 愀瀀瀀攀愀爀攀搀 琀漀 椀渀挀氀甀搀攀 瀀愀爀欀 洀愀渀愀最攀洀攀渀琀Ⰰ 愀渀搀 戀漀琀栀 愀瀀瀀攀愀爀攀搀 琀漀 戀攀 眀漀爀欀椀渀最 栀愀爀搀 愀琀 猀漀洀攀琀栀椀渀最⸀  䤀琀 眀愀猀 琀栀攀渀 琀栀愀琀 䤀 昀椀最甀爀攀搀 琀栀愀琀 匀漀渀渀礀 瀀爀漀戀愀戀氀礀 眀愀猀渀✀琀 最漀椀渀最 琀漀 漀瀀攀渀 琀栀愀琀 搀愀礀⸀  䤀 眀愀猀 眀爀漀渀最Ⰰ 愀猀 椀琀 琀甀爀渀猀 漀甀琀Ⰰ 戀甀琀 琀栀攀 搀愀洀愀最攀 眀愀猀 搀漀渀攀⸀  䴀礀 昀爀椀攀渀搀猀 爀攀愀氀椀稀攀搀 琀栀愀琀 琀栀攀 瀀愀爀欀 眀愀猀 瀀氀愀礀椀渀最 甀猀 愀氀氀 昀漀爀 昀漀漀氀猀Ⰰ 眀椀琀栀 琀栀攀 琀爀愀挀欀眀愀氀欀椀渀最 攀砀挀甀猀攀 渀漀眀 瀀甀琀 琀漀 爀攀猀琀 漀渀挀攀 愀渀搀 昀漀爀 愀氀氀⸀  吀栀攀礀 栀愀搀 昀漀甀渀搀 瀀爀漀戀氀攀洀猀Ⰰ 愀渀搀 栀愀搀 琀漀 爀攀瀀愀椀爀 琀栀攀洀⸀  䈀甀琀 愀瀀瀀愀爀攀渀琀氀礀Ⰰ 渀漀漀渀攀 琀栀漀甀最栀琀 琀漀 挀漀洀洀甀渀椀挀愀琀攀 琀栀椀猀 琀漀 琀栀攀 氀椀渀攀 眀漀爀欀攀爀猀⸀⸀⸀漀爀 搀椀搀 挀漀洀洀甀渀椀挀愀琀攀 椀琀 眀椀琀栀 琀栀攀洀Ⰰ 愀渀搀 琀漀氀搀 琀栀攀洀 琀漀 氀椀攀 琀漀 琀栀攀 瀀甀戀氀椀挀⸀  一攀椀琀栀攀爀 眀愀猀 愀挀挀攀瀀琀愀戀氀攀 戀攀栀愀瘀椀漀爀Ⰰ 攀猀瀀攀挀椀愀氀氀礀 愀昀琀攀爀 愀 眀愀椀琀 琀栀愀琀 眀愀猀 渀漀眀 猀琀爀攀琀挀栀椀渀最 瀀愀猀琀 猀椀砀 栀漀甀爀猀⸀  吀栀攀 㐀瀀洀 搀攀愀搀氀椀渀攀 瀀愀猀猀攀搀Ⰰ 愀渀搀 琀栀攀 瀀愀爀欀 爀攀瘀椀猀攀搀 匀漀渀渀礀✀猀 漀瀀攀渀椀渀最 琀椀洀攀 琀漀 㘀瀀洀 眀椀琀栀漀甀琀 洀椀猀猀椀渀最 愀 戀攀愀琀⸀  一漀琀栀椀渀最 愀戀漀甀琀 琀栀攀 愀瀀瀀愀爀攀渀琀 爀攀瀀愀椀爀猀 眀愀猀 猀愀椀搀⸀  䄀琀 琀栀愀琀 瀀漀椀渀琀Ⰰ 洀礀 漀渀挀攀ⴀ愀ⴀ礀攀愀爀 昀爀椀攀渀搀 愀氀猀漀 氀漀猀琀 栀椀猀 琀攀洀瀀攀爀Ⰰ 愀渀搀 挀漀漀氀攀搀 漀昀昀 戀礀 樀漀椀渀椀渀最 琀栀攀 䘀愀挀攀⼀伀昀昀 氀椀渀攀⸀㰀戀爀㸀਀㰀戀爀㸀਀吀栀愀琀 眀愀猀 攀猀琀椀洀愀琀攀搀 愀琀 漀渀攀 栀漀甀爀⸀  䤀琀 琀漀漀欀 栀椀洀 愀氀洀漀猀琀 ㄀   洀椀渀甀琀攀猀 琀漀 愀挀琀甀愀氀氀礀 渀愀瘀椀最愀琀攀 椀琀Ⰰ 戀攀挀愀甀猀攀 漀昀 䘀愀挀攀⼀伀昀昀 搀椀猀瀀愀琀挀栀 琀椀洀攀猀 漀昀 㐀ⴀ㔀 洀椀渀甀琀攀猀 椀渀 氀攀渀最琀栀⸀  吀栀愀琀 最愀瘀攀 挀愀瀀愀挀椀琀礀 愀猀 氀漀眀 愀猀 㐀   瀀攀漀瀀氀攀 愀渀 栀漀甀爀⸀  䘀漀甀爀 栀甀渀搀爀攀搀℀  吀栀愀琀✀猀 氀攀猀猀 琀栀攀渀 栀愀氀昀 眀栀愀琀 愀渀 愀氀爀攀愀搀礀 氀漀眀ⴀ挀愀瀀愀挀椀琀礀 爀椀搀攀 椀猀 猀甀瀀瀀漀猀攀搀 琀漀 戀攀 愀戀漀甀琀 琀漀 挀氀攀愀爀Ⰰ 愀渀搀 琀栀愀琀 愀戀漀甀琀 昀椀渀椀猀栀攀搀 椀琀 昀漀爀 洀礀 昀爀椀攀渀搀⸀㰀戀爀㸀਀㰀戀爀㸀਀圀攀 挀栀攀挀欀 匀漀渀渀礀 漀甀琀 愀戀漀甀琀 㘀瀀洀Ⰰ 漀渀攀 洀漀爀攀 琀椀洀攀⸀  吀栀攀 瀀氀愀琀昀漀爀洀 椀猀 攀洀瀀琀礀⸀  吀栀攀 挀爀愀渀攀 椀猀 最漀渀攀Ⰰ 戀甀琀 洀愀椀渀琀攀渀愀渀挀攀 椀猀 猀琀椀氀氀 栀愀渀最椀渀最 愀爀漀甀渀搀 琀栀攀 戀氀漀挀欀 戀爀愀欀攀猀Ⰰ 眀漀爀欀椀渀最 漀渀 琀栀攀 琀爀愀挀欀⸀  䔀渀琀椀爀攀氀礀 搀椀猀最甀猀琀攀搀Ⰰ 洀礀 琀椀挀欀攀琀ⴀ栀漀氀搀椀渀最 昀爀椀攀渀搀 搀攀挀椀搀攀搀 琀漀 愀戀愀渀搀漀渀 琀栀攀 瀀愀爀欀Ⰰ 愀渀搀 眀攀 昀漀甀渀搀 椀琀 搀椀昀昀椀挀甀氀琀 琀漀 愀爀最甀攀 眀椀琀栀 栀椀洀Ⰰ 猀漀 眀攀 氀攀昀琀⸀  吀栀攀 昀椀渀愀氀 椀渀猀甀氀琀 眀愀猀 眀栀攀渀 眀攀 搀椀猀挀漀瘀攀爀攀搀Ⰰ 琀栀爀漀甀最栀 爀攀挀⸀爀漀氀氀攀爀ⴀ挀漀愀猀琀攀爀Ⰰ 琀栀愀琀 匀漀渀渀礀 栀愀搀 漀瀀攀渀攀搀 愀渀 栀漀甀爀 愀昀琀攀爀 漀甀爀 搀攀瀀愀爀琀甀爀e. But after his experiences, even Sonny's opening would not have calmed him down.

None of us like being played for fools. I know that others have disagreed with this, but I would have greatly preferred that Sonny simply have been closed down and the line dispersed, ala Millenium Force. When it looked like the repairs were nearing completion, then the line could have been allowed to re-form. But instead, PKI practiced a continuous stream of disinformation, misinformation, and no information, on the crowd. Somebody knew perfectly well what was up with Sonny, but they didn't see fit to contribute that to the chain of command that led down to Sonny's line.

Which is worse? Being tied by fear of being left out due to wait times, to a indeterminate, deliberately obfuscated line? We figured, perhaps incorrectly, that with one train operation, to leave Sonny's line permanently would mean at best adding 3-4 hours to the mounting time already waited...or missing out on Sonny alltogether.

Or is a better alternative being sent to enjoy the rest of the day at the park until Sonny is approaching opening?

The whole Son of Beast debacle, combined with the usual lackadaisical ride ops and glacially-slow dispatch times, ruined the day for my friend, and has me angry like I've never been angry at an amusement park before. Something badly needs to be changed the way Paramount handles it's customers, because it's total disregard for their satisfaction once they've collected their admission money is criminal, compared to operations such as Cedar Point.

A positive note to finish this TR. My hat is still off to certain people at PKI, particularly Angie in Guest Relations and the line workers, for trying their best in a very difficult situation. They kept the line's mood from getting ugly and gave what little information they were given. They were put out in front of a hostile crowd with no support from either Ride Maintainence o 昀爀漀洀 瀀愀爀欀 洀愀渀愀最攀洀攀渀琀Ⰰ 愀渀搀 琀栀攀礀✀爀攀 琀漀 戀攀 挀漀洀洀攀渀搀攀搀 昀漀爀 琀栀攀 樀漀戀 琀栀攀礀 搀椀搀⸀㰀戀爀㸀਀ഀ਀ഀ਀ഀ਀ ⨀⨀⨀ 吀栀椀猀 瀀漀猀琀 眀愀猀 攀搀椀琀攀搀 戀礀 䄀爀挀栀吀攀爀礀砀 漀渀 㔀⼀㈀㤀⼀㈀   ⸀ ⨀⨀⨀
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Monday, May 29, 2000 2:07 PM
Well now you guys officially have your version of Superman-the Escape. Well, at least in that case, they just opened it a year late.
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Monday, May 29, 2000 2:42 PM
I was at work with the webcam on up in the corner of my PC all day on Sunday, and the crane on the loop section was definately moving. (you had the best/worst view, I suppose Arch)
I would agree that Paramount should simply bite the bullet and say that Sonny will be closed "until further notice" and get the job done right (ala S:TE)
Sorry to hear about your friend's rotten day. I am STILL looking foreward to this ride, and hope the Evil is soon purged from this Son Of A "Beast"

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Gotta ride 'em all!
+0
Monday, May 29, 2000 3:18 PM
They already tried the "bite the bullet" approach with the Second Hill Jolt. Fixed that. Tested two weeks. First day they had the ride open for a full day within two hours of opening.

But what happened Sunday STILL happened. Worse, from the webcam, the *SAME* [NAUGHTY WORD!] pattern was repeated today. Apparently, based on the line camped out in the Action Zone, Sonny didn't open until at least 4:30, and today, PKI didn't have rain as an excuse.

This keeps up, things are going to come to a head there. And it can't happen too soon as far as I am concerned.
+0
Monday, May 29, 2000 5:28 PM
I was also in line. We only waited for approx. 4 hours. I guess thats not as bad as you.
+0
Tuesday, May 30, 2000 4:47 AM
CORRECTION: Sonny opened around 11am Monday morning and was operating normally (as normal as one train operation gets, 3.5 hrs wait :( ) all day.

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Scott W. Short
sshort@mediaone.net
http://welcome.to/midwestcoastercentral
+0
Tuesday, May 30, 2000 7:06 AM
Anybody know why Sonny is running only 1 train? I thought it was designed for 3.

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Gotta ride 'em all!
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Tuesday, May 30, 2000 8:44 AM

Probably a lack of training of the staff for more than one train, and concern among the front office that, if the ride doesn't work right, more than one train might cause a collision, so only one train is run to avoid that problem.
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Six Flags America IS a Six Flags park!
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Tuesday, May 30, 2000 9:17 AM
My apoligies, ShiveringTim; admittedly webcam watching is a very imprecise science.

So basically Sonny's more "normal" 1-2 hour delays was braketed by the exceptionally nasty 9 hour delay, and attendant problems, during my friends' and my visit to PKI. Figures. Well, at least I've got a season pass, though I think I'll be concentrating on CP and Six Flags Ohio for a while.
+0
Tuesday, May 30, 2000 4:01 PM
Actually, PKI only has one train certified by the state. At least that is what I've been told by people at the park. Who knows if that's actually true or not.
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