SFAmerica (8/24) "Guests are commenting about..."

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Monday, August 27, 2001 5:29 AM
"... the disgusting state of paths in your park."

My wife and I arrived at the park around 11am (a little delayed because of construction and a traffic accident on the Balt-Wash parkway). The first line we encountered was for tickets. I normally do not time things, but on this day I did. We were in line for 22 minutes to buy tickets. The sad part is that the line was not all that long, but just slow moving. After standing in line again to purchase our "tickets" (had a buy one, get one free ticket so we both got in for under $40 including tax) we proceeded to the entrance and waited a little more as people were checked out at the metal detectors. We saw something freighting. There was a woman in front of us who set off the detector. I do not know if the guard working there had some sort of handicap or was hard of hearing, but for what ever reason she was very hard to understand and she said something to the woman who asked "What?" (and she was not playing around… This guard was impossible to understand). The guard motioned for the woman to go through again… which she did… and she set off the alarm again. Once more the guard said something to her and the woman shook her head and said "I'm sorry, but I can't understand you." Giving a groan, the guard motioned her through (even though she tripped the detector) and let her into the park. Granted, this woman did not look like serial bomber or mass murdering type, but still… If there are metal detectors, shouldn't the guards pay attention to them?

Anyway, I guess we did a stupid thing, but the first ride we wound up in line for was Two Face. The line was not long at all… but yet we stood there for 30 minutes. Again the stop watch came out. I timed the loading times… from the times the gates opened until the train was dispatched. Not having a calculator to find the average, I do remember that the shortest time was 2 minutes and the longest was 4 ½. While standing in line (and it was around noon this time) my wife commented about the state of the entry queue with its crumpled cups, discarded soda bottles, and a few spoons with what looked like melted and dried ice cream on them and commented "It couldn't have gotten this way just from this morning." Anyway, the ride was fun, first time ever on one like this. We got the front seat. Before you say anything, it wasn't because the front seat that caused the wait… once we got to the station we walked right to the front.

Next in line was Wild One. My wife has something against wooden coasters, she is not fond of all of that bone jarring roughness, so I went this one alone. The line was medium sized, but moving, so it was not bad. It was a fun ride, next to last seat, with some great bursts of air on some of the hills.

From here, it was onto Gotham City and Joker's Jinx. Again, a moderate line, but this time it did not move fast. This would have been a good ride to theme similar to Kennywood's Exterminator, being in the sewers in all, because we were standing in at least a half inch of water very disgusting looking water in the station. Not sure what it was from, not sure we wanted to know. Well, again it was a front seat ride (and this again is not what caused our wait… it took us a long time just to get to the final turn in the queue). I thought the ride was Okay, but not great. My wife hated it because of the way it threw her head around. What scared me about this (and about two face) were the OTSR's. They were very tight fitting around our ears and they were very torn up with the foam cushioning being ripped apart (and in one case being duct taped together) and smelled of sweat (eeeewwww!).

Next up was Superman: Ride of Steel. It LOOKS like it could be a fun coaster, but that is all I can go on since it was closed down when we walked past. Then it was Batwing. My wife, still shaken from Joker, decided to sit this one out. I got in line and started timing. Not sure how long the was but when I rejoined my wife afterward, my watch said 1 hr 7 minutes. I lucked out on this and saved at least 20 minutes… One ride op put out the call for "Single Riders?" I held up my hand and he motioned me forward… past at least 2 of the curved sections of the queue (sanctioned line jumping?). He was doing this for ever train. At least they were trying to send the trains out with seats filled (more on this later). It was an okay ride… but a "Been there, done that" type. Nothing spectacular. Kind of a let down actually. I wouldn't stand in line for this one had I ridden it before.

Well, by this time it was late afternoon so we decided to get something to eat. After a quick potty break (in surprisingly CLEAN rest rooms!) we wound up at a little place near the "Western" themed area of the park. After a very overpriced lunch of chicken(?) nuggets and fries in one of the most disgusting eating areas I have ever encountered (plates, cups, foot, and other unidentified stuff on the floor and tables) it was on to the neighboring Roar. My wife again sat this one out. I got in line and occupied my self by counting and cataloguing the various forms of litter and debris scattered around the queue. I was in line for 10 minutes (and it was a very short line) when people started leaving… "Its closed for mechanical problems". Okay… using our time what I thought was wisely, it was on to "Mind Eraser". Again, my wife decided to sit this one out. Again the timer. In line again I occupied myself looking at the various sorts of litter around the queue (and stacked up in the station near the lone garbage can… yes, I have finally seen it… the LONE garbage can). What got me was the area on the back side of the station, down in the woods. The ground was blue with old Pepsi cups (a proud sponsor of Six Flags America, even though at least 3 of their concession stands, including where we got or "chicken"(?) nuggets, were out of it). Anyway, 37 minutes later I got to the end of the queue. And again an announcement was made… "We're sorry, but the ride is temporarily closed because of mechanical problems". Seeing that Roar was running again, I was one of the many who decided to try our luck elsewhere.

In line for roar once again, the short line was actually a 20 minute wait. Again, I timed it… the longest dispatch time was 5 minutes. But I finally did get on… back seat. I was a good coaster, but it would have been better had my attitude been better I guess. One thing of note, the one attendant was vehement about me removing my glasses. I said "Even though I have a strap on them?" She said "Remove them please…" "Even though I wore them on Bat Wing?" "Remove… Oh well… Their your glasses" and she moved on to hassle someone two seats forward about his sun glasses. When the ride was over, we sat for 3 minutes (again, I was timing) on the break run as they loaded and dispatched the other train).

After this, with my wife not feeling well (after her Joker's Jinx ride and feeling very over heated since shade in some areas of the park is non existent), we decided to call it a day and headed to the parking lot and then on to home.

I'm now going to join the chorus of "whiners". I have heard all sorts of things on how various Six Flag parks were dirty, how inefficient their ride crews were, and how many of their rides were closed or broken down. I did not comment since I had no first hand knowledge. However, know I have that knowledge and I will agree… on this day at least, Six Flags America was one of the dirtiest and inefficiently run parks I have ever encountered. I counted at least 5 flat rides that were not running along with Superman being closed all day (I saw it running when we were in the lot of the park, but not once we entered the park). Also, I saw many concessions closed. If it is a question of short staffing, I ask why was that rock climbing wall open, or is it the question of $5 a climb vs no extra price for the flat rides? Also, what is the point of running two trains on a coaster if you stack them and make the one wait until the other clears the station? You are running two trains but yet you are running them as a one train operation. Lastly, while I did not use Fast Pass (or what ever they call it), I saw a few things that did not make sense. On both Roar and in my ill-fated attempt to ride Mind Eraser, they were sending the trains away with that middle seat empty because they had no Fast Pass people waiting. Secondly, while waiting for Roar, two people got into that reserved seat… the ops checked for their "passes" but since they got in from the peasant line… I mean normal line.. they of course had none. The ops made them get out of the reserved seat and they send the train away with that reserved seat empty because there was no actual reserved riders waiting. Also, while on Wild One, I saw the ops send two people to the empty reserved seat while they made two people, sitting in a "non reserved" seat (at least not marked) get off and back in to the Queue so the other two people with the already seated "reserved" riders could ride. I was never fond of the whole idea of "reserved" seating, and after seeing these incidents, even less fond of it now.

Oh well, at least there are 5 more records for the count (but I will have to return to SFAm again for S:ROS and Mind Eraser)… now I can look forward to this Friday when we plan on another visit to Hersheypark!

"I wasn't always this cynical, but then I started kindergarden..."

Monday, August 27, 2001 6:23 AM
I appreciate your comments in your "whiner" section, as I would wonder the same things, especially about the fast pass situations you spoke of.  Letting trains go with empty seats simply because no one was in that particular spot in line?  One wonders where is the sense?  That type of thing is very aggravating.  However, I bet they are only trying to avoid people in line getting bent out of shape because how would the ride ops select who goes in the empty seats?  I am not in favor of  fast passes for other reasons, and the "weird" situations that can occur like you have discussed here only add to my dislike of that system. 

I have only experienced on SF park (SFNE) and it isn't too dirty and things seem to operate smoothly there, in my experiences.  In two days I am journeying to SFGAdv, and I wonder what awaits me there.  I know I will enjoy the coasters there that I am interested in.  I only hope all are operating. Maybe I will report back a quick TR.


Monday, August 27, 2001 6:29 AM

From what I read, the efficiency (or lack there of) at Six Flag's parks varries with the individual park.

As I said, I have yet to ride S:ROS and Mind Eraser at SFAm. I am considering doing that early next season, getting a "season pass" for $56 (that is what they charge down there this year), and then using it at SFNE during a New England trip next summer.

"I wasn't always this cynical, but then I started kindergarden..."

Monday, August 27, 2001 8:02 AM
As a SFA homebody, I agree with a lot of what you said.The trash problem is particular is getting really bad. The problem I saw the other night was that they only empty the trash cans once a night. And they definitely need more trash cans and people to empty them. The walkways and queues also need to be washed down and cleaned. Joker’s Jinx needs a drainage pipe to clear out water from storms. Guests shouldn’t have to walk through that much water. I’m in 100% agreement also about ride operations. Things have definitely gone downhill in that department from the beginning of the year. Dispatches on many of the rides are just taking far too long. For example, S:ROS can be loaded and dispatched by the second helix, but they never come close anymore. Too many times the other train waits for two minutes or so in the brakes. SFGAdv. was totally different in their ride operations. Nitro’s crew in particular was dispatching trains at a Cedar Point rate. They also had plenty of people working the rides. I also agree they should take people off the extra charge attractions such as the rock climbing wall & games if they don’t have enough people to work the rides they have. People should be getting their money’s worth, even if it’s at a discount rate. Five rides closed in a park as small as SFA is too many. I’m surprised at Roar having any problems. It also had a minor problem the other day (it got stuck going up the lift). If there’s one thing you can usually count on it’s that Roar will be running without incident. I’m surprised that your wife won’t get on Wild One and Roar, but got on Joker’s Jinx. I also agree about Fast Lane. They should be filling the empty seats if no one is waiting for them. It’s really dumb to let two empty seats go on every train. And they definitely shouldn’t remove people who’ve already sat down in those seats by accident. It just wastes so much time, due to lapbar rechecks etc. They shouldn’t be treating the guests like criminals for sitting in the seats by accident also. Lastly, they should have a consistent policy on glasses etc., and everyone should know would that policy is. If they’re going to make you remove items, then they need to have drop boxes or bins at every ride, not just some (another inconsistency). Whoa, I feel much better now!
Monday, August 27, 2001 8:07 AM

MABrider said:
"  In two days I am journeying to SFGAdv, and I wonder what awaits me there.  I know I will enjoy the coasters there that I am interested in.

I think you'll be impressed with the park and the rides. As far as what's operating and what's not, most of the coasters should be open no matter when you go.

With all the bad things I've heard about woa and sfa, I can't believe how well gradv seems to be this year. Their capacity has been almost cedar point like at times. The park seems fairly clean. Even the crowds have been pretty well behaved. Their fastpass works really well. They block off one row and hand out reservations that are only good at certian times. The lines for it are never long and I've gotten passes as late as two in the afternoon. Plus they're free.


Monday, August 27, 2001 9:56 AM
I'm starting to agree with a lot of folks on this one.It seems that SFA's operations get worse towards the end of the season.They really should hire more staff in the rides department or take staff out of other operations to work in rides.The problem with that is in the training,it requires much more training to operate a coaster or flat ride than a midway game.I was there back on 8/25/01 and I must say that I was less than pleased with my experience.With S:ROS closed as well as at least 5 or 6 flat rides down that made for much longer lines on everything else. I also agree on that stupid fastlane issue. They really should load the empty seats when no one is waiting with a reservation,while waiting in line for Wild one they loaded the entire train with fast laners.I was less than pleased with my recent visit there compared to the service I recieved while at PKD just the week before.
Thursday, August 30, 2001 8:09 PM
Slflake, you wrote the exact same trip report I was going to write. I was at SFA on Friday AUG. 24 and I had pretty much the exact same day.

ticket line-same

Two-face - mechanical problem, horrendous amount of garbage near station.

Superman-closed all day

overpriced food*

numerous flatrides closed ALL DAY.

*one funnel cake at SFA around $5.50, 2 funnelcakes and a small pop at Kennywood the next day was a total of $5.75.you do the math and tell me which park has the deal.

This was my first visit to a SF park, I won't say it's will be my last, but I will definately think alot before I spend my money at Six Flags again.

Friday, August 31, 2001 9:29 AM

s said:

Their capacity has been almost cedar point like at times.

Can't tell you guys how good this makes me feel as a ride operator at Cedar Point.  That we are the mark against which other parks are measured.  Thank you very much!

Monday, September 3, 2001 12:36 PM
I traveled 4hrs to this park and i thought it was ok but alot of stuff that shouldent be happening that did. such as batwings Queue being open and we all went into the staion then they started yelling at everyone saying they have to leave and get back inline becuase they need to test run it. thats fine but we cant go back in the way we came? no you have to get to the back of the line! then alot of empty seats i saw on batwing wich could have easly been filled with a single rider. then the tower or doom looked like it was falling apart. then typoone sea coaster along with superman ride of steel where closed all day. along with many flat rides. and there food was very over priced! tow slices of pizza and a soda $7 i could go up the blokc from me get more money and eather A pie a whole pie for that much or B get 2 slices and a large soda for $3!  the soda was also over priced with everything else.and the park was very dirty alot of garbage laying around. yet 101 park employies running around doing what? not operating any rides or cleaning.some dont even know english. thats fine but if i need help on directions etc i need to undertsnad the person. im think im ganna stick to dorneypark,hersheypark, and Coney island for next season. driving 4hrs from NYC to SFA was not worth it at ALL!! then these little snoot nosed kids are like if you live in N.y you know they have SFGdv in N.j like i dont know. i said i know that i cant viset this park?oh yea and lets not forget this park maniger who i was asking qestion before they let us go in the park. im like why dont you run more then one train on batwing ? he told me pla pla pla then he adds in and thats why verkoma (how ever you spell it) went banktrupt and he said it was becuase of SFA. Wasenmt it becuase of the delayed openings and  proplems with deja vu,X flgiht and batwing? anyways i wont go to this park ever again no matter what coaster they get. it was like a step back in time to the way SFAGdv use to be back in the day.

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