I drove past the park today at 3:30, the one with a big hole in the middle, and the big sign said "Park Closed". I got off at the exit to grab some food and indeed, no rides were running. Just checked the website and it said "Park closed at noon due to weather".
Now...just to give you some background, it was drizzling in the morning and it stopped raining at about quarter to 12. It did not rain between 12 and 3:30, when I got there --partly cloudy skies and a little chilly--around 50 degrees.
So, in summary, the park opened two hours, closed because of drizzle, and was closed the rest of the day in perfectly decent weather.
I remember the good old days when I would intentionally go on rainy days (with my season pass) and be treated to a day of blissful walk-ons. New management has even found a way to erase that joy.
We were driving there and called around 11:20am and were told that the park was going to be closing at 5pm today. OK not a big deal, we have season passes. We pull into the parking lot and were granted access without one word from the parking lot attendant about an earlier close.
As we were walking up to the park a guest told us they were closing at noon today, but they are giving out rainchecks. By this time it was 11:40am so we figured that we would be allowed at least 20 minutes of ride time. Nope. We were then greeted by somewhat rude explinations and excuses by park management. The one I remember most is, "We made the decision to close at noon 15 minutes ago."
Then we had to endure the sight of 2 little kids crying like it was their job. I felt bad for the little guys. We ended up spending more time in the car than in the city of Gurnee.
Ironically, as we pulled into the parking lot today, the rain started to let up and the temperature started to raise a little bit. My car said it was 45ish when we were driving up, and by the time we were heading out, it had gone up to 55.
Do the parks stay open extra hours on days they are crowded and profitable? NO. In reverse, they need to eat some profits and stay open during the advertised hours unless there is a dangerous weather condition.
People spent money on gas to get there. Did they refund that? With the price of gas, the raincheck for admission probably was worth less than the gas to get there.
They are going to damage themselves in the long run. When people hear they close early due to rain, NOBODY will take the risk of going on a rainy day. And there are plenty of rainy days during the operating season............ *** Edited 5/12/2008 4:49:58 PM UTC by super7****
Super7, I agree completely. This is one new and growing practice in the industry that really burns me. I say, unless there's a calamity on the scale of a hurricane, a blizzard, or 5.9 earthquake, the park should honor their published operating hours. They're simply biting themselves in the asses if they don't. Sure, a little coin could be saved on a slow day. But you can bet there is some family (maybe more than one) that drove across the state -- only to be told the park's closed by the moose out front -- who will never go that park again.
If this turns into some sort of trend, these parks will pay the price eventually.
The main point to remember here is that the weather was nice in the afternoon. Driving past the park, it didn't even hit me that the park could be closed because of weather-- were they only opening the park on Saturdays in May now? No reason that park should have be closed.
Season Passholders and even single-day admission guests were maybe waiting til early afternoon to hit the park. They had probably watched a weather forecast or looked at a radar--something the management obviously failed to do.
The weather was junky in the morning, and wind along with being cold later on. It was also mother's day. The people just didn't want to show up to the park, and the park closed down which is a smart business decision. When you have only have 50 people in the park, why should the park stay open? It doesn't make any sense. I didn't go, and I don't know how many people the park had, but when it closes down like that, that's usually the case.
Kevin, you act like the park is taking away the times when it rains at the park, and the rides are emptier. The park has a lot more people for those days, and stays open the whole time catering to more than 50 people in the park. Than, people start leaving because it is raining for awhile, or the weather changes. This is a completely different scenario.
I would think the park hardly got anyone to come to the park at the start of the day, and they closed it.
^^ They knew the forecast was for better in the afternoon so they HURRIED to close at noon. If they stayed open a bit longer and the weather improved how do you close for weather? Then if they wanted to close early they would have to cite the small crowd. Don't want to do that so close really early while the weather is still an issue and get out of there before you get stuck. The hell with the folks that came or were coming later.
This practice is becoming more common as the parks are dealing with a tougher economy. It may be penny wise but the long term customer implications can't be good. Problem is that long term was dropped from this mgt vocab long ago.
super7* said: Do the parks stay open extra hours on days they are crowded and profitable? NO.
Just because the park closed on this day early, due to weather, doesn't mean they haven't added hours in the past.
I have been to this park specifically on multiple days that they have added extra hours. This usually occurs on days when they are close earlier, around 6 or 7 and the park is much busier than usual. Traditionally they will change the close to 8 or 9. So don't be talking about information you assume as fact.
Brian Noble said: You guys probably don't think we went to the moon, either, do you?
^^I was watching a Special on the Kennedy Assassination and they talked about the Conspiracy, and THE TRUTH IS RIGHT BEFORE YOUR EYES! After analising the Data I determined on 11/22/1963, at the Dealy Plaza in Dallas, Texas. (Scatological Substance) Happened!!!
Saturday 88 ACE members enjoyed outstanding day at Great America. So many give aways, great food wonderful hospitality. Some of us even won a sneek peek at DarkNight Yes, with cameras. Then just for the 88 of us we rode Viper and Bull 30 minutes each, which added up as a hour ride time. Sure we paid 40 extra dollars but the park wowed us. Everyone I talked with Saturday Evening who planned on going Mothers Day heard of the poor weather reports. For a change the weather people nailed it. Sunday moring was like the end of the world. Extemely high winds driving rain at 42 degrees 15 miles south of the park. If I ran the park I never would have opened the park at all. All of us who have season passes can visit the park over 100 more times this season. Baseball Games have been cancelled many times this year alone, based on forecasts, where is the outcry? If you live around Chicago you know we have had a cold wet Spring. The next 15 days calls for more of the same. Great America did the right thing and offered Rain Checks which goes agaist the policy. Give them a break and don't go when the weather calls for 100% chance of rain, Wind Advisories, temps in the 40's.