SFMM. Terrible terrible experience. 16th June. Park 4

Associated parks:
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Monday, June 21, 2004 3:25 AM
Ok here goes. Had already been to the mountain a week before and had a good day, then visited SFGADV and SFNE where, other than a problem with Superman, i did not experience the Six flags customer service curse. I now have.

Not being american ( i am english but live in sydney) i am not used to the level of service that you guys get and expect in life. Food in restaurants is slower, staff are not as curteous and dont say 'have a nice day' all the time. I, therefore, did not really worry about the Six flags problem that you guys say exists as i thought i have thicker skin. How wrong i was.

I got to the park before opening and was 3rd in line in the season pass Q. All the ticket box info said was that superman, monorail and flashback were closed. No probs. So when the gated opened i pegged it to X to get hopefully 2 rides in before the hoards got there. Oh, i had seen it testing when i drove into the park at 9.15, so was expecting it to be open. No, there were gates at the bridge and a very young guy called jeremy stopping our progress. He said that as far he knew the ride would open shortly. 10, 20, 30 mins passed with nothing happening, by this time lots of angry customers were pestering this poor kid saying they were going to just smash past the barriers!!! Then the ride tested a couple of times with a guy on it- Finally i thought it would open. No 15 mins passed, and the crowd was approaching an angry mob- Jeremy did not have a walkie talkie to find out what was happening, so the crowd gave up and just pushed through the barriers. I joined in the running of the bulls as i did not want to be barged to the back. The crowd pushed though another barrier at the Q entrance and past another employee who was in no position to stop us. As we ran into the station what did we find- any decent reason for the ride not to be open an hour after opening time- No, they were training some new staff in how to check the restraints. yes thats right. A guy called Joaquin (spelling) was busy teaching this girl what to do. As the crowd entered the station, all the ride ops just looked up as if this had happened before. They took their postions and started loading the ride. (only 1 train working mind you) This totally pissed me off.

I was really angry that i had wasted an hour of my time for no good reason.

The ride itself was excellent, i totally love this ride. Favourite in the whole world.

I am not going to bother rating the rest of the coasters as i have another gripe.

I ran from X to Deja vu as i did not get to ride it earlier in the week, and was pleased to see a very short line. How long did it take for 4 trains to be dispatched- 20 bloody mins. Useless again.

I love SFMM, in my mind it has the best selection and Variety of coasters anywhere, but when they are running the park like it is at the moment it is just not a fun day out. I got so frustrated with X and Deja VU and then with the 1 train ops on Batman and Riddlers that i left after 4 hours. This is not how to run a park. SFGADV was easily the best run park of the 3 i visited.

Six flags take note, if a very laid back english/aussie man gets annoyed by your crappy customer service, just think what all your regular american customers are thinking.

Thanks for readin my rant, what do you think?? Was i too hard??

Cheers

James

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Monday, June 21, 2004 3:58 AM

gyjdnb said:

I ran from X to Deja vu as i did not get to ride it earlier in the week, and was pleased to see a very short line. How long did it take for 4 trains to be dispatched- 20 bloody mins. Useless again.


Deja was making 5 minute cycles?? You were lucky! They usually average 6-9 minutes.


gyjdnb said:

Thanks for readin my rant, what do you think?? Was i too hard??


My friend Mike Kallay thinks they should hand out this flyer at the parking booth: "We would like to apologize in advance for the day you're about to have".

;-)

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Monday, June 21, 2004 4:02 AM
While I agree that isn't a good reason for the coaster to be closed, there are a few factors that could have caused it.

Say someone called in to work and there was no one who was trained that could replace that person immediately (supervisors all busy) someone would have to be trained in order to run the ride.

However, that shouldnt happen. Some things do happen. I understand how that can ruin an experience though, just dont hold it against the other Six Flags parks.

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Monday, June 21, 2004 7:17 AM
I certainly dont hold it against other six flags parks, as i have seen the difference over some of the chain.

It just dissapoints me to see what could easily be the best park in the world run so badly.

Bassistisist said "Deja was making 5 minute cycles?? You were lucky! They usually average 6-9 minutes."

9 mins to unload and load 30 odd people- thats ridiculous- even with the silly seat configuration. Its such a fun ride but why bother when you are only getting 200 poeple riding it per hour. Waste of money,time and space.

Xander- while i totally understand that if the whole crew was sick the ride would have to open late, but there were still 2 other crew there standing around. I am sure they could run the ride with 3 crew- A bit slower perhaps (not if they actually work hard) but at least it is operational.

'X' and Deja Vu are still the main new attractions at the park and has the longest lines- the management should realise that and have more staff there to speed up loading times. Scream is working well with 2 trains but the lines are not long at all.

Enough complaining:- I would like to congratulate SFMM for getting both X and Deja Vu working consistently. Deja Vu, does not seem to have any mechanical problems these days, so very well done to the guys responsible for that- It was obviously bloody hard to fix. 'X' has been a nightmare but they wait has been worth it (riding it anyway) hopefully due to the mechanics hard work, more of these amazing rides will get built. I sincerely hope so.

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Monday, June 21, 2004 12:20 PM
Just be happy you have got a chance to ride Deja! Many of us are not that lucky!
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Monday, June 21, 2004 1:22 PM
Saying that X was closed for no good reason is not true. Properly training a ride op is a HUGELY imprtant reason to keep people off the ride. Improper checking of a restraint could lead to a rider being ejected.

Besides, X almost always has a delayed opening for one reason or another. You could have gone the other way around the park and hit Goliath, Colossus, Scream, Riddler and Batman all in the time you were just standing in front of a coaster that wasn't even open. Those rides never get lines in the first hour of operation, even with a 1 train operation.

I'll agree that 5 minutes between dispatched on Deja Vu is as good as it gets. And you only had to wait 4 cycles? I sure wouldn't complain there.

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Monday, June 21, 2004 1:51 PM

Soggy said:
Saying that X was closed for no good reason is not true. Properly training a ride op is a HUGELY imprtant reason to keep people off the ride. Improper checking of a restraint could lead to a rider being ejected.

Sorry, no way is that an excuse! That is NOT how you train someone. It is VERY possible to do training during the course of the day. To not open the ride for the sake of training is shameful, and one example of hundreds of SFMM's ridiculous operations and shoddy guest service.

And you said that X always has a delayed opening? Yes, it does, but that sure doesn't make it right.

I really like the rides at SFMM, but every time I hear stuff like this, I feel more pleased at my decision not to renew my season pass.

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Monday, June 21, 2004 2:18 PM
Maybe you would be OK with being checked by a trainee, but I'd rather wait until they were "certified," or whatever happens to ride-ops, thankyouverymuch. The fact that SFMM is even able to keep that cantankerous contraption open consistantly is a miracle. A 1 hour delayed opening is not a big deal, wether you think it is or not.

I love the ride, don't get me wrong, but it has to be up there with the "Top 10 Greatest Coaster Mistakes."

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Monday, June 21, 2004 2:38 PM
I'd be fine being checked by a trainee, provided that they had a trainer by their side watching them and making sure that everything is being done correctly. Thats how it works at other parks, I don't see why SFMM could not do the same.

While a 1 hour delayed opening isn't the worst of all things, its still NOT good guest service. They know how long testing takes, and ought to schedule their employess accordingly so that they might be able to finish testing and open the attraction on time.
The worst part of the delay is that they know that the ride will open late and do it every day. Its one thing is the ride is broken, but its just not the best way to start off a guest's day to have a ride closed because they can't schedule employees to start 30 minutes earlier.

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Monday, June 21, 2004 3:27 PM
Ever heard of "The Smoking Gun" fallacy? I think we are arguing something where neither one of us has the whole story. We have only the information that the TR's author gave us. Any one of a hundred or more things could have contributed to the delay, not just operator training. Maybe it LOOKED like that was the holdup, but it could have been mechanical, especially with X. He was not in the satation or the maintainance shed, he was in front of the bridge, which does not offer a view of anything.

SFMM's reputation has been on the slippery slope for a few years now, and I cannot say that everything that happens there is perfect. But I can say with some certianty that they are not just standing back and laughing at guests that are waiting for a ride to open.

I missed getting a ride on SoB in 2000, and no amount of my cry-baby comments would get me a ride that day, and I didn't receive any sympathy from any of my fellow Buzzers either. It was all chalked up to "if the ride is not ready to open, it won't open." This is the same situation, except it was just a delay, not a closure.

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Monday, June 21, 2004 5:42 PM
There is a simple solution that has worked well for me! Don't go to SFMM! I thought it would kill, but to my surprise I enjoy KBF, Disney, or just staying home more than I can enjoy a day at SFMM. No matter how nice some of their rides are (Goliath rules), they are not worth eating feces. I equate a day at SFMM to eating feces. It is one thing after another and it will not get better because they make no effort to get better. It is the ONLY park that has ever done this to me. I'm sure I'll go again the next time they get a different coaster I want/need to do, but I find it refreshing to not have to deal with them since I've resolved my self to staying away!

continue on.....

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Monday, June 21, 2004 7:46 PM
Wow, I actually find myself agreeing with Mr. Smith. Must have rode Twilight Zone's Tower of Terror once too many times. ;)
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Monday, June 21, 2004 8:40 PM

Soggy said:
A 1 hour delayed opening is not a big deal, wether you think it is or not.

Huh?

My employer pays me a fair-to-middlin' wage for an hour of my time. Six Flags supposedly pays people for their time. Customers pay to enter the park during published hours.

So an hour is no big deal why? Because the ride X is a fairly consistent failure to begin with?

-'Playa

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Monday, June 21, 2004 9:44 PM
That is absolutely hilarious how everyone broke into X's queue line lol!
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Tuesday, June 22, 2004 3:17 AM
Soggy- yes i agree training ride ops is obviously important- but it should not be done when the park is open- No way. It should be done way before paying customers expect to be riding the coasters. The train and cycled 5 times and seemed to be working fine- it was just sitting in the station all ready to go (no mechanics around at all)

Soogy said "SFMM's reputation has been on the slippery slope for a few years now, and I cannot say that everything that happens there is perfect. But I can say with some certianty that they are not just standing back and laughing at guests that are waiting for a ride to open."

They were'nt laughing at us but they were certainly not doing anything about getting us on the ride- after we pushed through into the station, they seemed resigned to the fact that they had to start to work!!

Lets put this example of bad customer service in a different setting. Say you went to a Baseball game and only got 7 innnings. Would you feel pissed off and shortchanged. Yes. Ok you are still going to get some enjoyment out of the 7 innnings but you dont get all you moneys worth. This is what going to SFMM is like. Yes you will have a good time riding the excellent collection of coasters, but you feel shortchanged by the 1 train operations, the late opening of the best ride there and the general apathy of the ride ops.

Jeffery R Smith- I would not go as far as saying a day at the Mountain is as bad as eating **** (have not tried it) but it certainly could taste better, thats for sure.

Ride Of Steel:- You are so right, it was bloody funny watching this poor young staff member watch the situtaion get more and more out of control until he gave up and about 400 people just pushed past him and pegged it over the bridge past this other startled worker into the Q line and up into the station. What surprsied me (and this is why i believe it had happened before) is that the ops in the station did not say anything- No 'what the hell are you doing here'. They just opened the air gates 1 min later and let us board the train!!!! Amazing.

It certainly made for an interesting first hour at the park.

Craig:- "Just be happy you have got a chance to ride Deja! Many of us are not that lucky!"

I was very happy i got to ride it again- its a great ride, so much fun. Hopefully now that it looks like it is working well at SFMM they can transfer the knowledge of what to do, onto the other 3 parks that have the ride.

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Tuesday, June 22, 2004 4:47 AM
Sorry Mr. Smith, i wish i could agree with you.

I go to KBF often, as well as Disneyland, and I don't care how nice those parks are, being a coaster enthusiast, i love Magic Mountain and its roller coasters. Theres nothing like a trip to the mountain, and no rides at either Disney or KBF could compare with Goliath, X, Riddlers or even Deja. Its ridiculous to even compare. I do agree with you on not going to MM expecting the park to try to impress you, but i think the park is full of experiences enthusiasts will enjoy if they spend the day there.

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Tuesday, June 22, 2004 10:27 AM
Jan:

Even an idiot like me is right once in a while! :-)

Longhair:

I was with you 5 years ago. Now I've sort of evolved to an "atmosphere" kind of guy over the sheer thrills. KBF and Disney have the atmosphere that SFMM will never duplicate.

I assume I'm just getting old. I'm 32 now and just don't have the energy to overlook SFMM's shortcomings and have a good time. My solution was to stop going, and I don't miss it a bit!

I do miss Goliath though! :-) The others on your list never did too much for me!

P.S. I prefer a spin on Ghostrider to all of the rides on your list!

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Tuesday, June 22, 2004 10:35 AM
Oh God, 'Playa has called me out. It's all over now! ;)

Maybe your employer pays you a fair-to-middlin' wage, but from what I hear, an average Six Flags ride-op makes just a little over the minimum. Even if 3 or 4 of them are "just standing around" it costs the company virtually nothing. Besides, SFMM has to pay them wether they are operating a ride or not, its a fixed cost. The paying customers, as I have already stated, could have gone on other rides that did open when the chains dropped. I'm sure that Viper & Revolution (the 2 coasters nearest to X) were open for business with little or no waits during the X delay. It was their choice to stand in front of the delayed X.

If the hour in question was in the name of rider safety, then YES it was an hour very well spent. X may be consistant failure, but SFMM didn't actually build it, Arrow Dynamics did. Now SFMM is stuck with a "lemon" and has to deal with it in whatever way they are able. And no matter what they do, it will end up pissing some people off, its inevedible.

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Tuesday, June 22, 2004 10:48 AM
But training should never in any way delay the presentation of the product to the customer. If you go to Pizza Hut tonite and there's a cook being trained and your pizza comes out wrong, they don't tell you just to wait, be patient and they'll make you another for full price - they tell you to wait, be patient, and you'll get a discount or free one!

There are no breaks in a competitive market. There are no "we have a lemon" or "we needed to train someone" excuses. If the ride isn't open when the gates open, something's wrong. Training a new employee when there are at least 3 fully-trained employees on the platform is not "rider safety" it's "employee laziness" that they won't come in before or after hours for their training when the training of one person doesn't get in the way of hundreds of paying customers.

It's pathetic that it happened, and it's even worse that there are people willing to justify it as something that was either in the name of rider safety or "cut them a break, they have a lemon" (or even worse the omnipresent "go ride something else")

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Tuesday, June 22, 2004 11:16 AM
Impulse-ive: I fail to see a relationship between a $10 pizza and a $20,000,000 one-of-a-kind roller coaster. The consequences of a bad pizza are nothing, the consequences of a bad ride-op can be death.

Employee laziness? Don't ride ops already get scheduled for 12 hour shifts? I don't know about you, but if I were already scheduled for a 12 hour shift I wouldn't be running at the chance to come in an hour early for anything. Also you start running into California labor laws. I think (and please correct me if I'm wrong) it's illegal to schedule an employee for longer than 12 hours.

Do you go everywhere expecting "perfection?" If so, you will be dissappointed 99% of the time. You may not like "rider safety," the fact that X "is a lemon" or the "go ride something else," but those are all 100% valid and truthful reasons/solutions for what happened. If you still choose to cry about it, thems the breaks.

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