SFOG Opening Day Trip Report

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Saturday, March 23, 2002 5:22 PM

First off, I have to say that I worked 3rd shift Friday night and set a limit of leaving by noon so I could get some sleep today. That said, here is my trip report from opening day:

I arrived at the park around 8:30 (traffic was better than I expected), so I could get my season pass processed. After waiting in line for 25 minutes (12th in line), someone came out and said that the season pass computers were down and that they wouldn't be processing season passes today. They tell us if we go to the main gate with our pass voucher, they will take a portion of it and let us in. (My question is what if the computers are down tomorrow and I want to go then? No answer to that one!)

9:05 Time to get my parking pass....guess what, their registers aren't working, so they can't sell them....15 minutes later the registers are finally up and I get my parking pass.

9:40 Gates open, and guess who I see just inside the gates?....Joe Odem, General Manager. I thank him for the good things to come, then I tell him that the park has not made a good first impression for the year (3rd year going for me, 2nd year season pass). He tries to apologize, but doesn't convince me. Oh well.

9:55 Park finally opens, and I see people starting to ride Acrophobia and the Cyclone...I'm off to see Superman, then ride GASM. Superman looks great, can't wait till the 6th to ride it finally. I get to GASM but it's not yet open, after waiting in a pre-line for 25 minutes, one of the ride ops tells us that they don't know when it will open as the test runs aren't going well. (He didn't say that the test runs weren't going well, but it was obvious by watching the ride.) Meanwhile Ninja has 1 test run, then no more. Guess I won't be riding anything on this side of the park today.

10:30 start walking back towards Gothom City, and notice that Deja Vu isn't running either....hmmm.....will it ever....lol! I'm starting to get hungry so I look for somewhere to get something to eat, but guess what? Nothing's open yet except drink stands. Figures. On the way to Gothom City via the hill where the Carosel is, I see that the Mine Train is running....I head over there and finally have my first ride about 10:45. It breaks down just after my run...the trains won't leave the station. Around this time I also hear that the Cyclone has broken down. Once I get off...they had to push the empty train in front of us out of the station, then push us the rest of the way in....

I head over to Gothom City to see if my favorite ride in the park is open (Mindbender). It is, but there's a 30 minute wait....so at just about 11am I get in line for Mindbender which is only running 1 train. What a ride, smooth as glass from the middle of the train (too long a wait for the front...remember I'm on a time limit here). When I get off, I see that Batman is running but has too long a line for the time I have left. I head back to the front of the park.

11:40 I debate heading back over to GASM, but decide to just head out. I pass by the Georgia Scorcher (running 2 trains, but might as well only be running 1 as the one that just finished was waiting to unload the whole time I had the Scorcher in site), and it's wait is about 40 minutes. I love this ride too, but it's too long a wait for my time frame. I then head back to my car, stopping first at the pass office to see if their computers have come back up yet....surprise, they hadn't.

Noon I leave SFOG not knowing when I will make it back.

In closing, after 2 hours of the park being open, only 2 rides in, is not a good record. Last year's opening day went alot smoother in my opinion. I hope that in the future, it get's better.

Sunday, March 24, 2002 8:51 AM
That sounds rough, opening days can never be expected to go off perfectly. Whether it be not enough employees, maintenance problems, or safety issues, I have certainly noticed that it isn't the best idea to go to a park on opening day and expecting to ride everything. Better luck next time though!
Sunday, March 24, 2002 9:09 AM

I guess a few months of the park being closed wasn't enough time to get the rides ready for opening day. There is no excuse for this kind of crap happening at parks. Why wouldn't opening day be good to visit? All the rides should be good to go. Maybe the ride ops would be slower but that's it.

Computers being down as soon as the park opens? What is that?

If this had happened in a park in Orlando the guests would have eaten the employees for breakfast. They have very high expectations at the parks down here. We run our parks all year around and I've never seen so many problems in any of them.


Sunday, March 24, 2002 7:10 PM


When rides sit dormant for months on end, they need a lot of repair as the season begins. This is why things won't go perfect opening day. Parks try to have rides running as best they can, but some problems will happen during this "break-in" weekend. Also, many rides don't function very well in cold weather, especially wood coasters. So keep in mind when these rides are closed it's FOR YOUR SAFETY.

Sunday, March 24, 2002 8:37 PM
Was Superman open or were they still working on the ride. I plan on going down there this Summer and I was wondering if it is up and running.

Bill Yost of Cincinnati, Ohio: Where we KNOW the Bengals suck!

*** This post was edited by THE BEASTmaster on 3/25/2002. ***

Monday, March 25, 2002 7:58 AM

I guess the computers don't work well when it's cold outside either because they were down. But if it's your home park I guess you have to defend it anyway, right?

If you're expectations are that low that's fine but I don't like jumping through hoops to process a parking pass and season pass to my homepark.

Monday, March 25, 2002 5:10 PM
I was talking about the coasters/rides. The computer thing is sort of ridiculous. But try to read carefully, mmmkay?
Monday, March 25, 2002 7:18 PM
I understand about the cold, and it was cold that morning. However it was forcast to be cold 3 or 4 days prior, and staff could have been scheduled to come in early to "warm up" the rides earlier than normal. Opening day is not the time for problems to occur if you can prevent them.
Monday, March 25, 2002 7:57 PM
Well if the weather is cold...the weather is cold...there's no "warming up" to be done. If it's too cold to operate...that's the bottom line.

"Villain-Once You Drop, The Fun Don't Stop!"~SFWoA Rules In 2002~With SFWoA ANYTHING Is Possible!

Tuesday, March 26, 2002 4:31 PM
Exactly B&M Tycoon... you can't just "warm up" a coaster.
Tuesday, March 26, 2002 4:55 PM
On Millennium Force, they have portable heaters underneath the station during cold weather. They use these to warm up the wheel bearings and such so the coaster can operate. On closing weekend last year, the temperatures were in the lower 30's yet all the coasters were operational.
Tuesday, March 26, 2002 6:11 PM

Six Flags doesn't think about those things. That's why their reputation basically sucks!

I visited IOA and BGT in January and it was in the thirties. All the coasters were open.

GO figure!!

Friday, March 29, 2002 4:29 PM

Well, I don't think it's because they don't think of these things... it's because they're pretty unnecessary at most SF parks. Take SFOG. The weather MIGHT be cold enough to cause a coaster not to run for the first weekend or two after the park opens, but after that it is more than warm enough to run the rides okay. So why bother installing a bunch of heaters that will sit unused all season? It's pointless really. And if it's so cold a ride needs heaters, most people (including myself) probably don't want to ride anyway.


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