SFOT opening weekend - new policies

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Monday, March 3, 2008 10:24 AM
I made a quick visit to SFOT this weekend. I was disappointed to find that lockers have now been installed at the entrances to the Giant, Batman, Freeze and Titan. Guests are no longer allowed to take any loose items with them into the line--they are now forced to use a locker at a cost of $1. An attendant at the entrance to each of these rides makes certain guests adhere to the new policy.

While boarding Batman we were stunned to hear the announcement that only shoes may be placed in the bin, any other item left behind will be "removed by security." As the lapbars were getting checked, an attendant discovered a hat had been placed in the bin. She then shouted for the owner of the hat, and would not allow the train to be dispatched until the owner claimed said item. I foresee this really slowing down the loading process. Capacity is certainly going to nosedive.

Crowds were very light and I didn't see a lot of backpack toting teens. I don't know what is going to happen during spring break as the lockers do not appear large enough to hold a backpack, and there are not enough lockers to hold backpacks if lines get over an hour (which they do during spring break). I'm not sure they will hold a basketball either, and they certainly won't hold a large stuffed animal. Those fun prizes that a guest has won have now become a liability.

This really won't affect me too much. Living 10 minutes from the park, I rarely carry any loose items with me. But I was proud of the fact that our park always seemed friendly and was one of the better-run parks in the chain. I think this new policy is an assault on guest services, and it makes the park look greedy. Barking messages over the PA system that your items will be removed by security is an insult to your guests--a ride station is not an airport terminal.

Some other things. The Giant did receive some track work but not nearly enough. Pieces of Shock Wave are still in the parking lot, as is all of Tony Hawk. The site doesn't look very far along, they haven't even poured the footings yet.

The employees are now sporting yellow-green dayglo polo shirts. As long as I can remember the employees have worn the colors of the Texas Flag. Some years they even had all six flags on the shirt. I know it's a minor detail, but it did enforce what little theming remains. I found the new shirts garish and unappealing--nothing screams Texas like lime-green dayglo.

I think Shapiro has some good ideas, but for the most part, I really don't think he knows what he is doing.

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Monday, March 3, 2008 10:34 AM
I anticipate the lockers being a pain in the rear. I always have kids with me so a backpack is a must. I guess this will be the policy for all SF parks, as the new 2008 maps for SF GrAdv show the same lockers located at all the coasters.
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Monday, March 3, 2008 1:01 PM
You know what this does with games, right? People will have to go there cars now that they have to put something away, or they won't play any games if they are dropped off there. If people have to go to there cars, that also means that they could leave the premises, and go out to eat. You are making them leave the park, and maybe (just maybe), they will go to Sonic down the road (near SFOT) instead of eating at SFOT. They figure, I'm out of the park anyway, so let's go out to eat.
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Monday, March 3, 2008 2:58 PM
It's also been reported that the locker nazis are back at SFoG. Lockers should be there for convenience, not mandatory (unless of course the ride exit is separate from the entrance, ala Millennium Force).

I agree that Shapiro has some good ideas, but from some of the reports that I've seen of this season already (of multiple parks), it appears that Six Flags is run by someone who still doesn't completely "get it".

*** Edited 3/3/2008 7:59:50 PM UTC by rablat5***

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Monday, March 3, 2008 3:14 PM
That's just crazy. I think most people can see right through the "safety" of the locker and realize it's just another way SF is squeezing money out of them.
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Monday, March 3, 2008 3:28 PM
SF's reasoning was supposedly safety and speed of dispatches. If they still have the bins, it takes just as long to place shoes in a bin as it does a backpack or souvenier bottle.

How is it unsafe to have loose articles in line with you? Great Adventure of course hasn't opened yet but I know they have vending machines in line. So you can't take a cup of water or soda in line with you but they have no problem letting you buy a $3.50 bottle of soda from the vending machine ine line I bet.

What is someone supposed to do with a jacket or sweatshirt? Last April I was at Great Adventure and it was in the low 50's. On rides that were a tight fit like BTR (shorter belts than other B&M inverts as well as Medusa), I took off the sweatshirt and threw it in a cubby because it was more comfortable. Now I won't be able to do that and will either be cold while waiting in line and have to pay $1.00 for a locker or hope I can get the restraint buckled with the sweatshirt, as last time I was very borderline with getting it the seatbelt to buckle.

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Monday, March 3, 2008 3:29 PM
That is odd. I don't have such a problem with the policy as long as its enforced at the entrance to the ride. In all my visits to Six Flags parks, they never have any staff at the line entrances, so I don't see that happening long term. Time will tell.
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Monday, March 3, 2008 4:08 PM
I for one think that the lockers are a GREAT idea.

You have no idea how amazing my 2 weeks at Raptor would have been if there were lockers.

I actually asked to be moved from Raptor because I couldn't stand guests and their loose articles. I was sick of saying "put your crap in the bin" "What? What bin?" all day long.

I think that it is an excellent idea as long as the policy is being enforced at the entrance. There shouldn't be bins at all at Batman. If people have loose fitting shoes they should sit on them.

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Monday, March 3, 2008 4:33 PM
I agree. As a former ride operator, NOTHING slows dispatches down like guests with lose articles. I would almost be finished checking restraints and someone would suddenly remember their camera/cell phone/ etc. and shout for you to wait. Since they were already in their restraints it made it difficult to fish it out, and 9 times out of 10 seeing this would make someone else on the ride remember they had stuff they wanted to put on the platform too.
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Monday, March 3, 2008 5:52 PM
I had a run in with SFoG rent a cop on opening day.On reentering the park.I was told to put the contents of my pockets in her bin she was holding in her hand.so I put my keys and cell phone in and made to step back in the metal detector when I was demanded what was in my back pocket.So I told her my wallet.I was then berated because I was supposed to place the entire contents of my pockets in her little bin.I guess it is against the rules to try to reenter the park with money.You are supposed to leave it all there the first time.

For those of you who have not been.The restroom update have not been done.The only new paint I saw was in the log flume (were the water goes). Thomas the tank engine is a dirt lot right now. The park was very empty no lines for any ride waited one train for front seat one time.The only line was trying to purchase an annual pass and a parking pass.

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Monday, March 3, 2008 8:57 PM
Cant say this for SF yet but CF really ticked me off, not once but twice. Once was at CP in line for MF which I had a small umbrella in my back pocket and a line checker grabbed me physically. The second was at GL when I was told on X flight I had to rent a locker, Well it only accepted dollars and the bill acceptor was out of order. I threw the jacket in the grass, went and rode and came back and got the jacket.

What a bunch of BS ticking your guest off and even though it might not be meant to be. It seems like another money grab.

Chuck

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Monday, March 3, 2008 9:18 PM
Where did you expect to put the umbrella while you rode?
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Monday, March 3, 2008 9:51 PM

BaritonePlayer said:
I agree. As a former ride operator, NOTHING slows dispatches down like guests with lose articles.


True that! When I was working at Kali River Rapids at AK I would have to stop the turntable platform for almost every second raft due to guests mucking around with all their stuff in the storage area in the center. *** Edited 3/4/2008 2:52:50 AM UTC by CoasterKiwi***

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Monday, March 3, 2008 10:24 PM
I was also there this weekend. I was happy to go on a day that basically had walk ons on almost all of the rides. I was dissapointed by the fact that shockwave was closed and tony hawk didn't have any track up at all. I'm kinda curious how fast this ride will go up if its supposed to be ready by may. The Texas Giant may have had some work done and some padding added to its cars, but its still the roughest ride west of the Mississippi and one I only ride once and then I'm glad to be off it. It does a great job if you ever in the need to prepare for a fight with Mike Tyson lol. One big dissapointment I had was the Fly me to the Moon simulator that replaced spongebob. Bring back days of thunder or dino island, cause this ride sucked. Overall though I had a great time and was glad to start the coaster season off so early, nothin does that like a ride on Titan or Mr. Freeze.
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Monday, March 3, 2008 10:27 PM
Lockers are becoming the standard. Universal, Seaworld, Busch Gardens and Cedar Point (MF and TTD) all have mandatory lockers because of the modern open train designs of coaster as well as liability of stolen items and items hitting guests. I think Six Flags should of done this years ago.
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Tuesday, March 4, 2008 1:16 AM
I'm a huge fan of no-loose-articles-in-line policies. This, coming from a ride operator of four years (Cedar Point for two summers, Busch Gardens Europe one summer and Disney College Program one semester at Rock 'n' Rollercoaster). During those four years, I've seen guests do some of the most idiotic things imaginable, a lot of which had to do with loose articles being brought on the rides. Dispatch times are shortened with this policy, thus lines are shorter. But you need to have good ride ops that are paying attention.

The policy will work if: 1- there are good attendants at the entrance, and 2- you have good ride attendants on the platform watching what the guests on the platform are doing, and are spieling to guests. The example of the ride op yelling over the mic asking who the hat belonged to - should not have happened. The ride ops on the platform should have caught the guest before they put it on the bin and returned to their seat. Threatening guests with security over loose articles left behind is unacceptable, though. Guests should be told to sit on their sandals/loose-fitting shoes. NOTHING should be allowed to stay behind if loose articles aren't allowed in line.

And whoever said that they will be selling souvenir bottles in line, give me a break. They won't. Any moron will tell you that has disaster written all over it.

Give the ride ops a chance (more than opening weekend, please) to find their groove, and things will get better.

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Tuesday, March 4, 2008 2:51 AM
the locker isnt mandatory. not bringing stuff into the station is.
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Tuesday, March 4, 2008 2:54 AM
What is the policy on glasses, does anyone know?
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Tuesday, March 4, 2008 7:34 AM

masterblaster said:
the locker isnt mandatory. not bringing stuff into the station is.

Ha ha, exactly!

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Tuesday, March 4, 2008 8:32 AM

Richard Bannister said:
What is the policy on glasses, does anyone know?

I dunno?? You put them in your case and in your pocket when entering the queue, and then take them back out and put them back on while back in line?? How else would we be able to view Shapiro's flat-screen advertising while in line?!

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