Six Flags Great Adventure 5-21-11

Wednesday, May 25, 2011 10:09 AM
ApolloAndy's avatar

Like use the station block which the train is already parked in? I know that requires more staff, but bottlenecking on the load section for 18 people is just ridiculous, especially come summer Saturdays.


Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011 12:39 PM
LostKause's avatar

People can defend SFGAdv all they want when I complain about capacity, but I stand by what I always have said. SFGAdv probably doesn't care about high capacity. I offer you to consider that the possible reason behind this it that they rent more Q-Bots this way. Lower capacity means more Q-Bot rentals. The park saves money in maintenance costs and employee wages, and can make more money renting Q-Bots. Then the people using Q-Bot creates even longer lines, and what happens? More Q-Bots are rented.

That they show over and over again that they don't care about giving us the shortest lines possible is why I dislike this particular park so much. I can't say that I blame them though. They are a business, and making money is the name of the game.

Great Adventure added Q-Bot rentals in 2002 (source), about the same time that the park removed many flat rides that they had just added in 1999. They reduced overall capacity of the entire park and added an expensive perk that allowed people to cut to the front of the lines. I am not saying that it is proof that they did this intentionally to rent more bots, but it does look fishy.


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Wednesday, May 25, 2011 1:44 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

I seriously doubt they did it intentionally in that lines have always been a problem at the park (hence the '99 "war on lines" campaign). I went in '99 and whenever Nitro was new ('01?) and lines were pretty bad both times.

To me it seems they tried to combat lines a million different ways (none of which happen to be: train your operators better to fill seats and move trains or actually fully staff your rides) and finally decided q-bot was the best way to combat the perennial problem.

Last edited by ApolloAndy, Wednesday, May 25, 2011 1:45 PM

Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011 1:55 PM
Raven-Phile's avatar

I just don't get it. I went in the fall, and even with a full queue, El Toro's line was always moving, Nitro was just over a half hour from the sign that says "60 minutes from here", and we only waited 45 minutes for Kingda Ka in a packed line.

It's not up to old time CP standards, but then again, neither is CP anymore.


R.I.P LeRoi Moore 9/7/61 - 8/19/2008
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Wednesday, May 25, 2011 2:00 PM
rollergator's avatar

The "wait times from here" signs throughout the chain seem to be....decidedly pessimistic about waits. A more cynical person MIGHT suggest those are in an effort to sell more Q-bots/FPs...

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011 2:02 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

To me - and maybe this is the difference in perception - I don't really care that much about the actual wait time (stupid, I know). What matters way more to me is whether the ride is running efficiently. I can't stand even a marginally long line (20 minutes) if the ops are slow as molasses or if a suboptimal number of trains is running or being effectively used (Bizarro, I'm looking at you). I genuinely don't mind a longer line if it seems like the crew is busting their tails and getting the trains loaded and out (the El Toro crew the one time I was there was actually announcing how much time left they had on the interval to get people in the seats and ready. One of the ops on New Texas Giant does this too when she's at the console).

I guess to me the number of people in the park wanting to ride something is more or less out of the parks hands. What it does with all those people is a clear demonstration of how the park views each of those guests and their time.

Last edited by ApolloAndy, Wednesday, May 25, 2011 2:03 PM

Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

+0
Wednesday, May 25, 2011 2:19 PM
LostKause's avatar

That's exactly how I feel about it, Andy.

And let me make sure everyone knows that I don't fully believe that low capacity is on purpose at SFGAdv, but as I see it, it benefits them.


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Wednesday, May 25, 2011 2:24 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

Yeah. I definitely don't think it's on purpose but for some reason the park (chain?) seems hellbent on avoiding the obvious and real solution of "make everything run efficiently" and instead throws millions of dollars of rides, q-bots, and exit passes for people who complain at the problem instead (Well, they used to give you exit passes if you complained. Now they just tell you to buy a q-bot.)

Sadly, it seems like even CP which was the king of capacity 10 years ago has decided that's not the way to go anymore.

Edit: The estimated wait time signs are typically pretty far off. Things like number of trains, loose article locker enforcement, number of ops on the platform, and even when the console operator chooses to open the air gates each cycle (whether they wait for the platform to clear out or just open them as soon as people stand up) can make a huge difference. I have no idea how a static sign is supposed to ever be remotely accurate.

Last edited by ApolloAndy, Wednesday, May 25, 2011 2:30 PM

Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

+0
Wednesday, May 25, 2011 2:43 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

ApolloAndy said:
To me - and maybe this is the difference in perception - I don't really care that much about the actual wait time (stupid, I know). What matters way more to me is whether the ride is running efficiently. I can't stand even a marginally long line (20 minutes) if the ops are slow as molasses or if a suboptimal number of trains is running or being effectively used (Bizarro, I'm looking at you). I genuinely don't mind a longer line if it seems like the crew is busting their tails and getting the trains loaded and out (the El Toro crew the one time I was there was actually announcing how much time left they had on the interval to get people in the seats and ready.

Interesting.

If I ran a park, I'd run it in a way that lines would remain as constant as possible within an 'acceptable' wait range. That is to say, I don't think 15 or 20 minutes is an unreasonable amount of time to wait. So if one train is keeping the lines in that range, then one train it is. If there's enough people that one train won't keep us at that level or better, then a second train comes out. And so on until we're running at maximum capacity and the crowd itself begins to dictate the wait time. (and for the record a smaller crowd could dictate shorter waits even with one-train...can't run less than one train :) )

To put it another way, I'm not sure I'd add the second train to cut your wait from 15 or 20 minutes down to 7-to-10 minutes.

Now to be honest, I'm not entirely sure why I feel this way, but in the abstract in my mind it seems beneficial, efficient and generally makes sense. I've also seen enough parks operate in a way that looks similar to this (to my non-professional eyes, at least) that I suspect there's something to it. There's a consistency there that makes sense to me - come on all but the most crowded or least crowded days and you know you're waiting 15 or 20 minutes for a coaster.


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Wednesday, May 25, 2011 3:04 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

Well the problem from the park's perspective of making the waits less than 10 minutes is that people finish the park in a few hours. From the enthusiast perspective, that's solid gold, but for the park, it's probably less concessions and for the family it may even feel like a worse value than if they took the whole day. I know it sounds stupid, but I can see instances where a family that puts down $200 to go to a park and finishes riding everything they want to by 1pm feels worse than a family who puts down $200 and rides the exact same amount of stuff by 6pm.


Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011 4:40 PM
LostKause's avatar

That makes sense, somewhat. It may be the enthusiast in me thinking this, but I would imagine that most people would love getting through the park in a few hours though, because then they can get more re-rides.


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Wednesday, May 25, 2011 6:05 PM

I still don't buy the q-bot theory. Your talking about one of the largest collection of rides in the nation being sandwiched between Philly and NYC, of course its going to be busy. If you don't like the q-bots (myself included) there's an obvious solution, plan your trip better. In the 4 visits over 2 years I've still never waited over 15 minutes for any ride there

Last edited by Degado, Wednesday, May 25, 2011 6:14 PM
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Wednesday, May 25, 2011 6:22 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

Well, the question at heart (at least for me, I can't speak for LK) isn't how *I* can get the most out of my trip. I lived 20 minutes from GAdv. for 3 years and probably logged at least 30 trips to the park over that time.

The real question is why the park insists on implementing all kinds of expensive and half baked solutions (like the "war on lines" year) and the admittedly decent solution of Qbot, but will not actually address the real problem of slow, apathetic, poorly trained operators.


Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011 6:29 PM

The change to Kingda Ka was supposed to increase capacity by 10%. I'm not sure if it has helped or not since I haven't waited more than 10 minutes for it this season.

I heard the wait time signs are based on 1 train running which seems to be somewhat accurate since Nitro is usually around 10 minutes from the 30 minute sign with 3 trains running and I have waited 15 - 20 minutes from the 60 minute sign.

Green Lantern has a single rider line added which I don't think the park would have added if they werent concerned with capacity. The only bad thing is I hear it starts towards the end ofthe queue before the final switchbacks.

Last edited by YoshiFan, Wednesday, May 25, 2011 6:31 PM
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Wednesday, May 25, 2011 8:12 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

YoshiFan said:
I heard the wait time signs are based on 1 train running which seems to be somewhat accurate since Nitro is usually around 10 minutes from the 30 minute sign with 3 trains running and I have waited 15 - 20 minutes from the 60 minute sign.

It only makes sense that those signs are "worst case scenario" because if you tell people 30 minutes and it's actually 10, then everyone is happy. In fact, I think in a weird sort of way additional goodwill is created when the line moves quicker than you expect - even if you expectations were unreasonably lowered to begin with.

But if it says 30 and takes 45, people get jacked. In the words of another beloved park's management, "Better to underpromise and overdeliver." :)

(Sorry to blow any Q-bot conspiracy theory there, Travis. ;) )


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Wednesday, May 25, 2011 9:02 PM

I agree. The only bad thing is that sometimes I see people want to get out of line when they think it is really as long as the posted time. I usually speak up and tell them the wait is going to be a lot shorter than it says (if multiple trains are running).

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Thursday, May 26, 2011 12:14 AM
LostKause's avatar

You didn't blow my theory; you did kindly counter it. I've always been suspicious of those exaggerated wait time signs.

I even complained about to Guest Service, about the signs, on my last visit to SFGAdv in '06. I got a Q-Bot that day, because the park was extremely busy for some reason (on a Tuesday, while school was in session in the neighboring States).

I was having a really hard time figuring out my schedule, because I never knew if I had time to ride something while Q-Botted for another ride. I missed a few scheduled ride times that my virtual self was waiting for because I couldn't figure out how long the line was that my physical self was waiting in.

My question has always been, does the park do this for the reason to rent out more Q-Bots, or is it really just so they can "over promise and under deliver"?

Nowadays, I am only against the bots because they do not address the real issue of long lines. They instead only fix the problem for a small percentage of people. I will choose to be in the percentage of people that the problem is fixed for, because I am there to ride.

I'm not really happy about it, and I will feel bitter about having to do it, especially if the rides aren't running at full capacity and the lines are crazy long, but I will do it.

I will say that I really should plan my park trips better. I usually have been only going mid-season for one reason or another the last few years, with exception to Dollywood last Spring, which was fantastic. I need to plan accordingly next season, and have the funds and time off to take a few trips earlier in the season.

I haven't been anywhere this year yet. I focusing on getting a job right now. Next year will begin my early and late season trips, like I used to do.


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Thursday, May 26, 2011 4:35 AM

I don't know if selling more Qbots is their motivator, but I agree that this park is particularly apathetic when it comes to efficiently moving lines, and that certainly does sell more Qbots. Some rides didn't seem too terrible when I was there last summer, El Toro and Nitro seemed to be running without much stacking going on. Other rides had bad stacking issues due to either slow crews or poor integration of flash pass users boarding the trains.

Like others have said, it does irk me when it seems things the park has control over (poor crews, poor line management) contributes to the long lines, and it irks me even more when their best solution to the problem involves me forking over even more money to them.


And then one day you find ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun

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Sunday, June 5, 2011 1:05 AM
sirloindude's avatar

I went in late September of last year and actually found several of the crews to be among the best I've run into at any park as far as capacity is concerned. Nitro, El Toro, and Kingda Ka (to name a few) were all being run by all-stars.


13 Boomerang, 9 SLC, and 8 B-TR clones

www.grapeadventuresphotography.com

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Sunday, June 5, 2011 1:51 AM
LostKause's avatar

That's what I keep hearing, mixed in with the negative reports. At least their not consistently negative, although inconsistency kind of sucks too, because one doesn't know what to expect when visiting.


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