Six Flags Great America, Gurnee, Illinois, USA
Well, it has been a while since I posted a trip report. ANd I will keep this one a bit short, as I'm not sure I have too much new to say. Visited SFGAm with my 8 year old daughter. While she rode Goliath last year, she didn't have any interest this year so I didn't push the concept. Also skipped on Viper. Eagle was only running the blue train, and at least from where we rode, it felt a tad rough, but not unbearable. Demon was the typical Arrow, though she loved it. Dark Knight was fun and we rode it twice, once with a 45 minute wait and about a 15-20 minute wait the second time.
The new ride of the park was Justice League, and honestly neither one of us was terribly impressed. The 4D graphics were fine, but, the capacity of the ride at least today was very much below what it needs to be successful. Cars of 6 people were spaced 30 seconds apart - max capacity of 600 or so people per hour? Very low for a park this busy.
The other area of definite concern was food service. I'm used to it being expensive. I'm used to it not being gourmet, though it wasn't bad. But, the waits were unreal. We started off inline to get corn dogs. After 20 minutes in line and a line that had moved maybe 10 people deep yet still stretched out to the Midway, we went to a different place to get chicken baskets. 40 minutes in line there, with only 3 people working the stand. Very much understaffed in the food services arena. A similar situation later on when we tried to get ice cream. A Cold Stone Creamery that ran out of chocolate (which, aside from dip-in-dots, is the only place that just sells ice cream.)
I'm hoping this is just beginning of the season issues that will resolve themselves, but there certainly were some operational challenges today.
Great America always seems to have a problem with food service. I have posted a few times before, where my friend and I purchased cheeseburger baskets at Wascals in frontier town, and got burgers with no meat in them, because they were out. It was of course taken care of, but, we weren't the only ones who got burgers with no meat. That, and their fries are almost always cold.
I have talked with many different concession operators at different parks, and they all say that staffing the food areas of the parks is not a big management concern until mid season. They bump up on weekends in the early season, but don't fully staff until late June, and through July and August. They also set standards chain wide, and do not address crowd issues by park. One of the problems with being run by a corporation, who has management that probably spends zero or no time actually in one of their parks. Cedar Fair parks seem to have the best food service, well, better than six flags anyways.
I don't think I have ever had a meal at Great America that I enjoyed. I also tried their buffet, and the food was mostly undercooked, and some of it was not edible. I wanted to get a refund, but the people working there didn't seem to care, and just said you get what you pay for.
I always eat somewhere before I go to great america. I think there is a Burger King and Mcdonalds right outside of the park. The best food I have had is at Disney. Cedar Points buffet is very good, but they should give you a park mug with your meal. I also thought the food at Indiana Beach was pretty good. We ate at the skyroom there, and the food was really good, and didn't cost a fortune.
I still recall being at Cedar Point and seeing that a subway footlong was $14.00!! We were all standing in line singing.."14 dollar..14 dollar foot long!" what a rip off!!
This is some of your best work yet. I like how you suggest that parks run by large corporations are incapable of managing food service and then later describe food from parks run by large corporations as "best".
I think the main issue with food service this year is the meal plans. I have been to the park a few times and when I used my meal plan the workers take a while to figure out how to process it. Not sure if it is a new system this year.
I think meal plans may have had something to do with the problems, but not everything. The line I was in only had a few people with the meal plan. The rest paid with (surprisingly) cash or credit, and it really didn't make much difference. 3 people working a stand can only serve things out so quickly.
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