A warning ahead of time: this is going to be a pretty cynical post, something I try not to do, but in this case, I think it's justified.
On another thread, Jeff said that PKI gambled and lost trying to open Son of Beast too soon. They DID try and open the ride too soon, but did they really lose the gamble? The park was packed -- more like jammed at times -- last Saturday and Sunday. In terms of their attendance, announcing Son of Beast's opening...then keeping it closed...angered alot of patrons, but it didn't impact their bottom line one bit. And tourist season is just around the corner. They got their early-season attendance boost, and that's what I think they were really shooting for. Son of Beast's actual operation was almost irrelevant.
So was their attitude toward the peeps, even the enthusiast peeps. Misdirection and confustication were common, such as the "worst case scenario, Son of Beast opens at noon" to the Saturday walkback, and the ever-present "we're making minor adjustments" explanation as to why the ride failed to open, then almost immediately broke down. Jeff's already gone over the indifference of the ride operators well, so I won't touch on that point. But the general obfustication of the park to it's patrons -- and even Son of Beast's own ride crew -- just further underlines the "as long as we've got the profits, the people are irrelevant" attitude there.
IMHO, the rise to the second hill is the root of the problem. That transition actually bruised my elbow (yes, I am one of the few lucky enough to have ridden SoB). After the ride closed for good on Saturday, I observed a crane and several track personnel working in that area from the Eiffel Tower. Worst case: they may need to entirely rebuild the track in that spot, which could mean a long delay indeed. At the least, I'm not counting on "take three" of the season pass preview going off as planned.
It will be very interesting to compare and co琀爀愀猀琀 倀䬀䤀✀猀 栀愀渀搀氀椀渀最 漀昀 匀漀渀 漀昀 䈀攀愀猀琀✀猀 瀀爀漀戀氀攀洀猀 眀椀琀栀 䌀攀搀愀爀 倀漀椀渀琀✀猀Ⰰ 瀀愀爀琀椀挀甀氀愀爀氀礀 椀昀 猀漀洀攀琀栀椀渀最 最漀攀猀 眀爀漀渀最 眀椀琀栀 䴀椀氀氀攀渀椀甀洀 䘀漀爀挀攀⸀ 䄀渀搀 氀攀琀✀猀 昀愀挀攀 椀琀㨀 琀栀愀琀✀猀 䄀䰀圀䄀夀匀 愀 瀀漀猀猀椀戀椀氀椀琀礀Ⰰ 攀瘀攀渀 眀椀琀栀 䴀䘀✀猀 氀漀渀最攀爀 琀攀猀琀椀渀最 搀甀爀愀琀椀漀渀Ⰰ 椀琀✀猀 猀琀椀氀氀 愀 渀攀眀 爀椀搀攀 愀渀搀 搀攀昀椀渀椀琀攀氀礀 渀漀琀 椀洀洀甀渀攀 琀漀 最爀攀洀氀椀渀猀⸀㰀戀爀㸀㰀戀爀㸀ⴀⴀ 䌀漀搀礀 䈀甀挀栀洀愀渀渀㰀戀爀㸀 戀甀挀栀洀愀渀渀⸀㌀䀀漀猀甀⸀攀搀甀㰀戀爀㸀 ∀䄀爀挀栀吀攀爀礀砀∀
Right on... If you ask me, they have a bit of a PR nightmare on their hands. That huge crowd turnout is left with a very bad taste in their mouth. I'm sure not everyone notices poor capacity and ride operation, but the closures are something everyone can understand.
I think you put it extremely well. They promised to deliver something they couldn't, and probably knew there was a good chance they couldn't, all in favor of making or exceeding their April numbers. The end result is that the public loses, and there is no accountability.
I'm hoping to have a better time this weekend. Everything at Cedar Point has been running for about a week now (MF even longer) and Six Flags Ohio has been doing a fair amount of testing as well. I have to admit, I didn't think SFO was going to make it with the new rides, but they actually had a few weeks to spare.
Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com
Well, thank you, Jeff. I'm quite honored at your compliment of my post. :)
Going to be going to SRM this weekend myself, followed by the AAA "soft opening" of MF on Sunday. I expect to have an absolute blast at both. After this weekend at PKI, I'm ready for a much more "personal" park.
Can you imagine Paula Werne the RavenMaven standing at the entrance to Legend and blandly telling a bunch of P.O.ed park patrons, "It's down several hours for minor adjustments. Sorry."
Back on topic, have you heard anything direct about what took Son of Beast down? I know that Cedar Point is your "home" park, of course. But I figure you probably know more people "in the know" then I, a newcomer to the Ohio scene. In my above post I tried to hypothesize based on what I saw and felt, but it's all supposition. Last I heard, the park hadn't even told their own rideops what was wrong; they were just told to shut the ride and given the same "minor adjustments" line as the peeps. Now THAT'S sad.
There's a high stakes bet -- a one pound package of M&Ms -- riding on the truth!
(And alot of "quote marks" in this post, too. Don't think I've ever quoted so much in so short a time. :))
-- Cody Buchmann
*** This post was edited by ArchTeryx on 5/1/2000. ***
*** This post was edited by ArchTeryx on 5/1/2000. ***
Remember when Drop Zone, Face/Off, and the OL:FOF were closed when they first opened because of "minor problems"? You have to expect that it's going to happen with any new ride that opens to the public. The "patrons" need to quit complaining about a new ride not opening on time or closing for any reason. You are going to expect things like this. IMHO I think SOB will have a good year this year. I've only heard good things about the coaster from riders. We as the GP need to be patient and let PKI do what needs to be done. I'm in no hurry to ride it, because I know that I'll get to ride it all season. I've got a season pass. In other words let's just wait.
*** This post was edited by THE BEASTmaster on 5/1/2000. ***
That's just it... not everyone can or wants to make weekly trips there. If you can't say with a great degree of certainty that it will be open, don't say it will be open. That's bad business, and I have every intention of complaining until I'm blue in the face.
Why should I have expected it to be closed? They told the world it was open. "Oh, they're probably just saying that, I'm sure it'll be closed." I don't think so.
Why do people make excuses for hype and mediocrity?
Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com
Problems happen, but when you've hyped the ride this much and annouce "it WILL be open", then it isn't, that's just ASKING for negative PR.
I was about to drive the ~4 hours from Pgh this weekend to check out SoB, but now I'm glad I didn't bother.
This coming weekend I'll be checking out SFO, weather permitting. It looks like they actually have their act together, but to be honest I haven't heard anything definite FROM THE PARK about what'll be open. We'll see...
You know, I try not to reply to posts that bug me, but I've got to this time. "The patrons (that would be me) need to quit complaining". Uh, no. I cut parks a lot of slack over just about anything - they deal with thousands of customers a day and things are bound to screw up once in a while. That's life. What separates a well-run organization from a poorly run one is how they react to those screw-ups. And I'm not referring to SOB's being down as a screw-up - again, that happens. But if you let people think your incredibly-hyped new product is going to be available at a certain time, and you know some "peeps" have come hundreds of miles to sample this product, and may not easily be able to return later, you better damn well be prepared to handle things if for some reason your product is delayed. Now, I wasn't there, but it sounds like PKI did a lousy job, and even hung their own ride ops out to dry. I've been in that position -back in the day when I was an op on a coaster and we shut down for any reason (usually rain) I felt it was my duty to explain in as much detail as possible to the patrons why we weren't running, and when we might be back up. That wouldn't make them happy, but at least they didn't have the frustration of not knowing, or coming back every five minutes to see if we were up again, or just looking around for an employee to ask about the situation. It's great that some people have season passes and can go to the park any time they want. Most don't and can't. I'm reminded of my one (and only) trip to SF Magic Mountain - my wife and I went there primarily to check out Superman. It would test intermittently (to get our hopes up) but was basically down the whole day. We must have walked by there (and it's a fair walk) a dozen times to try to get some word on it - there was no signs, no ops, nothing. Finally, frustrated, we went to customer service, where we were told quite curtly (exact words) "It'll be working when it's working. T攀爀攀✀猀 瀀氀攀渀琀礀 攀氀猀攀 琀漀 搀漀⸀∀ 一漀眀Ⰰ 䤀 洀愀礀 最漀 戀愀挀欀 琀栀攀爀攀 漀渀攀 搀愀礀Ⰰ 戀甀琀 琀栀愀琀 搀椀搀 氀攀愀瘀攀 洀攀 眀椀琀栀 愀 戀愀搀 琀愀猀琀攀 椀渀 洀礀 洀漀甀琀栀⸀ 䄀渀搀 䤀 琀栀椀渀欀 䤀 眀漀甀氀搀 昀攀攀氀 瀀爀攀琀琀礀 洀甀挀栀 琀栀攀 猀愀洀攀 椀昀 䤀 眀攀渀琀 漀甀琀 漀昀 洀礀 眀愀礀 琀漀 倀䬀䤀 琀漀 挀栀攀挀欀 漀甀琀 匀伀䈀 漀渀氀礀 琀漀 昀椀渀搀 椀琀 渀漀琀 爀甀渀渀椀渀最 愀渀搀 琀栀攀 瀀愀爀欀 椀氀氀ⴀ瀀爀攀瀀愀爀攀搀 琀漀 搀攀愀氀 眀椀琀栀 ⠀瀀爀攀搀椀挀琀愀戀氀礀⤀ 昀爀甀猀琀爀愀琀攀搀 瀀愀琀爀漀渀猀⸀㰀戀爀㸀㰀戀爀㸀ⴀⴀⴀⴀⴀⴀⴀⴀⴀⴀⴀⴀⴀ㰀戀爀㸀䄀最攀 愀渀搀 琀爀攀愀挀栀攀爀礀 眀椀氀氀 愀氀眀愀礀猀 漀瘀攀爀挀漀洀攀 礀漀甀琀栀 愀渀搀 猀欀椀氀氀⸀
I don't know SFMM did a good job with one of my trips there, it was raining but we went any way. And there were still three coaster running in full rain. I went only for goliath, and was mad that it was closed. But got like 7 trips in a row on psyclone, 2 on riddlers. I stoped to ask employees if Goliath were to open that day, and they all said if it stopped raining. Well it stopped raining 4 hours till the park closed and they managed to get all of their roller coasters running even given the fact that the park had about 1,000 people in it.
I would not have gone to a park opening week-end no to see SOB no matter what, even though they say it is open, we all knew that the thing wasn't tested long enough, and with a ride of this magnitude, with something that has never been done before delays can be expected. Getting back to SFMM look at superman the LSM's were new at the time, and nothing was ever that tall or fast. I would rather they closed the ride, than have it open and knowingly have it produce harmful effects on its riders, or its self. The truth is we don't know why it was closed and untill we do we have no right to complain.
Have any of you spoken to park reps or supervisors over this matter? If not, how can any of you assume to speak for them? What if they feel worse than anyone over the early problems with SOB? My feeling is this: SOB is the world's first 200ft hyper looping wooden coaster. I don't care when you open it, there are going to be unforseen problems. Anyone ever heard of Hercules? Unfortunantly yes, their gamble didn't pay off, but don't attempt to read their collective minds to say what they are thinking just because your feelings are hurt. I acually applaud them for recognizing a problem, then working on it right away, rather than running it anyway and opening themselves up for lawsuits or worse. Forgive me here, but I'm really only getting one side of the story here, the *enthusiasts* side, and we all know what whiners we can be when these *machines* don't preform the way we want on opening day. If in fact SOB is the only reason you would want to visit PKI, then why not just wait 2 more weeks for MF, which I'm sure will have zero problems when it opens.
As far as PKI's handling of this problem, I can't defend them, I wasn't there. Just thought I'd mention that cause I know someone is going to mention that. But let's keep some perspective here, you guys are going to have SOB for years to come, probably as the #1 or #2 coaster in the world. In two more weeks you'll have the astoninshing MF to enjoy. Not to mention SFO's coasters and The Legend. I'm really tired of hearing you lucky people whine so much! LOL!
I would have loved to have spoken to park reps or supervisors, and get some idea as to what was actually going on. My biggest gripe -- and it's a gripe that persists even though I actually got to RIDE Son of Beast -- is that the park was remarkably closemouthed to everyone, even their own employees, about it's condition.
For what it's worth, I think that a fair amount of PKI employees, especially in Guest Relations, lower-level supervisors, and of course, Angie, DO care a great deal. But where Son of Beast was concerned, upper management *seemed* to be calling the shots and overruling everybody, and from my own experiences, they seem to care about little more then their profit margin and shielding themselves from potential lawsuits. They didn't build SoB out of the goodness of their hearts. They did it to boost attendance.
That all being said, I sincerely do think that Son of Beast's growing pains will be a thing of the past within about a month or so. And I do think it is one helluva ride. For now, though, I'll concentrate on other parks, watch, and see what happens with SoB.
It may just be me but I think holding accountability would be not letting people on it if they knew by doing so it could possibly injure a rider. It could be closed because the forces on it would have shreaded the track, after one more trip. In which case they would be insane to leave it open.
Bob Dole, having accountability means not announcing the opening of a ride, when all the kinks haven't been worked out. If what Jeff says is true (and everyone else that agreed with him). Then the park did a very poor job in the handling of the situation.
No, I wasn't at PKI but there appears to be a overwhelming majority of people that did go that see this as a total lack of accountability.
No I agree with the fact that it was open to early. Look at MF, theve whent threw a 3 stage long testing ritual. And now CP "if you all read the recent news" is ready and in great shape. Now to stick up for the best "EVERYONE THAT HAS RODE IT LOVED IT, AND EVERYONE WHO HASNT HATES IT" Sorta a wierd periable there. And besides the second hill crest bump, its suposaley smooth as glass. Just ask guys like Jeff tortellie, And Shaggey, on the ultimate Rollercoaster.com site. Now also wierd, that wind that hit hear in the winter, and knocked down a unstablized second hill, same hill with the glitch??? iS IN THE SAME PLACE AS THE PROBLEM, HUMMM???? Now they had to try and SQueeesse???/// This section back in like a puzzle piece. Out of order. Could there be a connection???? Also ALOT of new coaster keep on haveing probs, Goliath, Hilex to fast will be slown down. Stealth, breaking down alot too. Even the Beast "the original" when I ASKED MANEY WAS A MESS ITS FIRST YEAR!!! They actually had to rebank the hilex latter on and change the cars from 4 deep to 3 deep. So unsmove begginigs, is someting that runs in the familey I guess. But going agaisnt PKI, I FELT they Lied to the public, espically visters that travel so many ,iles to ride the great ride, and hay it is a great ride. I feel they took this all wrong. And may have left a bad impression on there mangment staff. That hopefully the SOB, can change once its open for good. I think that everyone should of been compensated with free passes, and thows out of state should of even been compensated with a cupon or something for a free flight to PKI, when its ready to really go. Thers no denighing that this will be a great ride. But will the park suffer from its incompitents, in advertiseing it. WASS IT SO IMPORTANT TO GET IT RUNNING BEFORE MF. I thinked they messed up there. But like I said when all is said in done. The SOB will still be just AWSOME.
*** This post was edited by Ice838 on 5/2/2000. ***
Yo, Ice838. If you want to contribute a meaningful comment, please either learn how to type or learn how to spell. Your post is totally unreadable. I mean anyone can make a honest spelling mistake, but come on here, this is ridiculous.
No kidding ICE, I lost interest in your post in the first "pereble" and "suposadley" you wrote, thanks for the attempt, though.
The Beast did have a lot of problems the first year, BUT it wasn't hyped to open, then have tons of people show to be disappointed. New rides, new problems. If PKI hyped it that much, then you better be darn sure you have had plenty of tests. Does anyone know if they used accelermeters on SOB?? Like they did on MF??
The Beast went thru many changes, too. The helix had to be re-welded on the edge of the ravine constantly in the first 2 years. I'm still po-ed at PKI for opening the ride without a vigorous testing regime. Woodies have to be tougher to test then steel, so PKI must hold ITSELF accountable for this mistake instead of the ol' "It's a new ride, there's going to be problems" Bull*$@&. Test it more and these problems may not of occurred. They were in a rush and blew it, now take the blame, instead of using old standbys.