Superman Ultimate Flight opening soon at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom

Posted Friday, June 8, 2012 10:55 AM | Contributed by Jeff

A 3,000 pound representation of the iconic Superman "S" shield dangled from a giant crane as it was hoisted into place Thursday at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom. It was among the finishing touches being applied to the park's Superman Ultimate Flight ride, expected to be ready June 23.

Read more from The Times-Herald.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012 10:15 AM

Is it just me, or does capacity - in practice - seem to actually have very little to do with wait times?

Sure, a 1500 pph ride is going to have a line that moves fast, and thus, is more likely to have a short line than a 500 pph ride. But... after the first season or two's worth of interest in a new ride wanes, the lines will die down and hover around whatever "normal" wait times are at the park, because the ultimate governing factor is not capacity; it's how long people are willing to wait.

Didn't people have comparable gripes about Green Lantern at SFMM (after all, it is only 4 people / dispatch...)? What about Fahrenheit at Hershey, which runs 12 people/dispatch, as does Sky Rocket, as does any 2-car X-car, not to mention wild mice, etc. No, these aren't the kinds of rides that are usually walk-ons, but I don't hear stories about the lines being 4 hours long or anything like that. I don't see how this will be any different.

Something about mountains and molehills.


Bill
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Wednesday, June 13, 2012 10:18 AM
LostKause's avatar

Seems like that question is directed at me, dDeamon, but the question doesn't make sense to me. You should be asking Gonch that, if you weren't already. I think adding capacity to a new, high profile roller coaster, wouldn't be trivial at all. Long lines is one of the biggest problems that the amusement park experience faces.

It wouldn't be difficult to get a higher capacity, yet unique, coaster of this type at all. They just had to ask the manufacturer if they offered a way to provide higher capacity, and if not, could they look into adding capacity before they decide to purchase.

I mean, 12 riders per cycle, with no way to load another ride vehicle during the cycle sounds pretty crazy to me.

While making something like this an extra charge is a solution that would work at limiting the line size, it would also make a lot of customers angry, because every other roller coaster in the park is included in the price. It's a lose/lose situation, so why even purcase a ride like this in the first place? I don't know though... Knoebels charges extra for their coasters when purchasing a POP, possible for the same reason.

Of course this is all talk, because as long as Superman is included in the FlashPass scheme, it essentially is an upcharge, to a degree.


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Wednesday, June 13, 2012 10:25 AM
Jeff's avatar

BBSpeed26 said:

Is it just me, or does capacity - in practice - seem to actually have very little to do with wait times?

That's pretty much the reason that Six Flags parks had such a bad reputation in the Story/Burke era. I remember being in awe at how slow they were on Nitro the year I was there, and that thing should have been able to eat people.

Ride capacity is important as it relates to cost of the ride and overall attendance. I'm not convinced that this ride is too expensive or the park's attendance too high to worry that much about the capacity.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012 10:39 AM

LostKause said:

Why not add double or triple the capacity on the trains while they were designing this too?

If you follow the 144 pph capacity thrown out earlier in the thread, doubling or tripling the train capacity would put the throughput at only 288 or 432 pph. That wouldn't change this discussion at all.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012 11:09 AM

LostKause said:

It wouldn't be difficult to get a higher capacity, yet unique, coaster of this type at all. They just had to ask the manufacturer if they offered a way to provide higher capacity, and if not, could they look into adding capacity before they decide to purchase.

My comment was directed at you. You seem convinced that adding capacity really is as simple as you describe above. You also seem to be implying that no one considered capacity during the planning stages.

Are you basing your assumptions solely on your "parks are artificially limiting capacity to increase paid FOL revenue" conspiracy theory, or do you have something legitimate to back your assumptions?


Brandon | Facebook

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012 12:21 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

djDaemon said:
Why are you so certain adding capacity to the ride in question is so trivial?

Exactly. Gee, all they had to do was completely reengineer the coaster to add a dual-loading station or a longer train.

They simply had to use the bulldozer button.

The real world works just like RCT right?

BBSpeed26 said:
Is it just me, or does capacity - in practice - seem to actually have very little to do with wait times?

Actually, there's quite a bit of truth to this and it has to do with human nature.

In a nutshell, once a line reaches a certain length, the value propsition gets low enough that people will avoid the line.

It's easy to say that new high capacity rides that are popular get 3 hours waits and this caster moves 1/10th of the people of those big coasters so it's line will be...

...ummm - 30 hours long?

People just don't work that way. When the line reaches a certain point they will not get in line.

And this is where we retort with something about guest satisfaction dropping if they can't ride and making guests angry, but that never seems to be the real-world case either.

LostKause said:
It wouldn't be difficult to get a higher capacity, yet unique, coaster of this type at all. They just had to ask the manufacturer if they offered a way to provide higher capacity, and if not, could they look into adding capacity before they decide to purchase.

I gotta go with djDaemon here. You're treating this like it's as simple as drawing a new picture or shipping two extra cars with the train.

This would be a major design change that might not even be possible.

Or maybe they already did look into changes and it was decided that it's a bad idea or not possible for one of many reasons?

bigboy said:

If you follow the 144 pph capacity thrown out earlier in the thread, doubling or tripling the train capacity would put the throughput at only 288 or 432 pph. That wouldn't change this discussion at all.

Yep.

If they added a car to the train and did a dual-loading station, that would triple capacity to 432pph.

Is that a fix enough for the naysayers?

Over here the complaint was that 480pph wasn't enough. So I'm guessing it's not a valid fix.

djDaemon said:

Are you basing your assumptions solely on your "parks are artificially limiting capacity to increase paid FOL revenue" conspiracy theory, or do you have something legitimate to back your assumptions?



Of course it's based on the conspiracy theory. But at least it's based on something.

The alternative is to complain a lot because you like coasters so much.

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Wednesday, June 13, 2012 12:25 PM
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Wednesday, June 13, 2012 12:47 PM

As an example, Green Lantern at SFMM (the coaster people were moaning about this time last year), after the first few months, never has more than an hour wait, no matter how crowded the park is.

The Dark Knight coaster at Great Adventure (the coaster people were moaning about before that), same thing.

The implications in this thread seem to suggest that these parks put no thought into capacity when adding these rides. But the real results prove otherwise.

Not every ride built needs the extra capacity, and "novelty" rides seem to fit that category.

I mean think about it. Why does nearly every park have a Vekoma Boomerang? Or an Intamin Impulse coaster? Because they a cheaper rides that use a small footprint that will appeal to a smaller segment of the park's guests, while still adding to the overall capacity of the park.

Last edited by John Knotts, Wednesday, June 13, 2012 1:10 PM
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Wednesday, June 13, 2012 4:29 PM
LostKause's avatar

If people decide that the line is too long to wait for the amazing new ride that they went to the park to experience, of course they are going to be disappointed. The good thing ($$$ for the park $$$) is that because they didn't get to ride the new coaster, they will be excited to return to the park another day to see if they can ride, or they will run to the FlashPass booth to get a Fla$hPass. I believe that if an amusement park goes slightly towards the side of upsetting customers, without going over the line, it is more profitable, and that is not a good or bad thing, it's just a thing.

As far as my conspiracy theory, and I am being completely honest here, I use it as one idea as to why a park would purchase a low capacity coaster, but since I am not sitting in the Six Flags office during any new attraction discussions, I can't be sure, so it is a completely separate thought as far as my other ramblings go.

Basically (and I rarely use that word), I believe that good capacity is good customer service. Travisland would have good customer service as a high priority.

And what I was trying to get at as far as your all's RCT comparison is that if a ride isn't good enough, and it can't be redesigned to be good enough, it shouldn't be considered as a potential installation. There are many new rides that a park can purchase that will wow the socks off their customers. If it were my decision, capacity would be one of the main priorities.

Superman Ultimate Flight was designed by Premier Rides. They also built Batman and Robin Chiller at SFGAdv, which has a duel loading station. The company has the technology available. If SF asked if it could be used for this coaster, and Premier said no, then SF should have looked elsewhere.

Cedar Fair did it with Windseeker.

Let this number sink in... 144 people per hour. That's the potential capacity of a highly anticipated and probably very popular new and exciting roller coaster being built at a major theme park. 144 people per hour. That's crazy. If it were just doubled, twice as many riders is better than nothing.


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Wednesday, June 13, 2012 4:58 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Lord Gonchar said first:

And this is where we retort with something about guest satisfaction dropping if they can't ride and making guests angry, but that never seems to be the real-world case either.



LostKause replied with:

If people decide that the line is too long to wait for the amazing new ride that they went to the park to experience, of course they are going to be disappointed.

Told you so. ;)

Aside from the little friendly jab, I have nothing. Quite simply I disagree with you fundamentally. Everything you believe, say and argue is exactly the opposite of my lines of thought.

Therefore, I will not be able to hire you into an executive position at my new amusement park. :)


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Wednesday, June 13, 2012 5:54 PM

Help me out here, where are you guy's getting 144 riders and hour aside from CoasterDemon's post? As far as ride cycles go I'm assuming the ride time is relatively short (60 seconds maybe?) with only 12 seats to check I can't see the load/unload time taking more than 90 seconds (and that's being generous) which would give you a ride cycle time of about 2 and a half minutes. Now, that's still an awfully low capacity but not *as* low. My guess is in practice this little dude spits out about 300 people an hour.

Out of curiosity what are the lines usually like for Vertical Velocity?

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012 6:01 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Randy J said:

Help me out here, where are you guy's getting 144 riders and hour aside from CoasterDemon's post?

Nowhere, actually.

The exact number probably isn't too relevant in the case of this thread. The point is it's low-capacity. It's been a discussion that's been coming up more and more lately.

I'm ok with using 144 because it's both absurdly low and probably the worst case scenario.

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Wednesday, June 13, 2012 6:01 PM
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Wednesday, June 13, 2012 6:12 PM

I guess in line with what I'm searching for is are lines at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom an issue? I've never been, but I'm curious if they're similar in length to say a Sea World park which even when the park is packed the ride lines seem to be pretty minimal. If that's the case, than isn't this kind of fretting for the simple sake of fretting?

To beat a dead horse here, if the lines are generally short anyway, than this seems like a really cool way to get a ride that can't practically have a high capacity in a park for people to try.

Last edited by Randy J, Wednesday, June 13, 2012 6:13 PM
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Wednesday, June 13, 2012 6:59 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

I've had SFDK as a pseudo-home park for a couple of years (my folks live within walking distance and I spent a summer out there). Lines are generally quite manageable. On weekday afternoons and evenings, even in mid summer, V2 was basically a walk on (Got 20 laps one evening after work). Saturday lines are typical for a medium sized park - 1 hour for new stuff or low capacity stuff, 1.5+ for new, low capacity stuff (Zonga, I'm looking at you). It's generally not a park where lines are a huge concern, in my experience, but that first season of Zonga, lines did get pretty bad.


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, June 13, 2012 7:27 PM
LostKause's avatar

In my previous reply, I was looking for some kind of number to offer for SFDK's attendance. I couldn't find it.

Travis can't work at Gonchland, where "We have really long lines, but we welcome you to purcahse a FlashPass!

And..

Gonch can't work in Travisland, in which "The rides are all high capacity, and lines are short, because we care about the warm fuzzies inside your heart."

CoasterBuzz is fun. lolz

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Wednesday, June 13, 2012 10:51 PM
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Wednesday, June 13, 2012 7:33 PM

Lord Gonchar said:

Lord Gonchar said first:

And this is where we retort with something about guest satisfaction dropping if they can't ride and making guests angry, but that never seems to be the real-world case either.



LostKause replied with:

If people decide that the line is too long to wait for the amazing new ride that they went to the park to experience, of course they are going to be disappointed.

Told you so. ;)

Aside from the little friendly jab, I have nothing. Quite simply I disagree with you fundamentally. Everything you believe, say and argue is exactly the opposite of my lines of thought.

Therefore, I will not be able to hire you into an executive position at my new amusement park. :)

Actually, LK is pretty close, closer than you are in my experience. Measuring satisfaction is my current park job; well, at least gathering the guests' comments and requisite data to create those metrics. You'd be surprised at how the smallest thing can set the guest off and turn them into an unhappy customer for the entire day, or even their entire trip (I talk to plenty of guests that are on their x day of their vacation that want to know if feedback on something that happened day one counts for what I'm currently collecting).

And now that you've got me talking/thinking about the subject...it always amazes me that the people with the real feedback don't seem to want to provide it 9 times out of 10. I ask them, and as they're rushing off shouting back excuses as to why they can't answer questions they pause and start to rattle off a list of grievances/comments before rushing off again. The people that stop and answer, I'm lucky to pull a 5 word answer out of them. Anyway, you got me going and I had to finish the thought.

As you were... ;)


Original BlueStreak64

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012 7:46 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

maXairMike said:

Actually, LK is pretty close, closer than you are in my experience.

I wasn't necessarily disagreeing with him. I do think he has a heightened expectation of the effect it has on guests, but I don't doubt it at all.

What's even more interesting on top of your examples is that I've seen over the years with the various hotel chain's satisfaction surveys, that in general, once the guest is pissed, you've lost them. You can kiss ass, fix the issue, comp the room, but when (if?) they fill out a survey they'll still give you lower scores and complain about whatever the issue they had was - even if you did indeed kiss ass, fix the issue and comp them.

The first rule is don't lose the guest in the first place. Once you do, you rarely win their good favor back.

The other odd anomoly is that even when people get pissed they still tend to come back...or at least want to. The number one request when something goes wrong always seems to be another night for free or a free stay when I come back.

Again. Human nature. A less than perfect experience resulting in lower guest satisfaction doesn't guarantee lost business.

And yes, I realize how counterintuitive that all sounds.

I think Travis overestimates the number of people who'd be significantly pissed. And then on top of that overestimates the lost business from those pissed off people. It's a compounded error of thought.

LostKause said:

"The rides are all high capacity, and lines are short...

This is the key to your fallacy.

That works in a bubble. That doesn't necessarily apply in a real world park situation.

Capacity doesn't determine line length. People's willingness to stand in line for what's at the end determines line length.

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Wednesday, June 13, 2012 7:47 PM
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Wednesday, June 13, 2012 8:54 PM
Tekwardo's avatar

Travisland would have good customer service as a high priority.

There's a reason Travisland doesn't exist and Six Flags is doing just fine...

Just Sayin'.


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Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012 9:12 PM
Vater's avatar

The other side of that argument is, there's a reason Six Flags went bankrupt and places like Holiday World and Dollywood continue to flourish.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012 9:45 PM

...and to take the middle road, there is also a reason SF went bankrupt, yet still exists.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012 10:00 PM
LostKause's avatar

Darnit. I just accidentally deleted my last post, the one that people are replying to. That delete button is WAY too big and too close to the edit button. lol I managed to copy it, so I'll repost it right here...

In my previous reply, I was looking for some kind of number to offer for SFDK's attendance. I couldn't find it.

Travis can't work at Gonchland, where "We have really long lines, but we welcome you to purcahse a FlashPass!

And..

Gonch can't work in Travisland, in which "The rides are all high capacity, and lines are short, because we care about the warm fuzzies inside your heart."

CoasterBuzz is fun. lolz



Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Wednesday, June 13, 2012 10:52 PM
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