Trip Report: SFGAdventure: 6/13 & 6/14, Pt. 1

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Friday, August 11, 2006 12:33 PM
Part 1

I will post Part 2 later in the day. First, you may ask, why is he posting this in August? Because I was waiting to see the resolution to our problem which, if you read on, will become clear.

6/13: My wife and I are from Columbus, OH, and for our anniversary stayed in Allentown, PA, for a week. We chose one day to head over to SFGA, and this was it. We chose....poorly. The background: El Toro is scheduled to open anytime. As of 6/10 when we left, there was no announcement, no news, nothing. So, you can imagine our surprise after our 2-hour drive to the park when the parking attendant (im sorry, but $15? bad idea) informs us that the park is closing at 3pm b/c of a media event to open El Toro. What? It's already 11am, and we had purchased our tickets online, and we are not going to waste them on 5 hours. We ask the parking attendant if we have any options, and he says "Well, you can leave if you want". Wow. No sorry, no nothing...so we leave, planning to return the next day. This is just the beginning. The feeling? Think Chevy Chase in vacation when they get to Wally World and it's closed. Only John Candy wasnt there to greet us.

6/14: Another 2 hour drive to the park, and I am half-expecting it to be closed b/c of too much sunshine, or some other excuse. However, we arrive, it is open till 8, and all is right with the world, especially when the ticket guy informs us that EVERYONE who came to the park yesterday got FREE return tickets for any day since the park closed so early the previous day. Clearly, SF knew they mucked that up, and made sure everyone who was there (the majority of whom, Im sure, also had no clue about the park closing at 3) went away happy. Great! We will go to customer service and either get a refund or get our free tickets. We were there...but we were never told that if we went in we would get our tickets. Refreshed about SF, we head to customer service, and the nightmare begins. First, I must say that "Frank" the window guy, did a great job. His manager, however, did not. We explained the situation, Frank said he would be right back, and we waited....and waited...and what we got was "Sorry, there is nothing we can do". We lost an entire day of our vacation b/c of this, so we are not giving up. For 20 minutes, we go back and forth, and eventually asked to speak to the manager that Frank was running back to. She refused to talk to us. (no, we are not the "yelling" kind, and were not making a scene, we simply want what we deserve). We ask why, since we came yesterday, we cant get our free tickets (we even said we would stay to use them), and the reply was, "we are not allowed to make a decision about that, and that was yesterday...it was a corporate thing...theres nothing we can do". At the end of this back and forth, they finally offered is two "VIP" $10 tickets (plus tax and parking). Boy do I ever feel like a VIP! We took them...frustrated and in disbelief. This is the General Manager of Customer Service, and there is "nothing" they can do? We chose to write a letter when we returned, which we did, and we finally got a reply, and here it is:

Hi Kevin,
I first want to personally apologize for inconveniencing you and your
wife on your anniversary. We take great pride in delivering an
exciting, fun day to our guests and it is very unfortunate that we
failed to do so with you - again I apologize.

We did close the park early on June 13 and advertised it on the web and
in our information center - and as an extra incentive to our guests, we
issued a free pass to come back any weekday through Labor Day weekend -
this way guests (like in your case) who purchased a ticket, could spend
the day until 3 p.m. on the 13th, and then come back another day on us.


I would love to have you two back to the park on us and since we
inconvenienced your day, I would like to issue you flash pass to get
some good ride time in. I know you said you are from Ohio, which is
quite a trip away...if this is something you cannot fit into your
schedule for the 2006 season, I would be more than happy to extend it
into the 2007 season.


Im amazed, personally. And, this gesture by them will indeed get us back in the park. It was our first SF experience, ever, and now they just guaranteed there will be a second, after we informed them that if nothing was done, it would be our last. Part 2 will actually be more about the rides and the park, and how the day went. *** Edited 8/11/2006 4:36:50 PM UTC by OhioStater***

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Friday, August 11, 2006 1:40 PM
Sounds to me that it's exactly like some on these forums have speculated. The problems are at the park level.

The main office and higher-ups have the right idea, they just need to change a culture that has been taught not to care for nearly 7 years and they need to do it pretty much chain-wide. That will take time, training and effort.

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Friday, August 11, 2006 2:13 PM

Lord Gonchar said:
Sounds to me that it's exactly like some on these forums have speculated. The problems are at the park level.

The main office and higher-ups have the right idea, they just need to change a culture that has been taught not to care for nearly 7 years and they need to do it pretty much chain-wide. That will take time, training and effort.


That also neatly explains the huge difference in the good (SFOG, SFOT, SFGAm, etc) and bad (SFMM, SFGAdv, etc) parks, doesn't it?

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Friday, August 11, 2006 3:57 PM
The gentleman the second day who informed us about the free ticket thing the day before told us, and ill paraphrase here:

"You know, Ive only worked here for about a month or so, but it seems like n oone communicates with anyone else"

Bascially, he said only a handful of people knew that it was happening, because no one at the park ever bothered to tell the employees what was going on. Im sure if the parking guy at the gate would have been told he would have told us about it, its just that no one ever communicated it to him! I took note of what you called the "good" SF parks...perhaps we will also give one of those a try some day.

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