VF Coaster Craze 2005: Major Disappointment

Associated parks:

If you don’t like hearing TR’s where someone has nothing nice to say about a park that just went out of their way to provide enthusiasts with an event with ERT, then this TR is not for you. Yes, they put a lot of effort into the event. Yes, they ran Wild Thing faster during ERT than I have even seen it run while the park was open to the general public. Yes, they had a mechanic there for pretty much all of ERT, I guess to keep the ride going while it was over-speeding. And yes, I even thought that the outrun was the fastest I have ever experienced, and I have no clue how they could have done that. However, they never opened all the brakes, and I have never left a park more disappointed. Ever.

I left the park last night just stunned. The phrase that came to mind when the lady outside the front gate asked if I had a good time was, "a waist of time," but I said nothing. I had nothing nice to say. I knew they just gone out of their way to do something special for us, but I was in shock by how bad it was. I am not talking about whiny, "They should give us this and that…" BS. I was ill. I only remember less than half my ride home. I thought back to other times I left a park disappointed or upset, and nothing even came close.

If you talk to people about Coaster Craze 2004, you will get different stories. There are a few people who say that the brakes were completely open for half of ERT. They are wrong. I got one ride with no brakes. Just one. There were two trains going, and from the reports I heard, I think the other train got 2 or 3 brake free rides. That’s it. Now half way thru ERT they did open most of the brakes. The ride got a lot better, but there were still a few brakes on pretty light. On my second to last ride, the brakes went completely open and the train went completely nuts. Every second of that amazing return run is burned into my memory. The sensations were unreal. I cannot explain why there is such a huge difference between next to no brakes and no brakes, but there is. One is just another coaster and the other is better than Millennium Force. They went back to just 2 brakes on light for the last run and it was not nearly as good. Whatever. I had got the most amazing Wild Thing ride ever and I knew how to get another. I just had to come back to Coaster Craze in 2005…or so I thought.

Since last season I have told tons of people how good Coaster Craze 2004 was. All of that was based on just one Wild Thing lap. Without that one ride, there would have been nothing to talk about. If you are someone who read something I posted about Coaster Craze 2004, and you made plans to come based on what I said Wild Thing could do, I must apologize. I have already had to explain myself to one guy, and quite frankly, I was just embarrassed. I should have known better than to give my word to people endorsing a park that seems to have no problem embracing mediocrity.

This year’s night ERT on Wild Thing started with a station crowded with people. Some enthusiasts were complaining about that, saying they should have cut the line so the crowds would not take up "their time". I felt that attitude was foolish. The park was doing something nice for us, and an extra 5-10 minutes to clear the station was a small price to pay for a brake free ride at the end of ERT. Next, they called a couple of mechanics over and shut down the ride. I was hoping they were preparing the ride to run with no mid course brakes, but they were removing the second train. More enthusiasts complained about the delay and the one train op, but again I sided with the park. We were going to get our brake free ride. That delay was another 10 minutes or so. When ERT continued, I heard comments and occasional boos every time we hit the mid course brakes. Again I sided with the park. I was content with just one or two brake free rides at the end of ERT. That is what I have been looking forward to all season. That is all I thought about every time I rode Wild Thing since Coaster Craze 2005. That is the only reason why I came last night.

It was interesting riding toward the back of the train because I could see everyone’s hands up. Every time we hit the brakes, there were lots of groans and many hands would just drop. No one was overly vocal about it, but the repeated disappointment was very apparent. With about 5 minutes to go, I started getting excited. This was probably it. If they were going to do 2 brake free runs, this was it. I really got into the ride and was totally pumped as we headed for the mid course. There were just tons of brakes closed. Granted, they were not on very hard, but still. It was very disappointing. I mentally regrouped myself saying it was no big deal. The outruns were very fast so the next ride was going to be just amazing with no brakes. Even with only one brake free ride, I would be totally satisfied.

Coming back to the station near the end of ERT, I looked up for some clue from the ride ops that there would be another ride. They announced that there would be one last ride and there was no one in my line. One poor guy got bumped, but some really nice gentleman gave him his seat. The train was completely full and you could feel the anticipation from everyone.

When we got back to the station I was completely numb. I just could not believe it. A few people went out of their way to say "thank you" to the Valleyfair personnel, but I could not bring myself to say anything. In retrospect, I guess it was a mistake to pin my whole VF season to one great Wild Thing ride, but what else was I supposed to do? That is the only thing about that park that I can say is truly great without any mental reservation.

Last night I felt like just ripping VF a new one online, but I thought I better sleep on it and see how I felt in the morning. Today, I don’t feel much different. I go out of my way to praise parks to whoever will listen when I enjoy myself. I recommended VF to tons of people in the past. Now that they disappointed me, I have no problem saying it. The last thing I want to be is an enthusiasskisser who never says anything negative about a park no matter what. I’m a paying customer and I’m entitled to my opinion. I used to spend even more money at the park when VF could hold my attention long enough for me to get hungry. You can say all you want about enthusiasts being just whatever percentage and not mattering, but I don’t buy it. Parks are responding to us all over. New coasters are better than they were in the past because of our input. (Just look at any recently new wooden coaster and tell me that the increase in quality has nothing to do with coaster enthusiasts.) We even have a few announcements of new coasters coming out that advertise the airtime. Our voice is heard, so I think being honest is important. This TR is not just a way for me to complain or gripe. This TR accurately describes my experience last night, my feelings about it, and the reasons why I think I have them.

If anyone from Valleyfair is reading this, while I did recognize the effort that was put into the event, as much as I would like to appreciate it, the anticipointment I felt was so strong that I could not feel any appreciation for your efforts at all. That said, thank you for putting on Coaster Craze 2005. I hope someone else enjoyed it.

Jeff's avatar
A "waist of time..." is that some kind of new watch the kids are wearing around their hips?

For someone trying to not sound like a miserable whiny enthusiast, you're doing just that. If that's the way you're going to be, please don't come to any CoasterBuzz events. Ditto for any like-minded people.

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog

I don't know why I feel so emotionally drained after that. While I don't think you should have been that upset and probably should have expected the possibility some brakes would be on (I've never expected brake-free rides on Magnum at CM, but I'm always pleasantly surprised when it happens), the TR was really moving and I felt like I was right there with your feelings and emotions about it. Kudos on that. I'll go back to my Zoloft now. =p


"For someone trying to not sound like a miserable whiny enthusiast, you're doing just that. If that's the way you're going to be, please don't come to any CoasterBuzz events."

I did not mean to offend you with my TR and I am sorry if I did. Normally when I have a bad experience with a park, I don't even post a TR at all. But after I had been so vocal recommending Coaster Craze at every opportunity, I guess I felt I had to give my opinion on what happened. This is your message board and I won't post any more negative TR's here if you don't want them.

Just curious, did VF ever promise a brake-free ride at any point? I'm trying to get my head around your problem, and I've got to say I'm coming up short here.

How about some more examples of how VF is embracing mediocrity? Not that I'm saying they're not, let's just have some honest, realistic criticism that doesn't involve how antici-pointing one last ride on WT was.

"I've been born again my whole life." -SAVED
Of course they did not promise it. You know that. But unless they forgot since last season when they went out of their way to give us a brake free ride, they knew that is what most or everybody wanted.

Examples of VF embracing mediocrity? I really don't want to list things since that will just turn into a huge debate. Let's just say that there are a few parks that take pride building the best rides and running them to perfection, and the majority take a more "common sense" approach. There is nothing wrong with the latter, but I still will drive across the country to find the former.

As far as I can tell, VF does not try to be the best at anything. That is fine if that is what they want. However, they seemed to have given one of the best coaster ride I have ever had last season, and I guess it is my fault for hoping too much that they would do it again.

Jeff's avatar
Wait, how is not liking one ride a "bad experience?" I've been on a lot of bad rides, but one bad ride has never caused me to have an overall "bad experience."

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog

That has never happened to me before either so I guess I understand why you don't understand. That is just what happened to me last night. I tried my best to explain it in the TR, but maybe I failed.
I like the 'waist of time' comment...do you mind if I use that Jeff???

As a business owner, I would have a difficult time in doing something in my business for a small group of people that would potentially cause me more work and/or money.

I can understand your disappointement after a let down from your point of view...but....I don't complain when I go to a friend's house to watch football and play video games and his wife (who makes the best cookies) doesn't have any cookies for me to eat. Granted that was a simplistic point, but a point nonetheless. VF didn't HAVE to conduct an enthusiast event, but they did. Isn't the purpose of the event for US enthusiasts to get together and enjoy our company and surroundings????

Fever I really enjoy the Simpsons. It's just a shame that I am starting to LOOK like Homer.
I'm glad I didn't waste my time going this year seeing how heavily braked High Roller was last year during the morning ERT besides I had to go to work so I missed the night ERT during 2004's Coaster Craze. A friend of mine called me last night after then event & gave me a trip report. He was happy that Wild Thing was running faster than ever but he said that during the night ERT he and his girlfirend took the only empty seat on High Roller which happens to be the back seat BUT they made everyone else in the train go around even though there was ZERO other people besides my friend and his girlfriend. Anyway with only 2 people in the next train (my friend & his girlfriend) the ride almost got stuck in the brake and came to a complete brief stop. Luckily the train managed to move out of the brake and didn't stay stuck this time. This is the same friend who got completely stuck when riding alone on HR last year. Needless to say I guess no one wanted to ride High Roller for the rest of the night since my friend says he never saw it running for the rest of the night. But Wild Thing according to my friend even though it is not totally brakeless is still running better than at normal operating hours so I have to give them credit there. Plus that did make up a little for the terrible extremely braked operations of HR. But what I don't understrand is that CP runs during ERT their rides brakeless or near brakeless so why does any ride has to be braked (especially HR) so hard during an ERT that the ride comes to a complete stop? *** Edited 7/30/2005 8:22:55 PM UTC by Pink Floyd Fanatic***

It is a FACT that The Voyage is the greatest thing on the planet!!
Yes, I agree with you (edit: SVLfever) but I could not feel that last night. Imagine a sports fan who just knows their team is going to win the big game. They can list out every reason why they think they know that and then they buy their ticket. There is no guarantee that their team is going to win and they know that. However, knowing that the team gave it their all does not eliminate the disappointment when they lose at the last second. I guess that is the best analogy I can give although it was somewhat different. I know how I was supposed to feel...but I also know how I actually felt. *** Edited 7/30/2005 8:22:17 PM UTC by RavenTTD***
eightdotthree's avatar
I don't get it. You are upset at the park for not providing something they never said they would provide in the first place? You could have written the TR and still expressed your disapointment with the park and not sounded like a whiney enthusi-ass. Your bashing the park for no good reason IMO. Get over it and don't go next year.

Sorry you had a bad ERT, Dave. :-(. Was the rest of your day a bit better? IM me sometime and we can talk.


"You could have written the TR and still expressed your disapointment with the park and not sounded like a whiney enthusi-ass."

What did you want me to say? I got to the park at about 6PM, took one Wild Thing ride, and then decided to leave the park since it was a long time till the ERT, and I knew better than to expect a brake free ride while the park was open. I saw a decent movie and got some dinner and came back after 9:30. Then I rode WT over and over anticpating the last ride and left. That is pretty much it.

A brake free ride is all I came for, not because they promised it, but because I knew last night was my only shot at it. VF is my home park and I work pretty close to it, yet I have not been there for a while. I would rather hang out with friends or play in a poker tournament or something like that. However, I have been looking forward to Coaster Craze since last year. Oh well. I know if I go again next year, I won't be as disappointed since I won't be so sure of a 2004 repeat.

Jeff's avatar
What people are getting at here is that the problem was not with the park... it was with your unreasonable expectations.

I like the cookie analogy. I don't go to a friend's house and then kick him in the nuts because he doesn't have the kind of beer I like.

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog

That is probably true. I'm sorry.
I don't know if you need to be sorry. You needed to vent and you said your part.

However, I agree with Jeff that the only reason you were let down is because you built yourself up so high. As somebody else said, go next year without any expectations and just the intention to have fun. You never know...sometime you may be caught off guard with that trimless ride and it will be just as good as the first time.

No, I think the sorry is good. Being disappointed is one thing, but...

"I only remember less than half my ride home. I thought back to other times I left a park disappointed or upset, and nothing even came close."

being so upset you're ill for something not promised and not delivered is over the line.

Glad we've all come to agreement here. Sounds like RavenTTD is getting over himself.

I think someone's grown up just a little bit today. *sniff* I'm so proud.

"I've been born again my whole life." -SAVED
I know I am new here but feel I had to add to this, we have all been through this with parks before. Raven just felt the need to type it. Look at all the people let down by kk and ttd when they break down. That creates a negative experience. We know theres a chance they are not running,(IE. no promises) but some people still have they're day hampered by it. The anticipation of the ride can kill the experience when the ride is down or not living up to standards. I remember my first beast ride after the trims soured my day!

Sea monkeys always die no matter what the box says
Jeff, I would be mad if I payed for nice import beers and got 60 cans of nati Ice instead. Perhaps your friend didn't promise good beer, but he bought good beer last week and everyone told him how much they liked it. Maybe this analogy is a little weak, but money and time were involved in both situations.

I would have been dissapointed in the same situation, but I think you might have over-reacted a bit. Maybe the trim-less ride was THAT good, but I just can't see myself ever getting that upset about something like that.

Down is the new up.

Closed topic.

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