VIP Treatment - Canada's Wonderland Sneak Preview Night!

Associated parks:
None

Saturday, April 26, 2008 2:13 AM
I arrived at the park late, as it seems I have forgotten how bad Toronto traffic is, and stopped at my hotel before visiting the park, but unlike KI, had no problems parking, as they weren't even using the parking booths.

The front gate area was definitely busy, as it looked like a lot of people were there processing their passes. Luckily, I had my Cedar Point Platinum Pass, and got into the park with virtually no wait.

I had learned that Jack Falfas was at the park, and hoped to see him there to complain about my experience at Kings Island on Friday. When I did finally see him though, I got way more than I expected!

I did not end up doing a lot of riding, but still had one of the best experiences ever at a Cedar Fair park! I did ride the Arrow Looper at the front of the park, along with the Wilde Beast, with some Skee-Ball in between. Unfortunately, Wonderland has what appear to be the shorter machines, and I think that takes some of the fun away.

When I eventually made it towards Behemoth, the line was LONG! Did I say Long? It was crazy. Well, I wasn't sure how they were going to handle the line, so after visiting the gift shop, I went over to the Backlot Stunt Coaster.

Unfortunately, after I got off the coaster and stopped by Behemoth's gift shop again, I learned that the line had been closed. I had driven all the way to a foreign country to find the one ride I wanted to ride closed!

Luckily, I saw at least one full timer, and low and behold, Jack Falfas. The park's staff was sympathetic to my situation, and being a single rider, they were nice enough to make an exception for me. But before I rode, I had a conversation with Jack.

Can anyone here guess what the big topic we talked about was?

GEAUGA LAKE. I had a very good talk with him, and he actually seemed to be optimistic about the Big Dipper. I told him how it would have been nice to have announced that they were thinking of closing the park, and he gave me a respectable response. I even talked about or mentioned the conspiracy theorists or theories. Based on my talk with Jack, I feel a lot more comfortable with what happened with Geauga Lake. He seemed to reaffirm my suspicions as to the real reasons they did what they did, the way they did it. Nothing evil, as the conspiracy theorists might want you to believe. Just some difficult decisions that needed to be made based on what was happening with the park.

Anyway, following my talk with Jack I got onto Behemoth, and as a Single Rider, I was lucky enough to get front seat. Definitely a nice ride. While not my favorite ride or anything close, it had some nice pops of air, and seemed like plain fun. So much fun, that a bottle of hand sanitizer flew out of my pocket. I think they would have looked for it, but I reassured Guest Relations that it only cost $0.50 at Wal-Mart when I told them about it at the end of the night. Also, NO SEATBELTS!

After the ride, I believe I went and thanked Jack and the park's General Manager. Super nice guy. I then went over and waited for the broken down Flight Deck. I miss Thunderchicken! I hope it gets put back together right at Michigan's Adventure, as it really was the smoothest of the three SLC's I've been on. Flight Deck was nowhere near as good as Thunderchicken, but I don't think I'd characterize it as bad as Serial Thriller at SFNE.

Foodwise, it looks like the park has some great choices. They even have Rotisserie Chicken, though the price is higher than Disney and Universal. I would have gotten some, but the standard items on the menu were quarter (dark) and half. I passed and went to look for fresh fries. At the fry stand, I ran into the park's chef, appearing to try to fix a POS system. I talked to him about the food, and it ends up they should have been able to give me a quarter white, which is what I would have wanted. Next time they will probably have the option! Anyway, I got some VIP treatment from the fry stand. Did they think I was related to Mr. Kinzel?

My last ride of the night was Skyrider, a TOGO standup. I like the ride. Yes, I like it. It is lots of fun, and I am glad it is there. It is unique, and has some nice airtime.

After that ride, I tried to go to the Behemoth gift shop one last time to buy a shirt I saw earlier. Unfortunately it was closed, and I was assured elsewhere that they should have all the Behemoth merch at the shop (or shops) at the front gate. Unfortunately the shirt I wanted wasn't there, but the Manager (or perhaps he was director), who remembered me from last season's visit, had one brought to the shop at the front gate, and even let me have the season pass discount! Again, VIP treatment!

I ended the evening at Guest Relations, where I filled out a form complementing them. Did I mention they would have probably returned my fifty cent hand sanitizer that flew out on Behemoth?

Great park, great rides, great staff. Based on the level of service, and the attendance, I think it may become the next Cedar Point!

The staff went out of their way to ensure I had a great time, to a level akin to Disney. Yes, I said the D word!

Anyway, I am super pleased with the park, and hope to come back again soon.

-Sam

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Saturday, April 26, 2008 3:33 AM
That is what I call customer service. I am glad you had a great time!
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Monday, April 28, 2008 3:05 PM
Did you actually tell them about the sanitizer?

Have you been on Nitro or Appollo's Charriot? How does Behemoth compare?

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Monday, April 28, 2008 3:20 PM
Sorry, but Behemoth was my first B&M Hyper. And yes, I told them a bottle fell out of my pocket. Luckily, I try to keep anything valuable, such as my passport and wallet in cargo pockets.

I actually have a Part II that I would like to post at some point. But I will tell you that Behemoth seemed to get better every time!

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Monday, April 28, 2008 3:21 PM
If I could swap my local CF park for any in the chain, it would probably have to be CW. Of course, your mileage may vary.

-'Playa

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Monday, April 28, 2008 7:40 PM
It's nice that they treated you so well.

Considering that me and my friends waited over two and a half hours to ride and you're semi-gloating about the fact that you chose not to wait, did other stuff then complained to get on is actually a bit irritating. The fact that you also reported a losing a $1 bottle of hand sanitizer and that you got a ticket for the media day/private event the next day adds to this.

This is kind of the cyber equivilent of the kids that run up the exit ramp with grandma's disabled pass and start making a big deal about it as they jump in the front seat.

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008 8:42 AM
^^WOW!! Someone seems a little bitter about something!

But anyway, good TR!! Glad to see the customer service shined too!

However, I'm still *VERY* skeptical about Behemoth and how CF is currently treating it versus the long-haul...no seatbelts (like it should be on all B&M hypers!!) is just a downright broken CF commandment, and until I'm actually in the train "sansabelt" on my trip in June, I'll still be expecting 3 different seatbelts for my lap, chest, and shins like [CF's] nature intended!!

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008 9:33 AM
I mentioned losing a $0.50 bottle of hand sanitizer. I did not "report" it as you said. I am not happy that I dropped it not because of the value. I am afraid that it could have hurt someone. Safety is very important to me. I actually staple myself into rides, unlike many enthusiasts, who like loose restraints. In this case, it turned out that something in my pocket wasn't as secure as I would have liked, and I don't think I was too happy about that. Maybe I was wrong in mentioning that, but my motive had nothing to do with wanting it back or complaining.

Did I get special treatment? Yes I did. Did I ask to be escorted onto the ride? No, I did not. The park's head of safety, the General Manager, and the COO of Cedar Fair were nice enough to me to help me take what would most likely be an empty seat on the ride, given that I was an international visitor, and former seasonal employee of Cedar Fair. If I would have known that they were going to close the line for the ride so early, I most likely would have gotten in line and waited. That was my intention. I was offered an opportunity to ride and I took it. I bet many people here would do the same thing.

I don't expect to ever get that opportunity again.

On returning the next day:

I forgot to pick up park maps on my visit on Friday, and returned to the park the next day, so I could get them. The person in the parking booth wrongly told me that I could enter the park, and my season pass scanned at the parking booth. On my way back to my car with park maps, I spoke with a group of people. They happened to have an extra ticket to the event that they weren't using, and they were nice enough to give it to me. They did not ask for money.

On closing weekend at Cedar Point, I waited outside one of the gates to give away my free ticket until I found someone to give it to. This time, these folks were nice enough to give me a ticket that I think they told me they paid $23 for.

Yes, I got special treatment. I don't expect it to happen again. However, in my experience, my faith in Cedar Fair has greatly increased, and most importantly, I was reassured about the Geauga Lake situation, and was reaffirmed in my belief that there was no conspiracy about that park, and Cedar Fair had to make a tough decision about the future of the park, and did what they thought was best.

-Sam

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008 9:57 AM
^^Personally, Sam, I wouldn't get too worked up over it!! I just think that guy was bitter about something (maybe waiting six hours for 2 Behemoth rides! LOL...) and took it out on you!

In addition, don't Canadians kind of hate us Yanks anyway!?!

I'm still jealous of your experience, and maybe you had some good karma working or something...what you did last year at CP did seem nice...

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008 10:01 AM

In addition, don't Canadians kind of hate us Yanks anyway!?!

I think that's just those folks from Ontario. Everyone else from the other provinces and territories is annoyed with them, cuz they think they constitute the whole freakin' country :)

-'Playa
(who reminds you, CoastaBee's from Manitoba)

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008 2:08 PM
Is it just me or does anyone else smell BS.
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Tuesday, April 29, 2008 2:18 PM
It's just you...

Glad you enjoyed your trip...
Although Wonderland is only a 75 minute drive for me (at Canadian speeds, and American traffic), I've only been there once back in '03 (or was it '04? Right before Tomb Raider made its debut, but Sledge Hammer was new).

Anyway, I enojyed it immensely because it was so different with so much to do, I can only imagine it now with 3 more coasters to their collection on top of the improved image that it seems to be impressing more people and getting a lot more attention.

I can only imagine what summer crowds are going to be like.

With no seatbelts, this (if handled right) can only HELP the dispatch time... since all the ride-ops have to do is just make sure the restraints are nice & tight against the rider.

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008 2:29 PM
Avalanche, I'm glad you liked Skyrider. It's my all time favorite stand-up experience so far. I came in expecting the kind of 'man' pain only Mantis or Chang can provide, and was surprised to find it actually pleasant and exciting. I'm trying to remember how it stacks up to the old King Cobra (aren't they similar or identical layouts), but I only rode that one two or three times so my memory isn't the greatest.
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Tuesday, April 29, 2008 3:50 PM

DawgByte II said:


I can only imagine what summer crowds are going to be like.

With no seatbelts, this (if handled right) can only HELP the dispatch time... since all the ride-ops have to do is just make sure the restraints are nice & tight against the rider.


But might it be true that Behemoth could have such a massive drawing power that lines for *other* rides may be shorter compared to last year?

Also, I haven't been on Behemoth yet, but if it's anything like Nitro where the restraints are simply "touched" when loading, the dispatches could be very quick!!

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008 4:51 PM
Unfortunately the Behemoth ride ops were doing a lot more than just 'touching' the restraint to check it.... They were pretty much pushing the restraint into you. I was stapled on my one and only ride.
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Tuesday, April 29, 2008 5:03 PM
^^Hopefully my (successful) El Toro and Maverick strategies will pay off then and can be extended to Behe!

But truth be told, there are some Nitro rides where I do feel like I am legitimately going to fly out!!! So maybe some restraint is really a good thing for my own protection...

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008 11:42 PM

CoastaPlaya said:

In addition, don't Canadians kind of hate us Yanks anyway!?!

I think that's just those folks from Ontario. Everyone else from the other provinces and territories is annoyed with them, cuz they think they constitute the whole freakin' country

-'Playa
(who reminds you, CoastaBee's from Manitoba)


Wow those are both pretty ignorant generalizations regardless of who you're married to. I'm actually a Yank that's been transplanted to Toronto for work for a few years. I've never seen any animosity towards Americans here with the exception of the occasional obnoxious one.

I did however, work as a rides supervisor in a big theme park many years back. I had a couple of new coasters with a big media buzz around em open in my section and of course very long lines followed. On a busy Saturday night when the line was closed, like clockwork I'd be called down to guest relations to deal with complaints. It usually went something like this:

"We came here all the way from "insert location a few hours away" just to ride "insert new coaster that's had a 3 hour wait all day" and when we tried to get on the line has been closed! So I'd ask to see their tickets which would usually have the time printed on them indicating that they'd been there all day and point this out to them. "Well the line was too long so we decided to wait until 10 mintues before the park closed!" I'd then offer for them to meet me at the exit of the coaster and if there was room on the last train for them they could ride, but would explain that otherwise it's a disservice to the guests that chose to wait in line. In almost all cases they didn't want to wait out last train and would just leave.

Sam, if I had driven several hours to ride Behemoth, I'd be sure to get on that before checking out the rest of the park, but that's just me. Obviously the international visitor status and squeeky wheel thing worked out for you. Sorry for the interruption, please return to name dropping, and again it's great that you received such great service. *** Edited 4/30/2008 3:44:08 AM UTC by Cropsey***

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Wednesday, April 30, 2008 12:50 AM
Cropsey,

I am used to Cedar Point, where they don't close the lines early. When I want to ride Dragster, if I know the line will close at 10:08, I will most likely get in line right after 10:00.

I understand that you are probably very frustrated that I got special treatment. I don't know what I can do to make you feel better.

In the end, I took a seat that otherwise would have been empty. Do you want to complain next about how I stay in hotels at less than half of what other people pay for the same rooms?

-Sam (who uses Priceline.com for his hotels)

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Wednesday, April 30, 2008 5:40 PM
We Ontarians OWN Canada!!
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Wednesday, April 30, 2008 7:19 PM

Avalanche Sam said:I had learned that Jack Falfas was at the park, and hoped to see him there to complain about my experience at Kings Island on Friday. When I did finally see him though, I got way more than I expected!

That's not the VIP treatment, that's service recovery for someone that has lots of complaints. Finding an employee with a tie, voicing your concerns that you're an "international" guest that didn't get to ride what he came all the way to the park for is a complaint, that's not grasping opportunity. Being a former seasonal employee in a theme park you should know the difference. Anyway I'm all done, please return to name dropping. *** Edited 4/30/2008 11:22:00 PM UTC by Cropsey***

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