Weird stuff at La Ronde

Associated parks:

This is an unusual Trip Report. Most of the TR is dedicated to unusual events - evacuating a log flume and the park virtually shutting down because of high winds.

Normal TR stuff: Weather: windy, but warm (for September). Attendance was sparse – STO at all coasters except Toboggan Nordique (Wild Mouse). Goliath was a walk-on for every row except the front, which had a 6-8 train wait (~30 minutes with STO). Rode G in the back row and 2nd row – it’s all good, but it’s no Nitro. (I’m a coaster snob!) All coasters were running (except Track 2 on Monstre, which always closes on low-capacity days). It was a perfect day to check out all cycle-loading / flat rides, so that’s what we did.

Pitoune (log flume) evacuated:
There was definitely an e-stop. The two log-like rafts most visible to the queue were poised to go up the first lift hill. Obviously, the e-stop had halted the first raft after the conveyor grabbed it. The second raft actually rode up the back of the first raft slightly, which forced the back of the second raft deeper into the trough – water poured in over the back. The riders in the second raft stood up and intended on jumping out onto the adjacent platform, but ride-ops insisted they remain seated. A few seconds later, we noticed much more unusual activity – obviously, the little drama we could see was not the big deal, something happened beyond our sightlines in the rapids section of the ride. Security swarmed the ride and blocked off the pathway adjacent to the exit. Ride ops and security ran back along walkways towards the rapids section of the ride, while some ride ops stayed at their posts. First aid staff were quickly on the scene along with the park’s golf-cart ambulance and backboard stretcher. Security staff began evacuating riders, including those from the two logs we could see. Watching the evacuees walking along the walkways to the main platform was comical. For every two riders, there were two security guards, one walking backwards in front of them, and the other following them. There were five or six groups like this. Then security evacuated the queue and we lost our viewing platform. Later, the golf-cart ambulance left, it’s backboard in place unused. I still have no clue what happened. I suspected a branch from a dead tree broke in the wind and fell into the trough, but walking by later, we could see no broken limbs or debris around the tree. (The winds were strong enough to nock down trees and power lines in and around Montreal yesterday.)

High-wind shut-down
Shortly after our Pitoune experience, we headed for Vertigo, Disko-Ronde and Vampire. As we approached Disko-Ronde and Vertigo, ride ops waved us away and said they were closed. As we approached Vampire, we noticed that no trains were running, but there were no signs or attendants at the entrance, so we headed for the platform. There, we found a ride-op who explained in English that all of the ‘big rides’ were closed because of high wind. To us, it did not seem any windier than it was earlier in the day, but clouds had moved in. We looked around the park a bit, and sure enough, we could see that the only rides running were in Ribambelle (kiddy section), and there was a massive queue at the two turnstiles that serve as the park exit. We hung around a bit longer, not wanting to queue to exit. We rode the Grand Carousel and Disko-Ronde (which re-opened, along with a few other spinny flat rides) before the exit queue dissipated and we left the park.

Comments on operations:

  • La Ronde also no attempt to re-distribute staff when the big rides closed and guests inundated the flat rides. Vampire had three staff gossiping or reading on the platform, while below at Disko-Ronde, the staffer was visibly sweating, trying to operate at full capacity, manually locking and unlocking each of the 16 cars.
  • The most surprising incident was at Grand Carousel, which had to e-stop and eject a couple 10-year-olds who were got up and ran between the horses when the ride was in motion. Ride ops explained that the ride was not over, but they only said it in French. Then they openly mocked the ‘anglos’ who did not understand the instructions and thought the ride cycle was over. I’ve witnessed rude staff at La Ronde before, but this kind of intolerance is a first.
  • No smoking rules were not enforced at all. I'm just shocked! (I can't even type that with a straight face.)
That's an interesting trip report. I was there in late July and was suprised at the lack of English as well. I speak very little French but have never had a hard time in Montreal. At LR noticed a great deal of the queue singns were only in French. At a popular food stand had to get a French speaking friend to help out as none of the staff could or would speak English.

We thought it was strange that a major tourist attraction would be set up like that. I ski quite a bit in the off season and have never had any problems with my lack of French at Mont Tremblant or the other ski resorts I'd visited in Quebec.

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