Why do ACErs get special benefits?

Friday, November 9, 2001 12:01 PM
Or any club for that matter? No really, I understand Paramount parks giving walkbacks to say Top Gun @ Carowinds for season passholders. I mean, this is an incentive for the people to part with their money upfront. But what do the parks get in return from coaster clubs?

My first thought was that they get free pub from the clubs, but then I thought more about it. The only people to read club publications are club members. In this case, most are already well familiar with the larger parks, so I dont see what the big benefit is.

But what really pushed me away from the "free pub" angle is the why I hear many so-called enthusiasts berate parks and their decisions. I understand that not everybody is going to like every ride, but people seem to beat down the decision of even having the ride. I mean, I often say that I dont think Raptor is that great, but that doesnt mean it shouldnt exist. (Though admittedly, I *did* say that PKD was stupid for installing H:XLC last year...then ended up really digging the thing...(words taste best with salt :)))

But the main question is: What do the parks get out of it? Tell me, I'm a mite confused
jeremy
--who has *way* too many posts today...I think I'm nearing the quota :)

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Friday, November 9, 2001 12:11 PM
Good question.

 

I suppose the answer is "goodwill".  Ok, enthusiasts are NOT their primary customers, but the parks know that enthusiasts can be a rather, er, vocal, bunch.  I know my friends ask me quite often about park X or ride Y (and I make it a point to try to NOT badmouth to non-enthusiasts ;) )

So by giving enthusiasts small perks (the walkback at PKI surely doesn't cost them very much, for instance) they have a small set of happy customers who in turn will spread the word that this is a Good Place (tm).

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--Greg
"Beat the rush, sign up for your post-Mean Streak MRI now..."
My page  My other page  And my coaster page

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Friday, November 9, 2001 12:21 PM
Also keep in mind that it's a small monority who berate parks and their rides. Most enthusiasts are mature enough to realize that nothing in our society is perfect, parks make mistakes just like the rest of us, but generally they thrill our socks off.
The negativity seems rampant, but unless it's constructive, parks generally ignore it.
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What is hateful to you, do not to your fellowman. That is the entire law; all the rest is commentary. -The Talmud
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Friday, November 9, 2001 12:29 PM
The walkbacks at PKI were started by ... Ruth Voss?... many years ago. Kings Island has continued them since her retirement, so in part I suppose they do it because of tradition. It's a nice perk for enthusiasts, which, as noted, doesn't cost the park really anything outside of the time of the persons walking enthusiasts back. I guess it's kind of like when my buddy at the comic book store snags a copy of a title I like before it sells out. He's make the same profit off it no matter who he sold it to; by doing a little thing for a good customer, he just reinforces that relationship.
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Friday, November 9, 2001 1:03 PM
It's weird that you ask this question now, I used to be confused but in the last few years it seems to be making a little more sense. All the roller coaster documentaries usually feature a few ACErs, and they are good publicity for the parks. I think they help the GP feel better about going to a park simply to ride a new coaster if they see that some people are total freaks about it (what did they call us in one of the latest documentaries? "Railheads?" that sounds like a drug addict)

Supposedly they consult top ACE members about new rides and ideas, but I've only heard of that being a major factor with Milleneum Force, and that was CPs idea rather than Intamins... But if they need some kind of advice on a ride, some of the main ACErs who have ridden tons of rides around the world would be good help. The big park chains certainly have consultants as well, no corporation is just going to throw money around with no research.

They also don't put that much effort into helping ACErs, compared to other major park events. ACE events are never major enough to warrant closing the entire park early, only big enough to rent out picnic areas. For example Microsoft rented PGA for the Computer Game Developer's Conference two years in a row, so the park closed at 7pm to the GP those days and it stayed open until about 2am for anybody at the convention. The second year they even had a rave, well, call it a rave with businessmen and computer geeks instead of ravers.

Having ERT on a few rides isn't a very big investment to help draw a few hundred people. As for tours, I don't think the GP would want to take a behind the scenes tour of any park that's not owned by Disney. The truth is most of the GP don't want to arrive at a park so early anyways, they just want to have a fun, relaxing day.

So I guess my main point is, what seems like a benefit to ACErs is pretty negligible to the park.

-djansi

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"Eject Goose, Eject!"

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Friday, November 9, 2001 1:34 PM
Sounds about right.....

I think ACE folks do a great publicity service for the parks despite their small number...that's a bargain for the parks!

"C'mon man, do some of that PILOT sh*t!"   ~Goose

~Tocci

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Friday, November 9, 2001 2:04 PM
Because they love us!  That's why!
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Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity.
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Friday, November 9, 2001 2:50 PM
 You would be surprised how positive words from enthusiasts can get people interested in a ride.  I have been an ACE Rep since 1998 and I have learned a LOT about this industry. Enthusiasts at media days saying positve things to the media can result in many positive results.

 As far as PKI and the ACE walk-back go, this was started in the 80's with Ruth Voss. Ruth loved ACE members and wanted to show them thanks for their support by offering the walk-back. PKI's Jeffrey Siebert has been a long time ACE member and knows how ACE can really help with "spreading the word.", and is a big part for letting this legendary privledge continue.   Unfortunatley, spreading such words can be a double edged sword.

 During a certain event last year at PKI, there were quite a few enthusiasts who 'blasted' the park for the way Sonny was running. I could not believe what I was hearing at that event. The park was very upset with some of the childish comments, as I was. There are always a few babies in a bunch that just don't get what this is all about, and result in tantrums that are totally uncalled for, and possibly damaging to the park.

 The bottom line is ACE (or other enthusiasts clubs) can provide free advertising by hyping up a ride. In return, the park says thanks by offering something neat like a walk-back. 

-Sean (the "rail junkie") F.

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Friday, November 9, 2001 5:54 PM
I've done the walkback to the beast at PKI and am an ACE member. Trust me you really do not have to be a member. You simply need know where to meet for the walkback no ID of any type was checked.
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SFGadv Please I'm begging for the Gyro Drop tower.
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Friday, November 9, 2001 7:22 PM
Pretty simple, enthusiasts have friends who listen to them for advice and information about theme parks. Word gets around!
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.:| Brandon Rodriguez |:.
http://www.coasters2k.com
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Friday, November 9, 2001 8:40 PM

rod said:
Trust me you really do not have to be a member. You simply need know where to meet for the walkback no ID of any type was checked.

I wouldn't completely count on this. I HAVE seen them check for ACE membership cards -- last year's closing weekend for one.


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--Greg
"Beat the rush, sign up for your post-Mean Streak MRI now..."
My page  My other page  And my coaster page

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Saturday, November 10, 2001 6:42 AM
Belmont Babe and I were carded when we were at PKI last year. They DO check.
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Saturday, November 10, 2001 7:35 AM
How do I join ACE?
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Saturday, November 10, 2001 4:00 PM

srosatsfne said:
How do I join ACE?

www.aceonline.org

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Saturday, November 10, 2001 7:17 PM
rod,

 The park still does check for ACE cards. Last year, I found out a bunch of folks were doing just what you had stated above, and mentioned it to the person doing the walk back (for 'acting' like ACE members when in fact they weren't) The park then started checking for ACE cards more often. Usually when they don't see a familiar face, they check.

 Last year, as soon as the park started to check cards more often, I saw a group of about 8 people 'suddenly vanish' as soon as marketing personel asked to see our cards.  The park does this as a perk, and could easily stop it without any notice. Now, if things haven't changed, any ACE member is allowed to bring one non-member guest to join along for the walk-back.

-Sean 

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Saturday, November 10, 2001 8:58 PM

Sean F. said:
rod,
 The park still does check for ACE cards. Last year, I found out a bunch of folks were doing just what you had stated above, and mentioned it to the person doing the walk back (for 'acting' like ACE members when in fact they weren't) The park then started checking for ACE cards more often. Usually when they don't see a familiar face, they check.
 Last year, as soon as the park started to check cards more often, I saw a group of about 8 people 'suddenly vanish' as soon as marketing personel asked to see our cards.  The park does this as a perk, and could easily stop it without any notice. Now, if things haven't changed, any ACE member is allowed to bring one non-member guest to join along for the walk-back.
-Sean 

I'm glad to hear this has changed. I've only been to PKI 1 time. No one even said hello to the group,of about 8, that day. Simply "follow me if your coming along to the Beast" It was actually kinda a let down. The ride of course was awesome though.

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SFGadv Please I'm begging for the Gyro Drop tower.

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