Why does SF do this??

Tuesday, March 11, 2008 10:36 AM
Pretty much!
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Tuesday, March 11, 2008 11:24 AM
janfrederick's avatar And just to clarify, I meant the noun, not the verb! ;)
"I go out at 3 o' clock for a quart of milk and come home to my son treating his body like an amusement park!" - Estelle Costanza
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Tuesday, March 11, 2008 12:44 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar You know, I do agree with the whole suckiness of the 'parking lot coaster', but I do have to wonder...

If we stood at those coasters (Medusa and Scream) for an entire day or two with some of us on the loading/unloading platform, some in the queue, some on the ride, some on the midway near the coaster - how many times do you think we'd hear someone say, "I was having so much fun until I rode that coaster and saw the ugly parking lot under it. Now my day is ruined, I want to go home and I probably won't come back!"

My guess is the count would be right around zero.

(wearing my devil's advocate hat today :) )


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Tuesday, March 11, 2008 1:02 PM
janfrederick's avatar Neither would your day at a traveling carnival be ruined when you realized that it was set up on a parking lot.

Anyway, saying that this would "ruin" a day is taking it to an extreme. But in the back of your mind, you think "ugly" instead of "beautiful". And emotions do play a part in deciding what to do with your money.

Oh, and how many RCT2 creations of yours didn't feature entensive landscaping? ;)

*** Edited 3/11/2008 5:03:36 PM UTC by janfrederick***


"I go out at 3 o' clock for a quart of milk and come home to my son treating his body like an amusement park!" - Estelle Costanza
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Tuesday, March 11, 2008 1:05 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar SFDK has a pretty regular need to redirect visitors to the fair ground parking lot across the street. This is never a problem outside of fair season so they might not be concerned, but I wouldn't say they have more parking than they know what to do with.

Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008 1:15 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

janfrederick said:
Oh, and how many RCT2 creations of yours didn't feature entensive landscaping? ;)

Ahhh, yes - for the one-off 'dazzle 'em' rides it's a good way to increase the stats.

However, download some LG-finished scenarios and you'll find barebones parks that would leave you longing for the eye candy a parking lot would provide.

(search "guerilla" in the games section)

When it came time to meet goals and make money - Gonch was every bit as shrewd as one would expect. :)


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Tuesday, March 11, 2008 1:50 PM
Soggy's avatar To sum up: Why does Six Flags [fill in the blank]. The answer is "to save money." And (in the case of Scream) hopes that people might actually appreciate the fact that a B&M floorless 7 looper is added to the park.

Remember, Scream was built on the heels of the timeline and budget drains of Deja Vu and X. They were looking to have a good "off the shelf" ride added to the lineup that would work well and open up on day one.

Keep in mind, Colossus is a parking lot coaster too. It's parking lot floor has not changed since 1978, and eventually nobody mentions it. Of course there are other problems with Colossus...


Pass da' sizzrup, bro!

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008 2:44 PM
janfrederick's avatar Hey it's Soggy! And yah, good point.

So Gonch, since you like spending that extra buck for extra goodies, would you go to a different park that might be more expensive, but had better eye candy?

For me, I'd probably rather spend the extra buck. Then again, if I want to see beautiful landscaping, I can go to Balboa Park for free. The selection of rides is slim, but hey, we can bring the dogs too. :)

OK...before you say anything, I DO realize that nothing is truly free. But I'm not sure how much of the parks and recreation budget comes from local sales taxes, or hotel room taxes.


"I go out at 3 o' clock for a quart of milk and come home to my son treating his body like an amusement park!" - Estelle Costanza
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Tuesday, March 11, 2008 2:52 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

janfrederick said:
So Gonch, since you like spending that extra buck for extra goodies, would you go to a different park that might be more expensive, but had better eye candy?

Good question. I don't know. It depends, I suppose.

One reason something like Scream wouldn't bug me much is that it's on the former boundary of the park to begin with. It's not like a whole section of the park is untended pavement. It's a bit under one ride on the edge of the park where it can't be seen except by people riding the ride.

It seems a little like complaining that the turnaround at the far end of a Nitro isn't landscaped and themed and is just dirt.

There's a difference between a park being done up nicely and a ride that runs out of park boundaries being tended to.


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Tuesday, March 11, 2008 3:56 PM
Medusa West is like that, too---the entrance is actually decently attractive, despite the structure being over mostly old parking lot.
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Tuesday, March 11, 2008 4:10 PM
janfrederick's avatar Yah, but a ride is still part of the park. Granted, it is only seen by a select few visitors, it is part of the experience for some.

Give me the less thrilling, yet better landscaped Gold Rusher any day. ;)

Oh wait...same park. Doh!

OK...how about my favorite western woodie Ghostie.

Oh wait, not much landscaping either.

Or how about Cornball Express?

Well, no landscaping, but close to the water in a couple spots.

*** Edited 3/11/2008 8:11:51 PM UTC by janfrederick***


"I go out at 3 o' clock for a quart of milk and come home to my son treating his body like an amusement park!" - Estelle Costanza
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Wednesday, March 12, 2008 9:14 AM

Lord Gonchar said:
You know, I do agree with the whole suckiness of the 'parking lot coaster', but I do have to wonder...

If we stood at those coasters (Medusa and Scream) for an entire day or two with some of us on the loading/unloading platform, some in the queue, some on the ride, some on the midway near the coaster - how many times do you think we'd hear someone say, "I was having so much fun until I rode that coaster and saw the ugly parking lot under it. Now my day is ruined, I want to go home and I probably won't come back!"

My guess is the count would be right around zero.


And I will completely agree with that.

For me, it's simply a combination of many instances where attention wasn't paid to detail. A parking lot coaster, lackluster restrooms, overflowing trash cans, a poorly-designed entrance plaza that doesn't deal well with heavy traffic, an Arabian-themed ride in the middle of the European section of the park... it all works together to separate the decent parks from the excellent ones. I'm not saying the parking lot coaster ruins my day, but it sure gives me more incentive to visit the parks where the parking lot was removed and replaced with some kind of landscaping.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008 11:13 AM
I did not read every single post before I posted this, so this has probably been said already...but the reason why SF does this is because SF SUCKS!!!! It is all about saving money for SF rather than spend the extra money to actually landscape and make the area of the ride look nice.
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Wednesday, March 12, 2008 11:49 AM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Rob A:
I'm not saying the parking lot coaster ruins my day, but it sure gives me more incentive to visit the parks where the parking lot was removed and replaced with some kind of landscaping.

Even if the park with the lesser quality landscaping/theme/design had rides or attractions that you preferred?

Or do the rides trump all?

Even if the park with the lesser quality landscaping/theme/design was a couple of hours or hundreds of miles closer? (local park vs day trip or more)

Or does location trump all?

Even if the park with the lesser quality landscaping/theme/design cost half as much to visit?

Or does price trump all?

Even if the park with the lesser quality landscaping/theme/design has vastly superior customer service?

Or does service trump all?

Not necessarily aimed at you, Rob. I just used your comment as a jumping off point to think about some of the considerations that go into the decision to visit.

Just toying with the simple ideas above, we have 5 basic factors that get weighed - location, price, service, attractions, landscape/theme/design (probably simpler to categorize as "attractiveness").

How important is each in the decision of which park to visit? How important are they in deciding whether to visit? How different is the factoring process for an enthusiast vs the GP?

Lots to consider. :)


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Wednesday, March 12, 2008 12:13 PM
rollergator's avatar ^If SF (or CF) had the answers to half of those questions, they'd probably be running some parks in/around Orlando... :)
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Wednesday, March 12, 2008 12:19 PM
matt.'s avatar This is somewhat getting into my tiering/ranking system. All taken in equally I use

A. Overall ride quality (quality meaning the fun, the uniqueness, the novelty, the coolness)
B. Overall ride quantity
and
C. Atmosphere (which can include food, staff friendliness, theming, landscaping, operations, etc)

Of course that's just for my own kicks, giving me a system to compare very different parks. I think in *deciding* which park to go to, Gonch, your 5 basic factors work well for parks in a vacuum but there's also matters like, when was the last time I visited? For example, I love Knoebels but haven't been in a few years, so certainly for parks that I haven't been to in a while and I enjoyed, they come up higher on the priority list over time.

Of course after we visit a park we can apply the three customer service questions to also determine if we're going to go back - 1. How satisfied are you? 2. How satisfied are you compared to your expectations? and 3. How satisfied were you compared to the ideal? Those are also things to consider with your 5 factors for revisits that I'm sure would vary wildly between the GP and enthusiasts.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008 12:25 PM
Ok, so let's reverse the thought. Take a ride that the majority has riden like The Beast at Kings Island. Take it from where it is and imagine it as a parking lot coaster. Is it the same ride? It is acclaimed as one of the best terrain coasters in the world and due to it's execution on the whole experience it has been one of the top woodies for nearly 30 years. Put it on a level paved surface and is it still the same ride?
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Wednesday, March 12, 2008 12:26 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

matt. said:
Gonch, your 5 basic factors work well for parks in a vacuum but there's also matters like, when was the last time I visited?

Oh, without a doubt. It wasn't meant to be complete or comprehensive in any way - just another discussion point. :)

For me it's not necessarily how long since I've been, but whether I've been. I like to visit new places and am more likely to visit a park I've never been to than one I have - all things being equal, of course.

But I think that mindset is exclusive to enthusiasts. I doubt the once-a-year GP types even have that as a factor in the equation. My guess for the average "GP" park goer:

1. Location
2. Location
3. Location
4. Location
5. Everything Else

I'm big on the difference in approach between 'normal' park visitors and coaster/park enthusiasts.


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Wednesday, March 12, 2008 12:53 PM
Vater's avatar ^Yup...in which case, would we even be having this discussion? How many 'normal' park visitors even give a crap that Scream! is built on parking spaces?
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Wednesday, March 12, 2008 12:55 PM
matt.'s avatar

Lord Gonchar said:
I'm big on the difference in approach between 'normal' park visitors and coaster/park enthusiasts.

And that's why I brought up the three customer service questions.

1. How satisfied are you?

This is tough to compare. One could argue enthusiasts should be more satisfied by parks in general because we generally like them more intensely then you're typical guest. On the other hand, we're more picky. I'd call this a draw.

2. How satisfied were you compared to your expectations?

Again, maybe a draw or close to it. Enthusiasts may come out ahead here because we're well read, informed, and we generally know ahead of time if we're headed into a ****ty park. Then again, anticipointment may play a part - high dreams for parks that don't quite meet our expectations. If the GP is in the middle, enthusiasts may swing farther on the low/high expectation spectrum so it may even out.

3. How satisfied are you compared to the ideal?

This is where lesser parks get crushed. The GP may go to SFA and have a mediocre time but there's generally fewer parks to compare to. For an enthusiast, they may go to SFA and it will be far better then they were expecting, so SFA does well on question 2. Then again, is a great day at SFA better than an OK visit to Holiday World? For your typical enthusiast I'm guessing no. So they hurt on question #3.

Take note for #3, I think this is changing pretty rapidly. With the internet and TV and other media I think more people in Sandusky are more aware of what's happening Orlando of what's happening in L.A. of what's happening in Pennsylvania then ever before. This is only going to make things harder on parks that don't offer a compelling experience for the money, I think. In otherwords, as the GP starts to think more like enthusiasts, the Gonchlands will do better, the Six Flags Over Wichita won't. Just thinking outloud here.

When I went to Dollywood last spring (yeah, I'm still raving about that one) I was expecting the park to do very well on #1 and #2. It was a special day when I realized it was doing better at #3 then I could have imagined.

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