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Kevin Long

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Posts posted by Kevin Long

  1. Actually we don't know if anything will be closed this year. It was November before they released a map for HITP last year.

     

    Boss won't be because it can't run below a certain temperature (although I can't remember what that temperature is), but the whole Illinois section of the park was closed off last season because of Boomerang and with it being re-opened now all the rides back there should operate, we should get a info dump about HITP with all the rides soon after FF is over

    I wonder if the park is considering using heaters to warm the rolling stock like Great Adventure has. If so The Boss might be possible. Any employees know if they were testing The Boss weekdays during HITP to see if there are ways to get her going?

     

    Are you sure its the trains and not possibly the track that hinders cold weather operations - I know the cold must effect both to some degree - expansion or contraction of the rails, bolts, ice formation etc. it may not be possible to do anything to the track. I know very little on the subject, but am curious. I would surmise the track is more vulnerable to cold weather damage than the trains. Not to mention the dangers of emergency evacuation in the event of a problem - unloading a train on an Icy, dark, coaster track in freezing temps is certainly not something you want to have to do.

     

    Kevin

  2. As far as the employees not caring, I don't believe that's true. I'm sure your managers and full time staff really do care, but you can't expect the teenager at the Dip-N-Dots stand to care, no matter how much you pay them. They're young and hormonal.

     

    I was not disparaging the overall management team. - but as you state, the bottom rung teenager is the face of the company and make for the experience good or bad.

     

    I have had experiences getting food that were exceptional, I got the employee name and made sure to mention them by name in any survey.

     

    I don't mind waiting and delays IF the staff at least appears to be doing all they can to expedite service. A food rush is a food rush, and they can be easier for those waiting to handle if they see a bit of hustle behind the counter.

     

    Kevin

  3. If SF changed the dining pass to where people could use it whenever they wanted during the day instead of having designated times, would that take care of the ridiculous food lines?

     

     

    I have always thought this and put it on every survey. I mean you paid for a certain quantity of meals/snacks; why can't you use them whenever you want? And like you I think it would help lines. Particularly at events like FF when everyone is trying to eat all at once (after dinner starts and before the haunts open).

     

    I kind of assume the reason they don't do this is so you don't use it for friends. For example, if we come to FF at 4 in the afternoon because we mostly want to experience the park in the dark, we are not going to have 2 meals and a snack. If we could use those meals anytime, it would be easy to treat a friend that doesn't have a DP. The question is: Are they really losing that much money? Would someone mooching off a friend spend the money if they didn't have that opportunity or would they just stuff their face at Steak n Shake before/after a visit? I mean if they were willing to bring in food trucks it shows some willingness to give up profit for happy visitors.

     

    Speaking of......I didn't see any food trucks this year when we were there on the 7th. Did they decide not to do it this year? And if not, is it because it cut into the bottom line too much? The answer to that may be why they have the designated times?

     

    Or they are just being kinda douchey and hoping lots of people won't ever use all of the meals designated to them, thus increasing their profit on each dp.

     

    Or some combo of the above.

     

    You need to know something about bulk food prices and the profitability of the food service industry to even begin to decode their reasons. What they are charging for a hamburger fries and drink most likely costs them in bulk, as they buy it, about $2 to $3 max per meal. They charge $12-$15. I have eaten out there on nearly every visit this year (about 8) and I have maybe cost them $25-$30 in food and drinks in about 10 meals. (Deluxe dining pass $85) I like the convenience of not having to have any cash or money on me when I visit and can stop in whenever and not worry about paying for anything.

     

    I cannot even fathom the actual cost of bringing your family of 4 to the park without passes and dining in park for a full day. Gotta be close to $500. Can't imagine a lot of the crowd is of this variety. I mean $20 to park your car, that is truly a rip off, and that's with no parking lot shuttle to at least bring you to the gate.

     

    Season and dining passes are their bread and butter,and controlling costs and cutting them is how they keep their margins high enough to stay open.

     

    another 2 cents

    Kevin

  4. If SF changed the dining pass to where people could use it whenever they wanted during the day instead of having designated times, would that take care of the ridiculous food lines?

     

    it certainly would not hurt in my opinion. I am of the very firm belief that 90% of the dining pass delay problems are related to attempting to control labor costs.

     

    by restricting times of eating and limiting the establishments that are open at any given time, you don't need to be fully staffed at any food booth - 90% of the people eating at the park now are passholders. I mean face it you don't eat at the park for the fine dining experience, without the pass most people would not be buying stale chicken strips and lukewarm burgers for 15.00 a pop.I almost never see anyone pay cash for food anymore in the park -

     

    I avoid most busy times at the park and delays I saw and experienced were directly related to 2 things. Being understaffed at the dinner times and a lack of work knowledge or interest in serving customers (efficiency and or speed of job completion). In the end its a crappy food service job and those doing it don't seem to be into it very much, hence a definite lack of enthusiasm.

     

    Not sure of the fix for any of this, but more operational coke freestyle machines around the park might help a bit with drink lines.

     

    my two cents

     

    Kevin

  5. Just got back from my first visit to SFSL in about two years. Wondering why we decided to buy season passes again.

     

    Here's a few of my highlights:

    Justice League CLOSED(only ride the wife really wanted to ride)

    Two hour window to use dining pass for Dinner and Snack. That's a lot of food to consume in two hours, let alone wait in line for.

    Love at First Fright-Worst I've seen in forever. Singing is awful, new songs are awful, and LAFF is usually a highlight of a Fright Fest visit for us.

    Skyscreamer-best lighting package in the whole park, NO LIGHTS!!

    Took a train ride, sat in the station for almost 20 minutes.

    Not too mention all the typical hoosiers and roaming teenagers.

     

    I guess I'm just becoming an old grouch. Kinda wished I would have saved money on season and dining passes just for a weekend at SDC.

     

     

    ^^^^ this is my plan for next year

  6. Kevin, I believe we will see another mid scale attraction between 10-15 million, but similarly to what Andrew said, it won't come until it makes the most financial sense to build it. I firmly believe it will also come with the removal of a large attraction.

     

    well the economy could loosen up and get a lot better and that time may come sooner, but its gotta be tough to outlay for a $15 million attraction, for a park that might take 5-10 years to recoup that. You could put it in magic mountain and get it back in 2-3 years.

     

    up to four cents....

     

    Kevin

  7. Well said, Andrew. Now I'm just waiting for someone to reignite the "Six Flags needs to build more roller coasters to keep up with the competition" argument.

     

    I think that is the wrong way to think, because that's just not how they operate. They don't get something small this year so they can save up for next year. They always buy the cheapest thing that is going to bring in guests. Even if they had the money to get something big, if there's something cheaper they could add instead, they're going to do that. I think it's about time we all accept that really great small additions are the best we can reasonably hope for.

     

    I agree completely - SFSL is not a destination park, its an add-on attraction to an area visit- or pass thru on the way southwest to SDC. We just all need to accept that.

     

    An 8 digit coaster will never be built here. low 7's maybe. I suspect you will never even see a $5 million coaster in this park again.

     

    my 2 cents, probably wrong

     

    Kevin

  8. I paid 60 for gold pass last year on this sale like aaronmb. I never saw a better deal unless you wanted the "Batman" edition pass(which the perks included ert events for Batman passholders) for like 65-70 if I remember correctly. I paid pretty close attention and this sale was cheapest for a gold pass.

     

    thanks guys - I think that was my rate as well, I added the deluxe meal plan as well and I don't have the paperwork anymore so I can't split it out and see the cost of each. it looks as though the price of the deluxe meal plan has gone up. but again I am not certain. I do think there are upgrade discounts though. not sure however...

     

    thanks again

     

    Kevin

  9. I have a question and I hope its not too convoluted -

     

    coming up this weekend is supposed to be the best deal on seasons passes all year, particularly for current season pass holders. is it really though? They have sales and specials all season long ( Easter, mothers day, fathers day, memorial day, fourth july) has anyone compared the prices to the "big sale" for passholders? in reality if you visit more than 3 times a year a pass is almost a no brainer, but is this sale better than all the rest really?

     

    I am considering NOT renewing my pass next year and going to SDC with a pass instead. if the price is right I might be able to swing both. From my records I think it is but I am not sure. I have made purchases of passes when this sale was not going on and they were higher in both cases for Identical benefits. Anyone else care to share their thoughts?

     

    Thanks

    Kevin

  10. Just got back from the park - as I am known to put forth criticism when I see something I don't like, I am likewise obligated to praise something I think is very good -

     

    just saw the new station ceiling fans in the St Louis and Chicago train stations ( see photos) - I am a firm believer that amenities like this make the park much more enjoyable and attractive. While very certainly not the type of thing that will bring in visitors, it will go a long way to making the visit much more pleasant. I guess when you have a home park that you visit frequently, you see the faults a lot more than a casual one time visitor. Well done and thanks to those involved...

     

    I think simple things like fresh paint on railings and buildings, repairs to roof shingles, fixing or rebuilding the waterfalls in the upper section of the park - even the newer plantings I have noticed in the flower beds this year, all go towards making the park a better place to visit. I think even $250,000 worth of general maintenance and upkeep would be hugely noticeable in the park. Again, not glamorous but welcome.

     

    and they are definitely getting the jump on Halloween this year.

     

    Kevin

    DSC00328.thumb.JPG.53442110708af7b52241c85200445bff.JPG

    Chicago station new fan --- whoot......

    DSC00329.thumb.JPG.18789808609dae481ea8c825c4f9aaec.JPG

    new fan.... how about new ceiling paint????? look at those chips.....

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    skeletons in trees already...

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    and on posts ...

  11. New model Vekoma trains would be nice. Doubt it is happening though. And if we get a Wonder Woman ride I'd much prefer the Raptor

     

    Only way I see a Fling replacement in 2018 is if we were getting a flat that fits in that footprint already and they just decide to change the location.

     

    that was what I was envisioning.... and while it may not be a direct replacement. it would be easy to claim it was a planned one...

    then it looks like planned obsolescence...

     

    We get inside info the general public doesn't, remember.

     

    Kevin

  12. The staff was probably more interested about the realistic threat of perverts inappropriately filming children than anything else. That explains perfectly their disinterest in intervening and more concern placed on just keeping an eye on you and making sure that you weren't doing anything wrong, while still allowing you to do your thing. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if their behavior was generated from an overzealous customer complaint/concern.

     

    I'm looking forward to viewing your video. Please share when you finish it.

     

    Due to this fact I intentionally skipped the entire bugs bunny/ kids section of the park. I knew that would not look good no matter what. back in the day it was just a wooded area and some paths.....

     

    Kevin

     

    shame the fling may be going it looks pretty good in the photos --- here are a few

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    Cars look real good

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    queue line looks will maintained and freshly painted as well

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    DSC00322.thumb.JPG.91c275ad209edb6da9b0ff8556e8e19b.JPG

    even the building is holding up well

  13. pro tip -

     

    when shooting video try not to be methodical and document every view from the pathways - also shooting video alone is probably a bad idea also.

     

    I was out at the park today shooting some video of the entire park from pathway to pathway. I shot all of the Spanish section ( flume, thunder and justice league) I had moved on to Britannia and was shooting stills and video of the soon to be defunct highland fling, when I attracted the attention of a security guard.

     

    I continued my documentation as I moved up past bug bunny park and up to the eagle and drop tower area. There I picked up the second security guard. They both continued to follow me though at a safe curious distance not knowing I had detected them. ( I am a former security person myself). I proceed around and down the hill past the mine train and down towards Spinsanity. About this time my two original security persons were joined by two more who hung back a bit further in a ready backup position on another pathway across from me (in case I got violent I guess). As I got to in front of the queue line for Spinsanity one of the guards approached me and asked if I was mapping the park.

     

    " I guess I sort of am" I said. I explained I was a former employee and was documenting the changes to the park since I had worked here some 30+ years ago. He asked me where I had worked in the park and we had a pleasant conversation. He then left and the security detail dispersed. I then continued on my way.

     

    I got as far as panda express, when I was being followed again this time by two area leads who were quite bad at their surveillance. I guess they were supposed to be less intrusive then having security follow me. They were chatting and talking and watching me and throwing a football around. ( this behavior is very strange for area leads and stood out to me.) they continued to follow as I walked around for about another 20 minutes, keeping their distance but still always in sight and following me exactly. ( not normal for area leads) anyway when they followed me to the front of the palace theater, I approached them and as I did they began to wander off, I called them over and asked them to stop and talk to me, and told them I was not some threat but was just filming for my personal use. They mumbled something and wandered behind the palace to the office/ host area there.

     

    Moral - don't be a stalker when you video in a park and bring family with you.

    my bad I guess - BUT good to know someone is watching for the many terrorists who are plotting the destruction of theme parks via video tape. I chalk it up to bored security guards. I am sure I fit some profile as I am a 52 year old, bald, fat guy with glasses and a limp.

     

    Hope someone found this interesting- if not sorry

     

    Kevin

    Ps I am putting together a compilation of some park changes over the years, I found some old footage from the 70's and wanted to make a comparison video.

  14. Wow, that seems really early. We still have about 2 more weeks of 100 degree weather in MO.
    Thunder River closed for the season yesterday.

     

    it does seem really early and the open hours are reduced again to 6 pm close on weekdays -

     

    this goes a long way to show that the park relies very heavily on local traffic for income - school starts this week and next for most of the STL area.

    hence the unlikelihood of any sort of major roller coaster ever being erected.

     

    my two cents

     

    Kevin

  15. ^ I'm pretty sure the water fall is permanently discontinued. Which is why they painted the mural on the wall behind it before the beginning of last season.

    They had it working earlier this year. But there was a few hours downtime a few weeks back, for the entire ride, and now it is completely gone. Somewhat safe to assume pieces started falling of.

     

    I do agree the ride needs TLC. They have already fixed the water cannons.

     

    I noticed during my trip on Sunday that the pond at the top of the waterfall had been redone this year. Also the removal of the edge looked very clean, like they are planning on replacing it. (The cuts were straight and the ledge was ground flat.) A replacement probably won't be seen till next year, since concert work takes time.

    here are some photos from 7/31

     

    I am guessing its all over for the waterfall

     

    my 2 cents

     

    Kevin

     

    and I saw

     

    WELCOME THEME PARK REVIEW on the Park Marquee today....

    That proves nothing, that edge is plenty straight enough for a replacement edge to be added. Plus they clearly did a lot of work to the pond in the off season. The pond actually sits level now and doesn't have a small tree growing in it. The waterfall will return, later.

     

    wasn't trying to prove anything ---- just thought the pics might be interesting and offered an opinion....... time will tell

     

    Kevin

  16. ^ I'm pretty sure the water fall is permanently discontinued. Which is why they painted the mural on the wall behind it before the beginning of last season.

    They had it working earlier this year. But there was a few hours downtime a few weeks back, for the entire ride, and now it is completely gone. Somewhat safe to assume pieces started falling of.

     

    I do agree the ride needs TLC. They have already fixed the water cannons.

     

    I noticed during my trip on Sunday that the pond at the top of the waterfall had been redone this year. Also the removal of the edge looked very clean, like they are planning on replacing it. (The cuts were straight and the ledge was ground flat.) A replacement probably won't be seen till next year, since concert work takes time.

    here are some photos from 7/31

     

    I am guessing its all over for the waterfall

     

    my 2 cents

     

    Kevin

     

    and I saw

     

    WELCOME THEME PARK REVIEW on the Park Marquee today....

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  17. Is there a manufacturer that still does Monster type rides? I never got to ride Momo but bringing a newer version of that back would be really cool.

     

     

     

     

    you can still find them around not sure how current this is but this is what was here in STL

     

    used ones are still out there if the park was interested they could probably find one..

    probably less than 250,000 all in with theming and queue line......

     

    Kevin

  18. I'm thinking the carousel might be on the block - after all its very close to disintegration right now..... shame

     

    kevin

     

    The cosmetic appearance of a piece of machinery is never a good indicator of the mechanical and or structural condition of said machinery. Carousel is an excellent example. It looks like crap but is mechanically and structually sound. Plus carousels are mechanically very simple and parts could be made at a reasonable cost at a local machine shop.

     

    Don't get me wrong I would not like to see the carousel go anywhere - I am lamenting the fact that in last two years I have see NO cosmetic work done on it at all not even to the simplicity of a good wash job to get the crud off of it ( dust, spiderwebs, bird nests). All rides are an investment and I feel like you should maintain them all. Just because it is functional and safe doesn't mean it should be neglected visually. If you don't want to take the time and or money to refinish the 50+ year old handcarved ride elements maybe trash them all and replace them with easy to maintain fiberglass ones. Just hose them off at the end of the season. I just hate to see a classic ride like the carousel is such a poor state.

     

    Look at the hideous condition of the main Stage in the Old Glory Amphitheater - looks like its ready to collapse. need new roofing siding and paint. Its a psychological thing, you may not notice it directly but it subliminally sticks in your head. I think it brings down the overall feel of the park.

     

    Kevin

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