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Everything posted by DBJ

  1. It's interesting to see WDW take on this challenge of adapting AI into an attraction. Certainly fits within the theme of the park. Even though it's coming out this year, the discussions probably go back a few years for this attraction. Imo, it's not really promoting a competitors product - just being reflective of current pop culture. If Disney theme parks were really concerned about promoting other studio's properties, they would have pulled Indy which is handled by Paramount/Viacom, and Star Tours because Star Wars which is handled by Fox. It's not like they can do attractions on Lost, Housewives, Extreme Home Makeover, Greys Anatomy, etc. very easily. They can't even get Hannah Montana in 3D into the parks after it's theatrical run and that seems like the most obvious move for a cheapo, attraction. So Disney..here's a thought. Put the movie into the Muppets theater at DCA for the summer.
  2. Nice to see the park turning around. Very glad to read that they took notice of the bathrooms! I'm not a toilet enthusiast, but man, all the facilities need remodeling. I know how they are a big fan of sponsorships, so they should pursue Kohler or similar companie to do showcase restrooms. To turn the park into the "destination", they should contact the Great Wolf Lodge and surrender part of their land or stake a claim in the neighboring development. The one thing socal doesn't have is an indoor waterpark and this would be unique in our area. Imo, they still need to look at what the local competition offers, and target those experiences. They completely lack a 3D film attraction (T2/Tough to Be a Bug, etc.), any kind of motion sim attraction (Simpsons, Star Tours), and no dark rides. There are companies that offer these kinds of attractions without busting the budget. Thomas Town is a great start in that direction, and X2's canopys could be useful on other rides. Imagine Batman enclosed Dark Knight- fastest "indoor" coaster in the west, Goliath's helix enclosed (maybe like you are passing through ruins of a temple) etc. All in all, it's really good to see the park in hands of management that sees the potential.
  3. Knott's... 1.) Theme Pony Express, place roof over western stage under Silver Bullet, new OTSR's for Perilous Plunge, dark ride shooter for KOD bldg. 2.) SFMM - steel beam Colosuss, work on food quality/price/variety, invest in more a/c or fans in "q's", begin removal of Metro if it cannot be repurposed into a different attraction, develop plan to bring in alternative attractions to park (example, sim rides that are idle at other parks could rotate to SFMM), buy DCA's Maliboomer, install in Freefall's place. 3.) Universal - close Backdraft in current form, look at how to make static attractions like T2 into evolving attractions, tear down walk through snooze maze (House of Horrors) turn into dark ride, use vacant western stunt show stage for original attraction.
  4. Wow! That's a lot of info. I don't see the logic in closing down the route between Roaring Rapids and Deja Vu. There's nothing there to "staff" in the first place. The store fronts between Deja Vu and "Upcharge Central" are good locations for different kinds of retail. I'm not sure the logic of shuttering down those stores instead of finding new merchandise to sell. Superman I can see being let go in it's current form. I hope they can do something creative with the tower. Would it be possible to use a chain lift and create a free fall drop ride out it? The free fall side could be "bizzaro" Superman. Colosuss. Not a surprise. I think however that they could "save" the ride by removing the wood tracks completely and replacing with steel tracks, a faux wood coaster. Losing the ride entirely is like letting go of their history. Surprised about Jet Stream. It's hot in Valencia, and they need water attractions. Maybe if they dumped it for a Splash Battle attraction - didn't Dollywood spend 5 million for theirs? Seems like a reasonable amount. The flats and monorail do have to be replaced, and those locations upon up plenty of opportunities to put in "family" attractions. Once Flashback is gone, there should be plenty of room to put in a large scale family area, joing Thomas Town and BBW. Grass under Scream - they should do artifical turf (no watering bills). Good to read that they know that is has been their thrill fan base that has been returning to the park year after year, and that big coasters/thrills are needed in the park to make them different than Knott's/Disney.
  5. If Deja Vu left, that would reduce the number of "world class" coasters. Seeing Goliath Jr or Canyon Blaster (the ones I always forget are there) are on the list of coasters, it makes that distinction up for debate. That's probably why they mention 14 now that I think about it, clearly they are excluding one of the two.
  6. I was there Sunday. By 2pm, X (which broke down first thing in the morning while I was in line for it), Tatsu, Scream, Riddler, Batman, Deja Vu (broke while entering the Q), Collosuss (both directions) were all down, Tidal Wave (closed too early in season, still warm in so cal!), Roaring Rapids, closed (ditto). With so many coasters down at once, people were heading straight for the water rides, doesn't help when 50% of them are down! Needless to say, split the park hours earlier than intended no wanting to take the chance to see what they might open up. I did see the FF the week before, and wow, what amazingly poor planning. It looks like they lost 99% of their budget. They leave the theatrical venues completely unused, and put two of the acts back to back in Gotham Square, with good ole Superman providing a nice noisy backdrop. The performers did their best with the limited resources and it has to be tought to work the event. I think they are trying to do the exact same Knott style of event, but whoever has the purse strings is holding onto them far too tight and the guest experience went straight into the toilet. This is the first year I've gone where it's been nearly a complete waste of time, and I've enjoyed the FF in years past never once expecting it to be like Knott's or Universal. It's time their entertainment dept. gets it together and use some creativity to make a decent Halloween event and not this embarrassment they put out this year. Needless to say, the new GM has a huge challenge coming up for 2008.
  7. I try to do the trifecta, Knott's, Universal, SFMM - and that's the order of quality imo. While I can't compare this year yet, I felt that the Terror Tram missed amazing oppoortunities last year. So much of that backlot tour is basically horror themed - flash flood, Jaws, King Kong, falling bridge (back in the day), Fast And The Furious (for different reasons), old exterior Frankestein village, earthquake & bugs in tunnel. I wish they would eventually incoporate the entire tram tour into the event. How could would it be to see Frankenstein in his village, zombies attacking the tram on the city sets, Kong with victim, dead bodies in the quake, and so on. They can still drop people off at the Psycho house and then pick them up after WOW sets. I think that might help thin the herd in terms of capacity. I'm still checking it out this year, to see the improvements. Unicersal did do one of my favorite mazes of all time, a Rob Zombie one back before the put the whole thing on ice until last year.
  8. Thanks for the pics. I can easily see how that "fits" onto the Granny Gran Prix area. I do hope they add the train station facade at least. It sounds like the expansion literally is just the Thomas Train and a merchandise store. It certainly is a bizarre transition going from BB, to Thomas Town, to Goliath. But at least the kids attractions are grouped together so little feet people don't have to walk very far. Space planning wise, my hope is that the Psyclone spot is reserved for another large scale attraction in 2009/10.
  9. The more likely location is by the petting zoo and replacement of Granny Gran Prix, as first mentioned by arrowfanman, on page 178 of the SFMM thread on page 3. There are even pictures of the site where the attraction will end up. Great location, creates 2nd themed "land" for the kids.
  10. Yeah, family friendly is the way to go, but so far in MM case, it's been an empty promise made in 2006. Ironically, at media day for Tatsu Shapiro announced the new direction for SFMM. Since then, the park hasn't created any new attraction that indicates they are moving in that direction. Couldn't even score a kid's playground like SFGADV's! They did create more expensive eating options, like using the characters for meet and greets and things like Justic League Feast (which isn't advertised in print or tv commercials), Cold Stone and Johnny Rockets. But that's kind of like putting the cart before the horse when trying to bring in a new audience. A family walking around the park in 2008 will only see the same attractions as 2006, higher prices, and badly placed ads. Unlike their coasters, which retain popularity to a degree as the years go on, their family side isn't anything unique enough to stand on it's own as a draw. Many family attractions are inexpensive to boot, so the complete absence of anything is a poor decision. Maybe in an isolated market that wouldn't be bad, but when Disney and Universal are the competition, both with new family attractions hitting in 2008, MM can't just completely stand idle without something new. Imo, what happened is that any money made by MM since Tatsu in 2006 was allocated throughout the chain, which leads to our now record possible 3 yr. dry spell. While it's important to build up the smaller parks, letting their #2 park go too long with nothing is terrible business planning. If anything, the lack of any clear direction could hurt the park as people see attractions leaving and not being replaced. They even had to run a commercial this last summer reminding people that the park was not closed! Shapiro really damaged the park for even mentioning that at one time it was up for sale. That perception still persists. Lack of investment into the park, that is, an attraction that can be marketed, only reinforces that idea. My hope is that they are examing the unique market conditions of SFMM and will installl those attractions that will make them stand out.
  11. 2004 Hurricane Harbor added Toronado. 2005 Batman Begins stunt show. 2006 Tatsu. 2007 - nothing, removal of Psyclone. 2008 - nothing? I wasn't expecting a coaster for 2008, but going for 2 years without a single new attraction (show, flat, coaster, kid's rides, or something for HH), hasn't been done before. Wikipedia has a great timeline on SFMM, and they been pretty consistent for over a decade about adding something new every year. This is the first time they will go two years in a row without something new to promote the park. That's kind of risk in what will be a competitive year here in so cal.
  12. Isn't it bizarre that they didn't confirm anything about SFMM? The rumored Granny Gran Prix location left untouched. Warner Brother Studios is here, but no movie-tie in. Tony Hawk started in so cal, but no skating tie-in. Tatsu opend in 2006, are they really not going to have a new attraction to promote - of any kind- until 2009?
  13. As many times as I've been there in the past, although this years avg. is way low, I've never actually seen the petting zoo. I had no idea they had that much space back there! I rode the Gran Prix years ago, and I was the only one on it despite the park being pretty busy. It's would be a great location of the new rumored Thomas attraction. Not too concerned about the metro ever returning. Imo, they should just remove it completely and use the space gained for other attractions. I would rather see them do a gondola ride following the same route if they are really looking into adding a "transport" ride.
  14. In terms of being run as a business, it's pretty much a no brainer that Cedar Fair was run exceptionally well. SF teetered on the brink of self-destruction for so long, and prior management made amazing mistakes. But now that Cedar Fair potentially overexpanded with the Paramount Parks, is gutting GL but being coy about it's future, I'm not entirel convinced they are moving in a positive direction. My primary experience is with Knott's, so here's my comment. Imo, I thought Silver Bullet was redudant in the so cal marketplace (as opposed to a Dive Machine or flyer - this was Pre-Tatsu), and it's presence destroyed the theme of it's area. The colors are way off for the old west, the station is typical B&M shed. At least a better attempt was made with SS, but not by much. I'm really stunned that have removed an old west attraction for an Panda Express! I think their management needs to refocus on the look of the park before it all turns into a cement slab like the "boardwalk area". I kind of see similarities in how both chains are being run, and I'm not sure either one is making the right moves everytime out.
  15. Getting the right staff, at those wages, will continue to be quite a challenge and it is going to take time for any new training to take effect. And with the seasonal nature of most of the positions, that only adds to the problem. I don't think they should look to the past at all, but instead look forward to what can be done. Personally, I think that the park will only go to the next level if corporate immediately reserves space in the new neighboring development for a hotel. It is zoned for "hospitality", and they should jump on that with a business partner asap, or lose that real estate opportunity forever. As for the park itself, it certainly is not an ugly park. Besides the obvious upkeep on coasters, imo, they should focus on small sections first that can be done for a reasonable budget. For example, the Panda Express courtyard could look quite nice if they repaired the stairs, stained the concrete, decorative seating, fountain, etc. all in southwest style. Easy to do under 10 grand. Then they just move around the park (remove cruddy X statue for example), and focus on creating these small nice spots. Eventually, these low cost nice spots link together to make a pleasant park. I would never expect them to be able to build faux mountains or entire villages like Disney, but they can enhance many spots in the park without a lot of expense. Bust out that Home Depot card and get to it. The Scream grass issue shouldn't be grass, so cal water shortage and all, but at least an artificial turf, (same for Goliath, Collosuss, and so on everywhere there is brown/gray.)
  16. Thanks for the info on FF. I'm looking forward to getting those backwards rides in on Collosuss again. I'm hoping Psyclone's spot is taken by an El Toro clone eventually, as it is one of the last spots for a large coaster that they have left. Once Flashback is gone, I think they have plenty of room for an expanded kids section. I hope however that they put in a Sallly interactive shooter ride or a Splash battle attraction, and also build a modest 4D theater. Imo, putting in small carnival rides that can only fit small kids would be a mistake. They need a true all ages attractions if they are serious about the family audience. More importantly, they need to own their own ip's so they can exploit them later on, much in the same way Pirates went from theme park ride to money making machine.
  17. Wow! That was an impressive write up. Makes me want to skip work and hit up SFMM during the week! I noticed that you skipped all of the water rides. Good thing you missed the heat wave over labor day weekend!
  18. I have heard a rumor that AMC is one of the tenants of the new plaza-esque mall being built right next to SFMM. My thought is that the master plan will look similar to what's built by the Edwards theater, which is also a mixed-use business/retail development with 1 "main street" connecting the theater to the mall. If that is the direction of the look it winds up taking, I think most people would be satisfied. If it winds up looking like the Grove LA, then imo people would be quite happy. Either way, it's a good thing for SFMM and hopefully they make good neighbors working together.
  19. Pirates of the Carribean. 3 hours, got on ride, and it breaks down next to banjo player at top of ride (it was years ago), another 40 minutes! Disneyland pre-fast pass was all about 2 hr. lines when I went there for the first time. Longest recent line, X for 3 hours opening weekend.
  20. That's kind of surprising that they are gutting out GL. I wonder if their intent is to raze the bobsleds as well, and really do a massive Wildwater Kingdom expansion. They could do an onsite indoor waterpark/hotel combo like they have at Cedar Point, and do a boardwalk type feel between the two. It'll be interesting to see what they do with the remainder of the property. Although clearly they need to find a way to make it stand out a bit more in the marketplace.
  21. That was a good trip report. It sounds like you did pretty well with the lines actually. I think part of the purpose of the 1 train op is to create lines when crowds are light. The last thing a park wants to do is to have people whip through the park without spending money. Imo, as enthusiasts some are incredibly impatient and want to basically walk onto rides. Waits of up to a 1/2 hour for one of the major rides are perfectly reasonable, even 45 for X is doing well considering it's history. During Fright Fest, I would suspect that everything will be back up to at least 2 train ops. It might not help the wait in line situation however, as it tends to be pretty crowded most nights. I wouldn't be too surprised if you actually did more during this trip that what will be possible during FF. My advice is to definately invest into the Flash Passess, knock out the coasters during the daylight, and do the mazes/shows at night.
  22. At SFMM... Convert Collosuss into steel tracks, restore double dip, keep wood frame, wood coasters just don't hold up very well at MM. Rip out the start of Scream, replace with the "Hulk" launch passing under cobra roll, have it reconnect back to original track before first loop, enclose interlocking corkscrews. Goliath - enclose helix in a ruined temple to complete the "ruins" theme that's there now ever so lightly. Enclose Batman: hello, dark knight 2008 movie tie in. At Knott's... Theme out Sidewinder completely, it's small footprint, wouldn't be too expensive. Build Mayan Temple around Jaguar, with temple housing either sit down eatery or other low rise attraction. Knott's does have to really clever things with space planning from now on, so making use of all available vertical space is important. Ghostride just needs TLC. Silver Bullet should be shielded from the wagon theater (forgot name), so they should have some kind of roof structure over that theater to block noise. Those are my random pie in the sky thoughts.
  23. I looked at their schedule, and the last week of daily operation is Sept. 3-7, open weekends rest of year, so visiting 8th or 9th is good.. Here's their operating schedule. http://www.sixflags.com/magicmountain/info/parkInfo.aspx Have a good time.
  24. I would skip Knott's this time around. With Haunt constuction going on, you never know what will be closed. They currently have the log ride closed, and no one knows when that will re-open. Plus, the traffic from downtown LA to Knotts is terrible. Don't let SFMM prior rep get in the way of going to the park. I've been going for 9 years since I moved here and not had a single problem with another guest. September is not as busy as the summer, so the odds are very good that the lines will be considerably less. If you can manage to hit it on one of their open weekdays (before Sept. 9th), even better. And since it sounds like you like B&M's, no better place with Tatsu (unique layout for flyers), Scream, Batman, and Riddler. Add in X, which is unique to the states, and our working Deja Vu, it's the best you can do for a coaster park here in so cal. There is no mass transit to SFMM. So leave downtown LA early as possible. It's better to get to Valencia way before the park opens and have breakfast somewhere, than to attempt to fight rush hour traffic. One thing to know about SFMM is that parking is 15. Universal is actually a good option considering your location. I would 100% take the subway from downtown to Universal. It beats fighting traffic and paying for parking. The day pass is 3 bucks, and if you complete Universal, they have the great Citywalk. If you complete Citywalk, the subway pass can take you directly to Hollywood/Highland, for the walk of fame, El Capitan theater.
  25. Here are my tips. 1.) Early as possible to DL, if you don't have a pass or a special offer you have to redeem at gate , I would print out tickets at home - cuts down on the line. (true of Universal too, print tickets @ home) 2.) Head to Nemo first thing, if the line is going to take a few minutes, pick up fastpasses to Space MT either before getting in line for Nemo or having another member in the party do it while in line for Nemo. 3.) Finish T-land, head toward Jones, back to Haunted Mansion, then Splash. Pirates' line does move quicker than any of those three. I would prioritize the major attractions in each land first, and then revisit the lands latter on another lap to pick off the 2nd tier attractions. In general, never turn down an opportunity for a fastpass on the way to another attraction or for rerides later in the day. People tend to get very territorial over fireworks viewing spots, so keep that in mind. If you have the time/money, I would park hop DL & DCA. Universal. I would actually skip the upper lot completely upon park opening and head down to Jurrasic Park and Mummy (slowest moving line when busy). Universal is also better on a weekday when production is happening on the backlot tram tour, far moreso than the weekend. Skip food in park for food on the Citywalk, like Bubba Gump. If your'e at the park early, then will try to sell you on valet parking, it's not worth it. Have a good time.
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