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Too Fast For Comfort

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Everything posted by Too Fast For Comfort

  1. I could argue against that, but you know what, I'll just let this headline do it for me. https://investors.sixflags.com/news-and-events/press-releases/2018/11-14-2018-210455656 Yeah, nothing like posting a link from the official website to show authority from a source. Their stock was in the gutter for so long that increasing dividends and the rising price of the stock doesn't mean much. It just means that the people who bought it on a firesale before are seeing it coming back to Earth now. But I can also agree that its just the Wal Mart/Spirit Airlines/Megabus/McDonald's of amusement parks... at best. Their model is to cut costs and give families a serviceable experience with no bells and whistles.
  2. Why in the world would you ropedrop Kraken? It has the least wait on any ride in the park.
  3. Does anybody know if they offer universal passes for SDC/Dollywood/Wild Adventures at all? The best that I saw is a season pass at Wild Adventures that does 50% off single day admission for SDC and Dollywood. Is that worth doing, or can I get better discounts doing something else? I only live a few hours from Wild Adventures, and plan on doing road trips that will go to SDC and Dollywood this year.
  4. I was mentioning this on another thread, but this is a fairly fair rule of thumb to go by for this 365 day operation parks (not that this doesn't apply to seasonal parks, but it definitely applies to 365 parks): You really have to study the school year calendar. For parks like Universal and Disney, you have to worry about all of the districts across the country, but for a park like SFMM, you're safe enough just looking at California. The summer will have more crowds than the rest of the year on average, but the crowds will be more spread out, because parents have three months to take their kids to the park. So you might be a little safer to get away with a weekend then (but don't even for Fourth of July or Memorial Day or Labor Day). But its going to be mobbed any weekend, holiday, winter break, or spring break day. Parents just have fewer days to work with outside of the summer, and unless they want to pull their kids from school, they're going to have to jam themselves into those days. So yes, unless you're talking about Monday through Thursday (Fridays can work, but you still get a lot of the weekend traffic) during the school calendar, you can expect crowds. But believe it or not, probably about half of the days in SFMM's calendar are pretty dead, so just try to prioritize going when you know the local kids will be in school and pray for no field trips.
  5. Also, is it likely to be crowded? I've never been to a theme park on New year's eve Rule of thumb: for these 365 day parks, pretty much any day outside of summer vacation that kiddies have off (remember to factor in the school year of all districts across the country, not just Florida's) will bring intense crowds. Over the summer, you spread it out over three months, outside of the summer, the kiddies and their parents jam their time into the weekends, holidays, and breaks. You can get some pretty good days in if you specifically plan on going days that school districts across the country are generally in school. But on holidays that virtually have district has off, you know it'll be mobbed. These parks -- no matter who they are -- just live and die by when the kiddies are in school. Ironically, the one chain that's the most insulated by this is Disney -- as they plan to have some adult friendly things, and families are so addicted that parents will actually pull their kids from school just to take Disney vacations. Regional parks rely on the group trips and field trips to fill their parks when the kiddies are in school.
  6. Yeah, its a little tricky at SWO. Due to the fact that Manta opens its second station up later and its the first thing that Basic GP see when they enter the park, you might be better off skipping it and coming back later. But then almost everything else at the park is capacity and never gets a line either. Even Atlantis is pretty high capacity, easy to load, and old enough so its usually a walk-on the majority of the day. My observation is that the penguin ride and the river rapids rides are the only rides that really get lines in the park other than Manta and Mako, so the best bet is probably to get 1-2 rides in on them each (penguin ride and river rapids) and then clean up on Mako until it starts to get a line (which may not actually happen at all). Later in the day you can clean up on Atlantis and Kraken and catch the shows and the Turtle ride. At some point you can circle back to Manta, and it will probably have the same 20-30 minute wait that's waiting for you pretty much all day.
  7. I've been five times in 2018, and I believe that both sides have been open every single time, even though as I was saying the park is usually deserted when I go. It won't open with both sides running, but after an hour or two they open the other side up to. Manta is one of the few rides that actually does get a line there. Its the first ride that the GP sees when they enter the park, and its slow to load. Without the second station open even with two trains it becomes a low capacity ride. The only two other rides that get lines are the penguin dark ride and the river rapids ride (mainly because the river rapids ride just opened). Its amazing to me how dead Kumba, Montu, Kraken, and Mako usually are. They range from complete walk-ons where even the front is a walk-on, to complete walk-ons to 20-30 minutes tops. Well, obviously I wouldn't be surprised if they get to an hour if you really don't do your homework and go on crowded days.
  8. I went to SeaWorld after work on Friday the 28th. I kind of wanted to see what the park would be like with some lines, I wanted to pick a day it would be open until 10 PM, and I wanted to get a chance to do the Christmasfest. Here's my experience: Kraken 8x: This was the first time I've ever seen this with a line, but it still never got above 20 minutes even at the peak. Four of the eight were in the front row. I snuck on the front as a single rider when I saw an empty seat, and the last three were absolute walk-ons. I'd say from 9-10 PM everything was an absolute walk-on, like you'd expect normally at SWO. Mako 5x: Again, maybe 20-25 minutes at most. I think I got in the back once, and I snuck on the front once when I hawked an empty seat. I bought a beer and drank it in line twice, so that helped with the waits. Manta x2: Maybe 25-30 minutes of wait time. This consistently had a line all day, but never got too bad. Journey to Atlantis x1: Surprisingly, I saw a line for this where the queue house was getting pretty full and they were posting an hour wait. Very surprising as I've never been on this when it wasn't a walk-on. I got a lap in at 9:30 when it was a walk-on though. Ice dancing Christmas show: This was in the stadium where I think that they do the Shamu show. I actually thought it was very good. I'm also a big fan of good shows and a chance to sitdown, relax, and enjoy myself. So I wouldn't worry about crowds too much. Its a 365 park, and I've usually gone on the weekends, and its still always been pretty dead. This was the most crowded I've seen it, and it still wasn't too bad.
  9. Where's "Unnecessary floorless conversion of hand-me-down coaster that should have been scrapped years ago: the Ride?" Seriously though. After riding Patriot, I feel like the older B&M Stand-Ups are just better off scrapped. Floorless trains turn them from a "completely sh*tty coaster" to a "this is actually kinda tolerable" coaster. I think there was a very strong case for Rougarou, but not so much for the smaller ones with uninteresting layouts. I'm interested to see how this one turns out since it is Six Flags' first and we don't have any "real" concept imagery of the final product. I just feel like there isn't enough substance in a stand-up coaster to warrant it standing alone as a floorless coaster (no pun intended). I could see a design like Riddler's Revenge having enough height, speed, intensity, and substance on the track design alone, but typically the stand-up technique itself adds so much intensity that designers have to tone down the design itself. That's really why I never thought it made sense to ride floorless on a coaster that was designed to be stand-up. I'd just scrap it and get a modern coaster with a modern design.
  10. I mean I obviously love single rider lines -- I'll even use it if I'm going with somebody to cut down our wait time -- but from a park's perspective, there just really aren't that many people that go to parks by themselves so it has very limited value. If more people went to parks by themselves (and parks found out ways to make a ton of money off of them) I'm sure that parks would make sure to add them to every ride. As a guy with a ton of experience with going to parks by myself -- my suggestion is to at least let the ride ops know that you're a single rider when you see staff past the greeter, and ask them politely if there's anything that they can do. Very often, rides won't advertise single rider lines, but there is something they can do to zoom you past some of the line and let you stand in a special line to be on call for when they need you. I've noticed that for Flight of Passage, Dinosaur, and a few other Disney rides. Universal seems to have single rider lines for most of their rides that get waits. And with proper planning you can avoid lines at most SF or other regional park as is. Cedar Fair parks sometimes have options for single riders as well.
  11. Congrats on you deciding to get in shape. I think that you won't regret it and will be a lot happier with how you feel afterwards. My main piece of advice is to remember that losing fat is about 80% what you eat, and only about 20% hard work at the gym. Hard work at the gym is necessary, but you really won't see any results until you clean up your diet. Just my two cents. Happy to see that you get on LR.
  12. Yeah, that's what I heard. I went to SFMM/Knott's for the first time about two months ago. Ironically, when I went Knott's was an absolute ghost town (Wednesday) and SFMM was relatively uncrowded on Thursday but absolutely packed on Friday. Go figure. I think that Knott's also manages to stay efficient even when the park is dead so you only really get waits on Ghostrider. Six Flags still messes around and does single train ops when they think it won't be packed, so a ghost town still gives you some waits. And everyone just mobbed SFMM for the Friday night Fright Fest, and because it was open until 1:00 AM.
  13. I don't know... Wouldn't they rather have that person in the park spending money? They already your admission money, everything beyond that is a plus. I think it depends on the crowds that your park expects. In general, and for a certain days of the year. You're kind of talking about the mentality of a nightclub. It only really works if its popular and gets a steady flow of traffic. If its dead, its a problem. Parks that are smaller, new, or struggling would practically give the tickets away if they could, because its a little embarrassing for people to see your park constantly dead, and as you were saying they want you in the park so that they can up-charge you for the food, parking, merch, up-charge rides, etc. But as parks become more established and popular, its better to keep your prices more true to actual usage. The park can only fit so many people, and the GP hate lines as much as enthusiasts. If the park gets too jammed packed, they'll be turned off and not want to come back. Or, even worse, the rich people with money won't come back, but the lower income people who never spend will keep coming back. And, believe it or not, when parks get jammed packed, the lines for concessions get out of control, and you aren't really making any more money off of them that you would with fewer people. So its a balancing act. Generally, its best to balance your profit centers as much as possible and not just assume that you'll make it all off of food, merch, and parking. And, you have to remember that you're in the business of rides, and if your park is jam packed, that may mean that you're doing great and people love your product, or it may mean that they've just been too aggressive about lowering your price or giving away visits for free (with the passes and memberships). Another point I wanted to make: I think that getting people to buy tickets up front is less about the instant gratification/time value (only a month or two, so the time value rate is minimal) but more about being able to plan the year out and being able to expect where and when your crowds will be. This will allow you to be more lean with staffing levels and will help you plan your ride maintenance more appropriately. ^^^^The caveat to this is that this is Six Flags... not Disney or Cedar Fair. This is what Disney and Cedar Fair does. SF is not a well run company so they don't always make the smartest choices and plan ahead.
  14. I went today and had a similar experience. Might I also add that there is now a single rider line on GhostRider. There is no signage, but I heard about it on Instagram and asked an operator who ended up directing me up the stairs at the front of the station. Got on the ride in about 5 minutes, and the seat assigner was doing a good job of filling in the gaps with single riders. The process is still rough around the edges, but I hope they work out the kinks and continue to assign seats (I know some people don't like that, but the train often goes with several empty seats when they don't assign, and they're usually pretty good at taking requests). I'd like to see this process applied to HangTime and Xcelerator as well, where capacity suffers most. I suppose Silver Bullet could use it as well, but even with a few empty seats per train the line moves quite well on that ride. I personally love it when they assign seats... unless a coaster is absolutely dead and there's no chance of a wait. It really does wonders to increase efficiency and generally makes the line look less ugly and disgusting. I've always hated disorganized, long lines for rows. My theory is that the GP will generally only prioritize the front. If its not the front, they generally don't care. So when everyone wants the front, nobody really gets a benefit from the choice, because it just means that they'll have to selectively wait a very long time to ride it if they ever can. I think that leaving it up to chance keeps the line moving, and occasionally you get the front. Personally I don't care about the front, I care about the back. Short of assigning seats, I think that only letting in the size of the train into the row lines does the same trick. And that way, if you prefer the back to a middle seat, you can make that selection as well. Size of train row lines makes it easier for guests and the ride ops to see the empty seats and act on them. It also makes the load/unload faster as people are circulating around the queue line more and they'll be more aware of what's going on. If they're moving two inches every three minutes, they get very lethargic and disengaged. Plus, as I was saying it just looks ugly. Single rider lines are great, but they're not as needed if you have a fantastic staff and a good system set up where they can group well and count well. But even then, they can still help.
  15. If they do find a new home for the park, then that's great. I think that the downtown location is ideal, but I'd rather there be a home for it rather than nothing. I don't really care at all about the crappy flat rides and pathetic coasters, I just care about keeping the continuity of the park and keeping the potential open for the park to make a run at something. As I was saying before, once a park is gone, its gone. And generally, you don't see start-up parks very often. Big time parks generally evolve from existing small, family parks. I think its just a business proposition that relies on a lot of start-up capital, strong word of mouth, and available space close enough to a city that isn't already being used for something.
  16. Yeah, that sounds like a lot of work for people and the door to door trip would be incredibly time consuming. That transfer is really going to make it a pretty long trip. At that point, driving sounds a lot more appealing. Heck, young professionals might just opt to do a Zipcar at that point. I think that the efficiency that would be appealing to young professionals or other carless people would be a bus that starts downtown and drops you right off at the gate. Beyond that, getting in your car and driving is appealing enough. And, like any park, big groups will charter their own buses (you know, the groups of 100's of kids and chaperones in matching T-shirts), and they tend to make up a large chunk of the attendance on any given day.
  17. All good points. Another point to piggyback on your advice about TTD: If you go in the morning, there's a chance that you might get a ride when its foggy/cloudy. So basically, when you go up the tophat, you're basically riding in the clouds. I had that experience the last time I went. There's also a lot of game theory and strategy about how to best max your chance of getting a rollback. There's a YouTube video that goes into detail on this. But it basically has to do going in conditions that would make the train slower, but not so obvious that they plan to make the launch faster to get you over. So if this theory is true, an early AM ride might not max your chances of a rollback compared to other times of the day.
  18. Its a fair question. If more than one day was completely out of the question, he wouldn't have asked. My two cents is that you want more than one day, and much of that is because I prefer maxing the mornings and evenings/nights. If you really enjoy coasters, even with FP+ you might as well take advantage of the park with the best roller coasters in the world an extra day. I'd say if you get a FP+ on day #1, just do ropedrop on day #2, and be on your way once the crowds start getting intense.
  19. According to the crowd calendar at Is It Packed, SFMM should be really busy Dec 26-30, ok on the 31st, packed on Jan 1st, and then ok again from the 2nd to the 5th. So yes, it will probably be crazy busy tomorrow, so you may want to invest in a Flash Pass if you go. I'd say to also study the California school schedule. I'm pretty sure that Isitpacked does this too. Generally, parks live and die by the school schedule. If the local kiddies are in school, the park will be dead, or at least less crowded than usual. When the kiddies are out of school, the park will be much more crowded. When school is in session but there are days off in the middle of the year, and the park is open, that's when it will be most packed. The middle tier is during the summer M-F. The summer is long enough that parents can spread out when they bring their kids to the park.
  20. I'm not surprised that it was of limited value. Springfield is 10 minutes away from the park. I'm sure that people who live in Springfield have cars and are comfortable driving around. I think that the efficiency would be chartering buses from downtown Boston, Alston, and/or Cambridge. A lot of people in Boston don't have cars, and a lot of those people are actually young professionals with huge salaries or college students. I lived in Boston for several years so I know the dynamics of the city. Nobody ever really talked about SFNE. In fact, when I was living in Boston, that was the one period of my life where I stepped away from coasters the most at any point in my life. If they wanted to capture the Boston market, they'd have to do an outreach program, and do a better job of getting buses out there. Boston is a walking city and its a T city. A lot of people who live there don't have cars despite having 6 figure salaries.
  21. Yeah, it is pretty remarkable how despite being in the same tiny state as Boston, its really not on the radar of people who live in Boston (I used to live in Boston). And Mass is very, very tiny. SFNE may be two hours away, but everybody who lives within a two hour radius of WDW either is a Disney addict, or knows that most of their friends are Disney addicts. I still feel like Six Flags would be smart if they get their crap together chartered fleets of busses to NYC and Boston/Cambridge/Somerville to get people to the park... but when has SF ever shown to be great strategists? If I was really trying to take it a step further, I might rent space in the downtown parts of Boston and New York, and make it a waiting area for the buses with a walk-in space so that locals, tourists, and families could see Six Flags ads and talk with Six Flags representatives to help plan their next Six Flags vacation or get set up with season passes for SFNE, SFGadv, or their local park. Tons of foot traffic in those areas. But again, when has Six Flags ever been strategic? That would require the company agreeing to lose money on a building in hopes of improving the quality of the brand and betting on the long-term.
  22. I think that SFNE is just situated in a pretty lucrative part of the country. They're within 2 and a half hours from both Boston and NYC. They may have space constraints, but its a little surprising that they haven't tried to push for it to be a big time top tier park. If they made it more of a destination park, they could probably tap into the bottomless financial potential of the technology hub of Boston and the financial capital of the world in NYC.
  23. I think that you're right from a business perspective. Your reasoning is sound and adds up from a dollars and cents standpoint. And at the end of the day that's all that really matters in the eyes of the people who make decisions -- they're running a business, not a charity. They probably did the analysis and came to the decision that they'll get modest crowds without new rides, but won't get much of an uptick in that area with new rides. Maybe some of the enthusiasts in this thread just *hope* that VF will shape up and become a more elite park? I went there last year, mostly just to experience it and for the credits along with Nickelodeon Universe -- and while I'm happy to have checked it off my list I'm comfortable with not having to go back there for the next 10 years or so. So I'm not that concerned with what goes on there for the near future. I just hope that they can contribute profitability to the CF chain.
  24. I actually liked Thunder Run too. Thought that it was pretty smooth. Only dead-weight in the park IMO is T3, it went from being a headbanger to a thighcrush with the new restraints. Lightning Run and Storm Chaser are both top 20 steel for me.
  25. I really hate to see any park close. But I am generally OK with getting rid of older coasters for newer ones unless they're legitimate classics. Basically, I feel like coasters can be replaced, and pretty much have to be unless the park can realistically maintain them. And even then, if you can afford incredible, effective maintenance, why not give people a modern coaster with a fresh track design that's new (again, unless its a legitimate classic)? But parks are a different animal entirely. Its so hard to start a new park from the ground up. Major parks aren't ordinarily build overnight, they evolve over time, and usually have a historic aspect to them. If we're not seeing parks going up, and we're taking parks out, eventually through attrition we'll have fewer and fewer left. We can replace older, under-performing coasters, but generally removed parks aren't just naturally replenished. Even small family parks stay open gives hope that there will be major investment to them and maybe someday they'll make the big time. I think that Elitch Gardens could potentially have become a major park with the growth of Denver and with how its becoming such a haven for young, educated professionals. And with the legal pot industry, I think that a lot of tourists would have liked the idea of smoking and getting "extra special" visits to the park. If a chain like Cedar Fair came in, I think that they could have made it great.
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