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Six Flags Great America (SFGAm) Discussion Thread


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None of the area's school districts are on summer vacation yet, and with the late spring, i doubt anyone realizes its even open.

 

That's good to hear. Most schools in my district finished last week or finish this week but I wasn't sure about the Gurnee/northern Chicagoland schools. Sounds like this Wednesday or Thursday may be the best days to go for quite a while.

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^^They'll probably just have a few lights on the catwalk that will light up at night. I believe this is also required in case they need to evacuate a train on the lift while it's dark out.

 

Update: It's 7:10 and they're still out there working. I have a feeling they will be staying late the remainder of this week and next to finish this up.

 

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^Awesome pictures!

By the way, does anyone know why this batman is the only B&M invert with no wheel covers?

 

Both trains used to have them, then it was just one train. Now, both sets (or maybe just one set?) of wheel covers are sitting in the transfer/brake run area in the bat cave nice and neat waiting to be put on.

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I was at the park on Sunday and Goliath does look pretty good (and it was cool to see them putting on the drop track). The banking and angles of curvature on the first turnaround look almost cartoon-like -- fairly amazing. I still can't shake the feeling that it will feel "too short" but still can't wait to ride it.

 

On a separate note, my god, is this park poorly run. It took 45 minutes to get through the entry gates because of terribly inefficient processing of the biometric season passes -- it was really a tutorial on how NOT to staff and run operations (e.g., having the guests attempt to have the scanner read the bar code, with many guests putting it upside down and on the wrong side, rather than simply handing the season pass card or the printed ticket to the attendant to scan it quickly for them, printing out the season pass cards at the same time (and without names on them so you could not identify which was which), and the list goes on and on ....). The train dispatches were terrible as well on the usual suspects.

 

Understaffed, 2-train operation on Raging Bull and a grand total of 2 attendants on Whizzer . . . . despite 45-60 minute waits on most rides. Bought platinum passes to avoid grinding my teeth down to nothingness in line.

 

It's such a nice looking park, with good rides, but the operations actually make it hard on you to want to return.

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^I have always been one to never pass up a chance to bash SF park operations but in regards to the Bio-metric scanners, I'd cut them some slack as it's a new system, so their IT department, front gate personnel and guests need to get used to them. If there's still issues at the beginning of the 2015 season then at that point we could place 100% of the blame on the park.

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^I have always been one to never pass up a chance to bash SF park operations but in regards to the Bio-metric scanners, I'd cut them some slack as it's a new system so their IT department, front gate personnel and guests need to get used to them. If there's still issues at the beginning of the 2015 season then at that point we could place 100% of the blame on the park.

 

I hear, but the reality is that park management HAS to recognize and anticipate that this new technology is going to cause some very serious hiccups and staff it properly. Again, diagnosing the problem doesn't require a PhD in Industrial organizational psychology. You can simply watch what is causing the delays and have two staff members (rather than one) addressing the issues -- have one staff member take the season pass card or ticket and scan it (because there was significant delay in just that basic operation) and have the other one actually hold the hand and help process the biometric thing. alternatively, set up stand alone gates for those NOT using the biometric scanners to get those people out of the line.

 

Just from a basic business standpoint, do you want the very FIRST experience of your guests to be a 45-minute pile-up at the gates? That's how they start the day -- already annoyed (and many were really annoyed, not just anal me). Even if you don't give a shit about that, from a basic greed standpoint, that's 45 or 30 or whatever minutes that your guests are not in the park buying hot dogs, drinks, other junk, which is your profit margin.

 

I just don't get how management could run a park whose entire business is, at its core, an operation in crowd flow, and have that kind of pile up, on a non-summer Sunday no less. It's either incompetence or a lack of care, or, perhaps, both.

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Actually, the operations at our park are usually very good, but getting into the park has been bad at times the first few weekends the last two years.

 

Last year, they made everyone wait out in the security lines rather than allowing guests into the park before opening to wait at the chains. When they let guests in early, it is much quicker and easier to get in. This year, the fingerprint scanners coupled with not letting people in the park early enough made our wait to get in 45 minutes on opening day and we got in line before 10, but it was only a few minutes the following Saturday because they let people in the park early, and it was probably not as busy. I think they want the guests to scan their own passes, which is why staff are not doing it for them. The fingerprint scanners do not seem to like little fingers either, so it was taking some families several minutes to get through the gates.

 

Operations get better at the park once June comes and the park is fully staffed and there are full day operations (and all coasters running all their trains). Plus, Hurricane Harbor opens, so the lines on the dry side of the park ease quite a bit early in the day. We usually get into the park pretty quickly by that point too.

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I've always found SFGAm to have some of the better operations within the chain. Give it some time, like others have mentioned.

 

It's my "hometown" park -- not that I go there a ton. but I agree that it's operations are usually better in the summer, but still not Cedar Point or even SFGadv worthy in terms of dispatch times. SFMM was a disaster way back when (haven't been in over 12 years). We shall not discuss Disney operations. Nor will I open the door on how SFGam's handles the entrance to the parking lot, which backs up onto the freeway . . . . for no sensible reason.

 

I do like the park -- didn't mean to sound so bitter. just a very odd way to start the day.

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It's such a nice looking park, with good rides, but the operations actually make it hard on you to want to return.

 

Write a letter to the park. Make sure it's polite and don't forget to say the positive things. Write the letter from your point of view as a paying customer, not the point of view and a theme park enthusiast. Service has taken a nose dive in the past 15 years nearly everywhere you go. If people don't let them know, they can't do anything about it. (Not saying your letter will work a miracle, but letting those know who can do something is better than putting it online. If more people do it, it could get better.)

 

Another thing to remember is that it's the beginning of the season, but I understand what you are saying. Getting food at the park is tough sometimes; it seems like a slow and unorganized ordeal (because it is.) As for ride operations, it's especially difficult to watch after having worked at Cedar Point in the early 90s when we could get written up for having below our hourly quota of passengers (over 1,000 for every coaster in the park. At that time; things have change a little there, too.)

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It's such a nice looking park, with good rides, but the operations actually make it hard on you to want to return.

 

Write a letter to the park. Make sure it's polite and don't forget to say the positive things. Write the letter from your point of view as a paying customer, not the point of view and a theme park enthusiast. Service has taken a nose dive in the past 15 years nearly everywhere you go. If people don't let them know, they can't do anything about it. (Not saying your letter will work a miracle, but letting those know who can do something is better than putting it online. If more people do it, it could get better.)

 

Another thing to remember is that it's the beginning of the season, but I understand what you are saying. Getting food at the park is tough sometimes; it seems like a slow and unorganized ordeal (because it is.) As for ride operations, it's especially difficult to watch after having worked at Cedar Point in the early 90s when we could get written up for having below our hourly quota of passengers (over 1,000 for every coaster in the park. At that time; things have change a little there, too.)

 

Good points. I remember when I was a kid we went to the Great America in California and it was opening day and a disaster (virtually every major ride was closed). We wrote a letter to the park, politely,and then sent us four free tickets and an apology. It was a classy thing.

 

(Undoubtedly, SFGAm will send me the severed head of a horse in response, but I will try ....

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^Haha! Complimentary stuff is always nice, but even if they don't reply, they are getting your letter and reading it. It all gets filed. I always like to think that the most valuable thing is being heard, and taking the time to write in the first place. You never know what can happen! Things have improved here and there in the park; we still get to ride Whizzer and Goliath is getting a single rider line, just 2 examples.

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