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Six Flags Great America (SFGAm) Discussion Thread


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Heading to the park for the first time on Tuesday August 19th and was wondering if anybody had any ideas for a one day park plan?

 

I've only got the one day, and I was hoping to avoid the expense of buying Flash Pass. Was hoping to hit the main rides like Goliath, Raging Bull, Batman, etc. Any park tips would be helpful as for a strategy and good places to eat!

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With both the Viper height thing and this beer thing, without being there, it just sounds to me like the employees were basically just doing their job. Maybe they erred a bit on the side of being overly cautious, but they're probably trained to do that (because its better to annoy a customer than break the law). Now, again, I wasn't there, maybe this employee was on a power trip and wanted to screw somebody over for no reason. I kinda doubt it, though.

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Heading to the park for the first time on Tuesday August 19th and was wondering if anybody had any ideas for a one day park plan?

 

Get to the park @ 9:30 when the gates to the parking lot open, and once the park opens run to get in line for Goliath. If you're there right when the park opens you should only have ~5-15 minute wait. Once you get off the ride, you'll probably be able to walk on X-Flight/Batman, or head over to Raging Bull and get in a relatively short line. The rest of the day, if the weather is good, lines might be 45 minutes-2 hours for most of the rides, but if you use the single rider line you can definitely fit in all the major coasters.

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That whole beer incident sounds completely ridiculous.

 

I also had a pretty bad experience, not as bad as yours or Robb's. We had an experience with a worker at Goliath who refused to let our group of three join the single rider line because we were a "group". We told him we knew how the single rider line worked and that we knew we wouldn't be riding together, but he still didn't let us join, so we moved on. Meanwhile, every train I saw had at least one empty seat on it.

 

And this isn't really related to customer service, but since we had a group of three, I had to ride alone anyway. The teenage girl I ended up sitting with decided to pull out her cell phone on the lift hill and take a selfie. At first I was tempted to slap it out of her hands, but I chose not to since that would probably cause even more of a scene. On the brake run I was debating on whether or not I would tell an employee she had her phone out, but I decided not to. Looking back, I probably should have. I would have loved to see her escorted out of the park.

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I have yet to hear any horror stories about Goliath restraints, anyone not able to ride due to size? For what it's worth, I'm able to ride everything else I've ever gotten on, but this will be my first RMC.

 

I'd like to know this too. I've heard more forgiving than Toro, is this true?

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Working in Gurnee this summer, I've visited the park easily 50 times and have neither experienced nor have I witnessed any outrageously poor customer service exchanges. If anything, I've seen more guests with poor people skills. Customer service goes both ways. But I could list several instances of employees going above and beyond to assist guests.

 

The park is nowhere near perfect. But I don't think these few unfortunate -- and inexcusable -- isolated incidents represent an average day at SFGAm.

 

Or maybe I'm just lucky.

 

And this isn't really related to customer service, but since we had a group of three, I had to ride alone anyway. The teenage girl I ended up sitting with decided to pull out her cell phone on the lift hill and take a selfie. At first I was tempted to slap it out of her hands, but I chose not to since that would probably cause even more of a scene. On the brake run I was debating on whether or not I would tell an employee she had her phone out, but I decided not to. Looking back, I probably should have. I would have loved to see her escorted out of the park.

A few weeks ago, some moron riding in the front row had his phone out for the entire duration of the ride...not subtly in the slightest. I was impressed to see a supervisor in the station waiting for him to address the amateur videographer's lapse in judgment.

Edited by coasterdude5
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So I went to the park yesterday and had the worst single most customer service experience I've ever had at a park.

 

Would it be worth it to complain or would it even go anywhere?

 

We also had one of the worst single customer service moments at the park as well. I honestly don't think they care. Between how we were treated by the president of the park, their group sales, and their guest relations office, and it seems our experiences are the norm not the exception, I really just don't think this park cares any more. Calling to complain I feel would just fall on deaf ears.

 

On one hand I'd like to say that it's Six Flags company-wide, as Great America is not the only park in the chain we've seen a recent decline in customer service, but we had an absolutely AMAZING visit to Great Adventure a few days later. I think it's pretty clear that some parks get it and some don't. Perhaps the team at Great Adventure should spend some time in Gurnee showing them how a park should be run.

 

Do you care to expand on this - or maybe you have somewhere else, already, that you could point me to? I understand it was something about your daughter's height - and even after you got a height wristband, she was given a hard time by the ride attendant? I'm sorry if this is posted in detail somewhere else, I've only seen references to it here and there.

 

I'm curious, as I've been to this park every year since it opened - and while it's quite a bit of distance (in every aspect) from the Marriott days, I'm with most others here when I say that I've never come close to anything other than a minor inconvenience...and have multiple "wow, that was really nice/thoughtful" type stories from the park (both things I've observed and things I've experienced).

 

The situation with the beer sounds pretty ridiculous, but having read prozach's attitude, in general, over several years in the SFSTL thread - it doesn't surprise me, and I'm certain that any amount of real fault on the employee's part was at least matched by the customer.

 

Anyway, sorry for the long post - it, as it did others, just strikes me as odd that this park is suddenly getting a bad rep (at least here).

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I'm with most others here when I say that I've never come close to anything other than a minor inconvenience...and have multiple "wow, that was really nice/thoughtful" type stories from the park

 

Same, haven't had a real problem with the employees. It sounds like the beer problem and the child not being able to ride were situations resulting from employees doing their job resulting in disagreements that grew contentious.

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For instance, just a few days ago, a woman with her two children got to the Viper station (after a 45-minute wait) only to find out that her youngest wasn't tall enough to ride. The op was very apologetic, and even arranged for the three to head to Whizzer to ride without waiting. This arrangement was made quietly near the station exit. I just happened to be standing within earshot.

 

Perhaps that happened as a result of what happened a week or two ago. Maybe the ride op was just being overly considerate - she certainly didn't have to do that by any means, and the mother didn't seem to be demanding anything. It was simply an act of kindness.

 

But as with anything, your results may vary.

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For instance, just a few days ago, a woman with her two children got to the Viper station (after a 45-minute wait) only to find out that her youngest wasn't tall enough to ride. The op was very apologetic, and even arranged for the three to head to Whizzer to ride without waiting. This arrangement was made quietly near the station exit. I just happened to be standing within earshot.

 

Perhaps that happened as a result of what happened a week or two ago. Maybe the ride op was just being overly considerate - she certainly didn't have to do that by any means, and the mother didn't seem to be demanding anything. It was simply an act of kindness.

Who knows. But I can tell you this is the polar opposite of the horrible attitude and customer service we experienced.

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I have yet to hear any horror stories about Goliath restraints, anyone not able to ride due to size? For what it's worth, I'm able to ride everything else I've ever gotten on, but this will be my first RMC.

 

I'm 320 LBS and just fit after being pushed in a little. I can't fit on batman:TR and V2

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And this isn't really related to customer service, but since we had a group of three, I had to ride alone anyway. The teenage girl I ended up sitting with decided to pull out her cell phone on the lift hill and take a selfie. At first I was tempted to slap it out of her hands, but I chose not to since that would probably cause even more of a scene. On the brake run I was debating on whether or not I would tell an employee she had her phone out, but I decided not to. Looking back, I probably should have. I would have loved to see her escorted out of the park.

 

Wow, really dude? Did it never occur to you to just maybe, I dont know, politely ask her to put it away? I know its against the rules and she shouldnt have done it but at the end of the day she didnt have any intent to do any harm (unlike say line jumpers or people who smoke in line), and yet your first instinct was to rudely slap it out of her hand and break her phone? Or watch as she gets escorted out? Thats kinda sick man. Maybe Im overreacting but it seems to me a normal response wouldve just been to tell her to put it away, not get all malicious over it.

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And this isn't really related to customer service, but since we had a group of three, I had to ride alone anyway. The teenage girl I ended up sitting with decided to pull out her cell phone on the lift hill and take a selfie. At first I was tempted to slap it out of her hands, but I chose not to since that would probably cause even more of a scene. On the brake run I was debating on whether or not I would tell an employee she had her phone out, but I decided not to. Looking back, I probably should have. I would have loved to see her escorted out of the park.

 

Wow, really dude? Did it never occur to you to just maybe, I dont know, politely ask her to put it away? I know its against the rules and she shouldnt have done it but at the end of the day she didnt have any intent to do any harm (unlike say line jumpers or people who smoke in line), and yet your first instinct was to rudely slap it out of her hand and break her phone? Or watch as she gets escorted out? Thats kinda sick man. Maybe Im overreacting but it seems to me a normal response wouldve just been to tell her to put it away, not get all malicious over it.

I never got "malicious" over it. I didn't ever seriously consider slapping it out of her hands, because, I agree, it would've been unnecessary and rude. But have you never seen the signs up that say "If you have a loose article out on the ride you will be kicked out of the park". She had her phone in her hands the entire time, and even if she was holding it down in her lap, if it would've flown out it could've definitely hurt somebody. (Oh, and I did ask her to put it away and told her that it was against park rules. She didn't react at all, so she most likely didn't hear me.)

 

Anyway, back on topic.

 

Has anybody noticed any markings around the park? Maybe in Ragin' Cajuns spot?

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I noticed I forgot to mention that people I talked to in line last time had the same problem with their kids objectively measuring above the height restrictions and then being denied at different rides posting the same height requirements. Apparently some ride ops don't know how to measure correctly. My overall impression of their customer service acumen is that they do the minimum generally. I don't think most of the workers take any pride in how they do their jobs(which no one should think is an anomaly among similarly paid people working at other places around Chicago). If a company has a service-oriented culture, sometimes it's apparent. At most every Oberweis we go to, you can tell they've been trained to emphasize service. Some Chick Fil As are like that. Sometimes one of em will be great, and you go back a couple months later with a new staff and the service sucks.

 

The unique thing about Great America is that they are a default monopoly over here and the average customer is probably driving several hours and maybe spending a couple hundred bucks if they're bringing a family. I imagine there's a good amount of locals who are there all the time, but that might be 1/10th-1/15th of the total guests. SF should try to do a bang up job considering so many of their guests are sacrificing a good deal of time and money to attend. Instead it seems like they're more interested in running on the cheap and maximizing profit.

 

These single rider lines will mean a major improvement if used properly.

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With both the Viper height thing and this beer thing, without being there, it just sounds to me like the employees were basically just doing their job. Maybe they erred a bit on the side of being overly cautious, but they're probably trained to do that (because its better to annoy a customer than break the law). Now, again, I wasn't there, maybe this employee was on a power trip and wanted to screw somebody over for no reason. I kinda doubt it, though.

 

I deal with people for a living. There's really no nice way to put it. The employee was intentionally on a power trip. Trust me. You could tell she clearly got enjoyment from making my day worse. Believe it or not, these people exist.

 

 

The situation with the beer sounds pretty ridiculous, but having read prozach's attitude, in general, over several years in the SFSTL thread - it doesn't surprise me, and I'm certain that any amount of real fault on the employee's part was at least matched by the customer.

 

I'm not even going to act like what you said is out of line. That being said, I can tell you I was nothing but polite to this girl. I'm a bit of a smartass and that comes off wrong when you read it instead of meeting me in person. I'm 'the guy' who is always overly polite to servers. It doesn't matter if you believe me or not. I have enough confrontation at work, therefor I try to have as little of it as possible outside of my duties.

 

PS - I stopped being such a smartass on this site, since people misinterpret me.

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Anyway, sorry for the long post - it, as it did others, just strikes me as odd that this park is suddenly getting a bad rep (at least here).

You obviously haven't been paying much attention to any of the Six Flags threads lately. There seems to be a decline in quality, especially when it comes to customer service at a lot of the parks recently, and I'd say it was really noticeable starting over the past couple of years. Not all the parks have fallen quite as bad, and some have certainly proven to be worse than others, but I think people have noticed it to some degree chain-wide.

 

Our height check incident was just one of many customer service issues we encountered during our visit at Six Flags Great America from unnecessarily long lines for food (We waited 27 minutes at one location with only 3 people in front of us), to being told by employees that spoke little English to "cut the line at another busy food location and request a new drink" (which resulted in more drama) when they didn't know how to change the mixture of their soda machine, incredibly long dispatches for rides by crews that just didn't seem to care, shop employees that seemed to know nothing about the items they were selling, etc, etc.

 

And just before our visit to Great America, I received an obnoxious letter from the president of the park regarding our visit, and I firmly believe the bad customer service comes "from the top." This was a park that 2 or 3 years ago was close to the top of my "best Six Flags parks" list, and today, it's near the bottom. They were still doing some things that were notable (the rhymes the ops were doing were cute, the GR woman who helped us with our height check issue was great, and some of the crews were doing a good job, but that was the exception not the norm.)

 

What's really telling is that some of the friendliest people we encountered at the park were the Flash Pass staff, and they aren't technically employees of Six Flags. It was pretty clear to see that the staff trained by Six Flags and those trained by an outside company seemed to have a completely different attitude and approach to customer service.

 

On the flip side, Great Adventure was AWESOME! We were greeted by several of the park management staff, everyone was friendly, ride crews were hustling, and the employees in general seemed happy to be at their position. Again, it comes from the top. It was clear that senior management of the park was spreading the good vibe from the park president to the front line employees.

 

Maybe it's time for a change in senior management at Great America? I would encourage Six Flags corporate to take a closer look at what is happening at that park (and I know they read our forums.)

 

--Robb

Edited by robbalvey
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I have yet to hear any horror stories about Goliath restraints, anyone not able to ride due to size? For what it's worth, I'm able to ride everything else I've ever gotten on, but this will be my first RMC.

 

I'm 320 LBS and just fit after being pushed in a little. I can't fit on batman:TR and V2

 

Thanks, glad to hear that you could ride.

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Six Flags Great America will be releasing a teaser video every Monday and Thursday with two different paths to choose from in each video. This first video talks about the park hearing rumors that something may be happening to the Southwest Amphitheater or Aunt Martha's in 2015.

 

 

Rumors have been circling around the Southwest Amphitheater the last couple years that it'll be removed and replaced with a new attraction (or attractions). Could this be the southwest themed dark ride I've been wanting? Maybe not, especially since the investment this year will likely be lower with the additions of X-Flight and Goliath in recent years, but it's fun to think about until the next teaser comes out on Thursday.

 

What do you think it could be? It's probably not a Sky Screamer due to the fact that the park has not set up a hearing in the village yet to build over 124 feet for 2015. Could it be a new show coming to the SWA in 2015? A new flat ride of some sort? A dark ride? Or perhaps an updated menu at Aunt Martha's?

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hmmm I too am starting to doubt a skyscreamer. Mainly because of the teasing. The choose your path thing? Makes it sound like there will be some element of choice in their 2015 addition. Doesn't sound like a skyscreamer to me. And as previoulsy stated, they haven't filed any permits.

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incredibly long dispatches for rides by crews that just didn't seem to care

 

I agree with this ten fold. I've never seen ride operators look as lazy as they did the other day. It really aggravated me, but I tried not to act concerned since I was with a first timer to the park. I didn't want to ruin his time.

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At the park on a overcast day with rain... Lines are 30-90min on rides, even Viper and Whizzer. Even Demon has a 5-10min wait. Is this above or below average? And is this because of SF ops or just pure crowds?

 

Below average for this season. Weekdays the last few years have gotten increasingly busy, even on forecasted rainy days.

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