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Six Flags Darien Lake (SFDL) Discussion Thread


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Grizzly Run had water in it but no current flow. I saw it from the kiddie coaster queue. The ride op at the kiddie coaster said they were considering opening Thunder Rapids and he might have to go work it, but they never did. He said they don't drain them until October.

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Grizzly Run had water in it but no current flow. I saw it from the kiddie coaster queue. The ride op at the kiddie coaster said they were considering opening Thunder Rapids and he might have to go work it, but they never did. He said they don't drain them until October.

 

My mistake, I didn't get too close to tell for sure if it was completely drained or not...

 

I wish they would've opened it, I love log flumes! (My top 3 are (3) Thunder Rapids (2) Log Flume at Seabreeze and (1) Splash Mountain at WDW)

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I don't mean to pick apart this post, but from my past experience, there are some misleading facts in here that I would like to point out.

 

First of all, it's very likely that the Giant Wheel will never receive new lights again because the main connector broke down years ago due to a bad power outage and the company that built it stopped making parts. I'm hoping that the park can find a way to install LED lights on it at some point in the next decade.

 

This was a given. If DL ever invests in new lights they will have to be LEDs. Why spend thousands of dollars to strap the old, inefficient lights back up? It would be a matter of time before they started to blow out anyways. It's costly, but there are companies that specialize in updating lighting systems (see Cedar Point and Strates Show's wheels)

 

From my understanding, the Twister will not be back next year. They put all the restraints back on it so that way they could get ready to sell it.

 

Hopefully if this plan comes to fruition, its place won't sit vacant for years like many other removed rides. I don't mind seeing it stay or go, just as long as a working ride is there.

 

Also, it's very possible that the Grizzly Run and Thunder Rapids might be gone in a year or two. I think it makes sense since both of those water rides are pretty old and repairs probably cost a lot of money. From what my friend was saying, they could put a few rides back in that area that could go along with the Rowdy's Ridge. He also said that they might extend the parking lot to cover the area that Thunder Rapids currently occupies if they take it out.

 

I don't see that happening. The park recently spent a good chunk of money on fixing up their troughs, which included a resurfacing of fiberglass on Thunder Rapids, and repairs on Grizzly's concrete. They are two of the most popular rides on the dry side, and age doesn't necessarily mean that they are very costly to maintain. The park has an abundant supply of spare cars for TR, and Grizzly's setup is very simplistic, save for the occasional trough patch.

 

As far as two train operations are concerned, don't set high expectations because it costs nearly $175,000 to put a train on the tracks and have parts available for inventory. I wouldn't expect to see a second train on any coaster unless new management takes over or Darien Lake starts attracting as many people as Canada's Wonderland. It also costs a lot of money to paint the coasters, but they are supposed to finish paining Mind Eraser this Spring.

 

I don't know where that number comes from, but that seems way out of proportion. Train maintenance is costly, but using that logic, you're in almost a million dollars just to have one train running on all coasters, and you haven't even spent a dime on rides, buildings, or utilities yet. Parks don't have to fully restock inventory yearly either. It's based on how much of a part was used. If there are leftovers, which there usually is with wheels, bolts, and small parts, they only order as many as they have used or project to use down the road. It's not uncommon to have over 10 wheels in stock for a single coaster. One RoS train has 108 wheels, I believe.

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My last day of work at Darien Lake this season was on Sunday. Since I work in games, I can tell all of you that the Chuck-A-Luck dart game will be gone next season and a new game will be put in. I can also share some information that I found out from a friend of mine who works as an area lead at the Mind Eraser...

 

Second, the park is planning to add a new entrance to the Viper, which would start at the old building where people would wait for Ranger that became a smoking area this year.

 

... but they are supposed to finish paining Mind Eraser this Spring

 

Lastly, It is very possible that Predator will be getting revamped and a new coaster will be added in the former Cuda Falls location within the next few years.

 

Hope that all of this information leads to a good discussion!

So... how accurate is this? Is this another "dippin dots guy" type scenario or is this legit?

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^Some of it seems very plausible, such as the relocation of Viper's entrance or removal of Twister. Those are things that we've been predicting for years, given the issues that they cause.

 

But other things just left me thinking, yeah not happening. There's very little chance that the park is going to seek to remove their in-park water rides, or look to add two coasters under the current management situation. Not saying it's impossible, but highly unlikely.

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Yes, some of this is very far fethed, but some things are not. I can totally see the moving of Viper's entrance as the current queue area is way too long. My question would be are they planning on putting some type of flat ride inside of Viper's layout? There is room inside there for something, especially something like a drop tower.

 

The park will never remove two of their three water rides to replace them with parking. If they were to remove either of those, I would expect it to be for something large, like a coaster. Either, way, I just do not see the park removing either grizzly run or thunder rapids anytime soon.

 

I could see predator get a full makeover by a company like GCI similar to what Knott's did with Ghostrider. That would definitely cost money, but not the cost of a full new coaster.

 

If I were to guess, this year brings a new flat and the second ROS train. Next year could be a revamped Predator along with a new waterslide. All of this is under the assumption that the park continues to be owned by CNL and managed by Premier. Any changes to either of these could drastically change everything, except the removal of grizzly run and thunder rapids for parking

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I know it's an old concept, but I'm still hoping that a Frisbee ride is still under consideration. It was proposed a while back in a guest survey.

 

If Twister is on its way out, or Viper's queue is re-routed, that opens up possibly two large pads for it to go on. It's a ride that would be a reliable thrill ride to replace at least one of the ones that were removed over the past two seasons. Depending on model, they are relatively cheap, so a family flat could be added along with it.

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I agree, I have always thought a frisbee style ride would be an excellent addition to the park. If they do re-route the queue for Viper to the old Ranger spot, there are two very good size plots of land inside viper. One is where the old mini golf sits, and the other would be between the cor kscrews and brake run where the current Viper queue runs. If not those spaces, there are lots of areas in the park with space, especially by ROS, next to twister and over by Mind Eraser

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My last day of work at Darien Lake this season was on Sunday. Since I work in games, I can tell all of you that the Chuck-A-Luck dart game will be gone next season and a new game will be put in. I can also share some information that I found out from a friend of mine who works as an area lead at the Mind Eraser. A lot of it makes sense so I thought it would be worth sharing in this discussion thread.

 

First of all, it's very likely that the Giant Wheel will never receive new lights again because the main connector broke down years ago due to a bad power outage and the company that built it stopped making parts. Even if it was possible to invest in a new ferris wheel, I don't think that Darien Lake would be interested unless if a company like Cedar Fair or Six Flags designed a ferris wheel prototype for their parks (Cedar Fair added the WindSeeker and Six Flags added the SkyScreamer and the Giant Loop prototype). Personally, I love how Darien Lake has a huge ferris wheel and I would hate to see it go away. I'm hoping that the park can find a way to install LED lights on it at some point in the next decade. I also hope that all the LED lights on Rolling Thunder are working properly next season.

 

Second, the park is planning to add a new entrance to the Viper, which would start at the old building where people would wait for Ranger that became a smoking area this year. I believe they would build a path under the lift hill and connect it to the current path before it reaches the station house. If this actually happens, I would be very happy because it would very likely force them to dig out that old path, along with the shack and the remains of the Mountain View mini golf course. It would also make it easier for guests to get back on the Viper if they want to keep riding it while they're in the back of the park.

 

From my understanding, the Twister will not be back next year. They put all the restraints back on it so that way they could get ready to sell it. Also, it's very possible that the Grizzly Run and Thunder Rapids might be gone in a year or two. I think it makes sense since both of those water rides are pretty old and repairs probably cost a lot of money. From what my friend was saying, they could put a few rides back in that area that could go along with the Rowdy's Ridge. He also said that they might extend the parking lot to cover the area that Thunder Rapids currently occupies if they take it out.

 

Does anyone remember the days when the coasters and the ferris wheel control booths used to play music? Turns out that the music was disturbing to the guests so that will never happen again!

 

As far as two train operations are concerned, don't set high expectations because it costs nearly $175,000 to put a train on the tracks and have parts available for inventory. I wouldn't expect to see a second train on any coaster unless new management takes over or Darien Lake starts attracting as many people as Canada's Wonderland. It also costs a lot of money to paint the coasters, but they are supposed to finish paining Mind Eraser this Spring.

 

Lastly, It is very possible that Predator will be getting revamped and a new coaster will be added in the former Cuda Falls location within the next few years.

 

Hope that all of this information leads to a good discussion!

 

 

To start off when you post on something please know who your sources are and whether they can be trusted. An area lead at a coaster is not a credible source as they are seasonal just like you and really know nothing about what the park was planning.

 

Now to go into detail more on these claims, as a previous park full time employee who currently works full time elsewhere I will be able to provide real information. To start with the lights. The lights are going to go on Giant Wheel at some point, possibly as soon as next year. Management at the park has brought in the group that did the Cedar Point wheel lights to appraise theirs and do the job. My estimate is that the project will fall around $400,000. Not terrible. The wheel is perfectly capable of taking on these LED lights.

 

Vipers entrance claims are entirely false. The park will not be doing anything of the sorts. Again this is why I said check your source.

 

Twister will most likely be gone, however that is not why they were putting restraints back on. In many cases the restraints go back on due to actually planning to open the ride. This was most likely the case until it became mid season and they decided to give up on it because most guests accepted the fact it was down.

 

Grizzly Run and Thunder Rapids will both be back next season. The issue with many rides that are this old are the pumps. If the pumps go the ride is dead. However I see the park milking this all the way until that happens, which is smart.

 

Your figure of putting the train on the track is also incorrect. And two train operations is something I will cover later in this post. As for Predator and Cuda Falls area, there is nothing changing. No rumblings through the park community.

 

Now onto my rant.

 

All of you people bitching about the park need to get one thing. NO PARK CAN DO ANYTHING WITHOUT MONEY AND ATTENDANCE.

 

The park makes roughly 12 million per year in profits. This year alone 1/12 of the profit went to the new ROS train which cost about 1.3 million. Now add RipCurl which was roughly a million. that means 1/6 of profits went to two things. This leaves 10 million for the park to spend. Not enough to do anything substantial and still make the companies money. Unfortunately that is the state the park is in. The attendance cant break a million meaning managers wont consider two trains. Many parks abide by the policy that for every million they add one train, so less than a million is 1, one million is 2, and 2 million plus is 3. Again permitting the ride allows for 3.

 

The motocoaster does not require a second train. The ride is less than a minute meaning you would spend more time sitting in the breaks than on the ride.

 

Please people hear me out on this, this park is where I got my start and I dont want to see it go away or continue to fail. Get your friends and your families and visit as much as possible. Spend money every time. It doesnt have to be a lot but just some. Post on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram about the park and keep things positive. It will result in good things for the park. I know I will be bringing my family and a few friends back to the park this year and will be pushing business there to many of our guests. And if you are an employee there, use your free tickets or give them to someone who will. Use the main gate as well because going in the back door does not help attendance. Every person counts, just remember that.

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Grizzly Run and Thunder Rapids will both be back next season. The issue with many rides that are this old are the pumps. If the pumps go the ride is dead. However I see the park milking this all the way until that happens, which is smart.

 

Unlike with a ride like Cuda Falls, the pumps on these rides are much easier to replace. Pretty much any standard pump with the same power could be used. Plus they are in an easy to reach area. With the popularity of these rides, and the money just spent to rehab them, I don't see them leaving even if the pumps go.

 

 

The park makes roughly 12 million per year in profits. This year alone 1/12 of the profit went to the new ROS train which cost about 1.3 million. Now add RipCurl which was roughly a million. that means 1/6 of profits went to two things. This leaves 10 million for the park to spend. Not enough to do anything substantial and still make the companies money. Unfortunately that is the state the park is in. The attendance cant break a million meaning managers wont consider two trains. Many parks abide by the policy that for every million they add one train, so less than a million is 1, one million is 2, and 2 million plus is 3. Again permitting the ride allows for 3.

 

The motocoaster does not require a second train. The ride is less than a minute meaning you would spend more time sitting in the breaks than on the ride.

 

How do you know these numbers for sure? The park doesn't even release attendance numbers, let alone financial statements. One thing that we do know, is that the park's attendance is a little over a million per year, not including concert attendees. And from press releases that I have seen from CNL, DL is one of their largest gaining properties, to the point that they have been impressed with it.

 

Does every coaster need a second train every day of operation? Absolutely not. But there's nothing wrong with keeping a spare in case of mechanical down time, or those days in the summer season when wait times can reach 45+ minutes. Motocoaster went down for a chunk of time this year. While we don't know the reason, it very well could have been a train issue. This is a ride that has a theoretical capacity of 250 pph with two trains.

 

Also keep in mind that the park was planning on expanding two train ops this season. Viper was scheduled to get a second train in July, according to an operator who I trust and has been working Viper for over 20 years. Apparently this fell through because the park "Spent the money on Twister instead". Which shows the mess that the joint operating and management is causing.

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Season pass price went up again... $69.99 this year

 

Minimum wage is set to increase in NYS again this year, so I'd bet that contributes towards the increased price. The season pass had also stayed the same price for several years before going up this year and like Bill said it is still a good deal.

 

In regards to the discussion on attendance - it had been poor for a few years. When you would go to the park the parking lots would rarely be filled from around 2012-2014. I think that has really made a turn around over the last two years. I'm not sure how you came up with knowing it is at a million, though, coasterkid.

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^ From my personal experience this year alone, each of my 13 visits saw the first parking lot full, with the second one about half full if not worse almost every single visit. One visit in particular, Both lots were full, and they were having theme park goers park in the grass across the street from the second lot. I have never seen it that bad before, so I had to assume that was a rare phenomenon at the park. I would say that though there probably was some sort of increase in Foot traffic, most of it seemed to go to the water park. That doesn't matter all too much for attendance, since both parks are included, but I did find that relatively interesting.

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All of you people bitching about the park need to get one thing. NO PARK CAN DO ANYTHING WITHOUT MONEY AND ATTENDANCE.

 

Don't they have several rides in on site storage. If the money is tight for new rides, they might need to consider pulling stuff out of storage. Last word is they have Batman the Escape, Intamin Stand up in storage for SF Astroworld, which was originally at SFMM as Shockwave. Also, they supposedly removed the UFO for restoration in 2013 and never brought it back.

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That's still a steal.

 

There is not much around that area so they can get away with $70, which is what you can get a SF pass for at most parks and go to any other SF. Darien Lake has a captive market, no real competition.

 

When something is "a steal" it means that it's a great bargain. If you think $70 is a high of a price for a park with an Intamin hyper, a waterpark that's included with admission and 7 other coasters then you're insane. Just because Six Flags whores out their season passes doesn't mean other parks should be judged by their price points. They gouge people once they're in the parks, most parks make a large portion of their money up-front. They have entirely different models.

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That's still a steal.

 

There is not much around that area so they can get away with $70, which is what you can get a SF pass for at most parks and go to any other SF. Darien Lake has a captive market, no real competition.

 

When something is "a steal" it means that it's a great bargain. If you think $70 is a high of a price for a park with an Intamin hyper, a waterpark that's included with admission and 7 other coasters then you're insane. Just because Six Flags whores out their season passes doesn't mean other parks should be judged by their price points. They gouge people once they're in the parks, most parks make a large portion of their money up-front. They have entirely different models.

 

You're full of vinegar over nothing. It's a simple fact they have no competition. Please stop the hyperbole on their coaster line up. It consists of things such as 35 yr old Arrow Dynamics, a 24 yr old Dinn wood coaster , 2 Vekoma's about 20 yrs old. The last coaster was a Zamperla family coaster in 2008. They have 2 decent coasters the Intamin and the suspended Vekoma, neither is great, just decent compared to other coasters in the country.

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All of you people bitching about the park need to get one thing. NO PARK CAN DO ANYTHING WITHOUT MONEY AND ATTENDANCE.

 

Don't they have several rides in on site storage. If the money is tight for new rides, they might need to consider pulling stuff out of storage. Last word is they have Batman the Escape, Intamin Stand up in storage for SF Astroworld, which was originally at SFMM as Shockwave. Also, they supposedly removed the UFO for restoration in 2013 and never brought it back.

 

I would imagine refurbishing and installing BTE would cost more than a brand-new coaster of comparable size at this point. And let's be honest, it's a crappy ride anyway.

 

Same thing with UFO. i bet they could snag a new flat for around the same cost as retrofitting UFO to meet modern standards.

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Side note: I'm not sure how fantasy island is making any money with $44 season passes for next year. Plus they allow bringing in food, etc. Unless they start charging for parking next year... -- as for Darien Lake, that is a good price for a season pass with all the perks. Yeah it's not Six Flags pricing, but... pretty close!

 

I thought that I read an article that locals were in a tizzy because they were thinking about charging for parking at Fantasy Island next year...or did they start doing it this year?

 

 

They have 2 decent coasters the Intamin and the suspended Vekoma, neither is great, just decent compared to other coasters in the country.

 

I have to respectfully disagree (and I'm sure many others will too) that Ride Of Steel is just a "decent" ride. After riding it twice during our visit, once during the day and once at night, I actually bumped it into my Top 5 steel coasters. This is a truly "great" coaster and is no doubt the gem of the park.

 

The SLC could be classified as "decent", but probably ends up in most coaster enthusiasts classification of "sucks".

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I think that has really made a turn around over the last two years. I'm not sure how you came up with knowing it is at a million, though, coasterkid.

 

It usually hovers around that point. I know that it fluctuates, but steadily since the 90s 1 million is a good benchmark number. Here are some sources:

 

http://www.buffalonews.com/business/darien-lake-doubling-down-on-thrills-20150212

 

http://www.bizjournals.com/buffalo/stories/2008/04/14/newscolumn1.html?page=all

 

Also, the book Amusement Parks of NY by Jim Futrell.

 

I believe that 2014 was one of the few years that the park was slightly below that number, but remember that was the year that nothing was new; just the Nik Wallenda show. They countered the next year with Rolling Thunder and Brain Drain, and I would say that those additions pushed them back over the threshold.

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