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No more unlimited rides on Hellcat @ Timbers Falls?


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So I'm gearing up for my yearly Dells trip and, in the process of budgeting, discovered that the wristband at Timbers Falls claims to only let you ride up to five times. It's actually kind of funny how they have it worded on their site:

 

Ride up to 5 times with the unlimited all-day pass... can you believe it!

 

What kind of "unlimited all-day pass" only lets you ride five times?

 

I was just wondering if anyone has had any experience with this-- how do they keep track? In addition to the wristband do they give you tickets for the coaster?

 

A big reason why I love Hellcat/Avalanche so much was that you could ride it over and over again. It really bums me out to think that there's apparently no option to do so anymore.

 

Thanks in advance for any inside info!

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Yeah, I've known about this since 2008. In fact, this new policy is why I didn't go up there last year to marathon ride it like I had the previous few years. I can't blame them for it though.

 

The park was never busy, and they can't make money if some one buys an all day pass, only to ride the coaster several dozen times without getting off. I would go in the fall when a pass would be twenty dollars, and I would get 40-50 rides (I'd also go to Mt. Olympus), so a ride that normally costs six dollars a ride would only be forty cents a ride. The owners have said that the park is struggling, so they need to make as much money as they can, although, there is no room to add anything.

 

As for how they do it, they mark your wristband. Although the five ride limit is probably not enforced strictly. The ride ops at Timber Falls are great, and they frequently give riders a free ride.

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How does it get the park more money though? After spending $20 on a pass and 5 rides it is unlikely someone is going to pay $6 for another ride or pay $20 for another 5 rides and will probably just stop riding the coaster after 5 rides rather than spend more money. Maybe they should offer the $20 pass with 5 rides but offer an option for more money $25 or $30 for unlimited rides.

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^ Exactly. Each lap around the track actually costs money. When you break down the maintenance cost on the trains, the track, etc, each run adds up. I know many parks do have a "cost per cycle" added into their budgets when they do spreadsheets. This is how some parks calculate if they will be running one or two trains on some days.

 

This is also why some parks, like Indiana Beach used to (not sure if they still do) will only send out a train once every 10 minutes when the park is empty, or another reason why some parks wait until a train as "x amount of riders" until they will send it.

 

Remember that 99.99999% of the people who come through the turnstiles are NOT marathon-hungry coaster geeks, so getting 5 rides on a coaster one day is probably enough for most people.

 

So if it costs a park $3 every time they send a train and there's only one person riding it for 40 laps and he's only paying 50 cents per lap once you average out his ticket, there's a loss of $125 right there.

 

Not saying I agree with this, just letting you all know this is one of the reasons why it happens.

 

--Robb "I'm sure someone who works in park operations can speak better about this." Alvey

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While I fully understand the reasoning behind this, 5 rides seems a little bit stingy to me when you consider how short of a ride this is. For those who are only interested in the coaster, the all day pass is no longer that great of a deal. Granted this is probably a minority of their customers.

 

The wristbands at Bakken this year limited everyone to 10 rides on any given attraction. While this seemed a little bit off to me at first, I quickly realized that 10 rides is a heck of a lot of rides on most things. Maybe Timber Falls should increase the limit of rides to 10.

 

Oh well, I'm sure I'd hit up Timber Falls again if I were ever to return to the Dells.

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Astroland used to have a similar policy with The Cyclone, I think you were only allowed 4 rides.

 

Keansburg also has this policy with their Lusse Auto Scooters.

 

The wristbands at Bakken this year limited everyone to 10 rides on any given attraction. While this seemed a little bit off to me at first, I quickly realized that 10 rides is a heck of a lot of rides on most things.

 

I did not realize that, did you try to ride something 10 times and get denied? Or did I miss when that was announced?

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I did not realize that, did you try to ride something 10 times and get denied? Or did I miss when that was announced?

 

I can't remember if I was told by an operator or if it was actually on the wristband somewhere. But that's part of why they scanned your band every time you got on a ride.

 

I don't think there was a big announcement made.

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I actually just did this yesterday! I got there, paid the $20+ bucks, and went to ride Avalanche/Hellcat 5 times. The ride op marks your wristband with a sharpie, and once you get to 5 you're done. Personally I don't think it's worth it. Avalanche was great in its prime, but I can tell they don't do much maintenance on it . . . It has gotten pretty wild (and not in a good way).

 

If you're planning on doing the mini-golf and the log ride, I suppose it's worth it, but if you're just going to do the coaster 5 times, it's not. Just buy 2 tickets for it & ride in the front & back. They all seemed the same for me. Hope that helps!

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Re: Bakken Policy

 

It was mentioned everywhere, but I don't thinks it's enforced at every ride. For example, KT rode the Kiddie Drop Tower more than 10 times, the ride op lady was nice and just stopped scanning her band, and would scan one of ours instead! I could see it being enforced on major rides though.

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^I'm just a stupid tour participant that doesn't pay attention.

 

I did not realize that, did you try to ride something 10 times and get denied? Or did I miss when that was announced?

 

I can't remember if I was told by an operator or if it was actually on the wristband somewhere. But that's part of why they scanned your band every time you got on a ride.

 

That makes sense. I initially just thought the scanning for each ride was to verify ridership, since many of the rides are independent operators the scanning verification would help in dividing the wristband take amongst the vendors. But there's no reason why the scanning could not serve two purposes.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I was meaning to post this a long time ago, but grew too busy to get around to it. On the 4th of August, my friends and I drove down to the Dells to ride Avalanche/Hell Cat. The disappointment surrounding the restrictions of the "All-Day" wristband prompted me to write this email to the park:

 

Timber Falls Management,

 

After hearing all the hype surrounding the Avalanche/Hell Cat

roller coaster, my friends and I decided to make the drive down from

Menomonie, WI to your park this past week. The park seemed to proudly

stand out from most other places in the Dells, as it doesn't try to

use gimmicks to pretend to be something it's not. The scenery

surrounding the mini-golf courses was beautiful, the staff was very

friendly and approachable, and both the Log Flume and Hell Cat proved

to be as thrilling as they looked. In short, we were very pleased

with the overall experience your park offered.

With all that said, I regret to say that I will not be investing

any more money in the park. The disappointment surrounding the

restricting ride-limit on Hell Cat makes me very hesitant to visit

Timber Falls in the coming years. The log flume and mini-golf

are not enough to stay occupied for an entire day: something the

All-Day Pass is meant to accomplish. After paying over $20 for a

wristband, I refuse to pay an extra $6 for every re-ride after the

first 5.

This letter was not sent as a medium to complain about my day at

Timber Falls, but rather in hopes that the necessary changes are made

with the pricing. As a member of various theme park websites (such as

the continually growing community of Theme Park Review), I will be

posting my review of the park; a review saying that although the charm

and thrills outdoes any other park of the dells, a visit to the park

should only be scheduled once the pricing conflict is resolved.

 

I hope the best for this park, as I would hate to see it disappear

to the likes of Mount Olympus. Hopefully the changes to the All-Day

Pass are reconsidered, and I will be able to return for another

amazing day at Timber Falls.

 

Eric Millar

 

The park has not contacted me back since I sent the message nearly a month ago, so expecting a response now is useless. I would strongly encourage others to send an e-mail to the park's management, in hopes that the park decides to switch back to unlimited rides on a top-ten wooden roller coaster.

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The park has not contacted me back since I sent the message nearly a month ago,

 

'Nuff said!

 

BTW, it's really lame to name drop TPR in your bitch letter. AFAIK, Timber Falls treated TPR super well when the 2007 Midwest Trip hit the Dells. It's NOT cool to do anything that might jeopardize the reputation of the site for your own purposes.

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BTW, it's really lame to name drop TPR in your bitch letter. AFAIK, Timber Falls treated TPR super well when the 2007 Midwest Trip hit the Dells. It's NOT cool to do anything that might jeopardize the reputation of the site for your own purposes.

Agreed. I mean, it's one thing to say you'll be posting the review to "theme park sites", but calling us out by name in a complaint letter we had absolutely nothing to do with actually upsets me quite a bit.

 

Now seeing this I feel like I now need to call or write to Brent over at the park and let him know that we weren't associated nor do we personally share the same opinions.

 

We're more than happy to have you post your experiences, good or bad, and we encourage everyone to communicate with parks to share your experiences, but please, PLEASE do not drop our name.

 

I really appreciate that.

 

--Robb "I hope you can understand." Alvey

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I didn't send that email "for my own purposes", and I also wouldn't say that my email was a "bitch letter" in any way. Had I thought the email sent off negative vibes, I wouldn't have even considered sending it to begin with. I even went as far as to specifically say I'm not trying to bash the park. Instead, I wanted the park to be aware of how my friends and I (and I'm assuming numerous others) were turned off to the park by this financial decision. The email seemed to tastefully convey that I won't be returning to the park under these conditions.

 

As for my reasoning behind mentioning Theme Park Review: I felt this was a simple way of describing the demographic that I'm from, and where I intend to post my review of the park. If Timber Falls' management cares to check in to see how others replied to my post, they would know specifically where to go. Hopefully whoever looked over my email didn't assuming I was trying to be the voice of TPR, as my intentions were quite the opposite. I appreciate Robb and everything his site does, and in no way did I intend to put his reputation at risk.

 

Edit: Robb: I would be more than happy to contact the park personally, if you feel I crossed the line by mentioning the site by name. Hopefully you understand my intentions behind it, but am sensitive to how this could sit with you.

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^ I understand, but you do see where I'm coming from, right?

 

Personally, I'd be totally fine with 5 rides on Avalanche, but then again, I'm not a "marathon rider." It's very rare that I'll take more than 2 or 3 rides on any coaster unless I'm doing filming or it's one of my absoulte most favorite coasters ever. And even then 5 rides is good for me!

 

--Robb

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and I also wouldn't say that my email was a "bitch letter" in any way.

Were you not bitching about the price? Did you not say you won't go back till they meet your demands?

 

I just think patrons of Timber Falls were getting a hell of a deal. If it is in dire need of work, how else do you expect them to pay for it on marginal revenue?

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I just think patrons of Timber Falls were getting a hell of a deal.

If you look at your "average public", hell yeah!

 

Your $19.99 pass gets you -

 

5 rides on the coaster ($5.99 each)

4 Mini-Golf Games ($7.75 each)

1 Log Flume Ride ($5.99)

1 Bumper Boat Ride ($5.99)

 

If you add that all up it would be $73.93 if you purchased just tickets. And if your average public person did all that stuff, it would probably take them a good 2-3 hours. Not a bad deal at all if you consider the price of your average movie theater ticket and a box of popcorn.

 

Now, with buying the pass you get 1/2 off the Skyscraper ride and I would suggest that by buying the pass, the passholder should also get 1/2 off additional ride tickets. That, IMO would be a fair compromise.

 

In that case, if you wanted 10 rides on the coaster it would cost you $34.95. That is still NOT a bad deal at all if you really needed to marathon the coaster. Or maybe for an additional $20 add-on you get unlimited coaster rides, etc.

 

But the $19.99 pass as advertized I think is a very good deal.

 

--Robb

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^Plus, if you want to get unlimited rides on a coaster, just take the very short drive down the road to Mt. Olympus.

 

While I won't be able to marathon ride Hellcat (the only coaster I ever did), I'm not disappointed with this. I want the park to be successful, and I'll still pay the $20 to keep the park going. The last time I was up there in 07, the park owners said that Mt. Olympus was hurting them a lot since they began to rapidly expand in 2005. If this is needed to keep the park open, I'll still pay and enjoy my time. Five rides is easily enough for probably at least 99% of those who visit, so only the upset enthusiasts like Nightmare500 might think twice before visiting. I don't think the park will mind that small loss in business.

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I suppose my problem is that I live two hours away from The Dells, and if I visit the area, I need to decide between going to Timber Falls or Mt. Olympus. Of the two, Mt. Olympus is the only place that can keep me occupied for the majority of a day. So my options are to just by-pass Avalanche in favor of Hades, or to spend $60 dollars to visit both. As I said in the email, I'd love to visit Timber Falls again, but neither of those options allow me to reasonably do that.

 

The overload of attractions in the area are certainly what caused this decision to be made by management, and I don't fault them for doing so. I realize that the park wants to be successful, which is why chose to email them my feedback. I just feel that the new all-day pass pushes away those who are willing to travel to the park.

 

Now, with buying the pass you get 1/2 off the Skyscraper ride and I would suggest that by buying the pass, the passholder should also get 1/2 off additional ride tickets. That, IMO would be a fair compromise.

 

I couldn't agree more to that. At $3, I'd be more inclined to pay for any rerides after the first 5.

 

Honestly, I'm quite surprised how many of you seem to be willing to pay the $20 for the wristband. But looking at the glass half-full, this is very good news for Timber Falls.

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^ When it comes down to this...it's twenty bucks. Seriously, that is really that much at all when you think about it. The dinner you buy that evening will probably cost about the same.

 

Go to TGI Fridays and buy an appetizer and a soda and you've probably spent close to twenty bucks.

 

If you like the coaster, pay the twenty bucks, get your five rides, go play a round of mini golf, take a few photos, etc.

 

That sounds like a pretty good afternoon to me!

 

--Robb

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Kara and I were in the Dells a little less than a month ago. We went on a Sunday and Monday, and the first stop on the agenda was Timber Falls. We had already known of the new policy before setting foot on property, and while it was a bit disappointing not being able to ride more than 5 times, we still enjoyed ourselves.

 

Also, there's a discount card you can get (Wisconsin Dells Fun Card, perhaps?) that we purchased that got us buy one get one free wristbands at the park. The card was $10 (and it came with a million other discounts throughout the area), so with that we saved $10 on the bands. In fact, even with the new limitations on the "unlimited bands," (and I'd never been to the park before) we still went back the following day to get MORE rides on Avalanche by purchasing two more wristbands...

 

...Unfortunately, the ride was closed the whole day...Luckily, I got to ride it the day before, otherwise I would have been extremely disappointed.

 

Anyway, not being able to marathon it was disappointing, but the $20 wristband was more than worth it for an amazing wooden coaster. And if that's what it takes to keep it operating, I'm all for it.

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Small parks like this need to do what they can to survive and I support it 100%. Like Robb, I'm not a marathon rider, but I really enjoyed being able to ride HellCat once when I was there a few weeks ago.

 

I was there writing a travel freelance story. My wife and I were able to play three rounds of mini-golf, ride the log flume and HellCat. All for $20 (with media pass). Not bad!

 

Timber Falls also has something that Mt. Olympus will never have - charm!

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