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There's a lot of threads on here about horrible park operations, incidents, etc. But how much would you say it affects your impression of a given park in general?

 

For me, being only a "semi" enthusiast with just a little over 100 credits, I have so far only experienced isolated incidients of poor operations at the parks I've been too (a number of annoying ride ops, texting in the station, slow loading on one or two coasters, etc.). For the most part I usually try to let those kinds of things slide and just enjoy the park, but I know some people are more easily annoyed than I am, and the little things can and do add up.

 

The reason I ask is, I just read Coaster Grotto's updated review of Thorpe Park, and apparently the webmaster of that site had such a bad experience with customer service during his 2012 visit that he vowed never to return: http://www.coastergrotto.com/reviews/thorpe-park.jsp

 

While I think that basing an opinion off just ONE bad visit is a little harsh, I do agree that it is justified and at the very least will affect your overall impressions of the park. Most people will only go to a given park once a year at the most so therefore a park's staff should strive to be top notch 100% of the time.

 

But the thing that worries me is this: Having SFOT as one of my home parks, I've heard a lot of people have noticed that the operations there have really nosedived compared to years past (like Thorpe Park). Same thing with Indiana Beach, which has been on my to-visit list for awhile now...

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There have been many times I have been at a park and there have been things at the park that park employees have done that annoy me to no end, however I try to just let it go, and not let it bother me.

 

With that being said after a recent visit to Six Flags Over Texas I have vowed I would never return to the park. They could build the worlds tallest and fastest coaster and I would still have no desire to return to the park. The park operations were awful. Simply awful. There were so many times we watched ride operators at Six Flags seriously sit there and talk with each other rather than checking the restraints, to try and get the trains out of the stations. It was so bad on Mr. Freeze that they would dispatch one train, it would slide over, launch, make it back into the station, slide over back, unload, and start boarding again... and they STILL would not have even checked the restraints on the other side of the station. Meanwhile the main operator was sitting there singing into the microphone, and screaming about how much she wanted a sticker. New Texas Giant, and Titan were both almost just as bad. There were so many times the ride operators were to busy talking to each other to take time to check the restraints of the trains. Titan, Mr. Freeze, and New Texas Giant were all averaging 5-8 minute dispatches. Surprisingly Batman was the fastest crew in the park. They were getting trains out rather quickly. They were working hard, they weren't just standing around talking, they were actually doing their job.

 

With all of that being said another thing that greatly annoyed me was the way all of the employees handled Flash Pass individuals. There were several times at Mr. Freeze when we were trying to use our Flash Pass, and the employee who was suppose to put their device up next to yours, and ensure you could ride would be all the way down at the back of the talking to a ride operator who was trying to check her restraints. We would end up waiting about 10 minutes each time for him to stop talking and come let us ride. Then on several rides the operators would ignore us, and complain that we were there using a Flash Pass. Saying things like "Ugh, why do they have to spend the money to make me work extra" to other ride ops, and even park guest. At Justice League they scanned our Flash Pass, and had us stand up against a wall to "forget" that we were even their. They just kept letting the stand by line go in front of us, and about 8-10 minutes later they would come up to us and say "Oh, I am so sorry. I forgot you were over here." Seriously this happened almost ever time we rode the ride. Same thing happened on La Vibora, and a few other rides. It was so frustrating. When you spend the money on a Flash Pass you expect to actually get to use it, and not be ignored, and talked bad about by employees.

 

We got to the park at about 11am, and left at 2pm because we were so annoyed, and I have no desire to ever return to the park. So for me the impact of a bad visit depends on how bad the visit is. I tend to be really forgiving when it comes to things annoying me in parks, but when a lot of things are added together it makes me vow I will never return to a park.

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I think I should go recording name tags of the good and bad employees at SFOT so Guest Relations will have a more narrow compliant.

 

I've never been there, but I've seen so much Flash Pass abuse at Six Flags parks. If you ride Zumanjaro, then DO NOT wait in the single rider line. My dad and I went back around to hop into that line as it was half the length. Biggest mistake ever. The regular line cruised by, but it was Flash Pass abuse that really pissed us off. The attendant (who was standing in front of our line), let the Flash Pass constantly in, immediately as someone showed up and the ride had cycled. Then, he'd hop over to the regular line for a couple of minutes, and use the Flash Pass people as SINGLE RIDERS. That was our job! Getting to the front of the line took about 45 minutes, and then it was another hour to get the rest of the 10 ft before the gate! Urghh.

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There's a lot of threads on here about horrible park operations, incidents, etc. But how much would you say it affects your impression of a given park in general?

Oh, it absolutely does. Our last visit to Six Flags Great America was one of our worst ever in the history of us doing parks. And that combined with the just awful dealings I've had with their public relations and general management of that park leads me to believe they need a new senior management team and FAST! I'm hoping never to step foot in that park again until their PR manager and President are gone. There's just no excuse at all for treating people that way who are giving your park and company money.

 

The rest of the park chain seems to be greatly improving, which is amazing, and it just more proves that the problem is with that specific park and how it's being run.

 

And the sad part is, I would put Great America in the top five Six Flags parks at one point, now it's right at the bottom of the list.

Edited by robbalvey
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I've never had a bad experience with the ops at SFOT. I've been a total of four times, and I never noticed anything particularly bad besides their rain policy. Dispatches were averaging 90 seconds or so.

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They could build the worlds tallest and fastest coaster and I would still have no desire to return to the park.

How about if they built the world's best coaster!?

 

It was so bad on Mr. Freeze that they would dispatch one train, it would slide over, launch, make it back into the station, slide over back, unload, and start boarding again... and they STILL would not have even checked the restraints on the other side of the station. Meanwhile the main operator was sitting there singing into the microphone, and screaming about how much she wanted a sticker. New Texas Giant, and Titan were both almost just as bad. There were so many times the ride operators were to busy talking to each other to take time to check the restraints of the trains. Titan, Mr. Freeze, and New Texas Giant were all averaging 5-8 minute dispatches. Surprisingly Batman was the fastest crew in the park.

 

But most importantly, how was the Shock Wave crew?

 

I'm teasing you, in a very coaster nerdy way ... It really does stink that operations are so pitiful. It absolutely has an effect on my opinion of the park. One mess up here or there, ok. But consistently stacking trains, moving slow, etc., gets old.

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I've never been there, but I've seen so much Flash Pass abuse at Six Flags parks. If you ride Zumanjaro, then DO NOT wait in the single rider line. My dad and I went back around to hop into that line as it was half the length. Biggest mistake ever. The regular line cruised by, but it was Flash Pass abuse that really pissed us off. The attendant (who was standing in front of our line), let the Flash Pass constantly in, immediately as someone showed up and the ride had cycled. Then, he'd hop over to the regular line for a couple of minutes, and use the Flash Pass people as SINGLE RIDERS. That was our job! Getting to the front of the line took about 45 minutes, and then it was another hour to get the rest of the 10 ft before the gate! Urghh.

 

Preach! I've dealt with this problem to no end. Honestly unless the SR line is signifigantly shorter than the regular line, it's not worth it, even if you are a single rider. I never use it anymore because I ended up waiting 2 hours in the SR line once and people were getting in from the regular line in 45 minutes.

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There have been many times I have been at a park and there have been things at the park that park employees have done that annoy me to no end, however I try to just let it go, and not let it bother me.

 

With that being said after a recent visit to Six Flags Over Texas I have vowed I would never return to the park.

 

[...]

 

So for me the impact of a bad visit depends on how bad the visit is. I tend to be really forgiving when it comes to things annoying me in parks, but when a lot of things are added together it makes me vow I will never return to a park.

 

I agree 100%. If these had been one-off occurences, that'd be one thing, but if it's happening all over the park and adds up to make a bad visit, it does reflect very badly on the park as a whole (especially if you've already read bad reviews of the park around the same time period on this board).

 

What further compounds the issue is that even "good" Six Flags/Cedar Fair parks can have bad days. Many if not most ride ops at the large corporate chain parks in my experience are high school/college students, many of which would rather be on Facebook than dispatching the trains.

 

A lot of medium-sized family-run parks (like Lagoon and Dollywood), by contrast, seem to hold their staff to much higher standards, emphasasizing efficiancy and friendliness (and I believe we've had that discussion in other threads about bad operations). Speaking of which, I really need to get up to Lagoon and ride Cannibal.

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A bad visit absolutely will effect my view of a park. If it's an isolated incident with just one employee being terrible, I can forgive that and enjoy the rest of the park. However, if the entire park has horrendous operations, then my thoughts on the park will dramatically drop. If the employees on nearly every ride are just chatting, texting, not doing their job, and I see many horrible decisions made by upper management that effects these issues (buying only one train for each coaster), then I am far less excited to go back to a park like that until I hear from other people that the situation dramatically improved.

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the impact of a bad visit depends on how bad the visit is. I tend to be really forgiving when it comes to things annoying me in parks, but when a lot of things are added together it makes me vow I will never return to a park.

I should mention that this is true for me also. Bad things can happen anywhere... theme parks, movie theaters, shopping malls, etc, and sometimes it's not always an employees fault, etc, just circumstance, so for the most part, I'm VERY tolerant when it comes to minor annoyances.

 

But when it's clearly a park-wide issue that comes from upper management, like our experience at Six Flags Great America, then that's when I most certainly cannot give the park a "pass" until something is done to fix things.

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the impact of a bad visit depends on how bad the visit is. I tend to be really forgiving when it comes to things annoying me in parks, but when a lot of things are added together it makes me vow I will never return to a park.

I should mention that this is true for me also. Bad things can happen anywhere... theme parks, movie theaters, shopping malls, etc, and sometimes it's not always an employees fault, etc, just circumstance, so for the most part, I'm VERY tolerant when it comes to minor annoyances.

 

But when it's clearly a park-wide issue that comes from upper management, like our experience at Six Flags Great America, then that's when I most certainly cannot give the park a "pass" until something is done to fix things.

 

I understand your frustrations with SFGAm Robb. At the same time, however, I wish you would take a step back with it... And that is because of the power/influence you have with social media...

 

I get that last summer you had a horrible day at SFGAm... What that has evolved to on social media is very "GP-like" however... What I mean by that is that there are people who have never been to the park or who make it there once every couple of years who use your experience and make it seem like an everyday experience when commenting.... I'm sorry, but some random 17 year old kid in Jersey who's never been here shouldn't be holding your experience against the park... It's gone viral how SFGAm's operations are the world's worst...

 

As it being my home park, I would say that operations are "mid-pack" in the grand scheme of things... Not squeaky clean like Disney supposedly is (full disclosure: Never been and don't plan on going in the near future) and no where near killing people on a daily basis either like Mt. Olympus (see disclosure above)... So I don't comment on them... But others do... And there in lies the problem...

 

We like to comment on stuff the GP does here on TPR, but with this, I feel that "enthusiasts" are a mirror image of the GP. I'm not trying to invalidate your experience at all... But I do feel that my park has suffered tremendously because of a lone incident... And the incident involved people that 99% of people on TPR will never deal with on a visit to the park...

 

As someone with a degree in Sports/Entertainment Promotions and Marketing, I can see how your experience was a negative one... And a valid one... But that is for you, and you only... No one else should be holding that over our head...

 

Sorry for the derailment there... Just something that bugs me... As a relatively new "enthusiast", I have quickly learned that I have to take everything I read on sites like TPR with a spoonful of salt when I look to apply it to my endeavors... Some opinions are fully justified, but many are not... Add in that it's my home park, and you can easily figure why I'm bugged

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I'll actually use SFGAm as an example, but for different reasons than have been discussed.

 

I'm not the type to let one visit change my entire opinion about a park, especially one I've visited a few times. SFGAm was the park I grew up in, and for a long time it was regarded as one of (or best of) the best Six Flags parks in the chain in terms of Operations and ride selection. While the rides are still pretty diverse and quality, I've had a few visits each of the past several summers that have turned me off to the park entirely. They've made so many cuts to the staffing levels and hours of operation that when you add in the increased Flash Pass sales it's changed the lines dramatically. 10 years ago having a full queue house at Raging Bull meant about 45-50 minute wait, now its at least 90. Stacked trains, slow ops and poor management have decreased satisfaction.

 

And actually, the rides aren't the worst part. Food Operations cannot handle the volume that the dining pass has brought them, and so frequently you wait in line 30-45 minutes for an awful quality burger or piece of pizza. The park is slowly falling apart, and while I'm sure the bottom line looks awesome due to increased attendance (and $4 water, and $25 (!!!) parking) it's going to hurt them in the long run.

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the impact of a bad visit depends on how bad the visit is. I tend to be really forgiving when it comes to things annoying me in parks, but when a lot of things are added together it makes me vow I will never return to a park.

I should mention that this is true for me also. Bad things can happen anywhere... theme parks, movie theaters, shopping malls, etc, and sometimes it's not always an employees fault, etc, just circumstance, so for the most part, I'm VERY tolerant when it comes to minor annoyances.

 

But when it's clearly a park-wide issue that comes from upper management, like our experience at Six Flags Great America, then that's when I most certainly cannot give the park a "pass" until something is done to fix things.

 

I understand your frustrations with SFGAm Robb. At the same time, however, I wish you would take a step back with it... And that is because of the power/influence you have with social media...

 

I get that last summer you had a horrible day at SFGAm... What that has evolved to on social media is very "GP-like" however... What I mean by that is that there are people who have never been to the park or who make it there once every couple of years who use your experience and make it seem like an everyday experience when commenting.... I'm sorry, but some random 17 year old kid in Jersey who's never been here shouldn't be holding your experience against the park... It's gone viral how SFGAm's operations are the world's worst...

 

As it being my home park, I would say that operations are "mid-pack" in the grand scheme of things... Not squeaky clean like Disney supposedly is (full disclosure: Never been and don't plan on going in the near future) and no where near killing people on a daily basis either like Mt. Olympus (see disclosure above)... So I don't comment on them... But others do... And there in lies the problem...

 

We like to comment on stuff the GP does here on TPR, but with this, I feel that "enthusiasts" are a mirror image of the GP. I'm not trying to invalidate your experience at all... But I do feel that my park has suffered tremendously because of a lone incident... And the incident involved people that 99% of people on TPR will never deal with on a visit to the park...

 

As someone with a degree in Sports/Entertainment Promotions and Marketing, I can see how your experience was a negative one... And a valid one... But that is for you, and you only... No one else should be holding that over our head...

 

Sorry for the derailment there... Just something that bugs me... As a relatively new "enthusiast", I have quickly learned that I have to take everything I read on sites like TPR with a spoonful of salt when I look to apply it to my endeavors... Some opinions are fully justified, but many are not... Add in that it's my home park, and you can easily figure why I'm bugged

 

As someone with a degree in a Marketing related field you know the landscape has changed dramatically the past 10 years. That is something every business needs to deal with today.

 

Robb has been to enough parks to recognize when a problem is across the board at a park or an isolated incident or two or three. He certainly doesn't go looking for problems (like some of those crazy Disney freaks) but reports what he sees and experiences.

 

People are free to do as they choose (and many on TPR still enjoy the park), Robb doesn't call for the boycott of any place. His reporting (or the reporting of any expert) should at the very least be looked at be anyone in charge of an entity getting a bad review.

 

Before I left the Advertising Industry my client had a dedicated Social Media Group scouring the internet addressing and synopsizing the issues for management. Part of that team's jobs was to prioritize critiques that came from influential bloggers/writers.

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Almost nothing happens in a vacuum. If I'm pissed about the last two hours of my life being wasted in lines, that attitude will carry onto the ride. I'm not going to try to separate that sort of thing out from my experience on a ride because, honestly, why should I? That's like telling someone who sees the cook spit in their food that they should just eat it and judge it on its merits.

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The only bad experience i've had at a park was at SFMM...

I'm not going into full detail, but with the mediocre food, advertisements placed EVERYWHERE, and not to mention the complete rip off of their Flash Pass! (EVEN FOR 125$!)

 

I still had a good time, but next visit to Cali I'll just go to KBF.

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Poor enforcement of line-jumping rules and conduct can make for a particular bad visit and make people feel like the park sucks even though their collection is quite good. Things like line-jumping and proximate matters like holding space for 20 of your friends can get out of hand on really busy days, and you're caught between lackadaisical security and obnoxious (and sometimes dangerous) nose-dripping teenagers while 500 deep in some standby.

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the impact of a bad visit depends on how bad the visit is. I tend to be really forgiving when it comes to things annoying me in parks, but when a lot of things are added together it makes me vow I will never return to a park.

I should mention that this is true for me also. Bad things can happen anywhere... theme parks, movie theaters, shopping malls, etc, and sometimes it's not always an employees fault, etc, just circumstance, so for the most part, I'm VERY tolerant when it comes to minor annoyances.

 

But when it's clearly a park-wide issue that comes from upper management, like our experience at Six Flags Great America, then that's when I most certainly cannot give the park a "pass" until something is done to fix things.

 

I understand your frustrations with SFGAm Robb. At the same time, however, I wish you would take a step back with it... And that is because of the power/influence you have with social media...

 

I get that last summer you had a horrible day at SFGAm... What that has evolved to on social media is very "GP-like" however... What I mean by that is that there are people who have never been to the park or who make it there once every couple of years who use your experience and make it seem like an everyday experience when commenting.... I'm sorry, but some random 17 year old kid in Jersey who's never been here shouldn't be holding your experience against the park... It's gone viral how SFGAm's operations are the world's worst...

 

As it being my home park, I would say that operations are "mid-pack" in the grand scheme of things... Not squeaky clean like Disney supposedly is (full disclosure: Never been and don't plan on going in the near future) and no where near killing people on a daily basis either like Mt. Olympus (see disclosure above)... So I don't comment on them... But others do... And there in lies the problem...

 

We like to comment on stuff the GP does here on TPR, but with this, I feel that "enthusiasts" are a mirror image of the GP. I'm not trying to invalidate your experience at all... But I do feel that my park has suffered tremendously because of a lone incident... And the incident involved people that 99% of people on TPR will never deal with on a visit to the park...

 

As someone with a degree in Sports/Entertainment Promotions and Marketing, I can see how your experience was a negative one... And a valid one... But that is for you, and you only... No one else should be holding that over our head...

 

Sorry for the derailment there... Just something that bugs me... As a relatively new "enthusiast", I have quickly learned that I have to take everything I read on sites like TPR with a spoonful of salt when I look to apply it to my endeavors... Some opinions are fully justified, but many are not... Add in that it's my home park, and you can easily figure why I'm bugged

 

I'm trying to actually make sense out of what you have said here and I *think* you are saying that I shouldn't be allowed to have an opinion, or post a negative opinion about a park based on the volume of followers or "influence" we have on social media.

 

WHAT?!?!?!?

 

Isn't the WHOLE POINT of what we do is to express opinions based on our visits to parks?!??

 

My thoughts on Six Flags Great America is not just based on one visit or a lone incident. It's based on several dealings with the parks public relations staff, the parks senior management, and front line employees in ride operations, food & beverage, and guest relations. And since those incidents I have not heard many reports that have said things have improved. So based on all that, I have zero interest in returning to the park until I've heard that some serious changes have been made in their management team. None of them have ever tried to reach out to me about any of our incidents which speaks volumes, IMO, whereas just about every other park in the world, if we post something constructive or have an issue will reach out to us and help address it. I think I'm fully in the right to have this opinion regardless of our "influence" with social media.

Edited by robbalvey
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Should people not review bad films as such because it might make people not go to see the film? No, that would be absurd.

 

You'd have though, given the potential social media influence mentioned earlier, that parks would be aiming to ensure that they run as smoothly as possible. Why should it be Robb's problem if he wants to review it as badly as he found it? They're the ones providing the bad park experience (if it was the park rather than guests causing problems).

 

For me it would depend entirely on what caused the bad visit. The worst visit to a park I've ever had was Thorpe Park, but that was mainly down to crowds. My solution was to go there the next time during an off-peak day. I am generally more forgiving of parks that are nearer me as there's less of a difficulty to get there again to 'try again'. Travelling internationally if I don't like the park I won't go again unless there really was a lot of stuff I wanted to try that I missed. I didn't have an especially good time at Busch Gardens Tampa when I went there in 2006, and as a result I've not been since despite having been to Florida twice since then. It's a long way to go from the UK to risk having another poor experience. To its credit Busch Gardens was not actually a bad park, but given my Florida trips have been based on Orlando I was unenthusiastic to travel to Tampa just to go to a park which underwhelmed me in the past.

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For me, it was definitely PortAventura.

 

I really, really wanted to like this park – on the surface, it has beautiful and consistent theming and a solid coaster collection (especially now that Shambhala has been added, I went before that, though). But I had a terrible day there. I was absolutely shocked at how they run that place! One train operations on Dragon Khan with a 90+ minute queue, Stampida+Tomahawk closed, drop tower closed, Templo du Fuego closed, Khan closed more than half of the day too, most of park rides didn't open until 2 hours after the official opening, chewing gum and trash everywhere, rude and slow employees and ridiculous prices. For a park that strives to be a 'destination' place like Disney, Universal, Europa-Park etc., it was just WAY below that level.

 

I went home very disappointed, but tried to convince myself it had still somehow just been an 'off day'. However, after reading similar reviews I decided that I wasn't just a bad day, but in general a pretty bad park – and so, yes, one 'bad visit' certainly impacted my view of a park. Now that they have Shambhala I would probably go again, but only if I would be randomly nearby.

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It's funny how the first two parks I thought of were mentioned so early on. Both SFoT and SFGAm were parks I found it difficult to enjoy. If you're in a bad mood before riding a coaster (because of the park's conditions or operations) you're probably going to rate that coaster lower too. Maybe I only enjoyed Iron Rattler a lot more than NTaG because I had such a wonderful day at SFFT? I don't know, but if I'm ever in Texas again I'll go out of my way to visit SFFT again but wouldn't bother with SFoT. So yeah, it makes a huge impact on me.

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Honestly, I don't care about anything at a park but the rides. I could have to wait in line for two hours, or eat the worst food ever, but so long as the rides were good, I would have had a good time. There are exceptions to this rule, like when the shut down every single ride in the park in the middle of the say for some undisclosed reason at La Ronde.

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If it's a park that's universally recognized as "good" and I have a bad visit once, I usually give the park a second chance as if the first bad visit was a fluke. Typically my "worst" park visits are only bad because I pick a bad day to go.

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SF Magic Mountain.

 

A little history: my 1st visit was in 1980. I had never been to the park let alone California. I was beyond excited to finally ride the coasters I had read about and seen in the movie Rollercoaster.

 

I only took a few pictures that day, but I still remember riding Colossus, Revolution, the two log rides, and a ton of other rides. It was a truly memorable experience.

 

Fast forward to 2000. My 2nd visit to the park. A nice sunny day in September with very light crowds. I got to finally ride Viper, Superman, Ninja, Batman, etc. Not a bad day and I even ran into some friends from Ohio!

 

April 2013. I was in LA for a few days and planned a separate road trip to SFMM. It was a week or two after Easter, so the crowds were non existent.

 

After arriving at the park, I waited in a line to get in early with my Gold Pass. I think they let us in 15 minutes before everyone else. I ran to X2. Closed. Then Tatsu. Closed. "Wind," they said.

 

Yet it was hardly windy at all.

 

Finally got my rides on Apocalypse, Green Lantern, and Scream. Colossus: closed. Drop Tower: closed.

 

Literally everywhere I looked everything was closed from rides to food stands to souvenir shops. I then realized that the park just didn't want to staff the rides on such a low attendance day.

 

When Tatsu FINALLY opened a few hours later, they were running one train, and the line was over an hour long.

 

Never did ride it or X2 which never opened. Left the park disgusted with their lack of care for guests.

 

I decided to write a few tweets about my experience, hoping I would at least get a courtesy response from SFMM. Instead, they blocked my from following them on Twitter. REALLY? What park blocks a guest who has legitimate concerns about their operations?

 

I vowed never to return.

 

And, of course, I will be there this coming Saturday for West Coast Bash. Hoping for the best but prepared for the worst.

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We like to comment on stuff the GP does here on TPR, but with this, I feel that "enthusiasts" are a mirror image of the GP. I'm not trying to invalidate your experience at all... But I do feel that my park has suffered tremendously because of a lone incident... And the incident involved people that 99% of people on TPR will never deal with on a visit to the park...

 

In all seriousness, do you work for the park? And if so, is it in a position of management? Because emotional ownership isn't real ownership. I've been there and done that and realized my error later. If "your park" has suffered tremendously, in what ways? I don't think Robb made it so that it always takes an hour to get there coming from the freeway. I don't think Robb is why their flat rides run at 1/3 speed to save money. You probably caught my drift here.

 

If people can't make up their own minds and form an intelligent opinion about something, that's their problem. You don't need to care about what they have to say.

 

edit: Also, honestly, I *am* the GP. The only relationship I have to these things is that I exchange money with the expectation of entertainment just like everyone else walking through the gate. Me knowing this or that or the other thing doesn't get me in for free or qualify me for super secret handjob rides on the coasters.

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