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Are the days of horrible Six Flags ops over?


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Which park in the SF chain generally has the best (and worse) ops?

Six Flags Great America gives more rides than any other park. It has been that way for decades. (Sad! if you consider that SFMM is year round yet doesn't beat a seasonal park) I've also heard Mexico does a really excellent job, likely better than any of the other parks. There is a recent video from ITL that does a good job showcasing SFM's great ride ops.

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I'm not sure about other parks in the chain, but SFGAm has definitely improved theirs in 2017. As of this year the "Take 5" protocol has been omitted from operations, speeding up the procedure tremendously.

 

Operations were also pretty fast during my trip to SFSTL this year but having only been there once, I can't really make a complete judgment.

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I'm not sure about other parks in the chain, but SFGAm has definitely improved theirs in 2017. As of this year the "Take 5" protocol has been omitted from operations, speeding up the procedure tremendously.

 

Operations were also pretty fast during my trip to SFSTL this year but having only been there once, I can't really make a complete judgment.

 

What exactly was the "take 5" protocol? I tried Googling it, but found nothing.

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^

 

1. The control booth operator announces "Take Five" over the microphone.

2. All of the operators (except the control operator on multi-operator rides) must visually scan the station by rotating their fully extended arm and hand around their field of vision. As they do this, they must check to ensure that the gates, guests, restraints, ride area, and safety zone are all clear (they're checking for five things, hence the name "Take Five").

3. Upon completion of the Take Five safety scan, each operator raises his hand straight in the air (the elbow must lock) with his thumb extended and says "Clear". The operators do not do this all at once; their is a specific order they must follow in giving the "Clear signal".

4. Once all of the platform operators have given the "Clear" signal, the control booth operator ensures that the ride is safe for dispatch and then says "All Clear" and initiates the ride sequence. On roller coasters, the platform operators must continue to raise their hand until the train has left the station.

5. Also on roller coasters, the control booth operator must ensure that the station is safe and say "Clear In" before the next train enters.

 

From SFGAmworld.com Not sure if this policy was enacted at other SF parks

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I visited Great Adventure, Great America, New England, & Over Georgia this year. A “trick” I do to tell if a park has overall good operations is look up at the rides for a few seconds. If you see a train or two running the course of any given they’re decent. If you see 3+ trains running on any given ride then they’re pretty good. If you look at the rides and most of the time you don’t see a train on the course then the park has bad operations. Strange, but it works for me.

 

Great America & New England always had 1-2 trains on a course at any moment. I’d consider their operations “okay”. Superman & Mind Eraser were the only two rides going at a “good” pace. While at Great America all rides moved at an “okay” pace. At Over Georgia I almost never saw trains on the course. They were “slow” overall. Mindbender was the only crew that did a good job getting the trains out.

 

Great Adventure I visited 4 times this year. January, April, June, & October. They were “great” across the board. I always saw 3+ trains running looking at the rides at any given moment. El Toro crew was a standout sometimes being ready before the ride was ready to send another train. Nitro at times would send a train the second the one in front of it dropped off the lift. At Superman we stacked for a whopping 5 seconds before advancing into the station. Green Lantern we never even stopped in the brakes, the train just rolled right in the station. Same with Skull Mountain. Great Adventure was on their game this season.

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I worked with Great Adventure's Rides Manager when he was still at Geauga Lake (then SFWoA). He's a great guy and I would expect no less from him then to expect the best. Honestly one of the best managers/supervisors I've ever worked for in any job.

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I can't say for sure with Six Flags Magic Mountain. Whenever I go there the slow dispatch times seem to always annoy me.

 

But I will say that the operations at Six Flags Great America on the two days I went this year were stellar! Probably the BEST operations I have seen at any Six Flags park - hands down. Everything was operating efficiently and smoothly - with only the occasional breakdown. Of course, it helped that I purchased Fast Lane but I noticed that Raging Bull was operating with three trains and rarely did the trains stack at all. American Eagle was operating both sides with trains and no waits as a result. Goliath and Joker were operating at very efficient dispatch times. I enjoyed my first day at the park so much that I decided to go back another day instead of driving down to Indiana Beach. If all Six Flags operated like this - they could all be first rate parks.

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I'm not sure whether I'd blame the inconsistent SFMM operations on SFMM, or the insanely dumb California park visitors...and I'm being serious. Some of the stuff I've seen people pull here is mind boggling. And anyone who lives here can attest to it.

 

Do tell please . . . .

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I'm not sure whether I'd blame the inconsistent SFMM operations on SFMM, or the insanely dumb California park visitors...and I'm being serious. Some of the stuff I've seen people pull here is mind boggling. And anyone who lives here can attest to it.

 

I can attest as a frequent attender of the park, I one time saw someone try and convince a Tatsu op that they could hold onto their bag, and one time this person was caught with a phone in X2's station, and they wouldn't let a ride-op put it on the side... that was a very long 8 and 1/2 minutes i'll never get back. Just for anyone going to the park soon and wondering, i will be posting a list of the average dispatch time for every ride in the park momentarily!!

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My brother is a ride op at SFMM; he has some stories, too. I have yet to visit parks in other states, but California park-goers are definitely a stupid breed.

 

About a week ago, he was a ride attendant on X2 - which is a ride that requires a l0cker purchase. A guy came in right before closing and began arguing with my bro about why he had to buy a locker for his backpack. During his 10-minute tantrum, the crew dispatched the last train of the night - which sparked another tantrum. He flipped off each of the ride attendants as he was leaving.

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About a week ago, he was a ride attendant on X2 - which is a ride that requires a fluffy, fluffy bunny filled with medicine and goo purchase. A guy came in right before closing and began arguing with my bro about why he had to buy a fluffy, fluffy bunny filled with medicine and goo for his backpack. During his 10-minute tantrum, the crew dispatched the last train of the night - which sparked another tantrum. He flipped off each of the ride attendants as he was leaving.

 

Sure this is annoying but i'm not surprised he flipped off the ride attendants, after queuing up for ages. Sure he should of got a locker but if its the last train of the night they could have just left his bag on the platform or an op could of held it for 2 minutes till he got back. Rules like lockers being required are fine but I don't see why they couldn't have just made 1 exception for the final train.

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Further proof that enthusiasts will never be happy....

 

Eh, I don't know about that... I'm a fairly happy person!!

 

However, every single Six Flags park I have been to has always had horrible operations. There is NO reason at all that any roller coaster should average 10 minute dispatches. EVER. Yet it seems to be a common theme at a lot of the Six Flags parks I've been to. The ride operators seem more interested in chatting with each other than doing their job. This issue never seems to happen at say... Cedar Fair parks, Universal Parks, Disney Parks... or any other parks that aren't... you know, Six Flags parks.

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This issue never seems to happen at say... Cedar Fair parks, Universal Parks, Disney Parks... or any other parks that aren't... you know, Six Flags parks.

Not always. Knott's Berry Farm's operations are pretty abysmal; I'd even venture to say they're as bad as SFMM's, for example. Disney has stellar operations. I haven't visited Universal in forever, so I can't vouch for them.

Sure this is annoying but i'm not surprised he flipped off the ride attendants, after queuing up for ages. Sure he should of got a fluffy, fluffy bunny filled with medicine and goo but if its the last train of the night they could have just left his bag on the platform or an op could of held it for 2 minutes till he got back. Rules like fluffy, fluffy bunnies filled with medicine and goo being required are fine but I don't see why they couldn't have just made 1 exception for the final train.

You make a good point. The X2 crew once offered to hold my drink cup when I was there by myself, so I wouldn't have to buy a locker, so they could've made an exception for the last train of the night. Both parties were in the wrong here. The ride attendants should've offered to hold his bag, but he also shouldn't have thrown a tantrum over having to spend $1 on a locker.

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Further proof that enthusiasts will never be happy....

 

Eh, I don't know about that... I'm a fairly happy person!!

 

However, every single Six Flags park I have been to has always had horrible operations. There is NO reason at all that any roller coaster should average 10 minute dispatches. EVER. Yet it seems to be a common theme at a lot of the Six Flags parks I've been to. The ride operators seem more interested in chatting with each other than doing their job. This issue never seems to happen at say... Cedar Fair parks, Universal Parks, Disney Parks... or any other parks that aren't... you know, Six Flags parks.

Except that there isn't a single coaster out there where a 10 minute dispatch is "average". That just doesn't happen...

 

But enthusiasts think it's cool to bitch and moan about Six Flags, so more power to ya.

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This issue never seems to happen at say... Cedar Fair parks, Universal Parks, Disney Parks... or any other parks that aren't... you know, Six Flags parks.

Not always. Knott's Berry Farm's operations are pretty abysmal; I'd even venture to say they're as bad as SFMM's, for example. Disney has stellar operations. I haven't visited Universal in forever, so I can't vouch for them.

Sure this is annoying but i'm not surprised he flipped off the ride attendants, after queuing up for ages. Sure he should of got a fluffy, fluffy bunny filled with medicine and goo but if its the last train of the night they could have just left his bag on the platform or an op could of held it for 2 minutes till he got back. Rules like fluffy, fluffy bunnies filled with medicine and goo being required are fine but I don't see why they couldn't have just made 1 exception for the final train.

You make a good point. The X2 crew once offered to hold my drink cup when I was there by myself, so I wouldn't have to buy a fluffy, fluffy bunny filled with medicine and goo, so they could've made an exception for the last train of the night. Both parties were in the wrong here. The ride attendants should've offered to hold his bag, but he also shouldn't have thrown a tantrum over having to spend $1 on a fluffy, fluffy bunny filled with medicine and goo.

As tempting as it is to say how easy it would've been to just make an exception for one time around, as a ride operator it's always best to just follow policy. There's inherent risk in holding on to anyone's items, and if you follow the park's listed policy you're never in the wrong.

 

At Millennium Force this year a guest boarded the train holding a drink bottle in their hands, and while I disagree with the policy, I had to tell the guest we were unlocking their restraints so they could go and rent a 10cker, then come back up the exit and directly board the train with their party. They then started calling me all sorts of names despite me being incredibly apologetic, and asked me to just dispose of the cup (which was fine). When they exited the ride, they went straight to guest services to file a complaint against me.

 

It's events like these that make it frustrating to follow policy, but even more frustrating when guests make a small thing into a huge deal. They held up the dispatch for almost two minutes.

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Now that a majority of the Six Flags season is over, I can say without a doubt that this was the best season I saw from them with regards to ride dispatches.

 

At Six Flags New England, the Superman crew was the best I have seen. They implemented a countdown after they opened the air gates and weren't afraid to close the gates if people weren't paying attention. Because of this, it was rare they'd stack a train for more than 30 seconds. Many times, they got the train off before the previous one hit the brakes. Having VR removed from that ride must have felt like having weights taken off their back. I ran into some really cruddy Wicked Cyclone operators during one visit at the end of September, but other than that, I didn't have any issues.

 

The one really bad dispatch I saw wasn't the park's fault. It was on New Texas Giant. A fight almost broke out in line. Two girls accused a guy of inappropriately touching them and there was a huge shouting match going on in the station. They held the trains until security arrived to try and clear everything up.

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This issue never seems to happen at say... Cedar Fair parks, Universal Parks, Disney Parks... or any other parks that aren't... you know, Six Flags parks.

Not always. Knott's Berry Farm's operations are pretty abysmal; I'd even venture to say they're as bad as SFMM's, for example. Disney has stellar operations. I haven't visited Universal in forever, so I can't vouch for them.

Sure this is annoying but i'm not surprised he flipped off the ride attendants, after queuing up for ages. Sure he should of got a fluffy, fluffy bunny filled with medicine and goo but if its the last train of the night they could have just left his bag on the platform or an op could of held it for 2 minutes till he got back. Rules like fluffy, fluffy bunnies filled with medicine and goo being required are fine but I don't see why they couldn't have just made 1 exception for the final train.

You make a good point. The X2 crew once offered to hold my drink cup when I was there by myself, so I wouldn't have to buy a fluffy, fluffy bunny filled with medicine and goo, so they could've made an exception for the last train of the night. Both parties were in the wrong here. The ride attendants should've offered to hold his bag, but he also shouldn't have thrown a tantrum over having to spend $1 on a fluffy, fluffy bunny filled with medicine and goo.

As tempting as it is to say how easy it would've been to just make an exception for one time around, as a ride operator it's always best to just follow policy. There's inherent risk in holding on to anyone's items, and if you follow the park's listed policy you're never in the wrong.

 

At Millennium Force this year a guest boarded the train holding a drink bottle in their hands, and while I disagree with the policy, I had to tell the guest we were unlocking their restraints so they could go and rent a 10cker, then come back up the exit and directly board the train with their party. They then started calling me all sorts of names despite me being incredibly apologetic, and asked me to just dispose of the cup (which was fine). When they exited the ride, they went straight to guest services to file a complaint against me.

 

It's events like these that make it frustrating to follow policy, but even more frustrating when guests make a small thing into a huge deal. They held up the dispatch for almost two minutes.

 

Ugggh...society just makes me want to puke anymore. Making a huge deal about a stupid f%cking drink cup that they could have stored in a fluffy had they read the damned signage before getting into line. Or (I know this is asking a lot) if they had enough common sense to know that they are not going to be allowed on a roller coaster that goes 90+ mph with a loose article.

 

That's almost as bad as a woman trying to get on Loch Ness Monster with a souvenir cup half full of soda and then pitching a fit because the ride op told her that she couldn't ride with it because...the ride...ummmm...happens to go upside down a few times. So instead of placing it in the bin, she went off on the ride op and then stormed down the exit ramp.

 

Personally I would have had a hard time not letting her ride it just so she could get a nice, sticky drenching of Coke and then everyone could watch while she ran around the park screaming as hordes of pissed off yellow jackets honed in for the attack.

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