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Well, I'm sure from the park's perspective, there's little chance for a downside. Unless people decide to go someplace else, it's not them who would potentially lose money on the deal.

 

So, I'd be surprised if they had anything bad to say about it, regardless of what the guests said.

 

with respect to Cowabunga Bay, given that it's a water park and not an amusement park, what, besides food, would one be using a Wally-Card type system for? There's no mention of it on their website.

 

I find it interesting, though, that everybody seems to think offering a refund would be such a burden for the park. The park has been doing that very thing for the Water World customers for quite some time now.

 

Which begs the question, once the park goes completely cashless, will that practice end as well?

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I can't believe we are still talking about the cashless system in this thread. Everyone has stated their opinion, now lets move on. We can talk about it later towards the end of the season on how well it is or isn't working.

 

Exactly and thanks for saying it. I for one I would not even think of planing a trip to a park with wondering how I was going to get a buck or two back from a card. If I where that strapped for cash, I would just stay home. Really, a few dollars is going to break a few folks bank? If so, then maybe they need to stay home instead and focus on increasing the home bank.

 

Now back to "myself's" picture update which is great.

 

Well, the assertion that it's "a buck or two" is an assumption on your part. It's likely to be more than that unless somebody is making a lot of trips to the kiosk, only putting a few bucks on the card at a time.

 

Having said that, it's rather pompous on your part to suggest that unless people can afford to throw away money, regardless of the denomination, that they aren't worth having as customers.

 

Would giving up a few dollars break my bank? No. I can afford to go every year. Sometimes more than once.

 

Doesn't mean that I don't know people who need to save up to go every couple of years.

 

Doesn't mean that I don't know people who will drive to Waldameer instead of Kennywood, which is closer, because it's a better value and with the money they save can afford to get away for a weekend rather than a day.

 

Trust me, I did not mean for the post to be pompous. Let me clarify a little more on my reasoning.

I for one do not have money to just burn by no means I do plan out and budget any trip I make and try to stay on budget. If I go a little over than I do and just plan for that also. There are many tripe I would love to go on that are just not feasible at this point. I do not try to force them within a budget and just adjust down to something I can afford and have fun with that. I have found that it is much more relaxing to do this than have to watch every buck and worry about going way over. Just a personal preference.

 

Now about Waldameer and this whole buck thing and were that gets me. I a person complaining about this and saying they where just going to go to customer service and demand the reaming back. It was either on there blog, facebook or some news article. I can try to dig it back up if needed. Does a parks customer service really need to deal with people like that?

I had first hand experience lately with someone like that. My wife and I went out to a local bar with a few couples for happy hour. One of the couples fake dropped a almost empty pitcher of beer claiming that the table was wobbling. They argued with management over getting a free one. I just offered to pay for one just to make the situation go away. However, they kept pressing the issue with the bars manager. I finally had enough and was embarrassed to be associated with them and left.

These are the types of folks I am refereeing to in my post. Not the hard working guy or girl who appreciates what they are getting for their dollar. Sorry if that was confused.

 

Also, I figured the gas prices to get to Erie from Pittsburgh would offset any savings they got on admission and such. Well, at least maybe this year it will

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with respect to Cowabunga Bay, given that it's a water park and not an amusement park, what, besides food, would one be using a Wally-Card type system for? There's no mention of it on their website.

 

I find it interesting, though, that everybody seems to think offering a refund would be such a burden for the park. The park has been doing that very thing for the Water World customers for quite some time now.

 

First comment - A Core Cashless system (or just about any cashless automation system for that matter) can be used to whatever capacity the park desires. Here, Waldameer is merely using the system they had in place in a much greater capacity. Instead of just using the cards and wristbands to get into ride queues, they are going to cashless for everything. A park does not have to use cashless for everything, which I believe to be the case with Cowabunga Bay, which I believe just usess the system for entry into slides and attractions (someone please correct me if I am wrong on that one).

 

Next comment - I don't believe we are saying that it is a complete burden on the park to offer a refund. However, at least what I am saying, is that it just doesn't fit into the way of business they are attempting to roll out. Not offering a refund helps their efficiency.

 

And as far as the refund policy adding additional revenue and spending, I really do beg to differ. Let's say someone puts $10 on a card. With a refund policy their thinking will be "You know what, I don't need to spend all of this if I don't want to." Thus, they spend $5 if they want and get the $5 back that they didn't spend. Without the refund policy, the patron is still likely to put on that exact same $10 (contrary to the thinking that the patron would put less on a card if there isn't a refund policy in place - research shows that the customer will still place the same amount on the card). Now, either the customer will attempt to spend more at the end of the day because they know that they have to spend that $10, or, they will leave the park and leave that money on the card, which can do 2 things - 1. If the patron is local to the park they will likely re-enter the park at a later date to spend that money, and probably spend even more money at the park, or 2. Not spend the money at all, which is just pure profit for the park.

 

Another good example is this one - if a family goes to the park with children and the family say, puts $50 on a card. Through the middle of the day they have spent $47 on the card, and one of the children begins to get tired and act up. The family wants to leave the park, and the last thing on their mind is that last $3 on the card. It is more important to the mother and father to either tend to the needs of the child, and also tend to their own headache, rather than worry about spending that last $3 (not to mention actually stop at guest relations to get the refund with a crabby child). Pure profit for the park and the customers aren't shattered by the system.

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The next person to bring up the cashless system is going to get a 24 hour ban!

 

Move on NOW!

 

So, we're only allowed to discuss the things somebody else finds important?

 

If the management of the park thought the change important enough to bring up at the conference, there's no reason why it shouldn't be able to discuss it here, both pro and con.

 

Anything about the park... especially something that affects their customers, should be fair game.

 

If not? Feel free to ban me and, while your at it, post a list of topics that are acceptable to be discussed.

 

 

These are the types of folks I am refereeing to in my post. Not the hard working guy or girl who appreciates what they are getting for their dollar. Sorry if that was confused.

 

And, I'm sorry I took it so personally. The thing is, though, that one needs to consider where a park like Waldameer fits into things. There's no lack of competition for amusement park dollars in that region of the country. There are a number of larger parks within a couple of hour drive of Erie that one can go to.

 

A park like Waldameer competes for those dollars, beyond being easily accessible to locals, by offering the best value for the dollar.

 

Also, I figured the gas prices to get to Erie from Pittsburgh would offset any savings they got on admission and such. Well, at least maybe this year it will

 

You may well be right. But, that's sort of the point, also.

 

Anybody local to Kennywood can get into the park most days for about $24 if they buy the tickets through Giant Eagle (which are all over the region and easily accessible). For that, you get a much larger park, and much longer lines.

 

Last time I went to Kennywood, I was lucky to get 4 rides in on a Night Rider pass.

 

I've often joked that I could drive from where I work (about 10 miles north of Pittsburgh) to Waldameer and ride the Flyer in about the same time it takes me to drive to Kennywood (no quick way to get there) and ride any one of their more popular rides.

 

Looking at Waldameer's website, they appear to have raised their prices again this year. Combo passes up to $26.50 at the gate. Not sure about admission just to Waldameer as there is no mention of it on the website. So, no way for customers to even know how much that costs to compare. My guess would be at least $22, though.

 

It doesn't take leaving a whole lot on a card before they could have spent the same or less at a bigger park.

 

With gas prices possibly hitting $5 this summer ($4.50 being predicted), there is going to be less and less incentive for anybody but locals to go to Waldameer unless they're either passing through or already vacationing in the area.

 

At what point do they price themselves out of their niche?

 

Other than that? the only other point I was making about the viability of refunds is that they are already doing it with a large portion of their Water World customers.

 

You pay a deposit to use the lockers. At the end of the day, when you return the key, you have the choice to either get your deposit back or to give up the deposit in exchange for a stuffed animal.

 

There's no reason why they can't do that for everything else. Or, at least offer something in exchange for whatever's left.

 

As I said before, I'm curious if they will still be offering refunds for the lockers. Or, if there will simply be an additional fee for service over the cost of the locker rental.

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With gas prices possibly hitting $5 this summer ($4.50 being predicted), there is going to be less and less incentive for anybody but locals to go to Waldameer unless they're either passing through or already vacationing in the area.

 

This is true, but Waldameer seems to do a helluva business with shop picnics (our factory rotates yearly between Waldameer and Darien Lake and we're 40 miles away from Erie and about 1.5 hours from Darien Lake) and school/church visits in addition to all of the locals. I don't think they'll be affected by this too much...perhaps not as much as some of the bigger parks with the higher entrance fees.

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TJinPgh has a 24 hour ban. Who is next?

 

Not to be disrespectful, but I don't understand why we can't discuss this. It is clearly the hot button topic at the park for this year considering all of the discussion.

 

It is one thing to discuss and another to argue with out any facts and that is what TJinPgh is doing. When you can't add any thing new to the discusion and not keep reiterating your personal opinion, it is time to move on.

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  • 2 weeks later...

A "Not-Cashless Discussion" Waldameer update:

 

http://twitter.com/#!/WaldaTweets/status/182910985168879616/photo/1

 

Let the speculation begin as Waldameer is basically confirming something big for 2013 (I know not "coaster big"). Mr. Nelson is good at keeping secrets, so this could be a lot of fun. My only guess is that Waldameer is continuing their good relationship with Zamperla, but you never know...

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with respect to Cowabunga Bay, given that it's a water park and not an amusement park, what, besides food, would one be using a Wally-Card type system for? There's no mention of it on their website.

 

I find it interesting, though, that everybody seems to think offering a refund would be such a burden for the park. The park has been doing that very thing for the Water World customers for quite some time now.

 

First comment - A Core Cashless system (or just about any cashless automation system for that matter) can be used to whatever capacity the park desires. Here, Waldameer is merely using the system they had in place in a much greater capacity. Instead of just using the cards and wristbands to get into ride queues, they are going to cashless for everything. A park does not have to use cashless for everything, which I believe to be the case with Cowabunga Bay, which I believe just usess the system for entry into slides and attractions (someone please correct me if I am wrong on that one).

At Cowabunga Bay, CORE Cashless is our Point of Sale System. It's used for every purchase made at the park. Admission Tickets and Season Passes are Scanned at the Entrance Gate just like Wally Cards and Wristbands are. We can also put Money onto a Gift Card or Season Pass that can be used for any purchase inside the park which makes things incredibly easy.

 

- Sid

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  • 1 month later...

New Music Express in 2013. I wonder if they are fitting it in a current area or removing something for it?

 

More are coming. For 2013, Waldameer has purchased Music Express, a fast-paced ride that runs forward and backward while contemporary tunes blast. And the park may serve up something new the following year.

 

"If everything goes the way we're looking, in 2014 we'll open up a restaurant for 250 people," Nelson said. "It'll have nice food, but be family priced."

 

Full Article:

http://www.goerie.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2012305099894

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I can see the Music Express going in on the south side of the park as there is plenty of places to put it down there. And glad to see a restaurant is coming, I love Waldameer but always felt they were lacking in the food dept.

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These will make more great additions to Waldameer. I'd guess the Music Express will go by Steel Dragon or over by Comet/the picnic area. One thing I like about Waldameer is that even though there is a lot to do, the park doesn't seem hectic like other small parks. It is a very relaxing park, and it is great to see the park grow as much as it has the past few seasons.

 

I have no idea where the restaurant will go though. Is the old ballroom used for anything, or could it be demolished for park expansion?

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Glad to see a Musik Express is coming to Waldameer. It would fit in well with the park. I just hope they won't play a bunch of crappy music while you ride.

 

I thought there were plans to put a food court in the old carousel bulding. They definitely need to increase the variety of food options in the park.

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^Hoping that the line-jumping won't be as bad as it was last Memorial Day weekend. I would be interested in hearing from anyone that visits this year. I think I'll stay away from the park on that weekend and go on another day when it's less crowded.

 

Lines really weren't all that bad despite the fact that the park was crowded, but the unruly behavior didn't make for the most pleasant of experiences. But you can get that at just about any park on any specific day, I suppose.

 

We thought about going to Cedar Point on Friday until I checked the website and saw that it was Math & Science week. Ummmmmmm...no thanks. Even if we got Fast Lane, I figure we'll wait and go another week. I have not heard many good things about the crowds and some of the kids that attend that type of event.

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  • 1 month later...

I am getting ready to make my yearly trip to Waldameer and Presque Isle in the next few weeks (Four days at The Inn at Presque Isles Cottages). Has anyone been to the park in the past month and if so how operations are this year? I heard Pirates Cove was getting some work done over the off season. Was anything added to it or just a general clean up and paint here and there? Also, where did they moved the Wacky Shack queue to?

 

One other item I was wondering about is the water mill attached to Thunder Rivers loading station. Is this a functional water mill that has just been broken for a few years? I have never seen it running nor have I seen a picture of it running with water. That makes me think it is just a prompt without a pump for water. It would be hard to believe that I have gone there the past 3 seasons and it would have been broken that long.

 

Last year was pretty smooth for operations. Only Ali Baba was down most of our trip and was only open the last day.

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1. Pirates Cove has had several scenes repainted, and a refurbishment of Bill Tracy's "Quicksand Hands."

 

2. I spoke with the head mechanic on Thunder River about the water wheel about a week ago. According to him, the wheel was victim of a design flaw in which the water pressure required for it to work properly was astronomical. It never operated properly when it did have water flowing.

 

3. Comet is VERY close to two train operation. The issue holding us back was the new system being retrofitted for the restraints. The green train has had its lap bar locking/unlocking mechanisms completely refurbished, and orange is in the process of being refurbished. Also, we got clearance from PTC to use the lubricant that we use on RF2's restraints on Comet in which the lap bars have been working excellently as of recent. Also, we moved the wristband/Wally Card scanner further back into the queue, so that guests are scanned and ready to board well before the train is ready. Efficiency has been dramatically increased.

 

4. Whacky Shack's new loading procedure ended up being better in thought than in practice. The goal was to load two cars simultaneously, and the outcome was guests who couldn't follow directions no matter how dumbed down they were. Combine that with a ride system that is completely manual between the exit, loading, and dispatch areas. This ride is tricky to operate, believe me. We have been staffing an exit attendant on busy days to help speed up unloading so that cars can be ready for loading a lot faster.

 

5. L. Ruth Express has been operating with two trains on Saturdays and Sundays, and the guests couldn't be happier with that. Ridership is up and the grumbling because of the sometimes 45 minute waits has been almost diminished. The Red train has a beautiful engine, and we are in the process of updating the older cars.

 

6. I'm sorry to say that if you are visiting in the next week or so, expect Flying Swings to be down. It went down yesterday and we are awaiting Zamperla's evaluation of the needed repairs. I cannot give any more details about that. Besides this bit of bad news for the Waldameer community, ride up-time has been very good.

 

7. A note about the cashless system. Our food and games revenues are significantly up from last year. The adjustment period for the guests has not been without its difficulties, but the reception as a whole was not as negative as I, guests, employees, or enthusiasts initially believed.

 

2013 is confirmed a Music Express. The ride has been purchased, and will be placed in the current location of Scrambler. Scrambler is moving right next door by the train station where the Hoop Shot game is right now. This game will be relocated elsewhere in the park. Last, but certainly not least, a little, important birdie told me that experts will be coming in this fall to evaluate Ravine Flyer II, and expect some retracking. The coaster still runs as great as ever, but this just shows Waldameer's commitment to their crown jewel.

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Wow, thanks that is a great summary. I will be there Aug 2 through 5, so it is a little more then a few weeks. Rides break and if Flying Swings is down then so be it for this trip. I feel that way for pretty much any ride.

 

Looking forward to the Music Express next year. Do you know which manufacture they got.? It will be interesting to see them squeeze the Scrambler and it in that area. I was thinking it would look nice where The Wipeout is, partially because I just do not like that ride. Anyways, it is good to see they are adding this without having to remove something else.

 

It is sad to hear about the background of the water wheel. However, it is understandable.

 

Thanks

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^^ Wow, awesome post. Thanks for all the info! It's good to hear that the cashless system has ended up working out well. I'm also glad to hear about possible re-tracking on RFII. As you said it's still a great ride, but seems to be a bit of a headache inducer lately, at least for me (still nowhere near as bad as some other wooden coasters out there!). When I was there for an ACE event earlier in the season, I sadly had to bail out a little early on ERT and spectate.

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1. Pirates Cove has had several scenes repainted, and a refurbishment of Bill Tracy's "Quicksand Hands."

 

2. I spoke with the head mechanic on Thunder River about the water wheel about a week ago. According to him, the wheel was victim of a design flaw in which the water pressure required for it to work properly was astronomical. It never operated properly when it did have water flowing.

 

3. Comet is VERY close to two train operation. The issue holding us back was the new system being retrofitted for the restraints. The green train has had its lap bar locking/unlocking mechanisms completely refurbished, and orange is in the process of being refurbished. Also, we got clearance from PTC to use the lubricant that we use on RF2's restraints on Comet in which the lap bars have been working excellently as of recent. Also, we moved the wristband/Wally Card scanner further back into the queue, so that guests are scanned and ready to board well before the train is ready. Efficiency has been dramatically increased.

 

4. Whacky Shack's new loading procedure ended up being better in thought than in practice. The goal was to load two cars simultaneously, and the outcome was guests who couldn't follow directions no matter how dumbed down they were. Combine that with a ride system that is completely manual between the exit, loading, and dispatch areas. This ride is tricky to operate, believe me. We have been staffing an exit attendant on busy days to help speed up unloading so that cars can be ready for loading a lot faster.

 

5. L. Ruth Express has been operating with two trains on Saturdays and Sundays, and the guests couldn't be happier with that. Ridership is up and the grumbling because of the sometimes 45 minute waits has been almost diminished. The Red train has a beautiful engine, and we are in the process of updating the older cars.

 

6. I'm sorry to say that if you are visiting in the next week or so, expect Flying Swings to be down. It went down yesterday and we are awaiting Zamperla's evaluation of the needed repairs. I cannot give any more details about that. Besides this bit of bad news for the Waldameer community, ride up-time has been very good.

 

7. A note about the cashless system. Our food and games revenues are significantly up from last year. The adjustment period for the guests has not been without its difficulties, but the reception as a whole was not as negative as I, guests, employees, or enthusiasts initially believed.

 

2013 is confirmed a Music Express. The ride has been purchased, and will be placed in the current location of Scrambler. Scrambler is moving right next door by the train station where the Hoop Shot game is right now. This game will be relocated elsewhere in the park. Last, but certainly not least, a little, important birdie told me that experts will be coming in this fall to evaluate Ravine Flyer II, and expect some retracking. The coaster still runs as great as ever, but this just shows Waldameer's commitment to their crown jewel.

 

 

^I agree...great post with lot's of good information!

 

I think it's great that they are committed to keeping RFII running smooth. I noticed the roughness last year and (although I have yet to get out and ride it this year) was worried about it's future. The location and overall layout of the coaster is just too awesome to let it slip into a ride of headaches, banging, and constant jackhammering. Have they gone back to two train operations yet, or are they still rehabbing the other train?

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