TNT wrote:I worked at this park for 4 years. I've seen them delay the opening of AT, Panda, and Eagle a couple of times due to low temperatures during Fright Fest (those were colder than average day). They do have some tricks that they do to run them in colder temperatures (ex. Panda as a set of harder road wheels for HIP) but there is still a temperature at which maintenance won't allow a ride to begin cycling for test or if the ride is down for an extended period of time the ride won't reopen. Saying Six Flags has no regards for minimum operating temperature might be true at Great Adventure, but not at St. Louis.
I'm bumping this discussion a bit to mention that we went to Six Flags New England yesterday and they had a lot of really cool things going on that we really didn't consider. Six Flags Great Adventure and Six Flags St. Louis seem to be content with using simple tricks to get their rides running in the cold like harder road wheels, water dummies and front-loading trains but Six Flags New England took it up a notch which shows that Six Flags is absolutely willing to throw some money at this problem if they think it's worth the effort.
Joker and Mind Eraser had heat lamps in their stations. They weren't right on the wheels, but they warmed the temperature of the station overall which was nice for the riders, the people in the queue and for the train (as they were pointed at the train, just backed off 5 to 10 feet). Batman (their floorless coaster) had tons of huge lamps under the track pointed up at the floor mechanism and the wheels.
On a more interesting note, they brought out the heavy artillery on Thunderbolt (their classic, valley-prone wood coaster). They had an enormous (and I mean enormous) propane heater attached to a tube and a sheet metal vent system they built under the station that absolutely blasted the wheels with heat to the point that even sitting on the train waiting to dispatch was awesome since you were nice and toasty warm just sitting in the train despite the 31 degree temperature. They were monitoring the speed and if it ever ran slow they just waited a few extra minutes to send it while they blasted the entire thing with heat. It ran great.
If Six Flags is willing to do that they could probably run everything (including Boss). It worked like a charm and the ride ran like it was the peak of the summer season.
The fact that they often run one train on coasters during the event is actually pretty beneficial to this too since the trains spend all of their time either running (which keeps them warm) or being blasted with a propane heater. At this point, if they think the cost is justified the possibilities are endless.
I thought that was some exciting stuff for sure...
^That's really interesting, Bill. Did they have cold wheels on their floorless? If so, I'm curious how that would compare to cold wheels Batman.
The limited number of rides really doesn't bother me. It makes the rides that are open feel more valuable, if that makes any sense. As much as I would want sky screamer and Screamin Eagle to run, I'm content with them staying closed. It makes me want to ride them that much more next season.
Vonni wrote:Prozach, I thought I saw you but I wasn't 100% sure if it was you so I didn't say hi lol! I passed by you in front of the candy store up by the Saloon.
You should have said something. Although, I don't know if I remember going up that way. Worst case scenario, you'll get a dumb look from a total stranger who you'll never see again, haha. Next time hit me up on here before hand and we can meet up for a beer or a chat. I usually try to stop by and see Josh, but the park was packed last night and we weren't on our own schedule, since we brought guests.
prozach626 wrote:^That's really interesting, Bill. Did they have cold wheels on their floorless? If so, I'm curious how that would compare to cold wheels Batman.
I'm sure they were. The ride was flying. I think the heat lamps were more for the hydraulic floor mechanism than the trains themselves, though I'm sure it was a nice added bonus that it warmed the wheels a bit. The ride was flying and it was below freezing for our last ride of the night... about 10 degrees below Dollywood or Cedar Fair's running temperatures for a B&M.
prozach626 wrote:The limited number of rides really doesn't bother me. It makes the rides that are open feel more valuable, if that makes any sense. As much as I would want sky screamer and Screamin Eagle to run, I'm content with them staying closed. It makes me want to ride them that much more next season.
I agree with this. In parks like Six Flags America and Six Flags New England it made the parks feel like much smaller parks, they actually felt more like family parks than Six Flags parks due to the great lights, friendly people (which is sort of the nature of a Christmas event) and lack of giant attractions. I sort of like that in a way (though of course, I'd rather they run all of their coasters but the events are still awesome and I can't complain one bit). It sort of makes you appreciate coasters you normally pay less attention to when there's less to pick from while at the same time making you appreciate the other ones that don't operate for the event. It sounds contradictory, but I feel the same way.
I felt that having fewer things to do made the day far more relaxing. We live about 3 hours from Six Flags, so even though we have a membership, we still only get up there a few times a year. Each time we go, then, we try to get on all our favourite rides. Having about half of them closed meant that we just kind of wandered the park and still got on everything we wanted. It was a much more relaxing pace and made for a really fun time.
Wow, sounds like New England is going all out on a night not even that cold. Are they piloting some ideas there for consideration in the rest of the chain? If it isn't a corporate pilot the other parks should probably take notes (with an effort like that Great America might even be able to open).
Pioneering new ideas, or perhaps they're doing what they're doing out of necessity. A quick search showed Agawam New England's average December temperatures to be 39high/22low, where as St. Louis is 43high/28low. SFNE is only slightly lower, but that probably makes a big difference when coasters run in the cold. Factor in that our last few winters have been extremely mild. So mild that I'm contemplating keeping the race car on summer tires vs. paying $200 this season to switch to winter tires and back to summers. (It also helps to have a take-home work car at the moment. $20/month in gas FTW!)
Saturday night was insanely busy. We pulled up at dusk and had to park in the very back and figured, uh oh. The waits were crazy, but it was a good time. I didn't get to sample the booze though as the lines were too long. Hopefully the park raked in the $$$.
I dug the improved decorations this year. The park has a really good thing going here. Hopefully it proves to be financially viable enough to open more rides up next year. Hey, I agree the small park feel is nice and all that, but I'd rather more rides be open than not! Especially given that the back hill stuff all offers the best views of the lights!
It was nuts to be in the park, in December, above 60 degrees!
prozach626 wrote:Out of sheer curiosity, I have a question for those who want more rides. Given the choice, would you rather have more Holiday activities and lights with the extra staff and revenue or more rides open?
I really enjoy the lights, decorations and amenities, but the actual activities (the shows, carolers, etc) are what I don't really care about. I'd much rather have the back hill open versus that if I had to choose. I really don't even care about the Boss, just the hill with Eagle and all that would be awesome.
Again though, the event is great as is so if they decided they'd rather just keep packing the decorations into the smaller area, I get and understand that. I think there was a nice jump in quality from year 1 to 2 and it can only get better. For as much as six flags takes crap for various things, it's nice to see HITP is such a hit everywhere.
Also, just saw the photos that the Fling has been totally removed. Dang, that was quick! I'm surprised they didn't do any kind of announcement on that. I would expect our next main park attraction will be some kind of replacement for that.
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