Steel Vengeance dispatches... Wow!

Monday, June 28, 2021 8:20 AM

MDOmnis said:

If they're capable of doing it in under 90 seconds during "power hour," why don't they do it all the time? That's the way it should be. When I worked there, every hour was power hour (although we didn't have such a term) from open until close. At Magnum, we also competed with Raptor for ridership numbers each day and throughout the season. We'd play games like seeing how many intervals we could hit in a row. We made it past 335 - the number of the ride. We referred to a fully packed train as a "photo shoot" train. The ride didn't count cycles per hour back then, but 45 per hour was the norm and I asked maintenance a few times why the lift was about 5 seconds slower than the manual specified because we wanted to get up to 48! :)

Agreed. I never understood the “power hour” thing. Cedar Point at one time was well known for fast and safe operations. Now it seems like there is no rush to dispatch with zero regard for how long the lines are (with the exception of some crews). The operations at CP have most definitely declined since the Kinzel era.

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Monday, June 28, 2021 8:09 PM
99er's avatar

I'd say operations were more Falfas than Kinzel, maybe even more Spehn but yeah, they most certainly have declined since they left.


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Monday, June 28, 2021 10:17 PM

Definitely Jack Falfas, he was the operations man from the start, Kinzel came up through food services

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Monday, June 28, 2021 10:25 PM

Operations just aren't at all emphasized with employees like they used to, and I'm not sure the reasoning behind this.

It's always bothered me though as the park is only capable of delivering a finite ridership in a day, and that is divided up by the total number of people in the park. The less ridership you "produce", the less average rides each guest receives, the less happy that guest is, and the less likely that guest is to come back.

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Tuesday, June 29, 2021 1:26 AM

I don’t know if it’s all him, but based on what I saw at Geauga Lake and Wildwater Kingdom versus what was happening at Cedar Point at the same time, I am inclined to steer a lot of the credit for Cedar Point’s unmatched operations towards Bill Spehn.

I do think it’s a crying shame that Cedar Point even does business with IRT, a company that promises to train operators in disciplines that were pretty much invented at Cedar Point. Has the park really lost that much of its institutional memory that it now has to outsource the very thing they did better than anyone else in the industry?

—Dave Althoff, Jr.



/X\ *** Respect rides. They do not respect you. ***
/XXX\ /X\ /X\_ _ /X\__ _ _____
/XXXXX\ /XXX\ /XXXX\_ /X\ /XXXXX\ /X\ /XXXXX
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Tuesday, June 29, 2021 1:50 AM
Sparty42's avatar

When I worked maXair back in 2010, when Spehn was still there grumpily walking around the midway, we were busting our asses to get to 850,000 riders (I think we actually made it that year). He and Hillenbrand absolutely took pride in making sure Ops was running smoothly. The supervisors and area managers were on top of it too.

All that said, I just got back from 3 and a half days at Kings Island and whatever they're doing there needs to be replicated at Cedar Point from the sound of it. The crews at every coaster, but especially the B&Ms were flying. At one point on Banshee, the train I was on in the station was "waiting on Banshee." Several times on Diamondback, they'd have a train out of the station and onto the lift as the ride was on the hill after the hammerhead turn.

It was really refreshing.

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Tuesday, June 29, 2021 4:48 PM

Kings Island operations are night and day compared to Cedar Point, which is ironic given they all fall under the same CF umbrella. But that’s the difference in leadership locally, at least in my opinion. We love KI for many reasons but their ride ops are amazing.

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Tuesday, June 29, 2021 5:25 PM
Jeff's avatar

That's a strange reversal. It used to be the exact opposite.

I still don't understand why ride operators in most places have to put a hand on restraints when Disney has the guest do it, and the safety record of Disney is pretty close to perfect. My 11-year-old apparently can be trusted to ride Everest solo (no seatbelts) by pushing up on his own lap bar, and nothing bad happens.


Jeff - Advocate of Great Great Tunnels™ - Co-Publisher - PointBuzz - CoasterBuzz - Blog - Music

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Tuesday, June 29, 2021 5:52 PM

99er said:

I'd say operations were more Falfas than Kinzel, maybe even more Spehn but yeah, they most certainly have declined since they left.

I will for sure say Falfas and not much of a Spehn thing for sure. Hence why he was important in operations.

it’s just ridiculous that it is not stressed as much at CP as it had been in the past.

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Tuesday, June 29, 2021 7:00 PM

My memory isn't quite what it used to be, but I seem to remember the limiting factor for how fast the Gemini line would move is how fast people could find empty rows. The station entrance employee wouldn't stop people to let the station die down. Rather the complete opposite. They had to keep telling people to find empty rows. The line was quite a bit different in those days.

I'm going to preface this next point with I have never worked at Cedar Point, or any other amusement park. I have, however, paid fairly close attention to some of the procedures that the ride operators follow. I apologize if I'm slightly off in any of these details.

As I understand it, each operator checking restraints is assigned a "block" of seats they are responsible for checking. On many coasters, one person is assigned one quadrant of the ride: either front or back, port or starboard. They would start of opposite ends of the train, and meet in the middle. In past seasons, when one operator reaches the inevitable slow-loading-rider, the other operator would pre-check (for lack of a better term) seats until they met. This would speed up the checking once the slow-loading-rider is complete. This season, however, once the operator has finished their "block", they stop checking restraints. It seems like this is one of those things that could shave several seconds off each dispatch that they no longer do.

Last edited by 0g, Tuesday, June 29, 2021 7:01 PM
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Tuesday, June 29, 2021 8:50 PM

0g said:

In past seasons, when one operator reaches the inevitable slow-loading-rider, the other operator would pre-check (for lack of a better term) seats until they met. This would speed up the checking once the slow-loading-rider is complete. This season, however, once the operator has finished their "block", they stop checking restraints.

You are pretty much correct, but it started before this season. I want to say it started when IROC/IRT came in. It's one of the big factors in why things have gone downhill along with general lack of emphasis on throughput. Another is not being able to "clear" while walking back to position. Seems that everyone has to be back to position and then they all "clear" in a certain order. We always cleared front to back or back to front depending on the ride, but we could do it while walking back to our "home" position. We could even dispatch while people were still walking. No can do now. Also, you can't walk up and down while waiting for the next train to come in to pair up riders. Three things right there that have put a big hurting on capacity. They also won't let a train move until all guests are off the platform and the exit gate is locked. That didn't used to be a thing. Heck - the load gates weren't a thing until the early 2000s on most rides, but I think their impact is usually minimal since they get them open quick for the most part at CP.


-Matt

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Tuesday, June 29, 2021 9:11 PM
Sparty42's avatar

Jeff said:

That's a strange reversal. It used to be the exact opposite.

I still don't understand why ride operators in most places have to put a hand on restraints when Disney has the guest do it, and the safety record of Disney is pretty close to perfect. My 11-year-old apparently can be trusted to ride Everest solo (no seatbelts) by pushing up on his own lap bar, and nothing bad happens.

I was astonished, but it's been that way both trips I've made to Kings Island this year.

And to the point about checking restraints, most rides they just had us pull on the belt and/or shake the lap bar. The only rides that still had a physical check by the host was the B&Ms and Mystic Timbers (Orion was telling people just to buckle and that they'd lower the lapbar).

I will say one thing that has absolutely helped is the lack of crowding in stations. Every coaster had a crowd control person and made sure as many seats as possible were filled. It was fantastic.

Last edited by Sparty42, Tuesday, June 29, 2021 9:12 PM
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Wednesday, June 30, 2021 12:21 AM

The only this i remember about Jack was when I got my employee ID pulled one night fir stumbling out of a car as I walked to cedars (this was 1993). They told me I had to see Jack before I went to work in the morning to get it back. I still remember looking at me and I think his exact words were "i cant believe they send this **** to me, get to work"....

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Wednesday, June 30, 2021 8:58 AM

I visited earlier in June. I had my kids along so there wasn't a ton of big coaster riding, but I was surprised to see how long the dispatches were on rides like Blue Streak and Mine Ride. Both are over 5 minutes between trains. The Blue Streak line in particular was really backed up but no one seemed to be in any hurry. I felt like they could be moving faster and with more urgency but maybe that was just my impatience kicking in.

Gemini was better and my last ride of the day was Gatekeeper and that crew was cranking them out quick!

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Thursday, July 1, 2021 3:46 PM
JohnMosesBrowning's avatar

Banshee72 said:

The only this i remember about Jack was when I got my employee ID pulled one night fir stumbling out of a car as I walked to cedars (this was 1993). They told me I had to see Jack before I went to work in the morning to get it back. I still remember looking at me and I think his exact words were "i cant believe they send this **** to me, get to work"....

That’s Jack all the way! I worked closely with Jack & his crew back when he had Park Operations (I think it was called). They did tables, chairs & stuff in support of my Catering work.

FWIW, I used to get my ID pulled a couple times a season for speeding on Perimeter Rd in a Food Service truck. My Director, John Albino, didn’t really care, but, went through the proscribed routine.


1974: Catering Slave for Interstate United
1975-77: Catering Manager for Cedar Point

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Friday, July 2, 2021 1:10 AM
99er's avatar

That was the general attitude of most managers when an employee got their ID pulled so I never really understood why Cedar Point Police does it. They act like it's this horrible thing that you are going to be sorry about but every manager just tosses the ID back and says get to work. There was never any real repercussions for what you did outside of the park or off the clock.


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Friday, July 2, 2021 6:51 AM

Any of you ever go to Holiday World? Their operations are the worst I've seen. I don't really think it is the employees fault. I don't think they're taught to try to hit intervals. They move in slow motion with no sense of urgency whatsoever. Its really frustrating to see them turn what should be a 15 minute wait into 35. Because of this, I'm usually pretty grateful for CP's operations.

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Monday, July 5, 2021 1:14 PM
MichaelB's avatar

Carowinds dispatch times have been abysmal this year, as well. To the tune of 3, 4, even 5 minutes of trains sitting in the station on even Intimidator and Fury. No idea what has happened to ride ops, but something needs to change. Wait times are at least double what they should be.

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Monday, July 5, 2021 10:07 PM

I think a huge part of it is staffing in the station. We just returned from 3 busy (but not nearly as busy as I feared) days at Kings Island Friday-Sunday. With the exception of Flight of Fear, ride ops were really impressive. The 3 B&Ms were flying, Banshee crew was sensational in particular. But I observed full staff on all platforms, never just one host to check each side. One detailed report I read from Carowinds stated seeing one host on each side for Intimidator and Fury. Add in questionable oversight and it's recipe for nightmarish dispatch intervals.


CP Coaster Top 10: 1. Steel Vengeance (37 rides to date) 2. Top Thrill Dragster (190 launches to date, 4 rollbacks) 3. Raptor 4. Millennium Force 5. Maverick 6. GateKeeper 7. Valravn 8. Rougarou 9. Magnum XL 200 10. Gemini

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Tuesday, July 6, 2021 11:16 AM

I've seen crews of 4 restraint checkers on Carowinds coasters in past years, and crews of 4 restraint checkers on Gemini at CP still succeed with 4-5 minute dispatches. I think it all has to do with team leads and local leadership putting an emphasis on dispatches.

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