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Dreamworld & Whitewater World Nov 2013 Trip Report

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Dreamworld & Whitewater World Early Nov 2013 Trip Report:

We returned here for 2 days during our time in QLD again this year, the same as this time last year, noticed some improvement, some disappointing aspects, but overall had a good time.

My first positive impression related to the easier walking routes & access between some areas – last year/years past I recall it being quite confusing or offering little obvious easy access between certain areas, this year it seemed better, including signage – e.g. from Wiggles World to the Tower Of Terror II / Tigers / Madagascar area, also from the Wildlife area to Wiggles World.

I also noticed seemingly less unattractive closed/blocked off/maintenance works/untidy areas than last year, and less areas appeared very dated/aged, which is good.

The access to/from Whitewater World through the Flowrider shop is a bit of a pain, the old nearby gate area was far better, worse however was it closing at 4pm since things apparently close in Whitewater World then – that’s too early not only for things to close (except in Winter), but for the access to close as in my case I merely wished to get a good view of my family on the Cyclone Coaster.

Speaking of opening and closing times, every day they are open regardless of school holidays or not:

- The gates and some various attractions should open at 0930,

- ALL attractions should open at 1000: I see they list various later opening times for various attractions on their website (e.g. Log & Rapids Rides 11am (Ridiculously late!), Motorcoaster 1030 etc.), but honestly that’s very poor,

- More attractions should remain open right up to 5pm, including various aspects of Whitewater World (except, perhaps during winter),

- The main Dreamworld gates, on the weekdays we visited, had plenty of Ticketing windows open, the staff opened them several minutes prior to the advertised opening time of 10am and seemed very friendly, and other staff actually opened the access entry gates a few mins prior to 10am as well – all of which was good to see (Last year we used the Whitewater World entry which, by comparison, had only 1 or 2 ticket windows open with few staff, which didn’t open until very close to 10am and the entry gates in didn’t open until a few min after 10am, which was disappointing at the time). All ticket windows that are scheduled to open on any given day should open 10 mins prior to opening to start processing customers, and all entry gates should open a few mins prior as well.

The food choices overall weren’t too bad, though some was over-priced.

The Humdifier/Mist spray devices around the place were a welcome addition (can’t recall them / as many last time), though I noticed some of the garden hose-driven ones seemed to have the water turned off whilst the fan remained on later in the (warm) day which was strange. With water saving/restrictions this is understandable I guess, though I would hope such a facility would use lots of water recycling/environmentally friendly systems.

Sun shade seemed pretty good too, a fair effort was obvious to add certain shaded areas either via trees or man-made shades – during past visits I recall thinking some areas could do with more shade, but didn’t seem a problem this year which is good.

Most toilet facilities seemed OK, though some of them could have more than 1 cubicle toilet.

We still struck some hefty attraction queues, due in part to many school kids there 1 day who seemed to be permitted to just wander in front of some queues.

I guess not much can be done about queues in general, other than open more attractions earlier and close more later to stretch the day for customers, I shudder to think what it would be like during school holidays / long weekends.

I really like how closed-in shoes are not required AT ALL for anything, so we could just wear thongs – (seems popular in QLD?), good stuff.

Smoking didn’t seem too much of a problem this time, and whilst it’s good to see much “No Smoking except in designated areas” signage I still copped wiffs of filthy smoke in certain areas – it’s time these kind of theme parks banned smoking completely within all of their grounds, providing areas only well outside the boundaries away from entry gates / bus stops etc.

Most of the staff seemed quite friendly, helpful and seemed to at least look like they were enjoying being there including funny banter between other staff – good stuff.

Onto the various attractions & rides:

- Zombie Evilution was pretty much as expected – similar laser tag to Alien Vs Predator Vs You which we did last year -

The same guy was hosting as last year for AVPX and he’s great – stern & somewhat serious, which is good!

I honestly found the internal area a bit underwhelming and drab inside – but still fun.

- Rode the Tower Of Terror II for the first time ever and, even after watching it many times, knowing exactly what was going to happen, how it flew out backwards etc., both my sister & myself once strapped in, in our excitement were both convinced we were about to jet forwards – resulting in an even more terrifying experience!

It was pretty intense, and we agreed a bit too much for my 7yo kid (who’s not so keen on some scary activities) – next time he’ll have a go. We found it pretty awesome. And it’s shop was good too.

- Rode the Cyclone coaster for the 1st time in ages (since it was the Thunderbolt?) – was pretty cool.

- Mick Doohan Motorcoaster: A favourite of my son’s and a well-designed ride, sometimes a fair queue but nothing can be done about that, and at least one of the attendants was really cool & funny.

- Wipeout: Looked insane, I’m not going on that thing.

- Pandemonium: Looked pretty wild, again not for me these days.

- Madagascar World & Shrek Areas: Very good, the younger kids loved much of these areas, it all seemed pretty tidy, complete and well-designed – vastly improved from last year.

- Buzzsaw: Rode it 3 times, was excellent, if even more unnerving the 2nd time!

- Giant Drop: The most intense ride my son (6yo at the time!) has ever done, it was 4 second of terror, shook him up a bit and one which he definitely didn’t want to do again too soon. Good stuff.

- HydroCoaster: One of the best rides in the entire facility, sadly the queues for this seemed almost constantly huge – I’m glad I got my son onto it for a ride, and wish we could have done more, they should examine the staffing & equipment for that to try and increase the boats per minute safely deployed, or build an additional even bigger one!

- Green Room: Did it for 1st time, was pretty cool.

- Wedgie: Also did it a couple of times, was pretty cool.

- Blue Ringed Octopus: Good idea, a bit more rougher a ride than I expected adding to the excitement for me, but I feared my son may get knocked around on it a bit if he went on it (yet), good fun.

Many of the “cons” listed would be fairly trivial if the entry prices were more reasonable – sure it seems kinda consistent with other theme parks and not over the top, but it’s still hefty.

With planning, prior research and visiting multiple days however, I’m still really glad to have taken the family there 2 years straight now.

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  1. Queensland doesn't currently have 'water restrictions' as such (we've been flooded the past few years) but overall water saving is a wise thing to do. Since they're spraying it in people's faces, and it's being breathed in, I would suggest the water isn't recycled, and is fresh from the town supply.
  2. Cyclone was never thunderbolt - they are two very different coasters that just happen to occupy a similar chunk of land. The flowrider shop is actually where the old Thunderbolt station used to be.
  3. DW have certainly made headway into improving the look and navigation of the park, but it is still sorely lacking.
  4. The opening hours have long been lamented, especially the later open earlier close hours. Not much you can do about it - its a cost cutting measure, especially out of peak periods, and it does make commercial sense.
  5. Queue wise you're always going to hit a queue in dreamworld due to inefficiencies and poor capacity on their attractions... by the sounds of things you got through a fair whack of rides though so it musn't have been too bad.
  6. Believe me if you went on Buzzsaw three times in a short space of time, Pandamonium and Wipeout aren't really much of a bother.
  7. With hydrocoaster, i'm pretty sure the safety system won't allow a dispatch until the tube in front clears the block in front - just like a coaster it does use a block monitoring system (i think?) and won't allow an operator to dispatch in case a tube valleys (which is why there are escape hatches at the bottom).

Overall it sounds just about what Dreamworld should be.

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With hydrocoaster, i'm pretty sure the safety system won't allow a dispatch until the tube in front clears the block in front - just like a coaster it does use a block monitoring system (i think?) and won't allow an operator to dispatch in case a tube valleys (which is why there are escape hatches at the bottom).

It would have to use a block monitoring system of some sort. To achieve the theoretical capacity of 500pph, you would have to dispatch around three rafts a minute. Given the ride time is about 30 seconds then it would have to cater for 2 rafts on the slide at any one time, and thus have a mid-course block(s). Of course I don't think 500pph would ever be achievable under the current operations.

It is very rare for the ride to have the two operators it is designed for during non-peak times. Most of the time when one operator is running it, they get a raft off the conveyor, load the raft, send it to the second section, dispatch it, and then repeat. By the time the operator has switched control panels and started loading next raft, the previous raft is more than likely already in the splashdown pool. With two operators, once a raft has been moved to the second section of the station you can immediately begin loading another group. IIRC they even had a grouper on the park's media day to make this process run even smoother.

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