Skeeta

What can Movie World do to reduce the strain?

107 posts in this topic

I did something last week that I never do and now I feel shame.  My older sister came up to the Gold Coast from South Australia last week with her kids that I had never met before.  Also I found out that her kids had never been to a theme park so I took them to MW, SW & WNW.  From that comes my discussion.

I could not believe how quickly MW becomes shit with large crowds.  MW failed in every possible way that day.

MW did nothing this year for its Christmas guest.  3 hour wait for scooby-doo is unacceptable.  My sister got there when the park opened.  I arrived just over an hour later and they were still in line.

Some people might be saying to themselves Skeets lost the plot again, it didn’t take 2 hours to ride the WWF well guess what it did.

I think Skeets drinking again, did he just say 30mins to get a drink refill.

Don’t believe the SKEET then go to MW facebook page and look at the reviews for the last 2 weeks and then compare it to all the other parks.

MW has been an epic fail this holiday period.

When I go to a park and I see a que, I give it a skeetrate.  No I did not make that word up it’s just how things are done.  Skeetrate = time in que divided by quality of ride and then you times by the chance you get to ride it again.  In short (t/q)x r= Skeetrate. Nothing at MW gave me the answer I needed to ride it. 

Don’t get me wrong I want MW to be busy but it still has to be worth going too.  Would you pay to see ACDC in concert but told you had to sit outside or sorry but you can only listen to one song.

MW needs to find a way to soak up the crowds during the busy times.  Which comes back to my discussion on what MW needs to do to fix the overcrowding in the park?

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One reason why I have been avoiding Movie World of late. When you visit the park off peak on a Monday and encounter a 1.5hr queue for Superman you know the park isn't going to do well over the busy months. They really need a sense of urgency with loading rides and staffing appropriately. Maybe blackout dates and lowering the parks population cap are two steps to help. Longer trading hours would be nice but staffing and nearby residents could make things hard.

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As per the skeetrate and what I witnessed a good number of the guest did not have vip passes.     Skeetrate tells me, like most people that it's not worth going during this period but I only went because of my sisters kids.     Things that piss people off that I witnessed is having a 40min wait for the bumper cars when people can see clearly 6 empty cars siting on the side doing nothing.    People who go to parks a lot would look at the empty cars and come up with a different conclusion to someone who goes once in a while to why the cars are not being used.     DW this year stayed open late, had extra characters in the park and even spent money on the beatbox.    MW did open early for vip people but only ran 2 rides and what could you do with your kids while you went on superman. 

 

Edited by skeetafly

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^In the morning, and not for everyone.  Early in the morning isn't the time when queues are a problem.  If it's worth running 2 rides for an extra hour and a half, it's an utter mystery why they didn't keep them open till 6.30 to try and give people longer to shop, and also give themselves a chance of extracting another meal out of them.

 

Dreamworld has also done something brilliant by having passes expire on Christmas Eve:

 

1 it takes the pressure off the park when it is busiest, (and busy with holiday makers who are more likely to spend cash too)

2 It makes the run up to Christmas busy, a time of year where it's normally dead, but you still have all your new holiday staff working.

 

To those who say it's too hard because of staffing, I say 'Bollocks!  Other parks around the world do it without trouble, and Dreamworld can do it'.  They also only have to go till 8 like Dreamworld do so noise shouldn't be an issue.

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I went just before Christmas. I hadn't been for a good 3 years or maybe more so I still haven't posted my thoughts on the park but even though I went before it got busy one of my mine complaints was efficiency. 

Green Lantern: one car wait. When I got off the line was back down to the L shape on the bridge. Even though it was a one car wait I was still waiting for longer than what a one car wait should be. 

Batwing: I was the only one in the family who wanted to ride, so I used the single rider line, the only person who was in the line so I got on the next ride and still waited a good 5mins before I was shot up. 

SE: Only 2 switch backs full, but could have been a walk on IMO. 2 train operation, the second train would arrive on the loading platform while Loader 2 had only just come out to start sorting and was slowed down further by always searching for far too long for groups of 2 or 1. 

AA: 4 train wait = something along the lines of a 20min wait. I know as a rider my timings out so my have been a little bit quicker but when you watch how slow they load, sure feels like it. 

Scooby: 40mins, half the room full at times the queue moved quick and then stood still for ages. My memory was it always moving, so even if it was long was one of the rides best qualities. 

WWF: To the door of the old video room, staff here really have to get people in with a moving platform. However with that said, several times it was stopped as people not being loaded in time. Not sure if that was staff or just dumb guests, I couldn't tell. However after coming down the drop we were 2 boats back from unloading as the entire platform was full with boats, for what reason I won't try to guess as I wasn't there to witness it. Too busy emoting the ride! ;) 

Justice League: Operations were pretty good. Except for every now and then they kind of just didn't fill the cars or took ages to finally let people on slowing it down.

 

Now I'm not complaining I did everything with very little waiting. However watching their operations it was clear things could be made so much better. I got some lovely staff, and some grumpy ones, but they were just slow. Now I'm no operations person to work out how to get people to load quicker but surely having your group ready to get straight on helps and I don't think it's necessary to make sure everyone has exited and the exit door has shut, before you begin loading and all staff were so slow at checking harnesses, just slowly walking everywhere. 

So I think if you want to fix MW fixing operations is number one, retraining staff, make them feel valued. Longer trading hours in summer, black out dates for cheap passes and incentives like opening early for VIP passes to get them in and out or other special offers like Disney does. Same goes for F&B problems you pointed out Skeetfly after all that's where the parks make most of their profits these days. Don't piss these people off and they may be willing to spend more when they get to the counter. 

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Some very good points.    One of the post on Facebook asked where are all the characters that MW had back in the day.   MW said they don't stay out for long because of health and safety.    If this is true would it not be easy for MW to set up an air conditioned room to help the people in the costumes stay out longer on hotter days.    I don't think it would be hard for MW to create an area that you go into to meet them.  They could even have different back drops that change with the characters.    

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With JL - From memory - they will send cars through empty when the ride is stacking - if it takes too long for a car to load and launch, cars start backing up in the final scenes. Eventually, cars stop mid-ride, and it ruins the experience for everyone. Sending a car through empty helps them catch up (so sending several through catches up a lot) and it also saves time when they come back around and unload too. It might seem like a waste to do that but in reality it makes everyone's experience on the ride better. Pretty sure Scooby is run the same way too.

It's funny you know - I was searching through old threads... REALLY old threads (2004) and I found a TR that I wrote when I came up to the GC on holiday during the September school holidays. I complained about capacity at Dreamworld (among other things) and had nothing but praise for the VRTP parks. 

Back in those days, MW still had the studio tour, PASS, Matrix walk through and blazing saddles. No Green Lantern, no Batwing, No Justice League (we still had Batman Adventure), no Intencity, no HWSD, and we still had River Ride.

All of the things the park has since lost are all of their sponges, and the new additions have been spectacular, but poor capacity. 

Batman Adventure would effectively clear the queue when they took guests into pre-show in the library. Although it was PRE-preshow, you didn't feel like you were waiting - you felt like the adventure had already begun. They could do this in roughly the simulator time (which I think was about 4 minutes) so you could almost guarantee you were on that ride in about 12-16  minutes.

LTRR is pretty much the same story - the pre-show could run on an endless loop taking almost the entire queueline in one hit, with a similar load-cycle-exit time. These rides really couldn't be fucked up operations wise - they were constantly cycling. Rides with a load-start-stop-unload-wait cycle (like most of the new ones we have today) are the problem. (Yes operations is poor too - but they both contribute)

It is rides like these that the park is missing. Not dark rides, or kids rides, or simulator rides - just sponges. any ride that is capable of admitting a large group at once, and getting through those people quickly, but still keeping them occupied the entire time. 

FInally - and this is especially important in summer - they need rides that are air-conditioned. In peak summertime periods, the best thing in the world was riding LTRR, as it was dark, cool, and you would get wet. WWF was not the same - as to get wet, you had to endure several outdoor flume sections in the sun.

3 minutes ago, skeetafly said:

Some very good points.    One of the post on Facebook asked where are all the characters that MW had back in the day.   MW said they don't stay out for long because of health and safety.    If this is true would it not be easy for MW to set up an air conditioned room to help the people in the costumes stay out longer on hotter days.    I don't think it would be hard for MW to create an area that you go into to meet them.  They could even have different back drops that change with the characters.    

Not a bad idea Skeet - but even indoors, or in air conditioning, non-face (costumed) characters don't last long. I've worn several incarnations of the Shrek suit, and worked as a photographer with the original Shrek costumes. Those costumes are odd - the keep the heat in, the cold doesn't get in - but the outside heat does. You'd have to have meet and greets in a cold room for it to make any difference to the costumed character.

When we used to do Shrek shoots at Wonderland - Farquaard and Shrek did 20 minute stints every hour. Donkey would come out last, and donkey had no minimum limit - as soon as the performer had had enough, they would get up and leave, even if it was in the middle of a photo. WH&S is very important for characters in costume. 

Face characters on the other hand - Marilyn, Austin, Shaggy etc - they should be able to do longer stints... I would suggest somewhere along the way some braniac decided that all characters should have the same time limit. 

If an appearance room is necessary - they have plenty of shopfronts they could use. Actors could cycle in and out, and be replaced by someone in the same costume every 20 minutes - just as they do in WDW... or - use showstage. Its wasted as it is at the moment - has dressing rooms backstage, plenty of queue area and seating... perfect!

 

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AlexB pretty much nailed it. Watching them slowly load the Driving School a few weeks ago was excruciating, knowing it effectively replaced LTRR which sucked up the crowd, the whole family could go on, and had aircon.

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2 hours ago, joz said:

and a top down culture shift on attitudes to capacity and efficiency

This.

I like the Gold Coast parks, but the operational policies are dreadful.

On my most recent visit to Warner Bros, the speed of operation on Green Lantern quadrupled after the park closed and they were clearing the queue. If they can do it when it's time to go home then they can do it all day.

Reference -- http://www.bannister.org/coasters/trips/2015/0216.htm.

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Your right AlexB I know they like to cycle empty cars to prevent stacking, sometimes I think though this is caused by slow operations.

Yes guests can stack these things sometimes, hell, the party I was with caused stacking because of someone we were with had a disability. But operations should be moving quickly enough when this occurs stacking is kept as minimal as possible. When an empty train pulls up and sits there 30-45 seconds before guests are led to it is not good enough and just allowing the stacking to become worse. 

Why in 1994 could MW open LW with 2 trains but in 2015 with more guests coming through the gates only decide one operating is good enough?! How can they run Scooby with so many cars so well, but GL can only have 4 and 2 trains sit on the brake run full while the other 2 are being loaded and parks around the world keep them running continuously. 

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So with what people saying with the rides not running at 100% leaves me to think that it comes from the top to run the rides at 50% to save money.    The only thing that makes me think why operations are that slow is to save money.   Someone who has worked on the rides might be able to answer this but do the ride attendants have targets to work to?  I don't know if the parks have this but I remember when my wife worked for Woolworths many many years ago she had a scan per minute target to reach.   So if they do have a person per hour target to achieve then who is setting the target so low and why?    

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28 minutes ago, skeetafly said:

 The only thing that makes me think why operations are that slow is to save money.  

Or because there's no incentive for operators to do better?

Olympia Looping runs five seven-car trains at Oktoberfest, with a dispatch every twenty-two seconds. Every additional passenger represents additional income. This is obviously an extreme example - but if they can manage that, and they do - then there's absolutely no excuse for permanent parks not keeping two trains running on their big coasters without stacking.

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I think everyone has knocked it right on the head here. @AlexB is absolutely correct in the need for crowd-absorbing attractions, but with the way that the park is heading, what would be considered a good "sponge" this still fits within the current ride lineup? Walkthrough attractions seem to have really gone out of favour at MW, as has "Behind the Scenes" style attractions, which makes me wonder what could soak up the peak crowds while also retaining the same experiences that the park seems to strive towards.

As for stacking, I've always noticed that GL has had horrible operations. Plenty of times the cars have been left on the final brake run while the OP's are only just loading guests towards the air gates. @Noxegon I know from your trips that you've been on El Locos before, but have any had operations this bad? 

I really love MW, it's everything I love in a park, but seeing these operations not only during peak periods makes me almost want to say DW is better. If anyone from VRTP is reading (and I really hope they are), please focus some of your efforts on these issues. Any day where someone's experience is less than great is a failure IMHO

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Just little things though, like waiting till all the guests from the last train have left the station and the gate behind them has been closed before loading starts.  It'd be really interesting to sit at a ride with a stopwatch and just record how long the ride is sat doing nothing a day just from this.

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1 hour ago, Zanstabar said:

 @Noxegon I know from your trips that you've been on El Locos before, but have any had operations this bad?

I don't have the data to give you a full answer on that, but anecdotally I'd say no. But then in other countries it's permissible to carry a tissue in a zipped pocket...

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Went to MW last January and didn't find wait times too long. It worked out okay as two of us rode the rollercoasters and the other two in our party did the meet and greets all afternoon.

I think capacity has really suffered since the demise of the shows. You could spend the same amount of time in the Movie Magic Special Effects Show as you could waiting for SE. 

Someone from operations needs to visit a Japanese theme park to see how they load trains there.

Slow loading also encourages people to buy fast passes (which is one way to get around those big crowds), but in doing so makes the wait time longer for everyone else.

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A few years ago I would praise Movie World for having seemingly nonexistent queues during peak times. I took a bunch of friends last year and told them we wouldn't have to worry about waiting times at Movie World, but spent the rest of the day getting roasted while we waited around in queues all day.

I think everyone here echoes the same sentiments. Put in some attractions that take in a large amount of people and keep them entertained for a large amount of time. All the old crowd killers were removed and replaced with great attractions, but they're just no where near as capacity friendly.

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I went the say after boxing day, quite possibly the first time I've been on a "peak" day. The lines at their worst that I was able to observe were 90 mins for Scooby and Superman, 45 mins for Justice league, probably about the same for Green Lantern.

The bottom line, as observed in this thread, is MW simply need more attractions. I don't know what their cap is for when they put up the "park full" sign, if they have one, but it sounds like a hellish customer experience isn't one of the considerations. Perhaps adding some shows (or maybe walk-throughs like the Potter and Matrix ones) only for peak times might be one way of adding capacity, kind of in the same way some parks add temporary rides during summer.

Disclaimer: I purchased the fast pass and had a very good day, braces self for flames.

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^Perhaps that's something movie world needs during peak - temporary attractions during summer to ease the demand - just as LPS has. Sure - it's more carnival than theme park, but right now the park should take whatever it can get!!!

6 hours ago, xRazzBerryx said:

I am going to MW tomorrow (technically today ?) so I'll be able to tell you wait times ect. If it's really busy we probably won't stay for long. Anyone want me to look at anything in the park while I'm there?

Actually, yes - I wonder if you might time a full cycle on each ride... pick one car \ train, and time it from the time it dispatches, to the time it dispatches next - so include load time, unload time, and idle time.

If you do the ones you can, and perhaps the ones you don't someone else will do at some point:

  • GL from dispatch to dispatch
  • AA from dispatch to dispatch
  • SE from launch to launch (make sure it's the same train)
  • Batwing from launch to launch
  • WWF from splashdown to splashdown (make sure its the right boat number!)

Scooby isn't ever really going to be much different because of continuous load, but JL can be sometimes. perhaps if you time JL from the time it reaches unload, until the time you unload?

it'd be great to get some 'random samples' of ride cycle times over the break. We know how fast these things can cycle when they're running at peak staffing levels - on events etc - how well do they do over their busiest time of the year?

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6 minutes ago, AlexB said:

^Perhaps that's something movie world needs during peak - temporary attractions during summer to ease the demand - just as LPS has. Sure - it's more carnival than theme park, but right now the park should take whatever it can get!!!

In the US, a lot of parks have shows that only run during their Halloween events, so shows that have a 6-8 week run aren't unheard of. And they don't have to be complicated, not even involving stunts, might work. Magic shows, character shows - families might be happy to sit down for a half an hour and watch balloon animals get made...all kinds of possibilities, though I don't know what the appetite is at management level - is customer satisfaction scores linked to their KPIs and bonus?

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