Skeeta

No Confidence Spiral

48 posts in this topic

How can the theme parks in Australia stop people having no confidence in them?

 

This is what what was said after the GD safety stop.

 

 

 

“We spent the day at dream world today and obviously started off with the iconic 'giant drop.' After spending 5-10minutes stuck up the top and my missus getting quiet nervous saying 'this isn't right we shouldn't be up here for this long,' we finally came down. We were offered no explanation at the bottom, even though we were greeted servicemen/engineers and security, and were ushered along and out the gate quickly. Throughout the day we also noticed that no other visitors were riding the giant drop and it remained empty. I am disappointed in the lack of communication from the staff in this anxious time and suggest that visitors are better informed and looked after in the event of another ride failure, especially the giant drop! “

Other people’s replies

“I'm glad you are both okay. “

“I didn’t see anything on the news glad your ok “

“OMG, I hope you guys are okay! I heard about this and saw you were at Dreamworld, luckily no one got injured this time! “

“Absolutely disgusting it's not good enough,this time all were ok thankfully?Same as SeaWorld some of their rides weren't operating but still full price “

“There seems to be a spate of equipment hiccups, and failures, with some of these rides, lately. Glad you guys came out on the good side of the ledger. “

“Going to buy a lotto ticket I think! “

“Its disgusting after everything thats happened there you would have tjought they would have spoke etc to you “

“Not good think things are getting to old need replacing “

“Katie Stevens this man is not concerned the sensors worked- good thing they did or who knows what could of happened. What he is saying is that there was a severe lack of communication from Dreamworld around the incident. This was a big enough incident to alert engineers and security and it even made the news. There should have been communication for all patrons who were on the ride at the time “

“now I'm freakish out about our visit “

“They haven't learned “

“OMG!!! Not good. Are you guys ok? Huge spit needs to happen- not good enough!!! So long as you 2 are ok that's the main thing it Dreamworld Gold Coast need to get their act together!!!! “

“The fact we were able to ride the attraction while it obviously wasn't in 100% working condition is in itself concerning, just expected better from dreamworld “

 

 

I totally understand people feeling like this.

The media have beaten DW up and now are beating every other park up.

What I would like to know from the parks is why does it come across they are not fighting back.

All the parks know that every stoppage is going to be pasted everywhere.

I think all the parks need to come together on this and create some type of positive campaign about why rides stop.

At the very least when something does happen they need to talk to the customers.

Customers are anxious and it’s up to the parks to solve this.


 

Edited by YLFATEEKS

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See, that's just bad in my opinion. I was actually thinking what I'd do in that situation. I hate the Giant Drop at the best of times. That ride freaks me out. So to be stuck up there for any amount of time I'd be uncomfortable. Just because I wouldn't know whether to expect it to drop or whatever. Not for my safety, but for my comfort I would be feeling uneasy.

I don't agree with what the media are doing. Definitely not. But I don't see how the park couldn't either communicate it during (if they have the ability to), or upon its return get a supervisor in to say something along the lines of: "Look, sorry we couldn't communicate this up there, but what you experienced was NOT out of the normal just an unfortunate issue with *explain fault/problem*. Also, how about lunch on us, for the "delayed" wait up top."

Not only do they give guests the respect and info they deserve, but they walk away happy and less likely to contact/talk to the media.

It's not that hard...

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Poor form by management IF (I stress IF) this account of what happened is true. 

Tbh Craig (or whoever was in charge of the park yesterday) should have been waiting at the bottom to offer each person a sincere apology and a free lunch at Billabong. 

At least that's what I would have done...

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While I hate the hyperventilating over every ride stoppage, I can understand anxiety about the Giant Drop! It is terrifying sitting up there waiting for the click at the best of times. But if there was a major delay, particularly when you know it's not normal, I would also have been rather nervous. Not the most amazing place to be stuck, especially when you don't know what's going to happen next. Justified nerves in this case, I reckon.

But yeah, in time the media will move on from all this to some extent. As soon as the public starts losing interest and things go back to normal. It's still very fresh.

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I'll say it once and i'll say it again, it's an education and perception issue. People don't know any better, and the media is playing on it.

The general public don't realise the failsafes, redundancies and safety procedures that are prevalent on all modern attractions, particularly the more expensive ones or the ones that go higher or faster. The general public don't realise that the amusement industry is a lot like the airline industry in terms of learning from unforeseen design flaws and then ensuring it never happens again. The general public don't realise that when a ride stops, it's a totally normal, routine part of operations.

Let's say for example, your own car's brakes fail or the steering wheel stops working. If the car can detect that and stop your vehicle pre-emptively, then wouldn't you rather that then smashing into a wall or worst yet, injuring others?

Get where i'm going with this? It's 100% education and nothing else.

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Something like the airline pre-flight announcement? Just a simple sign. 

"In the event the ride stops unexpectedly, please remain calm and staff will update you as soon as possible. "

I e-stopped on Paris Space Mountain, overshot the main brakes and ended up in the emergency brakes. Lights came on within a minute, brief announcement in English, French and Spanish, then we waited. Everyone was calm. Apparently a regular occurrence I found out later. 

I think the parks need to better inform the guests. "hi everyone, the computer wasn't 100% happy, so the ride was halted whilst we check everything out, you're perfectly safe". 

Edited by red dragin

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Disney are easily the best at this IMO because it's such a polished routine. 

Almost immediately a spiel will occur to let you know all is good and to remain seated. 

Straight after work lights will come on. 

And quickly after this attendants will come to tend to you, either by sending you on your way (say space mountain) or taking you out of the attraction. 

 

I also thing what helps a lot that's it's the regular CMs doing all this. Makes it feel a lot more 'normal' than mechanics showing up. 

The other thing they do is extensive PA announcements throughout the attraction describing everything that is happening step by step, so everyone is aware what is happening and not sitting 'stuck in fear'. 

 

I mean is anyone surprised though? Disney are the best at everything they do. 

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I'll just give my 2c on this:

  • Nobody outside of this forum is fully aware that the media is beating up the theme parks, at this moment. Looking at all the comments on Facebook right now relating to the GD incident, most of the people are gullible enough to buy the media's bullshit, probably because they are unaware that our community or Parkz exists, let alone 50% of the recent topics on this board are about the media beating up our theme parks. Reading these comments make me cringe, but I understand what is going on in their mind. They just aren't aware of the stringent safety requirements that theme parks need to abide by (that's more than your standard OH&S), or safety features that are present on modern rides, from reputable manufacturers.
  • From personal experience, waiting at the top of GD is the most terrifying part of the ride. This breakdown might seem minor, but in reality it is quite horrifying, as sitting at the top of GD for 30 seconds is scary in itself, let alone 10 minutes. Nonetheless, the media companies aimed to make a scene out of this rare error. Something like this is better off being an interesting family story, not a news article designed to scare the shit out of the GP.

This is going to be a interesting 12 months, with the media keeping a close eye on our theme parks for errors. I'll laugh if the media attempts to capitalise on a Superman rollback.

Edited by XxMrYoshixX

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Wonder if it would be possible/practical for DW to install like a two-way radio system on each gondola, so in the event something like this DOES happen (and it will happen again) they are able to calmly communicate with the riders to let them know its just routine. It doesn't matter if they had a sign or multiple signs saying 'ride may experience intermittent issues which are for your safety' or if the attendant said so before each ride because a.) most people don't read/listen to those types of things and b.) even if it is exactly routine nothing will placate like actually being able to hear someone reassure you.

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1 hour ago, Cactus_Matt said:

Wonder if it would be possible/practical for DW to install like a two-way radio system on each gondola, so in the event something like this DOES happen (and it will happen again) they are able to calmly communicate with the riders to let them know its just routine. It doesn't matter if they had a sign or multiple signs saying 'ride may experience intermittent issues which are for your safety' or if the attendant said so before each ride because a.) most people don't read/listen to those types of things and b.) even if it is exactly routine nothing will placate like actually being able to hear someone reassure you.

In my retail experience, no matter what you do people will actively ignore as much as possible cause they're giant dicks. Ever had an argument with a customer saying there's no ticket when you're pointing to it? Or having 13 closed signs on your register and verbally saying that you are closed and yet the customer still expects you to serve them? I have photo proof of those 13 signs aswell. The public go out of their way to ignore you so they can complain or get special treatment.

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34 minutes ago, jjuttp said:

In my retail experience, no matter what you do people will actively ignore as much as possible cause they're giant dicks. Ever had an argument with a customer saying there's no ticket when you're pointing to it? Or having 13 closed signs on your register and verbally saying that you are closed and yet the customer still expects you to serve them? I have photo proof of those 13 signs aswell. The public go out of their way to ignore you so they can complain or get special treatment.

I know that feeling man, I'm a retail worker too.

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Just to bring another perspective into this. As someone who is an avid soccer fan, I get the same feelings that I get when I see articles sensationalising nothing events at the parks as I get when I see articles sensationalising nothing events at the football. 

There might even be some people on here who believe that soccer crowds are rampant with violence, and that soccer games are not a safe place to take your kids. 2 or 3 troublemakers having a fight which is quickly resolved by security with no serious injuries in a stadium of tens of thousands who are just there to watch the game is enough to make headline news depicting soccer games around the country as war zones. Harmless acts like standing, jumping, swearing or chanting light-hearted slurs at opposition fans are written about in articles like they're serious problems. Add to this that incidents of similar nature that occur at other codes of football do not get the same kind of coverage. A pitch invader at the Big Bash was celebrated by the media as a 'hilarious' display, versus a few pitch invaders who were celebrating a goal at the football, who weren't even interrupting play and made their way back to the stands when told by security, were shamed as a blight on Australian sport.

My faith in journalism has been completely shattered, whenever there's a news story about something I actually know about it is more often than not filled to the brim with sensationalism, bias, and innaccuracy. I'm perpetually worried that news stories about things I'm not knowledgeable about have swayed my views subconciously.

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I would love to see the parks start combatting back against the media. Just a few behinds the scenes videos would be a great start.

They could do some interviews with the ride engineers doing their morning walk throughs, explain what they're looking for and that they do this every day etc etc. Could do one of a test evac procedure on a ride showing how its done and why it's being done. Maybe another explaining some of the many safety systems on the rides.

I would suggest something like a today tonight special interview and behind the scenes video, but i wouldn't trust them to not turn it into a "special report on the dangerous irresponsible theme parks"

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Should it be up to the parks to educate the public? Yes it should - it is their product being 'tarnished' and they are the ones that stand to lose big if this misinformation campaign continues.

Here's a few things they should consider:

  1. Have a protocol set in stone that is enacted every. single. time. a ride goes into fault \ e-stop. Operator to spiel using microphone or other method to all guests a short explanation - if it's guest safety related - ie: standing up on the ride \ holding loose object like a phone - then say so "guys we've had to stop the ride because someone is <reason>. We'll have you back underway shortly. If it's ride system related, then as someone said above "guys, the computer system isn't happy with something, we're going to bring you back down and quickly reset the ride - it won't be long".
    (The thing about Disney is the automated spiel usually isn't specific - eg: Haunted Mansion "Playful spooks have interrupted our tour. Please remain seated in your doom buggy. We will proceed in just a moment. We have been unavoidably detained by pranky spirits. kindly remain seated in your doom buggy please, we will continue our tour momentarily" Which works fine when the operator isn't sure what the cause of the stoppage is (or in the case of haunted mansion - when they're loading a mobility assisted guest)
  2. Continuing with the stoppage protocol, if the ride operator isn't able to resolve the issue within a minute (i've seen them restart Tail-Spin 4-5 times without calling for maintenance) then that's really all thats needed - but if you're going to call for assistance - maintenance, security, management etc - then there should be a 'kit' containing vouchers for freebies - a bottle of water, a snack, a meal, a free return pass - put them all in the kit and let the supervising manager on duty decide what is necessary. In that kit it would be helpful for them to have umbrellas to shade stuck riders from sun or rain (where possible). First Aid \ Park Nurse should also be despatched to provide reassurance to anyone feeling ill effects afterwards.
  3. Operator should continue to spiel at each step advising what is happening: "guys we can't get the ride restarted so we've called for a technician to come and reset the ride - won't be long" - and this should be done every couple of minutes - for a person stuck up high on a ride, a minute can seem like an hour - however the announcement shouldn't be scripted - it should always provide new information - nothing is more infuriating than someone telling you 'won't be long' repeatedly for 20 minutes.
  4. Supervising manager, or whomever is the 'senior' person on the ground when guests are released should meet the guests - in a group near the exit, or individually if it takes a few minutes to release each row, and explain in simple terms what happened, what went wrong, why they were never in any danger etc. They should offer an apology, offer the services of the nurse if anyone isn't feeling well, offer some sort of freebie, even if it is just water.
  5. Finally, they should provide them with a card that gives them feedback options - phone, email etc. This shouldn't be the generic info line - it should be exclusive to people who have been in this situation, and it should be responded to religiously and without delay. The card should have a 'reference number' or similar written on it, that corresponds with an 'event book' used to record these events. A staff member during the incident should be recording the event with as much detail as possible - ie: '10:47 - ride stoppage on Giant Drop - requested maintenance, security and manager.... 10:55 - all staff on scene. 10:56 - operator spieled to riders about delay 10:57 - maintenance restarted ride 10:59 - all guests evacuated safely. Having someone note each and every detail as it happens helps ensure that details aren't missed, and also helps to refute the claims of riders on facebook who come on and say 'we were up there for an hour and they told us nothing!'

 

  1. "safety videos" as mentioned above are another great idea. Not sure where you'd play them - but perhaps sharing them on social media would help combat the misinformation. you could do general videos for most flats and specific ones for more complex attractions. there are plenty of folk out there today capable of putting together a quick 30-120 second video covering the basics - "green lantern has XX sensors throughout the ride, each pair provides the same information to the computer. if one provides different information to the other then XXXX happens" "xx ride has a failsafe 'deadman' switch that requires the operator to hold it down to operate" "if the air pressure to operate the brakes is lost, all the brakes will close" "your harness \ restraint is secured by XX. it also has YY and ZZ to ensure it cannot be opened whilst the ride is in motion"
  2. I have worked for an organisation that in the past had a policy of not responding to baseless media articles. It frustrated us as staff that they wouldn't refute claims made by the media. After a change in management, they changed their policy and now actively refute false claims in the media - it has done alot for staff morale, and has also improved customer perceptions of what we do. Media outlets are required to contact the subject of their article to advise of the claims made and offer them an opportunity to provide a response - if the park responds, the media must provide that response - that's why you see so many articles saying 'media outlet has contacted XX for comment, and at time of publishing, no response was received' - but they should stick to issuing statements to the media for all but the most serious of events, and not put their staff \ spokesperson in front of camera for random questioning.

This was a good read:

http://www.wdwinfo.com/walt-disney-world/why-rides-stop-at-walt-disney-world/

...and while this isn't directly related, it's on a similar-enough tangent that i came across whilst googling so i decided to share it too:

http://www.themeparkinsider.com/flume/201008/2049/

 

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Could there perhaps be a calling for a Star Tour-esque 'attraction' that does a bit of a high-level 'behind the scenes' on a few scary looking rides to pump up how great the maintenance staff are, how second-to-none their tools and procedures are, and the obsessive level of care they take?  Could soak up a little bit of crowd capacity, promote transparency to guests, and actively counter some of the exploitative press.

Another way of looking at it I suppose is that you've got people captive in queue lines with little to do - could that be a time where you could be pushing facts/figures/behind the scenes content at them via videos?  It wouldn't be a huge break in theme given we frequently push safety videos to people standing in line - I'm sure there's a way that it could be done tastefully.

Another way to go (although I'm not sold on it) would be if you had a resource internally (paging @Slick) that could whip you up something short and sharp that covers what topical ride stoppage there was today (eg; Giant Drop) and why it was not moments from disaster with the intent that it be shared via social.  If there's one thing people love almost as much buying in to bullshit media hype it would have to be smugly debunking bullshit media hype - and what you ideally want is for the videos to appeal to people enough that when they see someone carrying on about it they will drop it in the comments as a "no ass-hat - everything is fine".

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3 hours ago, AlexB said:
  • Supervising manager, or whomever is the 'senior' person on the ground when guests are released should meet the guests - in a group near the exit, or individually if it takes a few minutes to release each row, and explain in simple terms what happened, what went wrong, why they were never in any danger etc. They should offer an apology, offer the services of the nurse if anyone isn't feeling well, offer some sort of freebie, even if it is just water.
  • Finally, they should provide them with a card that gives them feedback options - phone, email etc. This shouldn't be the generic info line - it should be exclusive to people who have been in this situation, and it should be responded to religiously and without delay. The card should have a 'reference number' or similar written on it, that corresponds with an 'event book' used to record these events. A staff member during the incident should be recording the event with as much detail as possible - ie: '10:47 - ride stoppage on Giant Drop - requested maintenance, security and manager.... 10:55 - all staff on scene. 10:56 - operator spieled to riders about delay 10:57 - maintenance restarted ride 10:59 - all guests evacuated safely. Having someone note each and every detail as it happens helps ensure that details aren't missed, and also helps to refute the claims of riders on facebook who come on and say 'we were up there for an hour and they told us nothing!'

Personally i think this is over kill (depending on the situation of course) and will lead to a litigious society like what the US has. People should accept that these rides are machines, and like any machine there will be issues from time to time. As long as they're not left there all day and there was no actual danger, i don't see why compensation should be offered.

Dedicated call in numbers and feedback cards etc will make it out to be a bigger issue than it is. If i received an apology card with a dedicated phone number and incident number i would be rather concerned about how serious the situation was. Same goes if management are on the scene.

It does of course depend on the situation - if it were serious such as the Green Latern issue, then yes by all means steps like these should exist. I just see taking this kind of action for something as simple as a sensor fault to be opening a giant can o worms.

I do agree with your other points about automated generic responses being played, and regular updates from the operations staff member.

I've been stuck on a few rides at Adventure World over the years (the Rampage was unreliable as hell when it first went in). The number of times we were left hanging upside down for 10 - 15 minutes until maintenance arrived i would have to take my shoes off to count! But - the ride operators were great, there would be an announcement straight away that they were having a technical problem and maintenance were on the way. Then a few minutes later, that maintenance were on scene and working on it etc etc. There was never freebie's, senior management, dedicated call in numbers, or free hugs offered nor requested. Everyone laughed it off, jumped off the ride and re queued straight away!

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On 28/01/2017 at 6:29 PM, XxMrYoshixX said:

I'll laugh if the media attempts to capitalise on a Superman rollback.

What does that mean - it sometimes doesn't make it over the top hat and rolls back down?

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