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Richard

Dreamworld, the inefficient park?

99 posts in this topic

Absolutely great stuff there Richard. Now I truly, truly hope that Dreamworld management reads that article. It would certainly be in their best interests to at least have a quick look at it as it is essentially free, accurate research for them

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I also have to disgust with Dreamworld's unevident efficiency. Last Saturday when I visited, because of lack of staff, the Giant Drop was only running with the west side only!! I kept asking the Ride-op and we both agreed that it was just pathetic. And here's a bit of dirt aswell for anyone interested, The two TOT elevator shafts which were used as part of the queue line before nick central, were stopped because it would require another operator....... :( Oh yeah and by the way photos up tonight!

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Take it one step further: CPs hourly capacity sits at 16300 and based on Cedar Fairs estimates, has 17096 guests in the park. This means CP supplies enough rides for all but 796 people to do one ride an hour. DW has an hourly capacity of 1700 with an average attendance of 2967. This means DW capacity neglects some 1267 per hour people with its hourly operating capacity. This is a multi pronged problem at Dreamworld. Consider that CPs figures use only the roller coasters, and DW's use all the major rides in the park. Straight away this sways the figures in DWs FAVOUR. CP's ride capacity per hour caters solely for the Roller Coaster riding demographic, where as at DW these are the figures for all the people in the park. During a day, not everyone wants to go on a roller coaster. That's why you don't wait an hour for every ride at CP, or an hour and a half for every ride at DW. What happens if you do get a day where the 3000 odd people in the park want to go mostly on thrill rides and nothing else? See Fright Night for your answer. The other side of this is that this doesn't even touch the surface of CP's capacity and even fails to cover 6 of the parks coasters. MF, TTD, Raptor, Woodstock's Express, Wildcat and Jr. Gemini. DW's figures do miss on relatively high capacity attractions such as Blue Lagoon, Railway, Imax theatre, and AWE. Problem is these only have limited appeal in the park, and CP has its own higher capacity equivalent for most of these anyway. Per guest in the park, a small sample of CPs major rides blows all of DW's major and some family rides out of the water. Probably just as you didn't try and include the whole park otherwise it would've been even more embarrassing. Maybe it was a bit unfair to make DW compete against a park which is hailed by all as having the greatest capacity ever, but it does make the point pretty well.

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I don't think it was unfair to compare it to Cedar Point, as I did state it was used as a benchmark. I used the park which is undeniably the best capacity in the world. What would have made more sense, using a park rated say 47th in the world? OK, I touched on the comparison between the other Gold Coast parks, but I didn't give figures, namely due to the high show content, and walkthrough/animal attractions at Sea World and Movie World which are hard to effectively guage in terms of pph. The rough figures I did use still came out with much the same result - Dreamworld is far behind. I've assumed an hourly capacity for Warner Bros. Movie World of around 5200. I based this on: Attraction Capacity (pph) Scooby-Doo Spooky Coaster: 1000 Wild West Falls: 1000 Lethal Weapon: 1000 Looney Tunes River Adventure & Village: 1000 Road Runner Rollercoaster: 500 Police Academy Stunt Show: 400 (1000 guests at each of the three shows averaged out over the whole day) Star Parade: 250 (as above, 2000 guests at the single show) Movie World is almost spot on with these figures. The only questionable one is Lethal Weapon, which will get up to 1,000 pph with both trains and a good crew, not all that rare. If you know exact capacity of the shows, I'd like that, because I just estimated for each, which I can't imagine being too far off. For simplicity's sake, we'll take the attendance as being the same as Dreamworld, 92,000 per month. Warner Village Theme Parks don't release exact figures for individual parks, but I remember a year or two ago the combined attendance was around 3.3 million. I got 0.06 - twice what we got for Dreamworld, which you could have told me, simply because the hourly capacity is twice that of Dreamworld. The article seems to have deleted half of itself, but it's all back now. Sorry for any problems this has caused!

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Last I heard Police Academy was 1,200, but not 100% sure. I think my point was more that we couldn't expect the park to be nearly as good as a park which is acclaimed for its excellent capacity, but like I say, how far behind DW is does show how poor the park rates in this department. Also Richard, if you have enough time, let me know how it compares against the 47th most efficient park in the world. ;)

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I'm just curious, do you think it's a little much for me, a theme park critic and paying customer, to expect anything less than the absolute best? I say strive for the best. I know there's no way Dreamworld could achieve it, even with a big shakeup in the operations department, simply because of some things Cedar Point has going for it (guests there are said to be more in-tune with operations - they know how the park works the rides, and know what they have to do), but that's no reason not to give it a shot, and continuously guage yourself against the best. Thanks for correcting Police Academy Stunt Show, I don't really need to change what's above, because that increase of 200 results in a capacity increase of 50 guests per hour, and consequently changes the ratio by 5.4x10^-4 (that's 0.00054). :)

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Just a couple of queries... *Why not compare Dreamworld against other parks in a similar capacity... For instance, a more effective 'benchmark' would be parks that get the same number of guests per year with a similar number of attractions. *A David versus Goliath comparison is used which raises concerns about its usefulness in developing an unbiased discussion. *Furthermore in using your 'Actual' values... is this your estimates? Were your estimates also used for Cedar Point?

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Good Article, I agree with Rich, we pay $40+ to visit, and on top of that, rip off food prices, we expect that we get a good day of entertainment for that money, DWs rides are OK but what good is it if we cant be on them? Only %4.7 of CPs guests arent doing something, but at DW %75.5 arent doing something. DW needs to add some high capacity rides to swallow up these people and give better value. In response the other post Rich, I dont think were that islolated, but if you were a park manager and you knew good rides like B&Ms were avaliable, would you hesitate in buying one? their performance is proven beyond doubt, and your research has proven that they can support a big ride. The issue of not being able to get one because of money is unfounded becasue TOT was expensive, and other smaller parks such as Mirabilandia have invested in them. Maybe we are a bit Isolated becasue of the lack of large American style rides, Only in Australia could you convince people to travel to the GC to ride 2 new waterslides. Anyway, back to the topic, Maybe you could try comparing it with a few other parks, maybe IOA, SFMM, AT, DCA etc. This could really help your case. Hopefully some DW people are reading this (Do people from DW, managment especialy, know about this site? Maybe you could visit the parks wearing a roller-coaster.com.au shirt and you know, spread it around, chat to people about it)

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With your first two points you've missed one major key point (that was constantly repeated throughout the article) - differing attendance is totally irrelevant because of the way this system works. The actual values were attained more or less through timing the dispatch time. Essentially, time the time it takes between dispatches (or the time between cresting the hill, or any other point of a ride, so long as its consistent throughout), 60 divided by this time will give the number of dispatches per hour, and multiply this by the number of riders in a full load. The same was not done for Cedar Point, because reports consistently state that their rides operate at the listed capacity, execpt in extenuating circumstances, such as Top Thrill Dragster's reliability issues last year (which was resolved before the season was out). If you don't like my actual values, then take the blissfully optimistic official values given next to it. I used those figures shortly after in the article. I'd like to do some more comparisons, especially with Disney as they, like the Gold Coast parks, are destination parks. The problem is that with a plethora of shows, in-street entertainment, walkthrough attractions, and so many areas that are so nice that you could just sit down for two hours and take in the sights around you, it'd be next to impossible to do a similar comparison with a Disney park. I'm plucking this out of thin air, but I'd expect a large Disney park such as Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, factoring in everything, to have a ratio of at least 0.2 or more - without doubt higher than Cedar Point.

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Just a couple of queries... *Furthermore in using your 'Actual' values... is this your estimates? Were your estimates also used for Cedar Point?
An observation: The Makers' official maximum throughput for any ride rarely includes the time needed for safety checks. For ecample on a coaster, the timne needed for a staff member to manually check that all the bars are locked in place bnefore starting the ride. This by far is the biggest time loser on most rides and effectively halves the theoretical throughput. The time is further eroded by other safety related procedures that may be in place and local to the park concerned. The makers when they quote these figures assume the absolute maximum ratings only, i.e. the rating should be possible if every rider was trained in exactly how to board and disembark from the ride, no baggage whatsoever and (of course) each rider conducts their own safety check. Another time waster on coasters is the time needed to bring the train back into the station or realign it if it does not stop in exactly the right place at the end of the ride.With most brakes having only a "on" and "off" setting, this depends on the operator, the age and condition of the ride and the weather. I have been on (ex)Wonderland's Demon in wet weather (circa '97) and seen it completely overshoot the platform on return due to wet brake shoes. ZordMaker

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The manufacturer's specified figures are generally the maximum achievable under normal operating conditions. You don't need super-ops, you don't need patrons with a degree in "ride getting into quickly", an ethical manufacturer (i.e. most still in business today) who doesn't want customers coming back complaining that their ride has a lower capacity than advertised. Taken into account is load/unload, checking and that. A very simple illustration of this is Movie World: their three major rides, each with a manufacturer-specified capacity of 1,000 pph quite comfortably attain this capacity year-round. Cedar Point is know, renowned even, for operating it rides at colossal capacities - attaining the specified capacity easily. Some of the rides at Dreamworld, Cyclone for instance isn't a manufacturer's, but the park's own target. 400 pph for Cyclone was what the operations department was aiming for, so hence you'd assume that it was well within the realistically achievable range. Meanwhile I haven't seen it operate at more than half that since early 2002.

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ok just to put my two cents worth in here, Richard, top figures here, and the formula works well. a good thing for DW to have shown to them. What do people think of introducing a concept to the gold coast parks like some of the USA parks "virtual queueing" systems? perhaps a new thread required but it would be an interesting thing to discuss... Alex.

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I post my reply in two parts...one here pertaining to Dreamworld and another when the new thread is created... IMO any sort of Virtual Queuing or 'Fast Pass' system simply wouldn't work at DW. Problem again goes back to the lack of throughput the park has with its rides. They simply don't have the operational capacity to support both a standby type que and a merging fast pass que.

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I would like to respond to that post in two parts as well. Yeah, you read my mind on that one. You'd be giving out all of 100 'fastpass' on a ride like Cyclone an hour, and they'd still be queuing. Wouldn't help except on the quietest days when you wouldn't really need it.

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Excellent work Richard, very enjoyable read. You should send that to DW and see if you get a reply. :) Most of what I was gunna say has already been discussed above but what I don't understand is why DW doesn't just higher a few extra staff memebrs? A an extra staff member on a ride has got to make a considerable diffrence over the entire length of the day. I havn't been there since 2001 but just imagine if the Wipeout had an extra staff memeber or used all it's all its staff properly? As far as I can see there is no reason why the WipeOut can't run at full capacity, and like what was said above, 1 extra person working on the station platforms is neally gunna cut the loading times in half for the coasters. What I really don't understand is why they just don't do this? The award wage for juniors is less than $10 an hour so it's only gunna cost them an extra $80 for each major ride a day to make their patrons much more happier. If that 1 person's work atracted 2 extra patrons every day thats him self allready paid for. You have got to spend money to make money Dream World. Thats my thoughts anyway Interesting topic Shaun This is the sorta stuff I'm going to uni to study next year. It seems all like common sense to me but who knows?

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An observation: Another time waster on coasters is the time needed to bring the train back into the station or realign it if it does not stop in exactly the right place at the end of the ride.With most brakes having only a "on" and "off" setting, this depends on the operator, the age and condition of the ride and the weather. I have been on (ex)Wonderland's Demon in wet weather (circa '97) and seen it completely overshoot the platform on return due to wet brake shoes. ZordMaker
I am very familiar with the Demon and have not encountered such 'overshooting' in wet weather. And this can not depend on the operator as they have no authority to operate the brakes manually.

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Yeah, Dreamworld does have good PR, though I wasn't referring to PR, I'm referring to administration. With Rocky Hollow Log Ride, a few years ago, because the tops of the poles were cracked and consequently a good place for rubbish and plant material to build up, so they actually filled them with concrete. I'm not sure if they've been appropriately fixed since. I'll see if anything's been done since the major rehab they've just come out of.

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I think that it is unfair to compare any park in Australia with any theme park in North America. They have easily 5 times as many staff on each ride as any park in Australia does. Example, any Demon clone over there would have 5 possibly 6 people working at anytime, where as here there was 1 maybe 2. Even the minor rides such as a carousel would have 2 or 3 working it. The reason for this and the problem with the parks in Australia is that they have an off season where as we don't. Another factor in this is the hourly rate for staff. I know a person who worked at a park in the states and the hourly rate was about half of what Wonderland operators where getting (this does take the exchange rate into account). Now saying all that, I haven't been to the Gold Coast parks for years now so I’m not sure how they are on efficiency, but at Wonderland the operators ran pretty well at the highest capacity possible (well most of them anyway) with what they had.

Quote: Originally Posted by zordmaker An observation: Another time waster on coasters is the time needed to bring the train back into the station or realign it if it does not stop in exactly the right place at the end of the ride.With most brakes having only a "on" and "off" setting, this depends on the operator, the age and condition of the ride and the weather. I have been on (ex)Wonderland's Demon in wet weather (circa '97) and seen it completely overshoot the platform on return due to wet brake shoes. ZordMaker   I am very familiar with the Demon and have not encountered such 'overshooting' in wet weather. And this can not depend on the operator as they have no authority to operate the brakes manually.
Demon would overshoot the station for several reasons, one being a large amount of passenger weight on board, but the most common was that all the station brakes are not operating, this was more common that you would think, the maintenance crew would turn off on or two sets of brakes and the rest would be sufficient. Well I finally got my computer fixed after nearly 2 weeks so I can now catch up with what’s been going on in the world. "The Bus is now leaving for YMCA Number 1 Shaft, Northern Territory"

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Wonderland did indeed run at the best capacity it could. Even with only one or two Space Probe gondolas operating (as was the case with our March meet), the operators did the best they could and the queue was never unbearable. The same goes for Sea World, where the operators are quite efficient, and Movie World also. There are almost never significant discrepancies in staffing, i.e. it's not as if Dreamworld has a single operator on a ride, and Sea World has four for the same sort of ride. The issue is with the fact that Dreamworld, despite staffing and other things on par with parks nearby, there is significant differences in efficiency. I'm not saying it's the operators at fault - it might well be the Operations Department's set ways of doing things, but I couldn't say. The fact is, there is a problem which is entirely unique to Dreamworld. Dreamworld's profit margins are approximately 30% higher than Cedar Fair's (owners of Cedar Point), of course adjusted for currency exchange and yes, based on specific attendance. Meanwhile Cedar Fair is the strongest amusement park operator listed on the US stock exchange. Therefore, I think I can make a very safe assumption that Macquarie Leisure is not spending appropriate amounts on Dreamworld's operations. Maybe we don't need half a dozen or more employees for rides like they do, but come on, that figure above convinces me the money's not going entirely where it should be.

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With Rocky Hollow Log Ride, a few years ago, because the tops of the poles were cracked and consequently a good place for rubbish and plant material to build up, so they actually filled them with concrete. I'm not sure if they've been appropriately fixed since. I'll see if anything's been done since the major rehab they've just come out of.
Nah, I meant how the paint was chipped off on the hand rails where you exit the boat.

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it might well be the Operations Department's set ways of doing things
Following the construction of a new ride, for example DW's Cyclone, the Operations Department has to devise a number of procedures for its staff to follow. Pretty much the Department has to work around the design of the ride, and in the case of Cyclone - poor capacity is achieved because of the placement of the Queue house. Its pretty much, here's a new ride... you sort it out. It is unfair to suggest its the Operations Department's fault for poor capacity. A question, at DW who decides whether a ride will be operational for the day (ie. who decides if GD will use two cabins, or the one?) - The Operations Supervisors or Managers??? The latter should solve the issue.

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