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About Ol'FormerRideOp

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    Southern MD

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  1. It's amazing... The ORIGINAL concrete poured back in 1974, had some moderately big stones in it, and it seemed to last forever without any degradation. There are many sections of original concrete that exist today, and still look good after all these years. However, the newer concrete pours have sometimes been problematic - and by trying to go cheap and use tar instead of concrete, they just wind up having to make repairs more often. I wish they'd stop using tar and go back to concrete. Yes, it's bit more costly up front, but it lasts longer and doesn't require annual sealing and maintenance.
  2. ^LOL! Everyone stop whining already! We all agree it's not a real "coaster' and the location is a bit questionable... but here are some facts that you all may not understand about GA and theme parks in general: 1. They exist to make money ($$$) 2. Increasing ride counts increases operating costs for every department - think about it: Operations, Maintenance, Landscaping, Security etc. 3. If any souvenir shops or merchandise buildings or food stands or games are added, that too adds to the above costs including Food Service, Merchandise & Games departments. 4. GA NEEDS more flats, and we're getting one. 5. GA just had another record-setting ride added last year. You can't expect that to be done every year. With that said, I would have preferred that they kept Rolling Thunder around... Perhaps they could have started budgeting for a major overhaul last year to include new track and supports and possibly some enhancements including bringing back the 5th car to the trains. GA could have closed the aging coaster for a season (or two if needed) and planned for this much needed maintenance, keeping one of the last dual-track racing coasters in operation for years to come. I'm sure many people would agree that RT was a great loss in many ways. I for one, would have been just fine having no "new" rides and instead letting GA focus on the existing rides - their refurbishment and much needed maintenance of the property overall. Most people have no idea how much maintenance is required and the cost associated with having to maintain not only rides, but buildings, restrooms, equipment and machinery, paths/walkways, lighting, etc.! The bigger the park, the bigger the operating costs. I'd rather see the park slow down in new ride investment, and keep things in a highly-maintained manner, rather than have a few shiny new record-breaking rides lumped in with aging, poorly maintained ones - or worse, entire sections of the park that are in a state of chaos and disrepair (i.e., New Country.) And while I'm thinking of it, who's bright idea was it to start replacing large sections of concrete with asphalt??? Not only does it LOOK cheap, it IS cheap. Not to mention how HOT that stuff gets with the sun beating down on it all day! Covering it with paint (as they've done in some areas) just makes it look horrible too! Bad idea! They could have simply cut back on the amount of concrete needed, by creating cement pathways instead and putting in some sod and trees around them to replace the green that's been cut out of the park over the years! Just my two cents... ;-)
  3. I tend to agree with the others on here, calling this a "coaster" really is a huge stretch! I'm glad a flat ride is going in though... The park really needs a lot more "family style" thrill rides. I would have been happy to see a few of these types added instead of just one however. Bring a new Musik Express or an Enterprise ride back to the "Old Country" section... The Old Country used to be known as the "New Rides" area... but it has since fallen into a sad state... Perhaps re-theming as the "County Fair" section with older nostalgic rides would be a good addition...?!? And to the marketing department: Please just be honest with the guests. Don't "hype" something to the point where nearly everyone has to throw the B.S. flag on the play... Just say something like "Coming in 2015: Exciting new rides for the whole family to enjoy!" and leave it at that!
  4. I've been saying for many years now, that good ol' flat rides are what's needed.... I would take the entire "New Rides" area (from the old Enterprise all the way back to the former Free Fall site) and turn it into a "Fairgrounds" theme and have all the fun, cheesy family rides that people enjoy... with all the light kits and music that these rides can be equipped with... Take a look at http://www.flatrides.com for ideas... I'd definitely have the Enterprise, Monster Spin, Flying Swings, Musik Express, Alpine Bobs, Hexentanz (Witche's Dance), Tilt-A-Whirl, etc. The sad fact, is Great Adventure never kept up with the maintenance of the original artwork and lighting kits of the flat rides - and they became very unattractive and boring. Half of the appeal is the lighting kits and the colorful artwork that is available for the rides. Another flume-style ride would be a welcome addition too! Just sayin'... ;-)
  5. When did you work Mine Train? That was my "home" ride somewhere between '81 & '83... Three trains was always fun... but we had a lot more staff working the ride back then! At the top of the stairs, you had an usher who would open the chain and let 28 people into the station. He/she would tell you to follow another person who would "usher" you into each stall starting at the front, working towards the back. There was no "waiting" for seats. You were assigned a stall to wait for the next train. (This is how the station always remained calm as well, only 28 people at a time!) We also had swinging saloon style doors; not hydraulic gates. On the other side of the station, you had the operator who was responsible for keeping the trains from "setting up"... You also had three attendants; the first person would lock and unlock car one as well as give the spiel over the PA system, then you had another attendant who took care of cars two & three; then the last attendant would handle cars four & five. I remember having to "push" a train out of the station, then rush out to the trim & ready brakes to "pull" the next train in before the third one entered Block "C"... all to avoid a setup. If we DID have a setup, we had to send three attendants up to "safeties"...to release the brakes and push the train down the hill... and we were supposed to send another to the top of the lift to restart it. (But I knew where the RN limit was and could reset it with a screwdriver, and restart the lift with a broom handle by forcing the big switch near the compressor at the bottom of the tower under the operator booth!) Kenny Burns looked at me very puzzled the first time I did that during pre-season training with new staff - and told me to never do it while there were guests on board... I told him we only do that when the trains are empty... (wink wink...) The things you learn from the electricians and maintenance guys! So basically, you had six attendants working the ride at any given time - not to mention additional staff to sweep queue lines or play "crowd control" or to cover for breaks... Today, there's only one or two people running the ride... Due to the "computerization" and safety measures imposed on the ride, they no longer run three trains, and whenever I've been there they've only run one train at a time. The original compressed air skid brakes were replaced with fin-style clamping brakes... No more speed stopping trains here either! The WORST part of not having the compressed air brakes is that young teenage boys can no longer enjoy the festivities of bouncing the train up and down when girls would come to the ride after getting soaked on the Log Flume... Operators and attendants used to call out the car and seat number for each other to watch as the train was bounced... All you'd hear was "51" and then the train would bounce... while the guys would immediately look at car 5, seat 1... (51) or "43", or "11" etc. <sigh>... good times... But there IS a saving grace... There is STILL the exit stairs where wet shirts still offered a wonderful view from the operator's booth... The attendants just had to lean back a little over the edge to get a glimpse...
  6. I never liked rides that were boring to operate... I liked fast paced environments that required a bit of work. It always made the day go by faster, and you had more fun... My favorite rides to operate were (not in any specific order): 1. Mine Train - before the computerization; when you could run three trains... 2. Cables - Loved the workout and constant pace 3. Parachuter's Perch - I moved to that ride the first year it opened and found a rythym to operating two chutes - back and forth. It was non stop and you got a great tan on that pad! 4. Coaster I & II (Rolling Thunder) before head restraints, seat belts, seat dividers, and computerization. As an experienced operator, you learned how to "speed stop" the trains - hardly using the dispatch brakes at all, giving guests the most awesome stop on any coaster! 5. Rapids - way before there were rail guides installed in the water, when the wave machines were running and boats would occsionally jam. Half the fun of working that ride was standing on the outside of the boats, jumping up and down to get them to "un-jam"... Then you got to ride the boat the rest of the way in while on the outside! Emergency Flush ALL was a great time too... Anyone who worked the ride back then will understand! Today though, nobody "hustles" anymore. Everything is slow, there are fewer operators on rides which makes lines longer and in my opinion LESS safe. Put more people back on the ride crews and start getting those hourly numbers back up! ;-)
  7. Please, I'm laughing at the "sewing".... Sewing is what you do to fabric... Suing someone is what you do in court! --- Not to be the spelling police, but that mistake wasn't made just once... ;-)
  8. HA! I remember working with Mike Lisa on many rides back in the 80's!
  9. I remember Paula - she was my lead on Loop II... Well, for a little while that is, until I saddled the train and won a transfer to Bumper I... LOL!
  10. It will be interesting to see what pans out.... As a former ride operator, I can't tell you how many people would leave items on loading platforms - expecting the staff to "watch" their items - despite signs that explicitly stated "We are not responsible for personal items left behind." I think providing a few cubbies free of charge is a good thing, but it slows down loading/unloading rides which causes longer wait times. Lockers are a much better option - but they need to be reasonable with charges. It would be great if there was a way to provide free lockers, or at least an option to purchase (reasonably) an all-day storage key/card which can be used at any one locker at a time throughout the park, so you can use ones that are convenient to your location throughout the day. I have never used a locker at a theme park ever, and don't think I would ever want to pay for something like that, unless it was for all-day use at a reasonable price (no more than $5.00.) Just my thoughts...
  11. " During the summer of 1983 through the wonder of a newfangled personnel computing machine, for $1 guests could find out in just 15 seconds "What was happening the day you were born?". The summary of events was provided via a dot-matrix printer on perforated paper with removable tractor-feed margins. " Not to be a spelling nazi... but I believe you meant "personal computing"... ;-)
  12. That was the first ride I worked back in the early 80's... Loop II... I wonder if I worked with your mom back then?!? If we worked together, she'd know me by the fact that I was the one who "saddled' the train... then got transferred to Bumper I... LOL! Being a little OCD, I remember when heading to the ride first thing in the morning, I'd count 92 steps from the ground, all the way to the top of the platform. At some point, you'd have to go back down the 92 steps and walk to the "far end" and climb another 87 steps to relieve the operator at the top. After an hour or so, someone would come to relieve you - then you went back down the 87 steps, walked back across to the station side and climbed the 92 steps again. THEN you'd go on break, and go back down the 92 steps, walk all the way to the canteen... then all the way back.. then back up the 92 steps... Now if you were sent to the far side again for an hour, you'd go back down the 92, across to the far side and up the 87 steps... then after another hour or so, back down the 87 steps, across to the station side, and up the 92 steps again! At the end of the day, you got to go down the 92 steps for the last time that day, but you couldn't just go to wardrobe (which was right next to the ride) and go home... Someone had to walk to the Ops Office (which was across from the canteen back then) to drop off the timesheet, turnstyle logs and other paperwork. Once the Ops Admin folks double-checked your totals, you were then free to walk back to wardrobe and go home! Needless to say, LOTS of steps PLUS a lot of walking every day!!! LOL! I can't believe I STILL remember how many steps there were!!! Jeez, I can't believe I still remember the entire spiel for the Mine Train too! I guess it's second nature if you have to repeat it a thousand times a day!!
  13. Agreed! Seatbelts are just plain ridiculous... the head rests actually do more harm because you bang your head into them, and the dividers suck bigtime!
  14. Holy cow this ride brings back memories..! I remember during the first few days of operation, I went for a "test ride" with the area supervisor (I think it was Tyrone Daly back then?!?) when all of a sudden it started drizzling. The ride's trough was just painted stainless steel, and the cars had rubber wheels that rolled freely within the trough. The cars weren't on a track per se; they could ride anywhere within the trough and the turns were banked. The more weight in the car, the wider the turns... However, because the trains were able to travel freely, ANY amount of moisture (including morning dew) was catastrophic!!! Now as an adrenalin and theme park junkie, I would normally enjoy a hair-raising ride... However,... Once we got past the lift, the ride became ridiculously dangerous!!! The wheels that were on the sides of the cars were SLAMMING into the rail stops along the tops of the turns (which are installed to prevent cars from rolling over or out of the trough completely!) I literally hung on for dear life... Both Tyrone and I came off the right seriously banged up and scared s***less!! We shut the ride down IMMEDIATELY and didn't dispatch another car until the track was COMPLETELY DRY!!! I have seen a more updated version of the ride at Kings Dominion in VA where the trough isn't solid - it's made up of tubular steel and allows for drainage (see photo: http://www.kingsdominion.com/rides/Family-Rides/Avalanche) and also limits the skidding of the cars... In addition, there are multiple cars connected instead of Great Adventure's single-car (6 passenger) vehicles.
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