Waldameer Discussion Thread

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Re: Cash-Less System coming to Waldameer

Postby kidcoaster 2 » Sat Feb 13, 2010 7:54 pm

ginzo wrote:I wonder if the POP wristbands will also have bar codes now. If they want, this could allow them to limit the number of times you ride a given attraction. The wristbands at Bakken were limited to 10 cycles per attraction.



I doubt Waldameer would limit the number of cycles for POP users considering they want people to stay all day.

When I was at Rye Playland they had this system set up for rides and I think food and it was nice not having to stand behind people trying to count their tickets. Just it becomes a slight inconvenience when you wait 30min for a ride only to find out it won't scan.

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Re: Cash-Less System coming to Waldameer

Postby Shavethewhales » Sat Feb 13, 2010 7:57 pm

Can you get back the money left on the card/wristband at the end of the day? That's the only big negative I see with these systems. They force you to pay a lot to put a bunch in your account, then everything is priced just right so that you end up with a lot that you don't even spend. Just another way to nickle and dime.

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Re: Cash-Less System coming to Waldameer

Postby itsasamccormick » Sun Feb 14, 2010 6:35 am

This is a cool system! At Six Flags St. Louis, i remember they were advertising something similar to this, but i cannot remember what they called it....

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Re: Cash-Less System coming to Waldameer

Postby Capitalize » Sun Feb 14, 2010 11:31 am

I'm kind of torn about using these systems. When I went to Ocean City, Maryland the Jolly Roger parks used a similar system but with cards. I think it actually kept me from riding more rides because I typically put on the exact amount of money needed for one ride on the coasters and left it at that.

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Re: Cash-Less System coming to Waldameer

Postby kidcoaster 2 » Sun Feb 14, 2010 4:30 pm

Here is the follow up artical which explains how the system will work using "Wally points". Also Waldameer will be selling 5000 Season Passes this year!

Cashless system coming to Waldameer
Waldameer Park moving to new cashless system
By ED PALATTELLA
ed.palattella@timesnews.com
After three straight years of big additions, no new rides are coming to Waldameer Park & Water World this season.

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The next new attraction, a giant flying carousel, will arrive in 2011.


But the amusement park is still undergoing a big change.


Waldameer is introducing its own currency: "Wally Points."


As a result, how you pay to ride the Ravine Flyer II, Thunder River, X Scream and other attractions will be different this year.


So will how you buy food and souvenirs and pay for games.


In what its owner said is its most expensive nonride investment to date, Waldameer is installing a $500,000 cashless payment system at the family-owned park that overlooks Lake Erie in Millcreek Township.


The new coin of Waldameer's realm will be Wally Points, redeemed with plastic swipe cards -- Wally Cards, named after the park's mascot, Wally Bear. One Wally Point costs $1.


General admission and parking still will be free at Waldameer, and patrons who buy all-day passes for the rides still will wear wristbands.


But those wristbands will have bar codes to scan at the turnstiles.


And patrons who buy single tickets, which cost $1.50, will no longer present them to ride operators.


Patrons instead will pay for Wally Points and get Wally Cards to swipe at each ride, food booth, gift shop or midway game.


"The main thing is to give a better service to people, and this gives us a tighter control over cash," Waldameer owner Paul Nelson said.


Nelson said the savings from the cashless system will enable Waldameer to keep its free parking and open admission -- hallmarks that allow visitors to stroll the grounds and pay to ride as many attractions as they would like.


"I want to keep the park the way it is so people who don't have a lot of money can still enjoy the park," Nelson said.


He said Waldameer, which employs 18 full-time and 400 part-time workers in the summer, will hire four fewer people with the cashless system.


He said the system will save more money by, among other things, cutting back on the number of patrons who ride for free and reducing the number of employees who handle cash, making the park less susceptible to misplaced or stolen money.


"The fewer people who touch the money, the less chance it has walking out the door," said Nelson, 75, who has been full owner of the park since 1978.




More improvements


Nelson said Waldameer, which he said drew more than 400,000 paying customers in 2009, is coming off its second most successful season in its 114-year history. Even still, he said, business was down 12 percent compared to 2008 -- the park's most successful year.


Nelson said the poor economy and the wet weather hurt Waldameer's attendance in 2009. He said 2008 was a record-breaking year because Waldameer opened the Ravine Flyer II roller coaster, which gained national attention and helped boost the park's business by 30 percent compared to 2007.


Waldameer continued to expand in 2009. It introduced the Mega Vortex spinning disk, which followed the Ravine Flyer II, the X Scream drop tower in 2007 and the Steel Dragon spinning roller coaster in 2004.


Since 1984, Waldameer has added six mechanical rides, to bring its total to 29, and three roller coasters, to bring the total to four. Water World, which now features 11 water slides, opened in 1986. Waldameer has spent $30 million in improvements over the past 30 years.


Nelson sees the cashless system as another example of his family's commitment. Waldameer has thrived as other area amusement parks have struggled, including the reopened Conneaut Lake Park, which has had problems with unpaid bills, and Geauga Lake Amusement Park, in Ohio, which is now solely a water park.


The cashless system "is simply an upgrade for our employees and customers," Nelson said.




Cashless benefits


The cashless system should lead to increased revenue and efficiency for Waldameer, said Mary Beth Pinto, Ph.D., a professor of marketing at Penn State Behrend.


She said cashless systems have become the norm in the marketplace, particularly in retail businesses. Studies have consistently shown customers spend more money when they use swipe cards "and don't have to reach for the cash," Pinto said.


"This is an area where they want to get more bang for their buck," she said of Waldameer. "It is a great move."


The system is by Core Cashless Inc., near Kansas City, Kan., which specializes in amusement parks and other entertainment venues. Waldameer's system will allow customers to buy Wally Cards from an employee in a booth or at kiosks.


The cashless system will not eliminate ride operators. To get on a ride starting this season, Nelson said, patrons must scan a wristband or swipe a card at the turnstile and then wait for an operator to let them on.


The cashless system will also allow Waldameer to better track its inventory, Nelson said. He said the park can easily log each purchase made with Wally Cards.


And he said Waldameer will use swipe cards in other areas of the park, such as maintenance. He said workers will swipe security cards each time they inspect a ride so that Waldameer can better ensure scheduled maintenance is occurring.


Either way, Wally Cards and Wally Points will flood Waldameer this summer, drawing to close an era when cash was king at the park. Nelson, who started working at Waldameer in 1945, when he was 11, said he could never have imagined a cashless system.


"It blew my mind," he said.




ED PALATTELLA can be reached at 870-1813 or by e-mail.


Other changes
The cashless system is the most significant development this year at Waldameer Park & Water World.
Patrons will notice other changes as well.
Owner Paul Nelson said Waldameer is raising prices slightly to cover the cost of living -- 25 cents or 50 cents for all-day passes, depending on the type of pass. Single tickets at Waldameer cost $1.50.
The combination all-day pass for Waldameer Park & Water World will cost $16.95 for patrons shorter than 48 inches and $23.45 for patrons taller than 48 inches.
Waldameer is introducing season passes: $44.95 for patrons shorter than 48 inches and $59.95 for patrons taller than 48 inches. The park will limit the number of season passes to no more 5,000, Nelson said.
Waldameer is selling gift cards this year.
Waldameer is open on weekends starting the weekend of May 8-9. The park's daily schedule starts Memorial Day weekend.
For more information, go to www.waldameer.com.


www.goerie.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100214/NEWS02/302139877

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Re: Cash-Less System coming to Waldameer

Postby Dailey Enterprizes » Mon Feb 15, 2010 10:06 am

I think I'm going to start calling Waldameer; Wallyworld!

At first I was skeptical, but it makes a little more sense now. I'm not threatened by the raised prices either because it's not too bad when compared to other parks. Even Kennywood's fully priced all day passes are approaching the $40 mark (most people don't ever pay full price though).

It will be interesting to see how this works out for them.

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Re: Cash-Less System & Flying Carousel coming to Waldameer

Postby jedimaster1227 » Mon Feb 15, 2010 11:49 pm

I've gone ahead and updated the first post to include information about the new Flying Carousel (Wave Swinger) flat ride joining Waldameer's lineup this year. The new article also hints that Waldameer will receive an "extreme teenage ride" in three years.
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Re: Cash-Less System & Flying Carousel coming to Waldameer

Postby DBru » Tue Feb 16, 2010 4:16 pm

The Flying Carousel isn't coming until next year, though, right?

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Re: Cash-Less System & Flying Carousel coming to Waldameer

Postby kidcoaster 2 » Tue Feb 16, 2010 4:39 pm

DBru wrote:The Flying Carousel isn't coming until next year, though, right?


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Re: Cash-Less System & Flying Carousel coming to Waldameer

Postby Taylor Finn » Tue Feb 16, 2010 4:59 pm

The idea of the wristbands is still used at Fun Fore All in Cranberry, PA today. It's called a 'Fun Card'. I wouldn't mind the Cash-Less system. Technology is improving and customers are demanding innovation. Waldameer is taking a step forward by innovating through the rides, and now in the system. I really wish I would get a chance to visit this place. It has always seemed like a nice park. As for the Flying Carousel, these things are becoming staples and it is wonderful to see this park add it to their ever-growing lineup.

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