Waldameer Discussion Thread

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Re: Waldameer Discussion Thread

Postby kidcoaster 2 » Thu Mar 08, 2012 11:25 am

Hercules wrote:The whole point of a cashless system is to bring in additional revenues. They will not offer refunds on remaining balances, I can assure you.


Actually no, the whole point of this system being put into place is to stop employee theft. Steve explained that saturday to us at Coasterbash.

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Re: Waldameer Discussion Thread

Postby beatle11 » Thu Mar 08, 2012 12:17 pm

TJinPgh wrote:Oh, I understand the point.

I also understand that the system will likely cost them more than they'll make off of it.

First will be the expense of initiating it. The cost of the kiosks. The cost of installing card readers at all of the games.
Then, there is the recurring cost of the cards. No refund... no incentive to turn it back in at the end of the day.

Second, consider where a park with free admission and free parking makes most of it's money. Food and games.

While it may seem like a nice convenience for both to simply swipe a card, if they are going to accept debit/credit cards for food they already have that convenience without the card. And, if they use the credit card instead of the wally card, it costs them money on every transaction.

Cashless system at games? Not a good idea for a revenue stream.

Most of the revenue gained from games isn't in the decision of a customer to play a game. It's in the impulse of the customer to KEEP playing the game when they lose.

Load the card up with $10-$20 and, at $2 a game you're going to burn through that quick.

When you have a wad of cash in your pocket, it's a heck of a lot easier to reach in on impulse and grab some than it is to go and re-fill the card.

The LAST thing you want is the customer walking away from something to refill that card. Once they walk away, the impulse walks away with it.

Yes, it's nice for water park customers to not have to worry about their money getting wet. Of course, not worrying about money getting wet also reduces the need to rent a l0<filled with medicine and goo. (why it wants to edit that word for the place where you keep your shoes at the park is beyond me)

But, beyond the local kids who might use the cards, there is no real advantage to using it for the typical customer.

This doesn't even touch on the money they will lose when the card reader goes down at the most popular games, as they no doubt will, simply from over-use.


kidcoaster 2 wrote:
Hercules wrote:The whole point of a cashless system is to bring in additional revenues. They will not offer refunds on remaining balances, I can assure you.


Actually no, the whole point of this system being put into place is to stop employee theft. Steve explained that saturday to us at Coasterbash.


Employee theft is a good reason to go cashless, but based on what TJinPgh posted, I wonder if the cost of running the system and the money they would save by eliminating employee theft is just going to cancel itself out.
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Re: Waldameer Discussion Thread

Postby Hercules » Thu Mar 08, 2012 12:46 pm

kidcoaster 2 wrote:
Hercules wrote:The whole point of a cashless system is to bring in additional revenues. They will not offer refunds on remaining balances, I can assure you.


Actually no, the whole point of this system being put into place is to stop employee theft. Steve explained that saturday to us at Coasterbash.


Isn't that part of adding revenue?

Besides, I'm pretty sure I know about this system and their thoughts on using it aside from what was said at Coasterbash.

TJinPgh wrote:Oh, I understand the point.

I also understand that the system will likely cost them more than they'll make off of it.


They have had the cashless system in place for a couple of years now and I'm sure have done very well using it. I don't think they would be making the decision to go completely cashless without knowing there will be some backlash from the patrons, and without looking at the numbers. The cashless system has been very beneficial to the park, and they have ways of tracking it. I think in the end this will be a very good decision for them.

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Re: Waldameer Discussion Thread

Postby ajfelice » Thu Mar 08, 2012 1:00 pm

From a current employee perspective who is not closely tied to ownership, the cashless system has actually been a huge success. The gradual implementation with the rides in 2010 and games in 2011 has been so successful that the system is moving forward into concessions. Just from observations on lunch breaks alone, Wally Cards are already a popular payment option for concessions. Some people will initially complain out of fear of change, but all in all they will adapt. In my opinion, cashless is like Chuck E. Cheese in which when I run out of tokens, I have to either: A) stop playing, or B) get more tokens. Of course this is a basic example, but they seem to be ok when it comes to their games.

Additionally, last season Waldameer did have options at the midway games where you could purchase cards with cash already charged with points. I do not know if such options will be available this season on concessions or games, BUT Waldameer has also gone the extra step and installed several kiosks to purchase and recharge cards using CASH or plastic bringing their total up to 12 purchase/recharge areas. These are in addition to the admission booths and a couple other concession stands where cards are available for purchase.

I truly trust what the Nelsons and Gormans are doing with Waldameer. They continue to asses and explore new practices with this cashless system to make it such a success. Besides, when it comes to employee/customer theft, is it fair that some people can get away with free rides/games/food/etc. while the rest of us pay our hard earned dollars? I choose fairness.

I was and still am skeptical of this system, but they only way to confirm or put to rest concerns is to give it a chance with an open mind. So far, my skepticism has been greatly reduced.

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Re: Waldameer Discussion Thread

Postby rcdude » Thu Mar 08, 2012 1:15 pm

Ray Cammack Shows (the group that runs the midway at my local fair) went cashless several years ago and with only one exception I have not had any complaints. It sounds similar to Waldameer's system as you get a Fun Card that can be used for rides, games, or concessions. While you can use a credit card at concession stands (they might take cash as well, but I don't remember), rides and games have to be paid for with the cards or wristband (if it is a promotion day). The only issue I've had with it was on a $1 ride day. Since all the scanners automatically convert to the standard vaule at the time of the end of the promotion, and you are scanned just before boarding instead of when entering the line, I ended up waiting fifteen minutes and not being able to ride (missed it by three minutes or so). Waldameer wouldn't have this problem.

Honestly, for a pay-per-ride park where everyone will need tickets anyway, this is a great system. Now, if pay-one-price parks started adopting it for games and food, that would be a whole different story.
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Re: Waldameer Discussion Thread

Postby cal1br3tto » Thu Mar 08, 2012 1:42 pm

Are the cards non-expiring? That seems to be widespread nowadays among parks, FECs and carnival companies, almost like an "excuse" for not offering refunds. I could see it being an annoyance for non-locals who may not benefit, but that's not really the park's problem. I still have valid tickets for faraway parks here at home, myself.

One thing people could do (though I understand many may not want to bother) is actually figure out the prices of whatever they want to do next, then load their cards to meet that exact amount. I often do that at carnivals (though getting denied at kiddie coasters messes up the math a bit). It sounds like there are plenty of kiosks that could make that more convenient, and accepting cash is helpful as well. Hopefully I'm understanding the system correctly.
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Re: Waldameer Discussion Thread

Postby molemaster43 » Thu Mar 08, 2012 3:42 pm

I'm wondering, where is the Ravine Flyer II on everybody's favorite wooden coaster lists? Thanks.
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Re: Waldameer Discussion Thread

Postby Rollercoaster Rider » Thu Mar 08, 2012 4:09 pm

Ravine Flyer's In My Top 10. It's tough for me to rank them.
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Re: Waldameer Discussion Thread

Postby Airtime&Gravity » Thu Mar 08, 2012 4:15 pm

Ravine Flyer is my third favorite wooden coaster, behind Shivering Timbers and El Toro. I was amazed at how well it was running when I rode it last year, especially after seeing how Voyage and Hades went to hell.

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Re: Waldameer Discussion Thread

Postby TJinPgh » Thu Mar 08, 2012 5:56 pm

ajfelice wrote:From a current employee perspective who is not closely tied to ownership, the cashless system has actually been a huge success. The gradual implementation with the rides in 2010 and games in 2011 has been so successful that the system is moving forward into concessions. Just from observations on lunch breaks alone, Wally Cards are already a popular payment option for concessions. Some people will initially complain out of fear of change, but all in all they will adapt.


My comment has nothing to do with fear of change.

I'm well aware of the usage of the system for rides over the last couple of years. And, other than when the scanners don't work (more often then most would like to admit), it's not an issue.

People were already wearing wristbands. It's not a meaningful change.

The point of my comment is a simple one. And it's based on far too many years of going to amusement parks with a preset number in my head of what I was going to spend only to go over it year after year.

Most people will initially load up the cards with what they think they're going to spend. When that's done, no matter how many kiosks you put in the park, it's far less convenient to leave your spot in line and go fill up the card again than it is to simply reach into your pocket for more money.

The card is a good means of supplementing cash because it requires you to carry less of it. The moment somebody tells you that you're going to have to figure out to the exact penny how much to put on the card, else get cheated of the overage at the end of the day, it starts leaving a bit more of a sour taste in one's mouth

Will I stop going to Waldameer because of it? No.

Will it affect how much I'm likely to spend? Yes.

I won't use the card for food, because it's far more convienient for me to use a credit card (which costs them money).

IF I choose to play games, I'll use it because I have to. But it will be based on what I initially figure I'll spend, which is always a good bit less than what I normally do.

I really have no desire to keep running back and forth recharging the card a couple of bucks at a time, knowing it's the only way to keep my money at the end of the day.

In my opinion, cashless is like Chuck E. Cheese in which when I run out of tokens, I have to either: A) stop playing, or B) get more tokens. Of course this is a basic example, but they seem to be ok when it comes to their games.


Can't speak to Chuck E. Cheese. I haven't been to one in years. I can say this, though. Of the various arcades in the region, the ones that only took tokens went out of business before the ones that took both.

Take that for what it's worth.

Additionally, last season Waldameer did have options at the midway games where you could purchase cards with cash already charged with points. I do not know if such options will be available this season on concessions or games, BUT Waldameer has also gone the extra step and installed several kiosks to purchase and recharge cards using CASH or plastic bringing their total up to 12 purchase/recharge areas. These are in addition to the admission booths and a couple other concession stands where cards are available for purchase.


That's fine. Like I said, I'm not opposed to the cards.

Just point me to the booth that refunds whatever I have left on the card (even if refunds are only given once the balance drops below a certain figure, like $10) and I'll have no complaints.

I truly trust what the Nelsons and Gormans are doing with Waldameer. They continue to asses and explore new practices with this cashless system to make it such a success. Besides, when it comes to employee/customer theft, is it fair that some people can get away with free rides/games/food/etc. while the rest of us pay our hard earned dollars? I choose fairness.


With all due respect, you're creating a false choice.

Wristbands with bar codes in no way stopped operators from giving free rides. I saw too many instances last year where the scanners weren't working properly and people were just ushered through. So, if it can be done when they aren't working right it can be done when they are.

The answer to your question is, no, it's not fair to make us pay when others don't. No more than a sytem that requires us to give up our hard earned dollars at the end of the day if we don't use them all before the park closes.

Either way, you're being punished.

I was and still am skeptical of this system, but they only way to confirm or put to rest concerns is to give it a chance with an open mind. So far, my skepticism has been greatly reduced.


Like I said, it has nothing to do with skepticism or even having a problem with the cards.

It comes down to simple facts. If I run out of day before I run out of money on the card, I'm going to lose it. Whether it's $1 or $50.

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