Waldameer Discussion Thread

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Re: Waldameer Discussion Thread

Postby TJinPgh » Thu Mar 08, 2012 6:08 pm

cal1br3tto wrote: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.


You could look at it that way. But, that's a pretty shotty way of doing business. The only way that you get regular customers in anything is to treat the non-regulars well enough to make them want to be regulars.

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.


As I understand it from Waldameer's blog, other than the arcade and the merry go round ticket booth, it will be a completely cashless system.

You can use a credit/debit card for food, aparently. Which is fine. But must use the card for games and cash is accepted nowhere else in the park.

Yes, I can certainly ignore the inconvenience and load up the card before going to a particular game. My point there is that amusement parks make a LOT of money on the impulse to keep playing a game that you've been losing, believing that you'll win if you keep playing. At which point, by the time you do win (assuming you win at all), they no longer care.

The problem with doing it the way you mentioned is that the only way to keep playing is to leave the line, recharge the card and come back. At which point, the impulse to keep playing is likely gone.

Like I said, I'm not opposed to the cards. And, I frankly like that they are finally allowing the use of credit cards to get food.

I simply prefer a system that allows me to reclaim any unused funds at the end of the day and a hybrid system that still permits the usage of cash.

One size fits all solutions usually don't.

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Re: Waldameer Discussion Thread

Postby ajfelice » Thu Mar 08, 2012 9:31 pm

For the record I was not accusing anyone personally on this site as resistent to change. When I say people are resistent, I am referring to what I believe is that us humans, in general, are creatures of habit. All I was trying to do was address my personal observations from being at the park for an entire summer, and combining that with concerns expressed here. I understand concerns, and I have them too, but I do trust Waldameer's decision for the total cashless implementation until I have reason to believe otherwise.

Let me clarify my point about "free rides" that wasn't made very understandable on my part. Before the cashless system, wristbands varied by color based on Combo Pass, Rides Only, Water Slides Only, Water World General Admission, and reserved picnics (so food servers/event coordinators knew who was a part of each picnic). To add to that, the colors and shapes on each band varied daily. Therefore, besides having an operator memorize which colors/symbols was for the day, they were supposed to check that each guest had the proper wristband (pain in the butt when people wear long sleeves, walk fast, etc). Strip tickets also had to be collected if the guest used the pay by the ride option. Waldameer had no idea how many guests paid proper admission because an operator could either accept the incorrect amount or no tickets at all, or people with no forms of admission could easily slip by. With all that said, someone could make the argument that Waldameer needs better trained, more ethical operators. However, to regulate this would be extremely tedious and borderline micro-management (besides, imagine the employee turnover during a season alone). True, the bar code system is not perfect by any means, but I can confidently say 99% of those free rides are eliminated because a wristband is automatically determined valid and a guest will always be forced to present proper admission option (otherwise, the turnstiles don't unlock). I'm sure some things slipped through the cracks with some glitches, but they were few and far between and resolved quickly.

Next, I understand even more reading the posts on here alone how not having a refund option for unused points can be inconvenient/unfair especially for out of towners. Guess what? Early into the season I will make it an objective to talk to some of management about this issue, and see what their justification for this policy is.

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Re: Waldameer Discussion Thread

Postby Hercules » Fri Mar 09, 2012 10:07 am

cal1br3tto wrote:Are the cards non-expiring?


The cards do not expire.

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Re: Waldameer Discussion Thread

Postby kidcoaster 2 » Fri Mar 09, 2012 10:22 am

Here is a video I took of steve's presentation at coasterbash.

A few interesting things he discusses.
- North end was a success
- Happy Swing new for 2012
- New magnetic brakes for Comet and 2 train operations
- New L. Ruth express train
- Expanded maintenance shop
- They got the EPA laws rewritten so they no longer have restrictions.
- Beach front expansion in the next several years.
- New Ramp over the lazy river.
- New guest service building
- New images of america book coming out next year.


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Re: Waldameer Discussion Thread

Postby TJinPgh » Fri Mar 09, 2012 4:06 pm

ajfelice wrote:For the record I was not accusing anyone personally on this site as resistent to change. When I say people are resistent, I am referring to what I believe is that us humans, in general, are creatures of habit. All I was trying to do was address my personal observations from being at the park for an entire summer, and combining that with concerns expressed here. I understand concerns, and I have them too, but I do trust Waldameer's decision for the total cashless implementation until I have reason to believe otherwise.


Understood. And, my comments on the cashless system was not based on an impression that they were doing it to cheat somebody or to be malicious in any way.

It was simply an objection to the way it was being implemented.

Let me clarify my point about "free rides" that wasn't made very understandable on my part. Before the cashless system, wristbands varied by color based on Combo Pass, Rides Only, Water Slides Only, Water World General Admission, and reserved picnics (so food servers/event coordinators knew who was a part of each picnic). To add to that, the colors and shapes on each band varied daily. Therefore, besides having an operator memorize which colors/symbols was for the day, they were supposed to check that each guest had the proper wristband (pain in the butt when people wear long sleeves, walk fast, etc).


I can certainly see the advantage of the current barcoded wrist bands from an employee standpoint.

Like I said, I have no real problem with them. Although, the need to have your wrist band scanned every time you go from the Waldameer portion of the park to the Waterworld portion has been known to create a bit of a bottleneck as opposed to having an attendant there who can simply glance to see that you have the correct color band.

Strip tickets also had to be collected if the guest used the pay by the ride option. Waldameer had no idea how many guests paid proper admission because an operator could either accept the incorrect amount or no tickets at all, or people with no forms of admission could easily slip by. With all that said, someone could make the argument that Waldameer needs better trained, more ethical operators.


You could. And, from a customer standpoint it shouldn't be me who is inconvienienced for the sake of an employee issue.

That said, loss prevention is always a part of any business and the way they dealt with that particular issue doesn't bother me, so long as the readers are actually working properly.

However, to regulate this would be extremely tedious and borderline micro-management (besides, imagine the employee turnover during a season alone). True, the bar code system is not perfect by any means, but I can confidently say 99% of those free rides are eliminated because a wristband is automatically determined valid and a guest will always be forced to present proper admission option (otherwise, the turnstiles don't unlock). I'm sure some things slipped through the cracks with some glitches, but they were few and far between and resolved quickly.


I'd be curious to know if they'e had any issues with attempts to counterfeit the bands. Barcodes are relatively easy to duplicate.

Next, I understand even more reading the posts on here alone how not having a refund option for unused points can be inconvenient/unfair especially for out of towners. Guess what? Early into the season I will make it an objective to talk to some of management about this issue, and see what their justification for this policy is.


That's certainly all I could ask from you, personally.

I could certainly make assumptions as to the justification of a no refund policy. And, they are not alone in implementing it.

As somebody who has worked in retail, it's typically the policy of retail stores to not refund the excess of gift cards. Though some will once the balance gets below a certain figure.

This, however, is why most people don't use gift cards for their day to day purchases unless it's a place they shop at frequently enough to allow them to use whatever's left. And, gift cards don't eliminate the ability to pay for things some other way, which mandates the need to guess at the exact total somebody is going to spend.


kidcoaster 2 wrote:Here is a video I took of steve's presentation at coasterbash.

A few interesting things he discusses.
- North end was a success
- Happy Swing new for 2012
- New magnetic brakes for Comet and 2 train operations
- New L. Ruth express train
- Expanded maintenance shop
- They got the EPA laws rewritten so they no longer have restrictions.
- Beach front expansion in the next several years.
- New Ramp over the lazy river.
- New guest service building
- New images of america book coming out next year.


Nice to know about thoughts on a future beach expansion.

Waldameer used that property years ago for a beach club. They had an escalator going up and down the hill if memory serves.

There's a lot more land down there than it looks on the map. Could put an awful lot of stuff down there.

Wouldn't mind seeing them put in a water coaster.

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Re: Waldameer Discussion Thread

Postby ajfelice » Fri Mar 09, 2012 11:26 pm

Last thing about the wristband debate. Counterfeit or fake wristbands are hardly even an issue. The issue is reusing them day to day. Cool thing about the "BAM" system is that the scanner tells the operator the difference between a "good," nonactivated/"invalid id," and expired/"bad" wristbands. Therefore, me as the operator could handle a situation accordingly. Same goes for Water World. Due to the nature of many local patrons frequently visiting, we can determine that expired/previous day issued passes aren't being reused.

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Re: Waldameer Discussion Thread

Postby Hercules » Sat Mar 10, 2012 3:04 pm

That is completely correct. The system that is in place reads the wristbands and can display when the wristband was activated (first purchased) and then the barcode is deactivated at the end of the day. The scanners in the park won't read a wristband that is more than a day old. Believe me, these wristbands cannot be counterfitted. They are of a synthetic material that can't really be found in the retail market. And with the barcode system in place, it is nearly impossible for patrons to get off with riding for multiple days without paying.

To add some additional information about this peticular type of cashless systems - the average park or customer that installs this system adds approximately 18% to their revenue within the first few years of using the system to its highest capacity. This figure is partially from money left on plastic cards that patrons do not use at the end of the day, and also from loss prevention.

Do not underestimate the importance of loss prevention at these parks. I know a small showman who put in a vending machine that dispenses tickets and wristbands, taking out the handling of money by employees. They saw an increase of nearly $600.00 per day.

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Re: Waldameer Discussion Thread

Postby CoasterLine » Sun Mar 11, 2012 9:59 pm

While I still have two "Wally Cards" in my wallet with money/points left on it that I haven't finished using yet, I feel this new system is beneficial to the park in terms of being adequately compensated for rides. I know many times throughout my childhood that I would go to the park, purchase 6 ride tickets and ride almost every ride in the park due to operators being negligent of collecting tickets, or checking me for a wristband at all, let alone the correct one.

Me alone, as a kid, cost the park revenue in free rides (of which I look back on negatively that my immaturity made me think this was at all a morally correct thing to do), let alone the others that ever did the same thing. Luckily the park continued to thrive and continues to grow.

While I can see this system being the correct thing to do for rides, I don't think that arcade games and refreshment stands should operate solely on a cashless system. I do not see the benefit in that, as arcade games are not a system that you could really "cheat," in terms of playing without paying, and the cashless system alone in stands won't really stop attendants from handing out anything for free that they weren't before (possibly to friends, family, etc.) Rides to me fit perfectly into the barcode/card system, but others seem more of an extreme to me that didn't need to be touched. I feel like this will lead to less of the "impulse" plays on the midway where people leaving the park might pull out a couple bucks to play a game before they leave, instead forcing them to load a card to play, which might just turn them to say "let's just leave."

As for the "no refunds" policy, I feel like this doesn't really affect locals as much as the out-of-towners that might get frustrated being forced to spend the remains of their card, otherwise losing their investment. As I mentioned, I still have two loaded Wally Cards that I know I will be using for rides this coming season, but for people from out of town, any residing money on the cards are pretty much a "park investment" that they will never see a return in, essentially a donation. It would be nice to see a "refund" booth type machine, similar to an ATM, where a card could be inserted, and you can get the money back. I don't see the negatives behind such a machine, other than it doesn't force people to spend money within the park knowing they can get it back afterwards. I feel with said machine, it would allow people to put more money on a card knowing they can get it back. For example, knowing there are no refunds, a person might be more cautious and only load a card with say $10, spending all of it. Where-as if they know they can get back what they don't spend, they might be more apt to load a card with say $30, and actually spend more than the $10 they would normally load with, but still get back some in return if not fully spent.

Just my honest opinion.
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Re: Waldameer Discussion Thread

Postby Hercules » Mon Mar 12, 2012 11:55 am

Offering a refund policy is just such a nightmare though. First, imagine the line of people that will go through guest relations throughout the course of the day, or more likely, the long line there would be at night to get a refund off of their card. Next, either the park would have to carry a lot of cash on hand (which is what they are looking to relieve themselves of by having this system in place), or they would incur administrative costs in having to apply the refunds to credit cards. Overall it just doesn't make a lot of sense to offer a refund policy on this. People will just need to get over the system, and manage the amount of money the put on the cards accordingly.

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Re: Waldameer Discussion Thread

Postby gisco » Mon Mar 12, 2012 12:03 pm

I can't believe we are still talking about the cashless system in this thread. Everyone has stated their opinion, now lets move on. We can talk about it later towards the end of the season on how well it is or isn't working.

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