Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I am an Idiot

If you patronize amusement parks, you too are an idiot. For example, today I plunked down $53 for the privilege of standing in line for 2 hours and 55 minutes for a 2 minute and 12 second ride. Let’s do the math here. 2 hours and 55 minutes is 10,500 seconds. 2 minutes and 12 seconds is 132 seconds. So my ratio of standing in the heat in a long line of people to time spent zooming around a roller coater was 98.7%. That’s right – I spent 98.7% of my time STANDING IN LINE (or for those not from the USA – standing on queue). I paid good money for the privilege of standing in that line too. Hence, I am an idiot, doofus, dork, you name it.

In fact, this Monday and Tuesday I have been a double idiot. That’s right – two amusement park visits in two days. Two bad experiences. Let’s see how those visits worked out:

Not Merry Farm

The first visit, on Monday, was to Not Merry Farm – a staple of the Greater Smog Angeles area. This area is so smoggy in fact that on the rare occasion that you get out of line and onto a coaster you can’t tell the difference between the sky and the ground when you go upside down because the sky is almost the color of asphalt. Think of your lungs and stay home. Anyway, we first went to the Not Merry website and checked out any special events. They showed that they were open from 10 AM to 10 PM. A quick check of the full events list for the day showed “yep, open 10 to 10”. Nothing else. At the Not Merry Farms gate, there is no indication of any problems. Yet, you go in and the two biggest attractions – the Coors Light (Silver Bullet anyway) and another big coaster are “not running today”. Also the BMX / Skateboard exhibition doesn’t run on Monday or Tuesday. Since the web site didn’t say this, and there was no sign at the gate saying “the following attractions are closed today” BEFORE you pay your money, we call bullshit on the operators of this park. We actually went there JUST TO RIDE THOSE COASTERS.

So, we decided to eat and then try some of the tamer rides. I decided not to get the pulled pork because they wanted $8.50 for it as opposed to the $7.50 for the cheeseburger – without fries. $4.50 extra for fries. Total for my wife, son, and I for a couple of pulled pork sandwiches, a burger, some fries, and a couple of sodas? $50.57! Can you believe the rip off? I’ve got news for them too – their fries suck. We rode a couple of rides but never got over the disappointment of the two main attractions being shut down.

Sick Flags Tragic Mountain

Mark me down as a double loser. Here in Santa Clarita is where I plunked down $53 in order to stand in line for 98.7% of my time. It’s no joke and no exaggeration. A full 2 hours and 55 minutes in line for the Excema 2 (they call it X2 for short) – and did that ever leave me scratching my head. It was a Tuesday, but the park was full so of course out of three cars they have they were running only one with the other two sitting there on a siding teasing us. There was no evidence anywhere of the little “wait is two hours from this point”, “wait is 45 minutes from this point”, etc. signs that other parks have. So we just melted along in the heat with a bunch of other drones all standing in line singing choruses of “I’ll stand in line and melt with you”. And standing, and standing. To break this down, we arrived at the park at 10:04 (they open at 10), parked the car where the guys in uniforms specified, made our way to the gate, plunked down our $53, ran for the bathrooms (shortest line all day!), then ran to the Excema 2. By this time it is 10:50. We wait 2 hours and 55 minutes, ride for 2 minutes 12 seconds, walk to the exit and it is 2:00 PM already! I guess you could ride the thing 3 times and that would be your entire day! All along the ride they have somebody in marketing’s interpretation of a “Type A Personality” which is NOT what I learned from psychology or from TV (That marketing droid needs to go back to school!). So we gave up on that and went to ride the log ride as it was a hot day. That line was only 26 minutes, with about a 3 minute ride. That brought my total to 97.4% of my time waiting in line!

I did notice that this park would like you to pay an extra $50 to get a flash past which lets you cut in line. Apparently bad manners are OK with them as long as you pay for the privilege. We decided that since they purposely only had one car running on the Excema 2, their business model must be “let’s frustrate everyone into paying for a flash pass”. Everyone else was scratching their heads too.

All in all a staycation would have been better than this, and my lawn would have gotten mowed. I think we should all avoid these amusement parks until they find a way to hold lines to a 30 minute maximum. I’m starting my boycott today.

I paid to stand in line – have you? Better yet, are you going to do it again?