General Carowinds discussion
#90570
Jarsh wrote:If you remember Laresa escorting us to the front of the line through the whole queue of GP folks.

Touching on Thunder Road ERT again, would it be possible to preplan to stick ERT during day similar to the way Laresa escorting on a ride like Taxi Chase?
#90571
Nope. The only park in our region that does ERT during normal operating hours is Lake Winnie. Whenever we have ERT on Cannonball, they put a sign out in front of the coaster that states it's closed for a private party from 10:00am - 11:00am.

Cedar Fair, Six Flags or Dollywood wouldn't do it due to the fact that they have huge lines of GP and Fast Pass/Fast Lane/Flash Pass users who would absolutely revolt.
#90574
Thanks for being so transparent with us Jarsh, this is all super interesting how things are planned and organized, as well as seeing what the parks are and aren't willing to do, and the why or why not behind it. I definitely don't envy your job. :lol:

I didn't get to go to this year's event, but my favorite stuff is always the "behind the scenes" tours and the Q&A's with management. It was fantastic in 2014 when we got to go climb on the Fury track and then got to go through the Plantation House one last time. It might have been one of the CoasterStocks but I remember a tour through all the maintenance areas behind Cyclone, that one was super interesting, IIRC.

Thanks again, I'll definitely try to make it next year for whatever you guys have planned!
#90587
I'm going to second what Jay said.. Thanks to Jarsh and everyone involved that helps create and maintain this event and events like it. To think of all the individual details that you included in that last post just for this one event.. Good grief.

I also agree on behind the scenes tours. I didn't go to events prior to WWU 2015, so to think that I missed being able to climb up on Fury's track makes me sad, lol. But even being able to go inside the turnaround on Thunder Road last year, it was pretty awesome to be able to see and appreciate it up close.
#90594
pproteinc wrote:Well direct them to the wish list thread I hope they are intrigued by it and add every last flat mentioned. lol

huuuuuuhhhhh???????
#90597
These events are always so fun. I loved the ones at Dollywood and at KD a few years back. Cant wait to go to the coaster crew event in a few weeks. Anyone else going? Any club can come!
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By arby
#90659
I would also like to see some different food choices. I am one who would be willing to pay more for a great food selection, but I do understand that I am in the minority with that.

Behind the scenes tours (of anything!) and Q&A sessions (as well as some other unique things that I can't do on my own at a park) are the main reasons that I go to ACE events. I do know a Q&A session was planned but didn't happen. However, I would like to see both of those options (written in pen) in future events.

Other than morning ERT, evening ERT, and a meal, that's pretty much what C3 was this year. To be blunt, I could have had ERT all day long for free just by using my free Fast Pass Plus for season pass renewal. So around ERT, there was essentially 12 hours at the park with very little scheduled. It was hot and I was bored all day. The cabana entertainment was our own move since nothing was planned for the day and not something C3 per se.

In future events, I would like to see things that I have experienced at other ACE events:
1) Behind the scenes tours (of anything - doesn't have to be a coaster)
2) More games and things to do during the day and not just a single scavenger hunt. Midway games anyone? Other ACE regions do that at parks not just for national events. PvZ was new this year - why couldn't that be included in the schedule at one point?
3) Reserved seating at one show - Cirque was new this year, it was disappointing we didn't have that included in the schedule
4) Pre-announced giveaways - I found out late in the day that stuff was being posted on the ACE Southeast Facebook page, yet that wasn't announced anywhere in our handouts to keep an eye on the social media channels

So sorry, Josh. I know it is a bunch of work to put these things on. I am just being brutally honest that this year's event was quite boring.
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By Jarsh
#90663
arby wrote:I would also like to see some different food choices. I am one who would be willing to pay more for a great food selection, but I do understand that I am in the minority with that.


We can look at improving the food for future events, and I think the previous suggestion of a poll on our Facebook page might be a start at offering a better selection.

arby wrote:Behind the scenes tours (of anything!) and Q&A sessions (as well as some other unique things that I can't do on my own at a park) are the main reasons that I go to ACE events. I do know a Q&A session was planned but didn't happen. However, I would like to see both of those options (written in pen) in future events.


All of those things depend on the park, the people you're working with, the number of people that attend the event, and the number of park people available to help out. Behind the scenes tours require a lot of park people to be present that may be off that day or tied up at other area of the park (security, PR folks, maintenance/construction folks, safety guys, etc). Those people may be willing to stop what they're doing for an hour or so for a group of 200+ folks (as was the case for the Spring Conference) but for 100 folks, it's probably not worth the time lost to do it. Not saying this is the case with Carowinds, but it has been with other parks.

As far as the "written in pen" comment, that only thing about events written in pen is the food contract. Schedules can and do change right up to the last minute (this years Q&A is a perfect example). Reps and the park folks try their best to predict what will happen and how the event will go when planning these events (based on the previous events) so that we can lock in an event schedule that doesn't change. But in the end, things happen and no one has any control over them. I can request a back stage tour and a Q&A session and the park can try to accommodate my request as best as they can, but if I demand one and want the park to commit to it 100% regardless of exceptions, then they're probably not going to be very cooperative in the planning stages because I've just pissed them off.

arby wrote:Other than morning ERT, evening ERT, and a meal, that's pretty much what C3 was this year. To be blunt, I could have had ERT all day long for free just by using my free Fast Pass Plus for season pass renewal. So around ERT, there was essentially 12 hours at the park with very little scheduled. It was hot and I was bored all day. The cabana entertainment was our own move since nothing was planned for the day and not something C3 per se.


To be fair, most events are only a morning ERT session, an evening ERT session, and a meal at some point. Some might throw in a tour or something, but again, that depends on the park. Can I request one for next year? Certainly, and at this point it's on my "wishlist" for 2017. Will the park do it? Who the heck knows. This year the new addition was Carolina Harbor. We purposefully planned an open day so people could enjoy the waterpark at their leisure and with no major construction (or demolition) happening in the park, there really wasn't a need for a tour.

There is a fine line (super freaking fine) to walk when planning events. The past two years when we had the event, we had a Fury tour scheduled during the day in 2014 and a Thunder Road tour scheduled during the day in 2015. Those two things took up a good bit of the day to do and would you believe it when I said I got a few emails from people who were mad that we didn't have the afternoon completely open so they could enjoy the park? They didn't want to feel like they were missing something they paid for so they went on the tours, but at the same time, they couldn't enjoy the park at their leisure and the cabana that they paid to rent.

It's one of those things where you have some people who have never been to the park before and want to enjoy all it has to offer. Having scheduled events throughout the day makes them feel like they can't explore the park at their leisure because they are being rushed off to the next scheduled thing. Then you have those people (like yourself) who go to the park all the time that want to do the stuff you can't normally do. They get bored with an open schedule. In the end, you can't get 100% satisfaction at an event because if you schedule to much people complain and if you schedule not enough, people complain. So, you just shoot for somewhere in the middle and hope you don't get emails about it, lol.

arby wrote:In future events, I would like to see things that I have experienced at other ACE events:
1) Behind the scenes tours (of anything - doesn't have to be a coaster)


Like I explained earlier, we can request it and see what the park says, but there are tons of factors outside of our hands that play into these tours.

arby wrote:2) More games and things to do during the day and not just a single scavenger hunt. Midway games anyone? Other ACE regions do that at parks not just for national events. PvZ was new this year - why couldn't that be included in the schedule at one point?


We're tried for years to add the Match Game back to the event but with the Carowinds Theater being the only place we could use, if they have a show in there at any point during the day, the park won't let us use the space because of the props and such. If they would build another theater or events meeting space, we would definitely get it back on the list then. As far as midway games, I'm not sure how other regions/parks handle them as I'm not sure the parks would allow us to use the games without paying for them.

Regarding PvZ, let me explain the ERT set up to explain why it wasn't included. When we plan these events, we ask for a certain amount of time for ERT. Once it's approved, we go back and ask for the rides. We are allowed to add any rides we want to (within reason) to this ERT time block. With everyone wanting to ride coasters, it doesn't make sense to schedule something other than coasters for an ERT session. The thought come up about maybe first rides of the day on PvZ, but with the water park EST being thirty minutes after the park opened, there really wasn't enough time to schedule anything.

arby wrote:3) Reserved seating at one show - Cirque was new this year, it was disappointing we didn't have that included in the schedule.


I'll take the hit on this one. It never even occurred to me to request it! If it sticks around next year, I'll get it on the schedule.

arby wrote:4) Pre-announced giveaways - I found out late in the day that stuff was being posted on the ACE Southeast Facebook page, yet that wasn't announced anywhere in our handouts to keep an eye on the social media channels.


This was kind of a last minute decision and it's execution was a trial run for future social media giveaways. Thanks for the feedback. The next time we do one, I'll be sure to let everyone know.

arby wrote:So sorry, Josh. I know it is a bunch of work to put these things on. I am just being brutally honest that this year's event was quite boring.


No need for apologies. As much as I strive to put on a good event, I'll never know if I'm succeeding or failing if no one lets me know. I appreciate the feedback from everyone whether it's good or bad. Personally, I thought the event was pretty good, but it did feel a little stale. I've made a note of the suggestions in this thread so hopefully next year's version will be the best one yet!
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By arby
#90665
Yeah, I know it's a 'no win' situation. I've had the roles reversed when I went to other parks where the events were lined up so much for the day that there wasn't a lot of time to explore the park on our own. It's a fine line to balance.

I know I don't plan events, but I'm not sure I agree with the numbers on the walk backs. I did an Intimidator tour with ~30 people and another club. I also did a Beast and Diamondback walkback with ACE and only about 25 of us. But as you said, it depends a lot of the park officials, the staffing, etc., and you certainly don't want to make any demands. To be clear, I'm not just talking coasters. Even a tour of the maintenance area or some employees areas would be interesting. I didn't know until this year that there was an employee's cafeteria.

I will say that I think one particular club ruined it for us (and not who most people might think ;)). They were passive aggressive in demanding more and more from parks a few years ago and since then it seems they have made it harder for more legitimate clubs to get activities in their events.

Many of these things don't have to be totally park sanctioned. I have been on many ITOTs at events. The PvZ could have been more of a:

9:00 ERT on Intimidator
9:30 ERT on Fury 325 with park passholders
OR
Meet at X for front of line at PvZ when it opens at 10:00.

It is more fun doing it with a bunch of enthusiasts rather than running over and doing it at 10:00 with the GP. :)

I am obsessed with Midway Games... That is the most fun I have ever had at an ACE event, so I'll continue to mention it. I will note that I have never done it at a Cedar Fair park so they may be against it anyway. I've done it at BGW, IOA, and Kennywood, none of which were national or big events.

For those that don't know, Midway Games are where you get to play one of the games for fun. No prizes are given out (or they are an event prize and not a game prize).

Anyway, a lot of the activities during the day that I usually see are 'optional' things like ITOT, etc., so people are still free to explore the park on their own if they don't want to meet up at 2:00, for example, for an ITOT of the flyers.

I almost forgot to add one more idea - AUCTIONS! I love auctions - just ask my water dummy...

As far a 'written in pen,' I do know that was a harsh comment and really nobody's fault. That is really the only reason I came to C3 this year, for the Q&A session and to meet the new park president, whom I haven't met yet. I was extremely disappointed.

Jarsh wrote:To be fair, most events are only a morning ERT session, an evening ERT session, and a meal at some point.


To be fair, since I travel a lot, I check out nearly every ACE event flyer every year to see if I want to plan any trips around ACE events. Just a quick glance at upcoming event flyers include the following besides morning ERT, evening ERT, and a meal:
- BeachCon - Breakfast, dinner, hot tub party
- DareDevil Daze (SFSL) - Walkback of The Boss
- Rollercoasters, Eh? (CW) - Coffee at registration, Tour of Canadian Mine Buster, breakfast, lunch
- Fall Thrillfest (KD) - Boo Blaster Shoot-Out Tourney, Midway Game Takeover, I-305 tour, Monster Make-up Tour, EHT (esclusive haunt time)
- Celebrate America (SFA) - Picnic, Q&A, Haunted House Tour, EHT, VIP setting for 2 shows

So sorry, but the absolute basics are morning ERT, a meal, and evening ERT. However, a quick glance through the upcoming events shows that a vast majority of events are only ERT and a meal.

Just throwing ideas out there to make C3 one of the best ACE regional events in the US.
#90667
I'm not sure if getting a tour of the employee only areas would be doable (it is feasible though. If it is on a Saturday like this year, the back areas are usually very busy. Having a group of 100 people back there would not go well in some areas back there. But in other areas like at the maintenance buildings, that's fine. So a maintenance area tour would be great.

You could have the event attendees enter the area from Carolina Cyclone where the Slaughterhouse Maze is located. Then have them reenter the park from that point too.
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By arby
#90670
Yeah, I was just throwing random ideas out there since many ACE members I know are not just coaster enthusiasts but amusement park enthusiasts. So walkbacks don't always have to be coasters to be interesting.

Employee areas probably a bad idea unless it is one of those 'first 15 people to sign up...'
#90672
That's a good idea, then after that, they could re join the main group for the Maintenance area tour.

EDIT:
Actually, since this event may or may not be during SCarowinds, the entry to the back areas from Carolina Cyclone could also include a tour of Slaugherhouse. Just a thought.
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By Jarsh
#90675
arby wrote:Many of these things don't have to be totally park sanctioned. I have been on many ITOTs at events. The PvZ could have been more of a:

9:00 ERT on Intimidator
9:30 ERT on Fury 325 with park passholders
OR
Meet at X for front of line at PvZ when it opens at 10:00.

It is more fun doing it with a bunch of enthusiasts rather than running over and doing it at 10:00 with the GP. :)


We've had ITOT's on several rides (flyers come to mind most recently) in the past. This year, it didn't work out that way. The issue I see with your proposed schedule is something else that restricts us from doing a similar schedule - security. When we are having ERT in an area of the park, the rest of the park is closed to everyone but employees. You may not see them, but there are security guards stationed at the areas that we aren't supposed to go past during ERT. There would be no way to have an ERT session AND allow people to walk through the park for first rides on PvZ at opening. We are only allowed access to the areas around the ride being utilized for ERT. Everything else is still closed and therefore restricted until the park opens.

arby wrote:As far a 'written in pen,' I do know that was a harsh comment and really nobody's fault. That is really the only reason I came to C3 this year, for the Q&A session and to meet the new park president, whom I haven't met yet. I was extremely disappointed.


As was I, but that was Pat's decision to remain in her office and keep a check on the weather situation rather than answer our questions.

arby wrote:
Jarsh wrote:To be fair, most events are only a morning ERT session, an evening ERT session, and a meal at some point.


To be fair, since I travel a lot, I check out nearly every ACE event flyer every year to see if I want to plan any trips around ACE events. Just a quick glance at upcoming event flyers include the following besides morning ERT, evening ERT, and a meal:
- BeachCon - Breakfast, dinner, hot tub party
- DareDevil Daze (SFSL) - Walkback of The Boss
- Rollercoasters, Eh? (CW) - Coffee at registration, Tour of Canadian Mine Buster, breakfast, lunch
- Fall Thrillfest (KD) - Boo Blaster Shoot-Out Tourney, Midway Game Takeover, I-305 tour, Monster Make-up Tour, EHT (esclusive haunt time)
- Celebrate America (SFA) - Picnic, Q&A, Haunted House Tour, EHT, VIP setting for 2 shows

So sorry, but the absolute basics are morning ERT, a meal, and evening ERT. However, a quick glance through the upcoming events shows that a vast majority of events are only ERT and a meal.


This statement confuses me. You seem to "call me out" because we didn't schedule things other than ERT's and a meal (because other regional events at different parks do), then you follow it up by stating that the vast majority of regional events do, in fact, only include ERT and a meal.

I've stated the reasons behind the schedule for this year. Some had to do with us, some had to do with the park. Next year we will work to incorporate some of these suggestions (if the park allows) so that we have a more well rounded event that better suits everyone.
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