General Carowinds discussion
By dirkdiggler1992
#104543
carolinaman wrote:I can't comment on the staffing or budget, but one reason I have been told that the "BIG" coasters are not running is Carowinds wants Winterfest to be more about family and family activities than thrills.


This definitely seems to be the case more so than temperatures and what not. There is a much different atmosphere during Winterfest vs Scarowinds, less adventurous or chaotic clientele. Winterfest is certainly more relaxing and family friendly event, I’ve honestly found it much more enjoyable than Scarowinds this year.

I don’t care to ride coasters in cold weather much anyway nor do I need to ride a coaster 12 months out of the year so only having Afterburn is fine to me. Makes you appreciate Fury and Co. when they reopen in Spring.
By Capler
#104544
dirkdiggler1992 wrote:
carolinaman wrote:I can't comment on the staffing or budget, but one reason I have been told that the "BIG" coasters are not running is Carowinds wants Winterfest to be more about family and family activities than thrills.


This definitely seems to be the case more so than temperatures and what not. There is a much different atmosphere during Winterfest vs Scarowinds, less adventurous or chaotic clientele. Winterfest is certainly more relaxing and family friendly event, I’ve honestly found it much more enjoyable than Scarowinds this year.

I don’t care to ride coasters in cold weather much anyway nor do I need to ride a coaster 12 months out of the year so only having Afterburn is fine to me. Makes you appreciate Fury and Co. when they reopen in Spring.


So basically you are saying the park handicaps the rides during Winterfest by closing most and only having one operator at the others? The long lines are ignored because they'd rather you pay $12 to paint a cookie. Did I get it right?
By dirkdiggler1992
#104545
Capler wrote:
dirkdiggler1992 wrote:
carolinaman wrote:I can't comment on the staffing or budget, but one reason I have been told that the "BIG" coasters are not running is Carowinds wants Winterfest to be more about family and family activities than thrills.


This definitely seems to be the case more so than temperatures and what not. There is a much different atmosphere during Winterfest vs Scarowinds, less adventurous or chaotic clientele. Winterfest is certainly more relaxing and family friendly event, I’ve honestly found it much more enjoyable than Scarowinds this year.

I don’t care to ride coasters in cold weather much anyway nor do I need to ride a coaster 12 months out of the year so only having Afterburn is fine to me. Makes you appreciate Fury and Co. when they reopen in Spring.


So basically you are saying the park handicaps the rides during Winterfest by closing most and only having one operator at the others? The long lines are ignored because they'd rather you pay $12 to paint a cookie. Did I get it right?


“By closing most...” which additional rides do you recommend they have open? I think you went on the last day of Winterfest before Christmas to more crowds than you would have liked and now you want someone to complain to. Either enjoy the lights, shows, and cookie decorating along with the flats that are running or skip the event.

Yes Sunday was busy, rain has pushed many guests onto a tighter window of days to go, it happens. I noticed slow loading with Rock N Roller as well with just two ops but I experience that on most days, not just for Winterfest.
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By carolinaman
#104546
Also, a lot of the entertainers are just that. They are hired to sing, dance and entertain. They were never hired or trained to be ride ops.
By Capler
#104548
dirkdiggler1992 wrote:
Capler wrote:
dirkdiggler1992 wrote:
This definitely seems to be the case more so than temperatures and what not. There is a much different atmosphere during Winterfest vs Scarowinds, less adventurous or chaotic clientele. Winterfest is certainly more relaxing and family friendly event, I’ve honestly found it much more enjoyable than Scarowinds this year.

I don’t care to ride coasters in cold weather much anyway nor do I need to ride a coaster 12 months out of the year so only having Afterburn is fine to me. Makes you appreciate Fury and Co. when they reopen in Spring.


So basically you are saying the park handicaps the rides during Winterfest by closing most and only having one operator at the others? The long lines are ignored because they'd rather you pay $12 to paint a cookie. Did I get it right?


“By closing most...” which additional rides do you recommend they have open? I think you went on the last day of Winterfest before Christmas to more crowds than you would have liked and now you want someone to complain to. Either enjoy the lights, shows, and cookie decorating along with the flats that are running or skip the event.

Yes Sunday was busy, rain has pushed many guests onto a tighter window of days to go, it happens. I noticed slow loading with Rock N Roller as well with just two ops but I experience that on most days, not just for Winterfest.


People can complain because of the cost involved. I have a season pass but some of the folk I was with did not. The online ticket was $29 with a $7 service charge. The hot cocoa was $6. Two meals at Harmony Hall was $35 w/drink..... I'm not complaining about the cost because I expect that at any amusement park. We all understand the price structure where food, and extras help supplement the cheap season passes.

Taking the enormous cost into consideration, you would at least expect the rides to be well staffed at any cost, even if that means calling in front office and maintenance staff to fill-in. They knew the park was going to be slammed because traffic was backed up at the gate 1 hour before the parking lot opened. I know this because I was in that line. They did not even have enough staff present to open the toll plaza and parking lot until about 15 minutes before the park opened. By that time, the traffic was likely backed up to the interstate.

There is also the issue of customer demand. If people are lining up for the rides, what does that tell you? It is what they want. I don't expect all the rides to be open during WinterFest, I simply want what is open to handle the crowd.

As was mentioned in earlier posts, hopefully this was a learning experience for the park and it will be addressed in the future. When you are charging premium prices, you have to give premium service. And before someone argue that pass holders are getting a sweetheart deal, in one sense that is true, but in other cases, the park is getting more money from them. Season pass + Fast pass + Meal plan + drink cup. At the end of the day, the love is spread among all the guest.
By RollerBee
#104549
Carowinds won’t fully staff Rock N Roller during the summer, why would they do it during Winterfest. It has been clear since 2011 that CF cares more about staying under budget than operating rides safely and efficiently. There are many rides in the park that Paramount had converted to require two operators such as Carousel and Scrambler, these rides are now operated with one operator. Problem is that on a ride like Flyers this reduces capacity.
By Capler
#104550
RollerBee wrote:Carowinds won’t fully staff Rock N Roller during the summer, why would they do it during Winterfest. It has been clear since 2011 that CF cares more about staying under budget than operating rides safely and efficiently. There are many rides in the park that Paramount had converted to require two operators such as Carousel and Scrambler, these rides are now operated with one operator. Problem is that on a ride like Flyers this reduces capacity.


Talking about burning out your staff people. Rock n roller would burn out an employee after a couple of shifts doing that alone. The guy there Sunday was middle age, and I really felt sorry for him as he made people get up and placed the heaviest person on the outside of the car. Not sure if Carowinds required that or if he was doing it as a courtesy.
By jeffdavis
#104554
RRRAPIDS wrote:Staffing is not an issue for Winterfest at all. It's all about the budget and what days everyone is available. At the end of the day, they are still perfecting the experience currently and for the future. In a couple of years, I can see this being bigger than Scarowinds.


I think you are contradicting yourself. You said staffing is not an issue and then immediately followed that with the budget and what days everyone is available. That's exactly what staffing is. You hire people using the budget to work the hours and days you need their labor. Staffing seems to be the #1 complaint this season.
By RRRAPIDS
#104557
jeffdavis wrote:
RRRAPIDS wrote:Staffing is not an issue for Winterfest at all. It's all about the budget and what days everyone is available. At the end of the day, they are still perfecting the experience currently and for the future. In a couple of years, I can see this being bigger than Scarowinds.


I think you are contradicting yourself. You said staffing is not an issue and then immediately followed that with the budget and what days everyone is available. That's exactly what staffing is. You hire people using the budget to work the hours and days you need their labor. Staffing seems to be the #1 complaint this season.
I apologize if you didn't follow what I said correctly. Now keep in mind I did say, it's about the budget, "AND," what days everyone is available to work. From what I heard,the staffing for rides is not really a problem. Keep in mind I did say I'm sure they will be perfecting the experience for the future. Now on busy nights/weekends of course you need the man power. Moreover did the park not have 5 inclement weather days where the park was closed completely? Did the park cut staffing on some days in departments due to attendance? Clearly they have to save money on certain days if attendance is down. Just like in Restaurants, if their not busy, they cut staff. In other words, schedules are sometimes altered just to accommodate a situation for the business.As far as the rides department is concerned, keep In mind rides like Scrambler, Do Si Do, Rock N Roller, and Zepher can operate with 2 operators. If lunch/dinner breaks are being done, they cut down to one person to help run breaks. Factor in there are rides grouped up together as a location for a team to rotate between them, while trying there best to operate efficiently. Just because you see one operator at an attraction that normally requires 2, doesnt mean the park is understaffed. In any company you should know there is a behind the scenes world when it comes to the operations point of a business. In conclusion, at least all the rides scheduled to open for Winterfest are open. If staffing for rides was a super huge deal, I would definitely see attractions closed for the entire day. Now that would be a problem.
By uscbandfan
#104563
Hmmm. I'm not seeing the staffing problem at all... at least when I was there. I was there on Wednesday (12/26) and there were PLENTY of staffing. Red shirts EVERYWHERE. I don't really go to Winterfest to ride rides so I can't comment on the ride wait times although I didn't see huge lines when we walked through the fair area. Ricochet line was to the bottom of the ramp and the scrambler queue was about 1/2 full. Those are the only ones I remember.

That said, I still would have ridden Fury if it was open. I'm a Fury junkie. haha (It was a balmy 39 degrees when the park closed at 10:00 so it was probably too cold for it anyway.)

I wish they had gotten rid of the W.H.A.T. skit in "Holiday" Hall. Corny taken to the extreme. We walked out on it last year and when we saw it was the same as last year, we didn't stay. They should change some things up year to year. If not, those that go every year are gonna get bored with the same ol same ol. The "trolley" song and dance was really good as was most of the others. I think the Sounds of the Nativity was the best again this year. I like that they lengthened the sets for that instead of doing 4 songs every 30 minutes they actually did a 20 minute set. They did some different songs too. Really good. Only bummer there is the "Jet Fighters" going by every couple of minutes with Afterburn. Puts a bummer on getting into the "silent night" mood.
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By formeryogi
#104564
quote: I think the Sounds of the Nativity was the best again this year. I like that they lengthened the sets for that instead of doing 4 songs every 30 minutes they actually did a 20 minute set. They did some different songs too. Really good. Only bummer there is the "Jet Fighters" going by every couple of minutes with Afterburn. Puts a bummer on getting into the "silent night" mood.

I agree... the roller coaster sounds do take away from what is one of the better entertainment options.
Also agree with comments about ride capacity problems/longer wait times.
Lower wait times and a few more general tweaks and Winterfest could really become a huge hit-- IF the weather would cooperate every year.
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By carolinaman
#104585
We really enjoyed New Years Eve at Carowinds. The crowds was there but it didn't really seem that bad to me. The park spread things out pretty good with something going on in Planet Snoopy, The Main Stage, Tinsel Town (Jukebox Diner), and County Fair from 10 to 12. So that split the crowds up pretty good. Overall the event was great and we are looking forward to next year. After Midnight, a lot of people left and we rode Afterburn like 6 times.
By Glitch99
#107774
But only for one week, around Thanksgiving? "Select dates Nov 24-31." Maybe they're hedging a bit, and plan to continue it through Christmas if the first week goes well?

Where are they able to have a "larger than life" parade with "extravagant" floats? I'm having trouble placing a route.

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