Rocky Mountain Construction co-owner Fred Grubb responded to speculation online from enthusiasts as to the reason behind the delayed opening of Lightning Rod at Dollywood. Here is his full statement:
“We take the highest level of pride in every attraction we create. RMC is equally disappointed that Lightning Rod will not be opening as originally planned. We have been working with the launch system subcontractor on-site to bring it up to speed and working as intended.
As is often the case with prototype attractions and especially with launched coasters, delays are an ever-present possibility. During the course of testing, we determined that the third-party launch system would not be able to perform at the level required for proper operation.
While we strive to meet all of our deadlines, we cannot and will not sacrifice safety or ride quality in the name of saving time. RMC never has nor ever will open any new attraction until it has passed our rigorous standards.
At this time, we cannot speculate as to when the attraction will open to the general public. That date is ultimately decided upon by the customer, therefore all questions regarding an opening should be directed to Dollywood.
On behalf of all the employees at Rocky Mountain Construction, I want to personally thank the management team at Dollywood, the fans of the park as well as our fans for their patience and understanding as we work to bring you Lightning Rod.”
You can read the full release on Rocky Mountain Construction’s website, here.
March 24, 2016 | Categories: Amusement Parks, Social Media, Social Media and your Amusement Park (SERIES), Theme Parks | Tags: ACE, american coaster enthusasts, delayed ride opening, Dollywood, Fred Grubb, great american thrills, kris rowberry, kristopher rowberry, launched coaster, Lightning Rod, Pete Owens, RMC, rocky mountain construction, roller coaster, Velocity Magnetics, wooden coastet | Comments Off on Rocky Mountain Construction Makes Statement on Lightning Rod Delay at Dollywood
Dorney Park’s flag stolen and the massive social media backlash over special needs employee not rehired
Dorney Park in Altoona, PA learned the hard way this week that when it rains, it pours. (or maybe when it snows, it blizzards). A member of the Cedar Fair chain, the park saw not one but two major media events – and neither one was positive.
Last Sunday, after the park had closed – four teenagers were able to enter the park, and somehow scaled the 200 foot tall “Dominator” free fall ride to steal one of the large flags at the top. “Dominator” is a triple S&S tower.
Not a great start to the week, admittedly. But then it got worse. Much worse.
Christopher Emery, a special-needs individual had worked at the park for 12 consecutive years, cleaning bathrooms. When he went in for his annual interview with managers, he apparently didn’t do well. So much so, they decided not to rehire him.
When his friend – who also works at Dorney Park found out – he jumped onto social media to vent his frustration. Outside of having a bad interview, there wasn’t apparently any other reason for not rehiring him.
Within a matter of minutes, both #ShameOnYouDorney and #ShameOnYouDorneyPark were trending locally in the Philadelphia area as well as in the online amusement community.
It took until the next day for Dorney to issue a statement to the press, as well as try to quell fervor online. It was textbook, “too little / too late.”
Social media is a double edged sword. You can rise and fall very quickly and you’re always under a microscope. Parks can’t afford to not have a social media person ready to go at any time and not monitor their feeds constantly. No engagement is walking tightrope without a net.
One of the best examples of handling a crisis of late came from overseas. Alton Towers not only immediately issued statements on an incident on the Smiler via their social media channels – they responded to their guests’ questions and complaints – ALL OF THEM. And it wasn’t a canned response either – it was custom for each one.
It just goes to show the power of social media in this new era – and that trying to avoid it is only inviting trouble. As for Dorney Park, let’s hope this week is a bit more calm on the media front, for their sake.
February 11, 2016 | Categories: Amusement Parks, Social Media, Social Media and your Amusement Park (SERIES), Theme Parks | Tags: #shameonyouDorney, #ShameonyouDorneypark, alton towers, amusement park, cedar fair, Chris Emery, Christopher Emery, crisis communication, dorney park, great american thrills, kris rowberry, kristopher rowberry, social media, the smiler, theme park | Comments Off on Dorney Park’s flag stolen and the massive social media backlash over special needs employee not rehired
Why I keep hearing stories like these is beyond me. But we do – and it’s important to know that they DO happen – but also that they are entirely preventable.
Earlier this month, a self-described “industry-leading enthusiast and blogger” live-tweeted horrible, insulting comments about guests at a park-sponsored event. Those posts have since gone viral in amusement and theme park circles, with all the comments criticizing the posts. The author has since claimed, “…they were a joke.”
People online didn’t buy it.
What’s truly scary – is that this is not the first time an incident like this has happened this year. During the spring, another “industry fan group” posted harassing comments towards a theme park’s public relations rep, after they refused to extend additional, special perks to them.
Why do we (as an industry) accept this is as “the new normal?” How does anyone or any organization like this continue to be rewarded for such egregious behavior?
Easy – because we allow them to.
We do it by clicking on their videos, their updates or subscribing to their social feeds. We invite them to media events, despite our misgivings. And we always seem to cave to their requests, even though we know better.
At what point are we – as an amusement and theme park community, both fan and employee – going to step up and say, “No more?”
No more body shaming of our fellow community members.
No more bad mouthing a park just because they didn’t extend perks to you.
No more clandestine filming or photography on rides, only to take said photos and videos and commercialize them without the park knowing.
And no more stealing of each other’s work.
It’s just a shame that those who are the problem in our community will never recognize it. Let’s help them see the light.
If members of our community (both groups and individuals) can’t handle the responsibility of being decent human beings, then it’s time for us as a community to rise up and deny them the privilege of being a part of our group. Stop clicking on their links, unsubscribe from their content.
Simply put, let’s stop supporting and rewarding poor behavior in our community, period. The general public might not affect change – but we can.
Who’s with me?
December 2, 2015 | Categories: Amusement Parks, Social Media, Theme Parks | Tags: ACE, american coaster enthusiasts, amusement park, bloggers, enthusiasts, great american thrills, kris rowberry, kristopher rowberry, park fans, robb alvey, theme park, theme park review, TPR | 2 Comments
Yes, that’s yours truly, Kris Rowberry – on my first ever ride on the historic Matterhorn Bobsleds. I suppose it’s ironic, considering I’m working with several of my ACE friends to tell the story of the company that built them.
Once an Arrow fan – ALWAYS an Arrow fan!
Apparently, even back in 1997, I was analyzing rides for a later review…
September 24, 2015 | Categories: Legacy of Arrow Development, Social Media, Theme Parks, Throwback Thursday | Tags: #LegacyofArrow, #RideWithACE, #throwbackthursday, ACE, american coaster enthusiasts, amusement park, Arrow Development, disney parks, disneyland, great american thrills, kris rowberry, kristopher rowberry, Legacy of Arrow, Matterhorn, Matterhorn Bobsleds, roller coaster, tbt, theme park, throwback thursday | Comments Off on Matterhorn Bobsleds – Throwback Thursday
There’s been a subtle, but noticeable trend recently when it comes to “roller coaster videos” online. And we think it’s for the better and far overdue.
While there are some that still continue to tape GoPros to the front of trains and then monetize (commericalize) their work – all without permits or sometimes without park knowledge – there is a growing trend among park fans to elevate the medium to a far more sophisticated level. What do I mean?
Well, check out this awesome, short documentary on Thunderbird at Holiday World:
Coupled with the work of Devin Olson Media, particularly on his “From Dreams to Screams” documentary series – the world of amusement fandom has gone from handheld ride footage to bona fide storytelling:
And we couldn’t be happier to see this trend. So, how can you help elevate the medium? Subscribe to these storytelling channels – while POV is fun, it’s telling a story that leaves a true mark on people.
Shameless plug: “Legacy of Arrow Development” documentary is still scheduled to make it’s debut later this year. Time to raise your game, everyone!
July 26, 2015 | Categories: Amusement Parks, Social Media, Television Production, Theme Parks | Tags: #LegacyofArrow, #RideWithACE, ACE, american coaster enthusiasts, amusement park, Devin Olson, Devin Olson Media, great american thrills, kris rowberry, kristopher rowberry, Legacy of Arrow Development, robb alvey, roller coaster, rollercoaster, theme park, theme park review, theme park review sucks, TPR, Upstop Media | Comments Off on Roller Coaster Videos Moving From POV to Storytelling
San Mateo based GoPro learned the hard way on Tuesday that not every photo taken with their venerable cameras is the best to highlight to a larger audience.
On Tuesday, the company posted this photo to all of their social media accounts, from Gopro / coaster fan, Peter Win:
While the photo is quite spectacular – it’s also spectacularly against the rules to even attempt.
In addition to the selfie stick being a loose article aboard the ride – the dangers of smacking a low beam, hitting a fellow passenger or jamming part of the ride’s mechanical systems SHOULD have made it clear not to even attempt. Park rules clearly state this not only in line, but also as you board. We also heard reports of riders with mounted cameras on their body being asked NOT to wear them.
They don’t call those beams “headchoppers” for nothing.
The New Texas Giant – the ride featured in the photo – hits a top speed of 65 miles per hour with a first drop of 79 degrees.
Surprisingly, when you filtered out the inevitable spam, every single comment on the photo questioned why the company would post a photo that so blatantly broke the rules and endangered other riders. You’ll note I’m writing in the past tense – that’s because the company took the photo down just a few hours after initially posting it.
Let’s be blunt – they got HAMMERED with negative comments.
But I believe the hammering might be for the better in the long run, as it indicates something greater: a vast majority of people are finally recognizing that the “selfie stick” is not only incredibly annoying, it’s downright dangerous in many situations it’s being put into.
And it’s not just ride enthusiasts recognizing this. Many in the “general public” are finally seeing that extending a three foot pole on a ride moving at freeway speeds – all for a photo or video – isn’t the smartest decision.
In other words, there’s hope that the “selfie stick fad” may be just that – a fad.
What do you think? Will so-called “selfie sticks” eventually find their way to the trash heap? Or will incidents like this become more common? Tell us on our social media channels, or leave a comment below:
May 28, 2015 | Categories: Amusement Parks, Social Media, Theme Parks | Tags: #BeAHero, #greatamericanthrills, ban selfie sticks, dangerous photo, disneyland, gopro, GoPro Fail, great american thrills, kris rowberry, kristopher rowberry, new texas giant, Peter Win, photo fail, point of view, POV, roller coaster, selfie, selfie stick, selfie sticks, selfie sticks banned, selfies, six flags, six flags over texas, video, walt disney world | Comments Off on GoPro fail roller coaster photo goes viral for all the wrong reasons