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Posts tagged “the smiler

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.

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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.

Dorney eventually responded - but only issuing one statement and not responding to individuals only incited more anger towards the park.

Dorney eventually responded – but only issuing one statement and not responding to individuals only incited more anger towards the park.

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.

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Are Roller Coasters Safe?

In light of recent events with “the Smiler” at Alton Towers – and the inevitable 24/7 news coverage about it, it’s good to have some perspective on events like it.

So, before you start clicking on those “roller coaster accident” click-bait links, or go off on social media, spouting that, “…all rides are unsafe and you’ll never go on one again” (liar), here’s some “odds of” over your lifetime that should bring you some perspective:

The odds of dying on a roller coaster as a result or either neglect or act of God are approximately 1 in 300,000,000. That’s 300 MILLION for those who stopped counting zeroes. This is according to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission. Also…

The odds of being killed in a car crash in the United States: 1 in 470

The odds of being killed by lightning: 1 in 164,968

The odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot: 1 in 259,000,000

The odds of bowling a perfect game in bowling: 1 in 11,500

The odds of marrying a supermodel: 1 in 880,000

The odds of being killed by a shark: 1 in 300,000,000

The odds of drowning in a pool: 1 in 567

The odds of being killed by a terrorist: 1 in 20,000,000

The bottom line: you should be fearing those numbnuts in ISIS, planning how to spend all that lottery jackpot money or discussing how you’ll spend your honeymoon with Kate Upton or Gabriela Fernandes before you EVER think twice about jumping on your favorite roller coaster.

SIDE BAR: Kate or Gabriela, you’re welcome to join me on ANY coaster, ANYtime!

(Warning: NSFW) http://www.gq.com/women/photos/201207/kate-upton-gq-video-talents-wet-t-shirt-july-2012


Featured on BBC News!

Yes, you read that correctly – I had the honor of being featured in a BBC News video released today about roller coaster technology and the  “plateau” some say we’ve reached. (I don’t think we have, by the way).

BBC Capture

You can view the whole video by clicking here.

Or, you can copy and paste this link:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-24553630

The backstory behind this interview is just as intriguing –

I had already planned to attend Six Flags Discovery Kingdom’s “Ghoulish Gathering” VIP event last Friday. When the tram dropped us off at the front entrance, I noticed a OMB (One Man Band) setup, with a man struggling to cope with the sound of the many rides in the area. In hindsight, I should have gone over to offer my assistance – but I digress…

When I asked the Public Relations person at the event about the cameraman, she immediately said, “Oh, he’s with the BBC…I should introduce you to him!”

Pinch me.

After we grabbed a bite to eat at the event, I got to talking with Richard, who quickly found out (and said), “I should interview you…”

You had to ask?

Careful to make sure I didn’t step on any known “land mines” when you do interviews like this, Richard slapped a lav mic on me, and into the sun he pointed me!

Now, it should be noted, that short of begging, I did my best to convince the segment producer to stay longer, so my Lost Parks Producer, American Coaster Enthusiasts Asst. Regional Rep AND all-around quality news source on all things coasters, Nicholas Laschkewitsch could arrive to be interviewed as well – but sadly, Richard had to leave before Nicholas could arrive. Thanks, BART Strike…

But, for now, it’s yet another milestone in my journey to be in the world of television. “Great American Thrills” has officially jumped the pond and gone international…WOW.