Sunday, January 18, 2009

No Coaster Con Report

Yesterday, I spent the day at the American Coaster Enthusiast event; No Coaster Con. For those that have never heard of/been to a No Coaster, essentially its a day long convention in the middle of the off season where a whole bunch of different parks throughout the midwest come and give presentation all about whats going on with there parks.

The event is MC'd by a guy named Marty. This guy wears bad hawaiin shirts and tells bad jokes, which has become a tradition a the event. ACE carries a lot of stereotypes on the net for being filled with nerds and wierdos (which isn't true) but this guy really gives the haters a good arguement.

ACE President Mark Cole talked a bit next. I have had no problems with anything he's done during his reign, but he is not a good public speaker.

Stan Checketts from S&S was the first real speaker to hit the stage. He is an older gentleman and doesn't appear to be to politically correct, as he started off his presentation with a joke about lesbians (which was pretty funny). Stan doesn't have much going on in the US, so mostly discussed his two big european projects the worlds fastest coaster coming to Germany and the very cool and very original 'free flyer' coaster going into Sweden. Stan gave out keychains to everyone, so that was very cool. The free flyer looks like very neat concept, check out this youtube of it

Brandon from Worlds of Fun was up next and gave what I thought was the presentation of the day. He is a good public speaker and had a presentation that was filled with jokes relevant to the topic and went over very well with the enthusiast crowd. He talked a lot about Prowler, there New For 2009 wooden coaster, which should be a fun ride. This was one of my favorite gag slides he had:

Next up it was some club member giving a presentation about getting little kids into roller coasters. THIS WAS TERRIBLE. It was boring, seemed completely out of place with anything else going on in the con, and most annoyingly he brought his son up with him and would continually give the little one the mic. I almost fell asleep somewhere in the middle, three quarters of the way thru I was wondering when it was going to end and why I paid $32 dollars for this event to listen to a toddler on a microphone.

Waldameer Park was up next. He talked a lot about how happy the group was with Ravine Flyer II. Not the greatest public speaker, but gave a lot of insight into how a small park operates from season to season. In his speech he mentioned the park doesn't have much room to expand, but they are looking at some options. He gave a list of improvements for the 09 season (check out the picture below) including a Mega Disko. He also played a clip from when Theme Park Review was at the park this past season, this seemed a bit odd to me because I didn't think TPR & ACE were too friendly (even though its pretty much the same crowd that makes up both groups, the crowd at last years West Coast Bash was really no different then that of a regular ACE event, maybe West Coast Bash skewed a bit younger but thats it). Video was good, overall his presentation was decent.

Robin Innes from Cedar Point was next in line and was talking not only about CP, but all Cedar Fair parks. He didn't have too much for when it came to breaking news, but he did mention that Voodoo at Dorney Park will be changing its name to Possesed and that Cedar Point will be getting a new show at the Palace Theater. One bit of good news was that CP will be stepping up there CoasterMania enthusiast event, which this year will be a 2 day event and will include something online where attendees get to vote for where they want ERT.

Lunch was good (tasty beef, chicken, rolls and cake).

Don from Kings Island was up next. His presentation was of course all about Diamondback. He like many of the presenters was having some A/V problems (this was a theme) and we all ended up watching the teaser animation about a million times. They announced they will this year start hosting a park sponsored enthusiast event entitled something like Ride Warriors Coaster Weekend. He also announced something new for this years operation will be that both The Beast & Diamondback will be opening early this year for anyone in ACE or with a gold or platinum pass.

Brooke Gabbert from Six Flags Great America spoke next. Great America is the closest park to No Coaster, so it had much of the crowd paying full attenion and her talk was one that was more newsworthy. She talked a bit about the new Buccaneer Battle, splash battle type attraction, which is one I'm not looking forward to but had some cool looking concept art. It will also have those cool looking people dryers that were on display this year at IAAPA. She talked about some of the changes coming to the parks food & shops next year including:
Antoines is becoming a Internet Cafe
The Snack Stand near Demon is becoming a Johnny Rockets Express
Tweety Store is becoming a Mars Candy Shop

Also she told everyone to be on the lookout at the spot of where Space Shuttle America is/was, for the 2010 project. Rumors in the past have had that piece of land pegged for Waterpark expansion, so a Deluge type ride would be my guess.

A 'Dick Clarks Bloopers' Movie will be playing in the parks IMAX theater this year. My thoughts: THIS IS COMPLETE CRAP. Who is going to want to see a show that shouldn't even be on tv/ever made and is completely outdated for the audience in a theme park. The past two years they have had entertaining 3D movies in that theater.......... this year they will have parp.

She also mentioned that the park will be adding more of the mandatory lockers this year and then made the rediculous statement "We don't make any money off the lockers, the dollar fee is just to pay for the installation". MORE CRAP FROM SFGAM. Now, I know this is a PR person and her job is to spew BS for a living, but don't lie to me. I have no idea what lockers cost to buy, but I can guarantee they are turning a solid profit on these things. The rides give millions of ride each year and the lockers used thousands of times. If you couldn't tell, that line pissed me off.

She also dropped a bomb during her presentation and was easily the biggest news to come out of No Coaster and that was Mr. Six Will Be Returning To The Six Flags Marketing Campaign. Yay!!! Very cool news, I love the wierd old man that dances to Venga Boys "We Like To Party" (she said the song will be returning as well). This time Mr. Six will not be just a silent character but will talk and at some points act as "FunRator" someone who rates the amount of fun being had. He will be replacing 'Flags Man' aka the yelling asian "More Flags, More Fun" guy. Mr. Six will also be appearing in the parks as a walkaround meet and greet character.

Duane from RCDB spoke next and gave a presentation all about new coasters in 2009 and ones that were there in 2008 and won't be in 2009. It was a very good presentation and he made sure to bring attenion to the fact that 24 coasters were lost (including the one at Micheal Jacksons Neverland Ranch!!) and only 15 new ones built.

Tom Rebbie from PTC talked for a bit. He talked about what they are doing this year (see pic above) and didn't seem too optimistic for the future, which seemed valid as with both GCI & Gravity Group having there own trains now, who would buy from PTC. Tom is a very good public speaker.

Jeff Seibert from Schlitterbahn closed out the show with a very good presentation. He gave out loads of free stuff, everyone in attendence got a free admission ticket to Schlitterbahn, a magnet & a cooler bag. He talked about the new Schlitterbahn Vacation Village in Kansas City and shared videos from Dragons Revenge and Christmas at Schlitterbahn. He mentioned some details on their enthusiast event named SchlitterCon. Schlitterbahn looks like a awesome waterpark, I hope to visit one day.

A few more scenes from the day, my In The Loop buddies and audience I'm sure would love this book:

This was really cool in a coaster geek kind of way, this guy took an old chair from Steel Venom at Geuaga Lake and made it into an office chair. I have to say this has my Alien Encounter chair & restraint beat.

Thats it and thats all, some interesting stuff, some not so interesting stuff. I have only been to one of these events before, but this seemed like the less interesting of the two.

If you have any questions, just post in the comments section and I will get back to you.


Edgar said...

In all likelihood Six Flags not making money on the mandatory locker rentals. Each set of lockers cost into thousands of dollars. Also consider that at least 10 cents of every dollar collected is sales tax. The park then has to pay a SmartLocke employee to monitor the lockers and correct any technical issues.
Six Flags has the mandatory policy so guests will not bring objects with them into queue lines. Then SF can claim those waiting in line will be bored and will pay more attention to the SFTV monitors. This increases the value of the ad space they sell on said TVs. The PR manger was right, the lockers themselves are not turning a profit.

Anonymous said...

I really like the idea of a Dick Clark Movie, as he is a icon, of entertainment, and pop culture. Also for the lockers they do have to pay all those other people as edgar said