We headed up to Hurricane Harbor for a bit of family fun yesterday (Sunday) and while I wasn't specifically planning on doing a report I did take the waterproof camera with me again. If you missed our previous Hurricane Harbor report featuring the new slides and park improvements, click the link.
I want to start off with saying that we had another GREAT day, but sadly our visit didn't come without a few head-scratching moments.
I'm not going to pretend to be an expert on running a theme park, I know a LOT of factors go into staffing, including funding, etc.
What I am suggesting below are a few things that as a consumer and fan I think the park could be doing to make things easier not only on their park guests, but probably on them as well.
The first issue we had was with the Gold Thrill Pass Early Entry. Let's start by the positive ... this is a GREAT incentive to get the Gold Pass. The early entry allows you to get in 10 minutes early, get your spot by the wave pool and probably ride a couple of slides rather quickly.
The problem is that if they don't check passes when people get in the line (they weren't) then it's not an incentive at all.
They had a survey taker going through the line, as he was scanning the passes it was clear that half of the people didn't have a Gold Pass, but they let them stay in the line, which before long stretched all the way to the gates of Magic Mountain. This meant that everybody going through the metal detectors had to go around the line or cut through the people standing in line.
They did have some employees come and ask if everybody had a gold pass, but they took everybody's word for it. Once we got let in only about half of the people in the early entry line had the proper passes. Yet they let everybody in. It wouldn't take much to have somebody situated right where this sign is and have them check the passes before they get in this line.
Once we got into the park at 10:20 our first stop (as always) was to Red Eye's Kitchen to get our refill bracelet for our 2014 Souvenir Bottles. Again, another GREAT incentive to get the bottles as you need them on hot days.
Sadly, as guests were entering the park, there were no food places open. Employees were inside, waiting to open, but they couldn't process any transactions at the time. Again, if you are going to have guests in your park at 10:20 for early entry, and it's already 90 degrees outside, and you can't bring in your own water ... then you need to have places open to get something to drink.
After getting our spot, we decided to ride the family raft ride (fun as always) and spend some time in the wave pool. Last time we were at the park we were VERY pleased to see cartoons playing on the big screen for the Dive In Movies as well as music in this area of the park. Yesterday, no such luck.
Not sure if this was due to Lifeguard's being unable to hear but it was a great idea that we hope comes back. Consistency is key!!
This was probably my favorite picture of the day, taken from under the water in the wave pool looking up at the sky.
Next up ... this was the line for the all new Bonzai Pipelines and Black Snake Summit as of about 12:30 in the afternoon. they hold the line down here due to FlashPass ... which I have NO problem with.
I also want to give them credit for getting one of the Black Snake Summit slides open for now as they work on their water pressure issues.
The problem here, and it's not a new one, is that as I was watching people on the slides, the ratio of people riding the yellow slide (twisty) and the blue slide (Straight down) was about 3-1. Meaning that if you want to ride the blue slide, you must still wait in this long line and then once you get to the top they ask for people who want to ride the Blue slide.
What is needed here is a separate line for the blue slide so that they can keep the line for that particular slide down and make sure they are getting maximum capacity.
The same issue used to happen on Venom Drop as well. This would take little to no effort on the parks end. I'm hoping they just aren't aware of this discrepancy and it will be an easy fix.
And lastly, a pretty glaring problem. Below is the Crow's Nest, which is the closest food/drink location to the wave pool ... the most popular part of any water park.
This particular location has two walk-up windows and usually has 3-4 employees working inside and one specifically for drinks. What usually happens though is only 1 side is open for both food and drinks which means that even if you just want a drink or a refill, you are typically waiting 5-10 minutes as somebody waits for their food order.
Easy fix, open the other window only for drinks. It's 95 degrees outside, refills are quick (no more than 30 seconds each transaction). As you can see from the line below (sorry for the water spot) is that most of the people in this line have a souvenir bottle and a couple have the wrist bands. But yet they have to wait in the line.
Overall I know that this may sound like I'm being nit-picky or just trying to find something wrong. I assure you that this isn't the point of this. We love Hurricane Harbor, we go there more during the summer than Magic Mountain. It's basically our pool since we don't have one. And we ALWAYS have a great time and this visit was no exception. These are just small things I think they can do to make the park even better.
One thing I didn't notice last time were some new table's near the Crow's Nest for people to use. Didn't look like many people were taking advantage of them (Maybe because of no shade?) but more seating is a good thing.
What do you think? Have you visited Hurricane Harbor this year? Have you experienced any similar issues? Do you have any other suggestions that can make this fun park even better?