Wednesday, March 31, 2010

An Equation For Happiness

We received this e-mail from Travis in California....

"I just thought I would send you this nifty photo. First of all, I wanted to do another photo representing from Captain EO (which was quite enjoyable for me), but I also was joined by a good buddy. Doug Barnes from the Season Pass Podcast was here a few weekends ago and we hung out for a while. Now that I am a correspondent of The Season Pass Podcast (having been a guest host on the 2009 Halloween episode), we are both huge supporters of your show and we want to send our love to you guys."

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Home Park Advice

Everyone is an expert on something.

We're guessing that you're an expert on the theme park that's closest to you.

You probably know all of the ins and outs and trips and tricks that would make the day great for a first time visitor.

You probably know about how to beat the lines, certain food to try, certain games to play and which shows are worth our time.

Why keep that valuable information to yourself?

On this week's show, we're going to talk about your home park advice for fans who have never been there before.

It's your time to show off all of the park-related knowledge you've accumulated from the hours and hours you've spent at your favorite park.

Here are the different ways to get on the show!

* Post your idea on Twitter
* Post your idea on our Facebook Fan Page.
* Visit this topic in the Forums
* Call our voicemail line - 206-339-3360
* E-Mail Us (the address is to the right of this page)

Thursday, March 25, 2010 #429 - The Hype Machine

On this week's show, EB and Mike discuss the pros and cons of he most recent "Super Fans" conference call with Six Flags CEO Mark Shapiro.

There were some really amazing and candid moments during the call, but did Six Flags miss an opportunity to maximize the good PR?

The guys also discuss the recently opened "Th13teen" at Alton Towers in England. Video has been released on the web and some enthusiasts are less than thrilled. Did the Alton Tower's hype machine over-do it this time?

Plus, EB goes "Off-Topic" to talk about the rise of Twitter and Mike has information about a possible new direction for the podcast.

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Or you can listen online by using the podcast player on the right hand side of this page.

Talk about this episode in the Forums.

Monday, March 22, 2010

An Evening WIth Mark Shapiro

Tonight, Six Flags hosted a conference call for what they called "Super Fans" of the theme park chain.

Over 75 people from across the United States participated in the call. The participants came from all walks of life. There were teenagers, parents, bloggers and website operators. (There was even a host of your favorite theme park podcast in the mix!)

After a brief introduction, Six Flags CEO Mark Shapiro took calls for 90 minutes on a variety of topics.

It was fascinating to hear the different types of questions that were asked. They ranged from the specific to the "coasterboy-ish."

One lady asked if there could be more gluten-free food in the parks. One man challenged Mark Shapiro to add more adult shows to Great Adventure. One teenager asked why they changed the lapbars on Bizarro.

One of the most interesting parts of the call was when a lady commented that she was able to use a "parent pass" (Parent Swap) at her home Six Flags park, but was unable to use the same system when she visited another Six Flags park.

Mark Shapiro said that he would get a message to all of his park general managers in the morning to make sure that the "parent pass" would be available across the chain.

It was great to see immediate action on something that an average fan requested.

I had a chance to ask the second question on the call and I made sure that it had a "Coaster Radio" theme.

Since one of our favorite all-time topics has been "Park Pet Peeves," I asked Mr. Shapiro to name a few of the Pet Peeves he has about the Six Flags parks. He had two candid answers:

The first Pet Peeve he mentioned was trash on the midway. He said that cleanliness in the parks is one of his top priorities. He said that every full-time employee is required to pick up trash if they see it on the pathways.

His second Pet Peeve was slow service, in the food stalls and on the rides. He said that there's nothing worse than waiting in long lines only to see the employees moving slowly. He said there is no room for slow and lazy employees at Six Flags.

He also said that sometimes he visits the parks "undercover" and experiences them as a regular guest. He said that if he sees slow operations because of slow employees, he makes sure there is a change immediately.

I really enjoyed listening to Mark Shapiro's thoughts on the past, present and future of the company. He's a very energetic CEO who is looking forward to leading Six Flags out of their current financial woes.

It also was refreshing to hear a CEO speak so openly and candidly about both the problems and successes that the company has been having. He was able to list off the assets and liabilities of each park that was mentioned.

It will be interesting to see where he takes Six Flags next.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Q & A with Six Flags' CEO Mark Shapiro

This week, we'll be taking part in a conference call with Six Flags' CEO Mark Shapiro.

It's a really great idea they have to give the average park-goer a chance to talk with the top decision maker for the theme park chain.

We have some really good questions for him, but we'd also like to ask him some of your questions.

If you have something specific you'd like to ask, here are the different ways you can send it in:

* Post your idea on Twitter
* Post your idea on our Facebook Fan Page.
* Visit this topic in the Forums
* Call our voicemail line - 206-339-3360
* E-Mail Us (the address is to the right of this page)

We won't get to use everyone's questions, but if you have something really interesting to ask, we'll try to fit it in.

Thursday, March 18, 2010 #428 - Your Ideal Park Celebrity

The Original Theme Park Podcast is back with a new episode!

This week, EB and Mike open the phone lines to hear who you think would make the ultimate celebrity spokesperson for a theme park.

For instance, imagine if Neil Patrick Harris was the spokesman for Cedar Fair parks! Wait until you hear the idea a Coaster Radio listener came up with for NPH!

The guys are also joined by Nick Hutson of Musical Talk and The Season Pass Podcast to discuss British Parks.

Nick also brings along an icon from London's West End to critique Mike on his American Idol Experience audition piece.

Plus, the guys reveal how you can have your questions answered by Six Flags' CEO Mark Shapiro.

Click here to subscribe through iTunes.
Click here for our podcast RSS Feed.
Click here for our iPhone App.

Or you can listen online by using the podcast player on the right hand side of this page.

Talk about this episode in the Forums.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Stacey's Rainy Day Ideas

Imagine walking around your favorite theme park, enjoying the perfect sunny day, when all of a sudden the clouds roll in and the sky quickly becomes what can only be described as a total crapstorm.

Rain could easily ruin your fun-filled day... if you let it.

If you're at a Disney theme park it's obviously much easier to find shelter in an indoor attraction. At a primarily outdoor theme park though, you might be required to find your own fun. There's no need to leave the park and let a little rain spoil your day.

First off, come prepared!

If the weather forecast looks unpredictible then make sure you're dressed properly. Wear clothes that can dry easily and breathes well. Make sure to store ponchos or jackets in the car in case you need them. Crocs might just be ideal footwear over tennis shoes because they will dry quickly.

When the rain starts pouring try and stick it out and just enjoy your time!

If coasters are still running just take a pair of shades with you to prevent rain smacking into your eyes. The best part of a downpour in the middle of the day is watching a good amount of people leave the park and therefore, leaving you with shorter wait times. Go on the "little" attractions that you might otherwise bypass. You may discover an unknown love for the bumper cars.

Your company could quite possibly be your best and only entertainment in the event of numerous attractions being shut down. Drag your friends and family to the arcade. Give everyone five or ten bucks to snag a ton of tokens and have at it! Make it a competition even. See who can win the most tickets. Join your tickets together in the end and get something that the whole family can enjoy.

If you really don't mind walking around wet then take full advantage of it. Go on water rides over and over again. I've personally done this at Cedar Point and had a blast! Sure, it was barely 65 degrees and I got a cold a few days later but it was so worth it.

Talk about this in the Forums.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Pick A Celebrity Park Spokesperson!

Last month, we saw the famous pop culture phenomenon where the winning Super Bowl quarterback proudly announces that he's "Going To Disney World!"

It made me realize that there really has never been a permanent celebrity spokesperson for a particular theme park or even a park chain.

For our interactive question this week, we want to know...

If you could match any celebrity with any park to be their celebrity spokesperson, who would it be and why?

Here are the different ways to contact us:

* Post your idea on Twitter
* Post your idea on our Facebook Fan Page.
* Visit this topic in the Forums
* Call our voicemail line - 206-339-3360
* E-Mail Us (the address is to the right of this page)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Insults On The Midway

One of the things I love about visiting the theme parks is the feeling I get when I walk down the midway.

There's something incredible about the smell of the food, the sounds of people screaming on rides and the sight of the flashing lights and vibrant colors.

But some parks have figured out a way to ruin my walk down the midway by giving the people who run the games a microphone. More importantly, they've given these people permission to cop an attitude.

One of the long-standing traditions of parks is the carnival barker. It's his job to get people's attention so that they "step right up" to the games and drop some money trying to win a cheap prize.

(It amazes me how some people will spend $30 or more to win a gigantic stuffed monkey that probably cost $2 to make.)

In the old days, the carnival barkers would shout out to the crowd about how much fun the game was, how it was easy to win and how they could take home a valuable prize. It added to the atmosphere and energy of the park.

But these days, I'm noticing that the carnival barkers are getting a little too aggressive.

Last summer, I was at a major chain park with Molly. We happened to be walking by the games section. It was early in the day, so no one was really playing yet.

As we walked by the "Wacky Wire" game, the 23-year-old dude behind the counter (who looked like he had been sparking up before work) shouted at me over the microphone:

"Come on man, you know you want to give the Wacky Wire a try!"

From what I've heard, it is possible to win that game. But you have to try it a few times to understand how it works. To me, it wasn't worth spending $10 for a horrible looking Papa Smurf plush doll.

Plus, the Smurfs always creeped me out as a kid. Except for Smurfette, who was HOT! (JK, JK)

So I said "No Thanks" and smiled politely as we kept walking.

The guy obviously wasn't happy with this answer because he raised the microphone to his mustached lips and said:

"What, are you afraid of embarrassing yourself in front of your sister?"

I could tell he was trying to bait me, but I was holding hands with Molly at the time. But I didn't want to give him the dignity of a response.

All that changed though when Molly quickly said "I'm not his sister, I'm his wife!"

The stoner smiled, raised the mic to his crooked teeth and shouted to Molly:

"No way! How'd a dude like that score a chick like you?"

Now look.... I know I totally overachieved when I married Molly. But I don't need some pothead who works at an amusement park to tell me so.

At this point Molly is smiling (she was flattered I guess) and I'm still trying to walk past so we can get away from this dude and get on some type of ride.

We had gotten about 25-feet away from the game when I heard him on the mic again!

"Don't be a LOSER, man! Get back here and play my game!"

I looked at Molly and said "Can you believe this guy?"

And just as I said that, I heard him say (on-mic):

"What a jerk-off!"

Now, I'm a grown man who's confident in himself. I can handle some immature taunting from the dude who runs the "Wacky Wire" game.

But here's want I want to know....

Was this guy was a rogue employee? Or did his managers tell him to taunt the guests into playing the game?

Does insulting the guests actually encourage them to play the games more?

I doubt it. But I wasn't a Psychology Major in college either. Maybe it does?

What do you think?

Talk about it in the forums.

Thursday, March 11, 2010 #427 - Anticipointment

A term we throw around a lot on Coaster Radio is Anticipointment.

The Urban Dictionary says that it's "disappointment from something you eagerly anticipated."

The term can apply to a lot of things, but it seems to really fit the feeling we sometimes have at the theme parks.

On this week's episode, our listeners call in to tell us about rides they looked forward to more than anything, but ultimately disappointed them.

You can guess what some of the rides are, but some will probably surprise you.

We also go "Off Topic" to find out what EB thinks of a new "Mad" game for the Wii. Mike also tells you about two strange experiences he had aboard Washington, DC's subway.

Click here to subscribe through iTunes.
Click here for our podcast RSS Feed.
Click here for our iPhone App.

Or you can listen online by using the podcast player on the right hand side of this page.

Talk about this episode in the Forums.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Going To The Park On A First Date?

Editor's Note: We're really excited to welcome Stacey Lantz to the Coaster Radio team! Stacey is going to be contributing to the blog and the show and will provide a different take on things than EB and I usually give you. This is her first blog post! So make her feel welcome!

A few weeks ago, EB and Mike talked about taking a first date to a theme park. They were wondering if it would be a good idea.

It's time for a girls take on the idea.....

I think it actually has GREAT potential to be a great date! There are some requirements though before you approach the idea full force.

1. You need to actually know who your date is. It's not an appropriate date for someone you were introduced to once briefly and beyond their name you know nothing else about them. You'd be setting yourself up for a lot of awkward situations.

2. Make sure your date actually likes roller coasters. Otherwise you may end up riding the Scrambler fifteen times.

3. Keep your conversation skills up. If you know you're a shy person with very little to talk about, it's probably not the best choice for a first date. There is going to be a lot of down time where you're going to be forced to stand next to each other. You don't want to stand in silence.

I think girls (at least me) really like having fun. We want to be entertained.

It doesn't have to be expensive! A lot of parks have the "late admission" option for a significant amount less than standard admission prices. Don't feel pressured to take her out to dinner at a restaurant. But, if you chose to, some theme parks have actual restaurants or theater shows that you can grab more than just popcorn and corn dogs.

To me the point of a date is to get to know someone. I don't get to know anything about someone sitting next to them at a movie chomping on popcorn. That's more of a third or fourth date thing to me.

Just my girly two cents!! What do you guys think?

Thursday, March 04, 2010 #426 - The Quest For Perfect Pee

The Original Theme Park Podcast is back with a brand new show!

This week, EB and Mike tackle some of the most talked about stories in the amusement industry.

They discuss the recent tragedy at Sea World Orlando and a thief at Busch Gardens Tampa who was outsmarted by technology.

The guys also spend a good amount of time talking about Thorpe Park's latest promotion for their new attraction "Saw Alive."

It turns out that the good people at this park are on a quest for the perfect pee! They are looking for the foulest smelling urine for their new horror attraction.

Do you have what it takes?

Speaking of that, Mike finds out if he has what it takes to make it on The American Idol Experience at Disney's Hollywood Studios. This week, we hear what the listeners thought of his rendition of "Mack The Knife."

How'd he do? Let's put it this way... there are some real Simon Cowell impersonators out there!

Plus, the guys go Off Topic to talk about a "sick" experience at a Gymnastics Meet and a "surprising" experience at The Grooming Lounge.

Click here to subscribe through iTunes.
Click here for our podcast RSS Feed.
Click here for our iPhone App.

Or you can listen online by using the podcast player on the right hand side of this page.

Talk about this episode in the Forums.

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