Sunday, August 31, 2014

End-of-season visit to Hurricane Harbor

We hadn't been to Hurricane Harbor all summer, because we had season passes to Camelbeach this year instead. But we bought season passes for 2015 and got the final weekend of 2014 free.

A few things stood out.

First, the bad:
  • It was a thirty-minute wait in the hot sun just to get in the gates. Thirty minutes! Can't Six Flags solve this? With all their MBA analyses and regression models? Can't they figure out how to get people into the park? (Great Wolf Lodge had the same issue a few years ago with check-in wait times. Guess what? They figured it out.)
  • The lines at the slides were no better. You wait and you wait and you wait, then a dozen FlashPass jerks gleefully skip past you to the front of the line. Who is the Finance VP who came up with the concept of the FlashPass? There is a special place in hell. 
  • A few areas of the park are getting a little long in the tooth. The pirate-ship wall behind the wave pool, for example, is in dire need of a fresh coat of paint and a few more palm fronds on the roof of the fake hut. But thank God the Welch's sponsorship banners are new.
  • They still charge for tubes in the lazy river. I'm happy to walk in the lazy river, frankly. It's just the absurdity of the concept.
  • This was the first time Ethan ever said, "Oh, man, why'd we go to a water park?" Granted, Ethan is thirteen, so he complains about everything. But that's not something you want to hear from your core target customer demo.
The good:
  • I still like Hurricane Harbor. I do. I like the whole concept. I like the fiberglass trees and the steel drum music, and the smiling toddlers, and the feeling of joy that pervades the place whenever people aren't waiting in a long line. When you're in the water, everything is right with the world.
  • The season passes are a bargain. They're good for both Hurricane Harbor and Six Flags.
  • It ain't Disneyland, where a guy walks behind you and re-paints everything you touch, but Six Flags does a pretty good job with maintenance.
  • Best-kept secret: you can get a thick milkshake for $5. Shhh--don't tell their CFO.
So...we're coming back in 2015. With or without Ethan.

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