As long as they didn't expect the wait to be worth it for Backlot, then I can understand. I would have been really angry to see the special effects going off for guests in front of me, and then I get nothing.
When we went earlier this year, Friday the effects were not in use at all. Saturday, the sound effects were on and the fire from the explosion. That was about it. Does the helicopter not move anymore? Did it used to? I thought I remembered seeing it tilting and moving at some point back in the day. Another key factor to the lines is the number of trains on track. Not sure I've ever seen more than 2 run at a time.
The helicopter used to have blades on top that spun. It moved up and down with a slight side to side motion. The mini gun would make firing noises and had small lights that blinked in each barrel to simulate bullet flashes. It was really cool but has eroded to 'pathetic' status in my opinion.
Backlot Stunt Coaster's effects have been in a sad state for a few years now. The ride was built as Italian Job Turbo Coaster with a heavy emphasis on theming, and the special effects remained mostly intact even when the Paramount branding was removed before the 2010 season.
The missing effects start when you leave the station. Few people remember, but the coaster actually used to have on-board audio that played thrilling "chase" music throughout the ride.
The police cars after the first drop used to play siren noises and their lights would flash. The sirens have long been silent, but on one or two very special days in 2015, I caught the lights flashing.
The random "tunnel" structure that encloses the second large drop, before the MCBR, actually used to have fake "stairs" that ran along the ground, parallel to the track. It was supposed to simulate the scene from the Italian Job film in which the MINI Coopers plunge down a flight of subway stairs.
The MCBR has suffered the most devastating loss. As MAZ said, until about 2014 the helicopter had a very prominent role here. It would actually not be visible at first, but would then rise up above the shipping crate. The helicopter would teeter up and down and side to side while lights flashed on its machine guns, and the blades would spin. Occasionally, these lights still work, even when the rest of the helicopter is still.
In addition to the flame on top of the tunnel, the gas pump on the left-hand side of the train occasionally still catches fire. However, after the gas pump caught fire, there used to actually be jets of water that shot up, over, and at the riders, simulating a gas leak. The water effects were turned off under Paramount's reign because they were harming the track and the ride machinery.
The entrance to the dark tunnel also used to be shrouded in mist, but the mist has been turned off because they would sometime trip the smoke detectors. However, the mist nozzles are still visible around the entrance to the tunnel.
Even one of the few remaining effects, the splashdown at the end, doesn't function properly. Only one side works these days; the other has been dry for years.
Backlot Stunt Coaster is still a surprisingly popular ride. However, I think the rundown appearance and broken effects really cheapen the overall park experience. I think it would be worth investing the money to at least restore some of the major effects, like the helicopter and maybe the police cars.
If we lived in a fantasy world where dreams come true, I would say the park should go ahead and invest the money in a full re-theme to an African safari chase, as outlined in my extensive concept here. I think that would really restore dignity to a fairly popular but horribly neglected ride.
Just an interesting tidbit I found out...Apparently the cars you see today on BLSC were supposed to look like actual cars (but not MINIs) with headlights, rearview mirrors, etc. On the broken billboard housing the final drop, u can see a rendering of a car on the far right of the billboard, and it doesn't look much like a MINI. The reason why that design isn't used on the current vehicles is that, according to a former ride attendant, the rebranding for them had to be done quickly. So Cedar Fair instead made as much minimalistic changes as they could by stripping all the MINI references off the vehicles and recoloring them. I could be wrong, but I do find this particularly interesting. I do hope if the ride gets refurbished in the future, they'll make the vehicles more realistic to cars.
So I was reading the park accessibility guide today and noticed that Backlot apparently has a weight limit of 300 pounds. Interesting I rode it a week ago at 315 no problem. Wonder why that's in there? Maybe they worry about possible rollbacks if the trains too heavy?