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Attraction Type
Transport Ride
Attraction Status
Existing
Jul 30, 2022
58
281
130
So we all know that the sky ride has been down for a few years now and I’ve been hearing a very credible reason as to why that is. Apparently they’ve found heavy corrosion is many of the towers. This has unfortunately been the nail in the coffin for many of these Von Roll sky rides at many parks over the years and BGT might have a problem there. Hopefully this gets fixed, but how likely do we think this is that they’d invest that kind of money into that ride?
 
So we all know that the sky ride has been down for a few years now and I’ve been hearing a very credible reason as to why that is. Apparently they’ve found heavy corrosion is many of the towers. This has unfortunately been the nail in the coffin for many of these Von Roll sky rides at many parks over the years and BGT might have a problem there. Hopefully this gets fixed, but how likely do we think this is that they’d invest that kind of money into that ride?

If true, I really hope they are willing to. It's a fantastic example of a dying breed.

Speaking more broadly, I tend to believe that closing transportation/leisure rides is essentially always the wrong call. Once they're gone, they will never come back. The investment required for new versions will essentially never look sane on a balance sheet. That said, once such attractions vanish, the park loses out on one of the most charming, most widely accessible aspects of the park experience.
 
Whenever it was in operation, it was always a 50/50 call over whether it would be closed for wind anyway. Of course I would like it back, but it being unavailable for such a long time now makes me have my doubts.
 
If true, I really hope they are willing to. It's a fantastic example of a dying breed.

Speaking more broadly, I tend to believe that closing transportation/leisure rides is essentially always the wrong call. Once they're gone, they will never come back. The investment required for new versions will essentially never look sane on a balance sheet. That said, once such attractions vanish, the park loses out on one of the most charming, most widely accessible aspects of the park experience.
Oh, you are absolutely right. Transportation rides like sky rides are going away and ones like them seldom return. I just know that from everything I’ve heard over my time around rides at various parks is that the sky rides rust out very easily if the towers aren’t watched like they should be by maintenance. These rides take a lot of special care that a lot of parks aren’t willing to give. So many parks used to have these things, and most of them all died a very similar death. If what I’m hearing from people connected with BGT is correct, and this is exactly what’s happening to that one (and unfortunately, I’m pretty confident with the source).

The disheartening part is just watching the trend over the last 40 years in the industry is that most parks, rather than save these tear them out. That makes me think that the cost of repairing this problem is prohibitively expensive
 
It’s not like they can’t get parts for them—Von Roll Skyride parts are still made by Doppelmayr. Doppelmayr bought all the Von Roll Skyride assets when they went under.
 
Things are very, very rarely actually a case of "we just can't get parts." It's just an excuse parks use when obtaining the resources they need becomes more expensive or more onerous than they'd like. In truth, you can get a replacement made for nearly any part out there or, in the worst case, implement a replacement system to supplant the obsolete one.

It's always a question of cost and whether or not a park is willing to put in the time and effort to pursue it.

And, to be clear, those value calculations have to be made. Very often the cost of doing the necessary work likely does not make sense. It's just worth keeping in mind that the option is almost always present whether the parks would like you to know that or not.

In this case, I would, of course, argue that it is almost certainly worth the price—but reasonable people can disagree and, looking at the philosophy on display inside SEAS as of late, I can certainly imagine BGT coming to a different conclusion.
 
The Skyride at Tampa is a much better ride than the one in Williamsburg. It’s longer from station to station.
 
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And it's the best, non-upcharge way to see the animals. BGT probably doesn't actually care at all about that anymore though. 🙁

All over the country, there's a consistent truth in this industry: When people look back on what ruined their once-great, charming, local park when a shitty, budget operator took over (read: Six Flags, Paramount, etc), one of the things that ALWAYS tops the list of horrible, park-destroying, unrecoverable choices made was the removal of transport rides.

There are crappy, shortsighted, budget operator decisions we've seen parks recover from. Parks that end up dethemed can slowly build themselves back to a point where they have cohesive area themes again. Parks that were filled with crappy chain restaurants can slowly rid themselves of that plague. Parks who had their layouts ruined by a corporate owner who simply wanted to plop rides down wherever it was cheapest can slowly drift back towards a more sensible, functional layout. These recovery efforts all take a dedicated push and many years of money and effort, but they're possible over time.

No park EVER recovers from the removal of their transport rides though. The initial, lump sum investment required to build a new transport attraction from scratch in an existing park is NEVER financially viable. Operators who are blessed with parks with transport rides in their initial build-outs who then choose to squander that incredible gift because they can save on some inconvenient, short-term maintenance costs legitimately make me ill. They are choosing truly eternal, irreparable damage to the charm, guest experience, and functionality of the property because, in the short term, they're looking at a larger than average maintenance bill. And remember, SEAS/BGT seems to be making this choice as the chain has been posting record profits for years. They're not doing this because they need to, doing this because they actively want to.

I seriously believe the removal of transport rides from a park is one of the single worst things any park can do to itself. Furthermore, I believe looking back at the comps that it's almost always one of the signs of the beginning of the end. Fucking SEAS, man. They're literally running the Six Flags playbook–and we all see how that death spiral ends.
 
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Parks who had their layouts ruined by a corporate owner who simply wanted to plop rides down wherever it was cheapest can slowly drift back towards a more sensible, functional layout.
I don't know, Kings Dominion kneecapped themselves by placing Hurler and I305 in ways that cut off a lot of former Lion County Safari land from being able to be expanded into.

...then I look and KD had a skyride at one point? I'm sad again.
 
Who makes a decent transport ride anymore? Not making this point to argue but I was trying to legitimately think about it and I can't come up with an answer. Even looking at ski lifts, it looks like there's only two current companies in Doppelmayr CTEC and Leitner - POMA and it seems both of them do more gondola work than anything else.

I think the true blight of the transport rides is parks got them - then everyone stopped making them.

FYI - Richmond Zoo has one that goes over animal enclosures. They charge roughly $4 per ride and it takes about 5 minutes.
 
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And it's the best, non-upcharge way to see the animals. BGT probably doesn't actually care at all about that anymore though. 🙁

Seriously though, all over the country, there's a consistent truth in this industry: When people look back on what ruined their once-great, charming, local park when a shitty, budget operator took over (read: Six Flags, Paramount, etc), one of the things that ALWAYS tops the list of horrible, park-destroying, unrecoverable choices made was the removal of transport rides.

There are crappy, shortsighted, budget operator decisions we've seen parks recover from. Parks that end up dethemed can slowly build themselves back to a point where they have cohesive area themes again. Parks that were filled with crappy chain restaurants can slowly rid themselves of that plague. Parks who had their layouts ruined by a corporate owner who simply wanted to plop rides down wherever it was cheapest can slowly drift back towards a more sensible, functional layout. These recovery efforts all take a dedicated push and many years of money and effort, but they're possible over time.

No park EVER recovers from the removal of their transport rides though. The initial, lump sum investment required to build a new transport attraction from scratch in an existing park is NEVER financially viable. Operators who are blessed with parks with transport rides in their initial build-outs who then choose to squander that incredible gift because they can save on some inconvenient, short-term maintenance costs legitimately make me ill. They are choosing truly eternal, irreparable damage to the charm, guest experience, and functionality of the property because, in the short term, they're looking at a larger than average maintenance bill. And remember, they seem to be making this choice as the chain has been posting record profits for years. They're not doing this because they need to, doing this because they want to.

I seriously believe the removal of transport rides from a park is one of the single worst things any park can do to itself. Furthermore, I believe looking back at the comps that it's almost always one of the signs of the beginning of the end. Fucking SEAS, man. They're literally running the Six Flags playbook–and we all see how that death spiral ends.
I can't agree with you more. Very disappointing if BGT intends to remove the sky ride.
 
The part that baffles me is that the BGW Skyride reopened pretty quickly. I thought that for a while there were sim structural issues with the BGT Skyride towers and that’s why it wasn’t yet open again—so they could fix said issues. Also, it’s not like they can’t get parts, Doppelmayr still makes the parts for the Von Roll skyrides. SEAS is just choosing not to get them. I agree that yet another transport attraction buying the dust is one of the worst things a park can do. I understand that skyride attractions are often among the highest staffing requirements for rides. For BGW, from what I can tell, need a minimum of 2 people for each stations putting the number of people working the attraction at any given time to 6. Not including the extra people for breaks and I think they need more if they want more cars on the line?

From what I remember seeing of the BGT skyride, they had 4 people at the middle pass-through station because BGT’s Skyride is a side-by-side style. So 2 people receiving, 2 people sending them out. And then I think there were 3 people at the stations people got on/off at? Probably one person receiving, one loading/unloading, and one sending them out? That would put the BGT Skyride minimum operator count at TEN operators which isn’t even including the people to run breaks.

Additionally, Skyride attractions are often some of the highest popularity and capacity attractions in a theme park. I mean, just look at BGW’s Skyride. Lines often overflowing out of the Skyride stations because it’s something the entire family can do, regardless of age or height.

I can understand limiting operation to weekend only due to the sheer number of people required to run it—they may only be able to have the number of people there on weekends. That would be fine to me. But to rip it out entirely just because “we can’t justify running it”? Maaaan fuck that! They just don’t want to deal with the hassle of an older attraction that isn’t as easy to get parts for. But I can tell you now, if they opened it for one day, just to see how many people were riding it, they would change their minds REAL fast about closing the Skyride.

Anyways, rant over.
 
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