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  1. #1

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    Here's to you, Disneyland groupers.

    I had the lovely opportunity (?) to go to California's Great America (don't get me started on that name lol). An it really amazes me that while they probably have a tenth of the daily guests inside their park, the rides are so much longer. And then I figured out by the end of the day that it was because of the groupers that Disneyland has. At other theme parks you have to figure out your own seating. It really sucks. You almost never end up getting the same car on a ride. With Disney you can count on it. Just a little thing I never really noticed before that makes me appreciate Disneyland.

    So this thread is dedicated to the Disneyland grouper CMs. I, and probably everyone else too, appreciate you so much. Any of you guys out there?

    And anyone else have any fun stories to share about the horrors of self grouping?
    It's easy enough to be pleasant
    when life hums along like a song.
    But the man worth while
    is the man who can smile
    when everything goes dead wrong.

  2. #2

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    Re: Here's to you, Disneyland groupers.

    Thank you. =) Grouper is actually one of the positions that an attractions CM needs to go over while learning an attraction. I haven't really been to any other amusement park in awhile, so I can't say I know too much about how ride situations work there.

  3. #3

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    Re: Here's to you, Disneyland groupers.

    Man! I thought you meant those really big fish that used to be in the Submarine Voyage. Was I wrong!

    Anyway, I don't know much about this particular cast position, but my hat's off to all the cast members who work their tails off to put on a good show and make my day special. Thanks for the good job, guys.

  4. #4

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    Re: Here's to you, Disneyland groupers.

    It is Cedar Fair and Six Flags Policy to physically check each restraint as opposed to Disney's, "Please pull strap or pull up.."visual check. Additional factors include Disney safety policies are much more relaxed to ensure speedy dispatches where as CF and SF require you to be in specific zones to dispatch. You’d never see a SF employee walking inches away from a track as the train rolls in like Space Mountain or Big Thunder. Six flags has had an employee struck and killed by a moving train.

    Lastly, the employees at CF and SF don’t instill a sense of urgency when loading and unloading like Disney. Disney will motion you to quickly enter a vehicle and exit whereas CF and SF just say, “Welcome back riders! Please push down pull up and exit to your right. Thank you and have a Six Flags day.”
    CF and SF employees are bound by their safety rules and usually don’t seem to care how fast they dispatch you.

    There are pages of discussion on this frustrating topic elsewhere as it is a known issue with CF and SF.

  5. #5

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    Re: Here's to you, Disneyland groupers.

    Even thought Universal and Sea World don't have many rides, they also group familys and groups together.

    The only park I've been to that doesn't group is Knotts. I hate that they don't but what can you do, aha.

  6. #6

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    Re: Here's to you, Disneyland groupers.

    Quote Originally Posted by DefinitiveDetour View Post
    It is Cedar Fair and Six Flags Policy to physically check each restraint as opposed to Disney's, "Please pull strap or pull up.."visual check. Additional factors include Disney safety policies are much more relaxed to ensure speedy dispatches where as CF and SF require you to be in specific zones to dispatch. You’d never see a SF employee walking inches away from a track as the train rolls in like Space Mountain or Big Thunder. Six flags has had an employee struck and killed by a moving train.

    Lastly, the employees at CF and SF don’t instill a sense of urgency when loading and unloading like Disney. Disney will motion you to quickly enter a vehicle and exit whereas CF and SF just say, “Welcome back riders! Please push down pull up and exit to your right. Thank you and have a Six Flags day.”
    CF and SF employees are bound by their safety rules and usually don’t seem to care how fast they dispatch you.

    There are pages of discussion on this frustrating topic elsewhere as it is a known issue with CF and SF.
    Oh, dude, where to begin here?

    Let's start with restraint systems, and Disney's current practice of having Guests pull on their restraints to test them.

    When an Attractions Host/Hostess asks you to "pull on that safety strap" or "push on that lap bar" it means we are double-checking the monitored restraint, and it's actually a formality to confirm that all buckles and bars are locked in place and that the belt is positioned correctly over the lap. For example, at Soarin' when you are asked to "pull on that yellow safety strap" on the seatbelt, that's not to test that the belt is actually fastened. Those Hosts/Hostesses already know the belt is fastened because every belt on every seat on every carriage at Soarin' has a small green light on top of every single seat that illuminates and blinks when a seatbelt has its buckle plugged into the double-locked mechanism.

    Those Soarin' CM's can already tell with one look down the row who has their seatbelt fastened and who doesn't by which seat lights are illuminated. Going down the row asking Guests to tug on the strap only confirms that the belt is fastened over the waist on the outside of the torso, and that the Guest is not sitting on the fastened seatbelt. The same is true with individual seatbelt indicator lights at Indy, Tower of Terror, etc.

    This Guest process provides a secondary visual check of the monitored belt without the CM having to reach in to a Guests lap and pull on their seatbelt. You can imagine how that behavior would be full of danger for any CM, especially Hosts with ladies or girls and Hostesses with men, so it's best to have the Guest pull on the belt themselves, which is an action that also gives the CM a visual indication that the belt check action is taking place with each person in each seat.

    Any empty seat has its seatbelt manually buckled into the lock by the CM, because, and this is key A RIDE VEHICLE WITH MONITORED BELTS CAN NOT BE DISPATCHED INTO THE RIDE UNTIL ALL BELTS ARE LOCKED. Disney's ride control systems will not let a Soarin' theater launch, a Star Tours Starspeeder take off, or an Indy Jeep roll into the Temple (past the Belt Check position), a Tower of Terror elevator move, a Jellyfish begin to jump, etc., etc. until all belts have been locked and checked in with the computer. The vehicle or theater just sits there until all belts are locked, the computer system acknowledges the safe situation clear for dispatch, and at least two CM's then press their enable buttons simultaneously, which then places the vehicle in motion.

    The same is true for locking lapbars such as Snow White, Monsters Inc., Pooh, etc. It also applies for swinging doors on Doombuggies at Mansion, Space Cruisers at Buzz Lightyear, Taxicabs at Roger Rabbit, Game Trams at Midway Mania, etc., etc. A vehicle leaving the loading area with an unlocked lapbar or open door causes an Auto Emergency Stop that shuts the entire attraction down instantly. That's why you see CM's pushing down lapbars on empty rows or closing doors in emtpy vehicles; to prevent the ride from shutting down automatically once that vehicle leaves the loading area with an unlocked safety restraint.

    Disney calls this process Operator Managed Motion, or OMM for short. OMM has spread throughout the Disney empire to almost all attractions at all Disney theme parks. There are a few exceptions to this rule, such as the old seatbelts at Matterhorn. Those belts were not monitored, and were simple automotive belts from the 1970's. The new bobsleds at Matterhorn will have monitored lapbars instead, and when Matterhorn reopens in June a bobsled will not be able to be sent into the mountain until all lapbars in the vehicle have been pushed down past a set point at the last zone in the station.

    As for providing a sense of urgency by having Guests board and disembark their vehicles quickly, that's one of the Four Keys Of The Disneyland Show that has been the guiding principles of Disney theme parks since the late 1950's. Verbally instructing Guests to get in or out of a vehicle, while simultaneously providing hand gestures, is part of the Efficiency Key. Efficiency is very important, as it keeps the attractions operating at peak capacity.

    To use an analogy closest to Six Flags, a park that is almost entirely made up of roller coasters; Six Flags coaster run just one or two trains on their coasters, with a hold zone just outside the station. Disney coasters routinely run up to 5 or 6 trains at E Tickets like California Screamin' or Big Thunder Mountain. But there are only two or three hold zones before the station, so if you are running 6 trains at Screamin' on a busy summer day and cycling through 2,100+ riders per hour (2,300 per hour at Thunder with 5 trains), you have to keep the 6 trains dispatching on time to prevent a backup in the hold zones which would shut the ride down. The same is true at unique coasters like Space Mountain that runs 11 rockets, or at Matterhorn that runs 18 bobsleds.

    Dark rides like Peter Pan or Monsters Inc. also back up and break down if more than 3 or 4 vehicles stack up outside the station. It's a basic safety measure to prevent vehicles from stalling out for indefinite periods of time, allowing Guests to wriggle out from under the lapbar and start goofing around in the ride.

    There's a hundred other factors that play into these operational strategies at fast-paced, high-capacity, top-quality Disney attractions, but I've just scratched the surface on the basics here. To get the full story you'd really need to work for at least a few years at a Disney theme park and be very familiar with multiple types of ride systems and their restraint equipment.
    Last edited by Westsider; 01-29-2012 at 12:11 PM.

  7. #7

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    Re: Here's to you, Disneyland groupers.

    At space we run 10+1. Which means we usually (not always on slow days) Have 10 rockets on and the ability to slide over to 11 or add an 11th rocket on. Any more rockets then that and the ride cant run due to intrusions from the rockets getting to close.

    On the lap bar issue. The reason at Space we ask you to pull up on your lap bar and if you don't we do it for you is because it is required that all lap bars are down before we can dispatch the rocket.

    We ask you to pull up to make sure that it is locked in place and isn't loose or broken. It has happened where a lap bar wont stay down and then we have to pull that rocket off and red clip it so maintenance can check it out.

    Another thing about space is that its one lap bar per guest. So if you have one leg under the lap bar next to you that is called a split and we have to hit our dispatch inhibit and pop the lap bars back up and fix this. This is sometimes why we go down. People who cant fit under one lap bar have to be pulled out and since we dispatch 1 rocket every 22.2 seconds that means if it takes more then a minute to get you out we are pretty much done.

    So next time you are at a ride and they ask you to pull up on your lap bar just do it and don't stare at us like we are crazy. It takes you 1 second to pull it up and thats it. We hate having to reach over and pull up on the lap bar since that can be awkward sometimes with certain guest.

  8. #8

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    Re: Here's to you, Disneyland groupers.

    Lol Great America. At least when it was owned by Paramount, there were names like Top Gun for the suspended coaster to make up for it being sub par in pretty much every other area. I always found myself comparing it to Disneyland too.
    John Hammond: "All major theme parks have had delays. When they opened Disneyland in 1956 [sic], nothing worked!"
    Dr. Ian Malcolm: "But, John. If the Pirates of the Caribbean breaks down, the pirates don't eat the tourists."

  9. #9

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    Re: Here's to you, Disneyland groupers.

    Westsider... thank you for NOT listening to what I said.

    Cedar Fair(owns Knotts) and Six Flags must physically check your restraints even if they have systems in place such as Disney. Tatsu at six flags won't dispatch without all the safety restraints in place however they still push down and pull up on your restraints.

    I was pointing out the difference in procedure which impacts dispatches.

    I'm assuming you've seen the video of the kid on Tower of Terror floating around?...


    Lastly, most SF and CF rides dispatch times are still slower but thanks for playing. Goliath which is a simple lap bar restrain has a dispatch of 2 minutes and 30 seconds to 3 minutes. Tatsu can have a 3-6 minute dispatch cycle depending on the crew.

    You didn't address any of the issues I mentioned but thank you for puking all of your knowledge about disney.
    Last edited by DefinitiveDetour; 01-29-2012 at 04:44 PM.

  10. #10

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    Re: Here's to you, Disneyland groupers.

    Quote Originally Posted by DefinitiveDetour View Post
    Westsider... thank you for NOT listening to what I said...

    You didn't address any of the issues I mentioned but thank you for puking all of your knowledge about disney.
    You're welcome. Watch your step!

  11. #11

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    Re: Here's to you, Disneyland groupers.

    Hey, hey, HEY! Calm down. Fighting isn't nice or necessary. I appreciate both of your posts. I learned a lot of new things! Thanks to both of you. I just want good things/new knowledge/compliments coming out of this thread. Keep that stuff coming!
    It's easy enough to be pleasant
    when life hums along like a song.
    But the man worth while
    is the man who can smile
    when everything goes dead wrong.

  12. #12

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    Re: Here's to you, Disneyland groupers.

    Back to the subject of grouping, a good grouper really can make a difference in the wait time for lines. Since we have the concept of efficiency drilled in our brains, we see it as a "challenge" to never let a seat go empty. That's why sometimes cast members will scream for a "Party of 2!!!" like their lives depended on it.

    It's like a puzzle game for many of us. It may seem like a simple concept, but every so often the grouper will get thrown a curve ball, such as row requests, stranger than strange row requests, the foreign family that lines up their family of five into a row that seats two, and the group of 11 that doesn't know how many is in their party so they only think to count at that very moment.

    Some CMs also hate being grouper since it can be hectic at fastloading attractions. It's one of those love/hate positions.

  13. #13

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    Re: Here's to you, Disneyland groupers.

    Quote Originally Posted by DefinitiveDetour View Post
    Lastly, most SF and CF rides dispatch times are still slower but thanks for playing. Goliath which is a simple lap bar restrain has a dispatch of 2 minutes and 30 seconds to 3 minutes. Tatsu can have a 3-6 minute dispatch cycle depending on the crew.
    Tatsu I'll give you ... they are the absolute worst crew I've seen on any ride ... EVER!! (and that's saying a lot)

    But Goliath, they consistently pull 1:30 dispatches. There is even a clock in the station.

    And they couldn't be any faster because they can't dispatch until the train hits the mid-course, which is probably close to 1:30 from dispatch including the lift hill.

    You also have to factor in, that because the parks aren't as popular as Disney, the rides can't always "support" the capacity.

    Other than Disney/Universal, I can't think of any other park with a ride that can cycle 2000 pph (other than maybe shows or 3D movies).

    The "Theoretical" capacity for Colossus is 2600 per hour, but that's running both tracks and probably 3 trains on each track. This never happens.

    The Theoretical capacity of Tatsu is 1600, I can guarantee that's never happened.


    Looking at the park in question, CGA, the ride with the biggest capacity is Flight Deck at 1380 per hour.

    As a comparison, Big Thunder has a capacity of 2400 per hour.

    Now I'm not saying the groupers don't help, all the factors go into a rides capacity, including groupers. But you have to look at the individual ride as well.
    Last edited by sir clinksalot; 02-02-2012 at 07:45 AM.


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