Blog: Mainstream Media Has Got It All WrongPosted by r0llerc0ast3r / 14 May : 19:41
Thanks to technology and social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook breaking news of all sorts can be easily accessed at our fingertips allowing for a more immediate reaction and response. We have all seen the many trending death hoaxes that have taken Twitter and Facebook by storm causing mayhem from the reader to the actual celebrity that just found out about his or her own death. Well in the theme park world simple procedures like an evacuation can be blown up into something far much worse. The mainstream media is fantastic at painting a dismal and tragic picture for those watching or reading. When in reality the parks are executing simple designated procedures that ensure the safety of everyone involved. When it comes to reporting about theme parks, the mainstream media has it all wrong, and this is why!
Let's face it, roller coasters and rides are heavy, elaborate and expensive pieces of machinery. But much like any piece of equipment from an electronic toothbrush to a thrill machine that hurls riders at 120 miles per hour, there are bound to be some kinks and breakdowns along the way. I know comparing a toothbrush to a roller coaster is like comparing Android to Apple... and if you want to debate about that then send me a message, I can go on for hours!
Roller coasters are assembled piece by piece, wire by wire, computer by computer. Therefore with as much moving and working parts there is no doubt that sometime during its life cycle there is going to be something that breaks or malfunctions. Some malfunctions are bigger than others, but theme parks are smart and have designated certain procedures that once activated, ensure the safety of everyone involved. In fact most of these procedures and policies are implemented by the given state to allow the theme park the certified operation of the attraction. Without certification by the state the attraction cannot operate with any human riders.
Over the last few months there have been quite a few incidents taking place from a small church carnival to a monster theme park chain and that should come as no surprise to any of us considering theme parks have just opened up for the summer season! However, within these numerous accidents and hiccups there are a few that are worthy of making headline news. Then there are those majority incidents which we will break down that shouldn't even be made public news...
The most recent accident took place at a Cinco de Mayo Carnival in Nebraska where a young girl nicknamed Lulu (more about it here) was scalped while riding a spinning ride called the King's Crown. Elizabeth Gilreath has been hospitalized while doctors fear her eyelids may never work again. Her hair somehow got caught around a moving piece of the attraction ultimately ripping it from her head and fracturing her skull. Early reports suggest it was just a freak accident, however, now reports are surfacing that the ride did not have proper seat belts installed allowing riders to sit whichever way they wanted. While gruesome, the media is correct in reporting this tragic story. Personally I feel that the Carnival operator is at fault for not installing seat belts on this attraction and for not stopping the ride the minute Lulu screamed for help.
Then we move a little bit further East to Six Flags St. Louis where the Boomerang coaster suddenly came to a stop injuring four riders. Early reports from the media surfaced stating just that, however, after close examination of the pictures and videos it seemed the coaster had in fact derailed ultimately causing the sudden halt. All passengers including the four high school students sent to a nearby hospital were evacuated and attended to onsite.
Lastly we fly across the Atlantic Ocean, Europe and find ourselves in India where a Disco Dancer attraction completely derails killing one and injuring many. The ride itself was a copy of the famous Zamperla style disco coasters seen below:
The gondola carrying a full load becomes loose and falls to the side. This again is newsworthy and deserves headline placement from the media. We have linked a video of the accident, please watch at your own discretion. It includes a horrific accident.
Eventually two arrests were made, the park owner and manager were both arrested for forcing park employees to take part in the trial run of this attraction.
These accidents posted above are all worthy of headline news considering the magnitude, the danger and details regarding each. However, there are a slew of "breaking" or "developing" stories that the mainstream media uses for a brief moment in the spotlight.
Anyone who has worked in a theme park knows that roller coasters are designed in block sections. These block sections are specific points of the track that the first train must pass before the next train can move. Therefore if the first train does not make it to that specific point or is stopped there, the next train is halted. Sometimes this happens when the train full of riders is ascending the main lift and sometimes for some mechanical reason maintenance requires that all riders be evacuated from the trains to ensure their safety. It is a normal occurrence, happens daily and is part of theme park life.
However, the mainstream media has been painting gruesome and dismal pictures surrounding such events providing the general public with a false sense of danger. For example May 13, 2016 at Busch Gardens Tampa, America's first dive machine had a identical malfunction as we described. The computer system sensed the first train did not pass a specific point so the second train halted and the ride shut down. Therefore, all sixty-five riders were evacuated from the lift hill and considering the steep incline many safety procedures were implemented. Those aiding the evac must be harnessed to specific points of the ride to ensure their safety and those leaving the halted trains must also be harnessed to ensure their safety. Now of course you can't just take sixty-five people and say, "Ok it is time to get up and walk down two hundred feet!" I think if that were the way things happened at theme parks regarding lift hill evacuations, media would be right in reporting it they way they have.
The park did nothing wrong here, however, mainstream media provides a false sense of danger to the reader. Yes the riders were stuck, yes they needed to be evacuated and yes it took over two hours to complete. But no ones life was in danger, the ride is still safe, no one saw their life flash before their eyes, no one had to be "rescued" and the park is not at fault.
People it is a massive piece of machinery and can break down at any moment. What the park executed that day was a simple and elaborate evacuation plan that has been implemented since day one. The trains weren't going to slide back down and crash into each other, the harnesses weren't going to miraculously pop open allowing people to jump. Everyone on board was safe, scared, yes but safe!
In this case the media has got it all wrong. Of course there are many other similar stories that I have linked below to display the shear idiotic way media outlets report these incidents. Honestly whenever something like this is deemed "breaking" or developing" I can't help but break into hysterical laughter. And of course anyone who is not a coaster junkie believes what the media posts. You start reading comments like, "I will think twice before riding that coaster again!" Or, "I have never been so scared in my life I thought I was going to die, it was so dangerous!" No sir you were fine, you weren't going anywhere and everything was under control.
- Riders "Rescued" From Battle Star Galactica
- Riders Left Stranded on Blackpool's Big One
- Green Lantern at Movie World Closed After Abrupt Stops
- Beijing Roller Coaster Leaves Riders Stranded
Now of course these articles you are reading from our site. But the stories are actually gathered from real news outlets. This is what is considered breaking news! Within any of the situations linked above, no ones life was in danger... So I ask you, what is the media doing? Could it be journalists and news outlets are so bored with their day to day reporting on weather, crime and politics that any hiccup at a major theme park is worthy of main headlines?
It's kind of like telling yourself a lie over and over and eventually you start believing it.
Six Flags Great Adventure: Joker Construction UpdatePosted by r0llerc0ast3r / 12 May : 19:40
Six Flags Great Adventure was opened this past weekend so Joe and I made our way over to the park to see what progress has been made on The Joker site itself. The track work has been finished but there is still the construction of the queue line, marquee and overall site itself. Now if you have been watching the Weather Channel you would know that the Northeast has been plagued by an onslaught of rain and storms for almost ten days. With this in mind, I didn't think there would be much done considering you really can't pour concrete in torrential rain.
Anyway upon arriving to the site on a sunny afternoon, we find the beginnings of what looks like the main entrance area to the new coaster:
Considering all the rain we have had, I am sure this has pushed back the progress that would have been made if we had picture perfect weather. From the pictures you can see there is still a lot of work left to be done including the main midway, the entrance, the queue line and the station:
With a scheduled opening timeframe of Memorial Day Weekend, it is hard to believe the coaster will be ready in time. However, we will be keeping a close eye on this and keep everyone updated!
Six Flags Great Adventure: Joker Construction Update & MorePosted by r0llerc0ast3r / 27 Apr : 23:26
Six Flags Great Adventure is open for the week as part of their Spring Break event and of course we had to make a pit stop sometime during this week to check on the progress of The Joker! The new coaster has been completed, and is awaiting testing for the states approval and once it has the green light we finally get to ride this new beast! Aside from a photo update of The Joker, the parking lot has begun its transformation and there is a surprise for you all! But of course you must read on to see it! We'll give you a hint, its a video!!!!
Pulling into the parking lot we were surprised to see the beginning of the highly anticipated parking lot revamp! As of right now the handicap and preferred parking sections were re-paved. It looks lovely doesn't it!?
Making our way through the front gate we made a b-line straight back to The Joker. Honestly not much has progressed, there is still an abundance of cosmetic work left including the queue line, entrance and surrounding scenery. Therefore, there is a lot left to do. It looks like most of the focus since our last visit has been on completing the electrical work and placing the trains on the track.
Pieces for the main entrance to the coaster are on site.
The sign has been put into place.
Moving a bit towards the left where the Grandstand once stood we find a heaping pile of gravel. The wide open space is supposedly becoming a large grassy opening where park guests can view the annual Fourth of July Fireworks display.
Moving back towards the right and past The Joker we find the all new SkyBar directly across from Sky Screamer! This new outdoor bar will serve alcoholic and alcoholic drinks as well as snacks.
While we were sneaking around The Joker, crews were moving a train back and fourth. I had a feeling that a test run was upon us, but unfortunately we had to leave. But once I got home and checked my email, there it was the first official test run including off-ride and on-ride footage! Watch it below!
The press release states the coaster is slated for a Memorial Day Weekend opening, but from the looks of how much work is still left to be done, I am a little skeptical if that will happen or not...
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