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Soaping the Flumes - SFMA vs. MGA

Share your memories of working at Marriott's GREAT AMERICA in Gurnee

Soaping the Flumes - SFMA vs. MGA

Postby MGA1 » Thu Apr 10, 2008 4:48 pm

Who remembers the annual events when jealous employees from Six Flags over Mid-America (St. Louis) would come visit Great America and sneak in multiple bottles of Mr. Bubble and empty them into the flume rides at the top of lift #2 (the top of the really high lift belt). They could do it with complete anonymity and their log/boat would be down the chute and back into the station just as the first start of the bubbles would start showing up in the station. I thought it was a fun thing and helped clean the water....Marriott's didn't keep the flume water very chlorinated...it smelled nasty. Six Flags does chlorinate the flume water more...but that makes the lagoon water too clear so you can see the cement bottom of the lagoon around Logger's Run and Yankee Clipper.

One year, someone soaped the Carousel Plaza reflecting pond as well. It didn't cover the entire thing with bubbles but the parts that were covered had a good 12" of bubble sitting on top of the water.

And if you're wonder how we knew it was SFMA employees doing it....well, they'd also plaster Six Flags over Mid-America bumper stickers on the seats in the logs....who else would bother bringing bumper stickers from St. Louis all the way to Gurnee?
"...and enjoy the rest of your day here at Marriott's GRRRREAT America"
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Postby benzo41190 » Fri Apr 11, 2008 6:59 am

^That would be funny to see :lol:

I emptied I bottle of soap in a whirlpool at my work and we had 2' of bubbles pouring out of it.
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Postby Tech Services 1 » Fri Apr 11, 2008 6:09 pm

This trick was also perpetrated by MGA employees . . .
One of them is a good friend of mine, and he and his fellow crew members pulled this at Logger's Run in the late '70s.

I saw it happen at least once on Logger's Run. It was awesome! :D

Of course, Management didn't find it funny, as they couldn't let any guests on the ride until the bubbles dissipated.


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Eegads, has it been that long?
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Postby MGA1 » Fri Apr 11, 2008 7:15 pm

Yes, this was so true especially in the early Marriott years. But Ride Ops management would go bonkers anytime we called in a downtime for any reason...even if it was just a couple minutes long.

The problem with soap in the flumes is truly a very real safety concern. Once the bubbles float into the station, they get onto those black rubber gripper things at the outside edge of the loading turntable and the rubber grippers get very slippery so the turntable can't grip the boats very well to keep them moving around the turntable. The problem was worse at Loggers than at Yankee. When the flumes were soaped, the log coming in to the unload area would get stuck and couldn't grip the turntable, then the logs coming behind it would start piling up in the flume. During my Logger's Run training in 1978, I was told about an incident at Logger's in 1976 when 5 logs were piled up waiting to get into the station and another log came down the chute, hit the last log waiting, and actually road up over the back end of that log which injured several guests and kept the ride closed for the rest of that day.

While "SAFETY" was our #1 priority at Marriott's Great America, it was really "CAPACITY" that took priority during the first few Marriott years. The Logger's Run and Yankee Clipper boats are designed for 5 average size adults....2 guests in front of the little backrest thing and 3 guests behind it. However, we usually loaded a party of 2 or 3 in front (especially if they were skinny or 2 children with an adult) and then loaded a party of 4 (2 adults & 2 kids) in the back. I know I loaded logs many times with 10 guests (all skinny tweens) in one log. Our leads kept telling us that as long as each guest's butt was touching the seat, it was ok.

As Ride Operators, we'd compete with each other to see who could get the most guests in one boat. 10 guests was the most I ever did...and yes, everyone's butt was touching the seat. The "record" for a log was 13 by one of my co-workers but that operator ended up getting a written warning because a supervisor saw the log come down the flume and there was one guest sitting on the top of that little backrest divider thing and also the two guests at the back of the boat were actually standing, not sitting on the seat. The guests were all really skinny tweens and they actually were willing to ride together in one log because the ride operator told them they could set the record for the most guests in one log. Fortunately none of the guests were hurt.

We'd also take hourly turnstyle readings and call in our ride capacity and the number of boats we had running every hour to the Ride Ops office who then posted it to a board in the office. If our capacity numbers were below TRC (theoritical ride capacity..means averaging 5 guests in every single boat that is dispatched all day long), we'd get a call or visit from a supervisor to see if we were slacking. Loggers and Yankee always competed with each other for highest hourly capacity and highest daily capacity. Loggers almost always won...but it's because you could squeeze more guests into the logs and Logger's Run queue line usually had more guests in it, so we usually still had a queue even at closing time.

If I remember correctly, we could run 36 (or 38?) logs in the flume at maximum capacity. To do that, both sides of the chutes had to be operational and the loading turntable had to be moving near is maximum speed...and the faster the turntable is moving, the less time we had to get the guests into the boats and seated before the boats left the station.
"...and enjoy the rest of your day here at Marriott's GRRRREAT America"
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Postby RLAiello » Sun Jun 29, 2008 2:11 am

Oh my GOD! 10-13 people in ONE BOAT!?

I can't even wrap my brain around that one! Wow!

GREAT STORIES! I'm so glad I came back!!! :)
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Postby TripplePlay93 » Sat Aug 02, 2008 9:27 pm

thats insane, when i go were lucky to get 5 in one lag, well try for more though!
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Postby MGA1 » Sun Aug 03, 2008 6:44 pm

Well, if you really want to try squeezing 7+ people in, here's a couple tips.

1) Try it at Logger's Run. The logs have more interior width to them than the Yankee Clipper boats.

2) You'll have better luck if all the riders are shorter and slimmer than an average adult. Really tall people (even if super slim) will have long legs that will get in the way.

3) Load the log starting with the two people with the longest legs entering first and sitting with their backs up to the backrest in the front and back halves of the log.

4) As each person sits down, make sure they extend their legs forward and spread their legs as wide as possible so that their legs/knees are pressed as close to the sides of the log as possible. Their legs/knees need to fit under the stainless steel grab bars that run along the sides of the log...THIS IS THE KEY move to get enough room to squeeze everyone in.

5) The shortest person should be the front person in the log. When they get in, they'll be slipping their legs straight forward into the "nose" of the log.

You should have no problem getting 3 people in front and 4 people in the rear. With smaller children, you'll get 4 in front & 5-6 in the rear section of the logs.
"...and enjoy the rest of your day here at Marriott's GRRRREAT America"
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Postby TripplePlay93 » Mon Aug 11, 2008 10:19 am

ok now we just need to let the Six Flags employees to let us do that!
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Postby Demonlover13 » Thu Aug 14, 2008 8:02 pm

I can just imagine.

Ride op: How many?

Me: 7
I need a great day this year, or 2, or 30!
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Postby Papas » Mon Aug 18, 2008 2:11 am

SFGAm and SFSTL used to swap management for physics days so the supervisors could have some fun running another park, im not sure what year they stopped doing that.

As for soaping the flumes id be pretty [upset] if someone did that if I was a manager at SFGAm, not exactly an easy fix :P. I remember one day in October 2003 someone soaped up Demons waterfall and it was down for most of the day to clean it up on an extremely crowded day.
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Postby missedthemarriotera » Mon Oct 06, 2008 9:18 pm

i want to work at six flags great america when i turn 16 or something, and i think i could eisily get 10 ppl in a log. when my friends and i tried, we got 9, and that was all the ppl we had.. lol
ahahaha
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One day on south...

Postby geostevphen » Fri Mar 13, 2009 5:58 pm

I come strolling down the loggers exit and it looked like Sudzilla. I was in awe, the lead was entertained til I sent her whole crew to bbl til we could get the suds down (about an hour or so). There were 'plumes' which made it so you couldn't see the run-out from the station unless you perched right at the dock-box gate. Of course the ride was faulting left and right, the suds were blocking the run out eyes. Then when it went down, it caused a 'plume' of bacteria and the water was rank. I don't think it was Mr bubble. Someone mentioned "inside job" and not envy the the green liquid you cut 1:100 to make it so it wasn't jelly...Forward. Oh My! I think we even had suds at chutes for a while. A coworke KS would remember...
"Get the hel* of that railing, it's already busted; Fat A**" Heard over the WWR PA System as I left the ride to go to lunch, July 1986
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