Disappointed at Six Flags La Ronde (Montreal)
A recent, first and probably only visit to Six Flags La Ronde in Montreal. Poor management, lots of litter, low capacity rides and more...
The day started off with a bad sign: Customer Service didn't open until nearly 10 minutes after the gates did. And the visit didn't get much better. Their 2010 park map says "10 times cleaner, 100 times more fun!" I would have hated to see it before: there was an incredible amount of trash in the queues, graffiti everywhere and just about everything needed a paint job. More trash would probably be equivalent to your local landfill.
But my biggest complaint was in regard to operations -- Out of 8 coasters, only one was running two trains. A ridiculously long wait for "Le Monstre" (wood) because they could only seem to dispatch one train every four minutes or so. Crew members were sending text messages and not paying attention to the ride as cars rolled into and out of the station. A 1-hour wait, but I'm sure a competent, attentive crew and a second train could have cut that to 15 minutes, max.
The BRAND NEW coaster ("Ednor") could only dispatch one train of 20 passengers about every 4.5 minutes, most trains with empty seats! A pathetic hourly throughput of MAYBE 400, and that was BEFORE it broke down (during what was I think it's second week of operation).
One major coaster ("Cobra") didn't even run all day. There was only one ride worth bothering with: Goliath, a nice floorless with great airtime.
Overall, extremely disappointing. But my probable next chapter, in a few days, was a much brighter star: Canada's Wonderland -- THEY know how to run an amusement park.
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That's unfortunate. I kind of think every Six Flags Park goes through a period like this, some longer than others, and then eventually come down to the following choice: Bring the park back to its original greatness by cleaning up the place with new attractions and, well, cleaning up literally, or just shutting down the park or selling it.
It also doesn't help that Mark Shapiro was fired and the man who brought down Paramount Parks was hired as the new CEO of Six Flags. Seems even now after suffering through bankruptcy Six Flags is still making its dumb choices.
Yeah, it seems that Six Flags has an unusual relationship with its parks outside the USA.
This also brings up the point of how Six Flags parks can make claims about how they are the "Cleanest Park in the World". Really? According to who? Do not get me wrong, SFGA is pretty clean, but cleaner than Disney? Universal?
Any chance you could share some thoughts on you "much better" Wonderland experience? I'm visiting for the first time at the end of this month. I'm trying to learn as much as I can. Most of the info on Wonderland on this site..that I can find, anyway..is a coupla years old.
Yes, I was planning to write a follow-up on Canada's Wonderland soon. I think I can take a few minutes to do it now!
So, to start, there are many varied threads that express disappointment or outrage at Six Flags. One of the previous responses in this string opines that Six Flags parks in other lands are even less appreciated. On the contrary, though, Cedar Fair can almost do no wrong -- and I'm not trying to be cynical or start a fight here... Cedar Fair does great and I'm glad to be a season pass holder. Thus, for anyone who may not know, Canada's Wonderland is operated by Cedar Fair.
And our Wonderland visit started out with a tiny glitch; the parking lot attendant didn't acknowledge our "Platinum Pass" free parking benefit. I'm almost hesitant to mention it, because that is, I think, the only negative -- and the staff at the gate and customer service was perhaps overly apologetic. (And unlike La Ronde, customer service was open at least 20 minutes before the gates). We WERE surprised that they didn't have early admission and a rope drop, but a quick playing of a (different) national anthem, and we were off on a great day!
Every coaster that could run more than one train did -- some even had three. We started off going clockwise. Flight Deck. Time Warp (a bit painful, admittedly). An amazing "Behemoth." The "Backlot Stunt Coaster" (formerly known as "Italian Job Stunt Track," same as at other CF parks; and it wasn't doing most of the special effects, unfortunately). Awesome, wooden "Mighty Canadian Minebuster." I won't continue just listing them, though (but there's a very nice assortment of coasters, about 15 of 'em depending upon what you count). I also very much enjoyed the whitewater raft ride -- it's very nicely integrated into a mature forest. We continued around the park, hardly ever waiting more than 5-8 minutes for any ride; again, virtually every ride was running at high capacity, fully staffed. Very little litter, nice landscaping, seemingly recent paintjobs, excellent crowd circulation (I realize now that I didn't mention the pathetic lay-out of La Ronde; it's not a loop or "hub and spoke" arrangement, there are dead-ends all over the place; and the loop "monorail" was not running and looks like it never will again).
Back to Wonderland: Enjoyable shopping, decent food (sure, overpriced, but we all should expect that), convenient parking for early-arrivers, atmospheric music, nice gift shops, etc. We were there early in the season, so no shows we scheduled.
Overall, a very enjoyable visit. I'd strongly recommend it (and it's a short day's drive from Cedar Point, so those who have season passes won't regret the trip).
Thanks, Rhys. Very helpful, informative and fun to read. All goes well, I'll arrive in Canada on the 28th and be at Wonderland the 29th and 30th.
Much appreciated, friend.
Have fun, but I guess there's one more thing I could say; it's probably not a two-day park... Granted, my visit was early in the season and the crowd was rather light, but we were there maybe six hours, and had time to see everything and ride all we wanted (there were no shows going).
The employees at La Ronde are what the French call, "Les incompetents."
Although I'll be going on weekdays, I'm taking two because I'm meeting somebody, I may want to do the waterpark, and want to make sure I cover all the flat rides. My friend isn't big on non-coaster rides, so....
From Ali Salem
Posted June 15, 2010 at 5:08 PM
I visited this park 2 years ago and while this park seems to have a lot of potential I agree. It is easily the worst Six Flags I have visited. The only saving grace is that I visited during the World Fireworks championship and got to see Canada's national team. That was amazing!
I live in Montreal. I don't go every year, but the last time I went early in the season, I had a similar experience -- lot of rides closed, and the open ones were not at full capacity. The last time I went was in the fall, and that was much better; only one ride was closed. So I guess early in the summer season is the worst time to go.
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