Kings Island loses power on 4th of July

Kings Island: King's Island Loses power on the 4th of July. They do not warn guests entering the park, nor do they offer refunds or rainchecks. Very poor customer service.

From chris anderson
Posted July 5, 2010 at 8:59 PM
I was at King's Island last night July 4th. I arrived at 6:30 PM, to purchase the Starlight tickets. They did not tell guests on the way in that they were experiencing power outages. Many of the rides were not working, many restraunts and shops were closed as well.

Within an hour I asked for a refund, and they refused. At minimum they should of told guests purchasing tickets that they were experiencing an outage if they were not going to offer refunds.

In the future if they have an outage and it is known, they should tell ticket purchasers at the window before they purchase a ticket. Shame on them.

From Rod Whitenack
Posted July 6, 2010 at 8:30 AM
That's kind of shocking that they wouldn't offer you a refund under the circumstances if you had only been in the park for an hour and nothing was operating. It's not like you stayed until after the fireworks and then asked for a refund.

From Derek Potter
Posted July 6, 2010 at 10:47 AM
The outage happened about 6pm on the 4th. They are still trying to sort out what was the cause, although Duke Power officials are saying that it was the service to Kings Island that is the cause. This is classic utility company/customer back and forth that may never get resolved. According to reports, the power was restored mostly by 8:30.

I do some contract work with utility companies. Part of that work involves inspecting grids during massive outages and finding the source of the problems in order to get the electricity back. Usually the root cause is weather, but there are other possibilities. For instance, we have a heat wave going on in Ohio, and a likely cause is that the grid was being overtaxed by excessive electrical use from not just Kings Island, but the whole town. Everyone was probably indoors. Hard working air conditioners, freezers and refrigerators, and power guzzling entertainment centers were probably all working overtime that day. Brownouts and outages happen a lot during heatwaves. The problem is that it happened at just about the worst time possible for Kings Island.

Before laying too much into the park, one must understand a few things. First of all, electricity and power service is something that people take for granted way too much. Equipment fails, and things happen. People have no idea what exactly happens to the grid during a massive power outage, and how long it can take to trace the source of the problem. Miles and miles of line and hundreds of pieces of equipment have to be ran out and inspected, depending on the size of the circuit. It could be a single piece of equipment that's only half working, which then makes it even tougher to find. Kings Island didn't completely lose power, they probably thought it was temporary, so the show went on. Duke Power was probably short staffed because of the holiday, and was perhaps not ready to deal with the situation quickly, which in today's customer's usually unreasonable. There was no way of knowing if the power wouldn't come back on or not. Should they have said something? They probably started to when they found out the severity of the situation. Chris, if you arrived around 6:30, it was right after the power outage, and they probably didn't have a whole lot to tell you at that time.

Other things were happening that day as well. There was probably the largest crowd of the year in the park, full of people that had been there all day, and therefore not necessarily subject to a refund. The park also let military personnel in for telling how many of those there were. How do they separate who should and shouldn't get a refund? They might be able to scan ticket stubs to find out when someone entered the gate, that is if the scanners and computers had power. There were also probably thousands of people asking for a refund. No park in the world has the staff to deal with something like that at once. I did hear stories of associates walking around with trays of ice water and such, doing what they could to keep guests happy. In a nutshell, there's little that Kings Island could have done on that evening to make things completely right for anyone. Aside from that, the power was restored fairly quickly. Not comforting to those who left and those burning up in the heat, but power was still restored.

Chris, you got to the park at a bad time...right after the power went out and probably before they even knew what was going on. If you purchased a starlight ticket with the intent of going to the park that evening, then you definitely have a beef. My advice to you is to get in touch with guest relations, and calmly and nicely explain to them your situation. When you arrived is probably the biggest detail to tell. Remember that the art of complaining is a fine art. The world is full of jackass hotheaded customers who know nothing more than shouting, name calling, and insults...most of the time directed towards people that had nothing to do with the problem. Those who are nice and empathetic, but firm, and set themselves apart from that crowd are the ones that are likely going to get the furthest. Now that they have time, they might listen to your story a little more closely. Kings Island is generally known for pretty good customer service, but it's insanely tough to provide the best service to everyone amidst such chaos. It's not easy, even when you prepare for it. The local media is giving the park a bit of a hard time too, although I'm not sure they deserve it.

My personal belief is that you have a legitimate complaint, but picked a bad time to file it. You'll get more attention from PR when there's less of a crowd screaming at them. Hopefully you kept your ticket stub or the receipt for the tickets, which will have the information you need. If you don't have it, there might not be another way to prove you were there.

I think that you have a fair case for some kind of compensation, be it a refund, a free starlight ticket, free food....etc. If you are local, I would ask for a free replacement ticket, tell them that you like the park and want to give them another chance. They are much more likely to give you that than they are to give your money back, and I'm sure that things will be better during the next visit. From a business standpoint, and especially in the theme park industry, refunding money is a slippery slope, and is extremely subjective. You are better off asking for something else. Good luck!

From chris anderson
Posted July 6, 2010 at 7:37 PM
As stated, I did pick a bad time to discuss my situation. I sent King's Island an email and filed a case with the BBB. I received a call from King's Island today, and they are offering me a raincheck. It took a little persuasion, but they did make it right.

From Stacey VanDyke
Posted July 7, 2010 at 11:42 AM
I sent an e-mail too but haven't heard anything back yet. Maybe I need to call the BBB as well.

From Stacey VanDyke
Posted July 7, 2010 at 11:27 AM
Derek, we were there and in line for firehawk at 4:00 and the power was out then to some of the park. It was almost 5 when we went to try to find something to eat with no luck. We went up front to guest relations and they were turning people away. They would not let anyone in. It wasn't until 8:30 when all the rides were running again. I paid full price for my ticket and drove 4.5 hours to get there. I have e-mailed and called with no response. When I tried to call again today I was asked to leave my name and number and they would return my call. I hope so but if not I'm going to the BBB. Maybe then I might get somewhere.

From Derek Potter
Posted July 7, 2010 at 3:36 PM
Maybe they were having some intermittent problems earlier. The outage was reported around 6. Reports today are saying what I thought was true... that massive consumption was taxing the grid, and basically burnt out some equipment.

This whole thing is bound to leave some customers unhappy. The outage wasn't due to negligence, nor was it intended, and it was resolved the same day. It's sort of like going to the park and then it raining and the park having to close down rides.

Chris arrived at the park during the outage and wasn't informed for one reason or another. In my book he has a wholly legitimate complaint. If someone was at the park all day and was on several attractions before the outage, it's going to be a little tougher convincing Kings Island for a refund. To me, it all depends on when you got to the park. Kings Island may wisely choose to make things right with some evening customers by giving coupons or free stuff of some kind, but I don't see how they should be expected or forced to hand out massive amounts of refunds because of something that was out of their control.

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