Thursday, August 5, 2010

Comparative Analysis Du Jour: US and Canadian Amusement Parks

I have had the chance in one week to experience Six Flags parks in New York (Lake George) and Montreal, so of course I thought about the differences between the two experiences.  Because Great Escape was as much or more a water park as a regular amusement park and La Ronde is entirely an amusement park, the comparison is not one of two nearly identical entities.  But as an IR scholar, I am used to comparing Apples and Oranges. 

Anyhow, some differences:
  • At Great Escape, it was far easier to find recycling bins than regular trash cans.  Not easy to find recycling bins at La Ronde although they exist.  At G.E., they even had places to stack the pizza boxes.
  • At La Ronde, the attendees were far less obese.  Americans, sad to say, really are in bad shape, and a water park illustrates that only too well. 
  • I guess the prices at G.E. for food concessions were more outrageous, but it can be pretty close.  Better food at G.E., although beaver tails vs funnel cake is a tough battle.  But G.E. had Ben and Jerry's which trumps La Cremerie by a mile.  
  • La Ronde had Fastpass for virtually waiting and needed it for the big coasters.  G.E. didnot have coasters that drew the crowds that needed it.  And most of the waterpark rides developed their own equilibrium so they didn't need it either.  Carrying a big tube and having a finite supply of big tubes tends to make the lines reasonable.
  • I had no clue about the instructions for the Terminator Laser Tag game as it exceeded my french skills.  Indeed, most of the instructions were not just in french at La Ronde but in superfast French.  Was not really a problem except that I had a hard time getting my lasertag vest on.  But I still managed to take out a terminator machine gun nest, so we are safe for another day from the Machines.
  • La Ronde is on an island in the St. Lawrence right in the middle of the Montreal metroplex, so it has very limited space and a strange design so getting from point a to point is never too long but often not very straight.  
  • La Ronde had a surprising number of closed shops/concessions/games.  All the rides were working as far as I could tell, but lots of shutters.  I was not too surprised to see them for the places that try to sell you pictures of yourself on a ride, but the rest did surprise me.  
  • La Ronde had two games I had not seen before--you get to shoot on a hockey goal or a soccer goal which is partially blocked and must score a certain amount.  Real stick/ball/puck and everything.  I didn't play but was much harder than it looked.  G.E. did not have that.
  • GE had far more Saidemans and wet ones.
  • Both places were hot--nothing like a bunch of concrete to heat up.  
It has been a great couple of weeks, with much work now about to crash on my head.  But twas worth it.

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