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Everything posted by PREMiERdrum

  1. KMG has determined that "years of corrosion" had left the interior of the sweep arm with "dangerous reduced" thickness, causing the catastrophic failure: http://www.10tv.com/article/manufacturer-fire-ball-ride-says-years-corrosion-reduced-metal-thickness-caused-fatal
  2. Given that this group is formed of European ride inspectors, I don't think it's that interesting at all. Ohio's Dept of Agriculture, Ohio State Highway Patrol, OSHAA, private investigators for Amusements of America, and representatives from KMG have all been involved in on-site investigations. Since many similar rides are in Europe and European ride inspectors will certainly be asked to look at these rides, it's likely that KMG is providing information to them to better inform inspectors and hopefully prevent any similar issues with these rides.
  3. The issue here is that the local inspections are based so much on visual checks. My question would be: What did the ride look like before it was last repainted? If a habit had been made of sanding down rust and repainting, there's obviously only so much metal that can be removed before the structure is compromised beyond what its being asked to do. It's worth nothing that the non-destructive testing regimen for these rides only called for major joints to be checked, so who knows how long this problem has been percolating under the paint.
  4. A fairly substantial development... http://www.10tv.com/article/amusement-industry-group-eyes-corrosion-ohio-state-fair-accident
  5. It's funny... They've done free admission every Presidents Day and MLK Jr Day for the last several years, and usually they'll get a few hundred guests through the gates. Last week, when they saw the forecast for yesterday, they started making plans to get concessions and parking staffed by any available staff that day. It wasn't anecdotal when they said that the CFO was making pretzels...
  6. The building was actually built as the first Hilton in the Columbus-area way back (which is why that road is called Hilton Corporate Drive). As that area started to decline and could no longer support a Hilton-branded hotel, it became a Holiday Inn. When Fort Rapids opened, the hotel actually maintained the Holiday Inn designation with the resort's formal title being "Holiday Inn at Fort Rapids." The HI affiliation brought with it online presence, marketing support, and brand recognition that were severely missed once it was dropped several years ago.
  7. Update, after speaking to a rep for Reagan Hotels who owns the property: The electrical and fire alarm systems have been repaired, as has been the roof of the Villa wing. They are hoping to sell the resort and have no plans currently to reopen it under their ownership. The property does have an existing operational permit from the State Fire Marshall that is good through the end of this year, but it does not have a valid hotel occupancy permit from the City of Columbus. Additionally, the former operator of the restaurant relinquished their food safety permit, so the restaurant space would need to be re-permitted separately from the hotel to reopen.
  8. Don't hold your breath. There was work at the site daily through much of the spring, but the site has been a ghost town since late May or early June. I'm assuming the current ownership group has deemed the needed repairs to expensive to complete, and that we'll see the site back on the county's auction block.
  9. What's working in their favor is that much of the facility was newly constructed in 2006... aside from the tower, which was built in the '70s as the first Columbus Hilton, the lobby, restaurant, bar, villa wing, and water park are all very young, building-wise. With the facility completely shut down, they should be able to fumigate the facility fairly thoroughly. In a brief discussion with one of the owners who has been on site since the shut down, he certainly seems like the ownership group wants to get things back into shape. They already had crews there yesterday taking a look at the air handlers in the water park area and trying to get that situation cleared up.
  10. "Work to live" is, and please forgive me if this seems culturally insensitive, a business practice that is most often seen in the Asian restaurant and massage industry. Workers are brought into this country (some legally, some not), and employed at a business that also provides their housing. Typically you'll see a large number of people crammed into a small apartment, or with some massage parlors, the employees are forced to live at the business itself. Deducting the employees housing money from their already low wages means most are unable to get themselves out of the situation. In the case of Fort Rapids, they were cited multiple times by the Columbus Division of Fire for having several of their meeting rooms converted into communal "employee sleeping areas." (Note that these inspection reports are all public record) Just curious: When was this? I stayed there twice about seven or eight years ago and didn't think it was awful, and now I'm curious as to when in that timeline my visits were. The resort opened in 2006, and didn't suffer any noticeable declines until around 2009/2010. I was lucky enough to be there for their pre-opening VIP party since I was working in local media. My family and I were treated to one of the new rooms for the night, as well as free meals, water park passes, and an open bar. The place was very, very nice. It's only been in the last 3 or 4 years that things got so out of hand. The conversion of their western-themed Steakhouse (which was once quite nice, BTW) into the "Koo Seafood Buffet" was a last-ditch effort to try and use the restaurant to draw people to the property. The inspection reports for the restaurant in particular are grueling.
  11. I believe that Kalahari looked at building in the NW portion of the city a few years back, but the Columbus Zoo was very, very close to building their own hotel and indoor waterpark at that that time, which likely scared them off. The zoo rolled back those plans after the failed permanent tax levy, though it is still something they want to do in the somewhat near future. On Fort Rapids, it was actually very, very well done when it first opened. Unfortunately, the original developers bankrupted themselves building it and the Phase 2 of their concept (condos, retail, and entertainment) were abandoned. A parade of bad ownership and the loss of the Holiday Inn affiliation set it on the path that brought us here. The potential is there for this place to work out.. while it's not in the best part of town, the freeway and odd offramp configuration isolate the resort fairly well. The fact that the resort survived this long despite inept management and horrible upkeep is evidence that there is demand for something like this. Gaining a recognizable hotel affiliation again would do wonders, and a cleaned up waterpark and improved restaurant concept would solidify things. For clarity... I work as an assignment editor in a Columbus television newsroom. Most of my Tuesday was spent reading through inspection reports from the Division of Fire, State Fire Marshall, Department of Agriculture, and Health Department, and I can tell you that what I read was appalling. Beyond the expected filthy kitchen, inadequate air circulation, and multiple fire code violations, I found some evidence that could suggest some employees being held in a "work to live" environment and potential signs of human trafficking.
  12. It's worth noting that the corporate site lists a job opening for "Graphic Designer - Corporate".
  13. No worries! Enjoy your trip. We're actually going to be over at Zoombezi Bay for most of the afternoon... getting our mileage out of these season passes. Let us know how your trip goes!
  14. Two more notes: Don't miss the Animal Encounters Village and Stingray Bay... They're complete, hands on exhibits on the path between the Zoo proper and Zoombezi Bay. Also, you can ride the classic, John Miller designed Sea Dragon wooden coaster here, too.
  15. Are you doing just the zoo, or are you trying to squeeze in Zoombezi Bay, too? Hopefully it's just the zoo, because you can't come close to doing both parks in one day. Here's my advice.. Get there as close to opening as possible and head straight for Heart of Africa. The animals are incredibly active in the mornings and you want to be there before the crowds fill in. Pay the $3 to feed the giraffes... it's totally worth it. Really explore this region... there are wonderful details everywhere. Here, you'll see Lions, Cheetahs, Giraffe, Zebra, Vervet Monkeys, Camels, Warthogs, and all sorts of African Hoofstock. The vistas here are jawdropping. Bring your camera. After Heart of Africa, visit Polar Frontier and the other North America exhibits that create the route from Heart of Africa back to the rest of the zoo. At Polar Frontier, try to catch the polar bears underwater... the viewing tunnel is spectacular. The Kodiak bears next door, Brutus and Buckeye, are hams. You may want to spend some time watching them. The other main exhibit area on the east half of the zoo is AsiaQuest... again, don't miss this one. Pay special attention for Big Hank in the elephant area of AsiaQuest... he's said to be the largest elephant in any American zoo. Other animals here include Langurs, tufted deer, sun bears, Amur Tigers, Red Pandas, Pallas Cats, Markhors, Crested Cranes, Flying Fox, Water Monitor, and "Hanna", the daughter of Fluffy, who was the largest snake in North America before her death a few years back. Crossing over into the western half of the zoo (the 2 sides are separated by a tunnel that takes you under Riverside Drive) you'll first come into the Shores region: Manatee Coast, Discovery Reef, Flamingos, Alligators, and the Reptile House. The Manatees are a must see... beautiful exhibit. If aquariums aren't your thing, Discovery Reef is skipable, but it's still nice. The Reptile House has a huge collection of snakes... so be ware. After the Shores you come to The Congo Expedition. This whole region is a must do. You'll see leopards, mandrills, bonobos, warthogs, cobolus monkeys, Okapi, Bongos, and the famous Columbus Zoo gorillas. Spend a good amount of time inside the Gorilla building. There is an adorable baby boy in there currently. He's hilarious. Also, look for Colo: She's the oldest gorilla in captivity and was the first gorilla born in captivity. If it's not too crowded, spend some time playing with her. She loves to make faces, clap, and interact with you. After the Congo, you'll come to The Islands of Southeast Asia... The boat ride through this part has a dinosaur overlay now... not worth the upcharge unless there's a dino lover in your group. This area doesn't take too long to cover on foot; you'll see orangutans, siamangs, Komodo dragons, and Asian small clawed otters. Australia is next. You can walk through the Kangaroo Walkabout, which is a fenceless 'roo exhibit... you just walk right around them. It's cool. The Lorikeey aviary is nextdoor, you can buy nectar for $1 and feed them as you go thru. They're cute, and this is fun. The Koala exhibit is around the corner, these guys are cute as well. Don't expect them to do anything though. They just sleep. On your way out of Australia, walk through the Roadhouse. It's a nocturnal house with really unique animals. If you're an amusement park history buff (and why wouldn't you be?), ride the 1914 Mangles Illions carousel located across from the Congo. It's beautifully restored and gives a great ride. The food in the park is of good to decent quality and the prices are reasonable. Your best bets are the new restaurant in Heart of Africa and the food court in the Congo (Charley's Steakery. Donatos Pizza, a Mexican counter, a Grill counter, and a fresh salad counter.
  16. That building eats up a huge portion of the land for the proposed Star Wars land. Bring it on!
  17. The event center is on the far east side of the complex, past the Giraffe feeding area.
  18. Construction is still ongoing for the special events center built along the savannah... it will open later this summer. The cheetahs are taken into the watering hole exhibit two (three?) times a day for their runs. That's what I love about this exhibit, and why it will really shine even once the newness wears off: The watering hole veldt has different animals cycling in and out throughout the day.
  19. http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2014/05/19/zoos-heart-of-africa-exhibit-opens-on-thursday.html The new exhibits look to be fantastic... And the Hagenbeck effect in the lion exhibit is one of the best probably since DAK's opening. The region is definitely at hit with visitors: Saturday, the park drew 27,229 visitors, and on Sunday there were 30,791. Also new this year at Zoombezi Bay, the zoo's waterpark, is Baboon Lagoon: A huge water fortress and activity pool complex that replaced the old Barracuda Bay (formerly Christopher's Island at Wyandot Lake)
  20. Your friendly fellow KI'er PREMiERdrum is also an authorized Disney travel agent. I'd love to help you (and your friends) out.
  21. Had they just used warm white LEDs instead of cool.... This little change can make a HUGE difference. Case in point: Look at the New Fantasyland "Storybook Circus" entrance marquee during the media event and then shortly after grand opening to the public.
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