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Holiday Fest at The Beach TR - 12/27/08

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Last month I made the comment:

^Ugh. Winterfest beat The Beach's event hands down. Of course, I haven't been to The Beach's in about 6 years, before they added the toboggan and paddle boats, but even those wouldn't beat Winterfest. We're planning on going to The Beach next month to check it out again.

After this past Saturday, I more than stand by the bolded statement... and regret the last sentence in that post.

We used to be Beach season pass holders for 2 or 3 years, in the early 2000's before our daughter GatorGirl was born. We always enjoyed it and never had a problem. We even liked their winter event, which was on a much smaller scale than KI's Winterfest and Cincinnati Zoo's Festival of Lights.

The weather that day was great; the high had been close to 70°. We left our house around 5:00, and it only takes 10-15 minutes to get to The Beach. In those 10-15 minutes, GatorGirl fell asleep, so we sat in our car in The Beach's parking lot until 5:45 so she could get a good little nap in.

We head to the gate and buy 2 adult admissions (kids 48" and under are free) and 1 pony/carriage ride combo ticket. We couldn't buy the carriage ride only tickets at the gate, only the combos, which was a minor inconvenience. But I was understanding because, believe me, I know all about ticketing issues.

We first go to The Pearl area, which has been made into Santa's Village (or Santa's Vilage, with one L, as the map on their website calls it). We see the deer they have up there, and then head down towards the main part of the park. Along the way, GatorGirl hugs a reindeer character that's walking around.

Mrs. Gator sees that they've converted their lazy river into a pedal boat course, and she wants to do them, so we get in line. They have several different pedal boats: 4 seaters, 2 seaters, and a 2 seater with a small seat in the middle which looks like it's for a small child. We get one of the latter boats.

The foot well of the closest seat has some water in it, and Mrs. Gator makes the comment "I didn't even think about possibly getting wet on this ride". I let her get into the farther seat with less water in its foot well.

About halfway through we stop pedaling to take a break. At this time, I hear something that sounds like water trickling on my side of the boat. We start pedaling again, and I notice my shoes and bottom of my jeans getting wet. I look down and there's more water in my foot well than there was when we began. We both stop pedaling, and at this time Mrs. Gator and I hear the sound of water trickling on her side of the boat. She sees water coming into her foot well from around where the pedals come into the boat.

Mrs. Gator proceeds to pedal as fast as she can on her own, since my pedals are completely underwater when they’re at the bottom of their cycle. That's when I notice just a little bit of water coming over the boat's front edge the faster we go. I try putting as much of my weight towards the back of the boat while Mrs. Gator stops pedaling and uses her hand to pull us along the wall of the lazy river course. This is good for about 30 seconds, until water starts pouring over the front of the boat and then the nose goes under.

Now, I'm usually very careful about what I say in front of GatorGirl, but at this time my mind let that go out the window. As our boat starts to sink, I yell "OH SH!%!", which gets the attention of some teens nearby on dry land who rush over to the edge of the lazy river. I jump off the boat into the water and turn to take GatorGirl out of Mrs. Gator's arms. I didn't realize at the time, but Mrs. Gator was using the boat to step on while she tried to pull herself onto the high wall along the side of the course.

The teens say to me "Don't worry about the boat", but I have one thing on my mind: getting back to the dock and showing the associates exactly what happened. So with GatorGirl in my right arm and pulling the still submerged boat with my left, I wade back to the dock in the cold water where the associates are standing with shocked expressions on their faces.

A female associate is standing at the dock holding a boat that people had just gotten out of. My mind's profanity filter is still not back in place, as I push that boat away and say "Get that f#%@ing boat out of my way!" I put GatorGirl on the dock and pull myself out of the water. The female associate asks "Do you want me to get my supervisor?" and I reply "D@#m right I do!"

She leaves, and I stand there in my wet jeans with a whole queue line of people looking at me. I see one mother who says to her daughters, “We’re going to skip this one” and promptly leave the line. After a few minutes the associate returns, with no supervisor. Across the lazy river is a bearded man pulling our boat out of the water to dump it out. Another guest asks me, “Are you going to talk to one of them?” I tell him that the girl was supposed to get her supervisor for me. She turns around and tells me that her supervisor is across the way. I say “Tell him to wade across. I did.”

Mrs. Gator decides to let GatorGirl get her pony ride in while I deal with park management. About that time, a blonde guy wearing a Beach sweatshirt approaches me, sticks out his hand to shake mine, and says something like he understands that my boat sank. I refuse to shake his hand (I’m still LIVID at this point) and I ask “Are you a supervisor?” He tells me no, and I say “Then I’m not talking to you. I’m only going to speak with a supervisor”. He then says “I can act on behalf of a supervisor”, to which I reply “You just told me you’re not a supervisor, so I’m not talking to you”.

He asks me to come with him, and he takes me to their Festhaus (a tent that has been set up next to the wavepool, in which they sell food and drinks). Along the way, he asks “Do you mind telling me what happened?” I stay silent, and I notice a little attitude in his voice when he next says “You’re not even going to talk to me?” I say, “I’m only going to talk to a supervisor, and the less I have to repeat myself the better.”

We get to the Festhaus, and the associate talks to the girl on register, who’s name is Bethany. She swaps places with him and comes up to me. I ask if she’s a supervisor, she says yes, so I tell her everything that happened. As I was finishing, another male associate approaches me and asks, “Are you the one who’s boat sank?” I say “What gave that away?” and I am able to crack a little smile, but at the same time I also refuse to shake his hand because of my state of mind.

He takes me to Guest Relations, and along the way he promises to make everything right for me, saying that he suspects I want a refund (darn right), and offering tickets to come back another time (I’ll have to think about that). When we get to GR, I write my statement of what happened. While I’m writing, Mrs. Gator calls my cell, which fortunately escaped any damage even though it was in my jeans pocket. She had to use a stranger’s cell since she didn’t have hers, and she meets me up at GR.

The associate asks me if I mind telling him what happened, or if he should read my statement. I tell him the whole story, and I conclude by saying that I know I’m a bigger guy, so if there’s a weight limit I would have no problem abiding by it. And he says “But they put you in the boat and you should have been fine,” and I say “Exactly. If there’s a weight limit, you should post it”. But then again, I did see people my size who had no problems with the boats while I was standing in line, so I don’t think it was a weight thing.

We got tickets to come back next summer (I think I’m done with their winter festivities for quite a while), and a refund will be sent to me for what we paid that night once my written statement goes through the General Manager and the Accounting Department.

Mrs. Gator decided to take GatorGirl back into the park so the night wasn’t a total waste (and so GatorGirl doesn’t throw a fit by leaving so soon after we got there). Mrs. Gator’s pants were of a lighter material than my denim jeans, so it was a little more tolerable for her. She asks if I want to go back in, but I tell her that with the mood I’m in, I don’t want to be in the park, she wouldn’t want me in the park, and the park wouldn’t want me in the park. So we agree that she’ll call me when they’re done.

I go out to the car, take off my shoes, socks and jeans (it’s now about 6:45, an hour after we entered the park), and sit there for about 15 minutes. I decide to drive out to Burger King to get some dinner, and when I get to the toll plaza I ask the guy working there “There’s no re-entry into the parking lot is there?” and he tells me I can get a parking re-entry pass at season pass processing. Forget that…

I go to BK, get some food, and park at Bob Evans, in the back where the busses park. And this whole time, remember, I’m sitting there in my boxers, barefoot, and hoping no one reports a suspicious vehicle to the police, who would arrest me for indecent exposure. About this time my mom calls, I tell her the whole thing, and she busts out laughing. I’m calmed down by this point, and I’m able to laugh a little too.

It isn’t until about 8:30 that Mrs. Gator calls me from GR, and I pick her and GatorGirl up at the passenger pickup area. Mrs. Gator then tells me about the rest of their night.

When she had borrowed the cell phone while I was at GR, she explained to that person what had happened to us. They told her that their friend had fallen out of the boat there, and that they were able to get a free pair of pants from the store in the park. So that was the first place she went when she re-entered the park.

She explained to the store associate what had happened, and a manager happened to be in there. The manager asked her “Are you the one who’s boat sank? That’s the second one to sink tonight!” Now whether this was actually true or not, we’re not sure. Mrs. Gator did point out to me that some time had passed between us sinking and her getting to the store, so the manager may have confused the situation and thought that we were in two separate boats. But we did find it interesting that comment was made.

The manager took Mrs. Gator and GatorGirl upstairs to the offices, and was able to get her a pair of pants which had been part of their old lifeguard uniforms. They even found a pair that would have fit me, but I was long gone. Mrs. Gator told me that there was a big difference in the appearance of The Beach’s administrative offices and KI’s. And those of you that have been in the offices at KI, particularly the Admin and Operations buildings, you know that they are pretty nice. The Beach’s, she said, were very untidy, with boxes, cash registers and sand everywhere.

They next went to get some food. While there, the guy that had been assisting me at GR was behind the counter. He saw Mrs. Gator and GatorGirl, and told the cashier to give them his employee discount on the food, which was a very nice gesture.

After eating, they did the carriage ride, which Mrs. Gator said was nicely done with actors telling a story of trying to get to Rapid City for New Year’s. They rode the carrousel, watched the skaters on the wet ice, and visited the nativity scene, which Mrs. Gator said consisted of old department store mannequins as Mary, Joseph and the three wise men. She noticed that one of the three wise men was actually a female mannequin, which would change everything I had ever learned about that night in Bethlehem.

They also watched the toboggan slide for a while, trying to decide whether they should do it or not. They eventually decided against it because Mrs. Gator noticed that some of the toboggans were cracked in the seat area, and she felt that with her luck that night it would crack all the way through and they would get injured. So to make up for not doing the toboggan, GatorGirl did a second pony ride. After that is when they called me to pick them up.

After telling the story to the rest of the family the next day, my sister’s boyfriend (a former KI rides associate) said that the Ohio Department of Agriculture may be interested in hearing about the incident, since the boat would be considered a ride, and it sinking would be a ride accident. I may contact them about it yet.

I will say this for the people that helped us out after the sinking of the USS Gator, they treated us very kindly and professionally, even though I was not the most pleasant person to deal with. I was understandably upset (and after getting out of the water the profanity filter in my mind was back in place so that was no longer an issue), but by getting Mrs. Gator a pair of pants and a discount on food, they went out of their way to try to make the night better.

One thing that helped a little was how warm it was that day, but that water was still pretty cold. We’ll be back to The Beach when it’s warm and sunny again, but as for Holiday Fest…I’m done.

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I also went for my birthday. The water was coming out of the pipe and also got our paddleboat flooded we walked out with soaked butts and spent the next 30 minutes in the bathroom. It didn't help. Also we got stuck so many times and wound up backwards the rest of the way, needless to say it was called the uss paddleboat disaster..

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First off glad that you and the rest of the Gators made it out ok. I can only imagine what that would be like especially with your little gator in the boat. I would definately report that to the dept of Ag, because that is an issue that needs to be resolved and could have easily been fatal, especially if the temp had been cooler.

I am impressed they went out of their way to accomodate you like that, but also I must wonder how much of that was to cover their a$$ and hope you dont sue their pants off.

I will now check Holiday Fest off of my list of events to not attend, thanks for taking the bullet on that one.

Just think you can look back on this now and laugh and you have your very own Griswald Family moment.

Also I got a great mental image as the boat went under, thanks for sharing your unfortunate evening with us.

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n1422930491_30334022_5995.jpg

That is called HITTING EVERYTHING!!! Hahah. They didnt do a very good joob of moving the boats. And so we just rolled in sideways because of the fact that tthe boats wouldnt go straight. And it didnt help that our butts were ice cold. I have some more pictures so ill try to upload them later!

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It seems like you are already seeing the humor of it...so by next year you will probably be laughing hysterically when you tell the story...and so will anyone that you tell it too!

(When I first read about the events at Holiday Fest I couldn't believe it when I saw the paddle boats listed...I thought to myself, what if someone gets wet...I guess I now know.)

P.S. If this is how your luck runs, please stay away from me at the KIC Blues Party!

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It seems like you are already seeing the humor of it...so by next year you will probably be laughing hysterically when you tell the story...and so will anyone that you tell it too!

(When I first read about the events at Holiday Fest I couldn't believe it when I saw the padel boats listed...I thought to myself, what if someone gets wet...I guess I now know.)

P.S. If this is how your luck runs, please stay away from me at the KIC Blues Party!

Haha. The Beach was quite stupid for putting a water pipe line with water streaming out of it. Or maybe it was just our paddleboat steering ability that we were able to hit everything possible without even trying. :rolleyes:

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I've been to the HolidayFest the last two years... the first year was nice, having not done it before, very enjoyable, though I the paddle boats didnt look too enticing and risky. Of course, this thread is focused on one of those risks... Last year, not much different and I didn't stay too long. I might see myself coming back to the event in the near future, but it's not something I'd make a great effort to do.

If I were looking for a holiday celebration, I'd opt for downtown Cincinnati, lots of neat things to see, and more interesting.

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If I really needed to attend a Holiday Celebration, I would try to do what I could to make the 6ish hour trip to Gatlinburg and Dollywood for "Christmas in the Smokies"!

Must see shows and lights abound!

But for closeness Columbus Zoo puts on an absolutely grand display of lights! And of course the children love the animals.

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Yep. I also went to go see scuba santa at the newport aquarium as well as festival of lights at the cincinnati zoo for my birthday. I think the beach was the most expensive and least worth it.

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Gator, great Trip Report, even though it wasn't the best night. I really enjoyed reading that, very well written. Every off season when we have some time off from school and our jobs; Boddah, Dane, Nemo, RZ, zosobeast and myself get together to do something. In 2005 we did Winterfest, with it gone we did Holiday Fest at The Beach in 2006. While it wasn't the worst evening in the world, the paddle boats attraction sucked majorly. You couldn't steer them straight, we kept getting clogged with other guests and the paddle boats kept filling with water, although not to the extent that yours did. I also found the Toboggan rides horrifying. After watching all these little kids do it, it must have been a shock to see me and Boddah, two adults over six feet, come flying down and barrel into the hay.

Glad to see they made at least some effort to try and make your night better. Personally, I didn't care much for Holiday Fest and think Festival of Lights at the zoo is a little too over rated. Just going down to Fountain Square is good enough for me.

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Gator, I know it's not funny, but I was cracking up at your descriptions of the submerging of your vessel. I'm glad you are able to laugh a bit about it now, and perhaps you'll even get that profanity filter looked at. Thanks for the TR.

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I will now check Holiday Fest off of my list of events to not attend, thanks for taking the bullet on that one.

You're welcome! :lol:

(When I first read about the events at Holiday Fest I couldn't believe it when I saw the paddle boats listed...I thought to myself, what if someone gets wet...I guess I now know.)

I couldn't believe it either. At first I wasn't too thrilled at the thought of pedalling all that way, but then I saw it as a chance to make up for not making it to the gym the past few weeks!

P.S. If this is how your luck runs, please stay away from me at the KIC Blues Party!

I'm usually not that unlucky, but I'll try to remember to run the other way when I see you there!

So what these boats are in a lazy river type thing?

That's right. They turned their lazy river into a pedal boat course. And apparently from reading these posts I wasn't the only who had problems steering them... although that was the least of our problems.

If I really needed to attend a Holiday Celebration, I would try to do what I could to make the 6ish hour trip to Gatlinburg and Dollywood for "Christmas in the Smokies"!

This year, after reading Beast1979's Tennessee & Coasterfest TR, I briefly thought about going down there for that. But we were just too busy this year.

Just going down to Fountain Square is good enough for me.

Not to mention the ice rink at Fountain Square is cheaper too. The Beach is $6 for skate rental on top of admission to the park. Fountain Square's is $2.50 for admission and $2.50 for skate rental (and it's ranked on Trip Advisor's Top 10 Cheap Outdoor Skating Rinks List).

For some reason, this entire tale reminds me of Thurber's The Night The Bed Fell! :)

Funny as long as you weren't in the bed!

http://english.glendale.cc.ca.us/bedfell.html

Thanks for the story, Terpy. I can see the correlation!

...and perhaps you'll even get that profanity filter looked at.

I plan to take it into the shop this weekend. I have to wait until then because I can't do without it at work! :lol:

I told my uncle on Sunday that it just didn't feel right going to The Beach without taking a swim!

Thank you TopGun1993 and keiko_coaster for posting the pics. We didn't have our camera with us (thankfully), so you helped give a better visual for those reading this... although it sounds like gigacoaster2k could have done without that.

And for my next adventure, we've been invited to join friends at Great Wolf tonight to bring in the New Year. They have a suite there, and apprarently there's guest passes we can purchase to visit the waterpark since they're staying there. Mrs. Gator is taking a 1/2 day off work (I unfortunately don't have that luxury) to take GatorGirl there. What I'm doing is up in the air right now since I won't get there until 6:00, so I'll probably forgo the waterpark and stick to the festivities on dry land, which are (from their website):

6pm - 10pm: Bring your cubs to our "Kid Cabin" room to do some some fun arts and crafts and dance to your favorite Disney Music.

7pm - 11pm: Don't miss the Rock n' Roll room where you can dance to your favorite music, play Guitar Hero on a giant screen and sing karaoke to your favorite American Idol songs.

8pm - 12pm: Join us in the Grand Ballroom for a night of family fun. Live music from the 10 piece band Second Wind, 2 Magic Shows, Limbo Contest, Musical Chairs, Pass the Wiley and much much more.

12:00 am: Balloon drop and a sparkling cider toast to welcome the New Year.

Wish me luck! I'll let you know how it went...

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Terrible. I went last year and in 2006. The first year was good, but last year I noticed the nasty water and let it go. It wasn't as enjoyable, and it was elbow to elbow people. I left after an hour. Not the same as winterfest, and the paddle boats are a bad idea with the temps around here in the winter. They should stay a summer park in my opinion.

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Here's another picture...

DSC02695.jpg

Ps. the paddleboats arent supposed to go that way.. Its just the way we kinda ended up.. So by that point our butts were soaked and we couldnt ever get back straight..

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The crew from The Beach has always been really nice to me and made very nice gestures towards KIC. They're good people there and they do the best they can given the circumstances they're dealt. Glad to see that ultimately they did their best to take care of you.

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