Author Topic: 2021 Crowds/Trip Reports  (Read 51429 times)

sanddunerider

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Re: 2021 Crowds/Trip Reports
« Reply #270 on: December 13, 2021, 08:35:33 AM »
It was a mess on Friday night when the warning went through. All of us were waiting for them to call for a phase 3 (take shelter) but they called it several minutes after everyone got the warning, which caused panic. It was difficult to fit 15,000 people in the shelter places, with 250 people being crammed beneath the marketplace. I'm hoping with their infrastructure plan(s) that they put more shelters in place, I think this year with Wildfire's roof being damaged and Friday is a wake-up call to them

Yeah I recall you currently work there? I really do hope too they take these recent close calls as a hint to take better precautions in the event the worst case scenario one day happens. It wasn't long ago Branson itself had a tornado go right down the strip but thankfully it was during the off season. Yes the likelihood is considered a rare probability but it can still happen at any time of the year.

Feb 29th 2012

chittlins

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Re: 2021 Crowds/Trip Reports
« Reply #271 on: December 13, 2021, 11:37:56 AM »
So as some might remember I am a Storm Chaser for a TV station in NWA and I have been monitoring all the reports and data from the past 48 hours. Well it turns out that there was indeed a tornado near the Branson area around 7:30. (near Branson West of all places) Fortunately it dissipated before moving further east towards the park. I can only imagine what kind of disaster that would have been if it had sustained itself and hit SDC with Christmas time crowds present. These storms were moving between 40-60 MPH so there would be little time to react and evacuate the park with those crowd numbers.

I really think theme parks and stadiums need to close and completely cancel events on days where there's severe weather in the forecast. (even if SDC/Branson was on the western fringe of the outlook area)

https://mesonet.agron.iastate.edu/wx/afos/p.php?pil=PNSSGF&e=202112112042

Dan is my Man in NWA when it comes to live broadcasts of these events. He lives in the same hood I live in and it gets extra attention. Gave us the all clear in the coverage Fri night when the warned Washington Co cell fell apart nearing Drake Field.

shavethewhales

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Re: 2021 Crowds/Trip Reports
« Reply #272 on: December 13, 2021, 01:49:17 PM »
I just got back from a trip and wasn't checking all the updates, but it looks like it was pretty scary. There really aren't any tornado proof buildings at SDC except maybe the mine restaurant, and I'd worry about the mill collapsing on top of everything. I guess they could lead everyone down into the cave...

There's no real solution to that problem unless you knock down all the existing theatres and replace them with versions that are concrete reinforced - and even then, good luck cramming 26,000+ people into a few spaces and not having even more issues. The cave may actually be the best idea if they could get a few more entrances opened up, lol

We used to assume that a tornado would never rip through the hills, but the 2012 tornado kind of doused that idea.

sdcfan88

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Re: 2021 Crowds/Trip Reports
« Reply #273 on: December 13, 2021, 02:24:07 PM »
So as some might remember I am a Storm Chaser for a TV station in NWA and I have been monitoring all the reports and data from the past 48 hours. Well it turns out that there was indeed a tornado near the Branson area around 7:30. (near Branson West of all places) Fortunately it dissipated before moving further east towards the park. I can only imagine what kind of disaster that would have been if it had sustained itself and hit SDC with Christmas time crowds present. These storms were moving between 40-60 MPH so there would be little time to react and evacuate the park with those crowd numbers.

I really think theme parks and stadiums need to close and completely cancel events on days where there's severe weather in the forecast. (even if SDC/Branson was on the western fringe of the outlook area)

https://mesonet.agron.iastate.edu/wx/afos/p.php?pil=PNSSGF&e=202112112042

Dan is my Man in NWA when it comes to live broadcasts of these events. He lives in the same hood I live in and it gets extra attention. Gave us the all clear in the coverage Fri night when the warned Washington Co cell fell apart nearing Drake Field.

Thats my Boss man. I've been with him for almost a decade now. You might have caught me on the air a few times over the years. lol

Pintrader

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Re: 2021 Crowds/Trip Reports
« Reply #274 on: December 13, 2021, 02:48:38 PM »
The cave would seem like the ideal place to get to but not even sure how many they could fit into that. The problem is given the limited time you would have from a warning to getting everyone into the cave.  I would say you probably would have mass casualties from the stampede trying to get into it.


Building a few tornado proof buildings around the city would be probably the only solution.  Not really sure what the cost would be on something like that but would probably be a hard sell since SDC hasn't had a direct hit in 60 years.

runner1960

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Re: 2021 Crowds/Trip Reports
« Reply #275 on: December 13, 2021, 02:53:36 PM »
My Review for Friday

We arrived at 12:15 and parked in the small lot just up from stop 2. Lot 2 was full but just as we were passing by a attendant opened the gate to this small lot and waved us in. Lucky us. Walked to the front and got in the turnstile line. It was a madhouse and security was very overworked. We were on the square at about 12:35 and it was packed.

At rope drop we headed directly to the 1:45 showing of Dickens. The line was already in front of the saloon but we made it in. They did turn people away from the first showing. The show was meh OK for me but I am not a Dickens fan at all. My wife on the other hand enjoyed it immensely. She has never been at Christmas so this was all new to her.

We then headed out and got a skillet bowl for a snack at the Lumbercamp skillet. Potatoes were not done and at 12 bucks a pop they are pricing themselves out for me on a small bowl. After that we slowly went over and stopped in a couple shops on our way to the first showing of Home for the holidays. I thought it was pretty good. No plot, just Christmas songs and scenes. To me the highlight was the live band and the Grease skit and No Snow skit.  Again the first showing of this they were turning people away. They also asked for you to keep 1 seat open between parties for Covid protocols. A nice touch in man opinion.

I should have said before that we were just going this trip for lights and shows so I have no idea about ride ops or ride times.
Went up to the square and got some wassel and watched the tree lighting for the first time. Much better than the old tree but there are already some huge dead spots in the LEDS. All in all we enjoyed it a lot. We then headed to the train and it was backed up down corkscrew so we said screw it for now and headed to midtown. Shopped in the shops for awhile and retrieved our long sleeve hoodies. Yes we were walking around in short sleeves.

Returned to the train about 7 and the line was at the build a bear shed so we waited it out.We had a great conductor and the audio was much better than this summer.

After the train we got a bowl of potato soup and calico potatoes. Again there were only about 4 spoonfuls of soup in the bread bowl and the small calico potato bowl was just not enough or even full. We will eat elsewhere next time.  After this is when we headed to thlepottery shop with the intention of seeing the lower part of the park after that.

Got to the pottery shop and that is when all hell broke loose. We started hearing peoples phones going off with weather alerts. I did not have mine enabled and my wife had left hers in the car. So, I checked the weather app and saw that a Tornado warning was issued for the area. The entire crowd headed uphill at 1 time so I took us through midtown to avoid the main path.When we finally got to the square in about 10 minutes we finally saw a employee in the street yelling for people to shelter. I knew most places would be overcrowded so I took us directly down to the Apple Butter shop and we stood behind the open door and the wall. It took about 10 minutes before we heard the tornado sirens go off. I am not sure if the siren responsibility is SDCs or the local officials but the Tornado had been spotted in Branson West 10 minutes earlier. The poor lady in the shop was trying to get people to come inside off the porch and they just looked at her like she was nuts. She Tried and the idiots just ignored her. SHe finally got the call after about another 10-15 minutes for the all clear.

We immediately headed for the exit as did 15000 other people. Bypassed the Ozark Marketplace and walked to our car. Needless to say it was controlled chaos. The parking crew was trying but no one would listen. Kudos to them for keeping their cool.

So, a few bullet points

:The park looked great as always
:Shows were good as a theme park show can be. Top quality for a non Broadway production.
:I somehow think the crowds have overgrown the infrastructure. As Preaching Bill said I somehow feel all I saw was people and did not visit SDC. But then again I am part of that problem !
:Everything seemed staffed well except for some popcorn carts that were not open. Like I said I cannot speak for Ride-OPs.
:I cannot believe that they did not announce the take shelter over a PA system. Relying instead on employees standing in the street to try and yell it out is absurd in this day and age.
: The emergency plan if there is one needs major work!



Duelist

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Re: 2021 Crowds/Trip Reports
« Reply #276 on: December 13, 2021, 03:28:19 PM »
^ The only thing I can think of that would have stopped them from using the PA system to announce the warning is fear that it might have caused mass panic and that may have caused injuries by itself.  And if those that were getting the warnings on cell phones weren't willing to take shelter from that then they probably weren't going to from a public announcement either.  My philosophy is to take shelter and be safe than sorry.
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sdcfan88

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Re: 2021 Crowds/Trip Reports
« Reply #277 on: December 13, 2021, 03:53:03 PM »
^ The only thing I can think of that would have stopped them from using the PA system to announce the warning is fear that it might have caused mass panic and that may have caused injuries by itself.  And if those that were getting the warnings on cell phones weren't willing to take shelter from that then they probably weren't going to from a public announcement either.  My philosophy is to take shelter and be safe than sorry.

Thats why I expressed what I said in my initial post about delaying or canceling operations for the day if there is high likelihood of a Tornado Watch/Warning. Even if the tornado doesn't strike the park itself, a panicking crowd surge could have dozens injured or killed from being trampled like the recent crowd surge incident involving that Rapper at that one concert that killed roughly a dozen people. The circumstances were different but the results are the same. https://guardian.ng/news/death-toll-in-texas-concert-tragedy-rises-to-10/

Fortunately, parks are indeed starting to take these precautions as Dollywood apparently delayed opening this past Saturday in the wake of Fridays outbreak. https://www.facebook.com/dollywood/photos/a.240694897239/10160345845947240
« Last Edit: December 13, 2021, 03:57:09 PM by sdcfan88 »

palallin

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Re: 2021 Crowds/Trip Reports
« Reply #278 on: December 13, 2021, 04:08:47 PM »
You are far more likely to be injured or killed from the crowd panic than from the tornado, even if there is one.  My first response would be to get out of the way and let the thundering herd pass.  Then I would leisurely head to the exit IF necessary.

FWIW, I have been outside in several tornadoes with the attendant hail and lightning and heavy rains, watched them pass nearby or overhead, helped clean up the mess afterward, and contributed to those who lost so much.  But I refuse to let myself be killed by panicking crowds or get herded into "shelters" that are anything but.   

mg

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Re: 2021 Crowds/Trip Reports
« Reply #279 on: December 13, 2021, 04:29:32 PM »
Fortunately, parks are indeed starting to take these precautions as Dollywood apparently delayed opening this past Saturday in the wake of Fridays outbreak.

SDC on Friday and Dollywood on Saturday are not the same.

Leading up to Friday, the storm predictions from the NWS had SDC in the lowest threat area, not even in the Marginal zone. Branson wasn't in a Tornado Watch until 5:16 pm; it doesn't look like SDC was ever even in the Tornado Watch area. The Tornado Warning was issued at 7:05. There is zero imaginable argument that SDC should not have opened on Friday.

For Dollywood, there were active storms on radar that would be approaching the park near opening time. Also, the storms had a history of being severe by that point. Way different than being in a watch waiting to see if storms materialize or not.

Closing parks when there is a possibility of severe weather is not the answer.
Improved infrastructure and procedures are a good direction and I'm sure that SDC is reviewing what occurred and how they can improve upon their procedures.

KevinLong

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Re: 2021 Crowds/Trip Reports
« Reply #280 on: December 13, 2021, 04:31:08 PM »
some excellent points about the panicky crowds.  There is no real practical way to herd thousands of people into a shelter safely and quickly without a ton pf practice. All theme parks are vulnerable to Acts of Nature. Quakes, floods, severe weather/ lighting storms.  I personally don't expect a bombproof shelter to be ready when I visit as long as I can get out of the rain.

If humans will crush each other in a rush to see a rapper, what do think would happen if their lives were threatened.

my two cents
Kevin

sdcfan88

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Re: 2021 Crowds/Trip Reports
« Reply #281 on: December 13, 2021, 05:14:48 PM »
I don't wish to be argumentative so I will simply post the graphics from that day to clarify.
The Watch Box: https://www.spc.noaa.gov/products/watch/ww0553_overview_big_wou.gif
The Convective Outlook with Storm Reports: https://www.spc.noaa.gov/products/outlook/archive/2021/day1probotlk_v_20211210_2000_torn_prt.gif

Yes Branson/SDC was within the watch box/risk zone as it is located right where that red dot is in southern Missouri which indicates a tornado. Yes it was on the very western fringe of the risk zone but Meteorologists have always stressed that these drawn graphics should not be taken as gospel and one cannot assume that nothing will happen outside of them. The bottom line is SDC really got lucky that night.

There is no real practical way to herd thousands of people into a shelter safely and quickly without a ton of practice.
If humans will crush each other in a rush to see a rapper, what do think would happen if their lives were threatened.

Very true. More emphasis on training should be done so yes I will agree with both of you. However there's still the issue with people being foolish and not taking personal responsibility from not listening to park staff as runner1960 indicated above from their personal account of that night. People like that on their property places the park in a very awkward position in regards to legal liabilities and bad publicity if something were to happen to anyone on site whether it was their fault or not. I really feel for the park employees and the senior staff when they may have to face something like that from these fools who may or may not exploit it for settlement money.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2021, 05:28:10 PM by sdcfan88 »

mg

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Re: 2021 Crowds/Trip Reports
« Reply #282 on: December 13, 2021, 07:58:23 PM »
Yes Branson/SDC was within the watch box/risk zone as it is located right where that red dot is in southern Missouri which indicates a tornado. Yes it was on the very western fringe of the risk zone but Meteorologists have always stressed that these drawn graphics should not be taken as gospel and one cannot assume that nothing will happen outside of them. The bottom line is SDC really got lucky that night.

Yes, they were in the Tornado Watch... I had my counties mixed up when I first looked at it.
In the last outlook update for the day, they were in the very low Marginal risk area. Also, it called out areas to the East of 65. If they had been in the red High Risk area, it could possibly be a different conversation, but the Enhanced and above were well to the East. https://twitter.com/NWSSpringfield/status/1469352399579992066?s=20

On an actual trip report note, we went Sunday around 5:30. It was quite crowded until after the 6:00 parade and then people seemed to clear out. It was cold, but a great evening for riding the train and walking around to look at the lights.
We just got back from a Disney World trip last week and I think that SDC may have more lights than all of the Disney World parks combined. We have done Disney Land in the past and it even had more than the World parks. I know that some decorations didn't return again this year as a cost/budget/money thing.

runner1960

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Re: 2021 Crowds/Trip Reports
« Reply #283 on: December 13, 2021, 08:36:48 PM »
As we we’re making our way to shelter Friday the NWS site specifically said Branson west, Indian point and Silver Dollar City.

KevinLong

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Re: 2021 Crowds/Trip Reports
« Reply #284 on: December 13, 2021, 08:45:05 PM »
one last thing - although it could happen anytime - a storm like this in December is usually pretty rare. NOT gonna get in a global warming discussion but a tornado watch in Dec is not a normal thing. The crowds in Dec are huge and any tornado at any time that were to direct strike the park is gonna result in a huge tragedy regardless.
Much like a huge earthquake at Magic Mountain or Disneyland would.

two more cents
Kevin