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La Ronde - Review

La Ronde

Park Info
Location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Status: Operating
Opened: 1967
Attractions: 36
Member Ratings
Park: 6.0/10 (23 votes)
Coasters: 5.8/10 (228 votes)
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    La Ronde - Review

    Review by: Webmaster | Last update: 17-Jun-2003 | Based on 1 visit in 06/03

    La Ronde was purchased by Six Flags in April 2001 from the City of Montreal. Six Flags plan on making it one of its flagship parks in terms of its modernisation and development, by investing 90 million CDN over a period of 5 years. The program includes new rides, shows, restaurants and facilities, as well as general park improvements such as new buildings and improved landscaping.

    The park is located on an island in the St. Lawrence river, and has the city of Montreal as a backdrop. The best way to the park seems to be by bus, since you avoid the car parking charges, and the long walk from the small car park to the park entrance. The park has two entrances, and the main entrance was recently refurbished and looks very nice.

    La Ronde is a medium sized park with a large lake on the left-hand side. The landscaping is reasonable, and the park is well maintained and quite clean. The park has a variety of flat rides and roller coasters, the best of which are Manitou (Zamperla Discovery) and Vampire (B&M; Inverted). The park's selection of water rides is limited to a Log Flume and Shoot-the-Chutes. There are also one or two shows and several upcharge attractions such as a Slingshot, miniature golf, and trampoline bungies, etc.

    On my visit, the park was invaded by 10-12,000 school kids, around the ages of 12-15. Any park can suffer this fate, but La Ronde just could not cope! The following problems were all experienced in the 2 hour line for the Vampire, and since most of my time at the park was spent in the Vampire line I will focus on this.

    The line jumping was atrocious and there was no supervision or even signs to stop it. I'm not talking about one or two people, I'm talking at least 50-100 kids within the space of two hours walking up the line and joining friends near the front of the queue, or jumping over the fences and cutting in. To add to it, dozens of 12-15 year olds were smoking in line, and got very aggressive when asked to redirect their smoke, or extinguish their cigarettes. There were no 'no smoking' signs or 'no line cutting' signs (even in French) anywhere in the line. The only no smoking signs for the entire line were posted at the entrance and exit.

    The line cutting and smoking was that bad I began to think this kind of behaviour was acceptable at La Ronde, but looking at the rules and polices stated on their web site in 2003, it clearly forbids both. While I don't expect people to read the rules and polices on a park's web site, I do expect signs up in lines, so at least if someone is smoking or cutting line, you can point to the sign and show them that they are doing wrong, because these rude and arrogant teens seemed to think it was their right.

    The ride operators were extremely slow, and dispatch times on the Vampire averaged about 6-8 minutes with one train, and only after the line exceeded two hours was a second train added. There were two operators checking restraints on the Vampire, and they seemed to take forever, despite the fact B&M; Inverted coasters are usually dispatched very quickly at other parks! The ride should have an optimal capacity of 1,400 people per hour, but I calculated it at less than 400.

    I also had one or two safety concerns within the Vampire station (and seemingly on other rides). The ride operators consistently left the air gates open all the time the restraints were being checked, even while the ride was broken down for 10 minutes; the air gates were only closed just before the ride was dispatched. Not only this, dozens of bags, shoes, and other items were left on the yellow lines beside the platform, which were just waiting there for someone to trip up over and injure themselves.

    Staff attitudes of the ride operators were also appalling. I asked why there was only one train on Vampire, and I was told 'we can't run the other train because it hasn't been inspected', strangely enough, the second train was added within the next hour, despite no one inspecting it. After tripping up on a bag whilst leaving the train, I asked a ride operator why the bags were allowed to be left immediately beside the train, and not at the back of the station as the sign stated they should be, I was told 'It's like this at all parks, if you don't like it leave.' What a load of rubbish, and what a load of attitude!

    We arrived at the park just after 10 am, and by 12.30 PM, we had been on one ride. Now I understand parks can be busy, but the line jumping, one train operation, and slow dispatch times must have doubled the waits. To add to this Cobra was down all day, and the Boomerang, Wild Mouse, and Corkscrew coaster all broke down at various points of my visit. The day was turning into my worst visit to a theme park ever.

    It was evident that the same problems were happening on other rides as well, so we decided to leave, but not without paying a visit to Guest Relations. Usually this is where problem parks sink to a further level of disrepute, however, they were very helpful and did seem genuinely concerned about the problems we put to them. I have to say the customer service was excellent, and we even saw them invetigating some of the problems we had pointed out. After two more rides in the park, we set off to another park in an attempt to salvage the rest of the day.

    If Six Flags want La Ronde to be one of their flagship parks, they need to do a lot more than just pump $90 million into rides and attractions. The way the park was operated on my visit may work well for bus loads of teens, but once families start visiting during the summer, I can imagine a lot of unhappy guests. Hopefully, something will be done to improve park operations, like more signs in line, two train operation from opening, more security officers, and more emphasis on safety.

    I can only hope that the days like the one I visited La Ronde are few and far between in the park's operating season, otherwise this park could gain a very bad reputation like several other parks in the Six Flags chain. If this is so, then Six Flags should seriously consider redirecting some of their investment into staff training and enforcing park policies.

    Perhaps I caught the park on bad day, if so, then I'm sure on normal days La Ronde has a lot to offer. However, I can only base my review on my experience with the park, which was far from satisfactory, and I would not consider returning to this park until these matters are resolved.

    Coasters:  7/10
    Dark Rides:  N/A
    Flat Rides:  6/10
    Kiddie Rides:  6/10
    Water Rides:  6/10
    Cleanliness:  6/10
    Food:  N/A
    Landscaping:  7/10
    Theming:  6/10
    Staff Friendliness:  5/10
    Staff Efficiency:  5/10



    Ideas for Improvements
  • Enforce park policies. No smoking and no line cutting signs should be clearly visible in all lines. In the Vampire station there was a sign saying to place loose articles at the edge of the station - no one was enforcing this, and all loose articles were being left by the side of the train. Boxes or racks should be provided to safely stow all loose articles.
  • Train staff to be more efficient and friendly.
    La Ronde Tips
  • Avoid the park when it is busy. Perhaps call before visiting to find out if they expect the park to be busy.

    Member Reviews

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    La Ronde - Roller Coasters

    # Current Roller Coasters Rating Votes
    1. Goliath 8.95 19 Stats / Pictures
    2. Vampire 7.23 30 Review | Stats / Pictures
    3. Monstre 6.78 32 Review | Stats / Pictures
    4. Toboggan Nordique 5.57 21 Review | Stats / Pictures
    5. Cobra 5.48 29 Review | Stats / Pictures
    6. Boomerang 5.35 26 Review | Stats / Pictures
    7. Super Manege 4.80 30 Review | Stats / Pictures
    8. Dragon 4.17 23 Review | Stats / Pictures
    9. Petites Montagnes Russes 3.78 18 Review | Stats / Pictures
    Ednör - L'Attaque 0.00 0 Stats / Pictures

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