What you are about to read is pretty much a verbatim repost of what I've already posted in the "secrets discovered during ride breakdowns" thread, but I kind of felt it fit better here, considering I really didn't discover any neat secrets... just some really well trained and disciplined CMs. So here goes...
I didn't exactly uncover any great secrets during this instance, but I was on Rock 'n' Roller Coaster at MGM on Sunday during a breakdown and evacuation. We had just loaded and went around the corner and positioned for the launch, and we just kind of sat there... and sat there... and sat there... and sat there... watching the billboard thing up above us go through it's thing over and over and over and over and over again. My theory that something was not right was confirmed when all of a sudden the lights suddenly went on full bright, and suddenly I could see all the way down the tunnel which is normally pitch black. I could even make out the start of the loop at the far end of the tunnel. An announcement notified us that RNRC was experiencing minor technical difficulties. A gentleman sitting one seat in front of me began having an anxiety attack or something, and a CM was constantly coming back and forth talking to him and keeping us updated on what to expect once they identified the problem.
I had my camera in my hip pocket, but strapped in as I was, i couldn't really reach it. You should have seen me squirming in my restraints trying to twist and turn myself in every which way to get at it, but i was finally able to dump all the contents of my pocket into my seat, and was just barely able to wrap the carrying strap of my camera around one finger so I could pick it up. Then it was a fight to get it up high enough to shoot a picture or two over the seat in front of me. Even with a flash, all that effort was kind of for no good, because it was still dark enough that you can't make out the far end of the tunnel in the picture. But here it is just for giggles, and because I haven't seen many "lights on" RNRC shots yet.
Now what took place after this was pretty impressive I thought. As a seasonal theme park manager myself, as well as a pilot with countless hours of training in simulated emergency situations, I've been well taught in how to respond to an unusual situation that could or could not develop into a potential emergency. I also know it's really easy to sit back and criticize the reaction taken by whoever is in charge of a situation like that, especially if it turns ugly, but I am happy to say that this instance never got that far, and I didn't see anything at all worth criticizing.
I was very impressed with how the whole thing was handled, with nobody rushing to any impromptu snap decisions or making any minor situations into a big one by not thinking their actions through thoroughly. I don't know what the problem might have been (it was probably minor considering the ride would open again just a few minutes later, but that really doesn't matter), and apparently neither did they at the start of it all, but they stopped launching trains, cleared the track, took a few minutes to try to isolate the problem with everyone on safe grounds (this included leaving us strapped into our cars rather than let us out before knowing what the problem was), took a look at their options, and decided on the best course of action. In this case, it was decided to evacuate the ride building of all guests and then handle the problem from there. The whole thing was done "by the books," and I say this going by everything I've ever learned about reacting to situations.
As soon as it was decided it wasn't going to be a quick fix, they evacuated us from the train, which involved more CMs than I have ever seen in that attraction at any one time apparently just coming out of the woodwork and various backstage areas to help evacuate us. It was done very carefully and professionally, with at least two CMs aiding each car, releasing one car at a time all the way down the track. It's not like it was an emergency or anything, but I could still tell it was being taken very seriously, with great care and professionalism, as if it had been one.
I can't say enough that this was handled very well, and I was actually kind of proud to have been there to see it. Whoever was in charge at the time here sure did a good job. Thanks everyone!
-Don-Your heart can just take wing,You can live out all your dreams......it's time to Remember the Magic!Yo Ho, Yo Ho, A Pilot's Life for Me...
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