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Does GPS/Satnav sometimes think you’re a park employee?

MestnyiGeroi

Giga Poster
I use the Googlemaps or Applemaps GPS on my phone to get to any amusement park I don’t know, and this works well nearly all of the time.

But every once in a while, maybe for one out of every ten parks, GPS directs me not to the visitor parking lot, but to the entrance for the employee parking lot. After the first time this happened to me (SFFT), I have sometimes been able to spot in real time what it’s doing and avoid the wrong entrance, but sometimes it still gets me. Fwiw, this has only ever happened to me with US parks.

Am I the only one whom GPS wants to recruit as an employee? Has anyone else encountered this?
 

Matt N

Strata Poster
I remember that happened to us when visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios for the first time in April 2019!

Although in fairness, I think the extensive roadworks going on around Walt Disney World in 2019 generally confused the satnav a little, as we had some other dodgy directions given to us that trip…
 

Dar

Hyper Poster
I think Google bases it's routing around what's most popular among its users. So if the staff entrance is used by more Google maps drivers than the main entrance (maybe visitors use Waze?), then Google/the algorithm will start preferring that route.

Or I could be talking out my rear again!
 

Hixee

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I desperately don't want this to sound like I'm preaching from my high horse, and in many ways I'd happily take the criticism of being a paranoid overthinker, but...

Do none of you actually check the route the GPS is suggesting before you blindly follow it?

I will compulsively give the route suggestion a quick check, generally around the final bit of the destination, but also a general skim along the route. Partly to loosely familiarise myself with the journey, but also to see if any of these sort of oddities have reared their ugly heads. It seems a bit crazy to me that you wouldn't. :p

Of course, it's not easy to know where the employee entrance vs regular entrance is for parks you're not familiar with, but then are you also not reading the road signs when you get closer? :D
 
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JoshC.

Giga Poster
Do none of you actually check the route the GPS is suggesting before you blindly follow it?

I will compulsively give the route suggestion a quick check, generally around the final bit of the destination, but also a general skim along the route. Partly to loosely familiarise myself with the journey, but also to see if any of these sort of oddities have reared their ugly heads. It seems a bit crazy to me that you wouldn't. :p

I don't do anything to this degree, but I always check that the final destination is roughly where I expect it to be. Though I only do that because I had a bad experience with an old sat nav that started taking me to the previous destination I had inputted, and realised a little later than I probably should have..


But yeah, with any sort of tourist destination, when I know I'm close, I always look out for road signs and park signage to direct me over Google Maps anyway.
 

witchfinder

Hyper Poster
We had this on the CF trip to Walibi Belgium in 2017. I was driving and followed the SatNav instructions and we could see the park on the horizon, but it took us off the motorway and through a small village and we were all saying "this can't be right" and sure enough, we wound up at the employee entrance. To be fair though, as a UK enthusiast used to parks like Alton Towers and Drayton Manor, driving through a small village to get to a theme park isn't unusual! 😆
 

davidm

Strata Poster
Don't just blindly follow your SatNav when idly driving to unfamiliar theme parks folks....

.....you might just end up on a stupid one-man ferry in the middle of the Polish countryside....

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....and what is worse, you might well have ended up on that SAME one-man ferry ~12 months earlier, also blindly following SatNav but going in the other direction ; you'd think you would have learned. 🤣
 

Hixee

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Don't just blindly follow your SatNav when idly driving to unfamiliar theme parks folks....

.....you might just end up on a stupid one-man ferry in the middle of the Polish countryside....
Indeed, or you can purposefully adjust your journey to take the more scenic route - much better way of getting to BGW than some generic highway - in my opinion:

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davidm

Strata Poster
^ I expect that you KNEW you were going on that ferry though.

I certainly did not know that the first time I encountered it...

...and the second time I had a "Oh god I hope I'm not on the road that turns into that stupid ferry" moment, approximately 20 seconds before I saw the ferry.

Oh how I laughed.
 

Hixee

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^ I expect that you KNEW you were going on that ferry though.
Oh indeed, that was a very deliberate route choice on my part. ;)

Man, I'd have loved to be fly on the wall (or... on the windscreen?) during that realisation moment when you clocked it. :D
 

CanobieFan

Giga Poster
I ended up on that BGW ferry route years ago by accident coming from Georgia... I didn't realize it wasn't gonna be a bridge until like a mile from the boat, at least it was free!

My old GPS back in the early 00's going to Lake Compounce used to bring me (or anyone I guess) to their Maintenance building address because Lake Ave, the physical address for the park wasn't where the parking lot entrance is. Pretty sure MapQuest (to date myself a bit more...) did the same, haha
 

DelPiero

Strata Poster
My old GPS back in the early 00's going to Lake Compounce used to bring me (or anyone I guess) to their Maintenance building address because Lake Ave, the physical address for the park wasn't where the parking lot entrance is. Pretty sure MapQuest (to date myself a bit more...) did the same, haha
I've done that too.
I've also gone in the wrong entrance for Towers once as well, I think it was the first time I drove there myself. Never made that mistake again.
 

MountedShooter

Roller Poster
I learned my lesson MANY years ago with an old TomTom GPS when I headed to a horse campground. Google streets wasn't a thing back then and the equivalent to Google Earth was also severely lacking. I wound up on a one lane dirt road headed up a mountain while towing a 3 horse trailer with full living quarters. There was nowhere to turn around with such a large rig, and backing up wasn't an option. Thankfully I was able to call the campground and get better directions.
 

MestnyiGeroi

Giga Poster
I desperately don't want this to sound like I'm preaching from my high horse, and in many ways I'd happy take the criticism of being a paranoid overthinker, but...

Do none of you actually check the route the GPS is suggesting before you blindly follow it?

I will compulsively give the route suggestion a quick check, generally around the final bit of the destination, but also a general skim along the route. Partly to loosely familiarise myself with the journey, but also to see if any of these sort of oddities have reared their ugly heads. It seems a bit crazy to me that you wouldn't. :p

Of course, it's not easy to know where the employee entrance vs regular entrance is for parks you're not familiar with, but then are you also not reading the road signs when you get closer? :D
I DO check the route in advance, and no, it’s usually not discernible from the start whether it’s ending at an employee entrance (if it were labeled “employee entrance,” GPS wouldn’t choose it!). Now when you approach the area, yes, that’s when — after the first time being wronged at SFFT — I check the signs and if they’re all saying turn left for park entrance but the GPS is saying turn right into an unmarked lane, then that’s when it’s obvious to correct the final step. I mentioned that in the OP. But if there is a poorly marked park entrance, for example, but the GPS is saying there’s a better entrance in 1000 feet, that’s when it can still get you.
 

MouseAT

Hyper Poster
I find the secret is usually to check the park's web site ahead of time. Often, the published address of the park is wherever the offices are, which doesn't always match where the general public should enter. Often, if this is the case, they'll post an actual SatNav address or postcode on the site, which may differ from the business address.

Google Street View is awesome when dealing with unfamiliar parks as well. It's great for scoping out the approach and entrance to the park. That way, I know I can use SatNav to get close, follow signs where appropriate, but I also know vaguely what the junction looks like ahead of time, so it doesn't take me by surprise.
 

Gazza

Giga Poster
Can someone explain the BGW ferry thing?

Yeah when I get close to a park (Eg to the relevant highway exit) then I just follow signs because a lot of theme parks have multiple car parks,day to day traffic management, variable signage so satnav is useless.
 

Hixee

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Can someone explain the BGW ferry thing?
Basically there's an option to take Route 31 to Williamsburg which takes you across the James River:
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It drops you off right at the Historic Jamestown settlement, which you can do a scenic drive through, before coming out in Williamsburg just down the road from BGW.

I had some time to spare after coming down from the north, and this is a significantly nicer and quieter route that coming down I-64.
 

FarleyFlavors

Mega Poster
Google Street View is awesome when dealing with unfamiliar parks as well. It's great for scoping out the approach and entrance to the park. That way, I know I can use SatNav to get close, follow signs where appropriate, but I also know vaguely what the junction looks like ahead of time, so it doesn't take me by surprise.
I go one step further by using Street View to get the exact location of the entrance then pinpointing that location in the SatNav, rather than using any address supplied by the park itself. It might sound like overkill, but I've been let down by GPS too many times in the past.
 

Nitefly

Hyper Poster
Off topic, but the ferry boat^ has reminded me of something ridiculous.

I once bought a train ticket from Rome to Sicily. I didn’t think about it too much until I boarded the train… how was I going to cross the sea?

“Maybe a tunnel… or a bridge…. No, that’s silly,” I thought. “In all likelihood I’m going to get off the train, board a boat, then get on a different train on the other side.”

Nope!

The train gets on the ****ing boat. I kid you not. They took all the carriages apart, loaded them onto the boat, then assembled it on the other side in the most inefficient time/cost exercise I have ever seen.

KqdW8ID.jpg


WHAT WERE THEY THINKING!!!
 
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