Posted Monday, September 12, 2005 12:38 PM | Contributed by Jeff
College drop-out and Redskins owner Daniel M. Snyder has little in common with pedigreed Six Flags chairman and chief executive Kieran E. Burke. This culture divide may have a lot to do with the pending stand-off between the theme park boss and its largest shareholder.
Read more from The Washington Post.
Snyder would do himself a lot of good if he roamed around his neighborhood first. Go to Six Flags Great Adventure and Six Flags America, then wander around to Dorney Park, Busch Gardens Williamsburg, and even Paramount's Kings Dominion. Look at the differences in the experience and the product. Movie tie-ins at PKD aside, these other properties' success have very little to do with marketing. They're just fun, clean and exciting places to bring the family!
On a technical note, does anyone know why Washingtonpost.com articles come in as a single skinny column on the right side of my page (it's so bad that some lines contain one word), and not as a regular looking article? It's very hard to read the way that it is right now.
Cedar Point is a park that has excessive waits per worth of the ride. I've been to plenty of SF parks where I didn't have to wait much at all, so I have no idea where that complaint comes from. BGW is one of my favorite parks and I've never been to PKD, so no comment there. Everything I've heard about SFA this year says that service has been improving, guests are being well behaved, and the Tornado is bringing up attendance. Good for them if all's true. SFDL and SFNE were both running two trains on everything that could last weekend and I was very pleasantly surprised. SFNE made a really good impression on me this time and the only thing missing at SFDL is more rides to fill the day out. Great Escape was excellent, Comet was running two trains, and everything was beautiful, clean, and well-maintained.
There are few places that park employees have stood out to me. One was the obnoxious and annoying at Lake Compounce, one was the enthusiastic and pleasant at Dollywood, HW, Knoebel's, and Disney, and one was the ignorance and stupidity at Dorney and times at a couple other CF parks. Speaking of Knott's and marketing, they need a little help with that and their website.
That being said, they need someone new, but Snyder isn't that person and I doubt the new owner alone could fix whatever problems everyone has over so many parks. I don't see the issues.
+Danny*** This post was edited by +Danny 9/12/2005 8:35:57 PM ***
But I do agree, sponsorship alone will not fix SF's woes. There has to be improvents in other areas as well.
A PBS special on Hershey Park talked about how Mr. Hershey spent his days wondering the park anonymously, hanging out with the people, and wondering how he could improve the park experience. I have met the people who run Knobels and Kennywood and they are some of the biggest amusement park fans you will find anywhere. Holiday World is always in touch with their fan base.
In sports, why would you want an owner who is not a fan, and not interested in watching their own teams play? Burke will not be found at the parks he runs. He spends his days doing the things he is interested in, which does not include hanging out at parks. I would imagine for him parks are a lot of work. The people don't function in the way the crunched numbers suggest they would, they complain, and they don't always flock to the new coaster like they did 62 times before in the past. Completely detached from the realities on the ground, while not paying to much attention to the opinions that could make a difference, like the fans.
If you have been to one Six Flags park, you've been to them all, (with a few exceptions). Same rides, same theme strategy, same names; they are the Mc Donalds of amusement parks. How do SF parks stand out and compete with this sameness strategy when there are parks like Hershey, BGW and PKI doing everything they can to offer a unique park experience for the same price? There is so much potential at SF and it wouldn't take much to turn things around because the infrastructure is so huge. My guess is Burke is SF's competition's best ally. They would hate to see him leave.
And by the way, after having been to all the Six Flags parks is the country I can tell you the youngest and most consistently inexperienced staff is found at Six Flags. Cedar Fair maybe a close second, but their customer service is better.
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