Close Magic Mountain? Residents Aren't Thrilled

Tuesday, July 4, 2006 1:20 AM
rollergator's avatar ^ Probably meant Oklahoma....not sold yet, AFAIK, but certainly in its last season in the chain...

edit: I can't believe I even find it necessary to say this....I absolutely HATE to see a park, any park, close its doors. A Park of the potential of SFMM is especailly disheatening. Yeah, the park is 3,000 miles away...then again, I've visited SFMM more than any other park outside FL. Which means I've seen the potential for a *fabulous* park first-hand many times....also means I've seen the ENORMOUS gap between what SHOULD have been and what was...

Libertyland, Miracle Strip, SFAW, Williams Grove, now SFMM and Pavilion....can't see ANY reason to be *happy* about ANY of those....then again, like DWeaver said, there's nothing so "profitable" as a land developer and some valuable real estate...

*** Edited 7/4/2006 5:25:56 AM UTC by rollergator***

Tuesday, July 4, 2006 1:22 AM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

If your are buying Shipiro's creative strategy of improving parks by selling them off to land development projects, then you can't call your self a true advocate of amusement parks.

As opposed to what? Sinking money into the hell hole and losing all the parks a few years down the road?

I'd think someone who really cared about the parks would be glad that the necessary steps are being taken to preserve the future of Six Flags. If it takes losing a couple big parks and a handful of smaller ones to save the other 20 - then it makes perfect sense, doesn't it?

Tuesday, July 4, 2006 2:48 AM
Well... guess I won't get to ride Tatsu after all...
"It's probably in my basement... let me go upstairs and check" -Escher
Tuesday, July 4, 2006 3:07 AM
Yeah you will. You'll just be flying over St.Louis instead of Valencia! ;)
Tuesday, July 4, 2006 8:15 AM
jkpark's avatar TAER IT DOWN!!!!!111111!!1


Tuesday, July 4, 2006 9:59 AM
SFMM just needs to be what it is really - only much better!
airtime for everyone
Tuesday, July 4, 2006 12:14 PM

dragonoffrost said:
Moosh, I have not listened to the investor podcast since I don't really want to sit and listen to a bunch of corporate speak.

Yes, most investor podcasts are quite dull, but the June 22 Six Flags podcast was actually very interesting. It's just over 2 hours long, and the corporate speak is almost exclusively in the 2nd hour. During the first hour, Shapiro addresses current operation situations and brand perception, including:

  • reading a letter from a disappointed customer
  • describing his family's personal disappointment that they had to wait to ride a kiddy ride because the park was understaffed
  • comments about staff not trained properly or lacking English skills
  • desire to eliminate long food lines
  • desire to eliminate single train operation on coasters and single operator on many flats (he wants to speed up load cycles)
  • frustration that El Toro will have single train operation until July.
  • disappointed that ultra-low staffing by previous administration has lead to so many bad guest experiences that the Six Flags brand is tarnished worse than Shapiro believed.
  • comments on family friendly marketing, comparing Six Flags to Hersheypark, and what it will take for Six Flags parks achieve that kind of family-friendly brand recognition.

It really is worth a listen.

Tuesday, July 4, 2006 12:30 PM
rollergator's avatar ^ ROFL @ "ultra-low staffing by previous administration has lead to so many bad guest experiences that the Six Flags brand is tarnished worse than Shapiro believed."

Had he VISITED before? Read any web boards on parks? He should NOT be surprised by that. Cute waitress at the Steak-n-Shake less than a mile from SFStL was asking us about our day at the park, and it was OBVIOUS she was one of the "former customers" disenchanted by the way the park had been run. Funny to me, 'cause I've always pegged SFStL as one of the BETTER parks in the chain operations-wise. Certainly a park that isn't lacking in charm...

If Shapiro thought HIS family's disappointment about understaffed rides was a unique experience, he needs to get out more when the parks are open (humor at SFGAdv's expense there).... ;)
*** Edited 7/4/2006 4:31:18 PM UTC by rollergator***

Tuesday, July 4, 2006 1:45 PM

rc-madness said:
Most of the folks who think it would be a wise business decision to liquidate Magic Mountain live on the other side of the country. What's up with that? Maybe there is entrainment value in seeing parks dismantled from a distance?

If your are buying Shipiro's creative strategy of improving parks by selling them off to land development projects, then you can't call your self a true advocate of amusement parks. This would be the second park liquidated during Shapiro's short watch. My guess he has never had any plans to improve Magic Mountain. This has been seen as a big money making land deal by new management for some time I bet, and I think blaming unruly teenagers is an excuse to keep people investing in Six Flags.

I'd say from the look is things Six Flag's aggressive park take overs and ensuing billion dollar dept has now been followed by the worst possible outcome. Management scrapping these parks for slightly higher profit margins rather then selling to alternate park management wanting to keep the parks running for the fans. I guess if Six Flags can't have these parks no one will. And if that doesn't piss you off, then what the hell is up with you dude?!

For coaster fans it should be unforgivable for Six Flags to tear down the Mountain... Is that just my opinion?

It was Burke who made the decision to close SFAW before Shapiro took over so blame him for it not Shapiro,it was also Burke's stupid decision to buy park after park & thus put the chain into debt.This was what he did with the premiere parks chain long before they aqquired SF in 98.

Coaster fans make up only a small segment of the park going population & the folks making the decision on what parks to close aren't going to bat an eye at a whiney bunch of teens on a messageboard complaining about the possible closure of this,or any other park especially if it means the future financial stability of the chain is on the line.

I don't believe we'll be seeing ride relocations from any of the parks should they close,as much as that might help in the short term ride relocations are expensive which is why I'm not salivating over the thought of any of SFMM's coasters being sent to my local SF park for example because in all likelyhood that simply won't happen.

Tuesday, July 4, 2006 2:27 PM

rc-madness said:

I guess if Six Flags can't have these parks no one will. And if that doesn't piss you off, then what the hell is up with you dude?!

I don't think anyone is whipping out pom-poms and going "rah rah, Suburbia!" at the likely demise of SFMM. It's just accepting the corporate reality.

Six Flags is simply collecting bids and pursuing the offer that will help it pay down the most debt so it can remain a viable entity. In Houston, it turned out to be a real estate developer but in Aurora it wound up being Cedar Fair and in Columbus it was the city zoo.

This isn't malice. Many of the six parks on the block will likely continue as parks. Magic Mountain just happens to be the one cursed by sitting on real estate that is worth more to a developer than to a park operator. Is it sad? You bet it is. But if Blackstone offers $100 million to keep the park running and it is countered by a developer like Irvine or D.R. Horton offering $200 million, you can't kid yourself about what's going to happen.

As a public company with a fiduciary duty to its shareholders, it's the grim reality that may find Jeff off to register one day.

Tuesday, July 4, 2006 2:42 PM
Why is everyone so convinced that Shapiro wants what's best for Six Flags? Ever think MAYBE they bought the whole chain to systematically dismantle it? Dan Snyder is not a very swell guy and things like that wouldn't surprise me. Six Flags as Disney is gonna tank harder than New Coke, and then what? "We're not profitable, so we're closing all parks and selling them".

Not saying that's what the deal is, just saying don't be shocked if it is.

Tuesday, July 4, 2006 3:43 PM
Coaster fans should be horrified that Shapiro has figured out he can turn a profit selling parks to housing projects! When was the last time this happened, oh ya, it was AstroWorld just weeks after Shapiro took over. And before that when was the last time a large amusement park was sold for land development purposes? At least when it happened in Denver the park was relocated. I assure you there will be no park relocations this time. Once these parks are gone, they’re gone forever. Paramount didn’t first check to see if a strip mall was needed in the middle of King’s Island. Thank god they sold their parks to someone else in the business of running parks.

Remember that before Six Flags insanely purchased like 20 parks in ten years time, these parks were locally owned and cared for by residents for years. It is one thing for Six Flags to dump these parks onto others in the amusement park business. It is something else to kill them off. Don’t think for a second Shapiro is not responsible for pulling the trigger just because hired hit men in the housing authority to do it for him. Maybe people would take this more seriously if it was Cedar Fair announced that they were scrapping Cedar Point to build condos for the purposes of improving the rest of their parks. Then let’s hear all the praise for Cedar Fair’s smart business decisions from self-proclaimed coaster fans.

Some are still assuming Shapiro is actually interested in improving these parks, like he’s some sort of savior for Six Flag’s mismanagement. How he’s making this big sacrifice of Magic Mountain so the rest of Six Flags will be reborn. Then you can go to your local Six Flags park, which has not yet been targeted for liquidation, and your rest room is a little more cleaner, or maybe you only had to wait 5 minutes instead of 10 to get your hotdog, or maybe you see a few more super heroes on the grounds and you can say to your self “Thanks California for sacrificing your giant amusement park for the rest of us.” You’d be kidding yourself because what ever profit differential Shapiro made first going to housing projects vs. someone actually in the business of appropriately managing amusement parks went directly into Shapiro’s back pocket. He’s not interested in saving or improving your park.

When Time Warner paid Six Flags to mismanage SFoG to bring down the value of that park, that was a rare case of underhanded business practices being caught with their hand in the cookie jar. I’m sure it happens all the time. Just as I’m sure Shapiro never had any intention to improve Magic Mountain. Who knows how long this land deal has been in the works or if it was one of the reasons Shapiro wanted Six Flags so badly. Who knows how many more land deals are in the works. What we do know is Shapiro will make no attempts to sell off parks to competitors willing to do what Six Flags is not. And I hope you aren’t holding your breath for any major improvements to local Six Flags. Shapiro is starting to show his true colors and it has to do with significant park improvements.

In some ways this is worse than a hostile business takeover, dismantling the business for profits. We’re not just talking about the staff that no longer get to work there, or a community that supports the park, or hotels and restaurants that count on the park to attract guests. Ride designers like Schwarzkopf, Summers & Curtis, Vekoma, Intamin, Arrow, B&M who have spent decades building historic rides at this one of a kind park. Six Flags has spent millions selling Magic Mountain to the West Coast public in an effort to build a loyal fan base. Season ticket holders that have counted on this giant park for years, now they’ve turned their backs turned on them to get greater profits from housing projects.

Don’t preach that Shapiro or Six Flags management doesn’t have a choice on the matter. Just as you have a choice to support their decision to kill this park. It’s worse than betrayal. It’s irresponsible and within the context of the amusement industry its bad business to tear down a Mountain of amusement. You cannot be an advocate for amusement parks while simultaneously supporting their destruction. *** Edited 7/4/2006 8:06:13 PM UTC by rc-madness***

Tuesday, July 4, 2006 4:20 PM

What we do know is Shapiro will make no attempts to sell off parks to competitors willing to do what Six Flags is not.

No, we do not know that. Six Flags sold Ohio to a competitor. They sold Wyandot Lake to the zoo. They sold all the European parks to whatever entity was over there and willing to take them. There are pending offers to take over Frontier City.

As far as we know there were no realistic bids on Astroworld, so it was sold to a developer. The same case may hold true with Magic Mountain. The highest bidder takes the park, whether its to keep operating or to raze it.

Tuesday, July 4, 2006 4:33 PM
Heh, rc-madness said exactly what I said, just in a more verbose way. Glad to see I'm not the only one who sees that tragic possibility.

If SFoG gets the axe, I'm moving. CAR alone just isn't enough for me.

BTW, as a side note, since Paramount no longer owns Carowinds, I suggest CAR as the official Carowinds abbrieviation.

Tuesday, July 4, 2006 4:39 PM
You do raise some good point rc-madness. And whether people agree with your point of view or not, it's GREAT to see some genuine *passion* where this subject is concerned, rather than the usual "whatever happens, happens". It's refreshing to hear someone not affraid to defend the more unpopular opinion with such gusto.

I personally have always thought Shapiro was on the right track with his views and decisions on SFMM. But after reading some recent trip reports fron SFGadv, I would have to agree that Shapiro's "family focus" spiel is starting to come off as a bit more cynical. Once again you make some great points and I guess we'll have to see how it all plays out.

Tuesday, July 4, 2006 4:59 PM
rollergator's avatar

rc-madness said:Paramount didn’t first check to see if a strip mall was needed in the middle of King’s Island.
....snip.... Maybe people would take this more seriously if it was Cedar Fair announced that they were scrapping Cedar Point to build condos for the purposes of improving the rest of their parks. ....snip...What we do know is Shapiro will make no attempts to sell off parks to competitors willing to do what Six Flags is not.

First, I'd betcha Paramount DID check to figure out how to get the MOST out of their parks. Due to the locations of their parks (save PGA), they were likely more valuable AS amusement parks. Second, Cedar Fair won't tear CP apart, too profitable as is. CFGA in NorCal, that sucker won't be an amusement park for too much longer, IMO, too valuable as real estate. CF isn't in the business "just to run amusement parks for fun" any more than SFI is or PP was...they're in the business to make MONEY. Any SF park that goes up for sale will go to the HIGHEST bidder, they're NOT going to take less money from a developer any sooner than they'd take less from an amusmement park operator...

Personally, I wouldn't be too surprised to see Frontier City taken over by someone wanting to run an amusement park (if they think they can turn a bigger profit than SFI did). I would be AMAZED, however, if SFEG was sold to anyone BUT a developer...

(For relevant info, see chillforce's news on Funtown Pier in NJ)... :(

I love parks like a fat kid loves cake....but these guys are dealing in BILLIONS of dollars, *not* all their own. I would VBASTLY (nay, infinitely) prefer they remain AS amusement parks. But the closer SFI comes to turning a *profit*, the higher the stock value, and the more money Snyder and Shapiro make...

Sad? You BET! Inevitable? Probably... :(

*** Edited 7/4/2006 9:02:32 PM UTC by rollergator***

Tuesday, July 4, 2006 5:42 PM

rollergator said:

I love parks like a fat kid loves cake rollergator***

But you ARE a fat kid, Bill :)

It is devastating to lose any park and it would definitely be a sad day to lose the SF parks that SF is talking about possibly doing something with. Yet, you also have to consider what is best for the company to continue to operate.

Like Bill said, it is better to have SF be a profitable company versus the hell it is in now. The idea is to make money and Shapiro is entrusted with that goal. Although it would be in our interest if they sold as parks, but what is in the Companys best interest is what is most important.

I just hope that the day of the mega coaster building is not over, but obviously the competition is dwindling for bragging rights. The end of the coaster wars looks to have come upon us.


An Old Coaster fart that refuses to grow old, I just wish many of my friends could have as well!

Tuesday, July 4, 2006 6:12 PM
rollergator's avatar Can't help but think that IF those parks had been run the way they SHOULD have been run, they might BE profitable enough to hold off the developers....the entire industry kinda got a "black eye" during the coaster boom...lots of parks, not just SF parks, lost their *focus* and began neglecting employees AND customers in favor of marketing their latest thrill rides.

Was the coaster boom bad for the industry? That could turn out to be my Master's thesis... ;)

Tuesday, July 4, 2006 7:16 PM
In my opinion, Magic Mountain won't close. There are plenty of reasons for this.

1) Too much money has been invested into the park to have it shut down. They've put a lot of money into coasters like X to just tear it down.

2) If they were considering closing it, Tatsu would not have been built. There's no park in the world that can buy it! It's terrain crafted design makes it impossible to be put into any other park. When Astroworld shut down, their newest coaster was Serial Thriller built in 1999 I believe. 6 years without a new coaster is a sign of possibly shutting down.

3) The park does give the community plenty of jobs for people. Think of how many people will be out of work if the park closes down.

The park can't close. It can be sold, preferably to Cedar Fair, but not closed.

Roller first true love.
Tuesday, July 4, 2006 9:10 PM
Cedar Fair can't sell Great America for the land, since it is on land owned by and rented from the city of Santa Clara. The city council held a special session to facilitate the transfer, since they had previously expected to have more time. They like the $5.3 million a year in rent they get for the land from the park. Since it's in the heart of Silicon Valley, if the city didn't sell the land during the dot bomb years, they're not going to any time soon.

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