SF 4th Qt. conference call. My rant.

Sunday, March 12, 2006 8:22 AM
And my rant isn't on the new management team. It's with the enthusiasses that think the red carpet should be rolled out for them no matter who is in control.

I listened to the whole conference call including the questions. I am sorry, but I didn't hear anything that would portray this management as being anything but sincere and honest in where SF is, and where they have to be in the future.

They are a business just like Walmart, Kelloggs, Motorola, etc.

Take a business like Six Flags and where do you honestly want it to be? If you are in a market that has CF, Paramount, or the smaller amusement park chains, you probably don't care.

I am trying to figure out why some of you have this vendetta to make SF fail. Like I said before, I didn't hear one thing that Shapiro and company said that would be automatic demise for the company. I truly feel that Shapiro and his team want to see this company succeed.

Why should a company that some of you feel should follow the same lead as Disney, and at the same breath, say they should continue to keep constructing coasters, keep going down the same path as before? You need a team that heads the largest amusement park in the world to balance out what they have and what they can have.

I know SF is well known for bad customer service and ride capacity. My point is, at this point, it can't get any worse. Let the new team just get a feel of what is going on and make the necessary adjustments to improve on what SF has been doing wrong.

Heck, Shapiro even pointed out in the conference call how he saw physical signs at SFMM still showing Time Warner still running the show. I even noticed that in my once visit to SFMM back in Feb. of 2005.

Like I said, just let the new team make the changes and let's see what happens by 2007. As far as I am concerned, Bugs Bunny has just as much clout as Mickey Mouse for a VIP character lunch and autograph session.

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Sunday, March 12, 2006 8:49 AM
I agree with most of what you said, but I also agree with various enthusiast concerns (see my thread about the autographs and increased VIP cutting). I think there is truth in both sides of the "argument".

However, I disagree about enthusiasts wanting SF parks to fail. I think the opposite is true for most, and at least for me. Nothing would make me happier than seeing parks like SFMM be the cleanest, friendliest, best run park out there. I'd LOVE it.

The main concerns (again, like my personal own) seem to be about not creating new problems. (We all know theyhave plenty of old problems) Not overpricing and driving guests away. Losing customers due to no big new rides. With suck sweeping changes, the potential for new problems exists. If SF flourishes by doing these things, then I'll tip my hat to them. If it makes new problems, it could continue to hurt their already tarished image (and debt!).

Not a single one of us knows how any of Shapiros new ideas will turn out, and we won't know, big-picture wise, for quite some time. Chitown is right that we have to wait and see. Again, nothing will make me happier than a thriving SF (and park industry in general.)

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Sunday, March 12, 2006 9:18 AM
I agree with Chitown. I hear people all the time saying how they are going to *boycott* Six Flags parks now because they are not getting what THEY want. I say go ahead and boycott if you want to. That's not going to stop me from visiting, especially to the SF parks I haven't been to yet.

I guess people sometimes forget that coaster enthusiasts are a very small percentage of their bread and butter. I still somewhat agree with the prices, though. My only real gripe is the parking, but I will get over it. :-)I am not sure if it will drive the general public away or not. My guesses is it won't, but we will see.

-Tina

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Sunday, March 12, 2006 9:18 AM

Chitown said:I am trying to figure out why some of you have this vendetta to make SF fail.

I think it's funny that the SAME people that complained incessantly about Six Flags Service, and proclaimed that they wouldn't go back or spend a penny in a SF park, til they fixed these things, Are the same people claiming that they're not going back because SF had the nerve to raise prices to pay for the improvements!

I believe that if these folks found a place that was handing out free $20 bills they'd complain that there's no $100 bills!

What kills me are the folks that get an incredible value from their SF season pass and go to 6 or more SF parks for free, plus their home park about 30 times, then claim they're not getting their moneys worth, cause _____ coaster didn't run for 3 minutes the last time they were there lol!

I plan on spending more time at Six Flags parks this year simply because if they ever needed my $$$ it's this year, and if I don't support mynearest SF park, and it closes, or is sold, I only have myself to blame.

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Sunday, March 12, 2006 11:58 AM

Chitown said:


I am trying to figure out why some of you have this vendetta to make SF fail. Like I said before, I didn't hear one thing that Shapiro and company said that would be automatic demise for the company. I truly feel that Shapiro and his team want to see this company succeed.



Maybe insteading of just ranting and making vast generalizations your argument would have more teeth if you took some specific points other people have made here and dispute them.

Obviously the company is making some vast changes but expecting people to not have differing opinions about them is pretty silly unless you have some sort of specific viewpoint to offer. I'm not saying I disagree with you here, just saying that starting a thread to wag your finger at "certain people" and "some of you" and "enthusiasses" isn't really that fruitful, IMO.

As for boycotting parks, well...you know...people have been boycotting Six Flags for years, GP and enthusiasts alike, even when that isn't the word they use. When I lived in central Kentucky I took the 6 hour trip to CP on average about twice a year, and the 2 hour trip to PKI 4 or 5 times a year. I now live in the Hartford, CT area and I've taken the 3 hour trip to SFGAdv twice in 5 years, and really don't want to spend much time there any time soon.

My point is, there are people who "boycott" parks, and there are people who just don't go. I have a sister who loves coasters, and lives 20 minutes away from SFA, but never goes. She thinks its a crap park, and has a crappy time at the park, so she quit going. Considering the number of SF parks that aren't performing at the levels they once did, I don't think she's alone.

It's like Burger King. I'm not *boycotting* Burger King, I just never go because I don't like the product. *** Edited 3/12/2006 5:00:10 PM UTC by matt.*** *** Edited 3/12/2006 5:00:42 PM UTC by matt.***

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Sunday, March 12, 2006 3:29 PM
good points, matt!!

it really does just boil down to whether we "like the product" or not. i think with all this SF talk, we are just finding out who likes the product (as Chitown obviously does) and who DOESNT like the product that SF has to offer, which, it seems to me, is a majority of folks here...

i personally dont like the product. so unless it is given to me free or at a steep discount, i choose not to indulge.

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Sunday, March 12, 2006 4:54 PM

luvbono said:
and who DOESNT like the product that SF has to offer, which, it seems to me, is a majority of folks here...


I don't know about that either. I'm not a huge SF hater and I'm not a huge SF lover, but I *do* know that very rarely could any enthusiast be 100% on one side of that fence or the other. Even though I don't really care for SFA, SFKK, SFGAdv and a handful of others, its not because I don't like the parks, per se, just that they could be so much better. And for every SF park I don't care to visit that often, there's another that I adore, be it SFGAm, SFoG, or my personal favorite, SFStl.

So I wouldn't say that the majority of folks here don't like SF's product flat out, its just an issue of how much better they could be, or, in many cases, how much better they used to be. I consider my self first and foremost a PARK enthusiast, but that being said, there's a reason I've ridden around 170 coasters, too. I'm not kidding myself about that one. And as long as SF is where the coasters are, I'm still going to support the company to some extent.

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Sunday, March 12, 2006 5:15 PM

luvbono said:
DOESN'T like the product that SF has to offer, which, it seems to me, is a majority of folks here...

Speak for yourself home skillet. Great Adventure continues to be my favorite park. I am sure there are enthusiasts out there that have six flags parks as their favorites also. Just because are not as vocal as the CF bandwagoners doesn't mean we don't exist.

*** Edited 3/13/2006 12:54:40 AM UTC by Antuan***

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Sunday, March 12, 2006 6:44 PM
I wasn't trying to downplay anyone here and I apologize for using the word "enthusiass". I had just gotten home from tipping a few beers and listened in on the conference call then made this topic.

It really wasn't anything in particular that Shapiro stated in the conference call. It just seemed to me that what he said makes sense to get SF out of debt and start being a positive name in the amusement park field. If anyone hasn't listened to it yet and are curious what he had to say, it's on the SF website in the investor page.

All I am saying is let the new management team take a stab at this and let the results speak for themselves. As Jeff has pointed out in other topics, it now seems Snyder has distanced himself and is letting Shapiro run the show on his terms.

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Sunday, March 12, 2006 7:07 PM

Chitown said:


Heck, Shapiro even pointed out in the conference call how he saw physical signs at SFMM still showing Time Warner still running the show. I even noticed that in my once visit to SFMM back in Feb. of 2005.


What physical signs did you see on your visit last year?

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Sunday, March 12, 2006 7:07 PM
I hear what you're saying Chitown, and I agree. I have my own ideas on what will or won't work, but the proof is in the pudding.
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Sunday, March 12, 2006 11:03 PM
The sad thing is that the last management team was making some big inroads at parks like Six Flags Great Adventure. Anyone who visited the completely redone section for Kingda Ka probably had the same reaction I did--"Where in the heck in the park am I?" There was a lot of themeing, it was really pleasant to look at, and made you feel like you had walked into a whole other themepark than Six Flags. If Shapiro and crew can continue with that vision, I'm down with it.
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Monday, March 13, 2006 1:35 AM
The new themed KK area was very pretty, but after seeing the Tigers I didn't have much reason to go through it more than once because KK was down on my once per every five years visit. Call me jaded if you want, because it's true.

I have been wondering if the people who do not dislike SF parks are the same people who get to visit more than just one. I live in Central PA, and the only Two SF parks I visit are SFA and SFGAdv. Those Two parks are not know as as having the best operations and customer service. I prefer what other area parks offer in terms of overall guest experience.

I believe that if I had the chance to frequent the SF parks with a better reputation (SFOG, SFGAm, SFSL, SFOT), I may feel differently than I do about SF as a business. I think that's why some of you have a different opinion than mine.

The one thing that made me dislike SF as a company was the shinanigans that SFO/SFWoA tried to pull.

I will always feel ripped off as long as they continue selling line cuts, especially if I need to purchase the line cut just to be able to get on some rides. I will still not feel I get my money's worth as long as they keep limiting capacity for their rides, seemingly on purpose to get people to buy more line cuts. Even if this is not what they do, it still LOOKS like it. Until they get their act together, I will not visit as much as I would like. That is not the coaster "enthusiass" in me speaking, that's the smart consumer.

I'm not paying $75 for parking and admission plus another $40 for Q-Bot (WOW! That's $115!) to visit SFGAdv. From what we here at CB have figured out, they don't want me there anyways. Hersheypark wants me to visit them. CP wants me to visit them. PKI wants me to visit them.

I tell SF how I feel with my wallet. I don't feel I am in the same catagory as some of the others who "boycott" SF. I still go to either SFGAdv or SFA every 2 or 3 years just to see if things have changed. I do go in not expecting to have a great time, because I don't want to get my hopes up and then be disappointed. Maybe that does cause me to be much more focused on what goes wrong during the day and not on what I should be focusing on, which is having fun. My bad attitude toward SF is not my fault, it is theirs.

I, more than a lot of people, want to see them achieve success. They have potential. It's going to take a lot for them to gain my trust though.

(When I make posts this long, you know that I am passionate about the topic. HAHAHA.)

edit spelling *** Edited 3/13/2006 6:37:15 AM UTC by dexter***

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Monday, March 13, 2006 2:22 AM

Chitown said:
I am trying to figure out why some of you have this vendetta to make SF fail.

Me too - been trying to figure that one out for years.


Antuan said:
I am sure there are enthusiasts out there that have six flags parks as their favorites also.

I genuinely have enjoyed Great Adventure and Over Georgia more than Cedar Point. How sacrilege is that?

... but I'm really a sucker for Busch parks :)


dexter said:I will always feel ripped off as long as they continue selling line cuts, especially if I need to purchase the line cut just to be able to get on some rides.

Oh, so you are not only complaining about the park being busy, but also complaining that they are offering an alternative for you but you don't feel like paying for it? Does that even make sense? One way or the other, please. Either do something about it (rent a Flash Pass, go on less crowded days, tough it out in lines) or stop complaining ;)


I will still not feel I get my money's worth as long as they keep limiting capacity for their rides

The new guys are changing that, actually.


The *smart consumer* goes on to say:
I'm not paying $75 for parking and admission plus another $40 for Q-Bot (WOW! That's $115!) to visit SFGAdv.

Smart consumers don't pay face value for admission when you can save $20 online.


From what we here at CB have figured out, they don't want me there anyways.

lol I must have missed the study

JR

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Monday, March 13, 2006 2:33 AM

Jophish said:
lol I must have missed the study

He's referring to "Gonch's Theory Of Discrimination Through Pricing."

It's a stretch, but it's in its infancy stage. :)

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Monday, March 13, 2006 4:08 AM
It is not the product that makes Six Flags so bad, but how the wrap it.
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Monday, March 13, 2006 7:21 AM
yeah, it really comes down to OVERALL EXPERIENCE. at least for me.

i KNOW i am gonna have a good time at CP. i KNOW im gonna have a good time at IB. when it comes to SFGAm, though, it's hit or miss, usually miss. why would i drive almost 100 miles and spend a lot of money for a park that doesnt make me feel like i got my time and money's worth?

i can drive 2-3 hours to SFGAm (depending on traffic) and have a crappy time, or drive 90 minutes to IB and have a GREAT time...

i am NOT trying to bash SF here, but over the years, they have done little to earn back my support. every time i say "never again" and then i need a fix and there i am, usually on a free or REALLY cheap company picnic ticket. and they never fail to disappoint. why IS that?

if i am not a satisfied customer, im NOT going to go back. i'll wait for the unbiased, non-SF fanboy trip reports that say things have REALLY changed, then i'll try again. *** Edited 3/13/2006 12:22:54 PM UTC by luvbono***

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Monday, March 13, 2006 7:47 AM
In reference to Chitown's post:

"Me too - been trying to figure that one out for years."

This vendetta again? I still am not sure who exactly is a member of this, or who here at CB really wants SF to fail. Can we get some quotes please, or is this still based completely on just vague perception or whatever. How about this, all members who would like to admit they are part of the vendetta to make SF fail, out yourself here, then maybe we can have a real conversation about real things instead of general perceptions on an internet message board.

" One way or the other, please. Either do something about it (rent a Flash Pass, go on less crowded days, tough it out in lines) or stop complaining"

Or.....stop going as much, which it sounds like he did, yes? Again, if you don't like the product at Burger King as much as you used to, you stop going as much. Its not like he's going every weekend and then coming here complaining how awful it is. And then, concerning ride capacity:

"The new guys are changing that, actually."

That's all well and good, but Chitown's original post cuts both ways. Let's wait and see if this works, sure...but let's wait and see if this doesn't work, too. Because most of the North American SF parks aren't even open yet, and even then we gotta wait and see what changes last and which ones don't. But trust me, as soon as I hear about an improved SF in a number of parks for a good amount of time, I'll be happy to reknew that season pass I haven't gotten in roughly 4 years.:) Actually I thought this summed it pretty nicely:


luvbono said:

if i am not a satisfied customer, im NOT going to go back. i'll wait for the unbiased, non-SF fanboy trip reports that say things have REALLY changed, then i'll try again.


*** Edited 3/13/2006 1:05:17 PM UTC by matt.***
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Monday, March 13, 2006 9:35 PM
Well, I actually spent time at the so called crappy SF parks like Kentucky Kingdom and Darien Lake, and had a great time at all of them. Perhaps my expectations were not overly high, but I did enjoy myself. Sometimes I think people are too harsh when they judge places.

That being said, I do see where Cedar Point and Kennywood are run much better. I hope to see more changes at Six Flags even though I am able to enjoy myself at their parks. *** Edited 3/14/2006 2:35:32 AM UTC by Mikewhy***

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Tuesday, March 14, 2006 4:27 AM

Jophish said:

dexter said:I will always feel ripped off as long as they continue selling line cuts, especially if I need to purchase the line cut just to be able to get on some rides.

Oh, so you are not only complaining about the park being busy, but also complaining that they are offering an alternative for you but you don't feel like paying for it? Does that even make sense? One way or the other, please. Either do something about it (rent a Flash Pass, go on less crowded days, tough it out in lines) or stop complaining ;)


I will still not feel I get my money's worth as long as they keep limiting capacity for their rides

The new guys are changing that, actually.


The *smart consumer* goes on to say:
I'm not paying $75 for parking and admission plus another $40 for Q-Bot (WOW! That's $115!) to visit SFGAdv.

Smart consumers don't pay face value for admission when you can save $20 online.


From what we here at CB have figured out, they don't want me there anyways.

lol I must have missed the study

JR


Yes, Jophish, You missed the study. It makes me feel pretty crappy that an amusement park, a business of which I am publicly fanatical about, would not desire my hard earned money, just because I don't wish to spend any more than around $200 on a one day trip for myself. There is always a chance of me bringing along others who would have spent money as well, so they really lose, and I really lose too. That's the nail in the coffin as far as I am concerned.

I am not complaining at all about the parks being busy. Other parks are very busy sometimes and when the lines move effeciently I have no problem at all. My experience with SF is that they don't want to move lines effeciently, so if you want to ride, you almost have no choice but to submit to paying the equivalent to another admission or Two to be able to cut in front of everyone else. I consider it cutting because you can ride other rides while your spot is being held for your "flash pass" ride. I "tough it out in lines" all the time at other parks that don't try to scam their valued guests.

And they have *SAID* that they are changing ride capacity. That doesn't mean that they really are. Remember last year? Or the year before that? I still do not trust them as a business, even if there's a new team in charge. It's possible that my mind may change in a year or so.

(About your "smart consumer comment", I'm right here. I'm a part of the conversation. I'm talking directly to you right now, not to the other readers. I'm not trying to sway anyones opinion. I am stating how I feel. Please do not mock me by speaking about me as if I'm not here. That offended me...Respectfully.)

Yes I try to save money when I buy park tickets. I'll admitt that I was leaving that out to make a point. Subtract the $20 I will save by buying my ticket online and I'll still pay $95 just to get in and buy access to the rides. Does $95 seem a little steep to you? (I include "Flash Pass" as part of the SF admission because I feel that it is nessessary to be able to enjoy the park, even though it's causing those without it to wait much longer overall because of the "waiting in
Two lines" effect.)

Note that I do not need a Q-bot at Hersheypark, CP, KW, or the many other places I go to instead of SF, thus giving me a much better value.

If I decide that I don't like to go to SF, why argue with me? It's an argument that you can't win because I know what I like and dislike, and you may not feel the same. You are just as right as me. I am giving my reasons for not wanting to go to SF, that's all. Go if you want to go, and I'll go somewhere else, and we both will be content with our choices.

Maybe your experience and my experience with Q-Bot/FastLane are very different. In my experience, it does not help overall capacity. It's in SF's best interest to lower capacity to sell more Q-Bots. It's been their policy to make money right now and not worry about later. Q-Bot is another way they choose the fast buck over gaining a loyal customer base who will come back year after year. That's how my eyes see the situation. That's how I have been taught how NOT to do business. I don't aggree that the company should be creating a problem and then selling an add-on that is supposed to help the problem. That's a scam, in my book.

...And so ends my late night rant of many explanations.

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