SFGAm 7/1/07 : Is Six Flags for Real?

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Monday, July 2, 2007 10:26 AM
Visited the park on Sunday. After paying 20 bucks to park for Summerfest in Milwaukee two days before, 15 bucks didn't seem so bad to park at Six Flags anymore (and it didn't take me two hours to get out of the parking lot at the end of the day like at Summerfest).

It was me, the Mrs., my daughter and her boyfriend. None of us had been to the park for a couple years. I have to say that overall I was very impressed with my visit.

We got to the park early and were treated to a little show by the carousel before they opened the chains to begin the running of the bulls. It made the time pass a lot quicker even if the music and dancing really wasn't all that great. Still, they made an effort, which is more than I can say about previous visits. Picking a family for the first ride of the day on the carousel and highlighting them was also a nice touch.

As soon as the ropes dropped, my wife headed off to get us a QBot and I took the kids off to Raging Bull for the first ride of the day. Raging Bull was lackluster in the morning but we ended up riding it later in the day and it seemed to have a lot more punch to it.

After two quick rides on Bull, my wife came back with the QBot. I was disappointed with the ride selection on there, but I will admit that the thing did come in handy during the day. Was it worth the money we spent for it? Probably a bit too pricey, but we definitely did get to do a lot more because of it.

We headed off to Viper next. I liked the fact that they had someone controlling the number of people going into the station. Normally the station for Viper resembles a packed cattle barn. Viper didn't seem to give the pops of ejector air that I am used to. It also seemed to track a bit rougher than before and shuffled a lot in the turns.

We made a stop at Whizzer next, using the QBot to skip a fairly long line. Nothing like riding a classic Anton. I hope they never tear down this classic.

Immediately after getting processed into Whizzer, I made a reservation for Superman. It was just my daughter and I for this and we were glad that we did not have to wait in line for the ride we got. It was fun, but not worth the wait. Keep in mind that she is not a coaster enthusiast and she felt it was not worth the wait.

We went over and did the river rampage ride, whatever it is called. Got pretty soaked, which means it was a pretty good water ride in my book :)

We did King Chaos next. They really run a pretty lame program for this. Like all of the ride cycles in the park, it is too short.

We ran out and ate some lunch by the car and came back in to catch a ride on Batman. Still running like it always has, which is a great thing.

My daughter and I did V2 real quick. Back seat, brake on the spike, what else can I say? :)

Eagle was up next after a round of snacking by the kids and some shopping. For the most part they were trying to race the red and blue trains as much as they could. The ride ops were trying to get the people in the trains hyped up to win! The ride tracks pretty bad now adays and they really do over-brake it. Still, it was fun and I won't stop riding it.

I really think the Wiggles area was a great addition as well. It is bright, friendly, and perfect for parents with kids in the tot-set. What they did with the Eagle queue is a crime (how many times do we have to go up and down an d around and around?), but I think it is worth it for the great children's area addition they got out of it.

We finished the day by hitting a few rides over again. We avoided the long queue for Deja Vu because we just didn't feel the ride was worth waiting that long for.

All in all it was a wonderful day. I was impressed most of all by the staff. Most of them were extremely friendly. Many of them asked if we were having a good day.

Another neat thing I saw was all of the rides had a capacity goal board at the operator's station. I don't know if this is new or not, but I saw on several occasions that they were taking measurements for this. It included a set minimum that they wanted to achieve, what the last hourly rate was (in persons per hour), and what their season high was. Many of the crews, especially the one on the Eagle, were showing some hustle in getting trains checked.

One thing did annoy me and that was that every employee's shirt and every garbage can had the same saying on it about their family coming to the park too so don't mess it up. The number of trash cans multiplied several times to a Cedar Fair level throughout the park.

Still, the park is a lot cleaner than I have seen it in years. For midseason, the employees are still friendly (normally they start out friendly and a month into the season lose all of their motivation).

We all promised that we would return to the park again this year, which is really what having good service and giving a great guest experience is all about. Maybe Shapiro is finally making good on those promised he made. He may just make a believer out of me yet.

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Monday, July 2, 2007 10:59 AM
SFGAm is another park that has always been run good for the most part. Shapiro didn't do zippo. In 2002 and 2003, the park was messed up. The problem was the former Orleans Place which is now Mardi Gras. They left the Cajun Cliffhanger to rot (because of that kid), and they left the supports for the Power Dive still there in which you can see it. It looked bad for the park.

That area has now changed, and maybe you think the park is "cleaner." The new area does look better, but look at what the park has in that area. Jester's Wild Ride doesn't get a crowd. The Big Easy Balloons aren't that crowded, and as you said it, King Chaos is "lame." Also, the entrance to Roaring Rapids is harder to find than before. I guess the area is better than what they had before. At least, the mouse coaster is getting a crowd.

When you are impressed with Six Flags America, Six Flags Magic Mountain, and Six Flags Over Georgia, call me up. Six Flags Over Georgia still doesn't like the maximum capacity thing. Reports I still here is that never want to open GASM with two trains. It takes them till 12 to have them running.

They still close lines down early like Deja Vu whenever they want to unlike SFMM when you tell that X is going to be closed at ___. Six Flags America is just getting the whole park open which took them forever considering it's July 1. Who knows how Six Flags Magic Mountain is doing? Anyone know?

Skull Mountain is now down again, but Octopus, Avalanche, Two-Face, Mind Eraser, and all the other rides except the Intamin Generation Drop ride are open. Again, how long did it take them to open all the rides?

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Monday, July 2, 2007 11:28 AM
^ I was very impressed with SFMM when I went in March. We had an amazing time there.
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Wednesday, July 4, 2007 8:27 PM
I also had fun during my visit to SFGAM a couple weeks ago, but their prices are getting rediculous. 55 dollars for a regular price ticket is absurd, and I know everyone uses the coke cans, but why not make the regular admission reasonable in the first place, like 45 maybe, then offer then 10 dollar discount. That and 15 dollars to park and 7 bucks for a slice of pizza is downright criminal.
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Thursday, July 5, 2007 10:42 AM
^ We paid $55 for regular admission and got a season pass out of it. Then we went to Great Adventure and New England for "free". So, each park ended up costing us like $18. We thought that was a steal!

Their parking and food are quite expensive. But, I guess we're just used to that now. Thankfully we don't eat much at parks.

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Thursday, July 5, 2007 12:00 PM
The fifteen for parking doesn't really irk me as much as it used to. As I said in my report, I pay 20 bucks for parking any time I go to a festival in downtown Milwaukee. I pay 10-20 bucks to park at Miller Park for a ballgame. I pay about 30 bucks for parking when I go see an NBA game. If Milwaukee is that bad, SFGAm's other market, Chicago, is even more insane. 15 bucks for them to park is a steal.

I will agree, the food prices are absolutely out of whack. I pay about half of the SFGAm prices at a sporting event or festival in Milwaukee. Then again, I don't eat the food at SFGAm anymore. I bring a lunch and take a break during the day to go out in the lot and eat. I actually like the break from the crowds and the noise of the park. I do buy water there, but the water prices are about normal price at a sporting venue (3.50 a bottle, 25 oz I believe).

As for the tix, seeing as I am too busy this summer to do parks, I just bought normal admission and I paid about 35 bucks a ticket at my local bank. Not too shabby for a premium Six Flags property next to the third largest city in America.

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Thursday, July 5, 2007 1:25 PM
I was there on Monday (7/2)and had pretty much the same experience. I had packed a lunch for the entire family and planned on having a snack in the afternoon and then eat dinner outside the park. For a snack we purchased two large fries and two large drinks (not souvenir size) for a total of $18!

I enjoyed everything at the park but next time will plan on skipping the snack and just packing a dinner as well.

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Thursday, July 5, 2007 5:35 PM
The way I see it, sure you can always pack at lunch and eat it out in your car, but to me thats no fun and takes something away from the overall experience. Part of the fun to me is eating park food you wouldnt normally eat elsewhere, but they are taking that away by it costing so much. That, and if its hot, who wants to go out to their car and bake with the heat coming off the asphalt...ive done that a few times, not fun. I would much rather eat in the park, and find a shady spot to sit down at, or eat indoors. That is, if I could afford it.
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