SFGAm: possible 3 mil plus attendance in 2005?

Tuesday, April 12, 2005 9:42 PM
With the brand spanking new waterpark being included with park admission and with this park for the past few years averaging 2.5 mil guests a year, do you think SFGAm will reach or exceed the 3 million mark this season?

Personally, I believe it will. It's regarded as one of the best run SF parks and now with a waterpark included, it's definitely going to pull people away that would normally visit the waterparks up in the Dells.

It might be a longshot, but I see this park pulling in attendance figures as other seasonal parks such as CP, PKI, and SFGADv.

Your thoughts.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005 9:50 PM
I think I need to find something to eat for dinner.

I think "Simpsons" is still one of the best-written shows on TV.

I think "Eternal Sunshine" was released too early in 2004 and was overlooked at the Oscars.

Oh, wait...you meant thoughts on the increase in attendence? ;) Yeah, I suppose that's a realistic number. I'm not familiar with the market...how many other waterparks are there? Was the only other choice up in the Dells?


*** Edited 4/13/2005 2:11:41 AM UTC by Mamoosh***

Tuesday, April 12, 2005 10:09 PM
I hope if attendance goes up at that much it is because the people are at the waterpark and not in the lines for RB/Viper.
Of course for SFGAM to benefit greatly from the attendance spike it needs to be new day customers and not season passholders visiting more times.
Tuesday, April 12, 2005 10:36 PM
I'm kind of surprised they don't already do 3 million a year. If they don't this year, I would have to say that something is really wrong with their marketing message.
Tuesday, April 12, 2005 10:48 PM
SFGAm was pulling over 3 million guests each year in 1999. Since then, attendance has been dropping. I have some theories as to why (the lack of a waterpark being one), but I don't think anyone would be able to give a definitive answer. My hope is that the park has taken steps to fix whatever issues were keeping people away the last few years.


Tuesday, April 12, 2005 10:56 PM
I know this probably isn't the reason for the drop in attendance, but I know a lot of my friend's families won't go anymore because it costs too much. Also, when I am talking to other people about SFGAm, they always say that they use to go all the time but it costs too much to go now. To my friends though, I clue them in about a season pass and they usually get them after I tell them how much it'll save them, but I was shocked that a lot of my friend's had no idea they could get a season pass or they were under the impression that a season pass cost $150. Again, I know this probably isn't the reason as these are just my friends and their families and they represent a small percent of their customers, but it could be one of many reasons why there is a drop in attendance.
Tuesday, April 12, 2005 11:04 PM
So maybe it is their marketing. I thought it was a great park when I visited. Unfortunately, the place was packed and all the lines were long. Their operations are not top notch, but they are quite a bit better than what I'm used to seeing in the other SF parks I've visited. Still with the huge city of Chicago right there, 3 million should be easy - especially with the price of season passes.
Tuesday, April 12, 2005 11:05 PM
I think they were lacking New Family Attractions, but now with the water park they will be adding a lot of new family attractions. I see a 200,000 - 400,000 increase in attendance. Now they need to work on having more shows.
Tuesday, April 12, 2005 11:08 PM
It seemed to stay swamped with the attendance they already had...but the waterpark should help that a bit.


Wednesday, April 13, 2005 12:03 AM

Jeff said:I would have to say that something is really wrong with their marketing message.

They don't really have a marketing message, besides the national Mr. Six ads that aired last year. Last season the park put in 5 new attractions, but they didn't advertise for any of them. I was really surprised they did all that and didn't even add them into the T.V. spots. *** Edited 4/13/2005 4:05:31 AM UTC by CoasterDude316***

Wednesday, April 13, 2005 9:44 AM
I think people stopped going because the park was always too crowded. It's a great park and all, but summer Saturdays there are just too many people around. Heck, it's getting to the point that summer Sundays are borderline horrible too. Add to that, they have a shorter operating season than say PKI and Chicago weather is insane, oppressively hot one day, a deluge of thunderstorms the next. That'd keep me away more days.

But as someone who grew up with the park, I'd say you cant discount the price factor either. While everybody talks about the so-called "Six Flags Babysitting Service" actual family outings to the park is hella expensive.

On the marketing front though, who in the Chicago area does NOT know about Great America?

lata, jeremy

Wednesday, April 13, 2005 10:47 AM
Everybody knows what it is, they just aren't educated about it (as in the price, new rides, etc). Most of my friends haven't been to the park in years. Also, whenever I tell my friends I haven't seen in awhile where I live now; the easiest way for me to tell them is "10 minutes from Great America" rather than the town I live in.
Wednesday, April 13, 2005 10:50 AM

2Hostyl said:
On the marketing front though, who in the Chicago area does NOT know about Great America?

But do they know about the numerous new rides last season or the big waterpark expansion this year? That is the real question.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005 10:54 AM
I cant speak for last years and this years additions, but I *can* say that three years ago my grandmother, who hasnt been in an amusement park since Riverview closed, warned my sister not to get on that "Deja crap" beacause "it's always broken".

Hmm, maybe *that's* why people stopped coming in droves....

lata, jeremy

--Tell me again who says there is no such thing as bad publicity?

Wednesday, April 13, 2005 11:26 AM

2Hostyl said:
While everybody talks about the so-called "Six Flags Babysitting Service" actual family outings to the park is hella expensive.

But how much does it cost when mommy kicks Junior outta the car at the drop-off area at 3pm, only to come by at 9 to pick him up? THAT'S where the babysitting service comes in....and that's why I love Lake Winnie's idea of "minors must be accompanied by a (responsible?) adult". ;)

edit: Still, if they're doing 2.5M now, a jump of 20% is nigh impossible in ONE year...sure, HW has done 20% jumps, but that was fom a base of less than 1M....IF they can pull in 3M, then that waterpark will go down as the BEST investment ever....and we'll have to start a *counter* thread to this other one...:)
*** Edited 4/13/2005 3:28:09 PM UTC by rollergator***

Wednesday, April 13, 2005 11:38 AM
But Gator, my beef with the BS notion is that people say it's the season pass pricing that is the driving motivation. But truth of the matter is, NO SEASON PASS is *nearly* as expensive as true day care. If you like the "accompanied minor thing" sure okay, that's at least a valid argument.

But truthfully, I didnt know not one person growing up who had a season pass. And except if you live in the far North Suburbs, SFGAm is hella inconvient to just "drop off junior". So I guess I remain un-persuaded.

lata, jeremy

Wednesday, April 13, 2005 12:02 PM
LOL, the "driving motivation" is getting Junior outta her hair for a few hours! :)

The babysitting issue is MUCH worse with those parks closer to the major metropolitan areas...try SFAW for instance.

I'm thinking that a 10% increase in attendance at GAm, to say 2.75M, is an extra quarter MILLION butts through the gate, and that THAT would go a long LONG way toward paying off that shiny new waterpark. I also expect that investment to pay off *way* more than either KdK or SheiKra...;)

Wednesday, April 13, 2005 12:58 PM
I'd have to agree that crowd control/congestion is the most likely explanation for any drops in attendance at SFGAM. The park always feels crowded, even on days when attendance is low. The waterpark expansion should hopefully help, but they should also implement far less expensive changes.

For example the station for Viper is absolutely ridiculous - how is guest experience enhanced by being packed in like sardines? Spruce up the queues for RB and Viper as well, the old west tumbleweed theme is looking more like Sanford and Son's lot. I'd vote for more landscaping all the way around the park too.

Next require anyone under the age of 15 to be accompanied by an adult. They require something similar at the Mall of America, it's still very crowded there on the weekends but much more of a family-friendly atmosphere.

Finally make it the norm to run all coasters at full capacity every day - including Deja Vu! And cheerful employees, hire more of them, fire the droopy/unhappy ones.


Wednesday, April 13, 2005 1:07 PM
Fire the droopy ones?

Who's going to check 'em for firmness first?


(who found resistance IMPOSSIBLE!)

Wednesday, April 13, 2005 1:55 PM
at least you found it impossible and not futile....

and no i am not a trekie.... i just figured i'd say it before someone else did *** Edited 4/13/2005 5:56:29 PM UTC by dragonoffrost***


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