SF's big 3: why is SFGAm still the bread winner?

Saturday, July 1, 2006 4:48 AM
I bring this up because I am confused to a point.

SFMM is on the chopping block due to not being a family oriented park. This I understand because I was there in Feb. 2005 and I can vouch for that. It's alot of coasters and not much else.

SFGAdv from what I have been hearing has 2 new themed sections which are great but the rest of the park is ho-hum. I also heard the waterpark only runs on weekends until July.

Then you have SFGAm. This park has consistently been regarded as a well rounded park with 12 coasters, 2 kids areas, and alot of flats throughout the park. Not to mention when coasters in this park can run more than one train, they consistently run them with 2 or more trains. Even on dead days, you wont find a coaster in this park running one train unless its Deja Vu and V2.

Why is this? Why is SFGAm constantly doing the right thing for the most part and the rest of the chain especially the other 2 big SF parks are coming up short?

Am I missing something? I know I am spoiled with having the SF Chicago park performing, but why can't the other SF parks get their act together and do the same?

My favorite MJ tune: "Billie Jean" which I have been listening to alot now. RIP MJ.

Saturday, July 1, 2006 4:58 AM
It all comes down to who's in charge. SFGAm has a tradition of being operated well, getting the budget it needs, and having people in place who truly care about the park. That's not to say that the employees at SFGAdv and SFMM don't care, but that for one reason or another the people who have the power to make the decisions aren't making the right ones. I give a lot of credit to Jim Wintrode for SFGAm's continued success. Perhaps that's giving him an undue amount of credit, but I do believe he's a big part of why the park is the way it is.

I also think SFGAm has just happened to have received the additions it has needed over the years, whereas parks like SFMM have received far too many coasters and not enough family attractions.


Saturday, July 1, 2006 7:08 AM
Quality matters. SFGAm is regarded by many as the best of the Six Flags parks and if all of the parls in the chain were like it, the company would be well on their way to getting out of debt.

There are several Six Flags parks that I want nothing to do with at this time because of poor operations, etc but if I am ever in the Chicago area, SFGAm is one Six Flags park I would want to visit.

Arthur Bahl

Saturday, July 1, 2006 8:14 AM
UM why are you saying that great adventuire is doing porly because you think so.

Come to the park on a weekend this summer. Attendance at this park has to be up.

Also dont say that great adventure is doing bad because you think so.

You have to combine the attendance of all 3 parks (wild safari,hurricane harbor,and the theme park)verses the other parks.

Give me solid facts Not speculation. *** Edited 7/1/2006 12:15:25 PM UTC by majortom1981***

Saturday, July 1, 2006 8:42 AM
matt.'s avatar I'm one of SFGAdv's biggest detractors but I would certainly call the park *anything* but ho-hum.
Saturday, July 1, 2006 10:31 AM
I would say it's because of competition. SFGAm is the only major amusement park in the Chicago area. Unless someone wants to drive all the way to St.Louis or Wisconsin Dells, they go to SFGAm. Compare that to the theme-park saturated los angeles and east coast areas, and it makes sense that Great America edges out Great Adventure and Magic Mountain.

Oh, and of course it's also because Great America is such a well run park with great coasters. :)

Saturday, July 1, 2006 10:38 AM
The mistakes made at SFMM since 2000 have alot to do with what Shapiro has already stated. SFMM simply cannot complete with Disney when it comes to attracting families. So the park decided to focus primarily on the LA teen market to make the park something different. Needless to say, adding coasters to SFMM became somewhat of an addiction and in the process, forgot that parks need to be well rounded to be successful, and lots of coasters require lots of cash to maintain.

I'm not sure we need another thread fishing for SFGAm compliments that slowly turns into a "my homepark" thread. But I think one of the major keys to their success in Chicago is the fact that they didn't remove a bunch of classic attractions from that park. There is still something for everyone. Also the park is one of the few that is still operationally sound.

Saturday, July 1, 2006 11:38 AM
I think what we have here is a bias statement regarding someones homepark and nothing else. And he called Great Adventure "ho hum?" Haha gimme a break yeh? I'm no Great Adventure super fan but thats ridiculous to say that.

Saturday, July 1, 2006 12:21 PM
I certainly agree with that. SFGAdv is a fantastic park with tons to do and gorgeous landscaping. Perhaps I misunderstood what Chitown was saying. I (or maybe assumed) he was asking why SFGAm is so well operated compared to SFGAdv and SFMM. That's the question I tried to answer in my post, but maybe that wasn't the question originally asked.

And I should point out that I've never personally had a major problem with operations at SFGAdv, but I've also never been there on a busy day. Going just by what I have read and heard from others, though, operations at GAdv are quickly improving.


Saturday, July 1, 2006 12:41 PM
I'd have to say that SFoT is probably one of the nicer parks out there, if not right on par with SFGAM.


Saturday, July 1, 2006 12:41 PM
^ Tons of gorgeous landscaping in the 2 new sections they have recently added.

But I also agree with Chitown about the park being ho-hum, SFGadv outside of the areas around El Toro and Kingda Ka are dirty and scream paint me. Especially the Movie World Section near BTR and Nitro.

Maybe the two days I was there recently where just bad days, but The opperations there where less then adequate, In fact comparing the 2 days that I spent at SFMM(Feb 2005) up against the 2 days I spent at SFGadv(June 2006), Id have to say the park ops at SFMM where better then the days I spent at SFGadv.

One train ops, SLOW dispatches, run-down look of the Movie World Section, Smoking in lines, no security anywhere to be seen.

Saturday, July 1, 2006 12:57 PM
stoogemanmoe's avatar SFGAm is a well rounded, well managed,well cared for park. Yes, Jim did a fantastic job with the park. It shows in the employees that have been there for more than season. It shows in the cleanliness of the park also. If they could just do something with the @%&#$*^% parking lot at night after the park closes.

My Beautiful wife, Julia, is the best thing that has ever happened to me!

Saturday, July 1, 2006 3:22 PM
Id also have to say that SFoG's operations are noticeably up this season as well.

Sure, some parks have no reports of drastic improvements this season, but I think overall, all the major parks have been heading in the right direction.

Saturday, July 1, 2006 5:03 PM
rollergator's avatar

coasterdude318 said:It all comes down to who's in charge.

Not often do I quote Nate, but this hits the nail on the head SO squarely, I'mma do it twice...

It all comes down to who's in charge.


I would TEND to think the "lack of competition" would lead the park to WORSE operations and management, but it DOESN'T seem to. Nor does it work that way at SFoT, from my experience. Or SFStL. Or SFoG. SFGAdv has a LOT of room for improvement, but has made some strides. Just seems weird to me that some parks are SO well-run, and that others were left (in BIG markets) to languish for ten years or more under substandard management...SFMM, as the poster-child for mismanaged parks, is going away for good...much like LeSourdsville IMO, a park that could have (should have) been a success... :(

But it is ALL in the way they're run. A really solid GM makes the whole place more enjoyable. SFFT (smaller park, with competition, NOT the biggest market) had employees that were genuinely appreciative of their GUESTS....and it showed.

bill, returning to SFGAm...again.... :)

*** Edited 7/1/2006 9:05:08 PM UTC by rollergator***

Saturday, July 1, 2006 6:30 PM
For me it comes down to landscaping and atmosphere, (it should be family friendly.) And if those are covered then bring in some coasters.

Ahh, I'm going to have to go ahead and ask you to come in on Sunday, too...

Saturday, July 1, 2006 9:18 PM
As far as Great Adventure improving this year, I will reserve my judgement until this thursday when I get there. I am their biggest fanboy (nostalgia purposes), but last year was pretty dismal. I am wondering Gadv's GM can't look at the management style of Great America and Texas and use the same recipe. They are of similar size, roughly the same attendance. Are their operating budgets different? Do they just not care that people are standing in 5 hour lines while they cycle one train?

Fate is the path of least resistance.

Saturday, July 1, 2006 9:46 PM
rollergator's avatar ^'Tuan, I haven't been this year. Last year everything seemed to be getting somewhat better. Even though I visited during Ka's *brief downtime* and RT sucked as bad as ever, the employees seemed to be getting a little better, and operations weren't quite as horrible as years past. I've heard lots of good things from local friends, though...I'll get to check it out myself *sometime* later this season...maybe Columbus Day.
Saturday, July 1, 2006 11:06 PM
Looping Swan Boats.

Here's To Shorter Lines & Longer Trip Reports!

Saturday, July 1, 2006 11:28 PM
I liked my last visit to Great Adventure, the park was running fairly well, and their coaster line up is now the best in the chain (as it should be). Although some might argue SFOG or even SFMM, IMO they are just one Gemini and Wildcat away from besting even Cedar Point (at least they now have good wood).

Their operations can't match either SFGam or SFOT I'm afraid, which is a shame because SFGadv should be the park that is the BEST example of what Six Flags represents, not one of the worst.

But in terms of being the bread winner, I'd still put SFGadv slightly ahead of SFGAm, and if they ever get their act completely together, it's no contest. I'm sure Shapiro will demand it, especially after witnessing the mess that is SFMM, which was once without a doubt, the bread winner, up till 2001 anyway. Now the park desperately needs a hero. *** Edited 7/2/2006 3:33:40 AM UTC by DWeaver***

Saturday, July 1, 2006 11:36 PM
For the life of me, other than it being where it is, I could never figure out what the big deal is with Great Adventure. It's very oddly layed out...

I've been to the park 4 or 5 times since the mid-nineties. Every time I go there are lots of major attractions closed. Even this last time (http://www.coasterbuzz.com/forum.aspx?mode=thread&TopicID=45023) it was literally a nightmare. Superman was broken down on my way in, as was Medusa. Chiller was down all day. Rolling Thunder had the red/blue side open only.


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