Shapiro makes his way to Six Flags Magic Mountain

Posted Wednesday, February 15, 2006 11:06 PM | Contributed by Jeff

For Six Flags chief executive officer Mark Shapiro, the future of the theme park giant known for teenage thrill rides lies in parades, fireworks and other attractions to offer well-rounded family experience. He continued his park tour at Six Flags Magic Mountain.

Read more from The LA Daily News.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2006 11:33 PM
While Magic Mountain has plenty of issues that need to be addressed (from what I've heard, admittedly I have never made it there), this is the one park they need to make sure is still primarily about the thrills. Making sure there is enough for families that come is good, but they are in market with several family friendly parks that they can't hope to compete against. I'm hopeing and assuming they are going to try to be a thrill park that also happens to have enough stuff to do for the family members who don't want to ride and not directly compete against Disney. That said, they still could probably go a couple of years without a new thrill ride without hurting themselves too much.
Wednesday, February 15, 2006 11:54 PM
As I've said before, SFMM will remain primarily a thrill park if they never add another rollercoaster, ever. In fact, they could remove 5 of them and still have the same result. Shapiro even seems to recognize this, as his "no more Goliaths" mantra seemed to change a bit once he hit the west coast.
Thursday, February 16, 2006 12:20 AM
If he turns SFMM into a family park in SoCal, where there's DL, DCA, and Knott's...then he's a genius, an idiot, or both...

Would the park be empty without teenagers?

Definitely don't need thrill rides, family rides and flats would be great....and those bumper cars are an embarrassment to bumper car-kind... ;)

LOL, on second thought, like CP, they need a spinny coaster....doesn't everyone? :)

Thursday, February 16, 2006 12:22 AM
See, now this is a forward thinking comment by Shapiro that inspires confidence in the future direction of SFMM.

"We're ramping up our Main Street USA strategy," Shapiro said Tuesday during a visit to Six Flags California Magic Mountain, a park now building its 17th roller coaster. "At the same time, we're not abandoning our teenage roots. ... (but) it's going to be more oriented for the family this year."

Now, it's still an ironic statement as Tatsu is the only actual entirely new attraction in the park if a day parade doesn't work out. But, at least it shows progress in the concept of striking balance between what SFMM is and what it can become.

Thursday, February 16, 2006 8:18 AM
CP has been able to be America's Roller Coast and a family destination for years. SFMM won't be able to pull it off right away, but I'd give a few years and things can change.
Thursday, February 16, 2006 10:14 AM
The changes he is talking about benefit everyone, including us.

Also, it has bolstered park cleanup and better enforced a smoking ban.

To carry out the plan, the company plans to hire more personnel, including 300 new seasonal and full-time positions for Magic Mountain's staff of 2,200.

Don't we always complain about staffing and filthy parks? More characters walking around means more smiles, and more smiles in the parks has an effect on everyone there, including the staff.

These are good things, I am actually excited and optimistic.

Thursday, February 16, 2006 11:46 AM
I REALLY appreciate the positive changes he's trying to make, but I think he's nuts if he's going to try to go head to head with Disney! I think the "Thrill Park" angle was great because it was what they had going to seperate themselves from other SOCal Parks, but it was just executed HORRIBLY! :)
Thursday, February 16, 2006 1:35 PM
Well HE may be nuts. But his chase of Disney will hopefully be our benefit.

Me going up against Roger Clemons may sounds crazy, but patterning myself after him will just make me a better pitcher.

Thursday, February 16, 2006 1:38 PM
I understand. They do need to be more family friendly. I've felt that way for years, but putting all their eggs in one basket seems a little foolish. I hope it doesn't comeback to bite them in the butt.
Thursday, February 16, 2006 1:48 PM
How are they putting all of their eggs in one basket? Its not like they are tearing down all the coasters and putting up kiddie rides.
Thursday, February 16, 2006 2:00 PM
Main Street USA... where have I heard that before?

I still don't get the continual statement that (rollercoasters = extreme = teenagers) as though no other age group is interested in coasters at all, and that the problems SF has had with unruly teenagers is totally due to the presence of rollercoasters. But yeah, for right now they have plenty of other places to be allocating money.

I hope the changes he mentions as far as safety, customer service, and cleanliness come to pass and aren't just a lot of talk that sounds good in January. They will make marked improvements in the parks. Then again, how many people will see these parades and costumed characters if they're standing in a long line for a ride with single train operation?

Thursday, February 16, 2006 2:12 PM
Well that's exactly what will happen if they drop the ball in the other areas. But keep in mind that the park GMs (not including the one's Shapiro has already released) are pretty much re-auditioning for there jobs. You can bet we'll see some improvements across the board this year. ;)
Thursday, February 16, 2006 2:26 PM
Some of the cosmetic work has indeed been started at SFMM. And, can you believe they actually themed a footer of Tatsu with decorative stone work? The Looney Tunes characters have also been out in the park too, the smoke free signs are up as well. The park is likely to look cosmetically better this year than last.
Thursday, February 16, 2006 2:42 PM
eightdotthree: If they focus all their attention on family/kid things, try to market it as such and go head to head with Disney which is "down the street" I think it would be putting all their eggs in one basket. I know they're not tearing down the coasters, but they are such a valuable asset as a marketing tool/draw as well. When I was 8, I was not into costumed characters. I loved the coasters....and there was only one I couldn't ride, King Kobra. Heck, I remember as a family, all riding Magnum together it's opening year (I was 8).

I would feel completely different if they didn't have the king of family theme parks in their back yard. Look at PKI....going "family friendly" and forgetting adding big coasters was an awesome move. But, they don't have Disneyland in their back yard.

Again, I fully believe that SFMM should spent considerable effort and resources enhancing their family image, and I'm THRILLED they are!, but having the "extreme park" side was also what set them apart from the other SoCal parks. If that can be kept in the mix, they could really have something.

Thursday, February 16, 2006 2:45 PM
I wonder what Shapiro thought about the parking lot underneath Scream? No only is it ugly, but that's about $360 in parking fees he's losing per day! ;)
Thursday, February 16, 2006 4:44 PM
The parking lot lines can be seen under Scream, Colosus, and Goliath. They are awful eye sores to me now, because after riding rides for a while, you tend to focus on other things like the things that are wrong. They could really fix this problem with just rolling out some grass strips in these areas, quick cosmetic fix. It just might be expensive.

One thing that I think Six flags Magic Mountain really needs in a big way is a Storage Facility for their disassemble rides. Having a Functional Facility (where maintenance personnel can work) in ONE location will dramatically remove massive amounts of clutter. I hate to see ragged Roaring rapid boats, old wood from psyclone, those busted looking Ninja trains with spider webs hanging, and Viper trains as well as free fall parts around Scream. It just looks un-perfessional.

Thursday, February 16, 2006 5:27 PM
RGB, I hear what you're saying, but Robb Alvey had proof of three-train operation on Riddler's Revenge over the weekend. That apparently hasn't happened in years. I don't think we're going to see too much of the single-train operation anymore.
Friday, February 17, 2006 2:32 AM

The parking lot lines can be seen under Scream, Colosus, and Goliath. They are awful eye sores to me now, because after riding rides for a while, you tend to focus on other things like the things that are wrong. They could really fix this problem with just rolling out some grass strips in these areas, quick cosmetic fix. It just might be expensive.

You do realize that it's a lot more complicated than just rolling out large chunks of lawn over the parking lot, right? Grass does need to be watered on a daily basis, and requires nutrients to remain that pretty "green" color. So they'd have to bring in jack hammers and other heavy equipment to rip out the asphalt beneath those rides, and that's A LOT of asphalt beneath Scream! ($$$); install an irrigation and water pipe/sprinkler system; then acquire the grass purchased in large quantity mat-like chunks ($$$); then hire people to put them in place. I too, also think the parking lot situation should be taken care of with Scream!, but I don't think Goliath and Colossus requires this attention. The process would definitely cost A LOT. Hopefully, Shapiro would allot a certain amount to this for the '07 "beautification" of the parks. :)

Friday, February 17, 2006 3:06 AM
If grass has to be watered on a daily basis, then it must be a miracle that my grass can go a full 7 days and stay beautifully green considering my sprinklers only activate on sunday nights.

I totally understand the complete process of placing and plotting grass, I've had it done to my house. I was just simply giving an example without going into detail of what could cosmetically be done to improve the appearance of the areas without any major theme tricks. Irrigation is obvious since every green area at six flags has some type of sprinkler system, so this would be no different.

And by the way, there is no real need to do any jack hammering, rolled grass can easily be placed and maintained perfectly well over flat concrete as long as there is some under sod as well as some type of retaining barrier surrounding the area to keep those so called nutrient in.

But yeah, I agree, the parking lines are not incredibly obvious under Goliath and Colosus as they are under Scream. But if you look, they are there: having a landscaping or beautification allotment will do wonders along with a centralized, fully capable Maintenance facility.


*** This post was edited by Magicmike 2/17/2006 3:27:10 AM ***


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