Shapiro visits Six Flags America while park has uncertain fate

Posted Friday, February 24, 2006 8:51 AM | Contributed by coasterguts

Six Flags CEO Mark Shapiro came to Largo to lay out his plan for boosting revenue at Six Flags America. He addressed about 100 employees inside the park's Crazy Horse Saloon. He announced a plan to increase the number of seasonal employees by 400 to 2,000, and promised to add a daily parade and 30 costumed characters to the park.

Read more from The Washington Post.

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Friday, February 24, 2006 9:44 AM
I love how in all these articles, they describe Shapiro pointing to something and, like a king, saying, "This does not please me. Remove it at once!"

I'd enjoy it immensely if Shapiro would point to a crappy ride (like, say, Rattler) and say, "Does anyone ride this piece of junk? Get rid of it!"

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Friday, February 24, 2006 10:00 AM
That is pretty funny... it's like you expect the employees to lift him in his golden chair and carry him around the place!

I expect that the company will not make any decisions this season on which parks to close because they want to see how the changes they implement will increase attendance. Perhaps SFA looks like a good candidate to close right now but if attendance increases 15%, maybe they'll think twice?

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Friday, February 24, 2006 10:07 AM
Considering the clientele that I've *seen* at SFA (mostly teenagers) and what's AVAILABLE to them (Washington and Annapolis and Baltimore all have very large populations of the "upper-middle-class family types")...

I'd say that IF SnyderCo. can change the perceptions as stated to a more family-friendly atmosphere, it's *possible* for them to increase SFA attendance by 10-15%, but more importantly, revenues could easily go up on the order of 25-30% from the park...and even real estate, increasingly valuable in that area, won't pay off THAT handsomely... ;)

It would certainly be EASIER to get good ROI from the real estate sale, but you can only SELL once, you can run a good (HIGHLY-profitable) theme park....forever....

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Friday, February 24, 2006 10:19 AM
I found this sentence most interesting: "Closures at the company's 30 parks will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, Shapiro said."

I've always felt Snyder and company will close parks for land sales and Shapiro's comment confirms this to me. I think Six Flags America will be history in the next two or three years, along with a number of other properties.

Adding parades and a bunch of people walking around dressed as Scooby-Doo, while raising ticket prices and parking, isn't going to right a sinking ship, at least in the short term. While it is a good idea to try to attract families, there is a danger of lower attendance if their established customer base becomes disinterested in the family stuff before they can attract enough families to make up the difference.

Some of the stuff they want to do is very good, but that $2.4 billion in debt is a big problem. It might be too little, too late for Six Flags.

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Friday, February 24, 2006 11:09 AM
The Baltimore Sun article took a slightly different angle from the Post article. For one thing, it stated that the park was up in attendance by 3.5% last year. See, those waterparks do bring in a lot more business. The other thing the Post article didn't mention was that they would spend $300,000 to repave the waterpark and spend $400 a piece on new trashcans. It's also interesting that the Post referred to the removal of a character stand, while the Sun referred to removal of an instant photo booth. Maybe it's both? I like that Shapiro said we have the best looking Main Street. As many people can attest, things start out looking great at the front of the park, and by the time you get to the back, it's a barren wasteland.

The press photo taken in the same place shows Shapiro pointing at something. I can only assume it's Avalanche (formerly Penguin's something or another and Alpine Bobs) if it got moved to where Krypton Comet was. He's probably saying "What's this piece of crap doing here and how do we make it look better?" At least that's my hope. The Alpine Bobs at SFNE looks amazing since it has a Hawaii theme. All the cars were repainted and there isn't a metal railing in sight since all those parts were replaced by bamboo-looking rods.
*** This post was edited by Intamin Fan 2/24/2006 11:38:22 AM ***

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Friday, February 24, 2006 11:18 AM
I was at SFA just 2 days ago applying for a job. The grounds of the park were very clean and security was visible. I can see why?!
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Friday, February 24, 2006 11:40 AM
^Just make sure that you're not a SF Critic while working for the park.
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Friday, February 24, 2006 11:48 AM
LMAO.... Gotcha!!! ;)

Here's a video of Mark Shapiro and Terry Prather during an interview with Nbc4 at SFA. http://www.nbc4.com/news/7376098/detail.html*** This post was edited by SF Critic 2/24/2006 12:12:06 PM ***

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Friday, February 24, 2006 12:06 PM
Seriously, though, if they're just going to close the park in a few years, does he really think that everyone's gonna give their best effort to work hard there? Whose gonna care? While it should inspire people to work harder to save their jobs, my experience with SFA employees tells me the opposite will happen.

Sirloindude, who admits that being forced to start visiting PKD and Hershey more often may not be such a bad thing, but who rather enjoys having an amazing hypercoaster right in my backyard.

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Friday, February 24, 2006 12:12 PM
What is this obscession with them with having parades throughout the parks on a daily basis?

Did they really do a focus group and think if this is a really good thing? I can see Disney, yes... but Six Flags with Loony Tunes characters? I really don't think it's going to be such a big thing... and if anything, will just get in the way of guests who want to walk that midway.

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Friday, February 24, 2006 12:28 PM
Increasing the number of employees by 400? That's a 25% increase in the number of employees from 2005. I find that the Baltimore Sun article has much funnier quotes:

http://www.baltimoresun.com/business/bal-bz.sixflags24feb24,0,5675260.story

"Reach out and touch the guest." (just watch where you're touching!)
"We have a lot of work to do, and we don't have any time."
"We're going to stop blaming the weather."

But for those concerned for SFA, the Baltimore Sun does have one promising quote: "We're going to make investments beginning this year," [Shapiro] said. "If the community responds, this will be a no-touch park." It seems that the park is safe... as long as it sees another year of increases. It seems that Shapiro likes SFA right up until about the Grand Theater. He likes the Main Street (which I agree is beautiful, but could be better with some trees or potted plants), he seems pretty happy with Hurricane Harbor. SHould surely be an interesting 2006 for SFA...*** This post was edited by Coaster Lover 2/24/2006 12:30:40 PM ***

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Friday, February 24, 2006 12:42 PM
Isn't SFA one of the parks with a lot of "excess land" though? He may be able to sell off a considerable amount of real estate AND keep the park...as we've learned (IB, Morey's), you don't need a lot of real estate to have a fantastic park....
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Friday, February 24, 2006 12:49 PM
I had always said that SFA would be a prime canidate as one of the parks sold for it's property value. If the numbers go up and please the new board this year, it may be safe for another season or two. What I could see is the land reused for commercial development of some sort, a mix of entertainment and shopping, that could be more profitable. I hope I'm wrong, but just in case I'm gonna start saving my SFA items for sale later on ebay.

As for the Baltimore Sun article where it quoted Shapiro as saying SFA's main street was the best in the the Six Flags portfolio, while I like to hear good things about my home park, I have to say that I think the main street at SFGAdv and SFNE are much nicer.*** This post was edited by Rescue131 2/24/2006 5:07:36 PM ***

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Friday, February 24, 2006 2:27 PM
DawgByteII, I wouldn't be so cynical about parades. Last year on opening day at PKD my friend and I were transfixed by a Nicolodean parade, and we didn't know who most of the characters were. Both of us were standing there suprised that we were watching a parade instead of riding a roller coaster, but it was interesting.
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Friday, February 24, 2006 2:56 PM
On the bright side, the closure of SFA would mean an end to the "SFA never gets anything" whine fest. Its just really funny that some SFA fans were acting like vultures when Astroworld closed, and now they may receive the same fate.

[edit] changed wording due to intamin fan's pedantic english lesson....happy?


*** This post was edited by delan 2/25/2006 12:24:51 AM ***

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Friday, February 24, 2006 6:48 PM
Somewhere in Maryland, BatwingFanSFA is about to cut himself...
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Friday, February 24, 2006 6:52 PM
Actually, BatwingFan lives in Mansass, VA. Please don't insult Marylanders like that. :)I wonder if Shapiro had to go to the bathroom when he reached Batwing. :) :) :)
*** This post was edited by coasterguts 2/24/2006 7:36:30 PM ***
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Friday, February 24, 2006 7:02 PM

Mr. Six, the tuxedo-clad dancing character from Six Flags promotions of recent years, will remain part of the new image, Shapiro said.

Hmm. Snyder got rid of him, and Shapiro seems to have brought him back. I suppose Mr. Six is quite hard of a figure to kill off.

http://www.baltimoresun.com/business/bal-bz.sixflags24feb24,0,5675260.story?page=2&coll=bal-business-headlines

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Friday, February 24, 2006 7:17 PM
Delan--serendipitous? According to my dictionary it's a noun meaning--An apparent aptitude for making fortunate discoveries accidentally

I think ironic was the word you were going for. Remember that I said above that the park was up 3.5% last year. If the park's attendance goes up again, I doubt you'll see it on the market. I do agree that you could sell off excess land and still have a very decent amusement park.

As I've said many times before, there is still a lot of land left in the existing park, including the front section. As an example, look at the plot of land to the right of Tower of Doom that borders both the train station and Wild One. Another place for expansion is near the teacups by Bugs Bunny Land. Once you add in all the land left in Gotham City and behind Roar, there's plenty of expansion space.

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