Posted Thursday, January 12, 2006 12:06 PM | Contributed by coasterguts
Six Flags chief Mark Shapiro wants to remake the company's image, from an operator of roller coasters to a provider of family entertainment. For now, those plans rely in part on exploiting the Looney Tunes and DC Comics cartoon characters Six Flags has licensed from Time Warner's Warner Bros.
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It's strange, but I don't feel bad that the focus is no longer on a new coaster every year or so. Today I learned that I am really an "Amusement Park Enthusiast".
I agree that customer service, and cleanliness are two areas they are going to have face sooner, or later though. It's seems to be an ongoing experience many people go through.
Also, there is an example of what happens when a park focuses too much on shows and not rides, and that park is DCA. Or, why is T-Land at Disneyland considered stale - two movie based attractions that haven't changed in over a decade. And consider the disasters of the Aladdin show at DCA and Snow White at DL. Both family oriented shows that cost $$$$ but failed to pull in big numbers over a long period of time.
I don't know how well this direction will work for SF of they completely go anti-coaster. A balance between the two would seem to be the better choice of action, and also to take into consideration the local market of each park.
I will rephrase that all of the changes, except for the no re-entery policy of which I expect not to last, sounds exciting.
BUT...If SFGAdv is still way too crowded to enjoy without a Q-Bot, if I can't find a good ticket price, if guest service does not improve, and the only good thing to happen to the park is that they will have Elmer Fudd walking around and some more flowers, than no, I will not visit any more than I do now, which is only once every 3 or 4 years.
Shapiwo, you wascawwy wabbit!
And Jeffrey R. Smith: Shapiro did in the recent past state that customer service would be a top priority. While I haven't had this problem with SFGAm, I hope it gets passed on to other SF parks in need of it.
The fact that they have a Hollywood guru on the board is a positive thing to me. The possibilities are endless in that category. Family friendly thinking is what the SF parks need. I say give them time and a chance to turn things around.
Making a better family experience is what parks like Disney and Universal do, and we all know how well they do with attendance and repeat business. I would expect to see more movie tie ins on the rides and also see more cartoon characters like bugs and daffy and tweety etc in the park. Look for lots of things like interactive dark rides and boat rides with animatronic cartoon characters in them to start showing up in the next few years at SF parks. Also, he talks about landscaping, which only makes the park look nicer and more inviting.
It really sounds like Shapiro is on the right track. Just not the coaster track. In the end, SF should be a better company from this new management. The stockholders have to be excited, the stock is at a 52 week high, and it only looks like it will continue on that trend. Matter of fact, I'm thinking abot investing in SF myself. I never would have touched it before, but it now has peaked my interest.
The only changes made and announcements so far are:
1.) Increase in ticket prices
2.) Hired new executives, created a whole new dept. based in New York thus raising operational expenses.
3.) The questionable hiring of a movie producer, Weinstein, who ran Miramax into the ground.
4.) Instituted a questionable no-entry policy at select parks. Even when it's killed, you have to wonder how such a policy made it past the board room.
5.)Didn't really explain how to improve the Batman Begins stunt show, beyond selling overpriced concessions in the stands.
I'll give them the benefit of the doubt, but the new boards initial series of moves is questionable.
So now Six Flags hires a board member with a history of questionable taste and being out of touch with film audiences, as is the case with newest bomb "The Libertine."
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