Six Flags adding 1,200 costumed characters to parks

Posted Wednesday, February 15, 2006 10:20 PM | Contributed by coasterguts

Six Flags announced today that as part of its commitment to a family-friendly atmosphere and enhancing the overall guest experience in its parks, it will be adding 1,200 new costumed characters to Six Flags parks across North America. Visitors to the parks will be able to participate in meet and greet sessions, photo and autograph opportunities, daily parades, fireworks shows and other showcase events in the parks with their favorite Looney Tunes characters, including Bugs Bunny, as well as their favorite DC Comics' Super-Heroes from the Justice League. Six Flags will introduce character breakfasts and lunches, afternoon storybook readings and daily Happy 45th Anniversary cake celebrations for kids.

Read the press release from Yahoo via PR Newswire.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006 11:06 PM
This is really, really weird. I have never been to a Six Flags park (well, no, I lied- went to Worlds of Adventure), but from what I've heard the experience is less than stellar. But now... it's like a whole new, slighty creepy turnaround. All these announcements makes me want to go to these parks. Is it just me?

-nesdude

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Wednesday, February 15, 2006 11:48 PM
I have an honest question that I'm sure one of us here on this board can answer: With SFKK being so close to the airport, will that play a factor in nightly fireworks show? I know they have a height restriction on rides and all but will this apply to fireworks displays so close to the flight pattern?
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Thursday, February 16, 2006 12:48 AM
Height restrictions and fireworks? I don't really see how those questions go together.

The one time that I (in a very minor way) help setup a Fireworks show at a park, I don't remember contacting the local (and albeit very small) airport. I think it would make a difference if the park was in the landing pattern, but I don't know SFKK (or SF well enough to know which park SFKK is).

Also, I think Shapiro is making the right steps to position the parks that they deceide to keep in the family (because IMHO theres no way that some of the parks don't get shown the door) to appeal to a different audience than they currently do, which is the right call. The people walking through their current gate don't spend enough money... Its funny, because you look at somewhere like BGW, its a bit opposite. They have been doing what they can to increase attendance numbers by offering lower tiered season passes for several years now, but I think while decreasing percaps, they have been pushing overall revenue numbers up (Or, they'd discontinue those programs, one would think)

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Thursday, February 16, 2006 6:53 AM
I don't think all parks are going to be doing nightly fireworks shows. I know SFA willn't. They are limited by law to twice a year (I believe) and one of those is the 4th of July.
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Thursday, February 16, 2006 8:45 AM
SF is taking a page out of the current Disney book that has worked so well for years. People go to Disney to see the characters and get their picture taken with them and now even have breakfast or dinner with them. This will definately be a plus for SF in the long run!!

Now all they need is to build those special meet and greet areas of the parks for the characters to stand in so they don't have to roam.

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Thursday, February 16, 2006 9:31 AM
I love meeting characters and have always been impressed with Six Flags Darien Lake in that respect. Whenever we have visited the park with friends, we always made a point of stopping at Looney Tunes Seaport for a photo op. Bugs Bunny, Tweety, Sylvester, Daffy Duck and Foghorn Leghorn are all in our collection of group photos. What also impressed me was the fact that many of the characters would be very interactive with the kids -- even joining them on the ride or two. I've never witnessed that at a Disney park.

I can't say I had similar impressions at other Six Flags parks. La Ronde doesn't have any Warner Bros. theming (probably not included in the license agreement), so they use their own weird characters with names I can't pronounce. Great Escape only got Looney Tunes National Park in 2005, and I did not notice characters during my brief fall visit. I dropped by Great Adventure around Halloween and saw a few characters, but less than I expected. I imagine that under Shapiro, all this will change for the better.*** This post was edited by greatwhitenorth 2/16/2006 9:33:28 AM ***
*** This post was edited by greatwhitenorth 2/16/2006 9:35:30 AM ***

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Thursday, February 16, 2006 12:36 PM
Not that I don't appreciate the costumed characters...I do, more than you might think, LOL.

But I'd also like to hear about them adding staffing for rides, and even more importantly, food service and shops...no one EVER wants to wait around for 15-20 minutes to hand over cash - customers wanting to spend money should ALWAYS get service post-haste... :)

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Thursday, February 16, 2006 1:09 PM
^^I'm sure that is on the list of 1200 emplyees that they are adding, just they want it to sound like they are really beefing up on the characters. I'm sure all SF parks will get new or more ride ops and more food service employees and also probably be getting extra maintenance budgets too.
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Thursday, February 16, 2006 2:08 PM
The press release said 1,200 costumed characters, not 1,200 employees some of which would be costumed characters.

Not that they won't hire additional people for food service, etc. But why should Mr. Shapiro mention that now when he can do a separate press release for every individual hire the chain does? Have to keep the "brand name" out there you know.

(Notice there are 8 separate news items in this forum about Six Flags from the past week alone.) *** This post was edited by RatherGoodBear 2/16/2006 2:10:41 PM ***

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Thursday, February 16, 2006 2:33 PM
OK then 1200 characters divided by 30 parks.....that means that each park will have 40 additional characters around. That is alot of characters, especially since some parks already had some characters walking around. I bet we can expect some parks to have 50 or more characters stationed in different parts of the parks.

It's about time they get with the program. They show Bugs and Daffy and Tweety in the old Mr. Six commercials, but rarely, if ever, at the parks.

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Thursday, February 16, 2006 2:51 PM
I don't know about anyone else, but I've always been a MUCH bigger fan of the the Warner Bros characters than any to come out of Disney. Maybe it's being the child of the "Baby Boomer" Gen in me that grew up watching Bugs Bunny and Road Runner cartoons. I always found the Disney cartoons a little too pristine and not edgy enough.

If done right, Shapiro could take this and run with it to lengths never seen by this chain.*** This post was edited by DWeaver 2/16/2006 2:52:48 PM ***

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Thursday, February 16, 2006 4:57 PM
Wonder if any of the characters will be Bugs in drag? Now THAT'S edgy.

In a related story, Mark Shapiro announced the following new corporate partners of Six Flags: the Acme Anvil Company, the Acme Explosives Company, the Acme Trampoline Company, and the Acme Rocket Powered Pogostick Company.

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Friday, February 17, 2006 1:06 PM
Willn't......????? lol
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Friday, February 17, 2006 3:29 PM
Dont forget that usually, for every 1 or 2 characters you have on the midway, you need an escort. The escort is normally a character too, just isn't being on at that moment. Once you figure that in, it doesn't sound like there will be characters every 5 ft in the parks (that is a good thing).

Also, this would be a strech, but most parks are calling thier uniforms "costumes" and SF might start requiring all employees to have a "six flags character" at the park (Ie. smile, don't spit in food, say thank you ;-) ) Thus, any new employee could be a costumed character.

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Friday, February 17, 2006 8:15 PM
^^Good call on the employees being characters. Another page out of the Disney book.

I hope the do bring some obscure characters out also like Marvin the Martian, Gossamer (the big orange monster from the bugs cartoon where he gets washed down the river while he is sleeping) and Michigan J. Frog

I would also totally expect to see the Acme name all over the parks in the next few years

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Friday, February 17, 2006 11:56 PM
Even with 1200 new employees, not every single one will work the entire day, every day. My guess is that 1/4 to 1/3 will be on hand at all times.
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Saturday, February 18, 2006 3:24 AM
Growing up with Darien Lake as my home park, its always strikes me as a bit odd to see Looney Tunes characters there :) I like it- its just odd.
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