Up to this point it had been a pleasant experience until we went to the ride side. It still seems that much needs improved on this side of the park, and I am pretty sure that it'll never happen.
My earlier visit in the season at Great Adventure showed me what great strides Six Flags has made in terms of better atmosphere, ride capacity, and guest satisfaction. At Six Flags America it is the complete opposite. Still the same old slow uninterested attendants, single train operation, and frequent ride closings.
We went straight to Roar. This had 2 trains running, but may as well been running one since they were dispatching a train every 3-4 minutes. A 5 minute wait turned into 15 minutes.
We were going ride the Jokers Jinx, but skipped it due to single train operation. I prefer the indoor version not too far away.
Of course I have to take a lap on Superman. When we got in line we were about 5 feet from the steps into the station. With a 2 train operation it should have been a 10-15 minute wait. That turned into a 45-50 minute wait with them loading every 3rd or 4th train with flash passers.
I noticed that the train wasn't parking in the station right. We had to take a step to the left to board our row. That also added to the confusion of loading the train. What happened to the red train? Coasterguts? It wasn't on the transfer track.
The ride itself was a lot of fun. Ran smoothly, and lots of air. Just how I like it. It's easily the best ride at the park.
We were going to ride Batwing, but after Superman decided that was enough for the day. Batwing dispatches seemed to be every 5-10 minutes, and we didn't want to get caught up in that. :)
On the way out we rode the Teacups. My favorite flat in the park. It's also an indicator of just how hurting they are in the flat ride department. Topspin?
We stopped at the waterpark to get our stuff out of the locker, and hit a few shops on the way out for the kids to get a few souvenirs.
It wasn't a horrible day, but it wasn't a great day either. It was in between. Had I stayed in the park and tried to ride a few more things it could have gotten ugly fast.
I think a lot of the problem with this park is the crowd it draws. They are rude, and generally inconsiderate. When will I be going back? Probably in the Spring next year to get our new season pass. :)
It's sad to read about SFA and what's become of it this year. I went opening weekend and dispatches were taking way too long. I was getting really annoyed and I wasn't enjoying myself. I can't ever remember things being this bad.
The way you describe the crowd that SFA draws could have easily been the same description of the people who went to Great Adventure years ago, except it was a whole lot worse.
I generally think corporate has given up on the park in many aspects. They rarely invest in big-ticket attractions, they've yanked out four flats and not replaced them, and they can't seem to get a decent work force--the one thing that is driving a lot of people away from the park.
How would I solve the problem? Six Flags should dump the park and let someone else run the show. I don't think they'll let that happen though. You know why? Because of the money to be made--whether it be high-priced food, high parking costs, Flashpass, locker rentals etc., They're investing very little, and I'm sure they're making a whole lot back.
That lazy river they have has got to be the worst one I've ever used. We did get the new Tony Hawk slide, but at the expense of losing 4 other slides. Intamin Fan is right about losing the flats--the ride count just keeps going down and down. If SFI isn't going to care about the park and turn it around, then they should dump it.
Oh yea, I've noticed the parking issue with SROS--it's terrible. You'd think that they could get this fixed, but apparently they've just let it be that way for years. IMO, there isn't much left to redeem this park--for me, it's mainly Wild One, as SROS is in sorry shape from what it used to be.
I could go on and on, but I'll spare you this time :)
We changed into our bathing suits, and rented a $16 locker. That's crazy I know, but we needed to protect our valuables.
Was there a deposit involved with the $16 locker fee? Or is it a flat rate? One other question. Is parking really expensive as well? The Detroit Free Press/News listed parking as $25 in an article for midwest travel.
*** Edited 6/9/2008 1:26:39 PM UTC by coasterguts***
Need I go on?
When has this park ever been good?
It was tolerable when I visited in 1999. The 2 woodies were fun, the crazy Typhoon sea coaster log flumey thing was working, and the park was generally inoffensive.
Subsequent visits lead me to think it's pretty much the most dire park I've ever been to, and it sounds like the more who visit the place the more who agree.
Coasterfantom, don't quote me on this, the park has some pretty big upcoming events, I would expect the red train on Superman pretty soon.
*** Edited 6/9/2008 4:36:57 PM UTC by coasterguts***
I love how all of you say your never going back, but you do.
Yeah except...we don't. I haven't been since 2002 and I've been within a couple hours of the place several times the past 6 years.
I'd suspect the park gets a good bit of enthusiast traffic just because of it's very centralized location but I mean really, even if it were true, "Everybody hates the park but they keep coming back" isn't really something to gloat about.
First, the park is 45 minutes from me vs. 2 1/2 hours at least to any of the other parks.
Second, it doesn't cost me $50 in gas to get to the park like it would any of those other parks.
Third, I despise lines. Which is what I would get at the other parks. At SFA I can ride Superman three times or more in a hour. I would be lucky to get two rides in a hour at the other park. I'm the kind of person that sees the value in flash passes if it saves me time from standing in line.
Fourth, I'm not married to riding roller coasters. I can enjoy a park no matter what the problem might be. If the coasters are having problems, I will eat lunch, ride flats see a show or go to the waterpark.
Fifth, The park isn't perfect and has room for improvement. Since I can have a good time at the park, I'm willing to overlook the imperfection to an extent. Fixing the park isn't going to happen overnight. They are working on it. As long as I see the park working on improvements (for example I understand the shallow end of the wave pool has been resurfaced), I will remain a loyal patron. As I said before, if they were selling season passes for 2009 now, I would buy one.
I will add, I'm an enthusiast and visit all of the above parks at least once or twice a season. *** Edited 6/9/2008 8:15:34 PM UTC by coasterguts***
We went yesterday (6/10). The park was in sad shape, with many rides down. Superman closed at 12 nooon and never reopened. Only the blue train was running, the red train was on the transfer track with the last two sections of the train in pieces on the ground. Smooth and fast as always.
Jokers Jinx had two train operation, seemed slower this year but it might just be my imagination.
Wild One was giving the best rides in years!! Two car operation.
Two face never opened. Has it been running at all this year?!
What was most frustrating was the lack of "family rides" like flats. The kids are at that weird age where they can;t get on Superman or the big coasters and the kiddie rides are boring for them. Nothing in the middle. SF in general really dropped the ball here, especially if they are trying to attract families.
Waterpark was okay, it was not crouded but there were still unbearable lines for the slides. I would hate to see it on a busy day.
The employees are what they are and as long as you accept this you will have a decent day. I would say "thank you" at concession stands...some of them looked REALLY surprised and were friendly back. Others just ignored me and looked bored and frustrated.
What really annoyed me though was waiting to get my season pass processed. We arrived at 10:30 when the park opened and I was told I had to go back to guest relations after 1PM because the processig center wasn;t open yet. I caould seer through the game- If they have employees start at 1 and the park closes at 7 they don;t need to give lunch breaks or pay them full time as a cost cutting measure. It is transparent and very cheap and only frustrates guests to the park. But I think SFA is past that point...I would not be surprised when real estate increases in value again in the area that SF sells off the land to housing developers.
-Just before the main entrance you pass a sign that says "Six Flags 1/4 mile ahead." A short moment later you pass a sign that says "Six Flags 1/2 mile ahead."
-At the American Cafe by the kiddie ride section they sell cheeseburgers for 8.99, but a bacon cheeseburger is sold for 8.49. Same size everything, but by adding bacon it is 50 cents cheaper. No kidding.
I am not looking forward to this day at all. She's disabled, I don't really know what the granddaughter will ride (I'm told she'll ride anything) and I'm bringing my brother who I told 'you will probably have to go off on your own if you want to get much of anything done'.
I had these concerns BEFORE I read this thread. Now, just not so thrilled about the whole adventure (and I'm sure it will be an adventure!).
As far as the employees, have none of you been to anything else in the DC Metro area? That seems to be the common nature of all low paid customer service employees. Wait, not only in DC, but have you been to McDonald's lately?? You get what you pay, and at a rate just above minimum wage do you expect to attract the best canidates?
The only issue we encountered at the park was how it seemed there was not maintence crew. As the day progressed coasters went down one by one, with just Wild One and the kiddy coaster running by the time we left the park (around 7pm). It is almost like a chain reaction, and there was something being said about the heat, and how the rides tend to go down when it gets hot. Not sure how true that is... but if so I guess rides must go down all the time at parks like BGE and Dollywood, as it get just as hot, if not more so there.
Overall though, I would go in with very low expectations like we did. Don't plan on spending the entire day from open to close either, get in the rides you must do as soon as the park opens, as they will not run all day. Oh, and look for a local fast food joint, as you will probly be leaving around suppertime, save yourself some cash by eating out of the park.
I normally recommend people start in the rear of the park with Batwing and work their way forward with the coasters. Doing, Batwing, Superman (it sounds like Supermans red train will be ready this weekend), Joker's Jinx, Wild One, Roar and Mind Eraser (careful of the head banging). You should know, some of the flat rides don't open until 12:00. There is a sign at the entrance to the park that clearly states which ones and there is a sign at the entrance to each of the affected rides.
Rides to watch for:
Skull Mountain is suppose to open around noon. If it is testing, head over to it and ride it as soon as it opens. It is hard to say how long it will stay open, it can be tempermental.
Batwing has been running pretty well this season and I haven't seen alot of down time. However, that could change at anytime so I do recommend you get a ride on it as soon as you can.
I have fun at the park. I can be an optimist and I always try to remember, "A day at the park is what you make it.
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