Six Flags America best performing park Memorial Day weekend, Shapiro visits

Posted Monday, June 4, 2007 9:46 AM | Contributed by coasterguts

Six Flags America in Largo was the best-performing theme park in the chain over the Memorial Day weekend, prompting a visit last week from Chief Executive Officer Mark Shapiro. Warm weather in the Washington area, which typically sees rain or lower temperatures during the unofficial kickoff to summer, prompted locals to hit the outdoors. The area's beaches also reported near-record crowds, as previously reported.

Read more from The Washington Times.

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Monday, June 4, 2007 11:24 AM
This is definitely good news for the park,the question now is can they keep the streak alive the entire season?
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Monday, June 4, 2007 12:07 PM
Wow, is this the first article to give us a time frame on Shapiro's plans?


But Mr. Shapiro's visit came one year into a "three- or four-year" turnaround of the New York theme park company.

"We're right in the midst of a good turnaround," Mr. Shapiro said as he strolled the theme park with Six Flags America President Terry Prather and other officials. "It's not going to happen overnight ... but this year, you should see a dramatic difference in our park's appearance, guest service, entertainment options and our family-friendly message."


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Monday, June 4, 2007 1:57 PM
Ouch! Isn't this park the size of SFKK? I don't know, but I'm going to this park next week. This small (supposedly) of a park is the greatest performing park of the chain Memorial Day weekend. What happened to SFMM, SFGAm, SFGadv, SFOT, and SFOG? Do you get where I'm going with this? I think part of the attendance being so high is the fact that it was Memorial Day, and it's not that far away from people touring the capital.
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Monday, June 4, 2007 2:07 PM
Yes, this is definitely good news, especially since there haven't been any major attractions (with the exception of the Hurricane Harbor upgrade--which consisted of two more slides and a lot of paint) since 2003--and then again, was Penguin's Blizzard River really a major attraction? The lines most days would say no. My hope is that they don't look at the numbers and go "You see, you can raise the price of everything, not put in anything new, pull out four rides, and they still show up!"

There is also no question that weather was a major factor, as we got our first significant rain (in the Baltimore area anyway) last night. We've been in a major drought for quite sometime now.

I just read Spinout's comments after I posted, hence the edit. SFA if you counted all the land available for development should be much bigger than SFKK. I've only been to SFKK once, and for an hour-1/2 or so, so take that for what it's worth, but I don't remember the park being all that big.

I definitely think it was the weather, HH opening, and not tourists in D.C. I don't think there are a whole lot of people who go "Let's go see all the Smithsonians, The Capitol, The White House, and then hit Six Flags America!"
*** This post was edited by Intamin Fan 6/4/2007 2:15:29 PM ***

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Monday, June 4, 2007 2:28 PM
That's how I do it I-Fan. :)

Actually, SFA is one of SFI top 5 markets, I don't remember what number it is. It's also one of the biggest in terms of acreage owned with 515 acres. I believe the existing park is 184 acres in size.

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Monday, June 4, 2007 3:39 PM
The problem with SFA is that much of the land the park owns can't be built on, for various reasons, plus you have the neighbors who've made it so the park can't be open late. (bunch of whinybabies) Plus, the height limit of 200'...but considering all that, SFA did pretty darn well for itself!
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Monday, June 4, 2007 4:23 PM
^^ Yea, SFA has one of the largest amounts of land in the chain--I think maybe 3rd largest (the largest being SFGAdv at somewhere between 1200-2000 acres for the entire property).

SFA should be in one of the largest metropolitan markets, as the combined Baltimore/Washington DC metropolitan areas make it the 4th largest in the country, behind NYC, LA, & Chicago, respectively.

Problem with this park, though, is that it was not originally designed as a large amusement park, whereas SFGAdv, SFMM, & SFGAm were. SFA hasn't evolved well, unfortunately.

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Monday, June 4, 2007 4:46 PM
"SFA should be in one of the largest metropolitan markets, as the combined Baltimore/Washington DC metropolitan areas make it the 4th largest in the country, behind NYC, LA, & Chicago, respectively."

Not anymore. DFW is now the fourth Largest. I just read an article on some new stats. SFOT has been slow due to hard rain every day. I mean EVERY day . On Memorial weekend it rained EVERY day hard. Prior to that they had some very heavy crowds. My friends at SFOG and SFSTL all report large crowds early.

so far, some very good signs for SF.

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Monday, June 4, 2007 4:55 PM
Acre-for-Acre for the actual size of the developed park itself (according to the most recent 10-K, 131 acres are currently used for park operations), SFA is the third smallest of the SF parks behind Great Escape (132 acres), SFNE (134 acres) and SFDK(135 acres) but ahead of SFKK (58 acres) and SFM (110 acres). Their total land area is 523 acres with 300 of the remaining acres being available for future expansion (92 unusable acres).

One decent sized addition and the park would quickly jump past the three directly ahead of it. It is on the smaller side, but it's in a fantastic market. Unfortunatly, it's also in a HIGHLY competitive market. They just need a way to get the locals to come to the park instead of going to KD, BGE, and Hershey.*** This post was edited by Coaster Lover 6/4/2007 5:03:29 PM ***

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Monday, June 4, 2007 5:45 PM
Based on information I compiled from their annual report in March, SFA is SFI 5th largest market. Only Mexico, Great Adventure, Magic Mountain and Great America have larger markets within 50 miles of the park. If you look at the numbers for within 100 miles of the park, the park is 6th (SFNE has a larger 100 mile radius but a smaller 50 mile radius than SFA). I'm pretty sure this is based on population, not tv audience.
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Monday, June 4, 2007 5:57 PM
Thanks for digging that up, coasterguts. The size of the park is irrelevant - the size of the market makes more sense for the purposes of this story.
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Monday, June 4, 2007 6:22 PM
^^Which is why it still puzzles me that SF would withdraw from the 4th biggest market - Houston. Ah I guess that was the old regime's way of thinking, and I have a hunch that were Shapiro already CEO then, we'd still be riding Greezy, TC, and Viper.

I digress...Congrats to SFA...the operations there were downright pathetic 2 summers ago. Hope they've cleaned up their act by now.

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Monday, June 4, 2007 6:45 PM
thrillerman1,

Snyder either did fight to keep Burke and Co. from selling/closing the Houston park and or dropped the lawsuit, I forget which. Regardless, Houston was pretty much gone when Snyder took over the reins in late December.

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Monday, June 4, 2007 10:15 PM
I was just at this park a couple of days ago. Operations and employee attitudes seemed beyond terrible. I only spent two hours there, and only rode Superman and Batwing, so I didn't get an all-encompassing view of the place. However, what I did see was just downright bad.
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Monday, June 4, 2007 10:31 PM
Funny you should mention the weather Texaspark....the last few years it's been wet on memorial day weekend around here.

I can still recall standing in a three hour line 7 years ago on memorial day just to ride superman,boy was that a mistake as rain hitting one's face at 70 MPH is not a pleasent experience.

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Friday, June 8, 2007 11:57 PM
SFA is not as bad as you all mention. They have grown from a piddly waterpark that wasn't owned by SF. SF has brought some rides to a failing park, and improved the water section to respectability. Superman is one of the best rides on the east coast. The attotudes of the employees has gotten way better over the past 2 years. No reason with some growth that SFA can't compete with other markets.
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Saturday, June 9, 2007 12:08 AM
what's up with the 200 ft limit
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Saturday, June 9, 2007 7:01 PM
There is no 200ft height limit. However, any permanent ride must be approved by the county regardless of height. and there is no restrictions based on Edwards AFB being nearby.
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