Six Flags Great America to scale back hours and days of operation

Posted Thursday, April 11, 2002 4:54 AM | Contributed by Chitown

Six Flags Great America informed the Gurnee Police Department it has reduced the amount of time off-duty officers are needed for additional security. Great America also has an in-house security detail. Six Flags financially took a hit in 2001 compared to 2000, with revenue dropping about 1%, not counting new acquisitions.

Read more from the Daily Herald.

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Thursday, April 11, 2002 6:36 AM
Ah crap. Oh well.

If you're skating on thin ice, you may as well tap dance.

Thursday, April 11, 2002 7:28 AM
Funny how Hoffman said that safety is of "paramount" importance! LOL. I wonder how this will affect the Fright Fest schedule.
Brad Sherman
Don't.....look.....back! The Headless Horseman awaits you in 2002!
Model coasters and rides
Thursday, April 11, 2002 8:00 AM
Man, I hope they still have Fright Fest Brad! That is one of the best times to go. I find it hard to beleive that their profit dropped at all considering how much they charge to get in the gate, the price of food, the price of games, and the price to park.

Beer, my soon to be wife, coasters, and the FREEDOM OF SPEECH. Is this a great country or what!!

Thursday, April 11, 2002 8:46 AM
A 3% "Amusement Tax"??? No wonder the SFGAm Season Pass prices are so dang high!!

"Just remember, wherever you go, there you are." - Buckaroo Banzai

Thursday, April 11, 2002 8:58 AM

Well, I did a little research, and compairing the 2002 season calendar on the webpage, and a 2001 Calendar I have from last year, made these notes:

Please Note: These findings make the guess that the operating calendar posted at
are correct, and will not be changed with the result of this news article.

In total, the park was open 130 days in 2001. The breakdown was 22 days in May, 30 days in June, 31 days in July, 26 days in August, 9 days in September, and 12 days in October.

For 2002, the park will be open a total of 127 days (down three days from 2001). The breakdown per month is 20 days in May, 30 days in June, 31 days in July, 26 days in August, 8 days in September, and 12 days in October. There are 2 less days in May, and one less day in September.

As far as park hours go, in 2001 the different hours were 10-6, 10-7, 10-8, 10-9, 10-10, and 5 pm till 11 pm. These same hour choices are in the 2002 season as well. So, the park has not changed this at all.

But, what they did change is when the hours are in effect. What follows is a month-by-month breakdown of the differences between 2001 and 2002 seasons.


Things are really the same as far as May goes, with a few
exceptions: There are 2 less operating days. The park hours that differ are with the Firday's. In 2001, the park was open on two Friday's in May, with hours being 10-6, and 10-7. In 2002, the park will be open on three Friday's in May, with hours being 10-7, 10-8, and 10-8. So, in this one instance, they actually INCREASED hours on
Fridays in May (as compared to the Friday's in May in 2001).


Again, really the same with the exception that in 2001, the park went 10-10 daily the 3rd week of the month. In 2002, they remain 10-9 the entire month, except that on Saturdays (starting with the 3rd week) will be 10-10.


No change at all here. Daily 10-10 in both 2001 and 2002.


Only difference here is the 4th week of the Month. This is normally when the park stops daily 10-10 operation, and cuts back hours during the week. In 2001, the hours M-F were 10-7. In 2002, they will be open 10-8. Again, an Increase of 1 hour per night compaired to 2001
hours during this same week.


No change in hours here. There is one less day in 2002 compaired to 2001, but I believe that is because of when Labor Day falls at the beginning of the month. In 2001, September 1st was a Saturday, and in 2002, it is a Sunday. So, that is the "missing" day.


No Chage. Hours on the Fridays, Saturdays, and Sunday's for Fright Fest are the same as they were in 2001. Friday Nights will be 5-11 PM, Saturdays will be 10-9, and Sunday's will be 10-8.

So, their you have it. Not much of a change, and it appears that the biggest change is in June (not being open 10-10 until July). Other then that, the other changes in hours and days are probably do to changes in the calendar from year to year (I.E. opening day last year was Saturday May 5th, and this year May 5th is a Sunday sort of things).

Not sure how these few small changes have to do with the need for less off-duty police officers. From what I've noticed, the hour changes that they did make cause the park to be open Longer, which to me would suggest having more off-duty cops needed. But, the park is open 3
less days compaired to 2001, and that may be where they can cut off-duty police, do to the park not being open as many days.

If anyone has comments or questions about this, let me know!


Brian A. Plencner

Thursday, April 11, 2002 11:04 AM

Just remember that they usually have a statement in small fine print saying:

"Hours and days subject to change without notice"

So they could very easily scale back even more days if they feel the need to.

"The Peoples Elbow" or "The Spinaroonie?. Cant decide which is the most electrifying move in sports entertainment!!! LOL

Thursday, April 11, 2002 12:43 PM
I think this just furthur's my belief that SFGA treats their guests worse than alot of other Six Flags parks and takes us for granted. Compared to parks i went to last year like SFSTL and SFA the season pass holders get little more than entry into the park. Those parks and other SF parks give their pass holders perks like early entry/special days/deals on trinkets etc. Why cant Six flags close the park the hour earlier but then give the pass holders extra time at the park like SFA does???
Thursday, April 11, 2002 1:16 PM
What are you talking about? SFGAm treats their guests better than most other parks in the chain. Just because the park doesn't have ERT doesn't mean diddly-squat. So they scale back 3 days. Big Deal! That doesn't mean they take guests for granted. And oh yea, those 3 days are probably days that the park wasn't exactly brimming the capacity...

***EDIT*** What competition does SFGAm have? If they were taking us for granted we wouldn't have the coaster collection we have now.

Zakk Wylde's Black Label Society-Chicago Chapter *** This post was edited by Ozzyhead on 4/11/2002. ***

Thursday, April 11, 2002 1:53 PM

Bob O. I dont see how cutting a few days and some hours has anything to do with treating their pass holders unfairly. If they arent making enough profit to justify keeping the park open longer, then it only makes sense for them to cut back.

Unless you visit the park everyday of the season, then you really arent even going to notice the shorter schedule(which by the way is very minimal).

I visit on average of about 6 times a season so having the park open 127 days instead of 130 is not an issue to me.

"The Peoples Elbow" or "The Spinaroonie?. Cant decide which is the most electrifying move in sports entertainment!!! LOL

Thursday, April 11, 2002 2:15 PM
Does this mean they could be closing early to start a long construction for new rides in 2003?
Thursday, April 11, 2002 3:27 PM

Like I said, unless the operating hours on the Six Flags webpage change, they are only loosing 3 days of operation, and not really changing the hours of operation that much at all. Like I noted, the changes in hours actually give people MORE time in the park then in 2001.

But, like Chitown said, the "Hours and days subject to change without notice" So, they may change the hours and days before the season opens.

I don't see how 3 days gives them any more time to "Start a long construction for new rides in 2003" at all. The three days are not even together! Two of them are in May, and the 3rd is in September. So, I don't see how that would help with an early construction either.

I also agree with Chitown as well. I normally average about 26 days a season, so having the park go from 130 days in 2001 to 127 days of operation in 2002 is not an issue for me either.

As far as special treatment for Season Pass Members, when you order you pass from SFGAm, you get a coupon book that has over $500 of savings at the park. These include (but not limited to) savings on Food, Admission, Merchandise, and Games. They also have a coupon in this book that will give you a 50% discount on a regular Priced White Sox Game Ticket. Another one is for $25 off any tuxedo rental at Modern Tuxedo. Another one is a Rush Football Family 4-Pack for just $40 (which includes 4 tickets, 4 soft drinks, and 4 hot dogs). Another one allows Kids to Cruise for Free on the Sprint of Chicago when you purchase an adult ticket. And finally, you can get a $750 coupon book that you can use out at Gurnee Mills(you take the coupon in the SFGAm book to Gurnee Mills to get this $750 coupon book).

It may not be ERT, longer hours, but hey....this is better then nothing in my book. Besides, they also give discounts at places OTHER then the park. So, that is a plus in my book.


Brian A. Plencner
E-Mail: *** This post was edited by Brian A. Plencner on 4/11/2002. ***

Thursday, April 11, 2002 3:53 PM
the only reason that they lost 1% (like that is a huge drop) is because deja was open for about 3 weeks and V2 was only open 60% of the time. And I don't see why it is so hard for this park to provide just a little ERT. I've had a season pass for 10 years and still nothing. SFGAm also charges the most for season passes and gives back the least. But this 3 day stuff won't make such a huge difference if it is true.
Offensive language removed (Chitown[/i} *** This post was edited by Chitown on 4/11/2002. ***
Thursday, April 11, 2002 5:21 PM

That park didn't decline in revenue 1%, the entire chain did (not counting the new acquisitions). It had nothing to do with DejaVu. If you ask me it's all about giant capital improvement across the chain, then, nothing.

Jeff - Webmaster/Admin -,
"As far as I can tell it doesn't matter who you are. If you can believe, there's something worth fighting for..." - Garbage, "Parade"

Thursday, April 11, 2002 9:04 PM
The coupon book is just about useless!!!!
Rather than a coupon book that forces you too make additional purchase's i would much perfer they do what SFA does and open certain parts of the park everyday of the week to passholders before the general public so we can go on rides with little or no wait. I went to SFA last year and it was great to ride a great coaster like Superman Ride of Steel 4-5 times before the park opens with no wait!!! Doing that is much perfeable to a coupon book of dubios value IMHO. When you compare SFGAM to other Six Flag parks it seems we get less than most of their other parks!!!!
Open less days isnt as important to clsoing the park earlier. Alot of people come late and leave early so you can usually get on more rides early in the day and late in the day, but if the park closes too early you lose the evening past of the equation.
Friday, April 12, 2002 2:42 AM
Bob O,

For your information, in 1999 when Raging Bull openend, there were many times I was out at the park and got to ride either American Eagle or Iron Wolf for about 50 minutes by my self! The reason: When the park opened, EVERYONE RAN to Raging Bull. I was really the only person on Iron Wolf for the first hour the park was open to the public on quite a few cases. Same with American Eagle. I got about 3 or 4 SOLO rides on it, because everyone went to Raging Bull.

It was quite funny really...I would get to the park right at opening, run with the crowd to the Orbit, and just stand and watch as EVERYONE went into Southwest Territory...and I mean everyone: Kids to small to ride, woman pushing babies in strollers, people who hated coasters that just wanted to go see it and watch people ride it. The one morning I tested this, and waited a good 10 minutes on the bridge between Co. Fair and Hometown Square, and NOT ONE PERSON CROSSED THAT BRIDGE. It was like their was some kind of invisible wall at that point that only I was allowed to walk through..everyone made the right turn at the orbit and went into SouthWest Territory and rode Raging Bull, Viper, or just stood and watched.

So, the park really does not need to give Season Pass Members special treatment....the guests in the park make it happen for us automatically!



Brian A. Plencner
E-Mail: *** This post was edited by Brian A. Plencner on 4/12/2002. ***

Friday, April 12, 2002 5:00 AM
Let's see... a SF season pass will at the very least 1) get you into your home park for an unlimited number of visits during a season and 2) get you into other SF parks for an unlimited number of visits during a season.

Last I checked, the purpose of a season pass is to get you in the gates for unlimited visits. All others (ERT, special coupons, other savings) are just extras. Stop complaining. *** This post was edited by SLFAKE on 4/12/2002. ***

Friday, April 12, 2002 1:27 PM

No the park should give season pass holders extra's!!!! If some SF parks can their is no reason SFGAM cant, other than the fact they take their season pass base for granted and realize that the six flag apologists will buy whatever they are spoon fed!!!

Last year several times i went straight to Raging Bull and got several rides with no waits due to the fact people went to V2 and later DeJaVue. That is good planning but you then bascially have no chanve to ride those 2 rides unless you want to wait for several hours or buy a fastlane which i wouldnt do as the cost of admission is already high!!!

Saturday, April 13, 2002 6:41 PM
The only minor issue I see here is, if they significantly reduce the hours the park operates after advertising a different set of hours (more hours) to prospective season pass holders, that is a bit of a bait-and switch. Still, all I want from this park in 2002 are Deja and V2 running consistently.
Thursday, October 10, 2002 2:55 PM

A little off topic but ----

Anyone know who is giving discount coupons for Fright Fest this year??


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