Smart move. They just dramatically increased total park capacity (on hot days, at least), something that park desperately needed. Result: Shorter lines, fewer annoyed customers, more happier customers...should prove to be a good move.
I think they are smoking bad stuff. Too much capital dollars into clearly a separate area, that is large enough to stand alone and be gated. Too much operating dollars needed to run the place. What happens if you have yet another average temperature summer?
Maybe only 2-3% growth. Guests only have another 'area' to wander into and hang out. Waterparks are not known for their ability to take in 'resale' dollars. Yea, maybe an arcade, a beach shop, and some food. That will not justify any construction costs.
Chicago now has another area for the season pass holders to 'loiter' in. They just became the biggest babysitters in the midwest.
And I still don't think they will have the parking capacity they need when both parks are busy. I know they have re-configured the former overflow lot and are doing the same with the main lot but you still can only squeeze so many cars in.
I would agree with Jeff and his other post concerning this also. I don't think what peeps spend on parking, food, games, and souveniers will offset giving away the gate. Just because total capacity is larger and lines should move faster doesn't necessarily mean people will spend more $$ on other things.
They could have chosen to offer ridiculous early-season discounts if they were worried about patronage. $10 add-on admission to people who'll have to buy trunks and swimmies woulda worked great. Once HH caught on, the discounts could have disappeared. If it's too much too soon, mail coupons.
I think some of you have forgotten the big money maker at waterparks--locker rentals. I believe that last year SFNE charged $12 for a locker, with a small amount refunded if you turned in your key by 7pm. Let's say that during the course of a good day, that 10,000 people have used the park. Since a lot of people will double up on lockers, let's maybe cut that number in half (unless the lockers are the size of Holiday World's, in which case you'll be lucky to get one person's items in). With $4 refunded when the key is returned, they could clear $40,000 a day or more. That doesn't include inner tube rentals either.
Double up? Usually a family or group will crowd a single locker--provided somebody's Mom isn't watching things AND no one in the group is just gonna tan. The savvy among combo park attendees (and you'd be surprised how many there are) wear jams or swim tops and don't have much to put away .
But then again, do the separate-gate waterparks give lockers away free? Hmmmm?
*** This post was edited by CoastaPlaya 1/20/2005 10:57:17 PM ***
They will also make money on Tube rentals (5 bucks for a few hours?).
While you all might not agree with the decision to add free admission to the water park, I think that the average visitor will leave the park a lot more happy next year. Waiting in shorter lines and having a whole water park at your disposal is something most people will support.
/\No one is disagreeing with you there (second paragraph). The problems lies with the company over all. Six Flags Inc. could have made this a seperate gate that would still have been very successful. With the success of the Second Gate for the water park, debt could have been relieved. Less Debt equals more available funds in the future. More available funds in the future equals more rides, better mainanence, and implimentation of better training for employees (well, for most companies anyhow). All of the above equals even more happy guests.
Loads of money comes from Happy Guests. Happy Guests come from parks that treat them well. (good cheese comes from happy cows. happy cows come from california...)
In the long term, were SFI to make this a seperate gate, get out of debt, and start improving the customer experience at their parks, eventually you would see a company with killer parks that have killer rides that people want to visit on a regular basis. That makes a successful business that just keeps getting better.
Why SFI has had such a hard time figuring out what a bunch of coaster enthusiasts have been saying for years is beyond me. They have the Cap Ex plan, just not the rest of what they need for success. Building it so they will come didn't work, isn't working, and never will if you don't have parks that people want to willingly visit.
As a guest, I love the fact that the wateerpark is free. It will educe the lines in the ride park and is a great place for me to cool off in...
As a business standpoint, I just don't really know what to think An add-on price would have been better for those visiting the theme park and a seperate gate I think probally would have been smarter for those not going into the ride park.
I still believe that Six Flags should have been selling passes at nearly $90 from the start Nationwide with an exception on the smaller parks (FC GE, WL)
Does anyone know what the SFGrAm Gate price is going up to? You would think it should go up $10 to compensate for all this debt.
Coastaplaya, I'm not doubting that some people get around the locker thing, but take an example that happened to me and my friend at Wild Water Kingdom at Dorney Park in 2001. We arrived about 10am in the morning, and couldn't find an open locker in the waterpark. We had to use a locker in the main park by the entrance (which isn't supposed to be used for the waterpark, but we didn't feel like carrying around our swimgear with us all day til one opened up). If you have enough people, those lockers will be filled.
You don't pay for waterpark construction with locker rentals. This park should be a separate gate, like Great Adventure's and Magic Mountain's is. It should be a separate gate in DC. And for what it is worth, in the early 90's, Busch had a 'master plan' for Sea World Ohio, that: if Busch is to purchase AND operate Geauga Lake, a third gated waterpark would exist between the two existing parks.
They had the manpower and expertise to design and manage, as Adventure Island was doing fine in Tampa. Ohio is 'mini-vacation' heaven, and it would have did just fine, as Soak City was separate from the Point. Which leads me to only now apologize to Jeff about merging the gate with Sea World. Should have just changed the entrance signs to "Six Flags MarineLand".
Which, not to get side tracked, Ohio should have had a separate waterpark also. Why? Well, they had to rebuild the Wave all of a sudden. So, they built a smaller pool, only it brought in $0 growth dollars. Geauga Lake was known for 2 things: Picnics, and their Boardwalk Shores area. SF had a great chance to stick it to Cedar Point with a Hurricane Harbor section. It could have been built in SW Ohio's parking lot, and utalized the undeveloped land between the two existing parks.
Thye (SF) made the commitment of capital dollars with a new pool, a shoot the chutes, and several slide towers. You may as well go 100% into the ring and give guests what they want. And Jeff knows about all the independent water parks that operate. (Pioneer Waterland, Dover Lake,Clay's Resort, etc.) They all together do not add up to any separate gated Hurrican Harbor.
So, Agent Johnson really wonders what the bean counters are thinking SF headquarters. Really.
AJ, please explain your comment about SFA. Do you realize how old the slides are in Paradise Island? As far as I know, the newest addition was Crocodile Cal's Outback Beachouse (one of those multi-element play areas with tipping bucket). That was a long time ago. Cal Ripken hasn't endorsed the park since Adventure World days. Do you know something that the rest of us don't know about the possible additions this year? Unless they pull off something amazing, I can't see making it a separate gate, not when you have PKD with a free waterpark not too far away.
SFA was to be allocated major capital loot to 'enhance' their waterpark, with intention of a new Hurricane Harbor to be born. I am not sure what happened, but it didn't I am making a strong guess it will happen in 2006.
2 gates there would only help them. Its amazing that with all those people in the Baltimore-DC-I-95 corridor that they don't do better. Disney was a comin', and they wouldn't accept those attendance figures.
Second, that was yet another SF park that was overbuilt too fast, and the capital dollars are not there to sustain coaster after coaster. They do exist, however, to add water elements, a sit down resturant, housing, etc.
If AJ had his way, that would be the next park to get an indoor waterpark/hotel, before PKD announces their next year. Heck, a hotel alone on their property would be worth thr investment.Its not like the surrounding area is a great place to stay. It would be to their advantage, and a much better investment than any coaster.