Six Flags Over Georgia Friday May 24th

Tuesday, May 28, 2013 3:19 PM

Well I decided that I needed to go on my day off to Six Flags Over Georgia to ride some roller coasters. I left Birmingham, AL around 7:45am and arrived at SFOG 2 hours later or 10:45am eastern time. There was an initial line getting into the parking lot but they moved the cars through rather quickly. I was a little fearful the park was going to be very crowed upon seeing the cars lined up to get into the parking lot but it turned out to not be that bad. It’s a good feeling to have a Gold Six Flags pass to show the attendant at the parking booth and have them wave you through without paying the absurd $20 parking fee. I found it interesting that cars and trucks are $20 and buses are also $20. I’m surprised they don’t raise the price to $25 or even $30 for buses to make more money. There seemed to be quite a few busses at the park today.

I parked kind of far back in the parking lot so I had a decent walk to the front entrance. I accidently bypassed the security guard checking a woman’s purse in front of me and he asked me to come back so I could be checked. I guess I thought they only checked people with bags so I just walked past him. I apologized and showed him the only things I had on me in my cargo shorts pockets: keys, season pass, and credit card. I like to pack as light as possible when I attend an amusement park.

As I entered the main midway entrance area I noticed that the park seemed to be very busy. I really enjoy this section of the park and how it’s designed. It’s quite small compared to entryways like Kings Island, and Cedar Point but it has a small park feel to it even though it’s a decent sized park. I also like how they have a water fountain at the end of the midway with pictures showcasing rides and events from the decades since the park has been open.

I first went to ride Dare Devil Dive but as I approached the line the people exiting to line told me they said it was down due to technical difficulties. I was disappointed at this news especially since I have yet to ride DDD. I made the mistake of not getting in line though because as I was in line for Goliath I saw them testing trains again. I knew I should have gotten in line, when it looked to be only about 30 minutes long, and just waited out the delay. I will know for next time to just get in line anyway. I didn’t get to ride DDD today because the line looked close to an hour and I didn’t want to wait that long. I got to the Goliath around 11:00am and was on the coaster at about 11:25am so about a 25 minute wait. I rode in the second row and as always it was a great ride. Lots of fun hills and airtime. Love the downward helix!

After Goliath I decided to visit the Gotham City area of the park. I waited for around 20 minutes for Mindbender. What a great ride! I rode in the very back seat and I was very surprised at the great airtime it had through the hills. I love how smooth the ride is and give props to Six Flags for keeping this ride in great shape after all of its years in operation. Next up was Batman which I waited about 15-20 minutes in line for the front seat. As I entered the ride station I was surprised to see the front seat queue only had six people in it. I love inverted coasters in the front seat. I enjoyed the ride very much. Every element happens so fast when riding. I struck up a conversation with a woman in front of me in line. I told her I was there by myself and she was very surprised. I told her I love riding roller coasters and had the day off so I came over. She then told me that she was there with her daughter and her daughter’s boyfriend so maybe she was the crazy one. I always enjoy striking up conversations with people at parks when I visit them by myself. In mindbender’s line I spoke with a guy who said the park wasn’t crowded at all today and I commented that I thought it was. He said that he has seen much worse and I thought about it later after my visit and agreed that it really wasn’t that crowded.

After I left Gotham City I decided to check out DDD again but the line was very long and I skipped it. I went all the way around the park, skipped Georgia Scorcher and Georgia Cyclone due to what looked like long lines, and rode the Dahlonega Mine Train. It was only a 15 minute wait. I rode in the front and really enjoyed the ride. I actually got some small amounts of airtime at points. I enjoy the last drop on the ride through the tunnel and back up to the station. One of the best endings to a mine train coaster. From there I went through the Looneytoons kids area. I was going to ride the Wyle E Coyote coaster since I had never ridden it before but decided against it due to the line.
From there I went and rode Great American Scream Machine back to back. I waited about 20 mintues for the first ride and maybe 15 minutes for the next ride in the back seat. While I was waiting for the back seat I stood behind a University of Alabama football player. He was huge! I was very surprised he fit into the train. I enjoyed both of my rides on GASM. It was a little bumpy at times but had a lot of great airtime moments.

I walked past the new Skyscreamer ride and saw a huge line. I would say over an hour. It was the first day the ride was open to the general public. It’s a cool looking ride and looks very fun. I will be tentative in riding it in the future because for some reason I never get used to free fall rides and swinging rides. I like the whole hanging from chains element adding increased scariness. I was also surprised to see it take riders up to the top (about 200feet), hold them up there a short time (maybe 5-10 seconds) bring them back down to around 100 feet, and then take them back up to the top again for another 5-10 seconds. I thought it would just take them up all the way up to 200 feet and hold them there the entire time.

I walked all the way around and rode Goliath again. This time the wait was a little shorter maybe 15-20 minutes. I rode in the very back. What a great seat on this ride. The way it whips you over the drops is amazing. It’s so much fun. While riding I saw a flip flop come off the ride as well as another white object (have no idea what). Then as we were pulling into the station the woman sitting next to me shouted, “we have someone’s keys back here,” and her son held up his hand revealing the car keys which he had caught! They belonged to the guy sitting directly in front of him. I still cannot believe he caught the keys midair. Glad he did for that guy’s sake though.

After Goliath I walked around some more and went to the area where the water cannons were shooting people who were riding Thunder River. I stood there and enjoyed watching people get soaked by the cannons. If I had had any cash on me I probably would have participated but it was just as fun to watch. From here I walked around the park taking in the great landscaping and huge trees that are in abundance around the park. I stopped and rode Georgia Cyclone twice. I rode both times in the very back seat. The first time I rode there was a teenager who asked me, “do you mind if I ride with you sir?” Sir! Man that made me feel old. (haha) As we were about to board he asked me if the ride had any loops in it. I was thinking in my mind, well I hope not. =) If I were to pick a ride at SFOG that I was most impressed with then this would be the ride. It had some of the best airtime I’ve ever experience on a wooden coaster. The first drop in the back seat was ejector air to the max. Then then second drop came and again more ejector air. The third drop came, and yup, ejector air again! The rest of the ride had great amounts of airtime and it was fairly smooth. I found it extremely smooth for the back seat. Again, I have to give props to Six Flags for re-tracking areas of this ride and making it more enjoyable.

I left the park around 3:30pm having spent over 4.5 hours total in the park. I ended up with 9 rides total and enjoyed them all. I did a lot of walking around which is why I didn't ride more. I will hopefully be going back this coming Friday to ride some more. Thanks for reading.

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013 3:35 PM

Collin Aynes said:

It’s a good feeling to have a Gold Six Flags pass to show the attendant at the parking booth and have them wave you through without paying the absurd $20 parking fee.

There's something here about customer psychology, the upsell and the way the parking price plays off of the pass structure - but I'm not finding the right words to connect all the dots right now.

It's similar to 'free' drinks. You pay up front and it feels good to not pay later.

Yes, the upcharge to Gold pass is only $25 and parking is $20 per visit, but put 4 passholders in a car and have them visit 10 times...

$25 upcharge x 4 passholders / 10 visits = $10 parking per visit

That's the rub.

No real point other than that line caught my eye and my mind immediately started running...

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Tuesday, May 28, 2013 3:36 PM
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Tuesday, May 28, 2013 3:46 PM

This is the greatness of a season pass. You can skip long lines and think that you'll be back. You also can have resting time. During my 5 day spring break carothon at Carowinds, I never speat opening to close straight through at the park. I just relaxed at our walking distance hotel during crowded parts of the day.

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013 10:40 PM

Nerdish shout out for Mind Bender. Yay! Geesh, 2 years seems too long to not ride of my favorites. I heard they are doing a benefit for kids on the ride this year. I wish I could make it, but can't right now - maybe next year!

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013 1:34 AM

Lord Gonchar said:

There's something here about customer psychology, the upsell and the way the parking price plays off of the pass structure

Well, parks upcharge with both the parking and the single-day pass. Like really really upcharge for those. That's where Six Flags is making it's money back from the season pass.

Last edited by bjames, Wednesday, May 29, 2013 1:35 AM
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Wednesday, May 29, 2013 2:02 AM

I see it working the opposite way.

The artifically high 'regular' price pushes people to spend "just a little more" and go ahead and buy into the pass.

And then since you're doing the pass, why not make it Gold and add parking?

Which goes back to my original post: 4 Gold passes per car for ten visits works out to $10 per visit for "free" parking.

The high parking and gate price only serve as a subtle benchmark to make the other otpions seem more valuable.

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013 2:34 AM

Yes, but then Six Flags takes it a step further and grossly underprices the passes. I've paid for my SFA gold pass in parking alone and it isn't even June.

Not complaining. If they want to continue to let me off cheap, I'll take it. I'm just saying that you can easily go from perceived value to an outright steal. That said, I have to wonder if people really use those season passes more than once. Perhaps SF makes them so cheap because a lot of people don't take advantage of them like they should. If that's the case, I'd like to thank those people for keeping my costs down. ;)

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013 3:01 AM

Yeah, there has to be an angle there that we just don't see. Like I said in another thread, SF's per caps are on par with CF's (within a buck) so it seems like they're hitting the mark somewhere.

I'm thinking it has to do with the point in which CF jacks up the price of multi-park passes (Platinum) vs single-park passes (Gold).

At the closest CF park to me - a Kings Island gold pass is $105. $100 if I buy 4. $90 if I'm renewing.

Six Flags gold passes vary, but the closest to me (SFGAm) is $150. $87 if I buy 4.

It's really not that far off now that I look at it.

sirloindude said:

I've paid for my SFA gold pass in parking alone and it isn't even June.

Well, only if you believe that you should be paying $20 to park in the first place...which is exactly my point - two of you now have remarked on the great parking deal it is...

...and all you have to base that on is that SF told you it is.

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013 7:29 AM

I have a question about Mindbender, what gives it its air time? It doesn't look that great.

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013 8:12 AM

Probably the way the track goes up and down.

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013 9:08 AM

Gonch, yes, it's all I have to base my opinion on is Six Flags telling me that at $20 a visit, I've paid for my pass by my fourth visit. However, let's say that $10 is sort of the "hidden" actual cost of parking. In that case, I've paid $10 for each admission as well. Again, they're still giving it away. A CF gold pass costs more and is still only good at the park at which it was purchased.

Heck, I could've bought two gold passes for SFA and still managed to pay less than I would for a CF platinum pass. Now, there's the whole per cap argument, and I generally buy at least something on each visit, even if it's only a quick bite or a bottle of water, but I do that at a CF park as well.

Where I think CF is smarter in this case is that by making the cost of a platinum pass so high, they're practically ensuring that I visit their parks at least four times. SF just makes sure I go twice. SF has lucked out because going to SFA doesn't really require much thought, but even so, any more than a couple of visits and at least as far as the gate is concerned, I'm still taking them for a ride. I dare say I'm almost shocked that they aren't creaming CF in per cap because they've made admission almost excessively low.

Basically, I couldn't spend my way to making the amount of money I spend at each of the two chains equal short of buying masses of souvenirs. I'm convinced SF is leaving money on the table.

Well, at least at SFA. If a SFGAm pass is $150, then it's nearly a level playing field.

Although, if I was paying just as much for a SF pass as a CF pass, I'd want all those eyesore ads to go away. ;) Maybe that's how they can afford to keep admission so low.

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013 11:51 AM

sirloindude said:

Heck, I could've bought two gold passes for SFA and still managed to pay less than I would for a CF platinum pass.

Where I think CF is smarter in this case is that by making the cost of a platinum pass so high, they're practically ensuring that I visit their parks at least four times. SF just makes sure I go twice.

But how many people travel with their passes?

Maybe that's why the playing field is so much more level than it seems it should be?

If you don't travel with your pass, you're not buying Platinum passes at Cedar Fair, you're buying the single park pass - and the prices are wholly comparable at that level. In fact, the only place Cedar Fair really outprices Six Flags is the Platinum pass. But that pass seems to be an outlier more than anything.

...any more than a couple of visits and at least as far as the gate is concerned, I'm still taking them for a ride.

Same for CF passes if you're not considering the Platinum. Again, the platinum pass is likely the exception, not the rule.

I dare say I'm almost shocked that they aren't creaming CF in per cap because they've made admission almost excessively low.

Also, you're making quite the assumption about human behavior (which I also think is incorrect). It doesn't matter how much you paid for the pass, the behavior is that the season is paid for and the visit is 'free' - doesn't matter if it was $80 or $180. Your behavior in the park in August isn't going to change based on your pass purchase in April. People just don't work that way.

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Wednesday, May 29, 2013 2:30 PM
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Wednesday, May 29, 2013 12:53 PM

Lord Gonchar said:
Your behavior in the park in August isn't going to change based on your pass purchase in April.

Even better than that, I renew my pass in October, so by the time the next season rolls around, that cost is *really* gone from my head.

I too wonder how many Platinum Passes they sell, and how people use them. In CP's market, do people get it mainly for parking, or the ability to go to Soak City? Wildwater Kingdom? The PP ride nights seem to be well-attended, but who knows what percentage of passholders actually go.

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013 1:13 PM

I was there the following day. It wasn't insanely busy, but busier than most saturdays before a monday holiday. May main goal was to get my pass processed before my Chicago trip, so I didn't ride a lot. Mindbender and Goliath were both running well, Cyclone is better than ever. Love that ride now.

As far as Parking, my work paid for my pass and added national parking, so I really am getting in for free, so Nya!

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013 1:48 PM

Great to hear about Cyclone - last year the RMC track ran only about 1/3rd of the way through, so "the drop" was still the old GC trackage.

With Cyclone running great, and 'Bender and Goliath, the lack of flats isn't so much of an issue (we've decided Acro just isn't worth it any more - the pain/pleasure ratio is out of whack - might be better if the seats DIDN'T tilt forward).

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013 5:41 PM

Tried to dig up a report/story/anything that breaks down the per cap into admissions and other types of spending. Can't seem to find a break down for Cedar Fair, but I did find this one for Six Flags 3rd quarter 2012.

So admissions per cap for 2012 was $23.51. Other revenue per cap was $17.05.

The total per cap was $40.56

So with that number in mind, think about CF's 2012 per cap of $41.74

The difference in total per capita spending is $1.18

I just can't see how the $1.18 translates to Six Flags "made their admission excessively low."

I mean, break it down for me. How does that $1.18 difference fall to make the admission comparison? If we assume in-park spending is equal then CF's admission per cap is $24.69.

$24.69 vs $23.51?

That's only a 5% difference.

Or do we assume that there's also a difference with in-park spending. And if that's the case then CF is sacrificing from the back end to get it in the front. It's 12 of one and a dozen of the other. You end up in the same place.

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013 5:52 PM

Hey, SF knows more than I do. I admit I'm still surprised that they find a way to stay even with CF on per cap expenses, and as you said, if they do sacrifice the gate for bigger numbers elsewhere (parking, lockers, other assorted spending), then you're exactly right. It's six one way, half dozen the other.

I guess I just feel weird about getting such ridiculously cheap unlimited access to SF parks, but hey, I'm not complaining.

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013 6:29 PM

Keep in mind we (enthusiasts - traveling coaster enthusiasts) are the exception.

It feels stupid cheap because you can travel the country going to these parks for $80 or $90. Most people aren't doing that.

But that's also the point where it gets interesting - SF doesn't see the need to fill that niche with a high-priced traveling pass, but CF does.

The fact that per caps are so close says to me the Platinum Pass (for better or worse) is potentially that 5% difference.

Plus ,we have to remember the Platinum pass was borm of the company having the three Ohio parks at the time - specifically as a way to counter the low cost of visiting multiple parks located so closely to each other. I imagine a majority of those Platinum sales still come from Ohio where there's some overlap in the CP and KI markets. I'm in Dayton and see as many GateKeeper commercial/ads as I do Kings Island ads.

On top of that, CF seems more consistent in their pass pricing from park-to-park than SF is. The pricing might seem lopsided, but it depends solely on the comparison you choose. On average, across the board, I think the number fall closer than it appears on the surface.

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