Posted Friday, April 28, 2006 3:27 PM | Contributed by bigboy
A renewed focus on family-friendly fun is already bringing more people through the gates of Six Flags theme parks, Chief Executive Mark Shapiro said. On Thursday, Shapiro was at Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington as the park unveiled 10 family-oriented rides. Shapiro called the rides an example of what the company plans to do over the next several years.
Read more from The Star-Telegram.
"Nobody goes to Disneyland for the rides," Shapiro said, mentioning the Disney characters and Main Street USA attraction. "We need more of that at Six Flags."
Other than that, like the last article, I generally like what I'm seeing.
There's a family who I work with who got to go to Disneyworld for the first time recently, and I can tell you that they didn't come back telling me how exciting the mountain looked on Everest. No, the first thing out of Jeff's mouth (the father) was "Hey Rob, we rode Everest. It was awesome! We loved the part where it went backwards." So for Mr. Shapiro, this should be your prime audience--A Christain, home-schooled family with three kids under 11. When I asked Alex, the 10-year-old, what was your favorite ride? It wasn't "It's a Small World." No, it was "Space Mountain Mr. Rob!"
Can I just say it one more time--"What an idiot!"
Also, incredibly stupid to make the Disneyland reference when you are at the opening of a park debuting new rides to the public! And more importantly, SFOT is one of the major dreaded coaster parks of the chain! Next stop, a trip to Georgia to convince people they are not there for Goliath. Then off to CA telling people that Tatsu is no comparison to a brunch with Bugs Bunny.
How about at least one common sense quote where his goal is that the chain needs to strike a balance between coasters & expensive family attractions? What's really wrong is that he thinks that the family carnival attractions are going to keep attendance levels up for several years. Wrong.
SF better start shopping for a new CEO.
I would just about imagine that quote was taken out of context pretty bad.
Then off to CA telling people that Tatsu is no comparison to a brunch with Bugs Bunny.
As an enthusiast who travels with a wife and two kids (ages 8 &4) - that holds true.
...he thinks that the family carnival attractions are going to keep attendance levels up for several years. Wrong.
Not really. He seems to think atmosphere will bring 'em back. I don't think that's too far off - have a good time and you'll come back. Contrary to what enthusiast think, that doesn't mean 'roller coasters' to everyone. I really think the industry is moving past the "build a big coaster and draw the crowds" mentality.
And like Pat was mentioning, I too travel with young children, (ages 2 & 5), and when we go to the parks they naturally drift toward the characters and childrens rides...not toward Power Tower or Millie.
I love coasters, if I didn't I wouldn't be here. But I also go for the whole park atmosphere. I love BGW because of the whole package, (from the rides and food right down to the theming and landscaping).
I disagree. I don't go to Disney for the rides, I go for the experience. I realize that the difference is subtle, but it's there. If you take the theme off of the rides at Disney, they wouldn't be that great. The escapism offered by "real" theme parks comes from the whole package, especially the part about being treated like a guest. That's something Six Flags has sucked at for years.
What an idiot. Shapiro needs a real good kick in the ass for making dumb comments like that. So right Disney just builds $50-$100 million attractions for the hell of it, and people just pay the entrance fee to walk around and look at the exterior of the expensive rides.
And it's also true that he's attacking Disneyland and not Disneyworld. I don't know if he would make the same comments about the 'empire' down south. If you look at what Disneyworld offered back then in spring 88', there weren't a whole lot of thrill rides. At DW there was Space Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. At Epcot, there was--that's right--there weren't any thrill rides (we missed the opening of Norway by about a week or two). Compare that to now and there are a lot more thrillrides spread throughout the four parks, plus the two waterparks that didn't exist back then either.
But someone got it right above when it was pointed out that Shapiro is taking credit for something started before he was onboard. On top of that, let me point out that Six Flags Great Adventure also had another flat ride (the Breakdance) kidnapped from its' park. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.
And I think the Disneyland comment is being taken a little out of context. As has been said, he's pointing out that it's about the experience. He wants to keep people in the parks longer and adding experiences above and beyond the rides will help do so.*** This post was edited by bigboy 4/28/2006 11:10:59 PM ***
But what I'm talking about is adding things like Dollywood did this year with a Topple Tower (which according to their podcast cost them $6.5 million) and the whole family can ride together. At Six Flags America, we've now lost three flat rides (the imposter Enterprise, the Chaos and the Rotoshaker). It would be great to see a Topple Tower or a Frisbee/Revolution etc. next year fill one of those slots. If the Screaming Swings prove to be popular, that gives you more options.
How about a family coaster such as a minetrain, mouse (of any kind), or junior coaster (Great Chase doesn't count)? All of these things are missing from the SFA lineup. What about expanding Hurricane Harbor more next year? These are the kind of things that will need to be added to keep people's attention. When PKD is adding big attractions every year and HP is adding big stuff almost every year, it makes it harder for you to fight for the consumer who is between the two parks.
Finally, I'm glad to see SFOT get so many new (and used) rides at once, but does anyone remember the Great Adventure disaster when they added the 25 new rides? How many are left of the kind that adults can ride? Besides Medusa, two. Houdini's Great Escape and Twister (Topspin). Everything else was removed or kidnapped and sent to another park. That list includes Evolution (SFStl), Frisbee (SFGam), and Rodeo [breakdance] (SFOT). In the "Whatever happend to?" category we have Jumping Jack Flash (Jump), Polyp, and Time Warp (double Chance Inverter). I'm betting the Chaos was removed this year as well. So I'm wishing SFOT well, but I'm hoping this management team doesn't repeat history down the road.
*** This post was edited by Intamin Fan 4/29/2006 1:25:42 AM ***
And while SF looks like they are trying to improve there product by cleaning the parks more etc, ,they still are failing so bad as to not even be compared with a disney park. And when you are going to charge $15 to park and charge almost as much to get in the park as disney does, then they need to spend alot more money than installing rides that can be found in some carnivals. Now if SF would add some excellant dark rides(as a example) the whole family can enjoy, a exciting show to cap off a great day and implement policies so large groups of teenagers arent running amok, then maybe they can talk about being family friendly.
Perhaps I should go play "Journalists who lie" by Morrisssey, now.
Shapiro is right about the family focus, but he is wrong to think big attractions don’t draw in the crowds. Now more then ever they need a big family ride to get their family focus message across. They need to build a Haunted Mansion, or a Splash Mountain, or a Jungle River Cruise, or a Pirates of the Carribean, or a Tower of Terror. Nearly all of Disney’s rides are big family attractions that draw people in from around the world in the millions.
Sure, Disney has the capitol to go big, and so they get big returns. Is anyone suggesting Six Flags can’t afford to build a big family attraction like Disney? Isn’t SF bigger than Disney theme parks? SF needs to decide if they are going to step into Disney’s arena of big family attractions, or is this just too impossible of a feat for SFs? Just because Six Flags isn’t familiar with big themed family rides only increases the impact of such attractions. If Six Flags built a huge themed family ride at SFMM imagen how such a bold statement would shift people's perception on what the park offers.
Yes, SF is billions dept, so spending a lot of capitol on big attractions seems counter intuitive. But its like Churchhill said, "If you find your self in hell, keep going!" They got into hell by cutting corners while spending tons on big coasters. They can only get out by spending big on the family demographic which they spent the last ten years running out of their parks. It's good they are beginning to understand how they won't end up saving money by skimping on customer service. Now they need to clue into the fact that half-assed gestures aren't now going to bring the families back any time soon.
*** This post was edited by rc-madness 4/30/2006 7:06:51 PM ***
The rides are just a part of Disney's appeal. SF already has the rides now they need to fill the void that makes up the rest of Disney. That is what Shapiro is getting at I'm sure.
I beleive it is going to take several years to get people to return to SF. Especially those who have had particularly horrible experiences. I do think that his plans will eventually work.
*** This post was edited by Wabash Cannonball 4/30/2006 9:56:26 PM ***
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