Six Flags underestimated loyalty to Cedar Point

Posted Sunday, August 18, 2002 1:48 PM | Contributed by Draegs

According to Six Flags CEO Kieran Burke, the acquisition of Sea World Ohio to form Six Flags Worlds of Adventure has been disappointing. Attendance there for the first two weeks of August was down 12% from the same period last year. Burke says that Cedar Point was more of a factor than they expected. An editor for Amusement Business agrees, saying their "Six Flags is better than Cedar Point" campaign backfired as a slap in the face to guests loyal to Cedar Point.

Read more from the Plain Dealer.

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Sunday, August 18, 2002 1:54 PM

"An editor for Amusement Business agrees, saying their "Six Flags is better than Cedar Point" campaign backfired as a slap in the face to guests loyal to Cedar Point."

Heck, we've been saying that around Coasterbuzz for quite a while now - even people who aren't diehard Point fans. Bad move.

Dorney Park visits in 2002: 15

Sunday, August 18, 2002 1:56 PM
Wow. Interesting.

My fellow Americans; Let's Roll!
The World of Thrills

Sunday, August 18, 2002 1:59 PM
Kieran Burke said, "It appears that our decision to combine the parks . . . is actually hurting our attendance in the short term ..."

And I thought it was because of poor customer service and lack of quality park operation.

Virtual Midway

Sunday, August 18, 2002 2:00 PM

I'm not totally surprised that the ad campaigns backfired. To me, they seemed to much like political ads, and I think that people are sick of that kind of stuff.

I also found it interesting that the company admits that combining both parks might have been a mistake. I know the two times I have gone since Sea World was purchased, it was very confusing trying to get out of the place, as there was few signs pointing the way and tons of dead end walkways.

Finally, I think the number of 2.5 million guests last year in the park was high to me. With Cedar Point around the 3 milllion mark, I expected Worlds to be a lot lower than the 2.5 million mark.

With the hyper rumored to be coming next year, and Cedar Point's rumored massive coaster coming, I don't think things in Cleveland are going to be looking to good anytime soon.


Sunday, August 18, 2002 2:02 PM
It was a pretty stupid move by Six Flags. Heck, I bet Cedar Point people probably laugh at that comercial.

The ice age killed the dinosaurs, we killed ourselves.

Sunday, August 18, 2002 2:03 PM

Smooth, real smooth. And would you rather go to a park with good customer servince and freindly staff, or a place with just the opposite, or "neutral" staff? I know my answer.

Sunday, August 18, 2002 2:12 PM

Kieran Burke, I'm are delusional and have NO clue about what's really important....when the SF top-level guys get together, they can e-mail me for the long story about their company's future...the potential is virtually limitless, but their ideas about what makes folks "loyal" to CP (and to regional parks like HW, HP, etc.) are totally off base....don't get me wrong, as a thrill-seeker, I love all the new goodies, esp. the "bonus" year of double-naught, but adding new rides like crazy is short-sighted, and has obviously reached the point of diminishin returns...(it's in the textbooks guys, were you paying attention in business school or not?).......they can read these threads if they want to or not, it's obvious who here knows what to do and how to do it.....or you can wait five years down the road and "copy" what's been successful for *the other guys*....but then you're five years too late and a dollar short, as they say...... it starts with GUEST relations, and it's more than just how you treat customers....although that's a start......;).....what WAS that stock price today, anyway....OUCH!

bill, currently holding 0 shares of PKS....

Sunday, August 18, 2002 2:18 PM
WHOAHHHHhhhh here people.

SFI never said, at least not stated in the article that it was a mistake combining to the parks. It did say it's hurting it's attendance in the short run. Which most of us new it would, SFO really didn't have much (at least not for thrill seakers) to offer compared to other SW parks. And SW even took most of the animals. SFWoA has done a HECK of a job pulling the combination of the park off.

Was there biggest problem advertising? Yes. Will they fix the article said they will respect CP now. So we will (IMO) see diffrent and better commercials next year.

As for getting lost on the Wild Life side? SF hasn't added or taken away any paths that I'm aware of? They did add 2 paths to connect the 3 parks. BG parks are known for having TONS of paths it's one way that many small parks use to make the park feel bigger (aka: Kennywood). Once a park reaches a certain size it's best to use loops (aka: Cedar Point). Will SFWoA get rid of the many paths on the Wild Life side to ease flow? Who knows but than if they did people would start yelling probably.

As for customer satisfaction, and customer service it has already been stated here by other coaster fans that SFWoA has DRASTICALLY improved it this year with new managment and new team ideas.

It's tough to compare it to last year and I know it will be hard to say that 5 yrs from now. SFI had and has a long term goal for SFWoA that's why they still plan to pump in money for the park as stated....unlike some other SF parks.

Sure it's not CP but CP is not SFWoA don't trash each park. Just tip your hat and enjoy them!

As for the stock thing...let's just say I'm enhancing my portfolio for the long term ;)

"The Future of Roller Coasters"

Sunday, August 18, 2002 2:39 PM

Booya Six Flags!! That's what ya get for sayin' your better than Cedar Point!

I swear, everytime that lady came on saying "Six Flags is better than Cedar Point...", I was thinking about kicking the TV. I was really about to once, but then my sister stopped me. That makes me happy to know that Six Flags NOW knows they can't YET compete with the best amusement park in the world (sorry but it seemed right - IMO of It's like they say "You rollin' wit da big gawgs now".

Call me SpongeBobAlex.

Sunday, August 18, 2002 2:42 PM

"As for customer satisfaction, and customer service it has already been stated here by other coaster fans that SFWoA has DRASTICALLY improved it this year with new managment and new team ideas."

I'm here and I'm a coaster fan. I also visited SFWOA in both the 2001 and 2002 seasons and I saw very little if any improvement in the customer service department. What I did see was a crowd about 1/3 the size of the year before (visited around the same time too). The damage was done in 2000 & 2001 - the rides were added the public was interested. They visited and for some reason they're not coming back. I know the reason, you know the reason, the thousands of members here know the reason. The only ones who seem to be missing the answer are the Six Flags people. (Although I understand they wouldn't publicly admit to or mention the service may be the problem, that'd be suicide)

It's going to take a lot longer and be a lot harder to build the reputation of SFWOA back up than it would have been to just have a decent level of customer service in place when they took over. I'll even go as far as saying they'd have been better off only adding one or two coasters (instead of 5) and using the additional money to assure properly paid and trained employees would be giving guests the kind of experience that creates positive word of mouth as opposed to the negative word of mouth that's clearly hurting the park.

Sure the official excuses may be valid to some degree, but (and this is just my experience) just about everyone I've talked to in the customer radius of SFWOA will tell you to avoid the place. That's got to be hurting them...big time.

Dorney Park visits in 2002: 15

Sunday, August 18, 2002 2:53 PM

Well, I don't care what they say, as long as they get the hyper next year I'll be happy.

That campaign was pretty stupid of them though. How could you even compare the 2 parks. One is voted best park on the planet, the other is voted......ok well nothing.

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Sunday, August 18, 2002 3:04 PM

I also visited SFWOA in both the 2001 and 2002 seasons and I saw very little if any improvement in the customer service department. What I did see was a crowd about 1/3 the size of the year before

I think the perception of improved customer service, that some people claim exists, is there because the crowd is so small. When I went, I saw the same lazy ride ops, that move so slow that you can watch the grass grow, that they have had in the past. The Six Flags parks that are good are mostly the original parks, that still have some of the old culture left. I'm convinced PKS doesn't have a clue on how to run a park that gives good customer satisfaction. It wouldn't surprise me if PKS sells SFWoA after a few more seasons.

Sunday, August 18, 2002 3:06 PM

In the last week PKS goes from $12+ to 4.09. In the last week FUN goes from $21 to 23.91. The two have easily affected each other. FUN investors think, "Hey, they did pretty well even though Six Flags didn't," while PKS investors think, "Why they doing so poorly if Cedar Fair is doing well?"

I agree with the above comments. The damage has been done, and the part about group sales was a very telling tale. My employer used to do group outtings at SFWoA. Have a sub-standard day at the park and you can guess they wouldn't be back. Any guess where they will go now? Duh.

I don't get why anyone would defend that park for their shortcomings. I would love to see them succeed because I dig their rides and it would only be good for Ohio as a whole, something to keep CP and PKI on their toes.

The fact of the matter is that CP really has nothing to do with SFWoA's failure. The blame rests squarely on the people who run that dump. You'd think that with such a great lineup they'd take a little more pride in what they were doing. Until they do, I don't see anything getting better.

Jeff - Webmaster/Admin -,
"Let's stop saying 'don't quote me,' because if no one quotes you, you probably haven't said a thing worth saying." - Dogma, KMFDM

Sunday, August 18, 2002 3:24 PM

Put it simply:

Six Flags has some really bad customer service. Cedar Fair has excellent customer service.

Six Flags doesn't know what "clean" is. Cedar Fair knows exactly what it is.

Six Flags Sucks. Cedar Fair Rules.

-Kyle Brylczyk
KoRn - Untouchables, June 11th, 2002

Sunday, August 18, 2002 3:35 PM

RollerCoasterGod said: "Was there biggest problem advertising? Yes."....

well, let's just saying I'm looking WAY beyond the OH market, and advertsising is a means to an end.....getting NEW customers to try your product once.....whether they come back or not has absolutely zero to do with advertising, and reflects how they felt about your product after trying it.....buit on a side note, how people feel about your product AFTER trying, that's where winners win and losers go home.....

If you're not watching "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart", you're just watching the news....

Sunday, August 18, 2002 3:44 PM

We've ALL said it before and we'll say it again:

Multi Million Dollar rides does not make a great park.

Multi Million Dollar SERVICE does.

Respect your customer and they will in turn support your park.

Sunday, August 18, 2002 5:23 PM
I went there in 2000. They took Geauga Lake and shoved a bunch of rides in, hiked up all the prices, didn't add any bathrooms or much walking space. It was awful. The foot traffic had no pattern or no "out." The whole thing was set up so stupidly bad, I couldn't take it and left. It will be a while until I go back. Cedar Point has superior guest service, great traffic patterns, and a few (a few, in contrast to how many people come thru the door) high capacity rides.
Sunday, August 18, 2002 5:25 PM

They have really been advertising a lot here in Pittsburgh in the last few weeks. Looks like they are trying to pull in some new customers.

You would think that as big as Six Flags is, they would have done a better job. They thought that they could come in and take a nice little park (Geaga Lake) and turn it into a Mega park the scale of CP or SFMM overnight.

As has been said before, they should have built the park up slowly and kept the customer service high and people would have come. People have good memories and do not forget a bad experience. It will take many years to gain back the public's confidence. I just hope and pray that they can pull everything together, because WOA is a good park with a lot of potential.

The worst day at Cedar Point is better than the best day at work.

Sunday, August 18, 2002 5:49 PM
Damn, isn't a new coaster supposed to increase attendence up to 10%? I can't believe they lost 12%.

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