Blame was placed on a number of factors including poor weather, bleak economy, etc but that blame is difficult to accept when the park over in Erie County showed an increase for the second year in a row.
I think it is high time for Burke and company to admit that the (mis)management of this park from the top down has as much (or more) to do with the poor performance as anything else.
So much potential at that property is being wasted.
I (and many others) thought SFWOA was going to be a major player in the area when the whole SFO/SFWOA thing happened - and they should have been. There's is no reason that park can't compete with the right approach.
I'd be curious as to the combined attendance figures from back when it was still Geauga/Sea World vs Cp's for the same time period. That would be the most telling info of all.
*** Edited 12/22/2003 6:54:19 PM UTC by Lord Gonchar***
I don't do the CP vs SFWOA crap because I prefer to enjoy what each park has to offer.
I don't visit SFWOA nearly as much but when I do I have enjoyed it with a few exceptions. Personally I think the park has improved dramatically in the last 2 years since becoming "WOA"). I have even noticed an improvement with personnel and the overall look of the park.
The times I was there this year it was packed to capacity, so this could of fooled me!
*** Edited 12/22/2003 7:23:31 PM UTC by coasterqueenTRN***
*** Edited 12/22/2003 8:43:05 PM UTC by Jeff***
Jeff hit the nail on the head though. I think a good number of these problems go back to the combination of the two parks. (A form of mismanagement, for sure.)
It was my assumption that they combined the parks that first year b/c with the loss of some of the marquee animal attractions they didn't feel the wildlife side could stand on it's own. Unfortunately, they rushed the combination to prepare for that first upcoming season and it was painfully obvious.
If they would have stopped to think about it though you would think they would have decided not to go that route. Disney/MGM and Epcot are fairly close together but Disney has never considered combining those two parks...and why would they?
If Jeff's guess at the figures is correct then 6 million visitors a year has turned into 2 million even with the massive capital investment in rides. There is way more to it than bad weather or even competition from Cedar Point.
People are not enjoying their visit to WoA because they obviously aren't coming back. Why?
It isn't the rides/attractions package because we would all agree that a ride park/water park/marine park all at the same price as Cedar Point is a hell of a value. And, while WoA may not have the tallest coasters in the world they do have some good ones...and an excellent waterpark and kiddie area.
It isn't location. Both CP and WoA share traffic problems. CP might have Detroit/Michigan/Cleveland to draw from but WoA has Cleveland, Akron/Canton and a good chunk of Pennsylvania.
It isn't price. Both parks are comparable.
So, what does that leave you with? The people don't feel that the park is worth their visit, or at least a repeat visit. I have an idea why that might be the case. Your thoughts? *** Edited 12/22/2003 8:59:45 PM UTC by wahoo skipper***
So, what does that leave you with? The people don't feel that the park is worth their visit, or at least a repeat visit. I have an idea why that might be the case. Your thoughts?
I'm not sure entirely. Bad operations. We first visited in 2001. It was a nightmare - no ice at many drink stands (on a 95 degree day) and employees that couldn't tell you where rides were located, trash everywhere. Very frustrating.
We decided to return in 2002 and found improved grounds (and ice) but employees who seemed like you were interupting their "personal time" by being at the park. Almost to the point of being uncomfortable. Staff training/morale seems to be the #1 thing that hurt both of our visits.
In 2003 we didn't even bother even though we had the time and drove right by the park on our to other parks. We opted for a day at my parents over giving SFWOA another chance.
We may try again in 2004 if we have a free day with nothing better to do, but it's certainly not a priority.
*** Edited 12/22/2003 9:17:59 PM UTC by Lord Gonchar***
Still pretty ugly.
...unless you refer to the staff issues I mention in my post above.
I think most people would rather go to a park that has less to do or is less value but is enjoyable to visit rather than one with more rides or "bang for the buck" ,but you're miserable the whole time you're there.
People are seeing something that makes them stay away and I think it boils down to customer service.
Now, I'm certainly not trying to argue that SFWoA is without problems. There's more than plenty to be fixed with the park. But by combining the parks, they effectively chopped their attendance in half with people just visiting once/summer now instead of twice. SF has tried all of the "quick and easy" solutions and they haven't worked. Now the park needs to really focus on doing things the hard way and making the park a pleasure to visit.
Comparing CP and SFWoA seems obvious because they draw from similar markets, but it's important to note one major difference. CP is really a resort destination. A large portion of that park's visitors stay for more than one day, and another large portion come from much further away than Cleveland for a summer vacation. SFWoA doesn't have the same resort draw that CP has; most people visit for just one day, and I don't think SFWoA draws many people from outside the Cleveland area.
The X-Flight-S:UE-Mind Eraser-Big Dipper area is completely sectioned off from the B:KF-Villain-ST area by that one choke point near the entrance gate (at least I've never found another way around), so that makes it hard to get around on the few days that there's enough of a crowd to make it difficult. And the rides themselves all seem like they were plopped down with great fanfare and pizzaz ... then left to rot. There's no sight of any employees of the park (I could care less if they're smiling or not - I'm there to have fun, not them) until you get into the ride stations, which makes it seem ... odd. Cedar Point, KW, Hershey, even other SF parks I've visited have a good number of sweeps, employees going on break, managers going from ride to ride, and at SFWoA there doesn't ever seem to be any of this motion.
I just think that there's an underlying feel to the place, be it public perception, or something real, that makes it feel inferior from the time you walk through the gate. It's just lacking in ... humanity. It's not an almost living attraction like CP, IoA or Disney ... it just kinda sits there and waits to be used and if its not used, there's not really any wasted "effort" on anyone's behalf if you get my drift ... no one - rides or theme or employees - are sadly playing to an empty house if no one's there ... if the house is empty or full, the show still sorta sits there and does what it does.
I hope that made sense to someone ...
Now, why isn't SFWOA allowed to have this same excuse? I don't think they should just get away with it and if you put them in strict comparison with CP, their operations aren't nearly as good, but I still prefer SFWOA now. I can get more rerides on coasters I really like, see shows I'm actually interested in, walk down uncrowded midways, take time to enjoy sections of the park without a huge amount of people around, being able to talk to the person next to me without yelling,... It's a world-class park wearing the wrong shoes and I want more than anything for them to succeed. The best thing about SFWOA is that they can do things CP and PKI can't or don't do with the wildlife section and waterpark right within the rides park. If they can work out management issues, I don't know how people will be able to come to Ohio and only choose one amusement park. At least I can dream it will come to that point someday...
It's great that you can do all of those things, and like you, no one wants the park to fail, but that doesn't fix the problems there. I haven't bought a Six Flags pass in a couple of years, and I see little incentive to get one next year.
Did you go to SFWOA at all this year Jeff and if so, did you notice any improvements? I think many more attractions were open this year and the ride ops were being faster and more efficient (some groups were being very unprofessional though), but I would say it's a lot better than 2001 when around 11 rides were closed compared to 3 this time (Silver Bullet, Texas Tornado, SUE). The atmosphere works for me and I enjoy it just slightly above CP (in a list, they would be right next to each other). CP does everything right they can do right, so no complaints as far as that goes. I agree that the fact I can accept some things at SFWOA doesn't fix anything and I don't want it to. Until most people are having a good time, I'm disappointed in the park as well and will push for even better things. Being on par or better than competition is when to stop.
If SFWOA added a MF and TTD you can bet attedence would be up, look at how MF and TTD brought people from all over the county if not the world.
I would have to disagree. A park can build the largest and best coasters in the world but if they don't have the right people to run the park and rides, then those rides don't mean a whole lot to a whole lot of people IMO.
Yea, I know. Some of you won't agree with that comment but I stand by it. It's no secret that Six Flags has been on this huge "build, build BUILD" funk in recent years. Now, don't get me wrong, I love progress. I love new rides. However, I also think customer satisfaction brings me back to a park just as much as a new ride does.
In the last two years I have visited SFWoA twice. To be honest, during those two times, I actually has a great time. Why wouldn't I go back all the time then?
The time I spent at the park three years ago was a much different story. I didn't want to visit the park again. There was no excuse for the way I was treated on more than one visit. Because of that, I decided to limit my visits to the park until I knew there were improvements being made.
Now, I am willing to give it more chances because I know it can and has improved in certain areas. Most of the general public however probably don't think the same way. If they get burnt, that will stick with them and they will remember it. Customer satisfaction does go a long way.
I am sure I will have a great time at the park this year. I would love to see the park take a couple of years off from building new rides just to work on their infrastructure.
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