The 6 best SF "no touch " parks

Saturday, July 15, 2006 7:38 AM
Six Flags plans should include a greater emphasis on flat rides. Many rides of this type are family friendly and they don't tend to get those hour plus waits that the big coasters get so this helps improve a park's image from an operations standpoint.

SFOT did the right thing in adding a bunch of new and relocated flats and that should be good for promoting the park's family image. Six Flags should look at each of the other parks to see if there are a sufficient number and variety of flat rides in the parks.

Lack of sufficient flat rides maght be one of the major reasons why Six Flags has concerns about SFMM. This is a problem that could be fixed over time but the image damage has already been done. It just should be remembered that having a lot of coasters doesn't mean that you can't also be strong with the spinning and swinging rides. Look at CP. It is one of the top coaster parks but it also has a good collection of flats.

While coasters are the big draw at most parks, not everyone wants to ride them. Others want both types of fun from the coasters and the flats. Many people want to spin and swing and if the big parks don't give them what they want, many fairs, carnivals, and smaller parks are very strong in this area and can provide plenty of thrills of this type.

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Sunday, July 16, 2006 7:39 PM
Thanks for the all the info.

While I am not a flat ride enthusiast, there are actually are flats at MM. I see the problem with them though that the newest ones are almost all toddler level, and families with older children are pretty much left in the dust. The middle range attractions are few. It's like the classic tea cup at DL. It's large enough for adults & kids, where the MM one is so small, that it excludes a whole range of park guest.

It sounds like that is where the other parks have been doing a good job, striking the balance between the age groups more effectively.

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Sunday, July 16, 2006 10:03 PM
SFA is in definite need of some more flats as well,it did get quite boring walking around the park seeing A. so few flats,B.quite a wide range of good flats closed<yesterday was the first time I've seen flying carousel down all day> & C. some inverting flats to replace the three that were lost.

Speaking of the parks flat selection...Avalanche is no longer running both forward & backward,apparently they've had a couple of injuries from people trying to exit the ride mid cycle so they now run it either backward or forward only...depending on who yells the loudest when asked before they start in what direction they want to go.

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Sunday, July 16, 2006 10:36 PM
IMO SFNE is hands down the best run park in the chain. It is my home park and I visit it 2 times a week, in fact I just got back from there and it was packed today. I have met Mark Shapiro there several times and he has told me that it is his favorite park because it is very well maintained and has the best family atmosphere, not to mention his kids love the park. Of all the SFs parks I have been to this season SFNE is the only one that has enforced the no smoking policy the best. I spoke to park GM Mark Kane last week and he told me thet attendance was up from last year despite the fact that May and June saw record rain fall. Another reason they would never close SFNE is SROS #1 steel resides there and yes Mark Shapiro knows all about coaster rankings because I heard him mention it in an interveiw with a local news paper reporter.
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Monday, July 17, 2006 10:14 AM

And I agree, SFA has great potential as there are many families in this area with disposable income.

Its been several years now since I've lived in the DC area, so how has SFA's profile fared under the SF banner? I don't think I've been to the park since SF took it over--and I know they've added a bunch of stuff--but prior to that, it always had the rep for being a pretty good waterpark with a handful of halfway-decent rides, but the park really wasn't much more than a teenage hangout.

Has the park's public-opinion profile really changed so it is on par with KD or Hershey or BGW? Because those are always the parks I visited most when I lived there, and usually forgot that SFA was even there.

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Monday, July 17, 2006 10:32 AM
^^I don't think Shapiro cares one way or another about coaster rankings among enthusiasts when making a business decision on which parks to close<cough SFMM cough> so SROS @SFNE's status as a number 1 ranked steel coaster simply makes no sense in keeping the park open.

SFA's profile is only slightly ahead of what it was in the old AW days,sure they didn't have as much then but what they did have was running 99% of the time compared to now....I swear on one of the most hottest days of the season they did not have TSC running at all & the misters were turned off on PBR

That kinda defeats the purpose of going on a water ride when you don't get so much as a drop for your efforts doesn't it?

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Monday, July 17, 2006 11:12 AM
Not sure WHERE it was I said that, but ^this "I don't think Shapiro cares one way or another about coaster rankings among enthusiasts when making a business decision on which parks to close" is SPOT on. The ONLY reason Shapiro even *mentioned* the ranking is becuase he's "on the local news" and is using the #1 ranking as MARKETING... ;)

SFNE will remain open for one reason, and it's NOT Supes....it IS the cash registers...SFNE, like GAdv, makes the same sounds as an RCT park does at an umbrella stand during a shower... :)

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Monday, July 17, 2006 12:15 PM
Industry folk are buzzing that SF may also be looking at dropping SFGADV should they follow through with a sell/closure of SFMM.

Apparently speculation is SFGADV is suffering much the same fate as SFMM and doesn't fit into Shapiro's "ideal." Not to mention that the land SFGADV is rumored to be extremely valuable.

Now all this is hearsay, of course. But in todays crazy world, it would not surprise me one bit.

Shaggy

*** Edited 7/17/2006 4:23:14 PM UTC by Shaggy***

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Monday, July 17, 2006 12:20 PM
Not necessarily good news for parks in the no-touch category. Translation for "no-touch"- nothing to be added anytime soon. The parks almost doing well, but need a little something extra may be next in line for a family attraction in the next ten years. As for the rest of the parks, don't hold your breath.

And Six Flags can't take much credit for Fiesta Texas. It was a great themed park long before Six Flags purchased it. The company was smart enough not to dismantle what was already a great park.

As for SFoT, SFoG, SFGA, and SFNE Six Flags deserves all the credit. *** Edited 7/17/2006 4:22:24 PM UTC by rc-madness***

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Monday, July 17, 2006 12:24 PM

Not to mention that the land SFGADV is rumored to be extremely valuable.

For what?

To the east you have the shore points, and to the west the closest "urban" area is Trenton. But between these two points and the park are miles upon miles of either wood land or farming with scattered developed areas.

While it sits between NYC and Philly, I would hardly call that area of NJ highly developed or crunched for space.

It's not the land locked park that SFMM is. If there is a development boom in the area, I would think that open farm land or wood land would be in the sight of developers than a developed park. Open land has got to be cheaper than any sort of developed land.

Satellite photos of SFMM show that it is not exactly being enchroached upon by development... and that there is a lot of unused land around there... but the difference is that the "unused" land around SFMM appears to be not the best terrain for development (mountains, rough terrain), while the land that surrounds SFGrAdv for MILES around is nice flat / level ground. Empty flat land has got to be more appealing to a developer than previously developed flat land.

Go to RCDB and look at the satellite images of SFGrAdv and SFMM to see what I mean. Then look at satellite images of say, Busch Gardens Africa (or Tampa or what ever it is called now days) or Knotts Berry Farm to see examples of extremely land locked parks sitting on parcles of land that developers must be salivating over.

Of course, it all depends on if the land owner is willing to sell I suppose.

If anything, I could see them getting out of the "zoo keeper" business and closing the Safari and then unloading that part of the property.

*** Edited 7/17/2006 4:31:02 PM UTC by SLFAKE*** *** Edited 7/17/2006 4:34:08 PM UTC by SLFAKE***

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Monday, July 17, 2006 12:38 PM
SFGAdv has hundreds and hundreds of undeveloped acres of land. It's not in any danger of closing and/or being sold off.

-Nate *** Edited 7/17/2006 4:39:58 PM UTC by coasterdude318***

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Monday, July 17, 2006 12:45 PM
I don't see SFGAdv being sold for land. The building boom would be taking place closer to the coast or the major cities. Also, this park has such big attendance in spite of its flaws. What other major park is located so close to so much population?

Six Flags should keep this park and make the changes needed to attract more families. As for the teens, the issue here isn't to keep them out (they have money to spend, too) but to prevent them from using the park as a hangout. Repricing the season passes could be a key to accomplishing this goal.

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Monday, July 17, 2006 1:17 PM

rc-madness said:
And Six Flags can't take much credit for Fiesta Texas. It was a great themed park long before Six Flags purchased it. The company was smart enough not to dismantle what was already a great park.

Smart enough? More likely, IMO, it was tucked away in a small market and was *profitable enough*...they just didn't get around to screwing it up... ;)

edit: Shaggy is NOT making it up re:SFGAdv for sale, as I've heard the same thing now from *several* independent sources. I think where the land-barons ARE mistaken, though, is that GAdv is what is it that MAKES the land there valuable. As noted, it's kinda in the middle of nowhere (which goes back to why I wanted the HOTEL built there)....

*** Edited 7/17/2006 5:19:49 PM UTC by rollergator***

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Monday, July 17, 2006 2:05 PM
Thanks Gator.

I don't have any facts to back that up, I just know that I have been privvy to a few conversations with folks in the industry that are all speculating this.

Again, what I have overheard/been told is simply chatter centered on SFGADV "suffering the same fate as SFMM."

Apparent high operational cost, and overhead debt loads attributed to years of costly installs (that have yet to pay for themselves) are huge concerns. Not to mention the whispers that SFGADV has a reputation for being a "rough" park... a BIG Shapiro no-no.

"SFGAdv has hundreds and hundreds of undeveloped acres of land. It's not in any danger of closing and/or being sold off."

With all due respect, that is a contradiction. What effect does having "hundreds of undeveloped acres of land" have on a decision to not close a park? Seems to me that hundreds of portions of undeveloped land would seem ripe for the dumping in SF's eyes. Isn't SF selling off unused lands in other markets?

I haven't been to SFGADV in years, and when I went I enjoyed it. I wish good things for it's fate. But I also think that Shapiro is streamlining hard... he has to... such a dramatic debt load causes dramatic outcomes.

But I also think that Shapiro is playing mind games with city governments as well. I think that part of his angle is to make shocking public statments about possible closures/sell-offs in order to shock those in the local leaderships that rely on the income they bring.

Think about it, if a town or city's well being relies heavily on the revenue tourism brings, then they will likely freak at the thought of losing the town's main tourism draw. This may result in more appealing tax breaks, lease agreements etc etc etc.

Shapiro is a marketer... and the essence of marketing is to use the press in any way to sell your goods. You'd better believe that every word that Shapiro says about SF is a stratigic move.

Shaggy

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Monday, July 17, 2006 3:07 PM
Again... I say go to Great Adventure on RCDB and click on the link to Satellite Image. The park is surrounded by lots and lots of unused land.

Not sure how many of these belong to Six Flags ("Hundreds of acres?")... but if they do... I could see THAT land being sold off to the highest bidder, but I really do not see the land that has been developed by Six Flags (except perhaps for the Safari, depending on operating costs... keeping animals can be expensive) being sold off.

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Monday, July 17, 2006 3:27 PM

rc-madness said:

And Six Flags can't take much credit for Fiesta Texas. It was a great themed park long before Six Flags purchased it. The company was smart enough not to dismantle what was already a great park.


I agree with this one hundred percent. I didnt believe that I was inside a Six Flags Park when I first visited back in 2002. The place is surreal, and with all of their random purchases of parks this one proved to be a real winner.

The park is VERY family oriented, and really, should be how EVERY Six flags park looks, feels, and operates. Hell, they havent even added any new large attractions in 5 years or so and it still is being touted as a money maker for the chain. Of course, its all speculation, but I wouldnt be surprised.

SFFT rocks.

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Monday, July 17, 2006 3:54 PM
Is there really such a thing as a "no touch" park, when you've got a 2+ billion dollar debt load?

I think not.

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Monday, July 17, 2006 4:12 PM

DWeaver said:
Is there really such a thing as a "no touch" park, when you've got a 2+ billion dollar debt load?

Ummm, you'll have to ask MJ about Neverland AFTER all the civil suits are completed... ;)

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Monday, July 17, 2006 4:17 PM
ooooo..... your *BAD* Gator. And the whole world has to answer right now, cause I tell you once again...;)

Speaking of a park ripe with development posiblities, providing they can ride themselves of the "stench" of what may have gone on there.

Or then again, condos... ;) *** Edited 7/17/2006 8:19:18 PM UTC by DWeaver***

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Monday, July 17, 2006 5:44 PM

Shaggy said:
I don't have any facts to back that up, I just know that I have been
privvy to a few conversations with folks in the industry that are all
speculating this.

And I'll believe that it's all that - speculation. SFGAdv has a lot in common with SFMM in some respects (lots of expensive coasters, huge operating costs, the "rough crowd" you spoke of, etc). But there are also some major differences. For one thing, SFGAdv has far more family-oriented infrastructure built up. It's far more financially successful than SFMM. And it's not sitting on land that developers are itching to get at. There'd be no reason to sell the park because they're not going to get any major price for it.

There's tons of undeveloped land that hasn't been touched for good reason. That's not a contradiction, it's common sense. Six Flags owns a whopping 2300 acres around SFGAdv. The three parks and parking lot take up 635 of those. Another 825 acres are open to development. That's a *lot* of unused land that they'll most likely never use unless they build a resort. That means that Six Flags could easily sell off a large chunk of land without ever interfering with park operations. Further, with the way Six Flags has been selling excess land at other parks, they would have *happily* sold of the excess land around SFGAdv if it was worth anything. For right now, it's more valuable to keep that land in case they ever wanted to do anything with it than sell it. That should tell you about how much interest developers have in that property.

-Nate

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