The New Season at Six Flags

Friday, March 10, 2006 11:05 AM
Ok, the 2006 season is about to begin at many of the parks across the country. After all, Great Adventure opens in just 21 days. I for one am hoping the changes that the new management team promised will be in effect and that the changes will last more than just the first month. I am a little concerned that the first thing you see when you get on the main page is the company touting that it has the tallest and fastest roller coasters. It also looks like they will be raising the season pass price soon as the prices listed are only valid through April 30th. Well, here's to a great season!
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Friday, March 10, 2006 11:52 AM
SFoG opened last weekend. Ive been waiting for any reports, because I dont think Im going to go until Goliath opens.

Im not too concerned, however, I was never too let down by the service at the park, which was definitely not the worst of the bunch. But, if anyone has been and noticed any subtle difference, let me know.

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Friday, March 10, 2006 11:58 AM
Well, they do have the tallest and fastest in certain categories. They have the right to proclaim that.

You will not see any 'changes on paper', per say, like parades, or Batman running around jumping over q lines. Or maybe you will. If there is a hot bodied lady wearing a Wonder Woman costume, I will bring my dollars.

You will see new pricing, and sit down for this one. New pricing was decided on long before Shapiro and company became self proclaimed experts.

That is one huge park to begin adding new services. They will not happen overnight, and unfortunately, the last GM 'purged' plenty of good managers from the payroll in the last 2 years.

SF Great Adventure will have get it together when it matters most, Memorial Day weekend when El Toro opens.

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Friday, March 10, 2006 12:29 PM
People choose Ceder Fair, Disney, Paramount, Busch Gardens, Hershey, Kennywood over Six Flags not because of poor customer service. People choose these parks over Six Flags because they are unique and give people a much more lasting impression.

Six Flags has intensionally worked to become the McDonalds of amusement parks. If you have been to a few Six Flags parks, it starts to feel like you've been to them all. Not too many surprises around the next corner. Six Flags needs to figure out how to make each of their parks stand out as unique destinations.

It will be interesting to see the advertising strategy of Six Flags this year. May give an indiction if they intend to target more of the same, or head in new directions. *** Edited 3/10/2006 5:47:49 PM UTC by rc-madness***

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Friday, March 10, 2006 12:51 PM
I went to SFOG last Saturday for opening day. Park looked great. Workers were very nice. Saying hello and good morning whenever you passed them and greeted you as you entered the rides.

Characters were out. Saw the Roadrunner, which I had never seen before.

Goliath looks great. Can't wait till opening day. I will be there.

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Friday, March 10, 2006 12:56 PM
Personally, I will reserve judgement until the last day of the season. My home park, SFA, starts out great but by middle part of June they begin to tank. You willn't hear from me that SFA had a great season unless I can say things really were great all season until they close the gates on the last day.
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Friday, March 10, 2006 1:29 PM

People choose Ceder Fair, Disney, Paramount, Busch Gardens, Hershey, Kennywood over Six Flags not because of poor customer service. People choose these parks over Six Flags because they are unique and give people a much more lasting impression.

With the exception of Disney, I don't buy this. None of the other park operators have "destination" parks, though you could plausibly argue the Busch Gardens parks, and maybe CP. People generally attend the park that is closest to them---there are only a handful of markets served by two or more park operators, and only there do people have a differential choice to make. People also visit parks as part of some larger vacation---very few people travel to visit BGW, but many more people visit BGW as part of a larger trip to Colonial Williamsburg. Disney (and specifcially the Florida property) owns perhaps the only parks that most people travel to specficially as the centerpiece of their vacation. I might add Universal to that set, but I think their much less of a destination, and much more of an add-on visit as part of a larger trip.

Enthusiasts are the exception to this, but from all that I can discren, there aren't enough of us to matter.

In any case, for the vast majority of amusement parks, the competition is *not* some *other* amusement park. It is a baseball game. Or a day at the lake. Or a camping trip. Or the county fair. Or a rock concert. Or a hundred other summertime activities.

*** Edited 3/10/2006 6:30:44 PM UTC by Brian Noble***

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Friday, March 10, 2006 2:40 PM
I was going to echo the fact that CF parks are kind of repetative also. How many have coasters that are alike thinking Steel Force, Wild Thing and Magnum they are close to the same ride with mild differences in layout. They also use names over and over, Thunderhawk and Dominator, for example. Busch has 2 full amusment parks (sorry Sea Worlds don't have enough rides) so they can't be compared.

If you were to run as many parks as SF does you would probably have to have some repetition also. Plus it saves on the design costs so they can afford to add the coaster to more parks.

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Friday, March 10, 2006 2:51 PM
You want to talk repetition: I've been to three Disney "castle parks" now, (DL, MK, and DLP), and they are more similar than they are different!

In fact, the first time my wife visited MK, one year after DL, she found it very disconcerting to see Big Thunder in the "wrong" place.

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Friday, March 10, 2006 3:55 PM
Same names have been around since the 1900's. Just how many Twisters, Racers, Dippers, and Figure 8's were there at one time?
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Friday, March 10, 2006 5:31 PM
Man, what are all those tweens and teens gonna now that Six Flags is turning their backs on them? They'll be running rampant in the streets! We'll all have to go to Six Flags just to have some peace and quiet. This is an outrage! ;)

Seriously though. You think Hollywood will step up to fill the void? IMHO, I don't thing we'll be seeing an end to Six Flags daycare any time soon.

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Friday, March 10, 2006 7:14 PM

rc-madness said:
People choose Ceder Fair, Disney, Paramount, Busch Gardens, Hershey, Kennywood over Six Flags not because of poor customer service. People choose these parks over Six Flags because they are unique and give people a much more lasting impression.

Six Flags has intensionally worked to become the McDonalds of amusement parks. If you have been to a few Six Flags parks, it starts to feel like you've been to them all. Not too many surprises around the next corner. Six Flags needs to figure out how to make each of their parks stand out as unique destinations.


Excuse me, Cedar Fair parks are unique? How? To me Dorney Park looks almost exactly the same as Cedar Point (granted DP is smaller). The first thing you see is the carousel just like CP. The trashcans all look the same as CP. Instead of Raptor, you've got Talon to your right. They've even got a Coasters restaurant. Then there is White Water Landing, which is the same as Snake River Falls at CP. Instead of Magnum--which is an overgrown mine train, they got Steel Force--which is an overgrown mine train (whoops, sorry I didn't mean to be redundant). The newest Cedar Fair coaster--Patriot--is basically Talon with new colors. So how would I be suprised if I'd already been to Dorney Park? Do I need to continue? Nah, I didn't think so.

Compare SFOT to SFFT for example and tell me that all Six Flags parks look the same and aren't unique. You can't. With the exception of a few rides (Boomerang, S&S Towers), they share little in common. I'll have to ditto what someone said about Disney. Even though I haven't been to Disneyland, I've seen enough of it to know that it's pretty darn similar to Disneyworld which I have been to.

So back to the thread title, check out the pictures linked from Screamscape of opening weekend at SFOT. There's a lot of positive things going on, including getting a woman who looks a lot like Linda Carter to play Wonder Woman. Check out the pictures of the all the new (and handed down) rides that are coming, many with custom themes. And how about that new paintjob on Judge Roy Scream? *** Edited 3/11/2006 12:22:01 AM UTC by Intamin Fan***

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Friday, March 10, 2006 8:08 PM

Brian Noble said:
People generally attend the park that is closest to them---there are only a handful of markets served by two or more park operators, and only there do people have a differential choice to make.

Enthusiasts are the exception to this, but from all that I can discren, there aren't enough of us to matter.

In any case, for the vast majority of amusement parks, the competition is *not* some *other* amusement park. It is a baseball game. Or a day at the lake. Or a camping trip. Or the county fair. Or a rock concert. Or a hundred other summertime activities.


After all these years, you still don't know that reasonable, intelligent, logical conclusions are discouraged?

How dare you use common sense?

All silliness aside, Brian summed it up quite nicely. Learn it, live it, love it, deal with it. It's the truth.

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Friday, March 10, 2006 8:18 PM
^Unless you're in the region I live in (Maryland), and then it's all out war to get people to go to your themepark and not someone elses'. There are so many choices of big themeparks to go to that it's not even funny. And on the small side, I'm still missing several of the Pennsylvania parks in my themepark visits. I've only done the well known--HP, Knoebels, Kennywood, and DP. Within a three to three-and-a-half hour radius, there is a multitude of parks to visit.
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Friday, March 10, 2006 9:23 PM

rc-madness said:Six Flags has intensionally worked to become the McDonalds of amusement parks. If you have been to a few Six Flags parks, it starts to feel like you've been to them all. Not too many surprises around the next corner.

While I agree that Six Flags has a lot of hurdles to overcome, I do not agree that all Six Flags parks are the same. Last year, I went to SFKK, SFOG, Six Flags Great America, SFDL and Six Flags St. Louis. They all had a different feel and atmosphere to me. There were some similarities, they are all amusement parks after all, but each park felt very different to me and I enjoyed the different experiences.I actually has a good time at all these parks, but I hope things are even better this year!

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Friday, March 10, 2006 9:40 PM

Unless you're in the region I live in (Maryland),

Washington metro was one market that came immediately to mind as I was writing that. The others are central Florida (Disney/Universal/maybe Busch), Los Angeles (Disney/Cedar Fair/Universal/Six Flags), and Philadelphia (Cedar Fair/Six Flags). I'm sure there are a few others, but most markets have one geographically-dominant park.

However...


Within a three to three-and-a-half hour radius, there is a multitude of parks to visit.

Only an enthusiast thinks this way. For most Metro-DC folks, SFA and PKD are the only contenders, and (depending on which side of the beltway you're on) maybe BGW. But, most people north of the City would rule out PKD and BGW only because they are on the wrong side of the mixing bowl. *** Edited 3/11/2006 2:43:22 AM UTC by Brian Noble***

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Saturday, March 11, 2006 1:17 AM
Brian:
Notice I said Maryland, not the D.C. metropolitan area. You know, people do live in other parts of the state besides Prince Georges and Montgomery County. I'm not thinking like an enthusiast, I'm telling you where people travel who live where I do.

You see, I live fifteen minutes outside of Baltimore City in Baltimore County which has the other beltway, which means that from where I live, I can get to the following big parks in approximately three hours or less. I'm at the epicentre, if you will. If you think that people are aware of only a few parks, this is where you're dead wrong. If you go to most of the fast food estabishments around my way, you'll see coupons sitting side by side from most of the big hitters and all four advertise heavily on the Baltimore area TV stations:
Six Flags America
Paramount's King's Dominion
Busch Gardens Williamsburg
Hersheypark

Six Flags Great Adventure--Now you say, no way would people go to Great Adventure when they got America. Wrong. First off, I'd say a lot of people absolutely hate SFA. I'm not saying that people are all that much more thrilled with GA, but a lot more people have been going to that park for a long time, especially people who live up north going towards Delaware in Harford and Cecil Counties.

And Six Flags has specials to GA for anyone who gets a season pass book to SFA. And since pratically everyone gets a season pass book , that means that a good majority of people are familiar with GA. And with all the media coverage and specials on Kingda Ka, you've got people who are willing to travel.

And then you have the two big parks for the kiddies and their parents who may not do the TV advertising, but you can always find print advertising for these parks:
Sesame Place
Dutch Wonderland

Now, turning the enthusiast switch back on, you can add Dorney Park, Knoebels, and Kennywood to the mix. The last two are lesser known, but have been featured on TV quite a bit, and for people who live in Western Maryland, Kennywood isn't all that far.

Just wait until they are finished with all the bypasses going to Allentown. I don't think it's a stretch to say it'll be about a two-hour drive when all is said and done. I was totally blown away by how short the drive was last year to Dorney for the CB event, compared to the old days when we would visit my grandparents in Allentown and the only bypass was in Reading and even that sucked due to a multi-intersection traffic light.

Again, you've got a lot of people who travel to Hershey from the Baltimore area via 83, and you've got a lot of wealthy folks who live near York, PA in the Timonium/Hunt Valley Area. To get to DP, it's only a matter or taking a different exit off of 83 at Market Street in York to connect to 30. If Cedar Fair markets it right, you could throw another contender into the mix in a few years. Just remember, they have been advertising Cedar Point heavily in the Baltimore market and we all know that's not a day trip.

Lastly, The Baltimore Sun produces an annual wrapup of the all the big parks and their new attractions, so people aren't completely ignorant.

Whew, I think that was enough.

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Saturday, March 11, 2006 4:40 AM
I have to echo what I-Fan says. I know plenty of people that prefer Hershey, BGW or PKD over SFA. SFA isn't as well known around here as one might think. A lot of people still don't realize there is an amusement park outside of Washington, D.C.. Even if it's been here for 20 years. BGW, PKD and HP are very well known in these parts. These are the parks people have been going to since they were kids and continue to go to as adults.
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Saturday, March 11, 2006 1:23 PM
I was under the impression that the census bureau counted Balmore (as the natives call it) part of DC Metro.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baltimore-Washington_Metropolitan_Area

(The census page is down right now, else I'd link to it rather than wikipedia.)

I happen to know this because my in-laws live in the 95 corridor between Baltimore and DC, right near NSA, and my father in law works for Census. So, you are still in the area I had in mind as one served by multiple park operators. But if the Baltimore/Washington natives I know are any indication at all, anything south of the Mixing Bowl is pretty much off limits for "regular" people. You make the trip only if there is something you can't do anywhere else, because even though it isn't really that bad, it *feels* bad.

BGW might be that something, but not for most people. Hell, most of 'em would rather see a Nats game.

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Saturday, March 11, 2006 2:57 PM
The census bureau may count Baltimore as part of the D.C. metro area, but that's where it stops. Ask anyone who live around the Baltimore Beltway if they live in the D.C. area, and you'd be laughed at. The only valid reason we've ever had to count ourselves as part of D.C. was when we were trying to get the summer Olympics that went to London.

Your in-laws apparently live in the Ft. Meade/Odenton area. It's still not considered the D.C. area, even though you're getting closer. To my definition, you're not in the D.C. area until either a) You've passed over into Montgomery County on rt. 29, b) You've hit the College Park area via 95 or c) passed into P.G. County via 295.

Anything south of the mixing bowl is definitely not off limits for "regular" people. Remember, they have to pass through it to get to PKD (unless you bypass it on rt. 301 and that only makes sense if you are on the East/South side of the Capital Beltway). There are other things besides BGW that attract the regular people as well. Colonial Williamsburg is a huge draw. They advertise heavily on the Baltimore stations (there's an ad getting played quite a bit right now). My parents are definitely not coaster enthusiasts, and they took us to BGW after we went to study history. There's also a lot of people who go to Virginia Beach over Ocean City.

I could be dead wrong (I'll have to look it up), but I believe the mixing bowl project is either a) completely finished or b) close to being finished I've passed through there on the way down to PKD and had no problems. The Woodrow Wilson Bridge replacement bridges though are still many years away from being completed.

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