Travel columnist on MSNBC discusses his SFA outing.

Saturday, July 28, 2007 11:40 PM
While I guess he managed to have a decent time, alot of things weren't right.

Click here.

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Saturday, July 28, 2007 11:54 PM
I read that article yesterday...that queue fence with the missing boards is ridiculous.

If Shapiro were to visit his parks as a regular guest (dressed down without corporate escort) without the general managers on alert, he'd really see how bad things still are.

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Saturday, July 28, 2007 11:57 PM
I wish my trip to Six Flags America was half as good as his.
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Saturday, July 28, 2007 11:58 PM
He breaks the experience down into 6 basic (and crucial) categories, complains about them all and then ends with:

"Please don't get me wrong, we did have a good time and we will likely go back."

This is why SF will be ok.

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Sunday, July 29, 2007 12:32 PM
Geez, the nerve of some people. He doesn't shell out the mega-bucks for the VIP tour, then complains about his experience. Doesn't he know anything? ;)
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Sunday, July 29, 2007 10:00 PM
To defend Six Flags on two and a half points:

1. The writer's math is a bit fuzzy on the cost question. The difference in cost between SFA and Magic Kingdom isn't only $12 because of the parking. Sounds like he added the parking fee to everyone's ticket not divided it. Also, I would expect a travel writer to know about things like discounts, even if it's just a soda can, for anywhere they visit.

2. I don't know if the rides are better at Disney. Their effects and theming are fantastic, but just as rides, they're nothing that special.

2.5 I don't know if it's fair to compare anyone to Disney. But then, Shapiro's the one who's gone around offering Six Flags as the regional alternative to Disney. Sometimes when the punk runs his mouth off how he's going to take down the big guy, he deserves to get his ass kicked.


Lord Gonchar said:
He breaks the experience down into 6 basic (and crucial) categories, complains about them all and then ends with:

"Please don't get me wrong, we did have a good time and we will likely go back."

This is why SF will be ok.


It may be true, but I still think it's kind of sad. If people keep going back and spending money despite being subjected to poor service, apathetic employees, and even potential safety and security issues, there is absolutely NO incentive for Six Flags to do a damn thing. I don't care what the product or service is, why should customers have to put up with crap, much less accept it mindlessly?

That may change in this case though, as I e-mailed the writer and told him he should visit Hersheypark sometime and compare that experience to Six Flags.

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Sunday, July 29, 2007 10:12 PM

That may change in this case though, as I e-mailed the writer and told him he should visit Hersheypark sometime and compare that experience to Six Flags.

I dunno, RGB. Hershey has started to impliment 'pay for perks' things and just last month didn't Dunkin' Donuts move in? Uh oh, corporate entities in the park! (aside from the fact that the entire park theoretically serves a commercial for Hershey products)


I don't care what the product or service is, why should customers have to put up with crap, much less accept it mindlessly?

You know, I actually agree with that to a large degree. The problem is that the crap is becoming the norm.

In fact, I'd go as far as to say Disney doesn't necessarily offer an outstanding experience, but rather a completely satisfactory one. Grading on the curve, it seems exceptional. (and I'd say the same for my experiences at any of the parks that are generally regarded as friendly or customer service oriented)

At any rate, I do think the SF experience is better than it was two years ago and it still has room for improvement. But something I always suspected/alluded to was exactly what this guy says. The GP just isn't as picky as we think they are when we talk about this stuff on the forums.

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Monday, July 30, 2007 12:03 AM
2 things:

First, Six Flags America does NOT have a circular layout like the Magic Kingdom. IMO, it has one of the worst layouts at a major amusement park that I've seen.

Second, that is terrible of SFA to handle the maintenance thing that way. Did any of you look at that picture of the railing? I know for a fact that it is a pretty good drop off there in parts of the ME queue. A small child could have fallen through there to their death on the ground below. What kind of employees do they have running that place? Someone should have jumped on that right away, not send the poor guy all the way to guest relations. That just shows a major lack of care on SFA's part.

Other SF parks seem to be doing somewhat better this year, but SFA still seems to be one of the worst--and it is definitely one of my least favorite major parks, at this point. Dan and Mark need to visit this place undercover!

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Monday, July 30, 2007 12:23 AM
Every time I read something like this I'm thankful that SFGAm is sort of my home park.

Sure, it's far from perfect but problems there are nothing compared to what I've witnessed at places like SFMM and SFA.

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Monday, July 30, 2007 10:59 AM

Brad G said:
Every time I read something like this I'm thankful that SFGAm is sort of my home park.

Sure, it's far from perfect but problems there are nothing compared to what I've witnessed at places like SFMM and SFA.


SFMM has been having a pretty awesome year so far to the point where I think it's miles beyond SFA for this season!!

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Monday, July 30, 2007 11:21 AM

Lord Gonchar said:The problem is that the crap is becoming the norm.

Expectations keep dropping so fast, I'm pretty much impressed to get self-service these days - at least I know *I* will treat myself decently. I guess an employee ignoring customers while talking on the cellphone IS acceptable now? Why?


In fact, I'd go as far as to say Disney doesn't necessarily offer an outstanding experience, but rather a completely satisfactory one. Grading on the curve, it seems exceptional.

Disney definitely hasn't *upped* their level of service, but it sure hasn't dropped as fast as elsewhere. A visit to a Disney park is still "completely satisfactory, after all". (Cue the Hula dancers).

When Walt was around, *everyone* had higher expectations - of themselves, their companies, and the businesses they supported. Maybe the facelessness of modern society has something to do with this?


The GP just isn't as picky as we think they are when we talk about this stuff on the forums.

Of course not! They're not worried about the health of SF, CF, HFEC...they're only concerned about having a good time. It does seem that they *notice* the trash-lined midways and the substandard operations and the food lines that are longer than the ridelines and think "it's the price you pay for a day at the park"....(I want to scream "but it SHOULDN'T be" - I'll refrain)! ;)

*** Edited 7/30/2007 3:23:52 PM UTC by rollergator***

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Monday, July 30, 2007 12:06 PM
This guy is probably a typical media type. On the price issue if he looked at all, and I would bet he did, he would have known that Disney discounts are all but non existant. SFA on the other hand makes it easy to pay vastly less than full price. I would bet he didn't pay the full $49.99 per person and if he didn't he is wrong to use this agrument and not mention his discount. If he didn't use a discount at a Six Flags he is too stupid to write a story. 60 seconds on the SFA site revealed a $34.99 internet rate, a buy three get one free rate, and a $53 visit six times rate. This kind of destroys his almost equal to Disney price argument. But he decides that mentioning that ruins the whole story so just leave it out. How can it be Six Jeers if there are only five!

With that in mind, I guess we need to be more critical of his other points. How did he swing the story or leave things out on those to prove his point?

I can't believe I am defending SFA. LOL! While I was there last month I couldn't ride the coasters and get out fast enough. Still, this type of media is an unfair hatchet job and makes my skin crawl.

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Monday, July 30, 2007 12:48 PM
^ Unfair hatchet job? Have any of you missed the park about the queue railing? See my post above. Talk about a safety issue!

Personally, I hope this park continues to get bad press until they actually fix their problems. Every other SF park I've been to this year, I've had a good time. I haven't seen perfect operations, but I generally enjoyed myself, and even saw improvement at SFGAdv. SFA, on the other hand, still isn't fixed.

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Monday, July 30, 2007 12:54 PM
^The whole point is that he isn't an enthusiast, and it wouldn't be obvious to everyone visiting the park that there would be discounts online just for buying them online.

Immediately dismissing the entire article as a hack job (especially when he says himself he had a good time) just because he didn't get an online discount is pretty moronic.

Realize as enthusiasts that we are more in-tune to discounts than the average park goer. It's not as if every single person who enters the gate has purchased tickets online (from the looks of the lines outside my local SF park it's far from it) so working under the assumption that everyone who pays full price is just a sucker isn't really very practical.

In the end the price of tickets isn't really very pertinent to the discussion anyone. The problems this guy sees at SFA is the problems everyone else here sees at most SF parks so I don't see how this is some sort of "unfair hatchet job" when it's pretty much the same stuff everyone here has been bitching about since the site's inception.

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Monday, July 30, 2007 1:06 PM
Actualy after doing everything I could to help the places reputation while I worked there this sounds just like the SFA I know. The only thing that really surprises me is the fence on ME.

SFA needs a real shakeup to turn around, they still run it the same way they did before Shaperio took over, only difference now is they excpect the team members to do more while working open to close everyday. That and they gotta stop trying to get rid of people that want to improve the park for no apparant reason.

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Monday, July 30, 2007 1:09 PM
^ You miss the point. Let me restate it. He is a travel writer. He knows about discounts. He may have used one and my point is he probably used one. If he did, and did not include it in the story it shows that he is willing to leave out points that do not support his premise. If he did this on the cost portion, why not on the safety stuff too.

That is what makes it a hatchet job. He is not the general public. He is a jounalist and and a travel writer. He was doing research. How did he know what the price was at Disney? He looked on the web. Why not look on the web for SFA too. Bet he did.

This doesn't mean the stuff may not have had a bit of truth, I am talking about his slant on the info and excluding things that would have been fair to include that didn't fit his premise.

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Monday, July 30, 2007 1:17 PM
I thought it was going to be worse than he said it was going to be. I think the problem with some of the gp is that they forget how much money these rides cost as in regards to going to Disney or SFA. Superman is just 12 million alone. That's a lot of money. X-Flight (Batwing) was ridiculously high for that type of rougher ride (15 million). That's comparable to Superman Ultimate Flight.

Even if it is only $12 difference, SF parks put a lot of money into there parks. Of course Disney has Expedition Everest, Tower of Terror, and Splash Mountain each at 100 million, but what can you do? However, there aren't a lot of high priced rides at individual parks. Sure, you have Splash Mountain for 100, but what about the rest of the Magic Kingdom? Does anything come close to being that expensive?

This is just a guess. So, don't kill me on this. I have SFA as spending around (Remember, it's just a guess) 50 million dollars in the past 7 years. That's a lot of cash for such a small park.

The fence is wrong, and they should have done something to fix it, but what can you do? Food service is always bad at Six Flags. They don't have enough employees for each food place.

I was surprised that all of the rides were open? That's just like, "Oh my God!" I bet you he told them that he was coming the next day, or something. They can't come unannounced, and SFA is like, let's get all the rides open for this one day. Next day, we will have that ride, and that ride closed. Seriously, they are getting better on the rides open, but you have to remember this is July. What in the heck were they doing in June??? The thing that really bugs me is that they opened up in April, and weren't staffed in June.

I have a problem with that unattended bag thing. Who darn gives a care about that unattended bad? I'm sorry, but that's why they have metal detectors for. This isn't Disney where you don't think you are safe because they have no metal detectors. *** Edited 7/30/2007 5:20:39 PM UTC by Spinout***

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Monday, July 30, 2007 1:18 PM
^^So a slow line for crappy food that you sit down at dirty, unwiped tables to eat doesn't put a damper on anyone's day?

Or expecting a Disney experience from a park that isn't Disney makes a report invalid?

You tell us. I wanna know your opinion.

And one more question: If he said the park was the center of the coaster universe, spent half of it gaping in awe at the coasters and saying the park was the bestestestest ever...would he still be a hack? Or would he become a seasoned, balanced journalist?

-'Playa

(edited to add carat thingies)

*** Edited 7/30/2007 5:24:54 PM UTC by CoastaPlaya***

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Monday, July 30, 2007 1:23 PM

Spinout said:I was surprised that all of the rides were open? That's just like, "Oh my God!" I bet you he told them that he was coming the next day, or something. They can't come unannounced, and SFA is like, let's get all the rides open for this one day. Next day, we will have that ride, and that ride closed. Seriously, they are getting better on the rides open, but you have to remember this is July. What in the heck were they doing in June??? The thing that really bugs me is that they opened up in April, and weren't staffed in June.

The staffing problem can be blamed completly on the parks new HR director, not having a clue on how to preform his job. Most of the parks departments had a quarter to half the emplyees they should have had at park open. Then the park was working hard to alienate or fire there more experienced emplyees.

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Monday, July 30, 2007 1:31 PM
The park has an amazing collection of coasters (for me at least....;)) and the two times I were there I had an "average" time.

The thing that stood out the most (besides the dirty tables and apathetic employees) was the one dude checking the restraints on the Wild One while talking on his cell phone saying "Man I hate my f****** job!" Now this didn't personally bother me, but with so many kids around it was a little disturbing.

I see enough "you are bothering me" faces in customer service as it is. ;)

-Tina

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