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  1. #1

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    So, anyone else thinking Mark Shapiro wasn't prepared for this year?

    So, now with the news that Six Flags parks are cutting charecters and staff to have a budget for Frightfest, as well as cutting rides from this year's operation already, plus the news that Darien Lake is closing a month early, is anyone else getting the feeling Shapiro's hopes are being dashed?

    I mean he was the one who instisted on having more charecters out, the daily parades, the Bugs Bunny Brunches, and now Six Flags is cutting all that. I think the upped staff at the SF parks and the touches of care the parks have been getting are very good...but with all this sudden cutting of spending I am getting the feeling Shapiro figured charecters, strollers, and the message of "family" would be enough to really turn SF around in one season...and now that that is not happening he's almost panicking. I mean officially putting Elich Gardens up for sale, closing one a month early, cutting all your charecter staff and having most of your parks close rides early is not a good sign, nor is it a good stability broadcaster to have happen all at once.

    Anyone else seeing this as a panic move? I mean some of it might make sense...as things to happen off season...not in the middle of summer.

    The only smart SF news as of late is that Marine World will be renamed Discovery Kingdom to focus on the animals and such more...that is a good idea and a solid move.

  2. #2

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    Re: So, anyone else thinking Mark Shapiro wasn't prepared for this year?

    Quote Originally Posted by tloolgb
    The only smart SF news as of late is that Marine World will be renamed Discovery Kingdom to focus on the animals and such more...that is a good idea and a solid move.
    NNNNOOOOOOOoooooooo!!!!

    I can see why they are doing it, they are trying to rebrand the animal park to something difinitively Six Flags... But I don't think that Marine World Africa USA's name recogition and branding is damaged...

    But they did have a serious Identity problem with using the name.

    ------

    I agree with Rick Aristotle Munarriz (Motley Fool writer's) analysis that Six Flags should stay the course, as they are on the right track. There are a few more things they could do... But the transition was VERY ambitious...

    I am not surprised that they are scaling back... I do think they need a better media marketing contract, I think the one they have with Time/Warner is disfunctional...
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  3. #3

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    Re: So, anyone else thinking Mark Shapiro wasn't prepared for this year?

    Without a doubt. He thought that if he just said the parks were more family friendly (without actually MAKING them more family friendly) that people would come. Obviously that is not the case.


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    Re: So, anyone else thinking Mark Shapiro wasn't prepared for this year?

    Quote Originally Posted by sir clinksalot
    Without a doubt. He thought that if he just said the parks were more family friendly (without actually MAKING them more family friendly) that people would come. Obviously that is not the case.
    Honestly, it doesn't surprise me. I worked for the Mountain in the summers of 1984 and 1985 and back then, Six Flags was trying to compete with Disney for the family market. And being a huge Disney fan, I had the attitude of 'yeah, right, this place will never match Disneyland.' But at least they tried then. Management there hasn't tried like that for years. Running one train on their most popular coasters and leaving trash all over the place is not going to keep most guests happy.

    He's on the right track in wanting to show people that it's a family friendly place, but he's got many years of neglect and bad reputation to overcome and that's not going to happen overnight. It's going to be a long process and if it's done right, they're still not going to match Disneyland, but they'll improve their overall business. If Six Flags wants to become profitable overall, he needs to strike a deal with Santa Clarita and not sell off one of his few parks that's capable of turning a profit.

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    Re: So, anyone else thinking Mark Shapiro wasn't prepared for this year?

    ^ That's what I meant, you just said it more better ...

    You can't just come in and say it's a family park, price it like a family park and expect everybody to say "okay".

    For SFMM specifically: You've got a brand new coaster with a terrible crew.

    For the rest of the chain (including SFMM): You've got years of neglect. You have rides running 1 train. You have not alot of stuff for families to do 'together'.

    Until you fix those things it's not a family park. Once you do ... great.


  6. #6

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    Re: So, anyone else thinking Mark Shapiro wasn't prepared for this year?

    I don't see Shapiro's moves as panicky so much as Ballsy. I mean, he appears to be making a very honest and fair assessment of the state of affairs at Six Flags and does not seem to be afraid to make very drastic moves to accomplish his goals. Yes it seems a little scary, but the parks themselves have been pretty scary and that needs to be changed immediately. It seems he is aware of that and is willing to make Six Flags an alternative to the Family fun that Disney offers.
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    Re: So, anyone else thinking Mark Shapiro wasn't prepared for this year?

    A bit of a correction. The character/parade/opening ceremony/ambassador cut are only thru the end of this year at MM.
    The budget includes all of these again in 2007.
    We simply exhausted our budget for this year.
    It should all resume as normal on Jan. 1st.

  8. #8

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    Re: So, anyone else thinking Mark Shapiro wasn't prepared for this year?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fishbulb
    I don't see Shapiro's moves as panicky so much as Ballsy. I mean, he appears to be making a very honest and fair assessment of the state of affairs at Six Flags and does not seem to be afraid to make very drastic moves to accomplish his goals. Yes it seems a little scary, but the parks themselves have been pretty scary and that needs to be changed immediately. It seems he is aware of that and is willing to make Six Flags an alternative to the Family fun that Disney offers.
    I agree that it's a fair assessment of the state of Six Flags. But I think his surprise that people don't immediately respond to it and flock to Magic Mountain is that he shouldn't be surprised. Going to make it more family friendly? I think the public is sitting back, arms crossed, going "We've heard this before from previous management teams. Show us!" Put the money into the park on more family friendly entertainment and not only put in more family friendly attractions, but spread them out in the park, rather than bunch them all into Bugs Bunny World.

    Six Flags over Texas has a fun boat ride with the Looney Tunes characters and something like that would be a big hit at Magic Mountain. Six Flags has tried for years to say that they are an alternative to Disneyland for families, but they don't have the theming and cleanliness to back it up. And although I have never had any bad experiences with gangs or other visitors there, the security problems, whether real or perceived, have built up an image for Magic Mountain that only time and effort will overcome. There's plenty of people who would be willing to get an AP to Magic Mountain and spend more time there, but they are not going to do it based on promises from new management that they've heard for years.

  9. #9

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    Re: So, anyone else thinking Mark Shapiro wasn't prepared for this year?

    Quote Originally Posted by Neon Cactus
    put in more family friendly attractions, but spread them out in the park, rather than bunch them all into Bugs Bunny World.
    See...I don't call those family rides because I cannot ride them. They are kiddie rides that you have to be under a certain height to go on. That's not family, family rides everyone can go on.

    You know, come to think of it the one real family ride I can think of in the SFs I've frequented would be Canyon Blaster in SFoG. It's fun for me as an adult...but kids can go on it.

    Bugs Bunny World has toddler rides. Outside of Disney, you know who does good family rides? Paramount.
    I mean at PCW they have the train which everyone can ride, and it has a little Dora the Explorer theme with sets and such (too bad it is Dora though ). They have all these Nicktoons rides, some similar to Dumbo and such. The kids can ride them, they are not extreme, but the parents can go on too. Family means everyone, not just having toddler rides. Reptar Coaster is another one...not too scary or rough for kids but adults can still go one them and not hate it.
    But on top of that, Paramount built the Scooby-Doo dark rides. And while it has nothing on Buzz Lightyear, it was still very fun a pleasant find in a non Disney park. SF needs that one (it has Scooby the charetcer) or perhaps the ride rethemed with Batman or something. They have quite a few charecters they just need to do something besides stick their names on basic rides.

  10. #10

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    Re: So, anyone else thinking Mark Shapiro wasn't prepared for this year?

    Quote Originally Posted by tloolgb
    You know, come to think of it the one real family ride I can think of in the SFs I've frequented would be Canyon Blaster in SFoG. It's fun for me as an adult...but kids can go on it.
    Don't forget Monster Plantation. That's kinda neat.
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  11. #11

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    Re: So, anyone else thinking Mark Shapiro wasn't prepared for this year?

    ^ Monster Plantation is the best ride EVER!!!


  12. #12

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    Re: So, anyone else thinking Mark Shapiro wasn't prepared for this year?

    Quote Originally Posted by sir clinksalot
    ^ That's what I meant, you just said it more better ...

    You can't just come in and say it's a family park, price it like a family park and expect everybody to say "okay".

    For SFMM specifically: You've got a brand new coaster with a terrible crew.

    For the rest of the chain (including SFMM): You've got years of neglect. You have rides running 1 train. You have not alot of stuff for families to do 'together'.

    Until you fix those things it's not a family park. Once you do ... great.
    Here is something to consider... The company just went through a massive Corporate Culture change... And on top of all this is a Massive Whopping 2 BILLION DOLLAR dept... Which was eating a hole in the returns...

    It was so bad that Six Flags was going through a process of selling THE WHOLE COMPANY before the successful stockholder revolt and Shapiro signed on board... So you see Shapiro didn't have much to lose trying to save the investment of Six Flag stockholders.

    The privious culture was one of absolute arrogance... Nobody was going to tell them how bad their parks where run, particularly those who where shareholders, and they largely didn't care.

    The problem is that the Six Flags brand in certain markets is heavily damaged - so damaged at they are selling those parks or renaming them... One of those markets are the parks in California... MM cannot turn the corner it seems with Shapiro's marketing strategy of Six Flags nationally. MW can because it is an animal park.

    I think that is why SF is trying to sell MM...
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    Re: So, anyone else thinking Mark Shapiro wasn't prepared for this year?

    Quote Originally Posted by tloolgb
    See...I don't call those family rides because I cannot ride them. They are kiddie rides that you have to be under a certain height to go on. That's not family, family rides everyone can go on.

    You know, come to think of it the one real family ride I can think of in the SFs I've frequented would be Canyon Blaster in SFoG. It's fun for me as an adult...but kids can go on it.

    Bugs Bunny World has toddler rides. Outside of Disney, you know who does good family rides? Paramount.
    I mean at PCW they have the train which everyone can ride, and it has a little Dora the Explorer theme with sets and such (too bad it is Dora though ). They have all these Nicktoons rides, some similar to Dumbo and such. The kids can ride them, they are not extreme, but the parents can go on too. Family means everyone, not just having toddler rides. Reptar Coaster is another one...not too scary or rough for kids but adults can still go one them and not hate it.
    But on top of that, Paramount built the Scooby-Doo dark rides. And while it has nothing on Buzz Lightyear, it was still very fun a pleasant find in a non Disney park. SF needs that one (it has Scooby the charetcer) or perhaps the ride rethemed with Batman or something. They have quite a few charecters they just need to do something besides stick their names on basic rides.
    I haven't been to Bugs Bunny World because I haven't taken my daughters to Magic Mountain yet. I was under the impression that they made the rides there so that adults could ride with their kids. If not, yeah, it's a lot more fun to ride with them and share the experience than to watch them. I can do that at the fair. They do have a lot of characters they could utilize in rides and it would be interesting to see them improve on that.

    I've been on Monster Plantation. It's an OK ride but I HATE that song. It's worse than It's a Small World. But it is a good family ride.

  14. #14

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    Re: So, anyone else thinking Mark Shapiro wasn't prepared for this year?

    Quote Originally Posted by sir clinksalot
    ^ Monster Plantation is the best ride EVER!!!
    It really truely is.


    Didn't the banks say no more money this year?

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    Re: So, anyone else thinking Mark Shapiro wasn't prepared for this year?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fishbulb
    Don't forget Monster Plantation. That's kinda neat.
    HOW COULD I FORGET THAT!!!!

    I'm sorry. I did want to include MP. It really is amazing.

    Quote Originally Posted by cellarhound
    Here is something to consider... The company just went through a massive Corporate Culture change... And on top of all this is a Massive Whopping 2 BILLION DOLLAR dept... Which was eating a hole in the returns...
    Yes, as it was all the other years. But if you want 2006 to be the year of the start of your turn around, I don't know if you want to cut so much at the end of the season and leave a sour taste in the end of the year memories in your guests. So for all his plans to work he's got more years of negative income ahead. He might not want to cut future visitors anymore than he did this year (things like the new $15 parking really PO'ed some people I know).

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