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  1. #1

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    Thumbs down Overdue Six Flags Magic Mountain Trip Report

    I started to write this months ago but never made time to fully flesh it out. Now I will. So here it is…

    It had been a couple years since I had trekked up to Magic Mountain. I love roller coasters, and SFMM has some good ones, but I am not one of those hardcore enthusiasts. I have never been to any other of Six Flags’ parks, which I have always wanted to visit… though this most recent experience doesn't enthuse me much.

    It was July 27th, a Sunday. I wasn’t really sure what to expect; my most recent visits had been on weekdays. We parked ($15 now, outrageous) right about park opening.

    We had bought our tickets online, wise because the booths (half of them closed) were swamped. Going through the metal detectors was slow. Though all were open, the staff got terribly trumped every time they had to stop to scan someone and this, of course, stopped the line. Once past, we headed to pick up our Flash Passes. Flash Passes are Six Flags’ version of Fast Pass, only you have to pay for it; $20 for 4 rides of your choice… excluding two of the park’s most popular rides, X2 and Déjà Vu.

    I decided our first stop should be X2. I’ve been on X (what it was called before the makeover) and I remember it being a pretty sweet ride, despite the rotations of the vehicle being noticeably jerky. This was way back in 2002 during a pass holder preview. This preview was not without its headaches; launch problems that had the sole working train sitting loaded in the station for upwards of 10 minutes. During this preview, we went on X twice and I remember the second outing having only four patrons in front of us and waiting more than a half-hour to board. Upon boarding, we had to set and reset several times before launching, which we witnessed happen to those before us. At the time, I attributed this to opening jitters… but this never went away. Any time visiting the park after that, wait times were three/four hours, launches taking forever.

    X2 was supposed to change that. Newly designed trains that would be more efficient and allow smoother operation. Hardly. We arrived at the queue and it was like nothing had changed. Backed up all the way to that ominous three-hour marker (though the sign warning of making that point two hours before park closing to guarantee a ride has been removed), launches still taking far too long (I timed two, one took five minutes, the other seven) and from what I could tell only one vehicle in operation. We gave up shortly thereafter, returning a few times during the day to check up. It never changed.

    We moved onto Viper. Short line here yet it took us more than twenty minutes to board. One train running; upon loading it, the restraints would be checked and then the train would sit… and sit and sit for about a minute before launch. Procedural? While in line, I noticed some employees doing what looked like checks on a second train (this was an hour after park opening) and eventually moving it onto the track. They cycled it through empty twice before we boarded the one actually in use. This made the queue all the more slower, of course. They ran it through empty at least once more, I noticed as we exited.

    We moved on through the park and wait times were hit and miss, but mostly miss. From my standpoint, this was largely due to staffing; the lack of it and terrible managing and training of what there was. The ride ops were slow and often seemed confused.

    Tatsu, the park’s newest, has the benefit of two loading areas but despite a two hour + waiting time, only one was utilized. For a change, this was one of the few coasters running more than one train, however, constant resetting before every launch were most to blame for the long delays. This one was particularly annoying as the seated position for this coaster is highly uncomfortable and best described the closest you’ll ever come to feeling like a pig on a spit. We ‘sat’ hanging for several minutes at ride’s end waiting for the next train to launch so we could get off. The flume rides were only loaded with single parties, launching mostly with only two people resulting in longs waits. On Superman, one of the restraints wouldn’t go green so the op push and tugged on it trying to make it co-operate. After quite a bit of struggling, the other op climbed over the vehicle and proceeded to do a similar tug and pull routine before going back and resetting the restraints after which all was fine and we were on our way.

    It was only due to the ‘benefit’ of having Flash Pass that we were able to get on all the noteworthy attractions in the laborious eight hours we spent at the park. We lucked out on Goliath in that we happen to pass by it as it re-opened after being down. Even with Flash Pass the shortest wait we experienced was twenty minutes, the longest was just over an hour for the Log Jammer.

    Now let’s talk about aesthetics… or the lack thereof. As the years have worn on, the overall looks and feel of SFMM has gotten worse. All their attempts of theming have always resulted looking half-assed and have gone onto to be unmaintained and looking completely brokedown… along with the general state of the park as a whole. I was completely disgusted by the fundamental maintenance of the park; smelly bathrooms, overflowing trash, huge dusty cobwebs hanging from the rafters. It was unsanitary, gross and just added to our overall frustration of the day.



    Superman queue This was towards the end of our day. Had I spent the whole day taking pictures of the park's decrepit state, I would have a better pictorial.



    If I never go back to Magic Mountain, it’ll be too soon. I’ve read the recent press releases that have made reference to a new focus on revitalizing the overall look and feel of the park. Good luck. File me under ‘skeptical’. I heard from some friends who were there recently. It was an off-peak day so they didn’t experience nearly the same misery we did. However, they echoed many of my complaints. I also made sure to ask if they had seen leaves on the ground. They saw plenty.

  2. #2

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    Re: Overdue Six Flags Magic Mountain Trip Report

    im sorry you had a bad time.

  3. #3

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    Re: Overdue Six Flags Magic Mountain Trip Report

    Quote Originally Posted by WickedScorp View Post
    Now let’s talk about aesthetics… or the lack thereof. As the years have worn on, the overall looks and feel of SFMM has gotten worse. All their attempts of theming have always resulted looking half-assed and have gone onto to be unmaintained and looking completely brokedown… along with the general state of the park as a whole. I was completely disgusted by the fundamental maintenance of the park; smelly bathrooms, overflowing trash, huge dusty cobwebs hanging from the rafters. It was unsanitary, gross and just added to our overall frustration of the day.



    Superman queue This was towards the end of our day. Had I spent the whole day taking pictures of the park's decrepit state, I would have a better pictorial.

    If I never go back to Magic Mountain, it’ll be too soon. I’ve read the recent press releases that have made reference to a new focus on revitalizing the overall look and feel of the park. Good luck. File me under ‘skeptical’. I heard from some friends who were there recently. It was an off-peak day so they didn’t experience nearly the same misery we did. However, they echoed many of my complaints. I also made sure to ask if they had seen leaves on the ground. They saw plenty.

    You have hit the nail right on the head. This park is disgusting. I was there a few weeks ago and some of the trashcans looked like that at opening. They just don't care to clean the park.

    The total lack of respect of the employees there is incredible also. Seems like they are more concerned about talking to each other and what they will do when they get off.

    When I was there a few weeks ago, the ride operators at Ninja let the train sit in the station for 3 minutes or so while another train full of guests was waiting behind it. I know because my kids were on it. What was the delay? NOTHING!!! The operators were just busy talking.

    The decrepit state of the park is something I am trying to get over to MM to take pictures of. I don't want to do it with my kids. For all those who praise the park of how it has turned around or work there and claim that it is better, I just don't see it.

  4. #4

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    Re: Overdue Six Flags Magic Mountain Trip Report

    WickedScorp, I definately agree with you on the upkeep and cleanliness of the park, that photo is disgusting!

    However, I do not agree with you on a few things. You believe X2 hasn't changed at all since the original version. When I went about 3 months ago, I hit X2 first, with about 50 people or so ahead of us in line. I was on the ride in less than 25 minutes. I find that pretty speedy for a ride of that complexity.

    I agree with you on the staffing and employee's behavior in the park, but I know that this will slowly begin to change. Six Flags will not be able to make this change in one night. I do think that some areas need some fixing uping, but I also think that is in the works. Some other areas are great, and you can tell Six Flags is really trying to make changes. Look at Thomas Town...look at the two worst rides they tore down to improve the park.

    So, maybe you just went on a bad day, but when I went a few moths ago I had a great time! Sorry that you had a bad time

  5. #5

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    Re: Overdue Six Flags Magic Mountain Trip Report

    I guess I'm a Disney Freak at heart. I just refuse to go to any other amusement parks. I've been to Universal, and a local one here...and they just always leave me disappointed. It seems like no one really cares who work at these places.


    As for you experience, I am sorry it was so bad. That really sucks. It sounds like it wasn't a one time thing either. I had heard similar things about the Six Flags in New Orleans. We lived about an hour away, and thought about going. A neighbor told me not to even bother. She said the park was filthy. Overflowing trashcans, disgusting bathrooms, and just over all filthy. Maybe it's something Six Flags needs to work on with all parks.




  6. #6

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    Re: Overdue Six Flags Magic Mountain Trip Report

    It's kind of funny that I just saw this thread. I got an email from six flags with a promotion where you buy a ticket and get the rest of 08 and 09 for free. I was actually thinking of maybe doing it. Thanks for reminding me. Nothing changes there.


  7. #7

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    Re: Overdue Six Flags Magic Mountain Trip Report

    Sorry to hear you had a bad time. I just went there in August and we had a great time and the employees were nice to us and some were very funny entertaining guest in line. But that trashcan looks horrible i dont know what happened that day.

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    Re: Overdue Six Flags Magic Mountain Trip Report

    Thomas Town is nicely themed, albeit disappointingly über-tiny, but how long will it last? That has been a persistent problem at SFMM, maintenance. Look at all the themed areas throughout the park; fading facades and paint, deteriorating props, graffiti everywhere, gum stuck to walls and ceilings everywhere. They install everything once and then never touch it again, or at least it looks that way.

    Something that glared out at me, and I'm sure most will find this petty but these are the kinds of details I notice, in the Batman queue you walk through a corridor that looks like a giant corrugated pipe. For one thing, there is a fake ventilation fan at the end of it that used to spin; it wasn't spinning this time and it wasn't spinning when I was there a couple years ago. I'm willing to bet it hasn't spun in all that time. But what stood out to me even more... there are these industrial light fixtures that line the ceiling of this corridor, most of them had different types of bulbs in them. Not just different wattage but different types, like some were incandescent and some were halogen and not the bulb looking halogen but the swirled style.

    Little things like that bug me because they are indicative of a bigger problem, that is, nobody really cares. Okay, upkeep of 'sets' can take serious money, but having the light bulbs match in what is supposed to be a 'themed' area? That just takes some attention and effort.

  9. #9

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    Re: Overdue Six Flags Magic Mountain Trip Report

    I always laugh at the upkeep of MM because right now, it is closed 5 days a week. The staff that works there during the week could do something to maintain the park.

  10. #10

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    Re: Overdue Six Flags Magic Mountain Trip Report

    You must have gone on an off day... I have actually noticed considerable improvement in upkeep and staffing. It is perfect? No, as your bad day points out. But things are getting much better. You didn't mention that Ninja got a paint job, the new museum at the Sky Tower, the free internet cafe, or all the new kid-friendly shows and entertainments (such as Thomas Town, the return of the petting zoo, kid karaoke, and DDR contests).

    About 3 months ago, I was at an open forum with SF management. They know there are many problems, but things can only be done one at a time. They are taking steps and increments. So much damage was done prior (and they do not have the same budgets Disney does), it will take time for it to wholly improve. But I've gone about 3 times this year, last in September, it was was looking pretty good to me. I actually have found multi-train operation more often than not. Again, you must have gone on an off day. I'd suggest you try again in the future.

    And echoing what was said about X2 above, the waits are faster, but granted, not by much. The main reason for the new version was for improved maintenance. That ride used to be closed for extended periods all the time because of the heavy toll the ride went through. The new trains give much more reliability, and you hardly see it closed at all anymore, aside from yearly maintenance.
    Does anyone even bother with signatures anymore?

  11. #11

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    Re: Overdue Six Flags Magic Mountain Trip Report

    Quote Originally Posted by JesterMn View Post
    You didn't mention that Ninja got a paint job.
    But they didn't even finish it. At the end where they store the trains, there are 3 tracks. They only painted 2 of them. I could see if no one saw it, but it is right next to the main track. This is why I think MM doesn't care.

    Again, the place is closed 5 days a week right now and a lot of staff is on hand during the week as evidenced by all the cars in the employee lot. Is paint that expensive that they can't paint buildings or bathrooms to make them look better. Rides are obviously a different story, but basic maintenance on buildings is a little simpler.

  12. #12

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    Re: Overdue Six Flags Magic Mountain Trip Report

    MM scares me. If I don't see any care or money being put into simple upkeep of common areas it makes me wonder how much care and money is being put into the maintenace of the trains and the tracks they operate on. I also feel that the addimision that's practically given away welcomes in a bad crowd. It bums me out because I enjoy a good coaster and they have several.

  13. #13

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    Smile Re: Overdue Six Flags Magic Mountain Trip Report

    I went to Six Flags Magic Mountain Last summer and it was Great!

    Sorry you had a bad day!

    Saludos

  14. #14

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    Re: Overdue Six Flags Magic Mountain Trip Report

    Every time I go there I have fun, sorry you couldn't.

    I also feel that the addimision that's practically given away welcomes in a bad crowd
    Knotts is cheaper.

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    Sad Re: Overdue Six Flags Magic Mountain Trip Report

    I can explain the hold up at MM's metal detectors. I worked there for over a year as a metal detector officer, in my time there we had a ton of weapons and drugs come through. Thus being the reason for the hold up at the detectors, heightened security is the parks first concern. And yes we did occasionally have to hand wand people because they say they took everything out of their pockets but they didn't. I'm a little surprised that people don't understand this, if weapons get into the parks people get hurt and the security personnel is held responsible. I personally rather wait a few minutes to know my family's safe than blow through and have someone get hurt.
    As for the cleanup in the park, I agree with ya all on that. I was very disgusted when I worked there, but it doesn't seem to be a priority. Seeing this in any park is very disturbing and gross. And the parking price is way too high, atleast guest paying to park at Mickey and Friends get covered parking. I see no excuse for the high parking price, it actually hurts the parks attendance at times.
    Hope I was a little helpful sorry for your bad trip WickedScorp, wish it could of been different.
    Last edited by Booberella; 11-06-2008 at 07:22 AM.

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