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  1. #16

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    Re: Six Flags in more trouble???

    Quote Originally Posted by sarki7 View Post
    I will readily admit the CF chain has been heading downhill as of late - which seems to have coincided with every new park they've taken on.
    They absolutely ruined the park I grew up in - Worlds Of Fun in Kansas City. They took a beautiful park with a rich - Around the World in 80 Days - theme and ripped out the theme. Now they just plop rides anywhere they want. It is so sad. I went back a couple of years ago with a younger sibling and was so depressed. The park that I knew and loved was essentially gone. And it is suffering the same fate as the other Cedar Fair parks and Six Flags parks. Gone are the families, teens roam the park creating drama, the rides are too extreme even for me. Yuck! Both of these chains deserve to go under. Perhaps the people who buy them will do a better job of serving the local communities.
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  2. #17

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    Re: Six Flags in more trouble???

    Hmm, that's a bit extreme for me - I like to think Cedarfair still has a shot. Actually, I just hope the parks themselves survive to see a better day.

    Quote Originally Posted by sir clinksalot View Post
    Maybe it's because I haven't been to Cedar Point yet.

    But I LOVE SFGAdv, SFFT and SFOG.
    I think a visit to CP will soften some peoples' opinions of the chain, though it is only the one link.

    SFGAdv is my favorite of the SF chain, and is really the only park that has shown signs of actual improvement. It is STILL a Six Flags park overall, but it's gotten better.

    SFOG, however, has gotten worse. Goliath was a great addition, and it's easily the most naturally beautiful SF park I've been to - but based on the high standards we all have, it still fails dismally. Rude employees, poor operations, shoddy appearance, unclean. Ugh.

    Quote Originally Posted by SafariRob View Post
    Well said, Dustysage.

    Six Flags is paying for years of bad decisions. Magic Mountain decided to ditch the family image and build one roller coaster after another. It's a shame, too. When I was a kid my family rotated between Disneyland, Magic Mountain and Knott's Berry Farm. As a father, I would think twice before taking my family to Magic Mountain now days.

    Magic Mountain changed a lot between the mid-90's and mid 00's. Dustysage kind of stole my thunder but I will reiterate it. Unless you are a teenager or a gang banger, there's not much reason to be there. Very sad.

    The same goes for Six Flags Marine World/Discovery Kingdom. It's really a shame to see what has happened to that place. You can barely even move around inside the park. It is absolutely flooded with troubled locals who paid their $69.95 for an annual pass and, by golly, they are going to get their money's worth!
    Interesting points, but don't blame the roller coasters! There ARE parks out there that offer an impressive coaster lineup and still cater to families with a multitude of children areas. It's not so much that SFMM built coasters, it's that they didn't build anything ELSE!

    I definitely agree with you on the state of disrepair of SFMM, though another frequent guest is the coaster enthusiast that is willing to climb through a landfill and get harassed by employees for some pretty impressive coasters.

    I'd say SFDK is still a good notch below SFMM on the god-awful scale. At least there is a fair amount of activities for kids in families there, especially all the animal stuff. Granted, the employees, operations, and guest experience is still abhorrent - but I don't find myself fearing for my life nearly as much there as when I'm at SFMM.
    Last edited by sarki7; 02-09-2009 at 04:58 PM.
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  3. #18

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    Re: Six Flags in more trouble???

    Quote Originally Posted by Dustysage View Post
    They absolutely ruined the park I grew up in - Worlds Of Fun in Kansas City. They took a beautiful park with a rich - Around the World in 80 Days - theme and ripped out the theme. Now they just plop rides anywhere they want. It is so sad. I went back a couple of years ago with a younger sibling and was so depressed. The park that I knew and loved was essentially gone. And it is suffering the same fate as the other Cedar Fair parks and Six Flags parks. Gone are the families, teens roam the park creating drama, the rides are too extreme even for me. Yuck! Both of these chains deserve to go under. Perhaps the people who buy them will do a better job of serving the local communities.
    That's exactly how many of us SoCal natives feel about Knott's.


  4. #19

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    Re: Six Flags in more trouble???

    Sorry to hear about Knott's it was on my list of must see's but sounds like it's getting demoted. We had a similar experience when Six Flags took over WildWorld down in Largo MD, what used to be a family friendly water park with one good coaster went downhill fast with cookie cutter rides being slapped in anywhere they would fit. Hven't bothered since they where bought out and why would I with Hershey park, Kings Dominion, and Bush Gardens Williamsburg all being day trips as well. (There's also Sesame Street Place but my daughters a bit old for that... and Dorney park is not really that far either but I digress)

    Six flags has a fatal flaw in that they buy up parks and then try to make them all as similar as possible. Mostly I think they do it to try to maintain lower operations costs by pooling parts and R&D costs but as Dusty and others have mentioned it's not a good long term strategy to survive in what's going to be a more competitive market this season. In retail there's always the issue of having stores too close to each other (density) and too similar (lack of uniqueness). If you have too many stores and they are all the same your saturating the market and each store's income will suffer from it, just like bacteria on an augar plate when they become too dense they all die out due to lack of nutirents. Same thing with theme parks but more so as they have a much larger territory than a retail store. Six flags really needs to consider shutting some of the parks down and making the remaining one's a bit less cookie cutter to have a chance at drawing in more patrons.

    That and getting rid of marketing offers like they had a year or so ago of go to the park on opening day and get a free annual pass... No one pays retail for local parks in the Baltimore/DC area there are coupons or bring a coke can in get 1/2 off everywhere but free Ap's is just insane. I'm not at all surprised that they are in trouble even with the travel downturn people will take vacations, they just may skip the six flags this year, do something locally, and plan a big trip to Disney next season.
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  5. #20

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    Re: Six Flags in more trouble???

    Quote Originally Posted by SafariRob View Post
    Unless you are a teenager or a gang banger, there's not much reason to be there. Very sad.

    That is absolutely untrue, although I do understand where you come from. Magic Mountain is slowly but surely turning into a family destination, with the addition of Thomas Town and its efforts to boost a family-friendly image.

    Yes, it'll take time to shed their previous image. And that image, too, was underserved-the last 'gang activity' there was in the 80's.

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  6. #21

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    Re: Six Flags in more trouble???

    Quote Originally Posted by The Disneylander View Post
    That is absolutely untrue, although I do understand where you come from. Magic Mountain is slowly but surely turning into a family destination, with the addition of Thomas Town and its efforts to boost a family-friendly image.

    Yes, it'll take time to shed their previous image. And that image, too, was underserved-the last 'gang activity' there was in the 80's.
    That's funny - this is the same thing I've heard about Six Flags for the past 15 years. Every year someone points to some token effort and claims they've "turned the corner", and that it will just take a little time. Low and behold 2 years later, nada - only more debt. Listen, I hope you're right, I really do - but I've seen this happen so many times that there's no way I believe it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerren View Post
    Sorry to hear about Knott's it was on my list of must see's but sounds like it's getting demoted. We had a similar experience when Six Flags took over WildWorld down in Largo MD, what used to be a family friendly water park with one good coaster went downhill fast with cookie cutter rides being slapped in anywhere they would fit. Hven't bothered since they where bought out and why would I with Hershey park, Kings Dominion, and Bush Gardens Williamsburg all being day trips as well. (There's also Sesame Street Place but my daughters a bit old for that... and Dorney park is not really that far either but I digress)

    Six flags has a fatal flaw in that they buy up parks and then try to make them all as similar as possible. Mostly I think they do it to try to maintain lower operations costs by pooling parts and R&D costs but as Dusty and others have mentioned it's not a good long term strategy to survive in what's going to be a more competitive market this season. In retail there's always the issue of having stores too close to each other (density) and too similar (lack of uniqueness). If you have too many stores and they are all the same your saturating the market and each store's income will suffer from it, just like bacteria on an augar plate when they become too dense they all die out due to lack of nutirents. Same thing with theme parks but more so as they have a much larger territory than a retail store. Six flags really needs to consider shutting some of the parks down and making the remaining one's a bit less cookie cutter to have a chance at drawing in more patrons.

    That and getting rid of marketing offers like they had a year or so ago of go to the park on opening day and get a free annual pass... No one pays retail for local parks in the Baltimore/DC area there are coupons or bring a coke can in get 1/2 off everywhere but free Ap's is just insane. I'm not at all surprised that they are in trouble even with the travel downturn people will take vacations, they just may skip the six flags this year, do something locally, and plan a big trip to Disney next season.
    Boy, no question that what is now known as SF America has been one of the most devastated parks by the Six Flags takeover. Never been, and I agree, too much competition in the area.

    I wouldn't necessarily say the SF parks being too close to each other has much to do with their problems. Most visitors come from 2 hours away or less, and while the pair near you are close, most of them are actually much more spread apart. If you meant that they're just too close to better parks, well, that's probably true.

    Those marketing deals are the result of a vicious cycle. Not having enough capital to make investments forces them to lower prices, and vice versa. They apparently decided it would be easier/smarter to give away the gate than to focus on any serious campaigns that might increase the dismal in-park per capita spending. If you can't get people in your door because it's a nice place to be, just let them in for free. I know that's an exaggeration, but it sure feels like that sometimes.
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  7. #22

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    Re: Six Flags in more trouble???

    ^ I agree with you about Six Flags America. That park either needs a SFMM-style rejuvenation-which is unfeasible-or razed.

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  8. #23

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    Re: Six Flags in more trouble???

    My first thought was..."What SFMM rejuvenation?", but I guess you mentioned that effort in your previous post.
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  9. #24

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    Re: Six Flags in more trouble???

    ^ I was actually talking about the time they tried to add 3 coasters in the span of one year. Of course, I was being sarcastic.

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  10. #25

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    Re: Six Flags in more trouble???

    I know how they can save those theme parks. Pay a little more attention to theme. I always felt that bare bones roller coasters with commercialized names made little to no sense. How "batman" is Batman the Ride? Same goes to that GothamCity area!

    With only extreme coasters, you're not going to attract the friends of coaster enthusiasts whatsoever. And no, stunt shows isn't the only answer. Disney parks is about variety and for good reason. I don't see how the other competitors just don't see it.

    It's a perfect example of needing a lot more than just franchises to bring people in.


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  11. #26

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    Re: Six Flags in more trouble???

    Quote Originally Posted by Coheteboy View Post
    I know how they can save those theme parks. Pay a little more attention to theme. I always felt that bare bones roller coasters with commercialized names made little to no sense. How "batman" is Batman the Ride? Same goes to that GothamCity area!

    With only extreme coasters, you're not going to attract the friends of coaster enthusiasts whatsoever. And no, stunt shows isn't the only answer. Disney parks is about variety and for good reason. I don't see how the other competitors just don't see it.

    It's a perfect example of needing a lot more than just franchises to bring people in.

    Agreed, and the "generic" coasters at these parks are really of a limited draw when compared to older and unique coasters especially the older wooden ones seem to have a larger draw for true enthusiast.
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  12. #27

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    Re: Six Flags in more trouble???

    I'm not so sure - SF has a LOT they need to do BEFORE they can start worrying about theme.

    They need to focus on guest experience first - and while a cohestive story is part of that, it's really the icing on the cake. First, they need to deal with the basic stuff like employee demeanor, ride maintenance and operation, and park management. Sure, getting rides that are (better) themed is nice, but let's start at the beginning.

    What Six Flags really needs to do is address their culture. People *expect* a shoddy experience, and that is what they get. Until they give people a reason to expect anything different, this is how the chain will be regarded, and it is very hard to fight that kind of negative mass perception.

    Hence why I don't get the least bit excited when they throw in a Thomas Town or whatever. Walt always knew it - it's less about the rides, and more about how you treat your guests.
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    Re: Six Flags in more trouble???

    Quote Originally Posted by SafariRob View Post
    The same goes for Six Flags Marine World/Discovery Kingdom. It's really a shame to see what has happened to that place. You can barely even move around inside the park. It is absolutely flooded with troubled locals who paid their $69.95 for an annual pass and, by golly, they are going to get their money's worth!
    You mean, an annual pass program could actually cause problems????? Unthinkable!!!
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  14. #29

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    Re: Six Flags in more trouble???

    Quote Originally Posted by sarki7 View Post
    I'm not so sure - SF has a LOT they need to do BEFORE they can start worrying about theme.

    They need to focus on guest experience first - and while a cohestive story is part of that, it's really the icing on the cake. First, they need to deal with the basic stuff like employee demeanor, ride maintenance and operation, and park management. Sure, getting rides that are (better) themed is nice, but let's start at the beginning.

    What Six Flags really needs to do is address their culture. People *expect* a shoddy experience, and that is what they get. Until they give people a reason to expect anything different, this is how the chain will be regarded, and it is very hard to fight that kind of negative mass perception.

    Hence why I don't get the least bit excited when they throw in a Thomas Town or whatever. Walt always knew it - it's less about the rides, and more about how you treat your guests.


    Guest service is definitely a big part of it. But you need to give them an atmosphere to encourage that sort of behavior. If the employees know that everything there was built without any sort of thought, they might take some pride in their work. If you don't build a park where all social classes frequently attend, there wouldn't be a reason to treat the guests better than they do.

    It's kind of a circle of life sort of thing. Build something worth seeing, and then treat them with respect so that they return, even if the attraction was only so-so.


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    Re: Six Flags in more trouble???

    I'd say that's fair, but Six Flags never really had trouble getting people in the gates. No question they abandoned whatever claim they once had as actually theme parks, but with their rides, I think it would make more sense to go with what they've got and instead of paying a ton of cash (which they don't have) for those kind of improvements, focus on cheaper (but more elusive) customer service. But I see what you're saying about it being something of a chicken or an egg thing.

    Their model should be Cedar Point - essentially no themeing whatsoever, amazing coasters, and a staff that cares. I think trying to reach the levels of immersion and atmosphere of Disney is all but impossible at this point.
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