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  1. #31

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    Re: Six Flags in more trouble???

    Quote Originally Posted by sarki7 View Post
    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.


    Yah, I think it really does depend on location as well. There are the Cedar Fairs and the Six Flags that have no real competition with a Disney park and therefore, can really go an extra mile to retain loyalty.

    Magic Mountain, in my eyes, has never really tried. They started to incorporate Bugs Bunny and DC Comics, but the park, atmosphere, and unattractiveness remained the same. I for one used to go ever year. But year after year of a dirty park with nothing BUT coasters... well, I think I got to a point where I wasn't a loyal customer anymore.

    Not sure if it's just me.


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  2. #32

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    Re: Six Flags in more trouble???

    I think location and proximity to competition are important factors, sure. Look at Cedar Point - being on a peninsula on Lake Erie is pretty special. But then again, if you have a quality product, people will come. Orlando was pretty much nothing before Disney, and I don't think I would have visited Sandusky, Ohio if it wasn't for Cedar Point.

    You're not alone on SFMM, the character tie-ins were a nice try to capture some audience, but I look at it this way. A new ride or experience will bring you through the gate once. But the only thing that brings you back after that is how much you enjoyed yourself. I LOVE the coasters at SFMM, but can't stand what I have to go through to get on them. I'll be there the next time they add something noteworthy (this season, actually), but until then I'll keep driving right on by to Anaheim. Going to SFMM is a gamble in my eyes, I'm not sure if I'll have enjoyed myself. Disneyland, on the other hand, is a sure thing.

    All people are looking for is some certainty that they will have a nice time. Six Flags doesn't offer that.
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  3. #33

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    Re: Six Flags in more trouble???

    Isn't the head of 6 Flags, someone who used to work at Disney. He's been trying to clean up the parks for a year or two now. Even with shifting the focus back where it should be, that's going to take several years to change their image, and to overcome what they have become know for, for at least 20 years.

    Back to the main article, look at one other company with financial concerns:

    Landry's Restaurants. (LNY; about 17,000 employees; stock down 66%). This restaurant chain, which operates Chart House, Rainforest Café, and other eateries, needs $400 million in new financing to finalize a buyout deal dating to last June. If lenders come through, the company should have enough cash to ride out the recession. But at least two banks have already balked, leading to downgrades of the company's debt and the prospect of a cash-flow crunch.


    Can't help but think of Rainforest in DTD Anaheim, and the two locations in WDW, not to mention their new Dinosaur restaurant.

  4. #34

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    Re: Six Flags in more trouble???

    Are you referring to Mark Shapiro? Yes, he used to be at Disney...he was executive vice president of programming and production at ESPN. I don't really see that making him specially qualified for running a chain of amusement parks, so much so that he'll be the genius that "turns things around" anyway.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aladdin View Post
    Isn't the head of 6 Flags, someone who used to work at Disney. He's been trying to clean up the parks for a year or two now. Even with shifting the focus back where it should be, that's going to take several years to change their image, and to overcome what they have become know for, for at least 20 years.
    I'm gonna go ahead and refer to my previous comments.

    Quote Originally Posted by sarki7 View Post
    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.
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  5. #35

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    Re: Six Flags in more trouble???

    I agree with you sarki7. I have fun with the coasters.... but all of us disney fans know that they could be even funner.


    ...and if funner was a word, that's what they could be.


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  6. #36

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    Re: Six Flags in more trouble???

    I think there is a place for unthemed amusement parks, not for me to visit, but there's a large group of people who like them. However, you have to do it right.

    You start with customer service (which is Six Flags big downfall).

    1. Treat your customers like royalty. Smile, tell them thanks for coming and that you hope they have a great day. When they have questions, you answer them cheerfully and with great information. Make sure they don't feel like they're bothering you because they have a question.

    2. Make the parks look nice. This falls to customer service too. Sure, we Disney fans love theme parks, but not ever park needs to be a theme park. Make sure there is plenty of vegetation, shade, and places to rest your feet out of the sun. Put in a pretty water feature or two. Keep the place clean, making sure you have plenty of trash recepticles and staff to keep the trash emptied. Make sure your buildings are built to not look cheap, keep them painted and all the lights working. Make sure your bathrooms stay nice and clean. A pretty park is a happy park, if it looks cheap its going to feel cheap and shoddy.

    3. Don't forget the families. Amusement parks can't just focus on teens. Sure, you're going to have a lot of off the shelf attractions, but that doesn't mean they all have to be extreme thrill rides. Focus on variety. Have plenty of fun coasters (of all intensities), have several attractions for the kiddies, and also have plenty of relaxing shows and rides for those who are too old for the kid rides but don't want to ride extreme rides. Walt's ideas that theme parks should exist for families to have fun TOGETHER are words of great wisdom.

    4. Make sure your food is quality. People don't want to come and eat cheap burgers and fries. Sure, there's nothing wrong with having some stands that serve that, but also serve some nice food in nice facilities and people will come.

    None of these things are that expensive. Sure, beautifying the parks would be the biggest expense, but we're not talking billions of dollars of upgrades like Disney is doing. I'm just talking paint, janitors, and placing vegetation and pretty things instead of just concrete and bare dirt everywhere.

    Also, don't give the product away. If we beg you to come in the door then I'm not going to treat the place with respect. Don't price yourself ridiculously, but giving away a free AP because you came once doesn't mark you as being a quality product.

  7. #37

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    Re: Six Flags in more trouble???

    I think your suggestions apply to all parks, both themed and not.

    For what it's worth - there are a handful of absolutely wonderful traditional amusement parks - Kennywood, Knoebels, Cedar Point are probably at the top of the list. I'm not sure why you say they're not for you (unless you don't care for the rides), but they are special places in their own right.

    I don't think that the "admission is cheap, so I won't respect it" is a conscious decision on the part of patrons - then again the main problem with a lot of these guests is that they're not conscious of much at all.
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  8. #38

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    Re: Six Flags in more trouble???

    Quote Originally Posted by kcnole View Post
    Also, don't give the product away. If we beg you to come in the door then I'm not going to treat the place with respect. Don't price yourself ridiculously, but giving away a free AP because you came once doesn't mark you as being a quality product.
    I agree, even if it comes with a payment plan.
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  9. #39

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    Re: Six Flags in more trouble???

    Quote Originally Posted by Aladdin View Post
    Back to the main article, look at one other company with financial concerns:

    Can't help but think of Rainforest in DTD Anaheim, and the two locations in WDW, not to mention their new Dinosaur restaurant.

    Don't forget they own/operate the Yak and Yetti restaurant in the Animal Kingdom as well, so that's 4 highly visible location on property. (Not to mention pretty much all of the table service at the AK!)

    Anyone know the chain they purchased that's got them over a barrel now?
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  10. #40

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    Re: Six Flags in more trouble???

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerren View Post
    Don't forget they own/operate the Yak and Yetti restaurant in the Animal Kingdom as well, so that's 4 highly visible location on property. (Not to mention pretty much all of the table service at the AK!)

    Anyone know the chain they purchased that's got them over a barrel now?
    I think the management agreed to buy back the stocks a year ago at a price that cannot be justified today. Higher-than-average-end restaurants don't do well in recessions.

    Official documents blame Hugo's hit on Texas.
    From what I can see a lot of its long-term debt changed to "current"" last year. That's the impetus of the new bond sale that replaces some of the current liability back to long-term.
    Last edited by sediment; 02-11-2009 at 03:25 PM.
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  11. #41

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    Re: Six Flags in more trouble???

    Quote Originally Posted by kcnole View Post
    .

    2. Make the parks look nice. This falls to customer service too. Sure, we Disney fans love theme parks, but not ever park needs to be a theme park. Make sure there is plenty of vegetation, shade, and places to rest your feet out of the sun. Put in a pretty water feature or two. Keep the place clean, making sure you have plenty of trash recepticles and staff to keep the trash emptied. Make sure your buildings are built to not look cheap, keep them painted and all the lights working. Make sure your bathrooms stay nice and clean. A pretty park is a happy park, if it looks cheap its going to feel cheap and shoddy.
    Those are all great points that I expecially think this are really an important area in the case on SFMM. One thing that really hurt SFMM was the removal of a number of really nice fountains and their replacement with planters. I think they had too many problems with people playing in the fountains, but they still should have kept them, it really was a nice feature of the park.

    Another issue is that in adding all the big coasters around the outer edge of the park it has really changed the experience of the park in some significant ways. Much of the charm of the "mountain," the trees, plants and nice looking hilly areas has been lost and the focus has been shifted to hopping from one big coaster to the next around the the exterior where the park is unthemed or directly adjacent to the parking lot. In the old days only Collosus really exposed you to the outside world like this, but now virtually every coaster does this. The queues are unconfortable and weakly themed and it just feels like the rides were thrown in with so little care or thought.

    I also agree that the ride mix is a huge problem. Sure some of the older less extreme rides are still around but they are fewer and they seem neglected. All the extreme coasters also tend to just blend together for me. Just raw steel tracks with dizzying inversion after inversion leads to all the coasters actually starting to lose their individuality. I really like your list, it really is some key points that all park operators should follow.
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  12. #42

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    Re: Six Flags in more trouble???

    Quote Originally Posted by sarki7 View Post
    I think your suggestions apply to all parks, both themed and not.

    For what it's worth - there are a handful of absolutely wonderful traditional amusement parks - Kennywood, Knoebels, Cedar Point are probably at the top of the list. I'm not sure why you say they're not for you (unless you don't care for the rides), but they are special places in their own right.

    I don't think that the "admission is cheap, so I won't respect it" is a conscious decision on the part of patrons - then again the main problem with a lot of these guests is that they're not conscious of much at all.
    I think that's a great point. Actually, you mention Knoebels, which we LOVE. But it's actually free to get in, and very inexpensive. I think we paid $25 for the all-day bracelet when we went. Yet that park is SO well respected, you won't find any grafitti, trash laying around, etc. ALOT of that goes to the guests. Even guests at the Disney parks don't treat the place like guests back in the 50's, 60's, 70's and even 80's did. It goes more to society than the "Cheapness" of getting into the park.

    Heck, even SFMM back in the 70's and 80's was a VERY clean park.

    I personally think that people are GREATLY short-changing themselves if they think that only Disney can give a good park experience. Some of my favorite park days EVER have been at non-Disney parks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle Bob View Post
    I also agree that the ride mix is a huge problem. Sure some of the older less extreme rides are still around but they are fewer and they seem neglected. All the extreme coasters also tend to just blend together for me. Just raw steel tracks with dizzying inversion after inversion leads to all the coasters actually starting to lose their individuality. I really like your list, it really is some key points that all park operators should follow.
    Totally agreed. To be honest, as much as I'm looking forward to the new coaster at SFMM this year, I would have MUCH rather them installed 4 or 5 new flat-rides, a couple of "Extreme" ones, but also some family ones. It's something the park is lacking.


  13. #43

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    Re: Six Flags in more trouble???

    Quote Originally Posted by sarki7 View Post
    I think your suggestions apply to all parks, both themed and not.

    For what it's worth - there are a handful of absolutely wonderful traditional amusement parks - Kennywood, Knoebels, Cedar Point are probably at the top of the list. I'm not sure why you say they're not for you (unless you don't care for the rides), but they are special places in their own right.

    I don't think that the "admission is cheap, so I won't respect it" is a conscious decision on the part of patrons - then again the main problem with a lot of these guests is that they're not conscious of much at all.
    I think that's a great point. Actually, you mention Knoebels, which we LOVE. But it's actually free to get in, and very inexpensive. I think we paid $25 for the all-day bracelet when we went. Yet that park is SO well respected, you won't find any grafitti, trash laying around, etc. ALOT of that goes to the guests. Even guests at the Disney parks don't treat the place like guests back in the 50's, 60's, 70's and even 80's did. It goes more to society than the "Cheapness" of getting into the park.

    Heck, even SFMM back in the 70's and 80's was a VERY clean park.

    I personally think that people are GREATLY short-changing themselves if they think that only Disney can give a good park experience. Some of my favorite park days EVER have been at non-Disney parks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle Bob View Post
    I also agree that the ride mix is a huge problem. Sure some of the older less extreme rides are still around but they are fewer and they seem neglected. All the extreme coasters also tend to just blend together for me. Just raw steel tracks with dizzying inversion after inversion leads to all the coasters actually starting to lose their individuality. I really like your list, it really is some key points that all park operators should follow.
    Totally agreed. To be honest, as much as I'm looking forward to the new coaster at SFMM this year, I would have MUCH rather them installed 4 or 5 new flat-rides, a couple of "Extreme" ones, but also some family ones. It's something the park is lacking.


  14. #44

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    Re: Six Flags in more trouble???

    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle Bob View Post
    it just feels like the rides were thrown in with so little care or thought.
    You've just described one of my biggest complaints about what many of these thrill parks have become. Take a look at how SFMM dropped in Scream. I understand that issues with land may require using the outside border of the park for new attractions, but this thing was literally put in a parking lot. Look down when you're on the ride, they didn't even paint over the parking spaces! It's just asphault and chain linked fences.

    I'll be the first to say that a quality ride does not necessarily need ambitious themeing and an immersive storyline. But to throw in rides with no treatment to their surroundings just results in eyesores.

    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle Bob View Post
    All the extreme coasters also tend to just blend together for me. Just raw steel tracks with dizzying inversion after inversion leads to all the coasters actually starting to lose their individuality.
    I'm not with you on this one. Sure, it depends on the park, but let's still with the SFMM example - X, Tatsu, Ninja, Superman - these are some of the most unique coasters in the world. A non-coaster nut may not discriminate along with the general public, but in the scheme of coaster history and technology, SFMM has one of the most varied lineups out there.

    Quote Originally Posted by sir clinksalot View Post
    It goes more to society than the "Cheapness" of getting into the park.
    I hate to sound like a grumpy old man, but you're exactly right. Kids these days! Ugh. Then again, it's not really their fault, they just flocked to a place that allows (and attempts to profit from) their behavior.

    Quote Originally Posted by sir clinksalot View Post
    I personally think that people are GREATLY short-changing themselves if they think that only Disney can give a good park experience.
    Thank you! 100% right.

    Quote Originally Posted by sir clinksalot View Post
    Totally agreed. To be honest, as much as I'm looking forward to the new coaster at SFMM this year, I would have MUCH rather them installed 4 or 5 new flat-rides, a couple of "Extreme" ones, but also some family ones. It's something the park is lacking.
    While I'd usually agree with you, I am PSYCHED about this new GCI. Thunderhead is my #1 wooden coaster.
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  15. #45

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    Re: Six Flags in more trouble???

    Quote Originally Posted by sarki7 View Post
    While I'd usually agree with you, I am PSYCHED about this new GCI. Thunderhead is my #1 wooden coaster.
    I'm psyched too, trust me. it will be nice to FINALLY have a decent woody in California. At least until the next earthquake.

    That back corner of the park is cursed, I'm sure of it.


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