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  1. #1

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    3 years later - Mark Shapiro's impact on Six Flags

    Going through the old Six Flags stuff, I found this thread that was started when Mark Shapiro took over.

    New Six Flags CEO seeking to change image ...

    Now, 3 years later, we can take a look back and see if what he was talking about, or at least some of what he was talking about has come true.

    "We're going to unleash a new creative energy from this company and we're going to make Six Flags a destination instead of a field trip," Shapiro said.
    I think they have made great strives towards this. Not sure if the parks are a "Destination" like Disney, but they certainly aren't just "field trips" anymore.

    "It's become a company that has targeted teenagers as its core audience ... but it's been done at the expense of young families," Shapiro said. "We want to make the parks more attractive to families and restoring family confidence in the brand.

    At the end of the day, our consumers have to see Six Flags as clean, safe, friendly and fun."
    Again, I think they have definately made great effort in this area, and are getting much better.

    I actually found the thread an interesting read and I know I personally have a MUCH different opinion of Six Flags than I did in December of 2005.


  2. #2

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    Re: 3 years later - Mark Shapiro's impact on Six Flags

    I'd almost consider working there again.


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    Re: 3 years later - Mark Shapiro's impact on Six Flags

    This is very interesting. I've been avoiding Six Flags for years. I felt like I was run off by all the rowdy teens and obvious poor maintenance. However, I've been hearing good things lately. Perhaps a 2nd look is in order.

    But I just can't handle extreme coasters any more. Is it worth a trip for me?

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  4. #4

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    Re: 3 years later - Mark Shapiro's impact on Six Flags

    What do you mean by "extreme". Is it just the upside-downsy ones?

    I don't know if I'd invest in a pass or anything, but if you happen to know some friends with some "bring a friend" tickets, well ...


  5. #5

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    Re: 3 years later - Mark Shapiro's impact on Six Flags

    The thing is I don't know if Six Flags can be all things to all people. They're a really good coaster park but I don't do most coasters unless they're deeply themed like Disney's and not too crazy with inversions and corkscrews. I'll do California Screamin' on occasion because it's very smooth and a good, long ride, but it's not a must-do by any means.

    I like to go to the parks and bring my young family but I don't think Six Flags will be capable of enticing me to bring them with the crown jewels being the coasters. Yes, there are a bunch of kids' rides but they're all typical flat rides that one could find at a carnival. I'd rather go to Knott's for that and at least have the theming in Ghosttown to enjoy. Yes, there's Thomas Town, but it's rather small with not enough to entice me to make the haul over the Magic Mountain. Six Flags doesn't have even one dark ride, though they have the great Warner Bros. characters at their disposal.

    Pretty much every other park in SoCal does familes better with Disney and Legoland being the leaders with Knott's behind them (Universal is not very good for your families either). Sharpiro might be barking up the wrong tree by even attempting to go after young families since those demographics are so well covered by other parks. I wish him well but he might be better off going after SF's old core audience of teens and thrill-seekers; I don't see it as being worth it for SF to go after young families, at least in SoCal.

  6. #6

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    Re: 3 years later - Mark Shapiro's impact on Six Flags

    ^ I don't think ANYTHING can be all things to all people. There are PLENTY of people who don't like Disney.

    As far as "barking up the wrong tree", I don't think so. Of course, Six Flags is NEVER going to replace Disney, and they aren't trying to. But having the ability to cater to multiple demographics is something that SFMM has been lacking for awhile in only catering to Teens and Coaster enthusiasts. On the flip side, nothing really at Legoland for teens unless they are REALLY big lego fans.

    IMO, there is nothing wrong in having things for kids to do and things for older kids/adults who like coasters to do.


  7. #7

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    Re: 3 years later - Mark Shapiro's impact on Six Flags

    That no park can cater to all demographics was precisely my point. Disney does not make the thrill seekers very happy, and, frankly, shouldn't even bother. They're not the target audience. Legoland is unabashedly going after the tween and under crowd, and succeeding wonderfully. If LL started to pursue the teen market they would only dilute and upset their core audience, and wouldn't attract many teens anyway.

    Six Flags appeals primarily to thrill seekers and teenagers... whether that demographic can sustain a park with nice profits is another question. But there's just no way that Six Flags will ever be able to compete for the young family market, in SoCal anyway, against Disney and Legoland. They're too far behind the competition and it would alienate their core audience by catering to young families excessively.

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    Re: 3 years later - Mark Shapiro's impact on Six Flags

    ^ But even though the main cater of Disney is to families, there are things that do cater to thrill-seekers, even in a minor scale. CA Screamin', Tower of Terror, Rock N Rollercoaster, etc. Even classics such as Space Mountain, etc.

    The point is, there is room for some cross over. And there is nothing wrong with that.

    Would I expect Disney to build a ride that's 400 ft. tall and 130mph to break a coaster record??? Absolutely not. The same as I wouldn't expect Six Flags to invest $100m on a ride like Expedition Everest or Mission: Space.


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    Re: 3 years later - Mark Shapiro's impact on Six Flags

    vfire.. it shouldn't be an 'all or nothing' situation though. Because families are diverse. My children are upwards of 6yrs apart. While one may be happy hanging out with Spongebob.. the other wants to go on a rollercoaster.

    The key is to not to goto the extreme and laser focus on one type of customer.. because customers don't come alone typically

    Disney tackles it by trying to build products that have broader appeal - which is much harder to do. Six Flags got a bit into the 'horsepower wars' similar to what you saw in cars the last few years. It's a race to see who's got the 'most' in something and they lose focus on the broader picture as they do so.

    Six Flags MM went balls to the wall about building bigger and bigger coasters and nothing else. And in doing so turned a blind eye into other elements that eventually made the park unattractive to large swaths of customers.

    The good news is things can be fixed and filled in... the hard part is simply winning over the mindset of people and convincing them the old ways are gone. It looks to me like at least at SFMM they are making progress there. But the other thing is.. the place looks DESERTED!!! I wonder if they have the legs and business model in their revenue sources to really float the park to make it attractive to invest in over the long haul.
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    Re: 3 years later - Mark Shapiro's impact on Six Flags

    Certainly Six Flags shouldn't go all one way and ignore kids, but I don't think families with small kids should ever be their focus. Families with big and small kids will go to Six Flags and the small kids will be content, and even happy, with the generic flat rides and small Thomas Town, but I'd presume most of them would be happier to be at DL or LL (mine certainly would). Conversely, DL has some rides that will make the big kids happy, but I'm sure many of them would rather be at Six Flags for the thrills. Point is I don't expect Six Flags in SoCal to attempt to compete with Disney and LL for little kids since they'll simply lose that battle. The best they can do is make it an enjoyable, occasional excursion for young kids though it will never be their favorite park.

    On a side note, Legoland is the exception as a park that practically ignores an entire theme park segment, teens and thrill-seekers, and is still thriving. I think the difference is that parents can take the little kids to LL and leave the teens at home. But you can't take the teens to SF and leave the little ones at home.

  11. #11

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    Re: 3 years later - Mark Shapiro's impact on Six Flags

    Quote Originally Posted by vfire
    Certainly Six Flags shouldn't go all one way and ignore kids, but I don't think families with small kids should ever be their focus.
    I believe Terminator Salvation: The Ride is telling you something there.

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    Re: 3 years later - Mark Shapiro's impact on Six Flags

    ^ Actually, the ride is actually very family friendly. Sure it's going to have a height requirement of 48". But it's only 100 feet tall and the top speed is only 50mph. That's slower than California Screamin'.

    So yes, while it's a new coaster, it's not "Xtreme" and is one of those coasters that can be enjoyed by a lot of people. Which is exactly what the park needs.


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    Re: 3 years later - Mark Shapiro's impact on Six Flags

    Quote Originally Posted by sir clinksalot
    So yes, while it's a new coaster, it's not "Xtreme" and is one of those coasters that can be enjoyed by a lot of people. Which is exactly what the park needs.
    I agree. The reason why I brought up Terminator was to point out that the ride's an illustration that families with "small kids" is not the sole focus of Six Flags at this time. The focus is more of a broad-based family appeal - to appeal to families with kids of all ages, sizes, and thrill level desires.

    Hope that makes a little more sense.

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