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MagicMountainMan

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Everything posted by MagicMountainMan

  1. Magic Mountain fumbled the reopening 'announcement' as that was an internal date and most employees hadn't even been notified yet, but April 1st is supposed to be the reopening date. As with most things, Magic Mountain couldn't execute an announcement correctly so it was retracted on social media; I'm glad to see nothing has changed there.
  2. I totally agree, but unfortunately entertainment isn't something that really makes the park any money directly (seasonal events notwithstanding). I worked various jobs for and adjacent to the Entertainment department for over 4 years and they cut the Entertainment budget every single season. It's just not something that Six Flags prioritizes at all. It requires time, effort, and money to pull off good entertainment and Six Flags has shown absolutely no willingness to support it. A lot of talented individuals from Entertainment and other departments have gotten their start at Six Flags and almost none of them stay there. I could go on for hours complaining, but at the end of the day entertainment is just not in the Six Flags business model.
  3. Tidal Wave is being removed as the raptor will be sitting right in the middle of it. The raptor trains are actually already on site as well. I'm definitely looking forward to riding it once it opens.
  4. Magic Mountain has hired the same lighting designer since 2013 right after Full Throttle opened. He was responsible for the "updated/improved" Holiday in the Park that started in 2014 and has been doing lighting design for all of the seasonal events and shows. He's also done work for many other places around Los Angeles, including working on a project in a galaxy far far away. Needless to say he's a talented dude and when he gets an appropriate budget he can do some really amazing things, and even at Six Flags where the budget is always really tight he finds ways to make every last dollar count. *Disclaimer: I am friends with him so I may only be a little biased, but he's genuinely a good dude who is passionate about his job.
  5. Just curious, was that a formal announcement from the park or something you heard through the grapevine? Typically, we ramp up big-time in early October on the electrical side. They just cancelled almost all open shifts. What that means for Frightfest will remain to be seen/announced, but you can use your imagination. What do you mean by ramp up in October? From your post history you seem to be in Maintenance so I take it you're talking about the Ride Electricians? Or the Lampers? I worked in Entertainment at Six Flags up until 2018 and did many years of Fright Fest. Fright Fest preparations start much earlier in the year. Maze vendors (if there is a new maze) are usually on site by May or June. Full ramp up with Stage Techs building out/fixing mazes starts in June. July and August basically become crunch time if certain projects get behind. HR/ENT start hiring maze and scare zone actors months in advance and usually have hiring fairs every two weekends for the duration of the summer. As soon as June turned into July and none of the parks in SoCal had opened yet was the final 'tell' that Halloween events (as we know them) weren't happening this year... There's too much that has to be done months in advance that hasn't been done. Right now at Magic Mountain, Entertainment only has a single person on staff that was working on prepping for Fright Fest in any sort of capacity and they were just recently told to stop. USH tried to play it smart and started construction on mazes MUCH earlier than they usually do, but it ended up not mattering anyway. I've been told from my friends that still work there that the Entertainment Director for Six Flags parks in the US had not completely closed the book on some sort of Halloween experience for the parks (and specifically Magic Mountain). However it was always going to be some butchered version of a Halloween event as there really isn't any logistical/safe way to do Fright Fest at full scale. And let's be honest, does anyone really think that Six Flags could pull of a decent COVID friendly Halloween event when they can't even pull of a decent Fright Fest? Here's to hoping that at this time next year we'll be looking back at this as a bad memory and not a current nightmare.
  6. I'm really looking forward to The Habit replacing Smashburger. Smashburger (at this specific location, I haven't been to other locations) really sucked. So far CityWalk has been dead, but that's to be expected since not much is open yet. I'm surprised that we haven't heard an official opening date for the park since Disneyland already announced, but the park has been ramping up in person staffing levels so I wouldn't be surprised if an opening date is too far away.
  7. Seriously troubling times are ahead for Magic Mountain. Six Flags did not take a page out of the Universal and Disney playbook and instead told all of their non full time employees (which is everyone except for managers, sales people, and most maintenance people) to instead file for unemployment. The park is also discussing layoffs for an already understaffed maintenance team. Hopefully COVID-19 is wrangled under control quickly as Six Flags was already doing pretty poorly before this hit, otherwise we might see a repeat of 2008-2009 for the park and the company...
  8. Why hasn't this narrative died already? WCR was a comedy of errors, not some massive and complicated project. I haven't seen this rumor anywhere, but that would be awesome. Everything I've seen so far has pointed to a Mack Power Loop/Splash, which sounds pretty cool as well and the park really needs a new water ride.
  9. Six Flags has always tried to keep their overhead low by not having too many 'non essential' parts in stock since it could be years before those parts are technically 'paid' for, which sucks but that's the way Six Flags has chosen to do business for better or (definitely) for worse. I need to correct my statement when I said that the park doesn't have a budget for the LSMs, they actually do have a budget for them, but it's really small and they blow through it every year. They lose more motors than they repair so they can't keep up with it and end up moving motors around on the track and under-powering the remaining ones. It's also cheaper for the park to wait until they have a decent amount that need to be replaced and buy them all at once. To my knowledge Intamin doesn't actually support the motors as it was a contracted part and the park has been in turn contracting a highly specialized mechanic that repairs them (and since it's so specialized it's quite a bit of money). At the end of the day the park would need a LOT more budget allocated to the maintenance of the LSMs than they currently have, so if the park can get more motors at a discount (even if they are used), they're going to jump on that chance. Dreamworld's motors would be giving Superman a new lease on life at a pretty good discount. **Speculation time** I'm not even sure that down the line if the park/company will ever spend the necessary money for Superman; we might end up down to one side permanently as motors start to get cannibalized from one side of the track to feed the other. This is possibly the slow death of the ride and Dreamworld's motors are prolonging it for a bit. Unless they can come up with another gimmick like they did in 2011 where they can market it again as a 'new' experience and justify higher expenses for a tangible ROI, the ride has a limited lease on life IMO. I'm not even sure if I'd miss Superman for anything other than its historical value. **/End speculation time** Overall I find the business decisions that Magic Mountain makes very fascinating as they constantly seem to have a chicken and egg problem they're always on the wrong side of.
  10. Superman closes to save money during slower times. This has been a common practice for the past few winters. I think this was already covered, but one of the ride electrician supervisors has been tasked with procuring the working LSMs from Dreamworld in Australia now that Tower of Terror is closed. Hopefully we'll see all of the LSMs actually working at some point in the future and the ride actually (reliably) goes 100mph again... They have had a lot of LSMs go bad over the past few years and Six Flags doesn't allocate the budget to have them replaced/remanufactured so getting a bunch of 'still good' LSMs from Dreamworld could definitely extend the lifespan of Superman. And yes, maintenance intentionally under-powers the working motors to not stress them so that the motors' lifespan is extended. The park sill could (and does) launch the ride at 100mph, at least empty, but they would be killing a lot more motors a lot quicker if they were consistently doing full power launches.
  11. I am also glad that the area is getting a well overdue face lift, but the only new building in the area that isn't WCR itself is the restroom building. Also, installing footers in a flat area with little to no conduit, drainage, or sewage rerouting isn't difficult. WCR didn't even need a full size crane to do any of the work, they just rented truck cranes and boom lifts to install the supports and track. Tatsu was many orders of magnitude more difficult to construct. I don't know where this alternative narrative has come from (and I'm not singling out thrillseeker4552 I've seen this posted around a lot lately), but Six Flags doesn't really deserve credit they deserve blame. The construction of WCR has been a comedy of errors. The park has proven over and over again that they are incapable of sticking to construction timelines. Twisted Colossus is the only 'new' ride addition in the last 8-9 years that has actually opened on time and that was because the general contractor on the project was RMC themselves.
  12. 10 years is a completely fair amount of time to have a new system installed for. My point is that Six Flags, especially the current management, hold the purse strings very tight and they would not have invested in the large systems and labor cost associated with redoing Viper's control system unless it was sticking around for more than two or three years. Also, the controls engineers and subcontractors have absolutely done offsite systems integration, that's standard for the industry. However based on recent controls installations at the park I don't see test and adjust/ride training being any shorter than two or three months. This is just speaking from experience on the last four or five projects that the park has completed so it could absolutely be faster, but I would be very surprised as this is Six Flags after all...
  13. Viper just had an entire controls system rehab. The park upgraded almost everything to bring it 'up to date' a year or so ago (when it was down for half a year). Six Flags would not willingly spend money on a backend upgrade if they planned on scrapping Viper 2 years later. Viper will most likely stick around for the foreseeable future unless something unexpected cuts its life short. In WCR news, they still haven't built the station yet. At this point I would be surprised if it wasn't delayed into 2020 now. The test and adjust period is going to be longer than a non-launched coaster due to the much more complicated controls system, and that test and adjust period doesn't come until they start actually cycling the ride.
  14. 100% this. If this was the first time that a project had been delayed than it could be excusable. The station is usually one of the first things to be (at least partially) constructed on a roller coaster build. All of the roller coaster's electrical is usually run into the station (or somewhere close nearby). The PLC that controls the ride lives in the station. The fact that Magic Mountain is just now pouring the concrete pad for the station (after trenching it a while ago) is very telling. Premier caused the initial delay, Magic Mountain has exacerbated it. In other news, Apocalypse should be opening this weekend. The preshow has been changed up by a small, dedicated, and incredibly underpaid team at the park so I'm interested to see what they've done. I still don't know how Apocalypse fits into "The Underground" and I don't think the preshow will answer that, but at least it's a slight update.
  15. Been wondering this myself. It's like they've totally forgotten. In some classic Six Flags Magic Mountain irony, the project is supposedly being held up by permitting issues. I don't know why the park can't seem to figure out permits, but Justice League, Crazanity, and WCR (the station) have all been held up by permitting issues. Even the Aftermath 2 maze in the back of the park was held up for the same reason and was never actually seen to completion.
  16. The Elevator scene was actually supposed to be in The Depths last year however it was never finished. It's after you enter the maze so you'll still be entering the mine from a parking lot however going 'deeper' into the mine will make more sense now. I'm glad they're actually finishing it for this year as it will space out groups and give it more of a story. I totally agree about Dark Entities, however once again a lot of the extra effects that were supposed to be in the maze last year never got finished. Ex: All of the 'handprint scanners' were supposed to trigger different things throughout the maze. it sounds like this year they will be finishing that up as well. Overall I really like and appreciate Scary Farm. It's incredible to me that almost everything is done in house and isn't vendored out like Horror Nights is. I'm a bit biased because I did help build it last year, however I really do think Scary Farm is the best 'big' event in SoCal. While the mazes might not enjoy the huge budgets of Universal I enjoy all of the original stories and lack of black walls. Perhaps I'm in the minority, but again I just feel like with all of the scare zones that encompass the park (especially Calico which is amazing) and the whole park being decorated/lit for Halloween, Knott's is such a cohesive event that totally envelopes you in the experience.
  17. I think they just announced this to have something to announce. The park has been on a tick tock capex cycle for Fright Fest and Holiday in the Park since 2014 where even years see some new areas/experiences/whatever and the odd years see very minimal change with no real capital budget. The investment was already going to happen, so might as well put a press release out about it instead of not announcing anything. What I don't know but am going to speculate on anyway (based on the tick tock ride cycle Magic Mountain has been on) is this: West Coast Racers has been so delayed that whatever small ride or attraction the park was going to receive this year was cut by Six Flags corporate as West Coast Racers will be enough to drive interest in 2020. Ultimately, I'm looking towards 2021 as hopefully the park does something big for their 50th anniversary. 2020 (no matter how many "20 coasters in 2020" cheesy marketing slogans we missed out on) was never going to be a big investment year in the first place.
  18. You gotta understand, it's A LOT of work for the already overworked mechanics at the park to take a train apart like X2, haul it to the complete other corner of the park (where the refurb shed is), have the entire train refurbished, then hauled all the way back to the other side of the park to be placed back on the track. This isn't Disney efficiency we're talking about, it's a tough job! And they're dealing with very heavy cars that they have to be extremely careful with! One thing about Magic Mountain (Six Flags) most people don't get, is they keep adding coasters and rides that need daily maintenance, but they DON'T increase the number of mechanics needed to operate all the coasters proportionately. So, they do what they can with what they have, and the spaces they have to work backstage with are literally the same they've been for decades. When a ride like X2 goes down for parts, or Apocalypse goes down due to a new ride addition, the mechanics take a sigh of relief as that is a LITERAL break from having to inspect/upkeep the ride for a couple weeks/months/years. This is not a Magic Mountain specific issue, this really is corporate decisions squeezing everything they can out of the personnel who IMO really are already underpaid and work their butts off. As shared NUMEROUS times in this thread over countless years, the park/Six Flags needs to drop this coaster/ride addition crap like 10 years ago, and really focus on what they have and maintaining THAT up to quality standards. The park/corporate refuses to do so and therefore things fall behind, get delayed and half assed, and you see the same issues repeating themselves and snowballing into a lot of what we see at the park today. To further clarify this, amusement parks allocate budgets differently according to the type of work that has to be done. So the typical daily/weekly/yearly preventative manufacturer specified maintenance always has some sort of budget since it's work that has to be done. Stuff that goes above and beyond typical preventative maintenance (like train refurbishments and the like) is also budgeted on a schedule, but at a much much lower priority. So if something unplanned happens, like now, there is no "extra" budget to throw at an accelerated train refurbishment just because the timing would be convenient. That's the unfortunate reality at Six Flags Magic Mountain. Also, ride mechanics and electricians aren't necessarily ever grossly understaffed but sometimes they do struggle (these are the people responsible for the vast majority of the daily PMs), however Cycle Shop and the other shops on property are almost always perennially understaffed as those jobs don't pay nearly as well as a ride mechanic or ride electrician. This is why Magic Mountain is almost always behind on scheduled train refurbishments and when incidents like the Ninja accident from a few years back really screw with the park. In somewhat related news, the entire park is on a corporate mandated 10% budget cut until the end of the year. The park is now looking at ways to save money in any way possible. Justice League has been opening at noon or later due to cuts. Staffing has decreased. Entertainment at the park (what is left of it) has been cut down to almost nothing. There will be no show in the Gearworks Theater until next summer and Fright Fest has gotten its budget cut as well. Every department is being affected Personal opinion time: It seems as if Six Flags is headed down the same path that lead them to the 2005/2006 shareholder revolt and takeover and the subsequent bankruptcy. This time they are hedging with monthly flat fee memberships and in park advertising which takes away some of the volatility of guest visitation trends, however to me it's as if Six Flags is playing a type of business Jenga: keep pulling pieces out of the tower to see just how little of the tower is actually needed to be functional. Their debt is also as high as it has ever been. I know that their financials are good right now and it's a hot take, but seeing Six Flags slash budgets at a time when all the other theme park chains are pouring money into their parks leaves me skeptical. The regional theme park market is fickle, and if something big enough or bad enough were to happen at even a single park it could kneecap the entire chain.
  19. No, by this point, a November opening would be optimistic. Once the last track piece is in, give it at least 2-3 months for electrical installation, ride PLC programming, and testing. Considering this coaster has 4 launches, I would say 3 months is being hopeful.
  20. 1) While true, this delay is mostly Premier's fault, not Six Flags. 2) This is not true, the park's peak season is the summer where they are consistently pulling 10k+ guests for a few months straight. Fright Fest is busy on Fridays and Saturdays (we're talking 25k-35k capacity busting numbers) but that's only 6 weekends out of the year. 3) That's not how Magic Mountain makes decisions at all. There is also very little market overlap between Disneyland and Magic Mountain. If anything, Magic Mountain benefits from the increased interest and tourism that Disneyland brings (although much less than Knott's) as some people will inevitably peel off from Disney and end up at another LA area theme park. As Sue Carpenter said recently, "A rising tide raises all boats", which is the mindset that marketing has towards Disney. They are in different market spaces and offer different products.
  21. For once, a lot of the blame actually shouldn't be directed at Magic Mountain, but rather it's been Premier that has had a real bad time with this ride. This is secondhand from some higher up guys that I still know at the park, but Premier has had a lot of fabrication delays and they had real issues with the spaghetti bowl portion of the ride. Neal said during the tour that the manufacturer had to set up the spaghetti bowl offsite because of its complexity and apparently that meant that Premier had to do some actual structural adjustments to the supports and footers. Even with that delay in regards to the support structure, almost all of the support beams arrived before the track did, although I don't know if the track fabrication delay is a direct result of the support structure delay. Ironically, all of the construction delays on the actual coaster could have been a real boon for the contractors and employees working on the rest of the area as they have had much much more time to refurbish and replace the buildings than normal. ...But this is Six Flags we're talking about so naturally they've made no progress on any of the buildings and there will inevitably be a mad rush to finish the retheme in the weeks before the coaster opens. Speaking of when WCR will open, based on the fact that in the pictures the electrical hasn't even been pulled through the conduit yet and they are still trenching in areas, it's going to be quite a few more months before it opens. I think November or December is being realistic (and Fright Fest being optimistic). With a ride of this complexity due to the four launches, there is going to be more PLC and controls programming and certification than normal which will add a few more weeks to the test and adjust period. On a slightly related topic, Neal also mentioned that Apocalypse was reopening and that Entertainment has been working on adjustments for the ride (the preshow). That information came as a surprise to the people actually working on the preshow modifications as they were told a few weeks ago to stop working on the project all together and it was suggested that Apocalypse might not even be reopening, so who knows at this point.
  22. ^I am quite interested to see if anything does become of the front gate, although I would not be surprised in the slightest if absolutely nothing happens and they are honestly just using the ticket booths as storage space from now on. This is the same park that has let the 'Six Flags California' sign that is the first thing guests see off the freeway rot for decades. In regards to Green Lantern, my only hope is that once they take out Green Lantern they will replace it with something that fits the area well. For as bad of a ride Green Lantern was, its footprint was really conducive to the area (I do miss the old Batman extended queue though) and the DC Universe retheme was one of the few smart things the park has done in the last decade (IMO much much smarter than the horribly executed 'Boardwalk' area that connects the only two DC themed areas of the park).
  23. Thankfully the fire didn't turn into anything major so hopefully this acts as a rude awakening for Magic Mountain management as there was a serious lack of emergency preparedness. I have worked at Disneyland, Universal, Knott's, and Magic Mountain, and the amount of emergency training and awareness that employees receive follows that same order. I genuinely hope that Six Flags takes this close call and learns from it, but the park and company never fail to disappoint so my expectations are low.
  24. Doing some catching up here, but Green Lantern isn't 'counter weighted' any more than the other Zac Spins. The only thing different about Green Lantern is the magnetic brake that controls the speed of rotation is stronger (and slows down rotation), hence the miserable rides that we have all had. IMO, good riddance. Also, I would be stunned if West Coast Racers opens in August. Considering that they are still pouring footers and that it's a quad launch coaster, I would be shocked if the test and adjust period actually went quickly. Once the last piece of track is in place, I'd guess that the ride would be around two months from opening at best. It's cause they're cute and I'm pretty sure the park protects them. They've been there ever since I can remember, kinda like the rooster and chickens at Knott's Berry Farm across Beach Blvd. You don't wanna get caught messin' with those Daffy Ducks, I assure you. The park doesn't do anything to protect them, or anything at all, which is honestly detrimental to both the geese and employees. The geese love Six Flags, but the employees hate them. They sit on roads everywhere backstage and won't move for vehicles, they hiss and bite, and worst of all they poop EVERYWHERE. It gets really gross in some areas due to the sheer volume of geese poop.
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