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Dan the Coaster Man

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Everything posted by Dan the Coaster Man

  1. Executive VP and CFO Sandeep Reddy has resigned and taken a job at a different company effective March 27, a week after he helped announce Six Flags’ new vision for success and growth…
  2. I went ahead and read the transcript from the conference call today. It was really our first opportunity to get official public statements from the new CEO Selim Bassoul and what he envisions, plus comments from VP and CFO Sandeep Reddy. Six Flags is the chain I frequent the most, but it's not by choice, it's just how it works out geographically for me. Six Flags has always left me wanting more, it's my least favorite major chain. Bassoul had a great statement today: "no more over reliance simply on our brand and our history. We must elevate our game to the next level". Six Flags has caught some backlash with their recent changes, including from me. But realistically, most of us agree Six Flags is inferior to other chains. And that is not going to change without a shakeup. @swfan1988 covered the financials pretty well above with some overarching thoughts. I thought I would list other takeaways from the conference call that sheds some light on the future. Bassoul spent the first 100 days decentralizing the company and "empowering business unit leaders" (park presidents) The culture has been or will be reset. This goes back to "no more over reliance simply on our brand and our history. We must elevate our game to the next level". Their goal is to be the most innovating and customer-obsessed theme park company in the world. Big focus on premiumization They stated they have downsized, but that they have also added talent, particularly to culinary They plan on paying down debt and refinancing it "later this year" They have 6 initiatives to improving guest experience Improving efficiency and convivence by reducing wait times, ride downtime and opening rides "when our guests arrive". They state they will accomplish this by moving staff from lower-value activities to rides and through a use of single rider lines for full cycles. They also mentioned they will experiment with "virtual fueling technology" (virtual queues?). They want to add digital boards through the parks that show wait times for rides and restaurants. Creating fun through employee friendliness (this made me think of KI, Dollywood) Park cleanliness. This includes "better curb appeal at the front gate", and Bassoul stated that several of the bigger parks are in the process of updating the front gate experience right now and hope to finish those by peak summer season Better quality food. This was known, but Bassoul goes as far as saying they have been experimenting with their hot dogs, burgers and chicken tenders in his first 100 days and that based on what he has tasted so far "the quality of these items is better than any theme parks I've ever visited". He states this will be ready this spring. Over time he wants to include healthier options, more grilled items and better refreshments (states coffee and alcohol) Guest amenities. More benches and shade are already on the way for this season Guest facing technology. Basically upgrades to the app, to the point it will become "a remote control that facilitates a seamless guest experience" Bassoul says that surveys have revealed that Six Flags has left a lot of money on the table with guests who hardly spend any money. They are combating this with higher prices. The new pricing program in the past weeks has been a success and they are ready to roll it out chain wide. They have been very pleased with the early results. They will simplify ticket offerings but combine season passes and memberships into a new product lineup with fewer choices and targeted blackout dates For capital allocation strategy, #1 priority is reinvesting into the business and leading the industry in innovation. BUT he states that historically innovation was measured in term of thrill rights. He basically says that Six Flags already has enough thrills at their parks, "and while we continue to selectively add new coasters over time", the innovation he speaks of is in terms of guest facing technology, food, and other infrastructure. #2 priority is paying down debt. Over time they may consider mergers and acquisitions but Bassoul does not see it in the "foreseeable future" For labor, for anything that is not specifically guest facing, they are looking into automation. They specifically mention automating the back of the kitchen and security. They will be changing up marketing to explain the shift of their "rebrand". They plan to do this on social media, through influencers, and investing in search engine optimization Overall I think it is exciting for change. I have not fully supported everything that has happened over the park few months but it was nice to hear specifically what Bassoul has in mind for the future. A little concerned about rides going forward, but there's a decent amount to get excited about this season!
  3. Mine was X2 for 7 years, literally my whole time as an enthusiast except the first half year. Then I rerode it last summer and I was extremely underwhelmed. Maverick is #1 for now!
  4. ^ great to hear that. Never been on one of these, hoping it will open before SFStL is no longer my home park. Not getting my hopes up though because that would be before May.
  5. I kinda want to see this but at the same time this is just so sad. Alexa play Fix You by Coldplay
  6. I second this. I have a hard time believing they would add this if they knew all along it would be 54. Something went wrong somewhere.
  7. The "problem" with Chicago is that the city is torn between inside vs outside stadium. Some people think its the bears identity and advantage to play in the cold/wind/snow and that a move indoors would kill the team and fanbase. Others like me don't care and think an indoor stadium would be awesome.
  8. Wanted to walk outside today because it was above freezing, about 45. There's a pond nearby that has a mile long path around it I like to walk at and usually I walk to the pond. I noticed the sidewalks to the pond were still covered in snow/slush/ice. No problem, I'll drive to the pond. Drive there and the path is covered too. Guess its another treadmill day. Go back to my apartment complex gym and all three treadmills wont work. Tried everything, resetting, on/off, unplug/plug, nothing. So I decide to walk on the streets of a nearby neighborhood. That was going okay until a car drove fairly close to me, spraying my legs with slush. Not that they had a lot of room to spare at that particular spot, but could have at least slowed down to not absolutely drench me. Finished my workout and then went to shower and there was no hot water, which had literally never happened up to that point at this apartment. Then I went to wash my body and one of my roommates must have taken my body wash because the entire bottle was completely gone, nowhere to be seen. Did not know working out was going to be so irritating today!
  9. What a shame, obviously the big selling point was that it was the bridge coaster to the big three. I wonder if this is only temporary, because I'm sure a different decision would have been made on installing this if the height requirement was 48 vs 54.
  10. SoFi looks great, makes me wonder if Chicago would ever get anything like it...
  11. Swagga Like Us - Jay Z, T.I., Lil Wayne, Kanye West
  12. No official announcement, but single day tickets are available starting April 23rd
  13. looks awesome! My uncle was there, while my other uncle was throwing beers on the 16th hole green at the TPC... jealous to say the least
  14. Glad to see an event for April 28th, a Thursday, because as of right now SFStL has lost all weekdays until May 27th...
  15. Yeah, I'm pretty sure he doesn't help at all, but it's looking better with most mask bans lifting at the end of the month
  16. SFStL has been hiring pretty hard, and they have an operating calendar through August, so I don't think that is why SFGAm hasn't announced their opening date. SFGAm is by far the biggest park that has not announced a date yet. They are also the only Six Flags park to not have done so. Nearby parks like Little Amerricka, SFStL, Bay Beach, MA, IB, Adventureland have their dates. There's a couple nearby parks like KK and Mt. Olympus that have not announced. But there are plenty of other parks in similar/worse climates like Silverwood, Great Escape and SFNE that have dates... so... I wonder if Hank Salemi's death has pushed the park back a few weeks. Supposedly new CEO is giving the power back to park presidents, and the combination of Hank's unexpected death and the fact I have not heard or seen anything about anyone stepping into the role since then.... its possible the park has been a bit scrambled the past few weeks with no leader. I'd like to think corporate would come in and handle everything, but just a thought I had. They didn't present at no coaster con in late Jan, a few weeks after he passed, and they seem to have been a staple every year.
  17. For what its worth in regards to activating the pass at the home park... Christmas 2019 me and my sister got season passes with SFGAm as the home park. Then covid happened and SFGAm barely even opened, it took until Christmas 2020 for a lights event. So I emailed back and forth with SFStL about activating my season pass there so that I could use my pass. It took ALOT of back and forth, but I was finally told I would be able to get my SFGAm season pass at SFStL. The big problem with activating season passes at specific parks is because the parks have a specific serial number on their cards. That super long number on the cards started with two digits specific to each park. For example, I think SFGAm started with "10xxxxxxxxx...". Different parks would be like "08xxxxxx..." or "04xxxxx..." So they say to go to your home park to activate because your home park has a specific physical card with a specific serial number, and I'm guessing other parks don't carry other parks cards. I was told I could go to SFStL and get my "10xxxxx..." card because they physically had them, and I think this is the case because SFGAm was literally closed all year and SFStL was the next closest park. They probably shipped a box or two down to SFStL for people like me. I doubt parks like SFMM or SFNE had the "10xxxx" cards. I have no clue if this is usually case or just because of covid. I went to SFStL FF 2020 to activate my pass at guest relations and it went well. It took a lot of manual input, but the person knew what they were doing and I never had problems going forward using my pass anywhere and I got the 10xxxxx card. I took my sister to SFStL to activate her season pass early 2021 before SFGAm opened for the season. This time guest relations had no idea what I was talking about. So instead of activating her pass, they gave her vouchers for admission, three meals and three snacks. We didn't get to activate her pass until we finally made it to SFGAm. So I can't speak on activating a season pass these days, but vouchers are an option, but I wouldn't count/rely on them.
  18. Marcus Leshock will be riding Iron Gwazi tomorrow morning live on WGN 9 news Chicago at 7:15am CST. He's bringing his coworker who said he hasn't been on a coaster since around 1980, so might be fun to watch him go from The Demon in 1980 to a world class RMC! No idea how that will go lol
  19. Sweet Nothing - Calvin Harris ft Florence Welch
  20. I'm a big sports guy! My favorite sport and team is college basketball and the Kansas Jayhawks. I also follow the Chicago Blackhawks, Chicago Bulls, Chicago Bears, Chicago White Sox, Illinois State University basketball and Manchester City to top it off. I've been to over 30 stadiums, some of my favorites are Allen Fieldhouse, Fiserv Forum, Fenway, PNC Park and Petco Park. Within the next couple months I'll be going to ISU's basketball games and I hope to make it to a spring training game (not looking likely when I'm there with lockout), Busch Stadium for my first time after driving past in 20 times, and March madness for the first time!
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