A few weeks ago I had the amazing opportunity to explore the core of Six Flags STL's Entertainment Department and Operations with a behind the scenes tour. With approval from the HR Department, they allowed me to share some of the photos from our tour with everyone here. I hope you guys enjoy these and a HUGE thank you again to those that made this possible!
Old Glory Amphitheater: Once Holiday in the Park is removed from storage, many of the items are placed on the Old Glory stage for refurbishment, staging, and construction before being placed through out the park. This allows the crews a large open area to work, as well as forklift access to move storage crates to and from the main storage site.
Parade Tent: This is the old tent that stored the parade floats from the Glow in the Park Parade 2009-2010. In recent years as Fright Fest has grown, it has become one of the major storage sites for the large props the park uses. It is currently empty as the park in in the process of re-grading the gravel road and power washing the inside before placing Fright Fest back inside.
This new pole barn is primary storage for Holiday in the Park, not a whole lot to look at currently as everything from inside is out in the park.
Transfer House: This building use to be the transfer house for the second side of the Mine Train. Now it is used as primary storage for large set pieces from the Palace Theater including Love at First Fright, and The Majesty of Christmas. In addition, much of Fright Fest is also stored inside this building.
Empire Theater: This shows about 35 out of about 70 fog machines that get placed around the park during Fright Fest. Some are used throughout the season for the theaters and shows as well. These are waiting their turn to be cleaned/fixed up before being packed away until August. The park uses about 700 gallons of fog and haze fluid during the course of Fright Fest, as well as bubble juice.
Palace Theater: With a capacity near 1,400 people, the Palace is one of the largest theaters found at a theme park, and is one of the larger theaters in St. Louis. The Palace is able to produce many very large scale shows, as well as other events throughout the season. This year due to Covid and St. Louis County restrictions, guests were not able to enjoy shows indoors. Instead the park was able to rework their shows, and still offer one of the only live entertainment options in the region by performing outdoors. On-stage performers were spread out at their own stations to prevent overcrowding in the dressing rooms to allow social distancing. Fun fact, the large curved white curtain on stage is the original "Austrian" curtain from when the park opened in 1971. After decades in storage, the Entertainment department cleaned, refurbished, and hung the curtain back up, and has been used again since 2015. It is motorized and can go up flat or with the contoured curve.
This is the spot booth at the Palace Theater. There are two large "Super Trooper" spot lights that are original to the theater. They have been upgraded to Xenon now as opposed to the carbon arc system of the past. To the left is the analog patch panel for theater lighting. Along with the newer digital dimmer system, this analog dimmer system controls power distribution to all theatrical lights in the theater. This panel is controlled by the lighting console. All shows are designed and programmed by in house designers and are then automated to the music so a single play button will start music and lights for a show.
This is a storage location in the back of the Palace Theater, this is where most cables, cable converters, and splitters are kept. It is not too full at the moment as there are shows going on, and Palace is still wired up for shows at the moment. Once the theaters catwalks and electric fly systems are stripped in the off season, this room will be full.
This is the stage left wing of the Palace, just off stage. There are a few road cases with some of the theaters moving head automated lights. Also one of the spots that performers sign the wall. Six Flags has had many performers that have gone on to work on cruise ships, Broadway, and television, including Wayne Brady from Lets Make a Deal.
The next two pictures are from the Palace Pit. This is located under the stage. Down here, all the theatrical lights for the Palace, and many of the lights used throughout the park that are used during Fright Fest and Holiday in the Park. There are two trap doors that can be used in shows, as well as to pass equipment through to the stage during setup phases. This is also where these lights are cleaned, maintained, and all lamps/bulbs, gels(colored high heat plastic for coloring lights), gobos(metal plates with patterns to project shapes and logos) are kept. There is a lot of empty shelves at the moment as the park is still open and lights are being used throughout.
This is another room in the back of Palace where Holiday in the Park is maintained during operating days. Also even though the event wasn't over yet, the Entertainment department is already brainstorming on ideas to make HIP better next year. None of these are set in stone, but just wish list items and ideas.
These last few pics are just some of the larger lighting displays the Entertainment Department put out this year, including Justice League light package, Palace light package, and then front mall and the Colossus legs.
The park is always actively looking for ways to make things better, and there are a lot of great ideas coming in the future years! If you ever visit the park in the future and see any of the people from the Entertainment department, be sure to give them a big thank you for all the work they do!