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The Six Flags Magic Mountain (SFMM) Discussion Thread

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Brilliant marketing campaign for Six Flags. The amount of money they award will cost FAR less than the national headlines they received...

 

As Far as Fright Fest this year? 2/3 of the new mazes weren't bad at all.

 

General observations are:

1. it's weird to me for them to have an outside staffing company staff the mazes, but I get the cost savings from them not hiring a bunch of seasonal maze staff positions. So very Six Flags.

2. The monsters need to learn how to scare. Lots of popping out and yelling.

3. City under Siege has definitely lost its luster as a cool scare zone. No projection mapping on the building this year, monsters seemed more interested in photos than scares.

4. All the scare zones were weak

 

Mazes:

1. Loved Sewer of Souls. Old school 3D maze with a practical effect I hadn't seen anywhere else that was very simple, but so effective!

2. Condemned. Nice sets and some fun things Six Flags hasn't done before.

3. Aftermath: I love the wide open nature of it.

4. Willoughby's: Time to retire it. Nothing wrong with it per say, just old and tired.

5. Red's Revenge: Also time to retire it.

6. Hell Fest: Billed as a new maze, but most of it is just recycled from the old maze with new costumes. Not sure what was going on with the story at all.

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Had a really fun time visiting this year, after taking a couple years off.

 

Was so glad to see them finally get rid of that Toy maze, it was not great.

 

Sewer of Souls was fabulous. Very clever and well built.

 

Willoughby's remains a favorite, and the talent was working hard at scaring. Would like to see them update a couple of the rooms going forward.

 

Red's still looks great, but the cast was not really in it to win it.

 

Condemned was an interesting concept, and I liked parts of it, but there was no audio when I went through. Not sure if it was a glitch or they just didn't have a soundtrack, but it was weird.

 

I wasn't super impressed with Hellfest, since it was just a re purposing of Vault 666. However, my friend who had never seen Vault said that it was his favorite of the night. The room with the hooded figure dummies & actor was effective though... heckin spooky.

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I grabbed a video of Tatsu's new light-up wheels on Friday night. The video doesn't do it much justice; they really pop in the surrounding darkness.

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^ I don't think it would work as well as Tatsu does. With TC, it's a basic out and back coaster, so

you wouldn't be able to see much of the wheels, being so far away from the station. With Tatsu,

it's close up and hugging around the mountain, with better close up viewings all round it, etc.

 

My five cents.

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^Fair enough, remember when they did Katy Perry's Chained to the Rhythm music video?

There is a quick shot of both trains having a lighting package on them. From the behind the scenes of the video, they actually did it, and it was not CGI.

1640781585_ScreenShot2018-10-01at11_29_39PM.thumb.png.0932c9c2e24d5a85d2141dc8fc58d690.png

16235544_ScreenShot2018-10-01at11_31_27PM.thumb.png.41c3869bbc5f5650a281e0d7da694cb7.png

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1. it's weird to me for them to have an outside staffing company staff the mazes, but I get the cost savings from them not hiring a bunch of seasonal maze staff positions. So very Six Flags.

 

What cost savings? Does CA force them to pay for health insurance on those 6 week positions or something?

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1. it's weird to me for them to have an outside staffing company staff the mazes, but I get the cost savings from them not hiring a bunch of seasonal maze staff positions. So very Six Flags.

.

 

Lots of other parks do this with some parks even have an outside company running their entire halloween event

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1. it's weird to me for them to have an outside staffing company staff the mazes, but I get the cost savings from them not hiring a bunch of seasonal maze staff positions. So very Six Flags.

 

What cost savings? Does CA force them to pay for health insurance on those 6 week positions or something?

 

None of the overhead costs associated with employment: workers comp insurance, uniforms, training, etc.

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1. it's weird to me for them to have an outside staffing company staff the mazes, but I get the cost savings from them not hiring a bunch of seasonal maze staff positions. So very Six Flags.

 

What cost savings? Does CA force them to pay for health insurance on those 6 week positions or something?

 

I doubt there are any cost savings. Typically employers will go to a temp agency when they were not able to find enough employees on their own or their HR department couldn't handle the volume of work. I am guessing with low unemployment and competition with retail and delivery industries for seasonal workers that the talent pool is slim and temp agencies have a greater volume of people that jump job to job and might be available.

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I had to check with some friends on this considering I don't work at the park anymore, but the only temp agency that Magic Mountain uses for Fright Fest is Event Staff Professionals. ESP is used as maze 'security'.

 

Magic Mountain staffs all maze and scare zone monsters in house. HR effectively treats them as temp employees as they don't get company ID cards or a uniform.

 

Also, Viper has been down for a control system upgrade. The PLC, sensors, brakes, and other systems have been upgraded. It's not completely done yet, but it will be coming back online soon.

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1. it's weird to me for them to have an outside staffing company staff the mazes, but I get the cost savings from them not hiring a bunch of seasonal maze staff positions. So very Six Flags.

 

What cost savings? Does CA force them to pay for health insurance on those 6 week positions or something?

 

I doubt there are any cost savings. Typically employers will go to a temp agency when they were not able to find enough employees on their own or their HR department couldn't handle the volume of work. I am guessing with low unemployment and competition with retail and delivery industries for seasonal workers that the talent pool is slim and temp agencies have a greater volume of people that jump job to job and might be available.

 

I am positive there is a cost savings. I would assume they are paying ESP a flat rate for the maze hosts instead of their own variable costs for training, wages, workers comp insurance, wardrobe, administrative costs, etc.

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^One of my coworkers used to work for a company that provided security at sporting events, concerts, etc., on the weekends. He once worked security at Kings Dominion's Haunt and said he'd never make that mistake again.

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1. it's weird to me for them to have an outside staffing company staff the mazes, but I get the cost savings from them not hiring a bunch of seasonal maze staff positions. So very Six Flags.

 

What cost savings? Does CA force them to pay for health insurance on those 6 week positions or something?

 

I doubt there are any cost savings. Typically employers will go to a temp agency when they were not able to find enough employees on their own or their HR department couldn't handle the volume of work. I am guessing with low unemployment and competition with retail and delivery industries for seasonal workers that the talent pool is slim and temp agencies have a greater volume of people that jump job to job and might be available.

 

I am positive there is a cost savings. I would assume they are paying ESP a flat rate for the maze hosts instead of their own variable costs for training, wages, workers comp insurance, wardrobe, administrative costs, etc.

 

The temp agency takes those costs from the employer but they add it on to the hourly rate. Then they add on another 30% or so for profit that the employer wouldn't have to pay if they direct hired themselves. Every time we have had to order temps for our insurance claims offices; management complains about the obscene rates they pay per hour for the temps. Then you ask the temp and they are getting like a third of what the agency charges per hour.

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ESP (and all those other major event staffing companies like Staff Pro and CSC) are completely different than a typical temporary staffing agency. It's not the same business model.

 

Knotts and Universal have no problem staffing their "maze security" positions with their own temporary staff, so knowing what I know about event staffing, I have no doubt SFMM made the decision to save some money on labor costs.

 

And to be fair, more power to them to run their business and make more profits off Fright Fest---it's just tacky because it's clear these employees don't even meet Six Flags standards and stick out like a sore thumb with their different uniforms and complete lack of care for service.

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SFMM has a hard time hiring employees. Fright Fest is extremely understaffed even on Saturdays. They also have signs all over the park saying to apply because they don’t get enough applicants during the Fall, Winter, and Spring operating months.

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SFMM has a hard time hiring employees. Fright Fest is extremely understaffed even on Saturdays. They also have signs all over the park saying to apply because they don’t get enough applicants during the Fall, Winter, and Spring operating months.

 

That's the consequence of intentionally primarily hiring high schoolers on summer break because they accept being paid next to nothing for labor-heavy positions nobody else would accept that wage for. The Santa Clarita area has incredibly low unemployment right now. The high schoolers are in school, and there isn't hardly anybody else around who would accept what little SFMM offers.

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SFMM has a hard time hiring employees. Fright Fest is extremely understaffed even on Saturdays. They also have signs all over the park saying to apply because they don’t get enough applicants during the Fall, Winter, and Spring operating months.

 

That's the consequence of intentionally primarily hiring high schoolers on summer break because they accept being paid next to nothing for labor-heavy positions nobody else would accept that wage for. The Santa Clarita area has incredibly low unemployment right now. The high schoolers are in school, and there isn't hardly anybody else around who would accept what little SFMM offers.

 

Come on, minimum wage in LA county for companies with more than 25 employees is currently $13 an hour. They have to be paying that at least!

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Currently employees at Six Flags Magic Mountain get paid at least $13.25 (LA County minimum wage), which ironically is more than what base employees at Knott's make, and was more than what base Disney employees made (pre union CBA ratification).

 

I won't get into a debate on what necessitates higher than minimum wage/what a skilled vs unskilled job is, but I will say this: Magic Mountain has a huge employee culture problem. Clearly that problem does not affect the business model Six Flags is pursuing however, so until it does it will be business as usual.

 

It is what it is.

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Come on, minimum wage in LA county for companies with more than 25 employees is currently $13 an hour. They have to be paying that at least!

 

Very few SFMM front line employees work full time, and the above mentioned employee culture problem is rather well known. All these things contribute to a result of SFMM having a hard time hiring employees.

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Come on, minimum wage in LA county for companies with more than 25 employees is currently $13 an hour. They have to be paying that at least!

 

Very few SFMM front line employees work full time, and the above mentioned employee culture problem is rather well known. All these things contribute to a result of SFMM having a hard time hiring employees.

 

Magic mountain just doesn’t offer anything competitive for entry level jobs when it comes to benefits. Many other entry level service jobs offer stuff like tuition reimbursement, health insurance if you stick around, paid time off, annual raises, and so on...magic? Free park tickets is all they offer.

 

That being said, their business model works for them. So long as they can stay away from running up massive debts again, they’ll stay a successful company.

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Even worse, employees don't get any holiday pay at all.

 

This December 25th will be the first time the park has been open on Christmas day (that I know of) and quite a few supervisors and managers are already expecting there to be massive callouts. Should make for an interesting day...

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