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Ask Mark Shapiro a Question!


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"It has been stated before in a personal comment that you attended Lake Compounce amusement park several times with your family and loved it. Have you taken anything you had seen at this small family park back to the Six Flags corporation?

 

Do you run Six Flag parks in different locations differently based on the local competition from smaller parks which aim at your new "family" market?

 

^Feel free to reword that one to remove the double use of different.

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Are you looking into building any new theme parks in the future? I heard there is a "Decades Park" for Arizona that is floating around the air waiting for some money and approval. Do you think a Six Flags Park in Arizona will work?

 

I sure as hell think a park in AZ will help this state a lot. Plus, if you need someone to run it I'm still here in AZ

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When you left ESPN to become the Six Flags CEO, you said that your position at ESPN was "one of the best jobs in America." How has working at Six Flags compared?

 

What differences have you discovered between running a theme park chain and running a television network? Were there any lessions from your time at ESPN that you have been able to apply at Six Flags?

 

Finally, do you have any plans for improving the professionality of the Six Flags park staff, specifically ride operators?

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I would also like to know Six Flags' plan for smaller parks such as SFKK and SFA.

 

Does the removal of S:TOP and its replacement have anything to do with SFKK's shortened season? (Park not opening until after Spring Break this year... )

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I don't have anything that I'd like to ask Shapiro, but I just want to say that I think it's great that he's coming to SFMM. Personally, I've always thought that SFMM has the potential of being the crown jewel of the chain. And with all of the impending improvements, the new management is surely making a go at it.

 

Eric

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Just for curiosity sake how about asking him about the details of the recent listing of Magic Mountain for sale. I mean come on, what was the thought behind that move.

 

-What brought them to decide they would be better off without a presence in the LA market?

-Did they really want to unload it?

-Is the land more valuable than the parks profits?

-What groups were interested in buying the park?

-Was it really ever in danger of being closed and sold off for housing.

 

 

PS- I still find AstroWorld a very interesting topic for another time and place.

 

PSS- Ask him if the park is still Haunted by a Phantom and if KISS will be brought in again to save the Mountain

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Being known as a coaster enthusiast by almost all of my customers (Where did you go on vacation this time?), the point that keeps coming to me is that of line-jumping.

 

(I understand that this is not just a SF problem.)

 

A lot of people have had MANY bad experiences with that at SFMM, causing them NOT to want to come back. Signs being posted, never have been, and never will be, a deterrent to line jumping, as the employees are generally too complacent to do anything about it (due to physical size, and/or LACK of security).

 

Is there ANYTHING being done to address that major "guest experience" problem?

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^^Those are great questions. To add to that:

 

-How does the park plan to counteract the perception that "the park is being sold" (still a very popular question my friends ask me)?

 

-If he had the opportunity to do it again, would he still list SFMM for sale?

 

 

Other random things I thought of...

 

-How does the company plan to compete for quality managers and line employees in tough job markets like so cal (where a theme park manager can make more at USH, or a line employee can make more at In'N'Out)?

 

-What advice can you offer to aspiring theme park CEO's?

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-Since the addition of Wiggles World and Thomas Town mainly appealing to the 2-6 year old crowd, do you have any future plans of appealing to the "tween" (7-12 years old) demographic for family sections (example: Jungala at Busch Gardens Tampa)?

 

-The Wii Experience has been a hit with the general public and I like seeing more people getting into video games. Is there any slight possibility of a Nintendo themed area/attraction coming soon from the Nintendo partnership or not?

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Being known as a coaster enthusiast by almost all of my customers (Where did you go on vacation this time?), the point that keeps coming to me is that of line-jumping.

 

(I understand that this is not just a SF problem.)

 

A lot of people have had MANY bad experiences with that at SFMM, causing them NOT to want to come back. Signs being posted, never have been, and never will be, a deterrent to line jumping, as the employees are generally too complacent to do anything about it (due to physical size, and/or LACK of security).

 

Is there ANYTHING being done to address that major "guest experience" problem?

That's exactly why I wanted to ask about the quality of Guest Relations (or even the quality of the staff in general).

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1; Are there any plans to install coasters or rides that are already sitting at the parks (but are awaiting to be built)? Specifically, what are you planning to do with the Togo Ultratwister at Six Flags America?

 

2: What is the reason that NIghtmare at Crack Axle Canyon at Great Escape is "Standing But Not Operating"? Is anything planned to go in its current location?

 

3: What are the plans for he Vekoma SLC that is at Great Escape, still awaiting construction?

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Will SFMM get a nice resort hotel with most importantantly a FREE shuttle that runs to/from the airport? SFMM is very hard to get to if you don't have a car. I think adding a Free shuttle will attract a lot more visitors & make it easier to get there. Also, maybe SFMM should also borrow ride ideas from Islands Of Adventure.

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^^Those are great questions. To add to that:

 

-How does the park plan to counteract the perception that "the park is being sold" (still a very popular question my friends ask me)?

 

-If he had the opportunity to do it again, would he still list SFMM for sale?

 

These are great questions...wish I thought of them myself. I'm particularly interested in the answer to the first one. Whenever I tell someone that I was just at the park, they are like..."its sad its closing down." Then I'm like its not closing and they didn't sell it! That is a major issue that might hinder their advertising efforts in markets outside of SoCal.

 

 

That said, I have another question...

 

Are there plans to expand their target market? We used to get SFMM advertising up here in Las Vegas all the time, but now you don't see it aside from Coke cans. We have a large population along many tourists who make side trips down to Disneyland and whatnot. Do they plan to tap into this?

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Just an FYI to those reading this in the next hour or so - Mark Shapiro will be on Jim Rome's radio show today.

 

Shapiro, of course, came from ESPN and is pretty tight with Rome - he's made several appearances in "The Jungle" over the last few years.

 

The show has a pay-to-listen podcast, so if anyone can record that interview and share that'd be great!

 

FYI - I know the Rome show streams, FREE, out of Houston via

 

THIS LINK

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^That would require listening to Jim Rome. I think I'll pass.

 

Ok, great. I'm not a huge fan of Rome either, but seeing that Rome just said that he is going to talk to Shapiro ABOUT Magic Mountain (after the break), I figured it might be worth a listen.

 

But you're right, he's so horrible that you couldn't possibly listen to a few minutes to hear the CEO talk about one of Six Flags' biggest parks.

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For those of you who listened to it, can you post the jist of what was discussed or questions that were asked/answered? That way I can get an idea of things he will or maybe will not talk about.

 

Thanks!

 

--Robb "Leaving in 1 hour to head down to Magic." Alvey

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