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Six Flags Corporate Discussion Thread


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All this "is it worth it for the Diamond Elite membership" talk and I'm just sitting here with my gold season pass for all the parks with parking that cost me less than $75.

 

yep.

 

me too.

 

think we paid ~$64 each once taxes/fees were added, and free upgrade to gold got us parking at all parks (currently $27 each time at Fiesta if paying).

 

THEN, once we had the passes, the Meal plan (with lunch and snack) was (I think) ~$21 more. . . we basically "renewed" our dining pass which we only picked up in 2018 as they kept lowering the prices.

 

so basically, if we go to Fiesta Texas 3 times during the year, we've paid for the pass, and if we eat twice (average meal $12) we've paid for the dining.

 

yeah, we've *more* than gotten our money's worth (especially since Fiesta is now Year round operations).

 

now we do spend some $$ on other things while visiting the parks, like bottled water, or merchandise? Yes, sometimes.

 

but I totally understand why the park wants everyone to move to Memberships (moving Season Pass perks over to memberships), and to get them a bit more $$. but for us? passes are just fine, and we'll keep getting them until no longer an option.

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We made out quite well with our memberships this year. I have a family of 5, so I bought a diamond elite membership and the rest of my family got a standard membership. We all added the dinning as well($100 each).

 

We always go together, so it made sense to do it this way. Only one of us needs the parking, and in-park discounts that an elite pass offers. 50% off merch and food. We typically get a tshirt and/or souvenir from each park we visit and that saved us some serious $$$.

 

With the dinning plan , our drink cups are included every year, so that's another added bonus(cedar fair cups are $30 extra). We typically do not like to go thru the hassle of packing the kids up, walking a mile to the car and back, finding a fast food place that typically has inflated prices simply because it's near a theme park. So the dinning plan works great for us.

 

This year, we spent 12 days at six flags parks. The cost of my membership is what I would have spent on parking fees alone. Last year we spent 14 days at six flags parks. This is within a 12 month period. So in the course of a year, we actually spent 26 days at six flags property's.

 

We saved some serious $$$ by getting memberships.

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You raise the point that I think it just depends on everyone's situation. I typically only go to Six Flags with one other person and we do it maybe 5-6 times a year. We also try to eat a big breakfast and only eat a snack or two while inside the park. We also don't really care for merch so the gold pass on it's own (especially when bought during the flash sale) is more than enough for us.

 

That all being said I can totally see where a family of your structure can find a bigger benefit with the memberships.

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Well, the one thing that makes it hard to synergize with other levels is that to get access to the early entry gate to the right, you either have to actually have a Platinum or higher pass, or be using a 50% off or a bring a friend for free from a Platinum or higher holder. It sucks, but I figure when I go with my Gold friends, I can just use that time to get my two skip the line passes, and buy the Flash Passes for the group. It would be kind of an ass move if I started riding without them I think.

 

But I try to synergize the food. My friend that I go on a lot of road trips with usually gets the full season meal plan for Cedar Fair, so we just trade back and forth on that. The group will share a meal when they're available, and we'll all go out and get real food at a restaurant or bar afterwards (well that's the plan, but usually we're so dead after the parks we jut go straight to the Airbnb).

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Again, it's about the perception of savings/value vs. what you actually spent that Six Flags gets. A slice of pizza and fries isn't actually worth $15 in labor, building maintenance, and materials (food, paper plate/basket thing). Technically you save money with the pass in so much as the prices there and at Cedar Fair parks are exorbitant, but you're still adding to the park's bottom line. After all, if Six Flags passes were, say, $400 at the most basic level, you wouldn't bother to get them. They know that.

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Again, it's about the perception of savings/value vs. what you actually spent that Six Flags gets. A slice of pizza and fries isn't actually worth $15 in labor, building maintenance, and materials (food, paper plate/basket thing). Technically you save money with the pass in so much as the prices there and at Cedar Fair parks are exorbitant, but you're still adding to the park's bottom line. After all, if Six Flags passes were, say, $400 at the most basic level, you wouldn't bother to get them. They know that.

 

Well, I've thought about this, and I actually think that the smoke and mirrors does provide a pretty cool benefit that you might not think of that adds value:

 

It makes the experience more cashless. I think that anything that the parks (or any business that focuses on entertainment, hospitality, or customer service) can do to eliminate the amount of times that you have to take out your wallet and pay for something the better. Its just a hassle and in my minds takes away from your experience. You're either taking cash out of your wallet and then dealing with loose change when you get change back, or you're fiddling around with the credit card machine, and waiting for the transaction to go through. To the extent that parks can figure out pre-loaded cashless payment systems, or build in free stuff with memberships/hotel stays, I think it goes a long way to making the experience more luxurious and fun for the customers, even if you take out the social engineering aspect on the park's end, or gaming the system on the customer's end.

 

So to me, I try to prioritize perks that give you something for "free" (or at least something that you don't pay for) as opposed to perks that just give you discounts.

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^ sorry, but no. Disagree with you completely based on my experiences.

 

the sheer number of times we've been stuck behind someone trying to find their Membership (if they don't have that hanging lanyard), or dig a pass out of their wallet. . or the sheer number of times, the scan doesn't work?

 

back up the lines in every store/food service place.

 

cash is oh so much faster, and for a place like Six Flags to go completely cashless would be a huge mistake.

 

 

Disney? (where they load everything on a Magic Band that everyone wears on their wrists?). . . yep, perfectly fine with it at a place that's used to dealing with huge amounts of people and invests in the technology to make it work.

 

but Six Flags? nope. .don't want a cashless park

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^ sorry, but no. Disagree with you completely based on my experiences.

 

the sheer number of times we've been stuck behind someone trying to find their Membership (if they don't have that hanging lanyard), or dig a pass out of their wallet. . or the sheer number of times, the scan doesn't work?

 

back up the lines in every store/food service place.

 

cash is oh so much faster, and for a place like Six Flags to go completely cashless would be a huge mistake.

 

 

Disney? (where they load everything on a Magic Band that everyone wears on their wrists?). . . yep, perfectly fine with it at a place that's used to dealing with huge amounts of people and invests in the technology to make it work.

 

but Six Flags? nope. .don't want a cashless park

 

Those issues will go away increasingly as I'm sure Six Flags (like everyone) will transition to having more and more touch screen ordering. They already do ordering on the App for food. Then they can move the staff back to primarily working on making it.

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^ sorry, but no. Disagree with you completely based on my experiences.

 

the sheer number of times we've been stuck behind someone trying to find their Membership (if they don't have that hanging lanyard), or dig a pass out of their wallet. . or the sheer number of times, the scan doesn't work?

 

back up the lines in every store/food service place.

 

cash is oh so much faster, and for a place like Six Flags to go completely cashless would be a huge mistake.

 

 

Disney? (where they load everything on a Magic Band that everyone wears on their wrists?). . . yep, perfectly fine with it at a place that's used to dealing with huge amounts of people and invests in the technology to make it work.

 

but Six Flags? nope. .don't want a cashless park

 

Easily solution: just load everything on a wristband with a barcode. And anyway, the problem with your argument is that with pass discounts, you have have the same problem as you just mentioned, plus people having to figure out how to pay as well. I still can't comprehend how somebody could screw up taking a pass out of your pocket and having it scanned, but I honestly don't doubt you knowing the average American.

 

Yes, I'm a huge supporter of the bands, and short of that, loaded plastic wristbands with barcodes that can easily be cut off after the day is over. I've seen BGW use them and was blown away by the technology and efficiency. Haven't seen any other park use them though. The Magic Band is a whole other ball game. Disney goes above and beyond, but they also have their issues and inefficiencies from time to time.

 

 

 

And for the record, Six Flags just has out of control lines for their concessions. The horribly understaff and have poor procedures and systems in place. I don't think that people digging pass cards out of their pocket has much to do with it. And that mostly hurts the park -- they get little to not benefit by the extra people in parks, as people aren't being turned over in the concession stands, and little extra food gets sold compared to a flow of people that meets the stands capacity.

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^ sorry, but no. Disagree with you completely based on my experiences.

 

the sheer number of times we've been stuck behind someone trying to find their Membership (if they don't have that hanging lanyard), or dig a pass out of their wallet. . or the sheer number of times, the scan doesn't work?

 

back up the lines in every store/food service place.

 

cash is oh so much faster, and for a place like Six Flags to go completely cashless would be a huge mistake.

 

 

Disney? (where they load everything on a Magic Band that everyone wears on their wrists?). . . yep, perfectly fine with it at a place that's used to dealing with huge amounts of people and invests in the technology to make it work.

 

but Six Flags? nope. .don't want a cashless park

 

Those issues will go away increasingly as I'm sure Six Flags (like everyone) will transition to having more and more touch screen ordering. They already do ordering on the App for food. Then they can move the staff back to primarily working on making it.

 

I dream of that day. I get pretty excited as I see more and more over the counter restaurants going to app based ordering and touch screens (not necessarily at parks, but at everyday places). Unfortunately, there are a lot of kinks to work out, and I still see stand-by line customers getting priority over people who took the time to order online and wait virtually. If the kinks can get worked out, I can see the system really taking over.

 

But at a certain point, we'll have to worry about the bots teaming up, and a Skynet or Matrix situation down the road... Well we'll cross that when we get to it.

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I never carry my pass - I've got it on my phone, so why bother? It's inevitable that they'll go that route. You can order by app and pick up at McDonalds or Little Caesars, for crying out loud. Only a matter of time with theme parks.

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Then they can move the staff back to primarily working on making it.

 

... or just cut those positions entirely and keep churning out food at the same glacial pace that they do now. My money is on that option.

 

But you would think that if you're going to cut back on any staff, that you shouldn't be doing it for the stuff where people are actually willing to hand over their money to you.

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^ sorry, but no. Disagree with you completely based on my experiences.

 

the sheer number of times we've been stuck behind someone trying to find their Membership (if they don't have that hanging lanyard), or dig a pass out of their wallet. . or the sheer number of times, the scan doesn't work?

 

back up the lines in every store/food service place.

 

cash is oh so much faster, and for a place like Six Flags to go completely cashless would be a huge mistake.

 

 

Disney? (where they load everything on a Magic Band that everyone wears on their wrists?). . . yep, perfectly fine with it at a place that's used to dealing with huge amounts of people and invests in the technology to make it work.

 

but Six Flags? nope. .don't want a cashless park

Agreed. We had quite a time on Tuesday trying to get our Dining plan to work, and had to hoof it back to Guest Services twice only for them to completely fail to get the dining plan to work and they had to issue us paper vouchers instead. Technology is one area where Six Flags can stand improvement, although I will say their app is fantastic. Only Disneyland has a better one, imo.

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But you would think that if you're going to cut back on any staff, that you shouldn't be doing it for the stuff where people are actually willing to hand over their money to you.

 

I've spent way too much time standing in beer lines at Great Adventure in the middle of the summer when the park is "fully staffed" wondering who I had to blow to get a beer as I watched the one incompetent bartender pour beer into the center of the cup with 99% head to think that they care about speeding up food and beverage service (and that's at a bar where nobody is using a dining plan and every single person is paying with cash or on a card and the profit margins are ridiculous).

 

You're right, but they don't care and they've never cared.

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Then they can move the staff back to primarily working on making it.

 

... or just cut those positions entirely and keep churning out food at the same glacial pace that they do now. My money is on that option.

I would agree with this completely.

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But you would think that if you're going to cut back on any staff, that you shouldn't be doing it for the stuff where people are actually willing to hand over their money to you.

 

I've spent way too much time standing in beer lines at Great Adventure in the middle of the summer when the park is "fully staffed" wondering who I had to blow to get a beer as I watched the one incompetent bartender pour beer into the center of the cup with 99% head to think that they care about speeding up food and beverage service (and that's at a bar where nobody is using a dining plan and every single person is paying with cash or on a card and the profit margins are ridiculous).

 

You're right, but they don't care and they've never cared.

 

So it seems to me like if the general consensus on here is that Six Flags is in good shape financially, and they have some smart guys making decisions at the executive level that the logical conclusion is that they don't really give two shakes about auxiliary revenue from concessions and retail, and are perfectly happy making their money off of memberships, passes, and ticket sales. The armchair executives and armchair analysts always seem to obsess over in-park spending, but if SF really cared about that, they'd make sure that everybody who wanted to spend money in the park, could very quickly and easily.

 

In my opinion, there's a good chance that SF just really pulls in a ton of money getting people into the park, and that's enough to keep them happy.

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But you would think that if you're going to cut back on any staff, that you shouldn't be doing it for the stuff where people are actually willing to hand over their money to you.

 

I've spent way too much time standing in beer lines at Great Adventure in the middle of the summer when the park is "fully staffed" wondering who I had to blow to get a beer as I watched the one incompetent bartender pour beer into the center of the cup with 99% head to think that they care about speeding up food and beverage service (and that's at a bar where nobody is using a dining plan and every single person is paying with cash or on a card and the profit margins are ridiculous).

 

You're right, but they don't care and they've never cared.

You're lucky. I have visited SFStL on busy summer weekends where they're fully staffed at there isn't a bartender at all. Anywhere at the whole park.

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But you would think that if you're going to cut back on any staff, that you shouldn't be doing it for the stuff where people are actually willing to hand over their money to you.

 

I've spent way too much time standing in beer lines at Great Adventure in the middle of the summer when the park is "fully staffed" wondering who I had to blow to get a beer as I watched the one incompetent bartender pour beer into the center of the cup with 99% head to think that they care about speeding up food and beverage service (and that's at a bar where nobody is using a dining plan and every single person is paying with cash or on a card and the profit margins are ridiculous).

 

You're right, but they don't care and they've never cared.

You're lucky. I have visited SFStL on busy summer weekends where they're fully staffed at there isn't a bartender at all. Anywhere at the whole park.

 

Gotta love my Florida parks. Pretty much every park in the state that I've been to has no beer jail at all, and you can bring booze in line with you. The other day I brought put my beer in the cubbies at BGT when I was riding. Talk about the ultimate "hold my beer" experience. No beer jail at BGT, SWO, both Universals, all four Disneyparks, and both FunSpots. Not sure about Legoland and the other rando' kiddie parks.

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the logical conclusion is that they don't really give two shakes about auxiliary revenue from concessions and retail

 

I'm not willing to go that far, I just think they like to mitigate risk / overhead by keeping staffing levels at an absolute minimum. Do they lose out on some revenue on busy days by doing that? Probably. Do they make more money over the course of a long season? I have no idea.

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the logical conclusion is that they don't really give two shakes about auxiliary revenue from concessions and retail

 

I'm not willing to go that far, I just think they like to mitigate risk / overhead by keeping staffing levels at an absolute minimum. Do they lose out on some revenue on busy days by doing that? Probably. Do they make more money over the course of a long season? I have no idea.

 

Yeah, honestly, I can't imagine how difficult it must be to keep a park staffed when you rely on seasonal help. The 365 park have an advantage, as they can offer year round employment, but they still run into the same problem: people who work for $8 an hour and want to work in parks generally tend to be students, so their services are inherently going to revolve around the school year. Its not just the cash outlay, but also the logistics of working with a limited labor pool.

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Then they can move the staff back to primarily working on making it.

 

... or just cut those positions entirely and keep churning out food at the same glacial pace that they do now. My money is on that option.

 

I authentically think they'd do that. I chalk their low staffing up more to the job market being hyper competitive. I even think going year round at multiple parks is a sort of retention strategy (also revenue on infrastructure they have to maintain anyways) to replace increasing wages.

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Then they can move the staff back to primarily working on making it.

 

... or just cut those positions entirely and keep churning out food at the same glacial pace that they do now. My money is on that option.

 

I authentically think they'd do that. I chalk their low staffing up more to the job market being hyper competitive. I even think going year round at multiple parks is a sort of retention strategy (also revenue on infrastructure they have to maintain anyways) to replace increasing wages.

 

But at the end of the day it still comes down to economics. Sure, they can claim that its a tight job market and maybe some people will believe them, but if they decided to pay them $18 an hour instead of $8 an hour and trained them well, people would be lining up outside the gates to work there. So it comes down to cost. They want to keep plowing $8 an hour into employees and that's that. So it will always be a tight labor market for them. Who wants to work for $8 an hour to get yelled at all day and stand in the sun?

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have a friend who wants to join me at Six Flags Magic Mountain on Sunday. I have a membership for Six Flags New England. Are there any discounts I can use for him? From the portal, it looks like my admission benefits seem exclusive to SFNE but I figured I'd check if anyone else has looked into this further.

 

He's leaning towards either a season pass or using a Tickets at Work discount.

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