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Six Flags Great America (SFGAm) Discussion Thread


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They may be making money but financial reports are a lagging indicator of how the park is really doing. Gradually, people will realize that even though the season passes and dining passes are cheap, there is a point where no price is cheap enough to justify the one hour waits for fast food or 2.5 hour waits for coasters. I agree they should raise the price of the season passes and dining passes, make soda self-service and maybe have soda included in the ticket price so the food service employees can concentrate just on food. I was there on Halloween 10/31 and Sunday 11/1 and the only reason I renew my Six Flags season pass is because of those rainy days like Saturday that keeps people away and max 20 minute waits for coasters and less than 5 minute waits for food.

 

Also, instead of giving free unlimited admission for the rest of the current year when you buy a season pass for the following year, they should do what Cedar Fair does and only give you one day in the current year to go for free.

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I also agree that even though Six Flags is profitable, Six Flags loses money on the majority of guests (maybe 70%), who are regulars, buy season passes and dining passes with free parking and go very frequently and rarely spend any money in the park. However, they make so much money off the other 30% of guests (who pay near-full price for tickets, parking, food, and maybe flash passes) that they're still profitable. Six Flags won't change their strategy until the non-regulars boycott, thus forcing the season pass holders (including myself) to pay their fair share.

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The post above really details almost every visit to the park I had this season. Opening day we only rode Am Eagle in the morning and then Viper x2 in the afternoon since the queue is short. Every other time on Saturday or Sunday (regardless of weather in my visits) the park has been slammed and you're lucky to get in more than 3 rides in the first hour.

 

We had a great time at the waterpark - let's face it, they make it difficult to get in there! You either a) have to be a season pass holder or b)you pay to get in the park, then have to pay AGAIN to get into the waterpark! Shoot, worked out for me though. Even on 2 rainy days, the park had full queues for everything. I did not eat any food in the park because I refused to wait in the massive lines for $10+ baskets of fried food. I TRIED to get food at Six Flags St. Louis but couldn't find anyplace open or with a wait less than an hour!

 

I'm in the demo that's a thrill seeker within 30-40 miles. This was my first time owning a season pass and I had to think twice about getting one for next season.

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They may be making money but financial reports are a lagging indicator of how the park is really doing. Gradually, people will realize that even though the season passes and dining passes are cheap, there is a point where no price is cheap enough to justify the one hour waits for fast food or 2.5 hour waits for coasters. I agree they should raise the price of the season passes and dining passes, make soda self-service and maybe have soda included in the ticket price so the food service employees can concentrate just on food. I was there on Halloween 10/31 and Sunday 11/1 and the only reason I renew my Six Flags season pass is because of those rainy days like Saturday that keeps people away and max 20 minute waits for coasters and less than 5 minute waits for food.

 

Also, instead of giving free unlimited admission for the rest of the current year when you buy a season pass for the following year, they should do what Cedar Fair does and only give you one day in the current year to go for free.

I agree with almost everything you said. The state of the park is a result of the fact that the CEO, CFO, and a few other executives aren't from a theme park background. They're here to maximize the companies profits, which is what they are doing. In contrast, if you look at the background of CF's executives, you'll see that nearly all of them have dozens of years of experience in this industry. I'm longing for the day when SF finally gets a CEO that previously worked in the industry. Which probably won't happen anytime soon considering they just had their best quarter in history.

 

I don't see why making money and improving efficiency and service have to be mutually exclusive. If the food operations can cut down on the time it takes to serve each guest, labor costs would be lower and guest satisfaction would be higher.

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The job market thing is true for the regional theme park industry as a whole and by and large the adjustments being made are bordering on nonexistent. The business plan is often cornerstoned on low wages to front end employees, and investors would be skittish if they paid more to those people and cut into revenue. In short: Free Market Capitalism rewards those who make money by producing a crappy, lower end product.

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Looks like Six Flags Great America might be considering adding Holiday in the Park in the future. It sounds like it would be hard to pull off because of Chicagoland's harsh winters, but if they want to try it, I don't see anything else stopping them.

 

http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/lake-county-news-sun/news/ct-lns-great-america-fright-fest-st-0925-20150924-story.html

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The job market thing is true for the regional theme park industry as a whole and by and large the adjustments being made are bordering on nonexistent. The business plan is often cornerstoned on low wages to front end employees, and investors would be skittish if they paid more to those people and cut into revenue. In short: Free Market Capitalism rewards those who make money by producing a crappy, lower end product.

 

I disagree that a crappy product is profitable. The execs know this and they have dumped more than 4.7 million shares this year. They don't necessarily need to raise wages or get better employees to improve service.

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The job market thing is true for the regional theme park industry as a whole and by and large the adjustments being made are bordering on nonexistent. The business plan is often cornerstoned on low wages to front end employees, and investors would be skittish if they paid more to those people and cut into revenue. In short: Free Market Capitalism rewards those who make money by producing a crappy, lower end product.

 

I disagree that a crappy product is profitable. The execs know this and they have dumped more than 4.7 million shares this year. They don't necessarily need to raise wages or get better employees to improve service.

 

Here's the Six Flags stock chart over the last 5 years. Stock was reissued in 2010. Jim Reid-Anderson was given stock as part of his deal to come to the company. The same goes for other executives. Those executives are offloading stock because their stock in the company is worth a fortune. Six Flags split twice in 2011 and 2013, and on top of that, it is worth more than it ever had been. A position of 1,000,000 shares at $32.25 a share on the day Anderson started would now be worth 4,000,000 shares at $51.71 a share. That means that position would go from being worth ~$32 million to almost $207 million dollars.

334136524_sixstock.jpg.ae70ca5fbecb7d7c136b0c67f52c7712.jpg

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The job market thing is true for the regional theme park industry as a whole and by and large the adjustments being made are bordering on nonexistent. The business plan is often cornerstoned on low wages to front end employees, and investors would be skittish if they paid more to those people and cut into revenue. In short: Free Market Capitalism rewards those who make money by producing a crappy, lower end product.

 

I disagree that a crappy product is profitable. The execs know this and they have dumped more than 4.7 million shares this year. They don't necessarily need to raise wages or get better employees to improve service.

 

Here's the Six Flags stock chart over the last 5 years. Stock was reissued in 2010. Jim Reid-Anderson was given stock as part of his deal to come to the company. The same goes for other executives. Those executives are offloading stock because their stock in the company is worth a fortune. Six Flags split twice in 2011 and 2013, and on top of that, it is worth more than it ever had been. A position of 1,000,000 shares at $32.25 a share on the day Anderson started would now be worth 4,000,000 shares at $51.71 a share. That means that position would go from being worth ~$32 million to almost $207 million dollars.

 

But the people on a message board say Six Flags has no idea how to run an entertainment company.... They can't possibly be profitable!

 

Look, I get that the crowds are annoying for those of us "in the know"... But there are plenty of days where the park is more than open enough to enjoy a day there... Just pick your days wisely... I went 6 days this year and only had crowd problems on the Sat. before Halloween (full disclosure: I knew damn well what I was getting into that day, so I sprang for a Platinum Pass... Oh and I bought that Platinum Pass voucher (two people) for $100 off of Craigslist knowing what was lying ahead)... Because I planned ahead, I got my money's worth on that day, and the year overall... You have a pass... If crowds bother you, you have over 100 operational days to choose from... Do your homework and stop whining when you don't get your way...

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But the people on a message board say Six Flags has no idea how to run an entertainment company.... They can't possibly be profitable!

 

Profitability =/= increases in stock price OR proof of a better product. Profit is merely what is left in the revenue minus expense equation should it turn out to be in the black. Jim Reid Anderson can make a hundred million dollars off stock options and give himself another hundred million in bonuses during his CEO tenure, leave, and the company still turns out to be a house of cards and collapses. That's how a pump and dump works. SIX stock is sold by executives on the market, usually to mutual funds, hedge funds, and investment firms relying on computer algorithms that monitor fluctuations, which will probably use it in an array of products sold to the general public. I may be invested in SIX right now via my retirement plan even though I am also alternately thinking of taking my own money to short the stock. What I'm getting at is that the free market is highly imperfect; belief that it is perfect is no different than a form of religion. And like many forms of religion, if you believe in it too strongly, you've got a great chance of winding up broke and applying for WalMart greeter positions in your advanced age.

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Food lines were awful once you got past 6 pm.
Food service at the park was a joke today.... Took over an hour to get a slice of pizza at the stand in the corner by Dark Knight... Lines had the same amount of people at every other stand we saw... Not sure about the wait times at other stands... Normally I'd just go to a fast food joint outside the park for lunch, but decided stay in given how many people were at the park... The parking lot was probably 80% full when we tried to eat around 2pm.... Never again
Then we stood in line for food for an hour at Aunt Martha's.
Every visit to the park I see massive lines for food/drinks.
there is a point where no price is cheap enough to justify the one hour waits for fast food

There seems to be a theme here from the trip reports.

 

1 hour wait for fast food is obviously unacceptable no matter where you are or how busy the place is. Places like Cedar Point and sports stadiums can have 40,000 people in them and still keep food waits reasonable, it makes no sense why SFGAm can't do that. The sad thing is they are probably spending way more than they should be on their food service because of turnover. More turnover = less staff, more people that don't know what they're doing, and less experienced managers. In my opinion the pay isn't even that relevant because these kind of jobs are low pay everywhere. They need to ask themselves why they are having so many issues staffing the place and try to fix that.

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I am planning a trip to Great America, the second-week of June in 2016. I would like to go on all of the major rides and do water park. A season pass price is $60. A ticket with coupon is $48. Could I fully do the park in a day? What would the lines be like on a Tuesday? Should I get flash pass? I can stand lines 25 minutes and less.

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I am planning a trip to Great America, the second-week of June in 2016. I would like to go on all of the major rides and do water park. A season pass price is $60. A ticket with coupon is $48. Could I fully do the park in a day? What would the lines be like on a Tuesday? Should I get flash pass? I can stand lines 25 minutes and less.

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I am planning a trip to Great America, the second-week of June in 2016. I would like to go on all of the major rides and do water park. A season pass price is $60. A ticket with coupon is $48. Could I fully do the park in a day? What would the lines be like on a Tuesday? Should I get flash pass? I can stand lines 25 minutes and less.

 

If you buy the flash pass. I recommend skipping the water park so you can make the most use of your flash pass. If you don't get the flash pass, it would be very difficult or impossible to do all the major coasters and the water park in one day. Wait times for major coasters will be about an hour, probably more for Goliath and v2 (I recommend skipping V2 as it's a low-capacity ride with a slow moving line). Weather is really the #1 factor you have to be concerned with. If the weather is nice, or even decent, the park will be packed. If the weather is cold and rainy, you may be able to ride most coasters with very little or no wait. Of course, get there early as possible to make the most of your time.

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I've never visited SFGAM but over the years it seems like I read more complaints about crowds at this park than any other. Yet parks like CP, KI, CW, SFMM, SFGradv, BGW, BGT, Hershey, etc; consistently get more guests per annum according to attendance reports.

 

I know CGA was originally the same layout as SFGAM, but are their footprints still the same size? That would explain why it could SEEM more crowded than a KI or Gradv.

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I've never visited SFGAM but over the years it seems like I read more complaints about crowds at this park than any other. Yet parks like CP, KI, CW, SFMM, SFGradv, BGW, BGT, Hershey, etc; consistently get more guests per annum according to attendance reports.

 

I know CGA was originally the same layout as SFGAM, but are their footprints still the same size? That would explain why it could SEEM more crowded than a KI or Gradv.

Crowds aren't any worse than other parks... It just seems to be a case where people don't mention the days they go and everything is under a 45 min wait... Days like that are very attainable in the first half of the year... You just hear horror stories from August and Fright Fest, and it seems to be the norm...

 

In June, a day w/o a Flash Pass is doable, but I'd keep that ace in my hand if needed... With Justice League opening next year, I'm curious to see how traffic around Goliath changes...

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Forgot to mention my home park is Valleyfair - which has a V2 ride. I am a super CF freak and no almost nothing about Six Flags policies and flash passes. I think I would want to do 2 days - 1 with Flash Pass and 1 to do other rides and water park. I am, though, a theme park native and would stay open to close using strategies to get thru lines. I have heard that the top 3 lines are Goliath, Superman, and what will be Justice League. I do think I would push back 1 more week and go on two of the most normal, unspecial Mon/Tue/Wed possible. I would be fine with getting the standard Flash Pass, and just going to the non-included rides immediately. Also, what is a boarding pass? Is it free? How do you get one?

 

Thank you for letting me answer. If you ever have questions about Valleyfair, Nickelodeon Universe, or MN, let me know.

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