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Six Flags Darien Lake (SFDL) Discussion Thread


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I had a good time at the park this past week (my first visit in several years), and here are some of my quick thoughts & a few pics:

 

-- Ride of Steel remains one of my favorite coasters. I thought it was underrated when I rode it years ago and still feel the same. Even with the long straightaway and helix-heavy layout, I'm just laughing and enjoying the whole ride through. I had more pure fun on this than on other noteworthy coasters like Fury and Phantom's Revenge, and that's high praise for Ride of Steel rather than a knock on those also-great rides. The front seat is particularly excellent. Awesome airtime, speed, and first drop, just the right amount of intensity, and a better location over water than SFA's version. Worth a visit on its own!

 

-- Predator was not good, although other riders seemed to be smiling and having jostling fun. I appreciated the smooth turnaround with new wood, but most of the drops were of the familiar Dinn variety -- it's like shuffling down a rockslide and praying that each pullout doesn't jackhammer too badly. I've been on worse and there was some airtime, but it's not far from that "just thankful to survive" category. It is a good-looking coaster near the water, though. I'd love to see an RMC treatment on the scale of Twisted Cyclone someday.

 

-- Tantrum was new to me. While it's very smooth, I was thoroughly nauseated! I had the big barf face from RCT, which surprised me because I'm still OK with other moderate loopers like Sky Rocket. To be fair to Tantrum, my nausea tolerance has been rapidly receding. I've cut out spinning and most flat rides, and sometimes inversions now get to me, too. The drop's exciting, and the ride's a quick and perfectly smooth blur, but holy guacamole I was close to throwing up. This makes me antsy about riding Steel Curtain soon, but I'll still give it a go.

 

-- I ate at Beaver Brothers Cafe and recommend it. My burger had a small patty, but it tasted flame-broiled and quite good. The restaurant has interesting decor, refreshing AC, beer, a reasonably-priced menu, spaciousness, and the restrooms are low-traffic and clean, making this a solid option when you need a break in the park.

 

-- Ride ops were friendly and generally pleasant, and the park looked colorful & vibrant enough. Most coasters ran one train, which often ballooned station waits to 30 minutes, but I'm not expecting Cedar Point ops and was just glad that everything was open.

 

-- The pellet dispenser for fish and duck feeding gave me ONE pellet per quarter. I apologized to the fish and ducks for the letdown.

 

-- I wasn't sure that I would renew my season pass at the park, but once there I was talking myself into it. I had questions, and while the guy at the season pass center wasn't a jerk, he wasn't helpful and I left without renewing for now. I asked about the membership tiers and his answers were a lot of, "oh, yeah, um, basically like, okay, so it depends, but you're good."

 

Huh? I don't have a season pass for next year and I see there's a sale going on (I'm making it very easy for him). It says here that I'd also get a golden ticket that can be used like a bring a friend on most days next year...

 

"Oh, it's not most days. It's just, like, bring a friend sometimes, that's all."

 

What are the restrictions?

 

"Uh, you don't have to do anything for it, you'll just get it, so you're good."

 

Huh?

 

I ended up educating myself from an info sheet and wall signs in the pass center while the guy sat there. He didn't engage me at all, ask me about what I'm looking for or how often I visit, explain any perks I might enjoy, etc. I knew I wasn't going to be talked into Diamond Elite, but when I walk in willing to give more money to Six Flags then and there, someone with communication skills should be eager to reel me in. I couldn't get clear answers about whether some perks would kick in that same day, on my next visit, or not until next season, and I left confused and without a renewal.

 

-- The star flyer looked good, and I like its location because I've felt that the far bend around the park's central lake looked tacky with go-karts, batting cages, and little else. Those things are alright for arcade/laser tag centers, but the star flyer is a more legit and welcome attraction to that edge of the park.

 

-- I love the slingshot ride, but I didn't feel like forking over the $40 while feeling dizzy post-Tantrum. It's my favorite slingshot model, and I highly recommend it if you're new to the park or slingshot rides.

 

-- I only took a couple of pics, mostly of my favorite nook in the park on the path next to Predator. This path, along with the path at Cedar Point between Magnum and the beach, are two places where I'd set up camp and live if I could:

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Sun shining around the central little lake (among many small lakes & ponds) throughout the park.

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Ride of Steel & Predator approaching evening.

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You don't expect to find such a tranquil spot in the back of the park.

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My favorite park area.

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Beautiful and quiet, even with Predator rumbling next door.

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Add a hammock and I'd stay all summer.

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-- I wasn't sure that I would renew my season pass at the park, but once there I was talking myself into it. I had questions, and while the guy at the season pass center wasn't a jerk, he wasn't helpful and I left without renewing for now. I asked about the membership tiers and his answers were a lot of, "oh, yeah, um, basically like, okay, so it depends, but you're good."

 

Huh? I don't have a season pass for next year and I see there's a sale going on (I'm making it very easy for him). It says here that I'd also get a golden ticket that can be used like a bring a friend on most days next year...

 

"Oh, it's not most days. It's just, like, bring a friend sometimes, that's all."

 

What are the restrictions?

 

"Uh, you don't have to do anything for it, you'll just get it, so you're good."

 

Huh?

 

I ended up educating myself from an info sheet and wall signs in the pass center while the guy sat there. He didn't engage me at all, ask me about what I'm looking for or how often I visit, explain any perks I might enjoy, etc. I knew I wasn't going to be talked into Diamond Elite, but when I walk in willing to give more money to Six Flags then and there, someone with communication skills should be eager to reel me in. I couldn't get clear answers about whether some perks would kick in that same day, on my next visit, or not until next season, and I left confused and without a renewal.

 

Sounds like the same guy when I went to process my upgrade and was told that nothing kicks in until the 29th even though I was already paying for it.

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^ not so sold on this only being a Darien Lake issue. The other 3 Six Flags parks I’ve visited have all struggled with the membership stuff this season. Darien Lake seems to have made some form of improvement since May, but it really isn’t competent yet in handling memberships.

 

Not sure if it’s a lack of training, lack of training retention or both; but it’s a shame that you can learn more about these benefits from a brochure than the people that have been hired to help make the process easier.

 

The ONLY reason I bought the pass in park was because last year Darien Lake wasn’t on the online system until after the season was kicked off. Any other memberships I bought after my own I got online. It’s just easier and a lot less confusing / you don’t have to worry about if you’ll get a supervisor who sort of knows the deal over a new employee who had no clue what “diamond elite” means over “diamond” or “platinum”

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I feel like the rebranding of the water park to Hurricane Harbor is a sign that we are about to see this park go full "Six Flags." I'm predicting a Looney Tunes kids area for 2020 and then a DC themed Giant Discovery in 2021 in between Tantrum and Mind Eraser. I also predict that Mind Eraser will get new trains, a repaint, and a new name. I haven't visited Six Flags Darien Lake since it was being managed by Herschend, and my visit was lackluster back then. The park really did just seem stagnant at the time. I'm so glad that Six Flags bought it back. At least for the time being, that guarantees a new ride every year and I love that.

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Owned Outright:

1. America

2. Discovery Kingdom

3. Fiesta Texas

4. Great Adventure

5. Great America

6. Great Escape Lodge

7. Magic Mountain

8. Mexico

9. New England

10. St. Louis

 

Management and Operating Agreements:

1. Over Georgia

2. Over Texas (Six Flags also has 53% ownership here)

 

Operating Agreements:

1. Darien Lake

2. La Ronde

3. Frontier City

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Owned Outright:

1. America

2. Discovery Kingdom

3. Fiesta Texas

4. Great Adventure

5. Great America

6. Great Escape Lodge

7. Magic Mountain

8. Mexico

9. New England

10. St. Louis

 

Management and Operating Agreements:

1. Over Georgia

2. Over Texas (Six Flags also has 53% ownership here)

 

Operating Agreements:

1. Darien Lake

2. La Ronde

3. Frontier City

 

So Six Flags owns the Great Escape Lodge outright, I’m assuming you also include the park itself in that mix? I would’ve thought that would be an operating agreement park with how they brand it.

 

Out of the three you mentioned, Darien Lake is the only one branded as a Six Flags Park, and will soon have the Six Flags branded Hurricane Harbor too. I find it hard to believe they would be branding the park for no reason, they have to see something in the park. Otherwise they could’ve easily left it as “Darien Lake: A Six Flags Theme Park” and saved some cash keeping all the signage and marketing the same.

 

I also don’t think with two fairly decent attractions coming to the park with SkyScreamer (a fan favorite at the park) and the new Wahoo Wave and water park refresh were an accident or flukes. To me I see it as they got the dry park updated into the world of Six Flags in 2019, now they’re bringing the water park into that world in 2020, and it’s a great year to do so considering that water attractions seem to be the popular choice for parks this upcoming season.

 

I’d be surprised if we didn’t see some form of return of DC comics and Looney Toons in the near future. If I’m not mistaken, Six Flags Darien Lake is the only Six Flags branded park without those. Seems odd for them to want the brand recognition without the actual brands there. Right?

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You may be right, and I honestly wish nothing but the best for you amusement park deprived western NYers, just trying to keep people from getting their hopes up too much.

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"New" info about Fright Fest.

 

Looks like everything is returning with the addition of that Corridors of Chaos thing (signage already up on the theatre)

 

Not sure what the other "9 new attractions" are. I assume they're just talking about the remaining Fright Fest offerings - the houses, scare zones, two shows etc.

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10 new attractions is pretty solid. Looks like they're trying. I know they find it hard to staff these events. It's not like Wonderland where there are millions of people that like a few km from the park. Very impressed with a new light show and food options.

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Save the turtles! Go strawless!

 

It’s easier to clean these anyways, really shouldn’t be a huge deal. Plus it’s more convenient to drink it like a coffee cup anyways.

 

Now if only they’d implement a paper cup plan like cedar fair... then I’d be content.

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I guess spoons. Not sure how straws are worse then plastic-ware to the environment. Somebody will have to explain that. How many of those straws on the reusable cups were found littered around the park? I can definitely ssy i've found plastic-ware littered more often.

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^ in all honesty its probably just Six Flags penny pinching and likely has nothing to do with environmental anything.

 

If they wanted to be environmental they'd retire the plastic "reusable" cups and use compostable paper cups like other chains. Its easier, better for the environment and more convenient! (don't have to worry about someone stealing your compostable single use cup in the ride station or whatever)

 

I will probably die on this hill but so be it. Paper Cups > Souvenir Bottles

 

IN THE MEANTIME:

 

I'm one of those losers that got the new iPhone with the wide angle lens, so here's some photos for your viewing pleasure:

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Night Mode is great. I'm glad iOS finally has it.

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Kings Island is removing their Arrow looper. Makes you wonder if Viper's years could be numbered, although different chains have different priorities. My last two rides on Viper have been very smooth though, seems to be running very well this year.

 

https://www.visitkingsisland.com/blog/2019/september/kings-island-to-retire-vortex-after-33-seasons

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^ Vortex has been on the chopping block for years. Viper for as long as I can remember has been a much smoother experience with a much better reputation being one of Western New York’s classic roller coasters. It may be 37 years old but you wouldn’t necessarily believe it based on how it runs.

 

Kudos to Darien Lake for keeping an arrow looping coaster in such good shape over the years. Here’s to hoping for many more.

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