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Six Flags Themed Areas: Does anyone care?


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Seeing that this question does not have a "right or wrong" answer, I can personally say I don't care about theme areas, theming in general or theming on a coaster. I must say though that they do look amazing when they are done right but personally I don't put much attention to it because I just go to enjoy the rides. An easy example that comes to mind is Scream! for their lack of theming around the area and around the coaster but personally I don't care. It doesn't brother me that I can see the parking lines below the track and it's surrounded by a common steel fence. For me it doesn't add nor subtract from the actual track that the coaster rides on so I can enjoy for what it is, a coaster. I know some people can't enjoy a coaster without adequate theming or strolling through a park without some awesome themed areas but as for myself I really don't care for it. It's all a matter of personal choice and thankfully these type of questions bring out the spectrum of personal preferences that lets us know how different we can be with our tastes while still enjoying our common love; amusement parks, roller coasters, and rides!

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I love theming on a coaster. I always think it adds to the ride experience. Sometimes it's as simple as just the station or things on the ride. Whatever the case may be, I love theming. Six Flags as much as they want to fight it, is known for coasters. They should just stick with that. I don't mind them adding a few things for theming to the coaster. I will say that one of my favorite themed coasters was at a Six Flags park. It was Joker's Revenge at SFFT. I just loved the fun house you had to walk through before you got to the ride. The ride itself was not that fun. I wonder if the GP even notices the themed areas at a Six Flags.

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Good question. It wouldn't bug me in the least if all attempts at SF themes were dropped. I know it helps pay the bills. But, I don't follow comic books anymore. And unfortunately, I feel that it demeans the public's perspective of coasters and other rides. With many rides throughout the SF collection having the same name, the general public expects it to be the same ride. And since they aren't coaster freaks like us, it makes for difficult conversation. When I say to people "yeah, went to SF America, It was O.K. Superman wasn't bad" My non coaster friends ask if I got stuck on it or, did you do the drop of doom?

With rapid turnover in upper management. Original ideas and themes always take a different turn. Before SFMM became Six Flags, there were themes. The Great American Revolution became La Revelucion and Baja Ridge was started. Funny how a Mexican themed pavilion has a Panda express eatery. If you go up to Samari Summit. You used to have PIZZA!!! Drop or at least continue on previous themes.

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I might get made fun of for even bringing up AstroWorld, but once upon a time, they had some rides with pretty decent theming. Dungeon Drop was hella cool, walking through the castle with all the moving skeletons in the cages and creepy music and such. Was it Disney quality? Hell no. Did it make the whole experience more fun and exciting? I thought so for sure! Same with Mayan Mindbender. Was that ride anything special? Not really - it was a small Vekoma thing in the dark. But you walked through this jungle shrouded in mist, weaving in and out of ruins and crashed jeeps with the skeletons of explorers with eerie music playing all around you, then entered a big Mayan pyramid with giant cobras with glowing red eyes. It was really fun and pretty impressive for Six Flags. I also thought (as crappy as it was) that Batman: The Escape had excellent Batman theming, especially when the Batcave was still open. I loved how they had recordings playing throughout the queue that actually told a story about Gotham City Cold Storage being attacked by the Penguin and an escape vehicle being prepared by batman to launch you away to safety. It made a would-be lame ride seem a lot more exciting. The theming for these rides were simple, but pretty effective.

 

I would like to see Six Flags make more of an attempt at theming, and actually keep up with, rather than letting it all get plastered over with gum. Of course Six Flags will never be able to compete with the major national destination parks in terms of theming, but they can at least offer a cool atmosphere for the regional visitors who don't all have the luxury of planning trips to expensive far-away parks.

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And unfortunately, I feel that it demeans the public's perspective of coasters and other rides.

 

I'm trying to figure out what this even means.

 

Can you clarify?

 

Maybe it's because we are in CA and there aren't really any other close Six Flags parks with a "Batman" or "Superman" but I don't see any kind of confusion. All anybody has to really do is LOOK at a ride to see it's the same or different. Not sure how that's demeaning.

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I have always been impressed with Kennywood's Ghostwood Estate. They wanted to create a great ride, so they brought in someone from the outside (Halloween Productions Inc.) that had experience and knew what they were doing, instead of trying to throw something together themselves. In my opinion, that's the way to go if a park wishes to do more than just decorate a ride.

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^ While I agree 100% with Robb (please mark that on your calendars!) that SF should theme their rides, to a point, I'm sick to death of multiple kinds of coasters receiving the same name and logo.

 

When people find out that I'm a coaster nut, they'll invariably ask if I've been on [coaster that they've ridden] and it makes it confusing as hell sometimes, especially if they can't remember which park it was in. If they ask, "have you been on Boulder Dash?" I can easily answer that, but if they ask, "have you been on Viper?" I have no idea whether they mean the wooden family cyclone at SFGAm, the Arrow multi at SFMM, the shuttle loop at SFOG, the TOGO craptastic torture device at SFGAd, the Schwarzkopf looper at SFAW, or some other totally different contraption using the same name, same logo, etc. I understand that it saves SF money on t-shirt designs and souvenirs, but come ON. At least be consistent! Batman: The Ride is a good example. Been on one, you know what people are talking about.

 

The variations on Superman, though... Superman Ultimate Flight, Superman Krypton Coaster, Superman Ultimate Escape, Superman Ride of Steel, Superman Tower of Power, Superman (insert lame-ass name addition here) are one way to differentiate the different coaster types (yay!) but the long names have all the locals shortening them to just "Superman" anyway, and we're right back to the confusion. Bah.

 

Next up: Six Flags is bought out by Chick Fil-A and renames all the coasters "Holy Roller"

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I'll clarify... I live near Fresno. Most people in this city don't know Six Flags has other parks. Just think of the most STUPID city in America (that would be Fresno) and try to have a coaster conversation with the GP. Except for Bob Hoffman, No one has a clue in this city.

 

Try being in Houston, where the lack of a theme park in the past 7 yrs has created an upcoming generation of kids who know about coasters from the internet - and all of those videos have kinda merged together in their minds.

 

Someone will say, "ooo have you been on that coaster in Ohio?" and then when I ask, "which one? Ohio has a ton of coasters..." and they say, "I don't know, I saw it on TV. I think it was green, or maybe blue."

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I do like that they tried immersing guests in a few of their attractions, but my favorite themed Six Flags rides are Mr Freeze, Riddler's Revenge and now Lex Luthor. They really don't need to do much more than that. And I love Golden Kingdom at Great Adventure. More of that please!

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As a rider and amusement park flyer, I do believe that themeing inside an amusement park is very important since it help set up the scene and atmosphere in the area of the park your in. While some themes are great and well put out in some Six Flags parks, there are others that I feel are lacking. There are even some areas that I feel like they put a collection of rides in there and tell you to try to imagine how it'll fit that area. And there are others that would mix up the theme (such as put a ride named to a superhero in a western themed area.

 

Now I feel that shouldn't be done that way. An Old West area should have rides themed to the Old West, An Outer Space area should have rides themed to outer space, and so on. If the major parks abandoned their themes, then they would be just like the smaller parks, just a collection of rides without any different theme areas.

 

"There should be a "Sleeping" theme to the parks. The only ride you'll ever need is a bunch of beds and lots of white, fluffy pillows. Why doesn't Six Flags do that? I'm sure it'll be a big hit!"

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I'm not too keen on Six Flags themeing for the most part - not being a fan of DC probably doesn't help - but I appreciate their attempts to decorate individual rides. They've done a great job with rides like (off the top of my head) Buccaneer Battle at SF Great America, Houdini's Great Escape at SF New England, Scooby Doo Ghost Blasters at SF St. Louis and most of their log flumes/rapids rides. Those are the sort of rides where themeing can really add to the attraction, and if they can keep attractions in themed areas reasonably consistent I think people appreciate that as well.

 

What I don't expect from Six Flags are fully themed rides like Monster Mansion (but of course I'm glad it exists!). I just enjoy nicely landscaped Six Flags parks with lots of trees and individually themed attractions that don't seem 'plonked' on asphalt (Magic Mountain) or in a big grassy field (SF America).

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^^ To be fair, it's not "bad", and it's certainly better than Terminator, but it just kills me that you're forced to watch it, and when you get into the station, you see that they've been running empty cars around the circuit because you've been stuck watching this long pre-show. This is what I witnessed at both SFGAM and SFGADV on recent visits.

 

I don't know about SFGAdv, but at Great America you no longer watch the pre-show. Since ours doesn't have a queue in the pre-show room, they use the flash pass worker to pulse the line to make sure it never reaches the pre-show room. So now you just walk right through the pre-show playing on a small tv on the back wall. What they should do, is just play the pre-show in the main queue instead of the usual Six Flags tv. That way you'd still be able to see it and it would set up the story without hurting capacity.

 

As for themed areas at Six Flags, I do enjoy them even if the theming isn't too consistent. I've only been to SFGAm and SFSTl and both have decent theming. Great America of course has the advantage of being built as a fully themed park by Marriott, but what SFSTl has is still good even if it's a bit random in places. What I would really love to see is the return of theming like in the Time Warner era of Six Flags. Southwest Territory at Great America is a great example of this. The rides don't have complex story lines, but I much prefer walking through the cave queue of Giant Drop or looking at all the details in Vipers station over having to read 100 cartoon story boards or watch 10 minute pre-shows to try to understand some big story line for a ride that really doesn't need one.

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I certainly don't care. When SF actually tries, the results can be decent (Golden Kingdom), but they'll never get anywhere close to a Disney/Universal/Busch level, and most of the time, they don't bother putting any effort in. I doubt any of the GP even notice very much of the theming anyway. I would rather see SF use the money to either make even better coasters, or solve their other problems (food, operations, etc.). However, some level of theming on individual rides is still needed. Many parks well-loved by enthusiasts, including CP and Knoebels have no themed areas, and are still awesome.

 

Note: I'm not comparing Knoebels to any SF park, I'm just using it as an example.

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I've never been on it, but from POVs it looks like Monster Mansion at SFOG is pretty decent. I wouldn't mind seeing more rides like that at Six Flags parks.

Monster Mansion is really good, but it's an anomaly for a Six Flags park. There aren't too many "original IP" dark rides at Six Flags parks and I'm pretty sure there is a reason for this. As much as I agree the *thought* of more of these sounds nice, I think it's pretty safe to say we won't be seeing many new attractions like Monster Mansion popping up any time soon at a Six Flags park...

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While not a big factor for me but I do like themed areas if done well. I give Six Flags credit for retaining the themes at SFGAm, where they haven't totally destroyed what Marriott built (though I do have to say I would fire the person who thought it was a great idea to relocate the go-carts into Yukon Territory, the worst thing they've done since removing Sky Whirl and turning Theater Royale into an indoor queue for Dark Knight).

 

The inconsistency in theming doesn't bother me that much though that depends on the ride. Some rides that come to mind:

 

1. In the case of Dark Knight, if they would have designed the exterior to fit more with Orleans Place it might not look so out of place.

 

2. The former Tomb Raider/Crypt at Kings Island. Paramount did a nice job with the cave entrance and the indoor sections but they built a boring box to house the ride instead of making it look like an ancient temple/tomb. Plus it was in Rivertown, which is not exactly an exotic themed land in the first place.

 

3. Skyhawk at CP doesn't necessarily fit in with Frontiertown and I think that's due to the patriotic colors. It clashes with Mine Ride.

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I would say Gotham City (Batman, Superman, etc.) is the only theming I care about at Six Flags parks. I'm not huge in to the comics, but I enjoy the rides and their themes (for what they are). In some cases it makes the queue somewhat interesting. Looney Toons might be good for kids, but looks like it could be better. Themed rides such as mine trains are always nice as well, even though I usually don't ride them.

 

Now if Six Flags was to go over the top and build a park like Island of Adventure, I would be all for that...

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re: Gotham

 

I think the queue theming for Freeze and Batman are pretty well done at SFOT, but the rest of the area trying desperately to be Gotham-themed is just silly. There's some lame flat spinning thing and a bunch of carnival games. Seriously, did you ever see Whac-a-mole in any Batman movie or comic? WTF?

 

Anyway, YES please theme the queues, especially if it gives us something to look at while we wait in line.

 

And take the money you spent trying to theme the rest of the area and use it to theme the RIDE as well. The Freeze queue is pretty cool (sorry), but as soon as the ride launches out of the building, there's NOTHING to keep you in that mindset. Same for Batman.

 

 

And here's something off-topic (sorta) that just popped into my head: someone should enclose a Batman coasters zero-G roll in a tunnel. Take it from the base of the first loop to the entrance to the next loop. That would be a truly disorienting feeling in the dark!

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