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Six Flags Themed Areas: Does anyone care?


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Time Warner Six Flags theming was pretty good. Joker's Revenge, Road Runner Express and Bugs White Water Rapids were pretty nice at SFFT when they opened in 1996, 1997, and 1998. After Premier took over, it turned to crap. All of those animatronics have died and Six Flags doesn't really seem to care to fix them now. It's starting to come back a little with newer attractions but I will say if you're not going to go all the way and do it like Disney, don't do it at all.

 

Worst and stupidest theming decision they did at SFFT was "Goliath". All they had to do....if they were wanting to reuse another ride name from another park was to use something close to the Los Festivales theme which would have EASILY been "El Toro". Something that simple was screwed up by Six Flags upper management so they obviously don't care about theming or the fact that their attempts to theme don't make sense.

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Yeah, that's bad, but it's no worse than putting Titan, which is a name from Greek Mythology, in the Texas section of SFOT next to the Texas Giant... and painting a big Texas flag on the roof of the station isn't enough to make it fit there.

 

Very true. We can all thank Premier for that one which is when it all went to crap. Poltergeist is another horrible example. The only thing themed on the damn ride is the ride entrance. The queue house is just made to look old an dilapidated house but there is absolutely no imagination that went into that ride whatsoever. They would have been better off calling it "Launch coaster:The Ride".

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^^

Time Warner Six Flags theming was pretty good. Joker's Revenge, Road Runner Express and Bugs White Water Rapids were pretty nice at SFFT when they opened in 1996, 1997, and 1998.

No, it wasn't.

 

The rides were well-themed, yes... but WTF does Bugs Bunny and the Black Knight have to do with the German heritage in that part of the state... which is the part of the park (Spaßburg) it sits in.

And Road Runner/Wile E. Coyote theming was cute, but it sits in Crackaxle Canyon, the Old West section!

 

Don't even get me started on Superman invading the other end of Spaßburg or Poltergeist sitting on the edge of Rockville.

 

Premier didn't do the park any favors on theming, true dat, but Warner was the one who started the character tie-ins that had nothing to do with the original charm and theme of the park.

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^^

Time Warner Six Flags theming was pretty good. Joker's Revenge, Road Runner Express and Bugs White Water Rapids were pretty nice at SFFT when they opened in 1996, 1997, and 1998.

No, it wasn't.

 

The rides were well-themed, yes... but WTF does Bugs Bunny and the Black Knight have to do with the German heritage in that part of the state... which is the part of the park (Spaßburg) it sits in.

And Road Runner/Wile E. Coyote theming was cute, but it sits in Crackaxle Canyon, the Old West section!

 

Don't even get me started on Superman invading the other end of Spaßburg or Poltergeist sitting on the edge of Rockville.

 

Premier didn't do the park any favors on theming, true dat, but Warner was the one who started the character tie-ins that had nothing to do with the original charm and theme of the park.

 

I was saying they were well themed rides.....I didn't say that they were a perfect fit for the themed sections that they're in. I guess we're talking about 2 different things here. In anycase.....Six Flags isn't the best at theming. Mid 1998 is when Premier took over so blame that management team for Poltergeist and Superman.

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I really dont agree with comparing SF to Disney, SDC, or DW. They're deisnged and priced for different economics. It would be like comparing Carnival cruises to Royal Caribbean, they are targeting different clientel. Or like Spirit Air to Emirates. So Six Flags isnt going to be as concerned with the high detail or cohesive theme, its all about packing in as many people as possible, at a low ticket price, then gouging them with everything else. Where as the other parks have higher ticket prices, higher park quality, and cheaper extras (food, parking, etc).

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I don't really pay attention to the "themed" areas because I don't necessarily ever go to a Six Flags park for the theming. I go for the high intensity thrills. Besides, Six Flags just has a history of naming a ride, placing it where it fits within the land they own, adding some decorations that fit the name, and calling it a day.

 

Rarely/if ever will you find the GP b*tching that S:EFK doesn't blend with the japanese atmosphere on Samurai Summit, why the "ancient greek temple" of Goliath sits in the middle of Colossus County Fair, or what X2 has anything to do with Baja Ridge. I mean hell, they didn't even try and Scream! seems fits the county fair "theme" by sitting on a vacant parking lot. Regardless of their inconsistency with the surrounding areas though, all those rides serve their purpose of thrilling its guests so to me thats fine.

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I really dont agree with comparing SF to Disney, SDC, or DW. They're deisnged and priced for different economics. It would be like comparing Carnival cruises to Royal Caribbean, they are targeting different clientel. Or like Spirit Air to Emirates. So Six Flags isnt going to be as concerned with the high detail or cohesive theme, its all about packing in as many people as possible, at a low ticket price, then gouging them with everything else. Where as the other parks have higher ticket prices, higher park quality, and cheaper extras (food, parking, etc).

 

Uhmm I just spent $91 for 1 day at California Adventure. Lunch cost me $15 as well as dinner cost around the same. Churros and drinks through the day weren't cheap either. Where do the "cheaper extras" you're talking about come in???

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Rides/attractions are usually somewhat enhanced with theming. Maybe its just me, but I prefer rides that have theming and props scattered about over rides that are just plopped down with no thought put into them other than "oh let's just plop a coaster down to draw a few more people to our park".

 

its all about packing in as many people as possible, at a low ticket price, then gouging them with everything else. Where as the other parks have higher ticket prices, higher park quality, and cheaper extras (food, parking, etc).

 

Isn't that what all theme parks are pretty much about? I don't recall SF passes being the cheapest option out there, nor do I recall other parks having cheaper extras. BGW charges about the same price as SF for lockers and around $10-$12 for parking. Yes BGW has better theming and better atmosphere, but I doubt the "extras" are that much cheaper than say your typical SF/CF park.

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What I really just don't get is WHY they are so lazy about theming. If you already have a well themed western area, and you're putting a new multi-million dollar roller coaster in said area, is it SO hard to name it something western-sh, rather than "Medusa" or "Goliath" or "Boomerang"? How much can it possibly cost to trademark a new name and logo? Or hell, if they really want to reuse names and logos, they could pick one of their already-westernish names like Rattler or Raging Bull. Would it cost anything more for them to paint a coaster in the western section a rusty orange or yellow or something that fits, rather than bright purple or lime green? And I KNOW it can't be that expensive to plop down a few chuck wagons and decorate the place so it fits in with its surroundings. I just don't get it.

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I totally agree. Six Flags just doesn't get it. Goliath at SFFT could have easily been El Toro to match up with Los Festivales. Why SF thought Goliath was a better fit considering it's not the biggest coaster in the park is beyond me. I will say however the theming doesn't sway my decision on whether or not to visit the park. I just go for the coasters.

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Six Flags in my opinion is one of the worst companies based on their descisions and such. In all honesty, i wanted to see them go into Chapter 7 bankrupcy (liquidation), so the parks could be seperated, and hopefully fixed. But from a financial stand point, SF is doing what they are supposed to, aka please their share holders. So as long as that keeps going, expect SF to stay the same.

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Yes, we can all give examples of SF theme fail.

 

My question is, if SF were to abandon area theming altogether and just theme the rides individually, would it reduce your enjoyment of the park, or do the themed areas really matter?

 

No, themed areas don't matter to me at all. Neither do individually themed rides. But I don't want a permanent park to look like a State Fair midway or parking lot carnival either. Some shrubs, flowers and general decent landscaping is quite sufficient.

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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.

 

If it was just something that was being presented to you while you wait in line, that's totally fine (which is how I think Terminator is now), but even just a couple of weeks ago at Great Adventure, we were still forced to watch the Dark Knight pre-show (which I've now seen too many times) and I could have been riding instead of watching it, because the station was empty.

 

Theming should never....EVER get in the way of operations or ride capacity...EVER!!!

 

--Robb

 

I agree and don't like having to watch The Dark Knight pre-show every time I go to the coaster. It turns what would be a walk on some days into a close to 15 minute wait by the time you wait for the pre-show doors to open, and then to have everyone walk in the room and watch the movie and walk into the station. On a season pass night a few years ago, the worker at the pre-show room said he was going to wait for more people to show up before starting the movie. I got out of line.

 

I like the ride but I rarely ride it more than once a trip because it isn't worth the time for me to stand around waiting for and watching the pre-show unless I can get a re-ride if no one is waiting in the station and even that isn't always allowed (a few times I have been told I am not allowed to re-ride even with no one waiting).

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Six Flags Themed Areas: Does anyone care?

 

Not at all. I enjoy things along the lines of the chains' Batman theming, which is pretty much identical from one park to another, but it's by no means a necessity.

 

That said:

 

-The last time I sat down for a show at a park was when the Batman Stunt Show was still around at SFGAm (read: I don't care about shows, parades, musicals, concerts etc. at parks). Similar sentiments about Halloween events. The thing I love about Halloween events is the weather. Nothing beats 55-60 degrees and sunny with the faintest hint of a chill in the air. Haunted Houses and Scareactors entirely optional.

-I don't need complete strangers to smile at me crazily as if this was the best day of their life and it's all because I decided to visit the park that day. Most of them are making minimum wage, working long hours in the sun dealing with the typically classy patrons parks usually get and would probably rather be anywhere but there. What the hell is a Six Flags day anyway?

-I don't care if rides have pre-recorded spiels in the stations- 10 times out of 10 I prefer that to a high school kid that wants to grow up to be a comedian and uses the captive audience in a ride's station as practice.

 

So as you can see, my requirements probably differ from most people's. I'd imagine theming expectations are similar. The one thing I do care about- because there's really no way to avoid it- is what music is blaring into my ears the entire day and how many commercials are sprinkled in.

 

There's no doubt in my mind that if any of the aforementioned details aren't perfect for some people, their day would be ruined- and that to me is comical.

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At thrill parks (Six Flags/Cedar Fair) theming isn't really important to me. The more intense the ride is, the less attention I'm going to pay to other things while riding, and while a nicely decorated queue line is better than a generic cattle pen it's not going to make any difference whether I ride or not. At a park like Disneyland where the focus is on heavily themed attractions and areas, it is necessary, but for most thrill parks it's more whether the park looks nice or not than whether it is heavily themed. There is a difference between landscaping and theming, and every park needs good landscaping but not necessarily good themeing.

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I don't necessarily care about themed areas, but either do it or don't. The half-assing is the problem, as many have pointed out.

 

Marriott's Great America, both IL and CA, are great examples. In both cases, neither of the companies who eventually took over the parks really paid much attention to STICKING to the themed areas that were WELL established. While I'm not as familiar with the CA version, I can say that very little attention has been paid to theming NEW additions to the EXISTING theme of the area where they were placed in IL.

 

You have instances like Ragin Cajun & Jester's Wild Ride, but more often you have things like Shockwave/Superman in Orleans/Mardi Gras area....or Vertical Velocity and Batman (where TIDAL WAVE once stood) in Yankee Harbor.

 

It's a shame that they can't at least maintain the theme of parks that they've acquired is my big beef - no doubt that plopping down "Goliath" in the front of Fiesta Texas is one of the worst violations.

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I'd be happy if Six Flags and Cedar Fair theme their coasters to "B&M Inverted Ride Number 14" or "Intamin Airtime Machine Number 3," if the rides are good.

 

My favorite theme at a Six Flags park is the polyurethane Giant Sequoia tree at SF Magic Mountain. Granted, it looks a bit neglected, and you can see it's peeling. Sequoia trees can grow taller than Goliath (SFMM) and the tallest California Coast Redwood is almost as tall as the Superman tower. It does look a bit out of place and I wonder how many guests realize that Sequoias really can grow that wide. My guess is the foam tree predates Six Flags's acquisition of the park.

 

Batman: The Ride is a great coaster, I've been on three of them (Chicago, Georgia, MM). The best part of its "theming" was the water under the final corkscrew for the Chicago version, it added something nice to the ride, especially as their plantings around that section have matured. I'm glad I've never been on any of the Batmen on a very hot day, the enclosed queue line looks like it would be unpleasant at high temperatures. I prefer coaster stations that are open and not stuffy. It's also nice to be able to watch the coaster while waiting your turn.

 

I never read "DC" comics and don't watch superhero films. My vote would be for the DC theming to go the way of Thomas the Tank Engine intellectual property rights. I'd much rather see the money for comic books go to fixing the numerous problems with their parks. Most people come for the rides, not the cardboard cutouts of comic book characters.

 

I like the queue line for Goliath (MM), the planting has grown up enough to provide some atmosphere (and shading). A jungle theme, perhaps. Not to beat a dead horse but some vegetative planting is overdue for their other parking lot coasters, Scream is the most obvious candidate. Planting trees is probably cheaper than intellectual property contracts with movie studios.

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In any park, I think theming makes a huge difference. So, Yes, I do care about theming at SF parks.

 

My home park is SFA, and while the theming isn't great, I do appreciate what they have going on. The First 1/3 of Gotham City looks pretty good with the Police Building, Games Stations, and Batmobile. But the last 2/3rds are BARE.

 

 

Also, the theming on Apocalypse is very well done. When you walk through the queue, you really do feel like you are in a deserted wasteland and when they have the Tactical Soldiers running around, it enhances the experience greatly.

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Six Flags was really good on theming while Time Warner owned the parks (Surprised, I didn't think so), But I think in 1995, when CEO Bob Pittman came in, He destroyed all that logical theming (Mr. Freeze in Spain, Superman in Samurai Summit, and Probably others) and then it got really watered down during the Premier Era where they just added DC Comics anywhere.

 

 

I mildly care about theming for rides and stuff. If nothing else, Make them work in the themed areas, Or keep them in one area.

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