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Why Does Everybody Hate on Six Flags?


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I don't hate Six Flags, but it is probably my least favorite of the major chains. I've been to SFMM, SFDK, SFStL, SFNE, SFGAdv, La Ronde, and Great Escape, mostly within the past couple years (SFDK is the only one it's been more than three years since my last visit), and I've found the following to be some of the major issues with the chain:

 

-Lack of variety: This is not an issue with all of their parks, but it is with many. Few of the parks offer a complete selection of attractions. For example, SFMM and SFGAdv have very little to do other than roller coasters, which I enjoy but don't want to spend all day riding. SFStL has a good selection of non-coaster rides, but none of their coasters are particularly great (American Thunder, Batman, and Mr. Freeze are good but not great and I found the rest to be underwhelming compared to others of their type). SFNE and SFDK are good examples of balanced Six Flags parks.

 

-Operational Inconsistencies: Most of the parks in the chain have significant operational issues, either due to slow employees in general or other things (such as running one train on coasters). I've experienced subpar operations at Great Escape, SFMM, SFDK, and especially La Ronde, with all parks exceeding two minute dispatch times on coasters. It also isn't consistent across the parks (for example, SFMM often dispatches trains on Goliath within 60 seconds and X2 before the countdown clock runs out, but Tatsu can take up to 4 minutes), and I've seem some oddities as well (at SFDK, Medusa's second train would stack behind the first before the loading gates have even opened except when Flash Pass users were riding, in which case the train would be dispatched with no stacking whatsoever). The only park in the Six Flags chain that I've seen great operations at was SFGAdv, and if they can run all their rides with maximum trains and minimal stacking why can't other parks with similar/identical rides do the same?

 

-Price Gouging: Six Flags parks often have the cheapest admission prices of any major parks, but everything else is a total ripoff. On my last visit to SFMM, we paid $17 for parking and $32 for lunch for two people. $17 for parking is higher than any other major park in Southern California, even ones with a parking garage, yet SFMM just has a standard lot that is in decent but not great shape. I've also heard they're on the low end as far as the chain is concerned. $32 for two people for lunch is just too much, and as I put on the SFMM survey I filled out after my last visit, "$32 for two people is just way too much to charge for a fast food quality meal."

 

-Platinum Flash Pass: I like the Flash Pass system as well as other skip the line systems provided they are fair. Allowing people to remain in their seats for two consecutive rides forces those behind them to wait longer and can throw off groups riding together and is definitely not fair to others. I'm not the only one, as I've heard other guests complain verbally to ride operators, especially when the double ride occurs in a high demand seat. I'd rather this pass be an instant access pass than a double ride pass.

 

-Advertisements: Six Flags puts way too many advertisements all over their parks. Billboards and signs? Those are fine. Commercials over the PA system? Okay. Painting the ground/stairs as a giant advertisement? I guess. Commercials in line for rides? We're getting over the top now. Wrapping ride vehicles so El Toro looks like a giant packet of gum rocketing over those airtime hills? Now you've gone too far.

 

-General Niceness: Not all of the parks are like this, but I've noticed that in general Six Flags parks seem to be more trashy and ill-maintained than other major parks. If I walk into a park in the morning and see trash on the ground, it's not going to leave a very good impression. When the paint is peeling on buildings, lights are out, weeds grow through cracks in pathways, and signs are faded, you also have to wonder if the park cuts corners on more essential maintenance as well.

 

Now, I am not a Six Flags hater and I still visit the parks regularly (I get a pass to SFMM every other year and visit it several times per season), the parks have major issues that render them the worst major parks in the industry. If I'm looking for a coaster fix, Six Flags is the place to go, but otherwise I generally enjoy visiting other parks more.

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Kings Island has them for Flight or Fear and Firehawk, and Cedar Point has them for TTD and Millennium Force. Difference? No one b****es about the CF parks AND their fluffy, fluffy bunnies filled with medicine and goo are a minimum of $2, not $1 like Six Flags.

 

You do realize that's because on all but Firehawk that the loading and exit platforms are in different locations? And I believe that there were either bins on Firehawk or they let guests put stuff up against the wall.

The locker debate will stop RIGHT NOW!!!

 

I refuse to re-hash such a stupid, pointless debate. I'll end it for you right now.

 

If you don't like paying to pay $1 for a locker....

 

- Don't bring your crap to the park. Or...

- Don't be a whiny cheap little bitch and just pay a lousy freaking DOLLAR!!!

 

DONE! Debate over.

 

Anyone who responds about the lockers will be banned from TPR for a month.

 

--Robb "Just trying to improve the posting quality of our forums!" Alvey

Edited by robbalvey
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If the one Six Flags park you've been to is Six Flags Great Adventure then I can understand why you would be confused by everyone's opinion. SFGAd is a great park and has really improved over the last 15 years. Like you compared it to Cedar Point, I agree with you, I think SFGAd has better rides and is a better family experience (KT loves SFGAd!).

 

BUT...

 

As everyone else has pointed out, you need to get out to some of the other Six Flags parks, and some other parks in the country so you can form a more accurate opinion and understand what we are saying.

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I like Six Flags. I think while sometimes the things wrong with the parks are a bit exaggerated, sometimes there are some really annoying problems. My biggest problems with Six Flags are:

 

1. Operations: Out of the three Six Flags I've been to, the operations are very inconsistent. At SFNE, most of the coasters had 4 attendants checking and were barely stacking at all. Even Batman, which is pretty short. That being said, ME and Thunderbolt (which only has 1) were only running one train, but the lines still moved pretty fast. At my home park of SFGAdv, operations are very mixed. The rides all run at full capacity but with only 2 attendants checking. Some days on Nitro the next train is ready to be dispatched when the previous one clears the lift, but other days it's double stacking every time. El Toro and Green Lantern are the same way. I have seen five minute dispatches on Green Lantern, but then when the crew rotates they send trains out every minute. Moving on, SFA had pathetic ride ops with one train on everything. The worst by far was Batwing, which was taking 8-15 minutes to cycle. (I waited 45 minutes and only three trains went by.)...The best I have seen is Lagoon. They had one attendant checking Roller Coaster but still were sending the trains out about 40 seconds after they stopped! If they can do it, Six Flags can too!

 

2. Employees: Some employees just don't care. One of the flash pass workers was telling me about how he sleeps on the handrails on slow days. But then,there are bright employees. The 3 girls running Thunderbolt were awesome, (and so were most of the employees at SFNE). They worked their butts off all night, especially since they had to manually unlock each car.

 

3. Theming: All three of the Six Flags seemed really nice when you enter. SFA's just ends when you go past main street though. Batwing and Gotham City were just sad. At Great Adventure, one once mighty fort looks beat up. The queue lines for RMT and the skyride have broken handrails and weeds growing through the cracks in the sidewalk. I really liked SFNE though, it had a nice atmosphere all the way around. They made Goliath look great.

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I don't hate Six Flags at all. I generally always have a great time at their parks, however they are one of the worse run major chains. For example, I really enjoy Magic Mountain, however when I'm there I can really only focus on the coasters. They lack in a lot of other things.

I don't hate them though. I just don't expect much out of them.

 

But lets look at a park like Europa Park, easily one of the best parks in the world and my personal #1. The only thing they lack is a "stand out" flat ride. However, they have the best of everyting else so it makes up for it.

 

Six Flags is like a student that gets an "A" in one class (Roller Coasters), but fails everything else.

While parks like Europa, pretty much every Disney park except DLP, Busch Gardens, and Universal gets from B+'s to A+'s in everything.

 

-- James

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People who go to Kings Island will know what hes talking about . Ive never been to a six flags park so i dont know anything about accpet they add stuff to parks like the have endless pockets..

The dippin dots guy always lies to me
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Just to point out on the "all they care about is coasters" argument: They are building a grand total of four coasters next year, and two of those are relocated ones. Four other parks are getting flat/water rides, two parks major show updates, SFGADv is redoing the Safari tour,and five waterparks are getting new additions. While they did basically only build coasters at one time (in 1999 they built a total of 18 coasters between their 18 US parks and 14 in 2000), they have turned it around recently. Yes, you can argue that SFMM has gone back to only "Xtreme Rides" like the early 2000s, but they did try to go the family route. It's didn't work and they smartly chose to go back to what does work for them. Can't hate on them for that.

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If the one Six Flags park you've been to is Six Flags Great Adventure then I can understand why you would be confused by everyone's opinion. SFGAd is a great park and has really improved over the last 15 years. Like you compared it to Cedar Point, I agree with you, I think SFGAd has better rides and is a better family experience (KT loves SFGAd!).

 

BUT...

 

As everyone else has pointed out, you need to get out to some of the other Six Flags parks, and some other parks in the country so you can form a more accurate opinion and understand what we are saying.

 

Well Great Adventure is the only Six Flags park I've been to in the past 5 years but I went to Over Georgia and the Great Escape 8-9 years ago. Those were both before I really got into roller coasters though but I had a fun time regardless.

 

Maybe Great Adventure is simply the best Six Flags park. I've been to Universal Orlando, Cedar Point and Hersheypark plus Morey's Piers in the past 5 years and for me at least, it's a tough debate as to which one was my favorite so I didn't really get all the hate. This may be something minor but I got mad that Cedar Point doesn't let you stay in the seats when nobody is in line for your row but Great Adventure does. Plus for cleanliness, I threw up once or twice at Great Adventure and they had it cleaned up in under 10 minutes both times and I never see any garbage on the ground. So yea maybe I just have to branch out to Six Flags America, Fiesta Texas, Magic Mountain or St. Louis. Also I think I'm 1 of those people that doesn't really care about theming of roller coasters or the ads. Six Flags is not NEARLY as bad as the Florida parks because every ride in the Florida parks ends in a gift shop. That to me got annoying and I can accept the ads in Great Adventure maybe because I'm use to them and get a flash pass a lot so I don't see them as often. One more thing, I don't think any amusement park brand has a better value for a season pass than Six Flags. It's really cheap compared to the other big brands and the standard price gets you into ALL OF THEIR PARKS! But yea I think more than anything else I'm trying to defend Great Adventure in particular because I love that park and it's my home park.

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Just to point out on the "all they care about is coasters" argument: They are building a grand total of four coasters next year, and two of those are relocated ones. Four other parks are getting flat/water rides, two parks major show updates, SFGADv is redoing the Safari tour,and five waterparks are getting new additions. While they did basically only build coasters at one time (in 1999 they built a total of 18 coasters between their 18 US parks and 14 in 2000), they have turned it around recently. Yes, you can argue that SFMM has gone back to only "Xtreme Rides" like the early 2000s, but they did try to go the family route. It's didn't work and they smartly chose to go back to what does work for them. Can't hate on them for that.

 

Well I think it's smart considering they got 3 major family parks in their backyard and 2 of them have very few coasters so its probably smart to attract a different crowd for a cheaper price.

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I absolutely agree people hate on Six Flags. At Six Flags Over Georgia (my home park), we don't really have the best clientele. This is probably due to the area it is located in, Austell isn't the nicest place in the ATL. With the poor clientele, comes the overflowing of trash cans, gum EVERYWHERE, and sticky everything due to spilled sodas-these people just don't care. When the company went bankrupt a few years back, that probably didn't do any good to help their image to the public. I would feel comfortable saying definitively that it is not the quality of the rides, so I am going to go ahead and rule that out right a way. A huge reason people dislike Six Flags is the price of everything inside the park. Sure, the admission is slightly higher ($5-6) than Cedar Fair parks, but the price for food is pretty high. It's like $5 for a bag of cotton candy. But the biggest money-sucker is the parking. It's $30 to take up 50 square feet in your 50 acre parking lot, are you kidding me? At Carowinds, parking is free with a season pass, now that's a good deal (there only has to be one season pass holder per vehicle). When we go out to our Six Flags (Over Georgia), we always park a little bit up the road at this one hotel, and it's only $5. Sure it's not the best part of town, and Six Flags has the guy who sits up in the little tower and looks out over all the cars, but there are police all around all the time, because people swarm to the park on the weekends, and that's when we usually go.

When I was growing up, we didn't get out to the park much, so my memories of Six Flags were of the old guy they had as their mascot. I bring this up because this is one of the key differences between Cedar Fair and Six Flags. The old guy, Mr. Six I think his name is, was just trash. Cedar Fair is more professional in that they don't have weird mascots running around the park. Would you rather go to a park with an old guy running around, or Snoopy and Woodstock? That's my 2 cents. Don't take it to the bank because that's MY 2 cents.

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^^ There's a reason why I go to SFOG once a year...

 

Now that I think about it, the park isn't the worst out there. At least the park keeps history alive with Mind Bender, Log Jamboree, the carousel, Monster Mansion, and GASM. Also, you can't really hate the park for having lots of shade (even with the hills the park has). The clientele isn't that bad in the summer,and when I go in mid-late June, the employees are pretty friendly, and everyone seems to want to be there.

 

Considering that I've never been to any other Six Flags parks outside of Georgia, my opinion probably doesn't have that much weight compared to those who have been to tons of other parks and have lots more experiences than I do.

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When did it hit $30? I paid $16 last year. I have a hard time seeing that they raised it $14 in less than a year.

 

Six Flags is also including parking in all Gold Season passes this year. Single gold passes are $89.99 compared to Carowinds $87 (also includes parking).

 

*Edit*- just checked SFOG's website:

One-Day Parking $20.00

Preferred Parking $25.00

Valet Parking $35.00

 

Season Parking $55.00

Valid at Six Flags Over Georgia only.

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Honestly, I feel like a lot of people "hate" SF because everyone else does. Everyone acts like SF is a shitty chain when it's not that bad of a chain. I love SF parks, yes, they need to make many improvements on the way but they are not a bad chain at all. I've seen those same lockers at KI certain rides yet, nobody is up their ass about it. Nobody realizes, if Six Flags didn't exist, some of the amazing coasters we know wouldn't exist. I really loved the operations at Six Flags Great America, and a lot of the stuff SF does is the same stuff CF does, but people just like to hate on Six Flags. It's exactly like people hating on famous people like Justin Beiber & Michael Jackson for no reason.

 

 

The things SF needs to improve on:

 

- If the park is really crowded, please use more than one train

- re-paint the coasters at SFFT & SFA ( Batwing needs a paint job more than any other ride.)

- Add other rides to the parks already have a bunch of huge roller coasters, and add new roller coasters at parks that actually need them.

- Stop leaving stations behind upon coaster removals. Two-Face was removed 4 years ago, and the half-demolished station is still rotting over there.

- Add more themeing to the coasters. Apocalypse was great, keep up the good work!

- Don't fill former ride holes with smoking areas

 

Six Flags is a really great chain overall IMO, and they offer free admission to all their parks with a season pass. Think of it this way, if you have any SF park pass, you get in for free at all the amazing parks : SFMM, SFGAdv., SFGAm., and SFOT. I think they deserve much more credit than they are currently receiving. They have been entertaining many families for a long time, and have been making such a big effort to entertain people all over the country.

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The only Six Flags park I have been to is Great Adventure and I generally have good visits to the park. Other than Rolling Thunder and Bizarro with slow dispatches (Green Lantern too but I blame that on the park visitors who still insist on sitting on the bicycle seats even after an announcement is made when every train is loaded to stand up), operations are usually very good. In the late 90's and early 2000's I had some really bad trips to the park so much that I stayed away until 2007 when I had such a great time I decided to get a season pass for 2008. Based on this thread and just reading coaster/park sites for years I realize that not all the parks are as good though. I have passed the SFA area couple of times since becoming an enthusiast but after reading how bad the park is and the bad operations, I haven't been able to convince myself to stop even for a credit run (especially since I am on the only SF passholder in my family and none of my friends have passes either).

 

The value is amazing as some others have already mentioned which helps me overlook the few things I don't like about the park. With the season dining pass this year for around $200 I am getting unlimited visits to the theme park and Hurricane Harbor, parking all season and 2 meals a day every time I go to the park.

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I wouldn't call Six Flags as a whole bad but certain parks (SFMM, SFA, La Ronde) are bad. Personally while SFGADV, SFNE, and The Great Escape are no Disney or Europa Park they are still very nice and have nice features about them. This being said though I think Six Flags can improve on some things (better food and less annoying ads) and hopefully they will in the future.

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I wouldn't call Six Flags as a whole bad but certain parks (SFMM, SFA, La Ronde) are bad. Personally while SFGADV, SFNE, and The Great Escape are no Disney or Europa Park they are still very nice and have nice features about them.

It's this inconsistency throughout the chain which myself, and many other people find VERY frustrating. And also, since corporate management seems to change about once every five years or so, the directive from the top is always shifting gears. That trickles down to even the front line staff, and it's so confusing when one day you're company is focusing on "family friendly" attractions, to the next day getting big thrill rides, to the next day saving money and not building anything, to building three coasters in one year.

 

When the people at the top don't seem to have a focus, how can you expect your lower level managers or front line employees to have one either?

Edited by robbalvey
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When the people at the top don't seem to have a focus, how can you expect your lower level managers or front line employees to have one either?

 

Great point. Now that they have the bankruptcy behind them, hopefully they can keep the executive team as in tact as possible for a while so they can actually have that focus.

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The biggest problem I have with Six Flags (GRAm in particular) currently is that they aren't staffed high enough or the staff members aren't being used well (for the guests.) For example, lines for flat rides at Great America take twice as long as they should since most of them have one or the rarest occasion two ride ops yet you can guarantee that every single game will be staffed and that there'll be ten workers trying to get you to enter a contest or a book a hotel room. Other problems include defunct rides or buildings being left to rot, I know a few parks have stunt show arenas sitting unused, hours being cut and of course the insane parking prices. I know the new focus is to put something new in every park every year, but I think a year just spent on improving the parks and getting more staff would help the parks greatly.

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Simply put, they're the Wal Mart of theme parks: you'll have some enjoyable experiences at the better parks when things go well (I really can't say anything bad about the Texas parks, SFoG, or SFGAm), but you'll have a lot more bad experiences because it's all about the bottom line and keeping costs as low as possible. That means poor operations, bad staff that works for minimum wage, management that doesn't care, and so on...

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The thing with Six Flags to me, is I feel like the parks can do so much more. They all have the potential to be amazing parks. Like it was mention in previous posts, the parks need to focus on what they do best. I will say, that I like the direction Six Flags has been going lately.

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