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Why Does Everybody Hate on Six Flags?


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For me, it's a combination of growing up going to SFGAdv and watching it slowly decline in every possible area except for coaster quality/quantity. The service, pricing, food, non-coaster rides, arcades, scenery, parking situation....everything is worse now than it was 10, 15, 20 years ago.

 

Working there for 6 years didn't help.

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For me, it's a combination of growing up going to SFGAdv and watching it slowly decline in every possible area except for coaster quality/quantity. The service, pricing, food, non-coaster rides, arcades, scenery, parking situation....everything is worse now than it was 10, 15, 20 years ago.

 

Working there for 6 years didn't help.

 

I can only speak for the last 15 years or so but I think the park has dramatically improved in that time. If you don't mind, I think I'll break this down a little bit.

 

Parking

Prices go up over time, but it was expensive even 10-15 years ago and it still is. This doesn't bother me at all.

 

Service

I don't think this is any worse now than it was 10-15 years ago. It's always been mediocre. Not terrible, not great.

 

Food

See Above

 

Non-Coaster Rides

I agree with you on this, but it's not as bad as it looks. Let's think about the park in the year 2000. They had a lot of flat rides, but on most days they were all closed.

 

We used to go to the park about 3-4 times each year around 2000 and 2001 and I never saw the following rides operate...

Time Warp

Spinnaker

Evolution

 

And almost never saw these rides operate

El Sombrero

Rotor

Jumpin Jack Flash

Chaos

Looping Starship

Movietown Water Effect

Rotor

 

The following rides were removed but have been replaced with a newer version of the same ride.

Centrifuge G Force (Replaced with Deja Vu)

Autobahn (Replaced with Fender Bender)

 

So the non-coaster rides that were remove since 2000 that operated on a semi-regular basis and weren't replaced are

Pendulum

Pirates Flight

The Right Stuff / Dino Island

Rodeo Stampede (I admit that I really miss this ride)

Hydro Flume

Freefall

Flying Wave

Enterprise

Music Express

 

But in that time they have added

Tango

Skyscreamer

Safari Off Road Adventure

 

So we're down six flat rides. It's not good, but the park has been putting more of these in lately so I think they're headed in the right direction now, and there are two rides in particular (which I'll mention in a minute) that never operated during the "war on lines" but always operate now.

 

Operations

These have improved dramatically, to the point where it doesn't even seem like it's the same park anymore. When you went to the park 10 years ago, more than half of the flat rides would be closed. The park almost always runs every train on their coasters (they always have), and usually all of the flat rides are open including the Parachutes and Skyride which were always closed 10 years ago. It's not exactly Disney, but operations have improved dramatically and are the best I've seen at a Six Flags Park. I don't think the employees themselves were ever that bad, I just think the park used to be understaffed and now that problem is being corrected.

 

Scenery

If you want to talk about 30 years ago... be my guest, But in the last 15 years the theming has improved by leaps and bounds.

 

The Boardwalk was completely revamped in the early 2000's and it looks much better than it used to with the plain white and blue buildings. They've added Golden Kingdom and Plaza Del Carnival which (for Six Flags) are very well themed areas. They replaced Bugs Bunny Land and Hernados Hideaway which were hideous (even by Six Flags Standards). We lost Old Country but this area wasn't well themed anyway, and we lost Super Teepee and the Wagon but neither of those things are really the end of the world . I'm not really sure how you can say the park hasn't improved in the theming department. I'm not saying it's good... but it's much better than it was.

 

Coasters

You brushed this off but that's totally unfair.

 

In the last 15 years, the park has removed...

Chiller: An unreliable launch coaster that was halfway decent but always had huge lines on the rare days when it was open.

Great American Scream Machine: An icon, but it was a rough coaster that was unpopular with most people.

Viper: One of the worst American coasters in recent history.

 

And added...

Medusa: a 7 looping floorless coaster that's still very popular

Superman Ultimate Flight: a decent flying coaster that the GP eats up

Green Lantern: A piece of crap ride that the GP loves for some reason

Dark Knight Coaster: A fun family coaster

Nitro: one of the best B&M hypers anywhere and possibly the most popular coaster in the park

Kingda Ka: The tallest coaster in the world

El Toro: Voted #1 coaster in the world in the Mitch Hawker Poll (based on the fact that favorite wood coaster was #1 on the steel poll and the #1 wood coaster was El Toro by a landlslide).

 

So they made a decent coaster collection into one of the best in the world in less than 15 years and they now have the tallest coaster in the world, fastest coaster in North America and the #1 coaster in the world.

 

I'm not saying this park is perfect, but I don't think it's fair to say that this park has gotten worse over time. I think the growth this park has shown is amazing.

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Yup agreed it is a great coaster park and they have indeed improved there over time.

Well, new coasters will always happen but yeah they did remove the Great American Torture Machine, Viper which just sucked and was open 1/3 of the time, and the Chiller which was indeed fun but had the shortest...long waits ever. Can't say I miss any of em.

As for food, parking, all that...it's a park. I expect it to be expensive and understand this.

 

It's all the flats they removed, how the general state of the park fell into half assery and feeling dirty, having NO greenery at all for much of it, and they were always understaffed. They might as well removed all those flats because half were never open.

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And oddly, most of the flat rides that they took out that they didn't relocate are sitting out in a boneyard if they haven't been scrapped yet.

 

SFGrAd was almost part of a trip I'm planning this summer out east, but then I started to realize that it maybe isn't worth it yet. Decided to do Hershey instead as it's not out of the way driving and the atmosphere is much better.

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And I do think it impacts lines because, well there's only like 10 options people can go to. I refuse to ever go to Great Adventure outside of early/late season (and try to pick a dreary day to scare crowds off )

 

Other thing is...El Toro, Nitro, Batman the Ride, Bizarro, Kingda Ka all awesome but:

Green Lantern, decent and plenty hate standings

Skull Mountain, fun but family ride

Rolling Thunder, OK but certainly not anything really good

Runaway Train, same as above

Superman, ok but sooo mild and the lines are massive. And plenty hate the superman flyers

Dark Knight, a mild wild mouse? Sucks

 

 

Is the park THAT great for coasters? For us NJ natives ok, but if you come from far it's pretty much to ride like 3 or 4 coasters?

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For me, it's a combination of growing up going to SFGAdv and watching it slowly decline in every possible area except for coaster quality/quantity. The service, pricing, food, non-coaster rides, arcades, scenery, parking situation....everything is worse now than it was 10, 15, 20 years ago.

 

Working there for 6 years didn't help.

 

In my twenty years of visiting the park at least once per year I do not fully agree with your assessment.

Regarding non-coasters and Arcades I do agree.

Scenery has been sacrificed in some areas in favor of coasters, but the lakefront, Golden Kingdom and Plaza de Carnivals are nice areas. The boardwalk was a fabulous area/environment when it opened.

I have not noticed a huge decline in service since 20 years ago. It dropped in the late '90s early '00s but has bounced back the past 10 years.

Pricing has always been expensive, it's no worse today than 20 years ago

Food has not declined in the past 20 years, actually new options have emerged within the past 5 years. Food quality has not changed at the "non-franchised" options.

The only change in parking (besides prices, which go up over time and can be neutralized with a parking pass) is the additional of preferred. If you get there early the non-preferred spots are only an additional 5 minutes away from from the gate. No bad deal.

 

Besides the significant coaster improvements you fail to mention the huge increase in park cleanliness. That means a lot to families who the business of amusement/theme parks.

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I agree the park is much cleaner. I had some horrible trips to the park in the 90s and remember the park was very dirty. I had another horrible trip there in 2002 that was so bad from the food being horrible, the restaurant we ate at being dirty , bad operations and rude employees that I stayed away from 2003 - 2006. I gave the park another chance in 2007 and had such an awesome day that I decided to get a pass in 2008 and have continued to get a pass each year since then and now go 15 - 20 trips a season.

 

I only had eaten twice in the park in those years but did get the dining pass this year and the food quality hasn't been great but for the price, I'll deal with it. The 2nd day the park was open I got a grilled chicken sandwich and the roll was stale and the fries were cold. Last week the food was better though.

 

I have also noticed the employees for the most part have been much nicer the past few years. Most of the times the ride ops say enjoy your ride when entering the line or when a ride op checks the restraint and then ask how the ride was after you are exiting. In all those trips to the park since becoming a pass holder I can only think of 2 really bad employees I have seen.

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  • 11 months later...

In 2013 I visited Six Flags New England, Six Flags Great Adventure and Six Flags America. I have a mixed reaction to that question because I had different experiences at every park.

 

I would say that Six Flags New England absolutely got worse which isn't really a surprise as it's been moving in that direction for years. Goliath was closed for half the year, they lost their Top Spin and replaced it with nothing and most importantly the level of service got even worse. The park put new policies in place like the front seat line for Batman which gave the ride ops yet another policy to ignore and another opportunity to be rude to multiple confused guests on every ride cycle. We also saw one train operations on more coasters even more frequently than in the past.

 

Six Flags America really didn't change at all. I don't care for the park and operations are still bad but that's always been the case.

 

Six Flags Great Adventure dramatically improved. They spruced up a lot of things around the park, added lights to Kingda Ka's tower, added the most popular family attraction in the park's history, increased capacity on Bizarro by removing the back seats and have really improved their already solid operations. On almost every visit we saw both sides of the Skyride open, all of the parachutes operating on the Parachute drop and fast, friendly operators on every ride. While it's not on the same level of Busch, Universal, Herschend or Disney this park is one of the crown jewels of the Six Flags chain. It's not perfect... but it's constantly improving.

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JMHO: Six Flags is doing what they can to boost their stock price and get investors a gain right this second rather than 3-4 years down the road. Over the last few years I've seen them really go all out with staggered attraction/section openings & closings, later park openings, running fewer trains, ending costly licenses, etc. There's been institutional issues with ignoring blight spots in the parks for eons that I can't ascribe entirely to the current administration, but they also aren't fixing those issues.

 

I understand the rationale. They got rid of parks except those in the most mature markets with the best population density and the lowest fluctuations in attendance. They can add next to nothing to Six Flags Over Texas for years now and probably get away with it. I think whoever ends up obtaining Six Flags (because I believe wholeheartedly that the end goal is selling the chain to some giant corporation or private equity firm) will probably have to deal at that point with lower guest satisfaction and possibly crumbling infrastructure. What happens then will be interesting to watch, but I admit I fear it as a potential guest.

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I'll admit that I haven't gone to that many theme parks recently (though that is going to be changing this year.)

 

Does food options really matter that much at theme parks? Seems like most of the complaints have been about the food. Which is one of the last things I think about when going to a park. Maybe I should care more about it? I tend to err on cheaper options (whether that is leaving the park to eat or choosing cheap options anyways..) I feel like it is no excuse not to have "decent" food at a park.

 

That being said, my wife says Six Flags Discovery Kingdom is her absolute favorite place in the world (and judging from this thread is one of the "better" Six Flags parks.)

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I'll admit that I haven't gone to that many theme parks recently (though that is going to be changing this year.)

 

Does food options really matter that much at theme parks? Seems like most of the complaints have been about the food. Which is one of the last things I think about when going to a park. Maybe I should care more about it? I tend to err on cheaper options (whether that is leaving the park to eat or choosing cheap options anyways..) I feel like it is no excuse not to have "decent" food at a park.

 

That being said, my wife says Six Flags Discovery Kingdom is her absolute favorite place in the world (and judging from this thread is one of the "better" Six Flags parks.)

 

Eating is a necessity action to live. There isn't a good reason any large regional theme park can't offer respectable food and with decent variety. The whole concept of the gated theme park has revolved around putting people in a fantasyland (pun semi-intended) of entertainment options, and with it not-crap food should be part of that fantasy. If you overcharge me for something that isn't abjectly crap, I'm far less likely to complain about the value than if it is. That's why you don't see remotely the number of complaints about the food at Disney, Universal, Knotts, SDC, Dollywood, or the Busch Gardens parks that you do at Six Flags. Of course, if you hold your guests in contempt and see them solely as cash dispensers, then going that direction certainly makes sense. It may even be a financially viable strategy depending on the market and the competition.

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Wow - interesting thread.

 

In my opinion, there are a LOT of us around here that have been going to their local SF parks for years and even decades. We have seen what the parks were, and what they have become.

 

My example: SFoG was my home park for about 30 years and I worked there in the 80's. I remember when there were a whole bunch of shows, flat rides and theming. I still love the park, but some of the decisions has made my heart ache. Slow removal of Flat Rides, complete abandonment of theming, etc.

 

Also - I know I'm lucky to have had one of the better Six Flags parks as my home park. I've been to SFGAdv, SFGA, SFA (ugh), SFoT, SFoG, SFStL, LaRonde (hell-pit), and Great Escape - so I have run the gamut from awesome parks to utter crap - which is a point people are making. Although every park will be different - park experiences IN THE SAME CHAIN should not vary so much.

 

One last thing - some of the "hating" is actually us joking around about wierd idiosyncracies at the parks as well.

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I don't like parks that don't run coasters at max capacity. Most parks outside the Six Flags chain that I have been to run all trains unless there is a maintenance issue. I have been to Six Flags parks on many occasions that have 40 to 60 minute waits while only running 1 train. My home park(Ki) runs all trains even when the park is empty and I don't even have to get off the train. That is my biggest thing I can't stand about any park. I have just run into this more at this chain than any other place. I want to add when I went to ride Boulder Dash it was a 1 train ops with over 40 minute wait. I was not happy and it does happen elsewhere besides Six Flags.

 

As a side note I know there are certain reasons like weather and maintenance that cause 1 train ops.

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Didn't read through the whole topic but I can see why people aren't a fan of Six Flags. However, it definitely varies by park. Some SF parks I could care less about visiting, while others I would love to visit. I think I'm blessed to have a great home park like Six Flags Great America because they take care of their rides very well and aren't horrible when it comes to theming... I mean, considering it's a Six Flags park. They also have a nice collection of roller coasters and flat rides. I never cared for their food, but it's not a big deal since Gurnee has a million places to eat within 3 miles from the park so I usually just get my hand stamped, go out for lunch, and then come back to the park.

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The only problems that I have with Six Flags is the whole 'running trains under capacity thing', which really only applies to a few parks, and all the ads everywhere. Other than that, I don't have a problem. I don't really care about the food. I think its fine. I don't like it when food is overpriced, but thats just expected at most parks and in the whole world really. It happens. You come to a park for fun, and honestly, thats what I've gotten at every Six Flags park I've been to.

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My hometown park is SFSTL and I haven't been there in several years - been going to King's Island once a summer instead. What bothers me about, at least Six Flags St Louis, is it appears not much thought goes on behind the scenes when it comes to theming (they destroyed that years ago), new attractions, and most of all the lack of a Signature coaster. They seem to throw new rides in whenever they fit and name it some generic Corporate name with no regard to the existing theming the area may have. This year's Tsunami Soaker will be a good example of that. The area where the ride will be located is very Ozark and Back Woods looking (Silver Dollar City type of thing), this new ride looks like it should be on a Beach Boardwalk. Last year's Boomerang is in Old Chicago - The Chicago Loop would have been a better name, instead it is called Boomerang - yawn. ...And what does The Boss have to do with Britian??? you get the idea. Plus they tear out family rides, park Staples (Swings, Bumper Cars) and do not replace them. I understand these ride were old and needed to go but a park without Bumper Cars or Swings is a Burger joint without French Fries. And the Moon Cars is a joke when it was shortened with American Thunder, not worth a 5 minute wait - Embarrassing. Lastly, Missouri's Coaster Capital needs new Steel in a Bad Way. It has been since 1997 since we recieved some awesome Steel - Mr Freeze (I am not counting Boomerang or Pandemonium). It has gotta be something worthwhile, while I don't ever expect something massive like Banshee, a sizable Floorless or similar would be nice.

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In my opinion, there are a LOT of us around here that have been going to their local SF parks for years and even decades. We have seen what the parks were, and what they have become.

 

I think this is really key. Seeing a park once in awhile out of context is one thing, knowing what it used to be and seeing the steady decline is something else entirely.

 

It really isn't complicated, SF just does a lot of things that are easy to hate. Excessive advertising, abandoned theming, entire portions of the park gone derelict, poor operations/food choices, forcing all of their parks to have DC theming all over the place, naming groundbreaking coasters Goliath because the numbers say that's the name that will sell the most T-shirts. They have no soul and allow their parks to have very, very little individual personality of their own. You know, all the same stuff that I'm sure most people in this thread have already said. Also, parking lot coasters.

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I've heard complaints about their food but let's face it, has anyone been to an amusement park that has really good food?

 

Yes. Epcot has much better food than most non-theme park restaurants. Places like Sizzler and Golden Corral have worse food than I've seen in many theme parks.

Sizzler has the best cheese toast everrrrrr

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People just wish them to be better because their great coasters deserve better operation. At least for me, there isn't a Six Flags park that I hate. Sure there are things they can do better but every park have their own flaws. They have amazing coasters so I can ignore those advertisements and slightly lower capacity. At least their things are not insanely over priced.

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My guess is that everyone who hates Six Flags is cause they've been to Magic Mountain the most (Which doesn't make alot of sense) and tend to hate Six Flags MAGIC MOUNTAIN as opposed to the Six Flags chain. Six Flags Magic Mountain and America tend to get alot of hate while as SFGAm and other good parks tend to get forgotten.

 

 

At least that's my guess.

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I don't hate six flags, I hate the fact that they took the largest and best coasters from my home park, promised a new water park and then just left it sit there and rot. Thank God for Ed Hart.

 

On the SFMM debate, I've never been there. But my stepmom has and she says it's her favorite and the best park there is, but then again, she isn't a coaster freak like me.

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