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Why Does Everybody Hate on Six Flags?


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Yeah see, this....I consider this to be the epitome of trashyness. And it just looks like they're catering a lower class group of people.

 

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Do you mean to tell me you're not even slightly amused by a park just a few miles from the Jersey Shore having an ad for hair gel that will keep your hair in place on America's fastest coaster?

 

You may not like it but the fact is not having to put more gel in your hair after the ride gives you a lot of extra time to ride other rides, get something to eat, go to the gym, tan or do laundry. I consider this more of a public service announcement than anything.

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Yeah see, this....I consider this to be the epitome of trashyness. And it just looks like they're catering a lower class group of people.

 

[attachment=0]image.jpg[/attachment]

 

Do you mean to tell me you're not even slightly amused by a park just a few miles from the Jersey Shore having an ad for hair gel that will keep your hair in place on the world's fastest coaster?

So it said it will keep your hair in place on Formuoa Rossa?

 

Six Flags isn't the only company that re-uses ride names, Cedar Fair does the same thing

 

-Windseeker

-drop zone

-Boo boasters on boo hill

-Flying Ace (Kiddie coaster)

-Intimidator 305

-The Crypt

-Inverdigo (Now Stinger)

- Woodstock express

-Italian Stunt job

-Vortex

 

I understand some of these are pre Cedar Fair names, but they could have been changed.

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So it said it will keep your hair in place on Formuoa Rossa?

 

I think it's important to point out that that post was made before I had my coffee.

 

By the way nobody mentioned re-using ride names in the posts you quoted. I don't think that's a big deal at all. It's low on the list of complaints people have about Six Flags.

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One cannot compare unsightly Stride train wraps, to exiting through a gift shop.

The gift shop doesn't take away from the ride experience, it reinforces the branding.

 

Waiting in a loading station, with new visuals that should be on TV, or somebody's Kia - is distracting and gaudy. It also makes me think about horrible marketing, and how hard it is for theme parks to say no even to a few extra bucks ---- only to change, and in my opinion, ruin the overall atmosphere of a certain area. For example, thinking of the ride Demon at SFGAm, at one time people had the idea in there head to wonder if the Demon chewed gum, and if he did - it was definitely Stride brand.

 

I don't agree with the people who don't like exiting through gift shops. Again, it doesn't change the atmosphere or the overall ride experience. As where obvious, and obstructive advertising ON a ride or in its loading station - can be distracting and disheartening.

 

Has advertising, having nothing to do with the home team(Six Flags hocking gum or hair gel for example) become an essential part of theme parks?

 

 

What part of a train wrap "takes you out of the ride experience?" Is the ride "less thrilling" or "less exciting" because there is an ad on the side of the car?

 

For me, I really don't care about walking through a gift shop or train wraps, I think it is pretty silly to complain about something that IMO takes away absolutely nothing from the experience of riding a great coaster or ride.

 

As for personal preference, I go to theme parks for the attractions. I don't go to shop. I realize theme parks use attractions to get people to shop but I rarely buy a souvenir anything, and I'm FAR less inclined to buy something if you are going to make me walk through the merchandise to get out of the ride. That to me takes me out of "the ride experience" more than an ad on the side of a car.

 

I guess I just don't see the difference between "hair gel ad" on the train and "plain red/yellow paint job" on the train. It doesn't ruin it for me. I feel bad that it does for you.

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You remember how SFMM's employees used to be under the leadership of Jay Thomas? You know, the guy who would spend time IN THE PARK with his staff and motivate them? You don't see that happen now, and you didn't see that happen before Jay got there. It is SO TRUE that your senior management needs to lead by example. And if you have a guy on top that is willing to come out in the park, and work along side the front line staff, you bet your A$$ you'll have a staff that respects that and is much more proud to work at the park.

 

When you have a park president that just sits in an office, and walks through the park head down, making a bee-line to wherever it is they need to go, not talking to anyone, why should your park staff be any more social than that person?

 

More parks need to be led by people like Jay Thomas. Makes total sense why Six Flags got rid of him.

 

I have to say this really struck me the last time I went to SFMM, which was in August 2008. It was 100 degrees in the shade, and my friend and I had stopped to pull out our map to find an indoor, air-conditioned place to eat lunch. Within a few seconds we had an employee stop to ask if he could help us find anything. Sure enough, I look at the name tag and see that it was Jay Thomas, Park President... Walking in the park in the sweltering heat and stopping to talk with guests and answer their questions. It really left quite an impression.

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Six Flags isn't the only company that re-uses ride names, Cedar Fair does the same thing

 

-Intimidator 305

 

Wait a minute.....so there's ANOTHER kick-ass 305-foot giga at some other Cedar Fair park?? Where might that be?

No, but there are two coasters named that.

Carowinds and kings dominion..

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What part of a train wrap "takes you out of the ride experience?" Is the ride "less thrilling" or "less exciting" because there is an ad on the side of the car?

 

Well, if a ride is supposed to have a coherent theme intended to create certain emotional responses (which is what themes are supposed to do and why they're effective), then yeah, it may very well make the ride less exciting. Riding Poltergeist a couple weeks ago, you see where prior management put in enormous effort in the station and where present effort does a good job torpedoing it with Stride wraps on the trains.

 

Six Flags ran up huge debts, cancelled them out in bankruptcy court (which means the company paid those who they owed a pittance/nothing), and is now trying to make as much money as possible as soon as possible through methods that don't exactly benefit the consumer. OK, that makes them like a lot of companies. That doesn't mean it is right, the best course of action over the long term, etc.

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^what they meant was one coaster is named Intimidator 305 (KD) and the other one is just Intimidator (Carowinds)...Intimidator at Carowinds is not 305 feet tall so that wouldnt make much sense now would it?

Oh sorry, I thought it was called that. But the point is Six Flags is not the only company that uses the same names on multiple rides, Cedar fair hasn't done it since the additions of Wind seekers. But we do have a CEO who wants each park to be different. So it probably won't happen again.

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What part of a train wrap "takes you out of the ride experience?" Is the ride "less thrilling" or "less exciting" because there is an ad on the side of the car?

 

Well, if a ride is supposed to have a coherent theme intended to create certain emotional responses (which is what themes are supposed to do and why they're effective), then yeah, it may very well make the ride less exciting. Riding Poltergeist a couple weeks ago, you see where prior management put in enormous effort in the station and where present effort does a good job torpedoing it with Stride wraps on the trains.

 

Six Flags ran up huge debts, cancelled them out in bankruptcy court (which means the company paid those who they owed a pittance/nothing), and is now trying to make as much money as possible as soon as possible through methods that don't exactly benefit the consumer. OK, that makes them like a lot of companies. That doesn't mean it is right, the best course of action over the long term, etc.

 

 

Here is the thing with train wraps (and well advertising in general) in the future most/all theme parks will probably have ride wraps. It's literally free/easy money and a great for advertisers. Think about NASCAR or MLS (and soon the NBA) all of those sponsors on the jerseys and sports stadiums pay millions of dollars every year for practically no extra work on Team's behalf. It is a trend that is integrating itself into everything. You see car wraps more and more every day out on the roads. We see buildings advertising the latest movie or TV show. Eventually we'll see train wraps on most or all roller coasters in most theme parks.

 

Does it take away from a "themed" ride experience? Probably. I can see it both ways. I'll use my home park Lagoon as an example, I wouldn't mind seeing ride wraps on any of the roller coasters there. I can't even tell you what the coaster cars look like right now, let alone if they had advertising on them or not. I do recall seeing a lot of signs for Coke near ride attractions, but you see that about everywhere. And no it doesn't make sense on all rides. I wouldn't like seeing wraps on the Wild Mouse cars or the Spider cars. But on the wooden roller coaster (which is already vaguely named anyways?) why not?

 

Is it a "bad thing?" Well that depends on who you are. Personally, advertisements do very little to me. I'm going to buy what I like regardless of if I seen an ad for it or not. Am I going to buy Stride Gum, Axe Body Spray, or Got2B Glued hair gel after seeing it on a coaster? Probably not more than what I currently purchase from those brands. Just as I'm not more likely to buy a Darth Vader plush after hitting up Star Tours even though Disney makes me walk through the gift shop on my way out of the ride. I think gift shops are more pervasive (because it is far easier to buy something when it is in your face after a great ride then seeing a one off gum or hair gel ad on the side of a ride vehicle that may not be sold at the park.)

 

Yes it comes at a price. Maybe the high end parks won't do it (or will be the last to do it.) But we're not talking about "high end" park. We're talking about Six Flags which is a giant chain that markets themselves as an affordable option for people who are into thrill rides. I guess how I would describe it as think of going to Target or Wal-Mart and then compare your grocery shopping experience with that of a high end grocer or store in your area. You are likely not going to beat the prices that Target/Wal Mart offer and they cater to different audiences. Six Flags is the same way.

 

The most valid "hate on Six Flags" argument that I've read in this thread is about poor customer service and running at under capacity. There are no excuses for these two. I also realize that most theme park employees are still in high school or college (as with most service industry jobs lets face it.) And that high level of customer service hasn't been taught or explained to them yet. Instilling a good culture for that will go a long way.

 

I also can't speak about their bankruptcy issues. Past is the past. Of course they are going to try to maximize their profits and try to make their properties as valuable as possible. They have to. I'm not an expert on the laws of the land when it comes to this so I can't speculate and I don't think it has anything to do with the conversation on the end user experience of their parks. (not saying that it doesn't affect it in some way, it has to, but that isn't something that anyone can really quantifiably answer in this forum.)

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^about the high-schoolers/college kids working at Six Flags...Disney and Universal also hire young people to work for them and they dont have the same problems. In fact, my first job was at Universal Studios and you better believe I worked my butt off to give guests the best time possible...and I was 16. Dont place the blame on how much a high-school/college kid is capable of learning, blame it on the company not teaching it to them.

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^about the high-schoolers/college kids working at Six Flags...Disney and Universal also hire young people to work for them and they dont have the same problems. In fact, my first job was at Universal Studios and you better believe I worked my butt off to give guests the best time possible...and I was 16. Dont place the blame on how much a high-school/college kid is capable of learning, blame it on the company not teaching it to them.

 

I didn't blame the kids. I too worked a service job for many years starting when I was 14. I said that Six Flags has no excuses for it and instilling a good culture for customer service would go a long way. I think this issue is the "easiest" for them to fix.

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I've often thought of Six Flags as the Wal-Mart of the industry. You get more options, the prices are low, but the quality is sometimes iffy and the service is poor.

 

Cedar Fair would be more like a Target or Costco.... similar looking to Wal-Mart, but service, operation and cleanliness is much better.

 

And then you have the Mom & Pop stores - which are the Knoebels

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^about the high-schoolers/college kids working at Six Flags...Disney and Universal also hire young people to work for them and they dont have the same problems. In fact, my first job was at Universal Studios and you better believe I worked my butt off to give guests the best time possible...and I was 16. Dont place the blame on how much a high-school/college kid is capable of learning, blame it on the company not teaching it to them.

This. Companies like Disney are very strict with rules and don't give second chances. In the college program if you break any major rules you are done there, so they actually work hard.

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^about the high-schoolers/college kids working at Six Flags...Disney and Universal also hire young people to work for them and they dont have the same problems. In fact, my first job was at Universal Studios and you better believe I worked my butt off to give guests the best time possible...and I was 16. Dont place the blame on how much a high-school/college kid is capable of learning, blame it on the company not teaching it to them.

 

I didn't blame the kids. I too worked a service job for many years starting when I was 14. I said that Six Flags has no excuses for it and instilling a good culture for customer service would go a long way. I think this issue is the "easiest" for them to fix.

 

Oh, I see...your "good culture" comment threw me, I thought you were making some statement about the culture of the US or some big social statement like that lololol. But yeah, it really isnt hard for Six Flags to just instill better service policies. It wouldnt even require more training, just a little more discipline and maybe even a rewards program.

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Last summer I went to my first cedar fair park (cp) and I was amazed at their operations style. The fact that they had one persons who was pretty much just dedicated to making announcements was incredible. That coupled with them striving to meet their minimum time between dispatches and having a great attitude just blew me away. I think it's the employees that's a major difference between cedar fair and SF.

 

Ps that Walmart and target comparison was spot on. Six Flags has a similar business strategy to them, just like spirit airlines and carnival cruise lines. Pack people in with little regard to quality, at a "low" price.

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Here is the thing with train wraps (and well advertising in general) in the future most/all theme parks will probably have ride wraps.

 

It will be a cold day in hell before Disney or Universal turn to wrapping trains/vehicles on their rides in sponsor's colors. Same with many significant parks overseas. I'd be very surprised to see Cedar Fair go to the lengths Six Flags does as well given their management's past history. Corporate sponsorship of rides is nothing new. Blackpool has two Arrow coasters with fizzy beverages buying name space and its been that way since the early 90s. Six Flags manages to even outdo them.

 

Think about NASCAR or MLS (and soon the NBA) all of those sponsors on the jerseys and sports stadiums pay millions of dollars every year for practically no extra work on Team's behalf. It is a trend that is integrating itself into everything. You see car wraps more and more every day out on the roads. We see buildings advertising the latest movie or TV show. Eventually we'll see train wraps on most or all roller coasters in most theme parks.

 

NASCAR's sponsorships *do* require a lot of extra work on the team's behalf, but that's neither here nor there. In scenarios when you're racing to the bottom for a profit, selling additional ad space can be a boon, sure. That's why Ryanair has advertising on their overhead bins and United doesn't.

 

Does it take away from a "themed" ride experience? Probably. I can see it both ways. I'll use my home park Lagoon as an example, I wouldn't mind seeing ride wraps on any of the roller coasters there. I can't even tell you what the coaster cars look like right now, let alone if they had advertising on them or not. I do recall seeing a lot of signs for Coke near ride attractions, but you see that about everywhere. And no it doesn't make sense on all rides. I wouldn't like seeing wraps on the Wild Mouse cars or the Spider cars. But on the wooden roller coaster (which is already vaguely named anyways?) why not?

 

Alright, so I went to Lagoon a few months ago and have some familiarity with it. It is one of the best operated and most interesting independently run parks in the country. If they were to wrap the trains and station of Bombora with advertisements for mayonnaise (which Six Flags has done), I'd be sorely disappointed in their management. If they did that *and* generally did a crappy job of running the park? I'd think they were operating with the expectation that I was merely another easily replaceable sucker.

 

Yes it comes at a price. Maybe the high end parks won't do it (or will be the last to do it.) But we're not talking about "high end" park. We're talking about Six Flags which is a giant chain that markets themselves as an affordable option for people who are into thrill rides. I guess how I would describe it as think of going to Target or Wal-Mart and then compare your grocery shopping experience with that of a high end grocer or store in your area. You are likely not going to beat the prices that Target/Wal Mart offer and they cater to different audiences. Six Flags is the same way.

 

Six Flags isn't a "budget option" anywhere except in the bubble of theme park nerds who think $90+ one day theme park admission is totally a reasonable amount to pay. Community operated aquatics facilities are an "affordable option," as would be county fairs, county/metro owned parks, and the like. If what it costs to park your car can probably buy you 4 tickets to a minor league baseball game, you're not providing an affordable alternative for a family outing. Nor is it an "affordable alternative" what Wal-Mart or Target are intending to provide compared to other shopping outlets. Six Flags Over Georgia is *the* park that services the Greater Atlanta area, as well being *the* amusement park for those in Birmingham, AL and a couple other smaller markets. Saying its a budget option to the "high end parks" is like saying Myrtle Beach is a budget option for those who seek Bora Bora.

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@DirkFunk You didn't understand what I wrote please read it again.

 

Sponsorships for cars in NASCAR, arenas in the NBA/NFL/MLB, and eventually jerseys doesn't require nearly as much effort as it sounds. Teams and sports leagues consider that basically "free money" when it comes to it. No, I don't know all of the specific logistics, but what I was saying is that advertising when it comes to train wraps for roller coasters and queue lines seems inevitable to me BECAUSE of how much we are seeing in other forms of entertainment venues. I'll bring up some other examples. Movie theaters in the past 10 years have gone to playing little to no ads at the start of films to practically playing 20 minutes of commercials before the film starts. How much more product placement is in movies and TV shows now then 10 years ago? When was the last major block buster didn't try to also sell you a car or have a car "featured" in the film? Instead of "Yellow Sports Car" in Transformers we get "The All New Camero from GM." I recall seeing an episode of Burn Notice where they were so incredibly blunt about marketing the car they were driving in the show (yes the show is a little campy already and the show knew it was in on the joke.) But this isn't stuff we would have thought of 15 years ago and now it is everywhere.

 

Personally I think it is a savvy move by Six Flags to put advertisements on it's ride cars. It makes sense considering the trends in other entertainment markets and just the general entertainment industry to have "sponsoring partners" and this is just another level of it. No I don't think Disney will be plastering the Dumbo ride with Planters Peanuts ads but even they'd have to think about possibly advertising in more creative ways then do currently. I recall reading a Tokyo Disney Trip Report here recently that talked about how every ride is brought to you by a major corporation. Yes, this is a "classier" way to do it, but it isn't like Disney isn't trying to use the space that they can use for advertising, it's too smart not to do it.

 

Is it something to "hate on" Six Flags about? I don't think so. I think the customer service and ride ops issues are more pressing and matter to the overall experience of the park over train wraps. I don't think having a train wrap is going to make me like a ride "less" then if it didn't have one. It seems like you are kinda scraping the bottom of the barrel when bringing up stuff like that.

 

No, it isn't going to happen over night. No I don't think the "high end" parks will do this (like Disney and Universal.) I also said it didn't make sense for all rides (yes, I think covering up Bombora with an ad would take away from the experience, but the regular Roller Coaster? again I ask why not? it isn't like it is a really a themed attraction already why not advertise on it? would it ruin the experience? I don't think it would. I think if they slapped a Coke logo on the front of each train, I don't think many would care. Maybe in the Ride station that says "Roller Coaster brought to you by Coca-Cola it still wouldn't "take you out of the experience")

 

I stand by my opinion that Six Flags is a budget option. A season pass to ALL of the Six Flags parks is less than that of one day at a Disney or Universal park. You have to pay for parking at most/all parks (I recall when I went to Lagoon last summer I was charged 15 to 20 dollars to park for a day, seriously makes me consider taking the bus/train to the park this season.) Also, I am comparing Six Flags to "industry leaders." It is by far the least expensive major theme park you can go to in the country. I'm not familiar with Cedar Fair's pricing model, but it costs over 100+ per day for Disney or Universal, Six Flags gives you a season pass for that price that you can not only go to your local Six Flags park, but you can travel to another one and use your same pass. Yes, some Six Flags' are the only major theme park in the area. But in other locations (like Southern California for example) it is one of many that you can go to. My Lagoon Season pass this year will cost around 100 bucks because I waited so long ( I believe if you bought before January it was 80 or 90 don't remember. Either way somewhere between 80 and 100 dollars.) I just looked at Six Flag's website I can get a Season Pass to Discovery Kingdom for 70 dollars. If I want unlimited parking/entrance at ALL six flags it is 110 (which ironically enough is the same price as Lagoon's regular priced season passport without parking and I can only go to the one park.) So yeah, I would consider that a budget option in terms of theme park pricing. I'm sorry I don't think I can compare a county/state fair to a theme park totally different animals IMO.

 

Anyways, the bottom line is, I don't think the advertising thing is as big of a gripe as others. I think most parks would (or have already) strongly considered doing it. But since it isn't "the norm" we're not seeing it at more parks. I think we will eventually though (even if that is 10 to 20 years down the road.)

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^what they meant was one coaster is named Intimidator 305 (KD) and the other one is just Intimidator (Carowinds)...Intimidator at Carowinds is not 305 feet tall so that wouldnt make much sense now would it?

Oh sorry, I thought it was called that. But the point is Six Flags is not the only company that uses the same names on multiple rides, Cedar fair hasn't done it since the additions of Wind seekers. But we do have a CEO who wants each park to be different. So it probably won't happen again.

 

Who cares if every wind seeker at CF parks all have the same name? You can't pretend that's the same thing as calling a major headlining coaster "Goliath" when there's like a dozen other coasters with the same name. Name me one time any other chain has done that with a major groundbreaking coaster. Intimidator doesn't count because it's not exactly the same name and both coasters opened around the same time, making them more like "sister coasters".

 

This all has to do with SF making all of their parks as homogeneous and uniform as possible. If there is such a thing as "artistic integrity" when it comes to the theme park experience, SF is the very antithesis of that.

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