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Today's Burning Question! Six Flags or Cedar Fair?


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Matt Ouimet is why I'm leaning more toward Cedar Fair. He seems to be taking them in the right direction, while Six Flags is slipping back, from what I've seem.

This is EXACTLY why I would go with Cedar Fair. As much as people may have disagreed with Mark Shapiro, the Six Flags properties were in MUCH better shape under his direction.

 

 

I don't know how much "better" the parks were under his reign. We're talking about Dark Knight thrill coasters (Why theme a family coaster to a PG-13 Movie?), Not advertising some rides (I don't remember one ad of any kind for Buccaneer Battle), and the Dick Clark video shows (Which as Shapiro has stated "Will be cheaper to operate but just as entertaining"). I'm not saying Jim or Al Webber or (Insert former or future CEO of Six Flags) is/was perfect but I was also not a fan of Shapiro.

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I have to jump on the Cedar Fair band wagon as well. In the past two years I have been to every Six Flags and Cedar Fair park in Cali and along the east coast.

Six Flags just pisses me off more often than not. (1 train operation on a weekends in the middle of summer, not knowing company policies on Gold Pass, Not taking my season parking pass when it explicitly says it works at EVERY SIXFLAGS PARK). That said, Six Flags New England and The Great Escape surprised me and made me consider changing my mind.

Cedar Fair on the other hand seems to have their act together chain wide. Rides run with generally sufficient capacity (though I really wish Carowinds would figure out to run NightHawk faster, or just demolish the crap heap). I don't come out of a Cedar Fair park thinking I have been ripped off like I do at most six flags. So Cedar Fair wins

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Cedar Fair. Hands down.

 

My bottom three least favorite parks from best to worst:

1. Kings Island- Lackluster park, walk away feeling disappointed each time, their only good coasters aren't very reridable unless you go at night, and then are either Team Diamondback or Team Beast (I'm personally Team Beast. Just because you rank one ride over the other doesn't mean you think it's also the better night ride). Luckily, the two debated best night rides are about to be joined by Team Banshee (I at least expect to go from Team Beast to Team Banshee) so I expect it to shoot up at least two spaces in my park countdown after next year.

2. Carowinds- This is past the threshold where My enjoyment of the experience becomes noticeably obstructed by the crappiness of the park. I can sometimes leave Kings Island happy, other times I can't. I can never leave a park below here happy. Carowinds has two good coasters, and only one of them breaks my top 10 because it's unique and really reridable (Timmy!). The other good one is my favorite invert, Afterbun, which I like but not enough for it to be top 10 like I expect Banshee be when it almost certainly steals this title. Kind Island at least ha a few decent backup coasters behind their flagships (FoF, Flight Deck, and Adventure Express <3), Carowinds has two decent flagships, a horrible flagship (Nighthawk, ew!), an the rest is poo. Not to mention that all of the park bar Carolina Boardwalk is ew. I do enjoy Cyclone, though, I have to admit. It's my second favorite Arrow looper only to Corkscrew. Hideous park, that giga coaster has to be at least a Golden Ticketer to save this sorry excuse for a park.

3. SIX FLAGS OVER GEORGIA- This park is NASTY. It's hotter than heck, there's no shade, awful rides, rude employees, my least favorite roller coaster (Ninja <\3 , that's the only way I can describe how bad it is. That thing MIGHT be the only coaster out there not worth the credit.), outrageous prices (my 10 year old sister just about got heatstroke and they still charged us five dollars for bottled water and refused to help any other way!), and for some reason when someone puked on Ninja and the ride ops needed HAZ MAT suits to clean it! I had been on Diamondback when someone threw up on it and they still normally dispatched the train as opposed to the 15-minute Ninja downtime! They have a meh B&M hyper to save it and that's it. Only good thing I have to say about it is the ride team on Goliath. We were there the day tragedy struck when someone had a heart attack and passed away on it and they handled it extremely well. When we got there after it reopened the cattlepens were full when we got in line and got on in 45 minutes.

 

I'll spare you hearing about my favorite park list, but at the top is Cedar Point. Stellar flagships, great background rides, great location, great employees, the park isn't exactly themed but it still has an ambiance to it that makes it fun. The Dragster midway, for instance, doesn't have much theming bar Dragster's placemaking, but walking down that stretch with colorful track twisting all around you with Dragster in the center of it all feels great. GateKeeper midway feels great because it's on the beach and it's nice and open with GateKeeper dominating the area, the park entrance isn't even that well themed but Raptor and GateKeeper (blue and green, both of the park's colors), that old carousel, and colorful skyride buggies flying overhead is the park's way of leaning in your ear and telling you "YOU'RE AT CEDAR POINT AFTER DRIVING THREE HOURS THROUGH NOTHING!!!!!" And the back half of the park near Maverick has some rustic theming, and the Gemini midway with Gemini, Jr. Gemini, and Magnum towering over it currently feels like you took a time machine and are visiting a park in the 80's, and I expect the renovation to not kill that but update it, making the experience a bit more intentional. And I've not actually been in Camp Snoopy except to credit whore Woodstock Express but it looked like it was nicer than Kings Island's kids area, like how it's actually themed. So it's not exactly theming but just simple things that make the park just as nice to visit as a themed park like BGW or Dollywood but with more rides. And the staff is really friendly. We went in May and lake effect wind shut down everything so we went to guest services for some possible compensation and we got 50% off our next visit. That park is really special, I'm very happy to potentially there next year.

 

So sorry for the lengthy post but that's my exact amount of experience. Two less-than-favorable Cedar Fair parks (at least one of which about to become a bit more desirable, potentially both), and one Six Flags park that was, in my honest opinion, foul, but with nothing to compare it to and no idea where it ranks with other Six Flags parks. In addition to that, Cedar Fair's baby that they pump big buck into and try to make its absolute best. Not sure if I'm that qualified to talk about this with my lopsided experience with the two but that's my opinion. I also went to Kings Dominion but that got ruined by rain around midday, but I did get on Anaconda, I-305, Volcano, and Flight of Fear. (if you're curious, I thought it was middle of the road. Park operations sucked but Congo was really well themed and I-305 is currently in my top 5 and Volcano was in the lower 5 for quite some time, though Anaconda is my least favorite Arrow. I didn't get a good visit but I left wanting more, particularly the Dominator credit since I haven't ridden a floorless.) Again, I'm a Cedar Fair person, I gave you everything you need to gauge the accuracy of what I know about both chains, take it as you will.

Edited by 2012jarrett
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I haven't really been to enough SF/CF parks recently to form an opinion.

 

Six Flags seems to be focused more on giving their parks new stuff each year and it seems to balance out. Three major rides/attractions each year and a lot of smaller additions to the smaller parks (water park stuff, Sky Screamer, Aqua Twist, new shows).

 

Cedar Fair seems a bit like SF was in 2008-2010. Less major rides and more focus on themed family attractions (Guardian, Valleyfair, Cedar Point) plus new water slides.

 

Neither is a "bad" direction for either. I can't really comment on questionable operations or cleanliness of the poorer run parks of either chain. But if I have to make a choice, I'll go with Six Flags since everyone seems to be siding with Cedar Fair.

 

- And Six Flags has better maps

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Okay, so I've really just been to a handful of parks in the Midwest. On the Cedar Fair side, I've been to Worlds of Fun and the Park at MOA. The two Six Flags I've been to are St. Louis and Fiesta Texas. In general, Six Flags has poorly maintained rides and a complete lack of attention to theming: St. Louis has three rides themed to DC characters, only one of which is actually in the DC Plaza--an area that also contains a ride themed to Scooby Doo, which was Hanna-Barbara, not DC. Awful. Cedar Fair's parks have a much more regional park feel, not nearly as ambitious or grandiose as Six Flags, but overall a lot more enjoyable experience. On our visit this past summer, I was impressed by how well some of WoF's older and less popular rides were running: Even Scrambler and Flying Dutchman, never headliners even when they were new, ran very well. Maintenance makes a big difference.

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The funny thing is that i have only been to 3 sf parks, 2 of them are no longer (SFWoA and Astroworld). I have been to both companies flagship parks. And one park that was controlled by both companies (Geauga Lake). It is hard to judge a company from their past experiences. Plus I am tainted being from Cleveland, OH. When you have Cedar Point in your backyard, kinda tough not being biased.

 

I see good stuff happening by both companies. I hope SF operations have gotten better since my last visit to SFMM 6 years ago. Truthfully, I need to do a coaster trip next year to give my opinion. But right now, I lean Cedar Fair.

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I would also lean towards Cedar Fair right now. I like what Matt Ouimet has done with Fast Pass, Fast Pass wrist bands at Dorney, updating all of the park's e-commerce parts of their web sites and the attention to theming with a local flavor like the Boardwalk area for Knott's and the Highway 76 area for Valleyfair. And it seems like he has not forgot about big thrill rides with Banshee and the rumored coaster at Carowinds coming. His stated attention to updating the water parks where needed also helps. I am interested to see what Quimit's dark ride plans are for CP. The parks operations of rides seems to be better and faster than Six Flags overall too. As a coaster fan it doesn't hurt that the chains history involves building the first hyper, giga and strata coasters and pushing the bar.

 

One thing I think Six Flags does better is spread out their new rides and attractions among the chain. Cedar Fair seems to favor their bigger parks over MiA, WOF, CGA and VF when it comes to getting new rides or attractions. I think it hurts CF's smaller parks because you can't expect them to grow on pace with the bigger parks when there are longer periods of time between new rides and attractions for them.

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Cedar Fair for one pure & simple reason. They have decent cash flow and they use it rather wisely.

 

Meanwhile Six Flags is the absolute complete opposite. What little money they do have is spent in bizarre ways that 95% are not beneficial to the guest experience outside of a 1-3 minute possibly painful roller coaster ride.

 

When you walk around a Cedar Fair park compared to a Six Flags park, it's obvious that Cedar Fair "gets it" in a way that Six Flags either can not or will not.

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I've been to most of the parks in North America, and I have to lean toward Cedar Fair. I've just had better experiences at CF parks, I can't pinpoint a single reason.

 

Six Flags seems to clone their stuff a lot more than CF though, whether it's theming or specific rides. If I go to one park and ride a batman clone, I really don't wanna go to another park with another one. Just a waste as a park-hopping patron for me. Would rather have a unique experience, even if it was a smaller ride.

 

Keep in mind, I'm old and tired.

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This is a tough one for me. I visit Six Flags parks more often because they are closer to me. Most of my season passes have been for Six Flags. I think that more of my favorite coasters are at Six Flags parks. But I hate Six Flags lack of creativity in naming their rides. Six Flags has too many clones. Most of the time the employees at Six Flags parks are unfriendly and sometimes rude. I've had more overall positive experiences at Cedar Fair parks.

 

I have to say Cedar Fair, but not by much.

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Cedar Fair hands down. After traveling the country to visit all SF & CF parks it has been obvious... sure SFMM stands out as a park that is better than some of the smaller CF parks, due to the 'record' of coasters shoved in, but it comes down to my overall satisfaction at the end of the day while comparing the atmosphere, to food, to world class coasters, cleanliness & customer service.

 

I've been nickel and dimed at most SF's while dealing with unfriendly employees and a large amount of trash.

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Neither I prefer Walt Disney and Universal Parks. All Six Cedars parks are about the same.

 

CedarFair actually has 11 parks and helps manage a 12th one.

 

Saying Six Flags and Cedar Fair parks are the same is like saying Disney and Universal Parks are the same. They may be similar but they definitely are not the same.

Edited by RCjunkie
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