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Poll/Discussion: Six Flags Experience in 2014


How was your Six Flags experience overall in 2014?  

64 members have voted

  1. 1. How was your Six Flags experience overall in 2014?

    • Significantly better than in previous years
      6
    • Better than in previous years
      20
    • Neutral
      16
    • Worse than in previous years
      9
    • Significantly worse than in previous years
      2
    • I did not attend a Six Flags park in 2014 or have no past Six Flags experience
      11


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I know that Six Flags gets a ton of crap for all kinds of things from understaffing to slow operations to poor food to really just about anything we can find to complain about. I’m sure that many of those complaints are perfectly deserved as well, but I’m curious what your experience as an observant member of the TPR community was like with Six Flags in 2014. There is still much to improve, but at least at my home park of SFOG I definitely saw improvements in guest relations, park cleanliness, and, to a lesser extent, operations in 2014 (as compared to 2013 and 2012).

 

So how was your experience at your respective Six Flags park in 2014? What was good and what was bad, and how was the park overall as compared to your experience in past seasons? Also, please take the poll to better illustrate the community’s experience as a whole.

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My "home" six flags park is Magic Mountain. I chose neutral, because overall, I didn't see any substantial improvement in terms of operations, cleanliness, and so on. However, I will mention the great addition that Holiday in the Park made to the experience. This is an exciting direction to see the park going, and I really hope to see more seasonal things like that. It wasn't enough to make me choose "better than before", though, because I feel like that ignores too many of the park's other problems.

 

 

I also find it kinda unprofessional how much of the decision-making management appears to leave to the guests in terms of future stuff. Some of the things they ask you on the "future attractions" surveys are things they should really be able to determine on their own. It sends the message that they have no clue what they're doing. I like to see a park that can come up with something that's a hit without having their guests hold their hand through the development process. That's just my opinion though. I do appreciate that they try to engage their guests... it just seems like a little much at times. I could be way off-base... maybe people want that.

Edited by dippindotsguy8
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I had an improved experience in 2014 compared to previous years. I don't want to say that it's significantly better because most of my visits to Six Flags parks were in 2014. That being said, I had some exceptionally great visits (SFMM, SFNE), some mediocre visits (SFGAdv, TGE), and one crappy visit (SFA). Even with my crappy visit to SFA, I've had much worse experiences at Six Flags parks (SFA in 2005 and SFOT in 2013). From my viewpoint, it improved compared to previous years. Hopefully, we'll see even more improvements.

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I made multiple visits to two SF parks this year- my home park, SFA, and Great Adventure.

I visited SFA all throughout the season- opening day, closing day, and a few visits mid-summer. I've never had a problem with cleanliness or sub-par park appearance at the park, but I don't think the park has really *improved* in those categories. Theyve slowly been repainting some of the coasters and retracking Roar, so that has been a positive. The operations have always been *meh* for me at this park, especially with one train on almost every coaster. However, I'll give them a pass on that, as the crowds generally only justify one train. The new stuff this year (Ragin Cajun and the flyers) were fantastic. Yes, the coaster opened late as I've come to expect, but it seem to be a huge hit, along with the rest of the Mardi Gras area. The park lacked a true family coaster beforehand. I hope they continue to improve the rides side of things, as they seem to be finishing off this section with the Super Loop this year. Maybe Gotham City is next. Overall, this park is definitely headed in the right direction.

 

The other park was Great Adventure. I can't get enough of this park and what is offers- El Toro is my number one overall coaster. That said, this year wasn't much of an improvement to me. Nitro and Bizarro ops were fairly slow, and Kingda Ka's capacity was destroyed. I understand losing Rolling Thunder, but they should attempt to replace it soon. one particular Saturday was very dissapointing for me, which is why I voted neutral for the poll. They announced Ka would be operating summer weekends, so I booked it to Ka first thing. It was closed for Zumanjaro testing. On a busy Saturday. Over two weeks before opening. Why would they choose to test before they had permits when they had the weekdays to do the same thing? To boot, I had some truly pathetic food service at Great Acventure, but I won't get in to that. Zumanjaro was a great ride, however, and I'm glad they're filling in holes in their ride collection. They created one along the way with the loss of RT.

I'm looking forward to the next few years at these parks. Although they're both getting super loops this year, I think big things are in the horizon.

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Slightly Worse than in Previous Years:

 

For SFGAm

- Goliath always running 1 train at the beginning of the day even when the line started by the Go Karts

- Queue Lines for Food Places

- No Karaoke

- Ending of Shows in the Pictorium (From about June to October)

- Closing of the Train station in County Fair

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Slightly Worse than in Previous Years:

 

For SFGAm

- Goliath always running 1 train at the beginning of the day even when the line started by the Go Karts

- Queue Lines for Food Places

- No Karaoke

- Ending of Shows in the Pictorium (From about June to October)

- Closing of the Train station in County Fair

I second this, it was also very slow to get into the park, which I know is due to safety concerns but still it felt like it could be more efficient. Superman operations were also pretty bad. They used an assigned row system which was supposed to increase capacity but actually ended up slowing things down.

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Great Adventure is my home park and I voted for worse than last year but not by much. It was still overall a very good 2014 season but there were more negatives compared to past years:

 

-Zumanjaro opening in July, and then Kingda Ka's capacity being cut in half (I know it's the state that is causing the problems)

-No early entry for Gold Passholders all 6 times I went to the park during Fright Fest

-Ride lines for every ride in the park closing as much as 30 minutes early, even if there was no one in line. Other times, it was 15 - 20 minutes early, again with no lines.

-Much shorter operating schedule compared to past years. They opened 3 weeks later in 2014 than 2013 and there was no season pass night in the fall or any Friday night operating days in September like in 2013 (crowds probably didn't warrant it).

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From what I've seen they where pretty much the same. Op's were still pretty bad, rides didn't open on time(*Cough* Zumanjaro *Cough*) took forever to get into the park. Nothing really changed from my experience.

To be fair this wasn't completely Six Flags' fault. Yes, they absolutely should have gotten proper permits and such to run the rides simultaneously an on time, but there was the deal with the state inspector not showing up to the park multiple times. On the few exceptions of Kingda Ka (due to state regulations) and inconsistencies in operations for Bizarro and Nitro(which I have no idea how you operate this ride inefficiently), Gadv does a decent job with ride operations. They are always running every train when it isn't being serviced.

Shout out to El Toro Ryan- you guys were always hustling at El Toro and always beat the posted wait times.

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I don't have a local Six Flags park, but I have gone down to Great America once a year for the past two years, and I think my park experience last year was slightly better than it was in 2013. The lines moved at a good pace on all of the rides (except for Batman, which was running two trains, but running slow enough that you'd think it's just one train). I did not encounter any bad/rude employees, which was nice. Thankfully, all of the rides I went on were running well (Raging Bull had a slight rattle but the light trims made up for it). I hope they continue to improve over the next few years.

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They where due to technical reasons with the ride, not pathetic construction crews. When I visited it was in June and testing hadn't even started!

 

And this is 100% confirmed by the park for the delayed opening right?

 

 

As for me I visited SFOG three times this year. All visits were good.Employees overall were good, rides were running the appropriate number of trains for the crowds each visit with the exception of Mindbender, but apparently they were having issues with the other train most of the season, and food lines were pretty quick. My only real complaint was I took a friend to Fright Fest and used one of my season pass holder coupons. I get it's hard to find employees in the fall, but the ticket lines were out of control. Maybe even implement a system where pass holders can purchase those friend tickets in advance so we can skip the lines at the ticket booth.

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I voted neutral as I felt that my thoughts on how Six Flags operated their parks was a roller coaster ride.

 

The operations and way the park operated seemed average at the start of the year. But during the summer, they really did not run SFMM well. Operations seemed worse than normal, and everything just seemed much worse than in previous years. So this would be a vote for "Worse than in previous years".

 

However, SFMM really seemed to significantly improve when Colossus closed and construction on Twisted Colossus began. Construction on TC is hauling ass and seems far faster than their previous new coasters like Full Throttle, and I was really impressed with everything they did for Holiday in the Park. They completely went above and beyond for everything they did in that event and really turned around, doing a better job than I've seen the park do in years. So with that "Better than in previous years" end of the year and "Worse than previous years" summer, I canceled the two out and voted average. However, if SFMM keeps the entire park run the way it was run for "Holiday in the Park" for all of 2015, then I'm predicting that this is going to be a really good year for the park.

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It's hard for me to vote because I visited three different Six Flags parks this year (two of which I'd visited previously) and had different experiences at each one.

 

Six Flags Magic Mountain: This is one of my local parks and I visit several times each year. The park has definitely been on a roller coaster ride of it's own over the past 10-15 years. My experiences at the park this year were generally better than they have been in the past couple years, but not as good as they were in the Jay Thomas era. While the park does have a 2 train policy (aka rides with three trans will never run all three regardless of crowds...Twisted Colossus will be the only exception), operations were better this year than they have been and the park does seem to be focusing a bit more on upkeep. Holiday in the Park was also a good addition and I'm really hoping the Twisted Colossus/Screampunk District addition is a step in the right direction for the park and not a one-time thing.

 

Six Flags Great America: My 2014 visit was the first visit to this park and I can't say it was a good one. There is nothing wrong with the physical park and it has a number of good rides, but the way the park was being run was terrible. Average 4 minute dispatches on coasters, lines of 90 minutes for a B&M running three trains, a 30 minute wait even with the Platinum Flash Pass, 20 minutes at a food counter with two people in front of you, etc. This was probably the worst guest service I've received at any major park and while I was able to ride almost everything I cared about it was a day filled with frustrations.

 

Six Flags Great Adventure: I previously visited this park in 2011 before visiting in 2014. Overall, I thought that the park had improved, but there were some annoyances that weren't present on my previous visit. Operations on the park's major coasters (excluding El Toro) seemed slower than they had been previously, but at the same time the park was still running all available trains and pumping riders through faster than any other Six Flags park. Food quality seemed to have increased but speed of service was a bit slower. I also really liked the Safari Off-Road Adventure and the park overall felt more balanced than it was a few years ago. Overall, I'm going to call this one slightly positive, but mostly neutral.

 

Based on these experiences, I'm going to say Six Flags as a chain may have improved slightly in 2014, but overall they're about the same as they have been. Based on reports, it sounds like some parks have been improving in recent years while others have declined. Hopefully Six Flags will put more focus on the parks that need work in upcoming years, as some parks need more than a new RMC.

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I visited two SF parks this past summer: SFOG and SFA. For me both experiences were positive. The employees were pleasant and engaging and the parks were clean. SFOG was pretty crowded the day that I went but the lines weren't terrible. Most of my waits were about 15 minutes. There were multiple trains for every coaster except for Mindbender but that ride was worth the wait. Everything in SFA was a walkon so no complaints there. My only complaint would be the food and some of the variety. There was nothing really exciting I would recommend to someone visiting the parks if they were hungry. For the most part I would say that my expectations were exceeded.

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For me it depends on the park:

 

Six Fags Great Adventure - significantly worse than last year.

Operations were decent in most cases and I didn't find them to be any worse than last year except for obviously on Kingda Ka. The two huge issues I encountered were the parks closing ride lines way before the park closed with no indication of what time the lines would be closing (I'm not talking about Safari... that's a different situation) and of course Kingda Ka's capacity being cut in half. I was also confused as to why they put some of their best employees on Kingda Ka as they busted it to load the trains so they could go sit on the launch track. Put those operators on Bizarro so maybe they could dispatch a train eventually. Unfortunately the Zumanjaro crew was so good that when we were there Kingda Ka only launched 1 train per every Zumanjaro cycle. We had come up with a solution (ride Kingda Ka at night so when Zumanjaro finishes cycling through the line Kingda Ka can operate normally) but now you can't do that because they close ride lines early.

 

Other than that the park was no better or worse than last year but making one of your best coasters essentially un-rideable due to horrible wait times and the fact that a front seat ride is almost a requirement to make the ride good which makes the wait even worse and closing ride lines early our experience at this park was much worse than in previous years.

 

Six Fags New England - slightly worse than last year.

Operations and non coaster offerings were awful but that's no different than in previous years. The only thing this year that made the experience a little worse was that they took our favorite coaster in the park (Goliath) and made it one of the worst coasters I've ever ridden with a new train that we didn't need. New England Sky Screamer was fun but because of long waits and bad operations we rarely get to ride it.

 

Six Fags America - better than last year

We love the new Mardi Gras section. I'm not a huge fan of this park but it's slowly but surely improving. The new bar is great, the new coaster and flyers are fun and they took what used to be a sub-par area of the park and really enhanced it. Employees seemed to be friendlier than normal as well.

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Six Flags Great America: As many have said, the experience at SFGAm lowered. The park really seemed to fall apart easily, long dispatches, dirty park, having to wait 30 minutes just for a burger. Hopefully this park improves in 2015.

 

Six Flags Fiesta Texas: I happened to be down at SFFT in September for a business trip. This park is really a hiden gem in the chain. I didn't feel it was a Six Flags park at all. The rides were good, the park was well kept and maintained and the employees were super nice.

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This year I only had the pleasure of visiting SFGAm and I'd say the quality of the park had dropped from my last visit in 2010ish. I went with my family and we got in for crazy cheap (Thanks ACE), and we got Flash-Passes. Sadly they did not help a lot. We waited just shy of three hours for a spin on the RMC because it was not included in the already overpriced gold tier. At a lot of the coasters it took you up to the station platform and into the storm of people only to wait twenty minutes due to the slow operations. By comparison at Kings Island, we literally walked on to Banshee on a similary busy day because of the non-packed station and smooth operations. We also bought tickets to the upcharge waterpark, but since it was cloudy or something like that, it didn't open. It kinda put yet another damper on the whole day. I spent this summer lifeguarding at Adventureland in Iowa and I only recall one day where we could hear tornado sirens. We closed the water for an hour or so and reopened for the rest of the day. Personally, I believe that Six Flags has lost touch with today's enthusiast. They are focused on money and money. Their guest experience is poor except for a few key attractions. Those rides are severely suppressed by the large crowds the parks draw and the excessive three hour waits. That is all.

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Very interesting feedback. I see responses all over the board here. Thanks for discussion guys. One of the many reasons I love the TPR community. In my admittedly limited perspective, it seems like Six Flags is trying to move in the right direction in many of their parks. It’s just going to take time to overcome the brand damage done throughout the early 2000s. Competition is good for everyone though, and I hope that they do improve their service and quality substantially in the long run.

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