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Article on the Six Flags "No Readmission" Rumor


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From Motley Fool (via Yahoo)

 

Six Flags, One Rumor

Tuesday January 10, 9:01 am ET

By Rick Aristotle Munarriz

 

 

The Internet can be a pretty viral place. It can also be a pretty gullible one. That's why folks forward emails expecting Bill Gates to send them money, or why sending over your bank account information to help a Nigerian prince launder money reeks more of opportunity than the obvious fraud.

 

There's one particular rumor going around, alleging that Six Flags (NYSE: PKS - News) will be initiating a new policy for 2006 that won't let guests -- even season passholders -- reenter the park after they leave. It's a pretty ludicrous notion. Locals often pack snacks in their cars. Young family vacationers often head out for afternoon naps before heading back to the park at night.

 

A little due diligence would also sink that rumor like a stone. For instance, the company operates a few year-round parks, and January has been business as usual. Oh, and season passes are being sold promising "unlimited visits" all year long.

 

So how did this rumor get started? Once Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder emerged victorious in his proxy battle and put former ESPN programming guru Mark Shapiro in charge, the apparent hoax was easy to concoct. Snyder promised changes at Six Flags, and since fans at a Redskins game can't be allowed to reenter the stadium, it was easier to jump to conclusions than to jump over the regional park operator's turnstiles.

 

It's flawed logic, of course. Disney (NYSE: DIS - News) has owned a baseball team and an ice hockey squad, yet that policy never got in the way of the leading theme park chain's readmittance policies. Motley Fool Inside Value pick Anheuser-Busch (NYSE: BUD - News) owned the St. Louis Cardinals until 1996, but it never stopped hand-stamping guests on the way out of Sea World or Busch Gardens if they planned to return later in the day.

 

Besides, it's not a really good rumor anyway. More creative firestarters could have gone with something like:

 

--No beer sales will be allowed after the third quarter -- of a funnel cake has been eaten.

--Bottles, jugs, thermoses, cans, coolers and corny "I Survived" t-shirts will not be allowed inside the parks.

--Tailgating is permitted, as long as it is within a 10-foot radius of the churro cart.

--If you need to use a restroom, sign up at the appropriate waiting list.

--Joe Gibbs has carte blanche on line-cutting and demanding the front seat on every coaster.

 

Now watch one or more of those start circulating around the Internet as if it's the real deal. Just my luck.

 

Personally, I'm excited about what Shapiro and Snyder have to offer. Investors seem to agree, since the stock has continued to inch higher despite the company pulling itself off the bidding block last month. Unless I miss my mark, I should be at three different Six Flags parks in early June, so I'll be back with my field research.

 

Amusement park investing can be a pretty rewarding experience. Six Flags is on a roll and Cedar Fair (NYSE: FUN - News) was recommended to Motley Fool Income Investor subscribers thanks to its enviable streak of consistent performance and annual distribution hikes.

 

So let's see about Six Flags. I'll offer a new batch of rumors if this "no reentry" rumor bears fruit. With Shapiro and Snyder realizing that customer service is one of the former chieftain's greatest shortcomings, I expect the slate of rules for 2006 to be more guest-friendly, not more restrictive.

 

Interesting he says it's a bogus rumor, yet it was just posted on the SFGAdv website:

FOOD, BEVERAGES, COOLERS - Food, beverages or coolers may not be brought into the park. Park same-day re-entry is not permitted.
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I think a mass movement against this is needed. It is one of the dumbest rules ever implemented, and is a foolish way to reap money from visitors. This is unheard of in the industry, and is clearly being used as an oppurtunity to take advantage of guests. There is no reason for this cheap attempt to get money off of guests, and I can safely say I wouldn't have gotten my pass if this rule had been announced earlier.

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It used to mention handstamps...

 

http://web.archive.org/web/20041010064606/http://www.sixflags.com/parks/america/ParkInfo/parkpolicies.html

 

 

PARK RE-ENTRY: If you wish to leave the park and return the same day, you MUST have your hand stamped at the exit. If you leave the park grounds via your vehicle, retain your parking ticket for same day re-admittance.
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It looks like they are updating the site with all the new policies and pricing park-by-park. They did SFMM and SFGAdv first (the two largest parks). If you look, most of the pricing pages for other parks list the 2005 season prices for daily tickets and 2006 for season passes. It's just a matter of time before all the ticket prices go up and policies are revised.

 

The good thing is since there are 3 months until most of the parks open, they have time to get (unfavorable) public reaction and change things before the season starts.

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Assuming this policy is correct, I will seriously consider demanding a refund on my already purchased season pass since this policy was not in effect when I bought it. Isn't it sort of criminal to not allow re-entry? What if I forget something in my car? Unless they offer free lockers or I can ride with everything I purchase or strap to me, I will not be visiting a SF park in '06.

 

Daniel Snyder is the final nail in the Six Flags coffin. I feared that when the company was rewarded to him. SF was bad before but it'll be exponentially worse now. What a shame!

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I know that Knott's has had a "no rentry" policy at Halloween Haunt for many years. But that was mainly to stop people from coming in the park, leaving to go get drunk or worse out in the parking lot, then coming back in and creating problems.

 

As far as the "no re-entry" policy goes, I personally don't agree with it, but then again I don't often leave park and come back either. Usually if I exit the park, I'm done for the day. So I'm not sure how much it will affect me personally.

 

--Robb

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The only people that the "no rentry" policy will affect are the people that what to leave the park and come bacl later on the same day. It won't effect me because almost all of the time that I leave a park I'm done for the day. I would be mad with the policy if I was one of those people that goes to their car to eat lunch then goes back to the park.

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I know growing up we used to picnic on the 'hooch whenever we visited SFOG. Then they go rid of the back gate, and the number of picnic'rs went down, but still... a substantial number of people do so even today. I guess no one will get that opprotunity now...

 

- Joe, who would really be ticked if they don't allow water bottles anymore :-/

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Wow, part of me really wonders if this will go through.

 

I could see it implemented for a week or two and then quickly being removed.

 

One of the most ridiculous things about Knotts' Halloween event is that if you leave, you can't come back!!!

 

What if I forgot something, what if I have to run out for a quick emergency, what if I do my normal plans of being there for opening, then taking a break somewhere else, then coming back at night????

 

How will they enforce this...they sell a ticket that's good at SFMM and SFHH...if you go to MM in the morning, then HH in the afternoon, can you not go back to MM in the evening??

 

This seems a little too complicated for the MM Staff to tolerate! I really see this not going through!

 

Does any other park in the world do this? Lake Winnie has something like it I think?? MESSED UP!

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Not a good move. What if someone needs to go to their car/hotel room to take medication? Some medications need to be stored in a cool place, which a park locker is not. I'd love to hear the justification for this.

 

Also, did anyone email Motley Fool to tell them that it turns out this rumor is true? Be curious to see their updated article...

 

dt

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