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An interview with Mark Shapiro


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^^ Most park push season pass and season parking sales for that reason. Most of the attendance at regional parks is regional families .. hence why WDW's Annual Passes are cheaper for Florida residents.

 

The State Fair of Texas has been doing this for years. Raising the prices every year or every other year, yet they still keep climbing in attendance numbers, almost at 5 million visitors in 24 days. You need to get rid of that debt before you can start throwing away money again, the family angle works very very well, as with Disney's case and the State Fair's.

 

You need some thrills, but then again, most families don't travel 3,000 miles to try to ride the world's tallest paperwieght. Only us tards do, plain and simple. Most parks are out for the whole family, not just thrill-seekers.

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^ I get that, and don't want to sound too negative about the new 6F. I wish Shapiro well. If he can keep the parks afloat by increasing their regional draw, it's good for all of us. I just wonder whether SFMM indeed has "too many coasters," or whether the real problem is that it has too little of other stuff. Having suffered through a number of 6F stunt shows, IMO adding something - parade, fireworks, whatever - of that caliber is unlikely to draw repeat visitors. When 6F parks add nightly fireworks, I'm betting it won't be IllumiNations, or even close.

 

I can only hope that new management is committed to a rise in quality, as well. Like I said, the Spirit of the Tiger show at SFGAdv was of the "nice try, no cigar" variety. And I'd be interested in knowing, for instance, whether the opening Katonga (which is a first-rate show) at BGT was responsible for a larger bump in attendance than SheiKra.

 

Meanwhile, my home park, SFMW, is family-friendly to a fault. It has only 4 nonkiddie coasters operating (assuming Zonga isn't resurrected), and since one of them is an SLC and V2 has often been down, there are days when there are only two coasters in the park that I want to ride. (And as a result, queues at Medusa are often rather lengthy. Of course, that's just a spur for parkgoers to buy a revenue-producing FastPass, right? ) Flats are also lacking, but there are lots of animal and marine attractions (which I also enjoy), and that's where the oongoing focus is. And, from what I understand, SFMW is one of the leading performers in the chain, and more power to it. I just wish that they'd add a decent new ride - even a SFAW retread - sometime soon. There's just so many times I want to pat the stingrays.

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People on this thread have been complaining about the fact that SF is trying to turn the parks into destination parks. NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. The park's over the last 45 years have built a reputation for thrill. We can talk about making more family friendly, which might work to a certain point, but really not far. As for resorts, well SF has this thrillday reputation and it's really not going to change soon.

I am saying that if you want something, you have to built a reputation for it.

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Let me guess, he talks about:

 

A. new characters.

B. The Parade he takes credit for that was already a normal summer entertainment offering prior to Red Zone.

C. The Fireworks that were also a normal summer entertainment offering prior to Red Zone.

 

-Joey "so freaking tired of Shapiro stories that I didn't bother to read this interview" Mandel

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Let me guess, he talks about:

 

A. new characters.

B. The Parade he takes credit for that was already a normal summer entertainment offering prior to Red Zone.

C. The Fireworks that were also a normal summer entertainment offering prior to Red Zone.

 

-Joey "so freaking tired of Shapiro stories that I didn't bother to read this interview" Mandel

 

Actually he only talked about that in one question/paragraph. Other issues he talked about:

 

- installing Fast Lane at all parks

- Touch - n - go systems

- brand name food (incl. local flavors)

- that there is a misconception stemming from "No more Goliaths"

- the parks are undervalued compared to other entertainmnet options

- potential future with indoor waterparks and on-site hotels

 

 

See, the reason I DO like this article a lot is because it IS diferent from most others and it really clears up misconceptions that a lot of folks had. It's not just the same old crap, you should read it.

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^ The only way SFMM is worth as much as DLR is if it offers something Disney doesn't, i.e., plenty of top of the line thrill rides. So the idea that Magic Mountain has "too many"coasters, and instead should offer up what's more than likely to be - especially considering the current state of 6F finances - pale imitations of what Disney does superbly - parades, fireworks, and the like - is really odd.

 

I can see that in other markets that might not be true. Here in the SF Bay Area, for instance, PGA is the ride park, SFMW the "family" park. But SFMM wimpifying their Fright Fest to "family" status seems just wrong: "Shapiro's Not-So-Scary Hallowe'en Party?" Hell, why not just go to Disneyland instead?

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I agree, getting SFMM up to these new standards is also going to be tricky. This may have to be the exception to their "family" park rule. 17 coasters is 17 coasters. I'm thinking you might see some of the coasters removed and the number trimmed down. No telling really at this point.
No they aren't nuts they won't get rid of coasters at any great rate. I think that this has sealed the fate of the recent building frenzy of coasters... The recent golden age of the giant coaster is over.

 

I have to say though that really I am amazed at the attitudes that the new people have coming in. They really seem to believe that they have all the answers but maybe that just comes with the territory in business. Honestly they realy have to look at the market that Six Flags has bred and I think they have to move in a new direction. They can't be Disney lite because it just isn't heading anywhere. You can't slap some slapdash scenery on a ride and call it themed. The reason that Disney is so popular is because they wrap you in a ride and make it an experience.

 

Honestly I can't help but wonder what this season will bring. Will we see Six Flags pulling a Cedar Point next season? I mean I can't see people being happy about paying $15 for parking. I can't see people happy at paying more for a day admission at some parks than a season pass was last year...

 

If I am being totally reasonable I have to think that the suggestions are solid but shortsighted. Parades are only a thrill when they are unique. Once you have seen a parade a couple of times it just doesn't do it anymore and besides they can't budget the amount that Disney does nor do they have the space in most parks. Similarly Stunt Shows are great attractions for young boys but most are so cheesy that parents are immeditately turned off and will only visit once. What they are doing is creating attractions that aren't repeat draws and they just don't seem to be able to see it. I mean this guy is an Ex-TV Exec right? You don't show re-runs all day long and expect people to keep tuning in. Same concept with parks... You gotta up the thrill and change up the content...

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Well said. The only reason I traveled 3000 miles to SFGAdv was because of Kingda Ka, not because of the silly Spirit of the Tiger show they added.

 

I think you've totally missed what the new management is going after. They aren't neccessarily trying to be a global magnet, but to provide a local alternative to Disney and Busch. They are trying to make that trip to Florida less apealing, I mean, if you can take a couple of days and visit your local Six Flags and have an experience that is at least close and yet cheaper, wouldn't that take some luster out of a possible trip or even a return trip to Florida?

 

They aren't loking to pull folks from the midwest into Great Adventure - they are looking to draw crods from Philly, the Beltway and the NYC metro areas.

 

send parking fees to record highs

 

Because at $3.75 / person for a family of 4, parking become fairly nominal. Most of the time, that may only equal the cost of a large drink.

 

Exactly! That's kind of how we view our local Playland. We can get 30+ rides for about $70 a year, we don't miss SoCal that much on the years we don't go.

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