Six Flags Over Bankruptcy Court

Those home ticket-printing fees just weren’t enough to help Six Flags pay down their $2.4 billion debt load. The economy and bad weather have taken their toll, and the company declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy over the weekend.

[CEO Mark] Shapiro’s strategy was to remake Six Flags into a more wholesome, family-oriented experience, emphasizing safety, cleanliness and customer service while forging partnerships with major sponsors such as Sara Lee and Chase Card Services.

The company doubled its income from corporate sponsorship and from season ticket sales, and it added themed attractions based on the Looney Tunes characters, the Justice League of America, skateboarding legend Tony Hawk, the Wiggles and Thomas the Tank Engine.

But its summer 2007 attendance was slammed by bad weather in Georgia and Texas, and by an accident on a ride at its park in Kentucky. The same year, it sold seven of its theme parks to a Jacksonville, Fla., company for $312 million in an effort to improve its balance sheet.

No amusement park bailouts? Oh, well. Let’s hope that rides and cartoon characters help our nation put the “whee!” back in “weakened economy.”

Six Flags Declares Bankruptcy, Will Keep Parks Open [Washington Post] (Thanks to everyone who sent this in!)

(Photo: popkid)

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  1. OtterOtter says:

    That photo bugs the OCD in me. I know they’re traveling from upper right to lower left, so while the joke is technically correct in relation to their share prices, the photo really needs to be reversed to show a standard market trend from upper left to lower right.

    Comedy is hard, dammit!

  2. chattanooga says:

    I have heard from people that the Atlanta one has a huge problem when it comes to thug teens terrorizing other patrons.

    • Josh_G says:

      @chattanooga: So these “thugs” buy tickets just so they can harass people? Can’t they just go to the mall for free and do the same thing?

      • chattanooga says:

        @Josh_G:
        A guy got jumped and beat up by 25 people there a few years ago. There is no way in hell I would ever go there.

      • GMFish says:

        @Josh_G: They don’t buy tickets. They “thug” their way in for free.

        • chattanooga says:

          @GMFish:
          Some of the people who were charged in the beating actually worked there. So they are being paid for hanging out there. I wish I could have a job where I could hang out and not be friendly to customers. LOL

          • U-235 says:

            @chattanooga: If only Circuit City were still in business…. Well, as a retail chain anyways. Maybe they’d hire you as a CS rep to beat people verbally?

      • takes_so_little says:

        @Josh_G: They go on Thug day. Union members get in free.

      • MeOhMy says:

        @Josh_G: No, they buy season passes which are ridiculously cheap and allow them a whole summer of “fun” for one low low price.

        It’s been years but the last time I was at the one NJ there was definitely a sizable contingent of “unsavory” looking youths. I can’t say I saw anyone really harassing or terrorizing other patrons directly (beyond those people being exposed to their obnoxious teenage behavior), but I could easily imagine it having gone in that direction.

    • BennyMigrationWitness_GitEmSteveDave says:

      @chattanooga: I heard that if your in the parking lot, and you flash someone with their headlight off, they kill you!

    • Radi0logy says:

      @chattanooga: Yeah, from what I understand, some people will buy season tickets and drop their kids off in the morning before work, cause its a million times cheaper than day-care.

      That six flags is a craphole for sure, I never set foot there anymore.

      • ophmarketing says:

        @Radi0logy: What time does Six Flags open? Don’t most offices open at 9:00? Do the kids just hang out in the parking lot for a few hours before the gates open?

      • gStein_*|bringing starpipe back|* says:

        @Radi0logy: parents will do that here in Charlotte too… since a season pass for carowinds is <$100, and sumer camp for a single week is about $250 or so (at the YMCA)

      • Outrun1986 says:

        @Radi0logy: Yup its the season’s pass problem. You can buy them in the winter for something like less than the price of 2 regular admissions to the park and get admission every day to any SF park for the whole summer. This has been going on for many years at many parks actually. Parents drop their kids off at a spot close to the park and the kids just walk in so they can avoid the ridiculous parking fees. It makes for very cheap day care. The kids get bored of the park after a couple days so they start causing havoc because there is nothing to do.

    • econobiker says:

      @chattanooga:

      The thugs at Six Flags Great Adventure in NJ will kick the Six Flags Atlanta thugs tails any time…(see below)

      • Raekwon says:

        @econobiker: Lol I was going to make a comment about the NJ six flags being similar. Looks like I’m not the only one who felt that the six flags in NJ was a craphole. A lot of rides were broken, garbage was everywhere, the aforementioned “thugs” were also in the employee population, and one of the rides actually had duct tape wrapped around it holding parts of a seat together! No wonder they went bankrupt.

    • Trick says:

      @chattanooga:

      That is how it is at Six Flags Magic Mountain L.A. (California).

      The gang-bangers have taken over the park and security is about as horrible as you can get. They will remove anyone for any reason… so of course they harass the people who are there for rides and let the gang members do what they please out of fear of gang retribution…

      • Raekwon says:

        @Trick: That is sad. I had great memories from that Six Flags. I wonder how the Chicago one is doing? Anyone been there recently?

    • thewriteguy says:

      @chattanooga:

      “War-riors…!” *clink-clink!* “WAR-RIORS…!” *clinky-clink!*

    • BothFeet says:

      @chattanooga:Another LA park visitor here! This is so sad, so many awesome coasters and my whole family loves to ride. But it truly is overrun with thugs, customer service is terrible, and security is a joke.

    • FrugalFreak says:

      @chattanooga:

      I used to go in 70’s and 80’s and it was great, The park is now horrible. It’s now old and there are mobs of unruly patrons now. I will never go again.

  3. bloggerX says:

    The one in New Jersey is the pits-people smoking crack all over the damn place! That bypass the whole one hour line thingy didn’t help, either.

    • BennyMigrationWitness_GitEmSteveDave says:

      @bloggerX: Hey. A little respect. Everyone knows it’s the Benny’s who are smoking the crack.

      As for it being the “pits”, it wasn’t/hasn’t been since the last time I was there.

      • bloggerX says:

        @BennyMigrationWitness_GitEmSteveDave: I went during Halloween. Between people getting pit-pocketed standing in 100 people plus lines, little kids running around, their mothers, talking on their cellphones shouting Tyrone! James! while still holding their conversations, I had fun!

    • blindtheskies says:

      @bloggerX: Seriously. The quality of Great Adventure has improved dramatically over the years. As long as the temp isn’t 90+, I actually enjoy going there.

      • misshistory says:

        @blindtheskies: Actually, I was there last year and it looked worse than I’ve seen it in a long time. Most of the staging was in desperate need of a paint job, there was trash everywhere and all the trash cans were overflowing. Plus, kingda ka was broke all day, yet again. I’ll stick with Dorney Park from now on.

        • Snakeophelia says:

          @misshistory: We went to Great Adventure a couple of weeks ago and thought they had dramatically improved the place. They do pat you down, put you through a metal detector, and give you a long list of things you can’t wear or bring into the park. But otherwise it was perfectly nice, and the new El Toro coaster rocks.

          Kingda Ka was closed, though, so I think it’s just that one coaster that’s really iffy.

    • econobiker says:

      @bloggerX: If they got “certain” people involved the place would be straightened up in no time. Maybe rename it Six Flags Great Soprano’s Adventure. Of course there’d be alot more concrete foundation construction going on all of the time…

    • RB_Bhoy says:

      @bloggerX: $45 for a parking pass, $5 more to park closer. $99 for a season pass. that’s before you even step foot in the park. $9 for a mcdonald’s “combo meal” (not even a value meal, a combo meal).

      if tough times, it’s hard to justify $250 for 2 people to wait on line all day for 5 months.

  4. menty666 says:

    I was going to go to the one in MA this summer since they just rebuilt the Superman coaster there. But if they’re in bankruptcy that screams cost cutting, which if you make minimum wage as a repair tech means corner cutting to trim costs.

    Maybe if they’re there next year….

    • usa_gatekeeper says:

      @menty666: I always thought the one in Massachusetts was a little arrogant in its ads …. the park NEVER told you where it was located in the state. Out in the middle of nowhere, I think.

      • ElizabethD says:

        @usa_gatekeeper:

        Yes, it’s hours from almost everything, unless you live in the Springfield area. But that doesn’t stop thousands of Rhode Islanders from making the trek, my teen son and his friends included.

    • Etoiles says:

      @menty666: I liked going there when it was Riverside; I never found that the Six Flags takeover did it many favors.

      (But then again, I can’t ride the really big coasters. Vertigo & phobia of heights — I had a panic attack the first time I watched the Superman coaster in person.)

      • ElizabethD says:

        @Etoiles:

        Me too on the panic attacks! I went on a coaster just once — when I was four or five years old, with my dad at a traveling carnival in the Midwest. I still have nightmares about it. I’m a drag at amusement parks, although I enjoyed playing Skee-ball at the old-school parks before everything went bigtime and corporate.

        • Etoiles says:

          @ElizabethD: It’s only 90 minutes from NE Rhode Island. At least, if you drive the way I used to. ;)

          (I went to UMass Amherst, and my parents moved to the Providence-Woonsocket-Pawtucket part of RI during my senior year, hehe.)

          • ElizabethD says:

            @Etoiles:

            “Entering Woonsocket: Drive Slow Your Car”

            (lol)

            We live in Warwick on the water, so it takes a bit longer to get to 6 Flags New England.

  5. aja175 says:

    They gave the buffalo park back to the guy they bought it from. Horrible attendance, horrible rides…
    Now the park is falling apart. My boyfriend and I couldn’t justify $50/ea for season passes. They can’t even keep their “signature” ride running, maintenance says they can’t afford to fix the down cars.

    • takes_so_little says:

      @aja175: You mean Darien Lakes? Haven’t been on any rides since I was a kid, but I went to their concert venue last year and hoo boy, suck central.

      • aja175 says:

        @takes_so_little:
        That’s the hole. It’s OK at best as a concert venue (but don’t get too loud or the cows complain)
        The park sucks. A lot. I’ll give it 2 years if they don’t make some big changes.

  6. rpm773 says:

    Shapiro’s strategy was to remake Six Flags into a more wholesome, family-oriented experience, emphasizing safety, cleanliness and customer service while forging partnerships with major sponsors such as Sara Lee and Chase Card Services.

    Didn’t work. Ergo, it’s time to switch gears and go all-in on a titillating, adults-only experience.

    Submitting my resume today.

  7. Scatter says:

    “Mark] Shapiro’s strategy was to remake Six Flags into a more wholesome, family-oriented experience, emphasizing safety, cleanliness and customer service”

    Perhaps the company wouldn’t have been driven to bankruptcy had the CEO concentrated on these basic principles in the first place.

    • Brian James Schend says:

      @Scatter: The best test for marketing BS is if any company would seriously promote the opposite.

      “Meanwhile, their competition has disgusting, family-hostile experience, emphasizing accidental deaths, dirt, and hitting customers with a brick.”

  8. cedarpointfan says:

    A horrible customer experience [i]might[/i] just be to blame. Six Flags, take note of Cedar Fair.

  9. PencilSharp says:

    News: Six Flags declares bankruptcy.
    Stunning news: It didn’t happen six years ago.

    Six Flags has got to be the single most gawd-awful operation in the “amusement” industry. I went to the Kentucky Kingdom park a few years back (wife+kids=”we’re going”)… never again. Long waits for everything, pathetic rides, sky-high vendors… Feh, if I wanna recreate that experience, I’ll walk down a dark alley flashing a wad o’ cash…

    • Illusio26 says:

      @PencilSharp: Bout the same experience at the Six Flags in Gurnee IL. 1-2 hour wait minimum for any ride. Oh, you can by their “Fasttrack” ticket to jump ahead in line. Think they were about $20 a pop. That’s after already paying $80 to get into the park for a day.

      • calquist says:

        @darkjedi26: I grew up going to the Gurnee location and when I went to Disney for the first time last month I was shocked and super pleased that I never waited more than 45 minutes for a ride (most just 10 – 20 minutes). And FREE fast passes!! I just assumed that long wait times for rides were the norm. I remember when the Giant Drop opened I waited 2 hours and 45 minutes for a 17 second ride.

        • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

          @calquist: I never thought Six Flags Great America (Gurnee location) was that bad, but I was mostly going in high school with tons of friends when standing in line for an hour gossiping was still fun (and only different from what you’d do otherwise in that there was a ride at the end). And we had our whole plan of attack mapped out to hit the certain coasters when lines were short … racing across the park at opening to Batman or Shockwave or whatever coaster was newest …

          These days roller coasters give me such a headache from the rattling around that the awesomeness of going really fast and turning upsidedown isn’t awesome enough to offset the horrific headache. I think I am old. But at least I no longer feel any desire to GO to amusement parks because I know the coasters aren’t fun for me.

        • quail says:

          @calquist: Disney has their act together when it comes to parks. They design everything to make the waiting experience short or to ‘feel’ short. Clean too. Their only problem was when they went to cut costs some years back. Heard that night maintenance isn’t what it used to be. They used to clean the store facades nightly — awnings, 2nd floor windows, statues, etc. Haven’t been to one of their parks in years. Heard that those in the know can tell the difference.

          • Brian James Schend says:

            @quail: Disney had a marketing person in charge of their parks in the late 90s. Maintenance was neglected during that time, but they got it back up to snuff now.

  10. PinkBox says:

    The last time I went to a Six Flags was years ago in Valencia.

    Never. Again. It was so insanely crowded that I think I got to get on three rides the entire day, one of them being a kid’s ride. Not worth the money.

    • runchadrun says:

      @PinkBox: Same here. I went to Magic Mountain a couple years ago mid-week in February during the day so you would think it wouldn’t be busy at all. There weren’t that many people but the lines were still long because they would only run 1 or 2 trains on each coaster. (It was easy to tell when you saw the same people get on and off). The bathrooms were dirty with water all over the floor, paint was peeling all over, and everything just had a general feeling of uncleanliness.

      Between that and my nearly 40-year-old stomach’s growing dislike of roller coasters, I haven’t been back since.

      • theblackdog says:

        @runchadrun: That is my biggest complaint about Six Flags parks, many of their coasters are capable of running 2-3 cars at a time, and they typically will only run 1-2 cars instead, even if line is now over an hour long.

    • iluvhatemail says:

      @PinkBox: The last time I went there must have been Gang appreciation day. Almost as scary as Boblo island from my detroit youth.

  11. Brazell says:

    Six Flags has some of the worst customer service I’ve ever experienced in any place that I’ve paid $100+ to visit. Disney is expensive, but you get exactly what you expect and it’s almost always an excellent, perfect visit. Six Flags, on the other hand, you expect mediocrity and you get worse.

  12. Anonymous says:

    This was actually part of the demise of Astroworld in Houston. Summer passes were so cheap that a lot of lower income families would purchase season passes for the kids instead of paying to have someone watch the kid(s) in a summer camp, or babysitter, or summer program.

    A park full of unsupervised kids running around is not a way to create a family friendly atmosphere.

  13. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    Maybe it was just me, but I liked Six Flags America (D.C./Baltimore region). I liked the rides, the funnel cake didn’t kill you, and it was a pretty pleasant experience. Then again, we were (back then) a bunch of teenagers and we would have been placated by riding the roller coaster six times in a row. We weren’t so concerned for patron safety, just roller coaster safety.

    I haven’t been there in about six years though, so I know it might have gone downhill from then. Anyone been there recently?

    • ElizabethD says:

      @pecan 3.14159265:

      You mean the funnel cake hasn’t killed you YET.

    • theblackdog says:

      @pecan 3.14159265: I have gone to the one near DC/Baltimore and it’s still okay, but the attitudes of the employees suck. You can tell that most of them are bored kids that don’t want to be there and really don’t give a shit about their jobs.

    • Wombatish says:

      @pecan 3.14159265: Over Texas used to be really great, about five years ago. It’s gone downhill a bit since then (dirtier, stuff needs painted and such, nickel and dimeing you even worse than usual) but it’s still not nearly as bad as some of the other Six Flags I’ve been to/heard stories about. And it’s got some of the more ‘awesome’ Roller Coasters, much like California (which was worse than Over Texas ((even in it’s downtrodden recent state))) but yet again, not as bad as some of the other ones (Fiesta Texas, for one. Filthy, filthy park, and even more crowded than Cali (both visits during off-peak season))

  14. everclear75 says:

    Six Flags has been teetering on the brink of Bankruptcy for several years now. I’d still love to kick them in the proverbial ding-ding for closing down my beloved Astroworld. They said the land was worth more than the park, but 4 years later it’s nothing but a grassy field. I could write all day about Six Flags and it’s issues. I took the family to SF Fiesta Texas, it’s the closest park to us. Well, 3 hours into the day, a massive thunderboomer opened and they shut the park down. I understand the no refund policy but they were only offering people half price tickets to return. Uh no thanks.. And to top that off we got stuck on a ride for 20 minutes. Not once did management see if everything was OK, or anything.. They were like, oops our bad but feel free to purchase a souvenir on the way out.. It will be a LONG TIME before visit another SF park..

  15. HogwartsAlum says:

    The only time I’ve ever been was to Six Flags over Texas when I was a kid. We were on vacation visiting my grandparents and on the way back, we went to the park.

    It was insanely hot that day and there was this one ride called Spelunker’s Cave where you got in these little boats and went through this “underground” world that had some little animated “elves” in some of the tableaus. At the very end was a tableau depicting Santa’s Workshop at the North Pole, complete with icy blasts of air as you traveled past the little elves.

    The line was CRAZY long, longer than at any other ride. We went through that thing at least five times just to get in the air conditioning. I’m sure all the other people were there for the same reason.

    • Yossarian says:

      @HogwartsAlum: It’s not the Spelunker’s Cave anymore, but it was a popular ride for more reasons than that the cold air.

    • Wombatish says:

      @HogwartsAlum: Lol, sadly Yossarian is right.

      And you just dated yourself HogwartsAlum! My mom always laughs when one of the (younger) cast members asks her what her favorite ride is ((it’s a common tactic if you ever actually have a conversation with one)) and she starts listing off rides that have been closed since before they were born.

  16. VA_White says:

    We were just at Six Flags in Arlington, TX on Saturday. Other than the fact that it was 105 degrees, we had a great time. The park isn’t laid out as well as a Disney park but the rides were all fun and our kids had a great time. At Disney, there is a logic to how you move through the park from one area to another but at SF, you have a lot of dead ends and doubling back. And not enough air-conditioned areas to cool off and rest. But A/C costs money…

    Overall, we had a nice visit. No unpleasantness, and very family-friendly.

    • quail says:

      @VA_White: I grew up going to that park. I believe that it was their first park to operate. Always had great experiences there. It might be a great park because their offices are based in Arlington.

    • Omir The Storyteller says:

      @VA_White: Yeah that sounds like my primary reason for visiting It’s A Small World at Disneyland. Who cares about the song and the dolls? It’s got air conditioning!!

  17. Pibbs says:

    I’m a huge roller coaster fan from the Northeast, and honestly, if you go to a Six Flags park mid-week (speaking from experience with Six Flags New England and Great Adventure in NJ), typically you will have a good experience, smaller lines, and an overall better time at the park. People who expect to go to Great Adventure on a weekend in mid-summer and ride everything are sadly mistaken. It’s the closest major amusement park to NYC, and unfortunately is ALWAYS packed in the summer. That being said, the park has certainly bumped up it’s efficiency and speed in getting riders on and off a coaster in the past few years.

    Six Flags will never hold a candle to Cedar Fair parks, however. I’ve always felt as though the people working at Cedar Point are WAY more enthusiastic when you come back into the station, and really care about your ride experience (Although Six Flags does have a few ride operators that come close). I’ve also seen a huge difference in the people working at the former Paramount parks (Kings Island especially). I went there once before Cedar Fair bought them out, and then afterwards, and there was a huge difference in attitude and efficiency throughout the park.

    • theblackdog says:

      @Pibbs: I just did a whole write up about Cedar Fair parks and how I always seem to get a much better quality experience from them, one of the biggest reasons being that their employees seem to actually enjoy their jobs and it shows. Plus they actually understand that it’s a good thing to run more than 1 car on a coasters, especially during peak time.

  18. Psychosocial says:

    Six Flags outside Saint Louis is nice? A bit crowded, but not unacceptabley crowded.

  19. Blueskylaw says:

    “[CEO Mark] Shapiro’s strategy was to remake Six Flags into a more wholesome, family-oriented experience, emphasizing safety, cleanliness and customer service”

    So you mean to tell me that they were NOT wholesome, family-oriented, safe, clean and with good customer service?

  20. Missy Malevolent says:

    That picture is hilarious.

  21. Brian James Schend says:

    Maybe Disney will buy some of these parks and make them good.

  22. PsiCop says:

    “… Shapiro’s strategy was to remake Six Flags into a more wholesome, family-oriented experience, emphasizing safety, cleanliness and customer service …”

    Gee, it’s too bad he never actually got around to doing any of that! Six Flags New England is a pit. The place has graffiti on everything, some of it pretty rude (so much for the “wholesome” part), it’s ridiculously expensive (so much for bringing the “family” along), the rides break down for no apparent reason while employees stand around gawking at each other (so much for “safety”), the place looks like a trash heap (so much for “cleanliness”), and as for “customer service” … hah! You have GOT to be kidding me!

    I wouldn’t set foot in the place, even at gunpoint. Ever.

  23. itmustbeken says:

    Went to SF:Magic Mountain a few weeks ago with my son to ride the big rides. I felt really out of place since I didn’t have any neck or face tattoos and I had trouble working Mutha F(*@r into every sentence. What a damn dump.

    Many of the park workers were wearing shirts that said something like ‘Help keep our park clean, my Mom comes here too’. Kind of weird. Begging the visitors to not be filthy. You would never see a Disneyland employee with a shirt saying ‘When you litter, you make Mickey cry.”

  24. gqcarrick says:

    Everyone knows that Six Flags just can’t compete with Cedar Point and other Cedar Fair parks.

  25. grapedog says:

    Busch Gardens in Virginia was top notch every time I ever went there. 4-5 times from 2005+, and their Howl-O-Scream(Halloween theme) was great too.

    Only time it sucked was when they had their free military+family day…SO FRIGGING PACKED!

    Last time I went to a Six Flags, the one in Agawam MA, it was very very good, of course that was 1999.

    • TKWarrior says:

      @grapedog: +1 on Busch Gardens VA. Going there soon for the wife’s B-day (My B-day the same day too, no jokes). We try to go there once every couple years and never had a bad time.

      Six Flags in NJ can’t even compare in either the cleanliness and maintenance of the park or in customer service. It was pitiful to the point of depressing when we were at Great Adventure last year.

      Disney was looking to build a park near Phila / NYC years back. I’d love to see them take the NJ park away from SF.

  26. Todd Miller says:

    Born and raised in the area of the original Six Flags that Angus G. Wynne created back in 1961, this saddens me.

    Even after the 1966 sell off to Penn Central they grew the parks the right way.

    If it wouldn’t have ballooned into the corporate craziness is has, maybe it would have survived. Premiere Parks ran it into the ground, turning something special into just another ho hum set of parks.

  27. Todd Miller says:

    @VA_White:

    But it wasn’t 105 here on Saturday. Might have felt like it but 97 was the top for that day.

  28. lockdog says:

    Premier Parks / 6 Flags has been on a crash course for a long time now. Ten years ago when I was working across the lake at Sea World Ohio Premier purchased Geauga Lake. (The was the local park for Clevelanders. You’d go to cedar point once a season, but buy season passes to geauga lake). The park went downhill fast. A whole crowd of their safety and ride maintenance guys quit within a year of the park being taken over. Never a good sign. A lot of them came to work at Sea World and they had horror stories to tell of cost-cutting in their safety and inspection routines. I’ll not be sad to see them go.

  29. Jesse S Congdon says:

    Six Flags is run by incompetence, I have been a season pass holder for 6 years, and whenever I am in New Jersey I always go to Six Flags Great Adventure when it is open very late. It seems I am able to get through the whole place in roughly an hour or 2.
    The great thing about a season pass is that you can come at any hour of the day so I just come there after a long day elsewhere. Six Flags should lower its concessions prices so they can keep more people in the park because around 12-1 there is a mass migration of people heading out to the neighboring McDonalds, KFC etc.
    Instead of making 500% on their food they should try for 200% seems like they’d sell more and keep people in the park longer. Instead of charging $3.50 for a soda lower the price to 1.50 to $2.00. I haven’t bought anything at Six Flags in 5 years because everything is so expensive now-a-days.

  30. Outrun1986 says:

    Sorry but I think SF deserves what they got after the KK incident. I don’t think I need to re-explain that one here. This is a corporation that makes all theme parks look bad. I firmly believe they have unsafe rides just because its cheaper to pay off the few settlements from ride injuries than it is to implement a correct ride safety program across the board. I am not sure if I would put my life in the hands of a bankrupt company either, if the company is mismanaged then the ride safety probably is as well. I have really liberal views on ride safety too however I just feel that SF is not a corporation that I feel safe riding rides with and this comes from someone who trusts carnival rides more than rides at SF. SF parks are cutting corners on ride safety and don’t let anyone tell you they don’t.

    Its not really an issue for me now though as I don’t have an SF park near me (our local SF park was sold to PARC company) and believe me I am not going to travel far just to get to one.

    The parks in NY state are inspected once a year at opening and that is it. Carnivals are inspected every time they are set up so if something is wrong it is caught and fixed before the ride opens to the public. They are constantly being set up and taken down however there are more inspections to account for that. Most carnival outfits around here are too small to afford to pay out an injury settlement so they take ride safety very seriously or else they will probably not be on the road for another season. The once a year inspection on parks leaves the whole season for a park to cut corners on ride safety to try and save money.

  31. golddog says:

    I think their decline can be traced back to when they stopped using that old dude in their commercials…

  32. crunchberries says:

    In that case, I can’t help but be glad that Darien Lake was able to escape the claws of Six Flags while they still had a chance.

  33. deleted01 says:

    Magic Mountain was a second home to me when I was a kid. I’ve tried to go back with friends as an adult but its a ghetto gangster infested dump.

  34. RobertW.TX says:

    While I have never experienced the rough youth problem at Six Flags over Texas, Arlington. I would think it would be a trivial problem to fix.

    1) Cameras, Cameras, Cameras. They are cheap and great deterrents if local law enforcement is willing to prosecute.

    2) Watch said cameras and direct obvious security to follow groups of rough looking youths around.

    A possibly more controversial rule:

    Don’t let kids under 18 use season passes unless entering the park with a parent. Set a quota, say 4 kids with an adult who is a verifiable parent of one kid in the group. Implement the Chuck E. Cheese system. Don’t let the adult leave without all the kids they came in with.

    • Outrun1986 says:

      @RobertW.TX: The problem with this is it would decrease business even more. The best thing to do is to offer Seasons tickets and not seasons passes. Seasons tickets are basically a book of tickets you buy at the beginning of the year and they are heavily discounted from the regular price. Its basically like buying park tickets in bulk. The difference is you get something like 20 tickets good for 1 all day admission to the park each.

      Many small parks do this instead of offering a season’s pass that is good on every day to avoid the parents using the park as day care problem. It is successful, it works and doesn’t cut down on business. The drop-off kids aren’t making the park any money other than the purchase of the initial seasons pass either because they are often sent to the park with no money at all, parks want people to spend in the park. The parents are also dropping off which means there is no parking fee paid.

      When visiting a park look for one that does not offer a good every day of the summer season’s pass. You will find these parks much more pleasant to visit.

      There are parks that tried the verifiable parent thing, it just did not work and created huge hassles at the entrance and extremely long lines at the entrance. This pissed off guests to no extent. Questioning about who is the parent of the kid is something that should be reserved for border crossings not a theme park. Overall this idea is just bad for business.

      Besides the parents could just take up shelter under one of the picnic shelters and let the kids run wild anyways. If the park serves alcohol its pretty much guaranteed that the parents will be in the alcohol area the whole time while letting the kids run wild on the rides. Seen it enough to know.

      CEC is a smaller, self contained place so the system works perfectly for them. Even if the parent is sitting at a booth the children can be seen at pretty much all times, the CEC’s here are not very big at all and they have gotten rid of the ball pits and crawl mazes at them.

      Cameras are a good idea though and some parks have them on the rides to prevent people from doing things like unbuckling the seatbelt on the lift hill of a coaster. If you do that at certain parks security will be waiting for you at the coaster exit. If they implemented a system like that with more cameras in the park it would be perfect. Its the most likely to happen solution.

  35. karvelot says:

    I can remember the last time I went to Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, CA. I got sick after eating at an in park restaurant near the Goliath roller coaster. I was told I may have motion sickness, but I have never gotten sick on a roller coaster before, so it had to be the food. Don’t drink the tap water there either. You will regret it.