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)