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The BLOGFlume—I’m Back!!

After a weekend on the Mississippi, I’m back with a big update from around the theme park universe.

Written by Russell Meyer
Published: February 9, 2005 at 7:24 PM

The Salute Continues
Tampa Bay Business Journal 2/4/05

All of the Anheuser-Busch parks have announced that they will continue their “Salute to Heroes” program which gives complimentary daily admission to active military, active reserve, and Coast Guard, as well as up to three dependents. The offer is good at both Busch Gardens parks and all three Sea World parks. This program was started shortly after the 9-11 disaster, and has been very popular since its inception in 2002. Anheuser-Busch also displayed its support of the troops with Super Bowl ads. A company that’s incredibly famous for stomach-cramping, laugh-out-loud-funny ads displayed way more class than godaddy.com by paying for ads that didn’t show a single product, and a rarely used company logo. For so many people, our conflicts overseas are merely a distant thought, so it is great to see that at least one company is willing to show its support for something that most people could really care less about. Whether you agree with what’s going on abroad, it’s still vitally important that our young warriors are welcomed home with open arms, and that every one of them understands that we appreciate everything that they do for our great country.

I’m Going To…
Orlando Sentinel 2/9/05

I know, I know, Disney pulled a fast one on all of us. Not only did they get a whole lot of publicity for not continuing its “I’m going to Disneyland/World” ads with a player from the winning team, but they ran a similar ad that cost them thousands less to make that’s getting even more buzz than the traditional ads. The new ad featured actors that represented the same premise with a kid scoring a touchdown in a Pop Warner game with his father doing the famous question. The kid enthusiastically responds “I’m going to Disneyland!” The ad saved Disney a lot of money since the player who utters the famous line typically gets paid quite well for his participation. Also, since the ad is not directly tied to the NFL, the commercial can be used for months and months without losing relevance. The old ads could not be run more than a month after the Super Bowl since the player in question had already done a huge press junket at one of the parks, and interest in football fades quickly after the big game through to April’s NFL draft. What a clever move!

Six Flags News
Ultimate Roller Coaster 2/8/05
Screamscape 2/7/05

Six Flags Over Georgia has announced plans to add a large new water play area called Skull Island. Skull Island at SFOG will be nearly identical to a similar structure being built as part of a new Hurricane Harbor water park inside Six Flags Great America. The Caribbean pirate themed (don’t reverse those, or lawsuits will fly) play area will feature six water slides and a thousand-gallon skull-shaped bucket of water that will dump its contents every few minutes. The new move to improve the company’s water parks is contagious as Tornado water slides are being added in three parks, and another park, Six Flags America, also is getting a water park facelift. These improvements will probably not make a huge impact at the turnstiles, but they do demonstrate Six Flags attempting to make the guest experience better, albeit marginally.

In other less surprising Six Flags news, park officials have made it clear that the new Golden Kingdom area being constructed at Six Flags Great Adventure will be ready by the park’s opening in March. However, the record breaking Kingda Ka will not be ready for its first passengers until sometime in May. Arial photos of the park show that almost the entire circuit of the coaster is complete with just the launch track to complete, but very little else looks to be completed in the area around Kingda Ka. Six Flags also announced at a recent ACE event in the park that Viper will be removed from the park to make way for a future project later this year, and the park will keep every food stand and every ride open every day. YEAH RIGHT! These are some lofty goals for a park that has suffered for years with customer service and satisfaction. I would be surprised if just one of the aforementioned items comes to fruition, including the removal of Viper.

A War is Brewing
Yahoo Finance 2/9/05

Universal Studios Hollywood will be making a massive addition to its behind the scenes tram tour. The popular attraction will soon be graced by a huge set from Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds. The set will depict a small town destroyed by a 747 crash and surrounded by debris from a Martian attack. War of the Worlds is expected in theaters on June 29, 2005, and guests can expect to be bombarded with ads for the highly anticipated film over the next 5 months. The attraction that never seems to go out of style is able to stay relevant with additions like this one, as blockbuster movies sets create great backdrops for this tram tour. It’s disappointing that the more popular USF does not have an equal to this great attraction that is about to get even better.

Readers' Opinions

From Derek Potter on February 10, 2005 at 10:48 PM
I'm calling it now. Kingda Ka won't be open until June. It will be Top Thrill Dragster part 2, and this time Six Flags maintenance is in charge. Get ready to wait in line folks. As for every ride and food stand being open...congratulations on a job that should have been done already...that is, if they can even accomplish it. If they do, what about the other 25 Six Flags parks? How about opening every ride and food stand in all of those too, just like the other park chains do. If you are going to brag about just getting up to par, at least do it on a company wide basis so that I and every other displaced fan have a reason to even consider throwing money in your direction.

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