Welcome to Theme Park Insider! Join the community or log in
Theme Park Insider
Facebook Twitter YouTube Email Newsletter

Six Flags' CEO: Magic Mountain has 'too many' coasters

Written by
Published: February 24, 2006 at 12:54 PM

There's a strong interview with Six Flags CEO Mark Shapiro over at About.com.

The quote that grabbed my attention?

"We need to diversify. We have 17 roller coasters at Six Flags Magic Mountain--that's too many. It's become like a drug. This industry has become addicted to roller coasters. We put them up. The attendance goes up. If we don’t do something the next year, we fall behind. We can't be so reliant on roller coasters. It's about balance. The pendulum has swung so far to teenagers, that our research shows Mom and Dad are pausing when it comes to Six Flags. I need to get rid of that pause. We can--and will--add roller coasters, but we can't abandon the rest of the park."

I think a huge reason for Disney's success in the theme park business is its emphasis on story-telling. More people can relate to stories than can to physical thrills. Great music and stunning visuals linger in most visitors' minds longer than the physical effects of a cobra roll. And people want to spend get-away time with family and friends. For most folks, story-based attractions allow that better than thrill rides.

Readers' Opinions

From Gareth H on February 24, 2006 at 2:34 PM
Agree with guy.
I (28) personally love roller coasters and will ride them till I vomit, thankfully that hasn't happened yet.
My wife (33) on the other hand does not like roller coasters. She would much rather spend her time on Jaws, Earthquake, basically anything where her feet are pinned permanently to the floor!

A theme park cannot solely rely on Coasters to bring in the punters year after year. They do need to diversify to other rides.
Thats what makes Universal so successful. they have 2 coasters, Mummy and Woody.
Same goes for Disney.
Rides with a theme and a story entertain more people than coasters alone, and this alone brings people back year after year.


Without fail, every week, Universal Studios wait times always exceed that of Islands of Adventures and this is becasue they are more family friendly rides over at USF..

Good shout I say!

From Robert Niles on February 24, 2006 at 3:45 PM
Does Magic Mountain have too many coasters? Heck, yeah.

Should Magic Mountain stop building coasters. No way!

Huh?, you might ask. I'd love to see Magic Mountain clear space for great new themed coasters, dark rides and play areas by tearing down some of it's old, played-out coasters. Good-bye Flashback, Viper, Ninja, Goliath Jr., Superman and Psyclone. And if the park can't get Déjà Vu to work every day, lose it, too. (Gold Rusher and Revolution, you get stays of execution merely for historical interest.)

I hope Shapiro comes back west to visit Magic Mountain this summer. A few minutes in the Valencia heat ought to be enough to convince him to build a shaded, themed flume ride and a couple indoor musical dark rides (make one a MIB-style shoot-'em-up), which this broiler of a theme park so desperately needs.

From Anthony Murphy on February 24, 2006 at 4:36 PM
Maybe I am lucky, but when I went to Universal in July, there was NO lines! It was empty! That shocked me and makes me wonder if Universal should get their acts together. I am finally glad to see somebody say this is too much in roller coasters! I love coasters, but there is so much more to a park! Since I love Disney, I am glad that somebody sees Disney's plan and will run with it! I thought IOA would follow the Disney formula, but it has been disappointing lately. Also what makes IOA good is not its roller coasters (which are some of the finest I have ever been on) but the theming and other attractions! Look at Spiderman, its for all ages!
From Chris P. on February 24, 2006 at 6:28 PM
It's funny because Magic Mountain has a coaster under construction, and Shapiro says they have too many. I really doubt they will be demolishing their old coasters, right now they have the most coasters in the world.
From Danny Bernard on February 24, 2006 at 11:28 PM
I belive they should demolish some of their old and worn coasters and build some new dark rides themed around DC comics charecters or the Looney Toons. This would draw a much broader audience than a few new coasters.
From Derek Potter on February 25, 2006 at 12:25 AM
I'm not sure that they have "too many coasters." Cedar Point has made the too many coasters formula highly successful for a long time. They have an ok kiddie section, plenty of flat and water rides, hotels, good food, and some pretty good shows. A park can have as many coasters as it wants as long as there are other things to do. Magic Mountain simply doesn't have anything else to do....pair that with the fact that their coaster capacity and maintenance is horrible, and yes, I can see why the CEO would think that Magic Mountain has too many coasters.

Honestly, I think they do too, simply because they have failed to bring balance to their attraction list, and they are incapable of taking care of the ones that they do have. There really is nothing else to do there but ride...or at least wait in line for a coaster. Tatsu should mark the end of coaster building for awhile, at least until they get some things straightened out.

From Stephen Tuday on February 25, 2006 at 1:30 AM
There is no such thing as too many coasters. A new mega-coaster will keep attendance up for maybe a year. What keeps guests coming back again and again is the theming. Great theming on a ride of any type will be remembered long after the physical experience. Six Flags' parks used to have some of the best theming anywhere, especially in the 1970's and 1980's, particularly in their three original parks, SF over Texas, SF over Georgia, and SF over Mid America (now St. Louis), where the different themed areas of the park actually corresponded with the six different flags in their logo. Now, new rides (including coasters) are being shoehorned into their parks without regard to what theming may have existed there before, or whether or not the new ride fits into the existing theme of that particular park section. Six Flags needs to get back to basics by cleaning up their parks and restoring the theming that makes memories. New coasters are still a good thing, but never at the expense of the rest of the park. Keep building them, but remember, THEME parks are called that for a reason!
From Robert OGrosky on February 25, 2006 at 12:08 PM
While i also love roller coasters, i do agree that SFMM has too many coasters, and alot of them are medicore at best.
More parks need to learn from disney/universal and even BGW that quantity doesnt matter as much as quality.
SFMM needs to remove coasters like Robert N said and build some indoor themed coasters and themed dark rides.
With theming to Superman/Batman and looney toons they could easily create a Spiderman type attraction or interactive darkride like MIB or even a simulator/4d ride that the majority of the family could enjoy and costs can be managed by putting the ride in different parks over time like they have done with the Batman coaster.

This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.

Previous article: Six Flags New England announces two new rides



What's it like to work at Disney World?

Working at Disney World

Insider's Pick: Ever wondered what it would be like to work at the Walt Disney World Resort? Stories from a Theme Park Insider offers more than 100 pages of fun, insightful, and even sometimes touching stories from people who've worked at Disney World's Magic Kingdom. It's a great way to get in the mood for your next trip to Orlando, or just to keep the memories of a Disney World visit alive.

Get it! In paperback | For Kindle | For iBooks