Good-bye Magic Mountain? Six Flags puts six parks up for sale or closure*
[* Update, March 24, 2010:
Folks continue to come to this article below from 2006
via the Google archive search, so let me bring you up to date. Six Flags sold a few of its smaller parks back in 2006, but not Magic Mountain. Six Flags Magic Mountain remains part of the chain, is not for sale and doesn't appear to be going anywhere anytime soon.
Visit Theme Park Insider's Six Flags Magic Mountain for the current attraction line-up, reader ratings and reviews, as well as links to fresher news and discussion threads.]
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June 22, 2006 - Six Flags announced plans Thursday to sell or close six of its properties, including the chain's once-flagship park, Magic Mountain, in Valencia, Calif.
In a press release issued after the U.S. stock market closed Thursday, Six Flags announced that it would sell the properties, to either a single buyer or multiple buyers, or that it might sell or redeploy the properties' attractions, to clear the land for real estate sale.
The six parks on the block are Magic Mountain, Elitch Gardens in downtown Denver, Colorado, Darien Lake near Buffalo, New York, Wild Waves and Enchanted Village outside Seattle, Washington and the waterparks Six Flags Waterworld in Concord and Six Flags Splashdown in Houston.
Long-time TPI readers are familiar with our coverage of Six Flags' financial struggles, and we predicted some of the parks would be going back in January. With Paramount Parks already selling out to Cedar Fair, one wonders what company will be able and willing to mount a bid to purchase the Six Flags parks. Real estate sales, alas, seem the most likely result for most of the parks. Magic Mountain, obviously, is the most viable park among the six, but Cedar Fair already has a Southern California park, in Buena Park's Knott's Berry Farm. The land underneath Magic Mountain would be worth many millions, even in SoCal's stalled real estate market, if no theme park company is willing to add this roller coaster haven to its portfolio.
Six Flags shares plunged, losing nearly a fifth of their value in after-hours trading, following the announcement.
Update: A comment I've made in a couple TV interviews since the story broke: It'd be ironic if Magic Mountain were sold off for real estate development, given that real estate development is the reason the park was built in the first place.
Magic Mountain was not always a Six Flags park. Its builder and original owner was the Newhall Land Company, the developer that built many of the communities around the park. Newhall Land thought it needed a big attraction to lure families over the pass from the San Fernando Valley into the Santa Clarita. So it contracted SeaWorld's designers and built Magic Mountain.
How ironic, now, that the park might fall victim to the success of the real estate market it was built to inspire.
Update (9/27/2006): It looks like Magic Mountain will not close in 2007, at least.
Cedar Fair may have Knotts, but how could they not have their eye on Magic Mountain. They may be buying Paramount, but why would they not want Magic Mountain as well. I suppose the cost of buying the park would be an obstacle, given the cost of the land, and the possiblity of corporate vultures but still, the park could be successful.
just another of 6 flags blunders..... I wonder if mr shapiro even has a clue? Just maybe it was some of the policies that he enacted? Maybe it is because he is trying to turn 6 flags into disneyworld? Maybe it is because they raised rates on everything (parking, tickets, and food)? Maybe 6 flags needs to learn that because of high gas prices, people are not vacationing like they were 2 years ago and raising rates, does not help at all. Go back to policies of a year ago, lower prices and quit trying to turn 6 flags into disney. Also it didn't help closing the offices in a far cry cheaper Oklahoma to the high price New York
At first, I dismissed Cedar Fair, since it already has a park in SoCal, but, hey, it bought Geauga Lake. So maybe CF could go for two parks in SoCal.
Saw someone on ABC7 from TPI Today. Who was that?
I'm not all that familiar with Magic Mountain beyond it's reputation online and the setting for a few films and TV shgows, but I think I like your idea of Busch taking it over Robert. They've built up a strong reputation of quality with the two existing "Busch Gardens" parks, but both are on the east coast. Why not venture into the California market. The coasters and thrills are there already, all they need to do is theme things up better.
why is six flags giving up on Magic Mountain? Um hellloo,the park is the home of 16 of the most X-treame roller coasters,and if they are giving up,why aren't the other parks going for it? I live near Magic Mountain and it's my favorite theme park,I hope it at least gets sold to a good company :).
The thing is though, while the real estate would fetch a pretty penny, the revenue that Magic Mountain brought the company would also be gone. They may pay the debt down, but it would only make a dent in the 2 plus billion amount they owe, and whatever profit Magic Mountain and the other parks made would be gone as well, leaving them with less profit over the long term.
I agree wholeheartedly with Derek. My family and I have visited Six Flags NE a number of times over the last 2-3 years and every visit has been full of experiences like outrageous food & water prices, long ride waits, closed rides - for months at a time , trash all over the park, slow ride turns, and the lack of customer service in general. It's telling that you can't talk directly to the park manager on site, and they don't even have email or electronic feedback links on the parks pages on the main six flags website. The company has never responded to written complaints I've filed while at the park. I don't think they want to speak directly to customers because they could not stand the avalanche of complaints.
I work for Magic Mountain(yes Pity me), and what everyone has been saying about needing to pay the employees more is true. Minors make min wage which is only $6.75 and all adults get paid $7.50 to start. Which is crap. The area where I work is literaly falling down around our heads, so fixing the leaky cellings getting rid of the mold and vermin would be nice too. A good friend of mine works on a ride near the back of the park and her "break room" is picnic table underneath the track, I'm not even joking.
^ Yeah your right I just finished my Hiring Process at six flags magic mountain yesterday and I have orientation friday. If you, can you tell me about job orientation and what we do?
yeah..... "downtown disney" or "citywalk" would be an improvement.... but actually its more housing they're putting up... i know because in my walk to save 15 dollars for parking, i walked past the public notice sign tht every body goes wizzing right by in their cars. its not actually 6 flags doing construction either. its the homemakers... but its on pause because of the community and the government steping in. community doesnt want more traffic, and gov has problems with water and traffic. i dont think anything will be happening soon, but noone can be sure at all.
im so pissed..how could magic mountain be put up for sale? its the best six flags in the world...and thats a fact not just my opinion....besides what are teens gonna do if magic mountain closes? where are we gonna go? we are going to have no entairtainment..im telling you, being in high school rite now...alotta teens are complaining....magic mountain won't be sold without the complains from teens that regualrly visit magic mountain..u watch....im so pissed as six flags is what i look forward to every summer...they can't sell it to those stupid real estate people...
A few years ago the Travel Channel named Magic Mountain as one of the top 10 theme parks in the world! My family lives 12 hours away yet we make it a destination far more often than Disney. We like the rides better than Cedar Point - although Cedar Point is a great park. The weather is better and the rides are exciting. We will be very sad to see it go :( However, on our last trip we went to Disneyland & Magic Mountain and after the cleanliness of disney - Magic Mountain seemed filthy! But,one member of our group got sick after eating at a food establishment in the park, and the people at the customer service area were very helpful and gave us a refund for the food and made sure the person was doing okay. Good & bad for one visit. I hope everything works out and the park stays.
The type of demographic that Magic Mountain attracts includes teenagers and young adults from the inner city that look like gang members even if they are not. There have been many violent incidents at the park. It definitely does not have a family friendly feeling. Disneyland, Universal Studios and even Knott's Berry Farm are cleaner and have the image of being a much safer place for suburban families to come.
I thought that Six Flags Magic Mountain is a great place. I think the problem is not the park but the management. The employees are underpayed for all the things they have to put up with while the management gets payed a lot of money. So employees aren't happy it makes people like me have a less fun time.
I would be sorry to se the place go but it really has been taken over by gangs and just crappy peolpe. I stopped going because of that reason. Peolpe getting shot in the parking lot is not the fun ride I am looking for.
I gotta defend Magic Mountain on one point here. The whole "gang bangers are running the place" meme was based on a couple incidents in the 1990s, which no longer reflect reality at the park. Sure, there might be some white boy wanna-bes running around in "gang" colors they picked up at the mall, but over the past few years I have found the front gate and parking lot security consistent with industry standards and the atmosphere within the park no less safe than any other theme park I've visted.
This is to Robert Medrano who just got hired in, yes orientation means you are in for sure. They just talk about park policies and guest service standards and stuff like that. Its basically four hours of BS. I work at the main gate in the booths and I like it because the people are very nice and we have a lot of fun. But the truth of the matter is they treat their employees like disposable items, like they can be replaced at a moments notice. When they train you at a position and they start you there you barely know what your doing, the booths on the inside are falling apart. At Disneyland as i recall they were in top shape almost brand new. the counters are broken and the paint in coming off. The management is really trying to correct itself though, they are being much more strict and following procedure but it takes time. This didnt happen over night and it cant be fixed overnight either. But i think with the risiculously high prices they should be making good money, on any given day by myself i get 15 to 20,000 dollars at the front in cash, and they are usually 15-20 cashiers, you do the math. But the rumor at the park is if they dont recover their losses by the end of this summer they will be shutting down. I hope they don't because i think this park can be great, but ppl just have to give it time. Improvements i can see already, there ar characters everywhere to take pictures with, at least 5 sets at a given time. There are parades twice a day, fireworks. The food is getting of better quality, they are starting to run more than one train on the rides. Its only the beginning of summer it is too early to tell...
oh wow, So they dont train well? I got hired a sa ride host what ride do you think theyll start me at? if you can, can we continue this convo at my email address email@example.com please & thank you,
I feel greatly that six flags shouldnt close Magic Mountain but retool it with better management. Also they should build more family attractions. So the park could appeal to lower ages as well.
I too have heard from quite a few folks that operations have been improving. I've actually heard a few positive reports this year. Rides are open, and running at better capacity. That's a step in the right direction. The problem is that a lot of people have been burned by their experiences there, and probably won't go back until there is a definitive sign of improvement. Parents won't go unless there is a definitive sign of things to do for younger children. I still can't see why they would cut this park loose. Clean up the place, keep on the maintenance and ride capacity, tear down Flashback and and any other rides that are more hassle than they are worth. Retrack the wooden coasters. Build some different rides for all demographics. The area around Flashback is a good spot for a new and improved kiddieland of some kind. Bring in a couple of actual sit down restaurants that serve dinner food or breakfast. Get rid of Papa John's pizza (that's a personal request from me to all Six Flags parks) and replace it with a good local flavor. Get rid of the extra admission fee to the waterpark and include it in park admission. That alone will draw more families. A free waterpark is a large reason why parks like Kings Island have big attendance numbers. Send the Marvel comic book characters and whatever else you got out in full force. Spruce up existing structures, do some landscaping and water features, put in some queue tvs or line entertainment for the big line rides, and enforce line jumping rules. Entice the younger kids (and their parents) in with a heavily discounted kids admission. That may be a bit of a tall order in some cases, but in my honest opinion, those things come before any new big rides are built.
I hope that they do not close Magic Mountain, but I do understand the reasoning behind the move. They have always had the most thrilling rides in the area, but do suffer from lack of maintenance. If it is truely getting better then people should take a new look. They really need to revamp their advertising strategy since they still seem to cater to teens and young adults.
This struck me as very interesting.
Valencia welcomed opening day of Magic Mountain on Memorial Day weekend of 1971. I was there. At the young age of 13 I was so excited. I could not stop bugging my parents to take us again and again. After all we lived right here in Valencia, the new home of Magic Mountain. Believe it or not that was the biggest thing that had ever hit our town. Many years passed and we continued to go countless times. Then it came time to introduce my own children to Magic Mountain. They too loved it. But.......After only a couple of visits in 1997 I found that Magic Mountain was not what I had remembered. In 1997 going to Magic Mountain was like going to who's who of gang bangers and undesirables. Waiting in line was a joke because these punks would cut through line and if you said anything you would find yourself having to defend your self in front of family over something as silly as line cutting. You could see it all coming. Busses and parents dropping off these punks to spend the day at Magic Mountain thinking they are above following simple and courteous rules. Magic Mountain management decided to do something about it. Failed attempts like dress codes etc. only resulted in the A.C.L.U. and other liberal groups calling this a practice of discrimination. The news media pandered to this thought process. It soon became common knowledge that Magic Mountain was not a family friendly place to go. The punks learned it was a place to come and agitate each other and Joe public and his family. So to you gang banging punks (past and present) I say this “ where are ya gonna go now?” You bad apples can blame yourselves!!!!!!!!!!! Now you can stay in your ” HOOD” and agitate each other. You will not be missed.
You guys say that some rides are running only one train and could run more for faster lines, right? Well, I think that there could be a safety reason behind that. Because if they were running two trains and they know that brakes have a chance of malfunctioning, then if a train is held up and the other comes in, brakes might not work. If the brakes don't work the train will scream in at some 25 MPH and kill someone.
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