Published: June 23, 2007 at 1:15 AM
My wife and I visited SF Magic Mountain a couple of months ago. I hadn't been since Goliath was the hot new ride so it's been a good while. I've been visiting the park for the past 30 years or so and have never seen it in such awful shape as it is now. Every single thing that is visible is badly in need of refurbishment. All the wood is cracked and starting to warp. The metal all has chipped paint and in some cases is rusting out. Any cloth that is outside is filthy and badly faded. The place looks like no one has done one bit of cosmetic maintenance for at least 3 years (and I only say that little because the sun is incredibly intense at MM... like a mini Palm Springs).
My wife actually got a little freaked out about how bad everything looked. We went on one coaster and she saw how a wooden railing next to the track was falling apart... some boards badly warped and a few missing completely and wondered if the coasters were maintained any better. It didn't help that when we went on the water flume ride, she could see right through the bottom of the boat into the water through a few holes.
What really aggravates me is that a some of this could be fixed easily and relatively cheaply. The metal surfaces, especially, could have been painted by a small crew in a short time during the off-season although the rusted areas would require a bit more work (most was not rusted though). The wood surfaces would require more raw materials and a carpenter or two but why not start working their way through the park this year? The longer they wait to start addressing these issues the more it will cost when they finally do as everything just continues to deteriorate.
I almost forgot, the employees were largely pathetic. I saw ride operators not paying attention to what was going on when coasters were loading and/or getting ready to launch. Many seemed to not care the slightest what was going on around them or about doing their jobs. The worst attitudes I have ever seen at any theme park.
So my impression of SFMM is that Snyder talks a good game but I see no indication that he and his backers are doing what it takes to make this a clean, comfortable environment for families and adults. It's nice that they've cut down on violence but that isn't enough. In Southern California there are too many well-run parks to waste my time going to a place that looks like the operators could care less about it.