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Six Flags faces opposition to beer sales at Texas park

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Published: December 28, 2007 at 9:43 AM

The folks at Six Flags Over Texas have applied for a permit to sell beer at the park, and that's got plenty of neighbors upset.

Beer sales are common at theme parks, but the original Six Flags park, like industry leader Disneyland, does not sell alcohol. (Disneyland, however, *does* have a liquor permit, for the private Club 33, located above Pirates of the Caribbean.) Six Flags posted notice earlier this month that it is seeking liquor permits from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission and since then, hundreds of people have called the commission to oppose the request.

Despite the near ubiquity of alcohol sales in parks, opposition to beer and wine in the parks remains high, as we found in a vote of the week discussion last summer.

Readers' Opinions

From marcus beuro on December 28, 2007 at 10:20 AM
beer in parks is good as long as people can controll it. I wish there were a way for parks to controll how much they give a person. even at bush gardens where the limit is 2 people can simply drink two then get another two at a shift change.
From Gareth H on December 28, 2007 at 10:45 AM
Shocking, going back at Shift change. If you have a wife who doesn't like beer, you could just get her to get 2 and drink them for her, hee hee.
From Deidre Dennis on December 28, 2007 at 3:57 PM
As a person who doesn't consume alcohol beverages at all, I'm truly torn about this issue. I guess my main concern is the safety of my 10 year old son if someone gets drunk and out of hand, as well as the safety of all patrons, not just in the parks, but being drunk and getting in a car to leave at the end of the day. I don't know how parks could control consumption. To me it's no different than attending a professional sports activity and all the beer available at those activities. We took our son to a professional football game and there were so many drunk people there. I guess it's each person's choice to drink or not, however, as a parent, I'm always thinking safety first, period. I don't know how staff would keep a handle on the amount each person is allowed to have????
From Robert Niles on December 28, 2007 at 9:36 PM
Serve one beverage per meal at restaurants -- no carts -- and there shouldn't systemic problems with alcohol use in the parks. (You could allow refills of beer and wine at sit-down, table-service joints.) Of course, the park won't make much extra money that way.

Drinking is not the problem, drunkeness is. Of course, given that most parks have inexperienced personnel due to low pay and no benefits, the easiest way to prevent drunkeness is by not selling drinks.

To help both guests and employees, how about this as a condition of the liquor license? Employees selling alcohol get $2 extra per hour. But if they sell to someone underage or intoxicated, they lose the job. Give longest-serving employees with excellent work records first dibs on the gigs. That ensures that you end up with employees who have both the experience and the financial incentive to say no to people who shouldn't be drinking. And a few good employees get a pay raise, too.

From Dave Deeming on December 29, 2007 at 5:29 AM
I drink and I enjoy it.

Last year we went to the Mardi Gras parade at Universal Studio's. There was no control at all regarding the sale, and drinking of alchohol.

People were being sick in the street. One couple I observed left their young child so they could go across the street to buy their next beer.

The parks need to decide are they for everyone or adults only.

From Therese F on December 29, 2007 at 7:54 AM
Cedar Point has for years sold beer inside the park in various areas. The only restriction is that you can only buy one beer per matching ID at a time. Cedar Point police are continuoulsy walking around and monitor obnoxious behavior regardless if it is due to alcohol or not. To my knowledge any incident which has ever occurred must have been minor as it has never been published in any local papers. I don't see the big deal with selling beer in an amusement park--we are responsible for our own actions. At any amusement park, my child is at risk of hearing/witnessing foul-mouthed patrons, teens and/or adults slobbering all over in queue or foul slogans on t-shirts. I can't control any of that --I don't think having a beer pushes the limits.
From Anthony Murphy on December 29, 2007 at 8:46 AM
I think that it would be a bad idea for SF to get beer. If its anything like SFGA, it would be more of a problem then a benefit. However, remember that EPCOT serves a TON of beer, wine, margaritias, etc. Of course, thats also very controlled. Still, I think they would be asking for trouble!
From Larry Zimmerman on December 29, 2007 at 8:56 AM
I saw the results of beer sales when SF owned Geauga Lake. The park was run-down, the patrons sullen and grouchy, the staff was worse, and the overall feel of the park was depressed, forlorn, vacuuous...

While other parks seem to get away with alcohol sales not hurting their image otherwise, those parks spend more on a daily basis on security, cleanliness and worker awareness. SF has a history of cutting expenditures in those areas, leading to overall decline. Adding beer sales will accelerate the decline as underpaid, ill-equipped staff try to deal with the "beer-induced idiocy" phenomenon.

Heck, they can't tolerate fully sober patrons who won't take off their hats as it is! How will they react to a drunk rider???

From Mark Freedman on December 29, 2007 at 12:14 PM
Disney does indeed serve up alcohol at it's resorts, but the indifferent attitude of Six Flags employees, lax security, and the customer demographic that Six Flags draws turns an an already unplesant experience into a "Fear Factor" when booze in thrown in the mix. This is just another example of Mark Shapiro's duplicity in lamely attempting to change the image of Six Flags as being family friendly and secure.
From Ryan Traylor on December 29, 2007 at 9:00 PM
I think Six Flags (at least Magic Mountain) is the wrong place to be selling alcohol. My experience with it has been limited to resorts and dining during a Disney "Table Service" meal, or tastings.

I was in the England Pavilion at EPCOT back in Sept, and was very upset seeing a group of young adults drunk and singing songs very loudly in the middle of the path. I hope that Disney security came by at some point, but I did not stay long enough to notice.

From Gareth H on December 30, 2007 at 5:21 PM
Ah but Ryan, that is more or less how England is now. 24 hours drinking, drunks singing in the street. Kudos to Disney for being so spot on on Getting England right, but seriously, its rare, and generally during an event, that you see anyone drunk in parks.
Disney promotes a good and WINE festival each year, and it doesn't take much wine to get most people a little giddy.
Universal has Mardi Gras, and yes, we've all seen people vomit (Lovely), but Universal Staff, and the multitude of cops at these event, are quick to resolve the situation and remove the drunk party in a calm & polite fashion.
The only fights I've ever seen was during HHN and this wasn't a result of drinking, but queue jumpers (Rightfully deserved) and again, Security was there with the Cops backing security up.
Now these are good parks with a good reputation, and they make more than enough money from the Booze sales to pay for the additonal security. And these sales also contribute to the Talent, or lack off, that is hired to entertain.

So its down to the drinkers to be responsible, but if they aren't, then security in place to fix it.

Six flags should look at other succesful venues if alcohol is introduced, becaus Disney & Universal have in controlled.

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