Just Published: Theme Park Insider: 2016 Year in Review
I really hate to think that Elitch Gardens is avant garde but it looks like Six Flags is following suit with Giant Loop carnival rides. I thought the whole idea behind having a permanent location was that you then were able to put up rides better than traveling carnivals…but then again… And another thing…what is with this boring names that don’t make any sense. Was the marketing department out on a team building exercise at the local bar when the names were agreed on? Did someone just rubber stamp them? I’m surprised the roller coasters weren’t named “Roller Coaster.”
Six Flags Over Georgia – The park is getting a Giant Loop named Jokers Chaos
Six Flags Over Texas – The park is getting a dark ride named Battle for Metropolis, which seems to be themed toward something related to Batman. One could then only expect that it is going to go into the region near their Batman ride.
Six Flags Great America – This is the only item that we are unclear about. The name of the attraction is 40 Seasons. Which is strange because next year will only be Great America’s 39th season. Could this be their way of saying that they are getting nothing this year in order to get something spectacular for their 40th birthday? Or is this may a show or exhibition of some kind? Great America got something really good last year, so an off season seems like a good bet.
Six Flags Magic Mountain – Okay, so we know the name: Twisted Colossus. What we can assume from the name is that Rocky Mountain coasters is going to give the coaster a remake. What we don’t have at this point are any details to the wild rumors. Typically if Magic Mountain is going to do something that everyone else in Six Flags is doing, they are going to have to go extreme. There is some talk about the first drop attempting to mimic a combination of what X2 and Gatekeep do as a first trick.
Six Flags New England – Wicked Cyclone is going to be the name of their old Cyclone roller coaster after Rocky Mountain Coasters has their way with it. Apparently the marketing team has forgotten that they still own the copyright for the word Psyclone.
Six Flags Great Adventure – The park is getting a Giant Loop named Looping Dragon. Is it going to be themed to a dragon? Umm…probably not.
Six Flags Fiesta Texas – The parking is getting their very own Batman the Ride. But I don’t think this is going to be your typical Batman roller coaster. I still suspect that S&S is putting up their 4D Free Spin roller coaster. This should lead to plenty of confusion about what a Batman ride is.
Six Flags St. Louis – I suspected that a flat ride was going to replace Scooby. Now that we know that their new ride will be called Battle for Metropolis and with its location just across from Mr Freeze, it seems to seal the deal. Hopefully they will keep the shooting mechanism on this, but don’t hold your breath. Batman doesn’t like guns.
Six Flags America – The park is getting a Giant Loop named Bourbon Street Fireball. Maybe I’m just getting clever by half no this name, but this sounds like three buzz words that don’t really go together very well. I mean these three words together sound like a drink you would order in New Orleans. Other than that, it sounds like what would happen when a drunk gets on this ride, mixes well, and then protein spills too close to an open flame.
Six Flags Discovery Kingdom – The park is getting the free Giant Loop from the buy 3 get one free deal and naming it Dare Devil Chaos. This is another one of those cases where the three words together just don’t make any sense at all. Dare Devil? Sure. Devil Chaos? Not so much, but it still works. Even Dare Chaos isn’t too bad. But all three of those words together make it sound like they were buzzwords picked out of a hat at random. Well, dunk poo splatter to you, too.
Six Flags La Ronde – The name of their new attraction is Maison Rouge, but right now we don’t have a clue what it is. This makes me think that it is probably going to be a show or a restaurant of some sort. Or maybe it’s a literal description of what they are going to do and build a red house. You can never tell when it comes to Canadians. Or maybe it has a deeper meaning of a medical center or a hockey rink which are both houses of blood.
Six Flags Mexico – The park is getting a Sky Screamer called Sky Screamer. I mean not even Cielo del Chillón. You do realize that they speak Spanish in Mexico? How lazy is that? Such originality in the name makes me wonder if this is a ruse and maybe they are also getting a Giant Loop and calling it Sky Screamer. I would have sworn that Six Flags had bought enough Sky Screamers a couple of years ago to put two in every park.
Oakwood (UK) – The park is going to replace their Wild West area with a Legend of Sleepy Hollow area. One brutal make-believe land transforming into another brutal make-believe land. Maybe the real reason is to get all of the wannabe cowboys off of the payroll, which is something I completely understand and sympathize with. The exchange is that you are going to have a bunch of people running around with no heads. And the lead character is one of the original nerd/geeks. So a cowboys-for-geeks exchange sounds pretty good to me. It will make it a much more relaxed place to work for all of the good looking ladies.
Gardaland (Italy) – The park is hard at work on their new B&M Dive Coaster.
Busch Gardens Williamsburg – Track for their low-capacity cloned roller coaster is now on site while land clearing is underway. I’m not quite certain why they went with this coaster instead of one of many cloned roller coasters that are in fact cheaper and run much rougher thus thinning the crowds for the ride of season pass holders who will refuse to ride the thing a second time. I’m sure Elitches would sell their Vekoma Boomerang or Mind Eraser for pennies on the dollar if you really wanted to go cheap.
SeaWorld/Busch Gardens – SeaWorld is in a bind. They have some investors that are talking about a class action lawsuit against SeaWorld. Even the CEO this week admitted that they should have done more to counter the Blackfish movie. Now the stock is near all-time lows and the only one to have made any money out of the deal was Blackstone who originally bought SeaWorld/Busch Gardens from InBev, took them public, and then quietly sold all of their shares and backed out completely. Currently their stock price is so low that they are bait to be taken over. But the question becomes: who would want them? In pieces there are plenty of people who would like a piece of the pie. Herschend and Six Flags would be interested in the two Busch Gardens parks, or maybe a split between the two where Six Flags get Busch Gardens Tampa (and their long desired foothold in Florida) and Herschand would take Williamsburg. But the big question would be who would buy SeaWorld/Busch Gardens and then divvy it up? Reports are that Comcast is currently looking into this. They had a shot a while ago when InBev was doing the selling but passed on the opportunity. This time, I think Comcast has something they can bring to the party and turn around a dying park.
If…and this is a big if…Comcast were to take over SeaWorld, the first thing they would have to do is change the name. Something like UniversalSea would be ironic, but I’m sure they could come up with something much better. The second thing they would need to do would be to fire all of the Shamu’s. Getting rid of the killer whales is something that SeaWorld can’t do because the killer whales are their corporate symbol and part of their identity. UniversalSea would have no such attachment and could win a huge PR battle with the outspoken environmentalists by just getting rid of them. As consumers we lose because it would make killer whales extremely rare in captivity, but that is not Comcast’s problem. SeaWorld has decided not to pursue the litigation of allowing trainers back in the water with the killer whales, so the old way of doing business is now officially dead.Tweet
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