Robert Niles
Editor

Published: January 28, 2008 at 4:38 PM

Personally, I'd be happy to see Six Flags take a strategy of sacrificing several parks in order to upgrade its top 5-7 parks to where they could compete for the family vacation market with Disney, Universal and Busch.

The alternative, it seems to me, is to go down-market and position simply as day-visit parks to locals, in which case I think they'd be better off still repositioning as a premium water park chain, with maybe a few "dry" rides on the side. Much lower costs there, and still the ability to get into the family market, which they could not get otherwise going as a local's park.

The day-visit local's amusement park business is where Six Flags was before, overrun with teens spending little, with high maintenance and security costs and little hope of attracting big-spending family vacationers.

Even Cedar Fair is having a tough time making this model work, outside of the very well-established flagship Cedar Point, Knott's (saved by Disney spillover) and maybe Kings Island (which had a strong flagship history of its own before Cedar Fair bought it).

Russell Meyer
Writer

Published: January 28, 2008 at 5:06 PM

This would be really sad, since Fiesta Texas is by far THE BEST park in the chain that I've been to, and I've been to just about every one of the them. It has some of the best themed lands, best shows, and an absolutely perfect setting inside an abandoned quarry. I would rather see Six Flags America, 20 miles from my house and one I visit at least 2-3 times a year, close than this park that I've only been to once.

It also doesn't make any sense since the park has invested capitol to move Batman from New Orleans to become Goliath in San Antonio.

Themepark Guy

Published: January 28, 2008 at 5:11 PM

The funny thing is, the last time SF made any real (as in not some financial tomfoolery [yes, I just wrote " tomfoolery"]) was when there were only 7 parks. SFOtexas (an good 'ole money maker), Georgia (back in the day, they banked some real cash), SF Magic (big money), St. Louis ( not so great, but covered its nut), Great Adventure (at one time the highest attended seasonal park in the US), Astroworld (yeah, maybe not so good) , Great America-Chicago ( Jim Wintrode, the former GM, made sure they made money-EVERY year)....

They were in a much better position to make some money. Time Warner put some cash into it and it looked like it could make it long term-maybe I am wrong. They had just started to get some synergy when they sold off to whoever was next.

Premier used the purchases of silly little, off-the-wall properties and it was just a ruse. The other parks were all part of a pyramid scheme to make it look like the company was strong and moving forward-bought just to make the year over year revenue increases look good.

Now, it isn't pretty-sell, sell, sell if you can. The properties may not be worth much anymore, but expanding the corporate office with higher paid salaries doesn't ever work.

They have gone after corporate-wide sponsorships (a good idea) that can make some cash, but it isn't enough to make a real difference, it looks good in a news release, but what kind of cash is committed to the bottom line-almost none.

It is sad, but not really unexpected....

Derek Potter
Writer

Published: January 28, 2008 at 5:53 PM

It seems crazy to me that they would consider selling Fiesta Texas. That particular park is what I would term the working model for the rest of the chain to become. It isn't in the biggest market in the world, and perhaps that's why it's a nice place. I just don't understand why they think the ship with a million holes can be righted in a couple years. They have made some positive steps, but there is still lots to do. Closing more and selling will hurt the company value even more, and further reduce attendance and earning potential. Instant gratification for owners and investors just isn't going to happen. Ease up on the price hikes at the parking lot, at the gate, and inside the park to keep attendance, invest in some family attractions, and ride it out.

Cedar Fair's model still works pretty well. The company is a little stretched right now from it's spending spree, but their smaller parks do just fine fiscally speaking right along with their larger parks because they are responsible with improvement. Cedar Point, Kings Island, and Knotts get the attention, but there is a park north of the border that has quietly become the most attended park in the chain.

Jason Jackson

Published: January 28, 2008 at 8:04 PM

Well I think it would be great if Busch was to buy Fiesta Texas. It would be a perfect match for its Sea World Texas and Busch could run the park well.
Rhys Evans

Published: January 28, 2008 at 9:36 PM

I agree with Russell... Six Flags Fiesta Texas is among the best of the entire group. It's a nice park, with great coasters, a good location (near town) and a very cool setting (the abandoned quarry). Elitch Gardens, Vallejo, SF America, St Louis, Great Escape, maybe even New England and (by far the worst) Kentucky Kingdom should be closed first...
Ted Heumann

Published: January 28, 2008 at 9:40 PM

This is a GREAT park because Six Flags didn't build it, Opry did. I would suspect that it would do better without Six Flags, just like sKnotts would do better without Cedar "I can't run a theme park" Fair.
KD Younger

Published: January 29, 2008 at 7:49 AM

Parks are pricing themseleves out of operation...especially regional hardtop amusement parks such as Six Flags. And, in order to support a major park, people have got to be able to afford driving to it...and, even though gasoline is now lower in cost than a couple of months ago, this does not mean it will not flux higher again in the next couple of months.

This loss of finances is going to be hitting even the major players such as Disney in the future...especially when it comes to families meeting the transportation cost of getting to that park, let alone the cost of parking, lodging, getting in, food,souvenirs, et al.

That being said, Six Flags has it's chain anchor there in Dallas area...and, one Six Flags per state may be enough to the corporate line of thinking for financial operation gain. The distance between San Antonio and Dallas isn't that great...I've literally done Fiesta one evening and by the next afternoon (after driving from San Antonio that given morning) enjoyed the afternoon and night at SFT)...whichreally isn't easily said for a state such as California where Six Flags also operates two properties - MM and that which used to be known as Marine World in the Bay Area...I can easily see the theme park/animal park in Vallejo being closed by Flags in the near future in order to meet operational costs...

Even now, Six Flags has decimated and closed the back half of Magic Mountain...not that the loss there is great, Psyclone was already removed...Deja Vu had low capacity, and, the remainder was a craft shop village...If they (Six Flags) were to close the Vallejo operation, then, I could easily see the relocation of the major coasters from there to Valencia in SoCal...and, hopefully, if that speculation were to happen, they would bring ROAR south rather than leveling it.

In the sense of Fiesta, there aren't many coasters that could readily travel as easily, sad to say...and, as the Park already has the infrastructure built, it would be sad to see no other company come in and take operation of it and re-develop the property into something different than that which Six Flags had operated in order to give a different theme park experience in Texas for families to have a reason to travel to and enjoy.

Robert OGrosky

Published: January 29, 2008 at 10:39 AM

I wish SF wou;d sell my local, SF park, Six Flags Grerat America to someone like the company that runs Dollywood/Silver Dollar City. My park is still a very good SF park but it gets hurt being stuck with the medicore parks that are part of the company.
David Kildal

Published: January 29, 2008 at 1:21 PM

Wow. Six Flags might actually sell Fiesta Texas. Oh well, I guess it would happen sometime. If it joined Silver Dollar City/Celebration City it could be cool, but I think Busch could buy it and try a Busch Gardens Central America or South America or something like that.
David Sutter

Published: January 30, 2008 at 6:09 AM

Six Flags, closing another park? Or maybe a few? Well figured it would happen sooner or later ...A lot of what made them good to great parks in the beginning is now gone. How many ways and in how many parks can you install the same attractions and rides? Or recycle the names? Before your guest base sees it as the same ol same ol....
But Im ranting here ...I was involved with Great Adventure before SF took over the operations and then ownership..And slowly watched a wonderful and beautiful park get destroyed.
And figured it was time to bail out...Cutting jobs, skipping over the little details that make a park great.
So basicly SF higher mangment shoot themselfs in foot and get what they deserve....Low attendance, poor host and hostess training, ride failures, and loss of guests...So I likes to know why their asking what did we do wrong?