Six Flags St. Louis Fall Trip ReportThis trip report is based solely off my decision to go to Fright Fest. I decided about two and a half months ago to go last night. What follows are the details of that trip.
From Ben JamesGroup Demographics:
Posted October 18, 2008 at 11:15 PM
Andy (22) – My best friend
Connie (23) – Coworker
Jim (47) – Coworker
We arrived at Six Flags around 7pm. Immediately we headed up and through security past the fountain and up to Guest Services. Connie had previously won two free season passes (prior to this season never owned one before) and had visited but was unaware that she had to get them processed to re-enter later in the season. This visit marked her second visit of the season and my eleventh. It was the first visit for both Andy and Jim. We stopped at guest services to get “vouchers” for admission on her two season passes and then purchased Jim’s ticket. Additionally, I dropped off copies of my previous trip report and Mr. James Rao (both posted on themeparkinsider.com). I explained that I wanted them to go into their comments box and be shared with management.
After, that we proceeded to the main entry gate and headed to the right to start our circle of the park. First, we decided that we would hit up Batman. Once we got around to the entrance of the queue line we noted that the line was completely full. So, we decided to skip it and move on to “The Joker Inc.” (A standard swinging ship) attraction. We waited to board and as we were literally entering a row, a bunch of kids started squeezing in front of me. Maybe I was a little crabby, but I called them out on this. I was literally one hand on the rail and a foot on the ledge as they started to cut in front of me. My group got the row and the one kid did apologize.
After, we hit up “The Joker inc.” we moved on and hit up Ninja. Good almost completely smooth ride until we hit the last loop of the corkscrew then our head began to rattle like crazy. We got off with eager anticipation to ride the Terror Train because we got a sneak peak of the “Stage” from the top of the first drop.
Before we hit the Terror Train, we decided to stop at “Colonel Cobb’s” because Connie was on a mission to get a Turkey Leg. Which led us past the “Mansion of Terror” to keep from being terrified at the lack of creativity, we decided to skip this. Then we decided to delay the Terror Train for a ride on the Mine Train but when we looked in it appeared that the line was out the door. Little did we know they had not begun to use the indoor queue to hold people? We had a missed opportunity on this one but it didn’t spoil our evening. We stopped at “Colonel Cobb’s” and Connie got her Turkey Leg (was delicious and not over cooked). We then headed downhill to the train, which surprisingly had no wait. We got in line and boarded the train. This was the lamest thing I had ever seen. I am not sure what they called the show, but two zombies and one “swat” officer were not enough and the fact that we had to ride the entire length of the track didn’t make it any better. The one seriously needs help.
After, the bad train ride we decided to back track and eat at the Johnny Rockets Diner. It cost me seventeen dollars for a burger, fries, and a drink. Andy, bought fries and chicken strips for twelve dollars; Jim spent fifteen dollars on his chicken strips, fries, and a drink. So, we ate our food and we all moved on full but disappointed in the price we paid.
We trudged off to what is left of DC Comics Plaza to ride Evil Knievel. Man this coaster has some great airtime. I wanted to ride again, but we wanted to fit everything in, so we moved on. Next up was Mr. Freeze; this coaster has a special place in my heart. I was pleasantly surprised when I found out they modified the restraints so that larger guests like myself could fit more easily.
After Mr. Freeze we headed back towards the Britannia section of the park. We made a pit stop at season pass processing to get the final cards for Connie and for Andy. There was no line so it was in and out.
SIDE NOTE – I think the higher price for next seasons pass was a deterrent to how many people were getting them this year. Last year it was forty-five dollars at Fright Fest for the following season. And this year it was fifty-five dollars for the 2009 season.
Next, we took a spin on Tony Hawk Big Spin. I love this ride because if you place the 2 heavier people in your group on the same side of the restraints you get maximum spin out of your car. I LOVE this ride and as long as I can get on rather fast, I will continue to line up for it, it is worth the wait.
Next, we caught a ride on Excalibur and there was surprisingly no wait. Then only reason I don’t ride this attraction more often is that you only get one time around. I really think that you should get two spins on it before disembarking.
Now at this point Jim wanted to catch the “Last Fright” show in the Palace Theatre. I wasn’t keen on this because the park had a less than stellar atmosphere. We entered and took our seats near the front for the best view. The show was not bad but not great. The same actors who have been playing the leads for years were back again. The show took you on a journey through a haunted mansion all the while have a very loose story line and incorporating a lot of current hit music. The secondary actors to this performance were not the best and there were a few problems with props not looking realistic. Overall, I would give this show a 7 out of 10.
We decided at this point that it was getting towards the end of our night and we wanted to get on a few things rather quickly so we lined up the list and if we made them, we did them and if we didn’t make them, we just missed them.
Connie was desperate to ride Superman: Tower of Power so naturally our next destination was S:TOP. Then Jim wanted to ride Scooby Doo Ghost Blasters, and we hit this one. Besides the fact that I had the top score, the only other interesting part of this ride was when we got stuck at the end before the exit platform. Apparently our boat got caught on the swinging gate and we ended up stuck for about ten minutes until someone figured out how to unhook us. This incident blew out the last ride on my list, The Ferris Wheel. It was after closing and we didn’t make it in time to catch it before the line closed.
Now, as far as the décor and the ghouls are concerned. I only encountered the ghouls once and that was in DC Comics Plaza. They were all mixed and there was no distinct theme to the area. I did see that there were decorations set up but I did not detect distinct theming in any area of the park. This was a downfall, because the ghouls were outside their element and would no longer scare you. I didn’t do the Hayride despite this usually being a highlight for me; my decision was based on it being a pay attraction. I am impressed that they tried but I can tell now that the money they spent on improving the earlier part of the year ended up hurting Fright Fest.
If anyone in Six Flags St. Louis Management reads this, I hope the take serious thought into this statement.
HIRE OUT THE ENTIRE FRIGHT FEST EVENT!
Have a company like Halloween Productions come in a decorate the entire park as well as set-up haunted houses, scare zones, a hayride, and haunted mazes. And, don’t charge extra. Just raise the gate price to cover the cost. This would be a similar move like other parks do. (e.g. Universal Studios)
Yes, I am aware the HHN is an inside product, but it has a higher separate cost to operate at night and the scary stuff is included.
I think this could be a saving grace for the Fright Fest Event. BTW, I was incredibly disappointed when I read about all that Six Flags Great America offers for their Fright Fest compared to ours.
Please feel free to comment.
Comments in chronological order. Most recent at the bottom. Scroll down to respond.
From James RaoHey, Ben, nice report. Lots of detail.
Posted October 18, 2008 at 11:18 PM
I too was underwhelmed with Fright Fest at SFSTL, and as you may have noticed from my trip report, disappointed in really the whole park. I guess if misery does love company, at least I know I am not alone in my suffering!
Interesting that you gave our trip reports to SFSTL mgmt. That is probably a good idea...I just hope they don't hunt me down and execute me for some of my comments! ;)
From Ben JamesJames,
Posted October 19, 2008 at 7:20 AM
You should have seen the look on the Lead Host face when I told him I wanted them to be given to management to read.
He was stunned, because I handed him what looked to be about 20 pages of information. I copied them from here and put them in a word document then printed them out. I also included everyone's comments, so they could see that this is not just a couple random comments but a general consensus around the country. I wanted them to understand that this park really lacks appeal and that it is known around the country.
BTW, I don't think that they will shoot you for your comments. They need to be able to handle the salt in their wounds. This park suffers and I know it is from a corporate level. But, they need to think outside the box to get people out there.
Money may be tight, but if you get creative enough you could really improve the place.
Great America is lucky, because its right outside Chicago.
Corporate needs to take a bigger risk and invest in this park. It is centrally located in the country and could drive more visitors. If it received the attention it so desperately needs.
The only other thing I was thinking about last night is that the park needs more flat rides and not replacing existing ones.
The Only Flats that I can list are...
(I was shocked that the Batman queue was full. Almost all of it including the extra cue space was full all night. I would guess about an hour and a half wait.)
James, if you want to know what SFSTL "Fans" think visit sfstl.net and click on forums. This is where I learned I would be disappointed in Fright Fest.
From James RaoI think that was a huge step in the right direction, Ben. Giving SFSTL the reports and comments should be a real eye opener for anyone who reads them. Maybe the park management will come on TPI and start finding out what it takes to have a successful theme park that people love. And then again, maybe I will sprout wings and fly to Orlando without having to pay airfare!
Posted October 19, 2008 at 8:39 AM
And I also agree that SFSTL is very limited in family attractions. It is truly a park run by teenagers for teenagers. Which is the old Six Flags M.O. and part of what led to their very shaky financial situation. Hopefully, the new corporate direction for Six Flags will eventually lead to sweeping changes at SFSTL. We'll see.
Finally, there is a way you can avoid the lines at Batman, even without Flashpass (although having Flashpass can save you in case you get caught...hint, hint). Check those same boards you referenced in your post for details....(or shoot me an email). I do hope SFSTL tightens their line security at Batman, but in the meantime, you can take advantage of the fact that you are a Theme Park Insider and are in the "know"!
From Ben JamesI am aware of the Batman access point.
Posted October 19, 2008 at 10:44 AM
Oh, and before I forget I think I got by what you meant about not being clean... I didn't see much in terms of trash, but, I saw a lot of leaves on the ground that they hadn't removed yet. Which I don't think was necessarily bad, but could have definitely made the park look better if they tried to keep them clear of the paths.
From James RaoDid you see anyone sweeping at all? Did you see all the weeds? How did the restaurants look? When we went they were just awful. And I didn't mention it in my trip report, but there were indeed leaves everywhere.
Posted October 19, 2008 at 2:09 PM
From Scottland JacobsonBen - You've got a great idea in giving these reports to management at the park. I always wondered how aware the various theme and amusement parks are of this site. Certainly, Universal Orlando is very aware, touting Mythos' best restaurant award on a banner in front of the restaurant and on the park guidemap at IOA.
Posted October 19, 2008 at 3:39 PM
I was thinking of writing a letter to Great America letting them know they were on the right track and to keep heading in that direction. Hopefully SFSTL will get the hint from your and James' posts.
(James - I'll protect you if they come after you!!!)
From James RaoThanks, Scottland...Theme Park Insiders have to stick together if we are going to win this war! ;)
Posted October 19, 2008 at 4:17 PM
From Ben JamesJames, most restaurants were clean. There was an exception though. A few weren't.
Posted October 20, 2008 at 8:25 AM
What upset me most about the food service is that Mooseburger Lodge was closed. It is in the heart of the park and it was closed. It is also cheaper in my opinion and happens to be the only place that serves alcohol (That I know of).
I didn't see trash everywhere as you had, and I did see one sweep the whole night. I noticed that some part of the park seem to be overgrown and it didn't affect me too much. It is important to note, I was there at night. So I could not see as much as others.
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