Just Published: Theme Park Insider: 2016 Year in Review
I am sure a certain Mr. Murphy has a response for this... ;D
Its funny you should mention it since I just came back today from the most crowded day I have ever seen at the parks.
This year, I have actually thought a bit hard to the question "Whats wrong with Great America?". I mean the park is clean and the rides are great so whats the holdup? Its the guests....
Now I am not saying that every guest it like this at all, but because its so cheap now to enter the park, it attracts some individuals who do not know how to really act in public.
SFGA is in a bind because it has a large chunk of people who are very cheap, tacky, and believe they are entitled to anything in the park so they need to cater to them. Its pretty sad because SFGA, for you who have never been there, is a pretty nice park and a good alternative to Disney and Universal if you can't make the trip.
As for the other blurbs ( I assumed you were talking about the most recient issue), SFGA does not think through their promotions from beginning to end. Walk in the Parks, while perfectly fine and still for a good cause, was very mismanaged for a second year in a row!
Oh and it sent the video to SFGA's Fbook
I live about 45 minutes away and have no desire to go back at any point in the future. I think I have been spoiled by parks such as Disney and Universal. You don't see roaming gangs of foul mouthed teens walking around in saggy pants and wife beaters at the Orlando parks. It is mainly families and huge tour groups from South America and Europe.
I understand Six Flags loses money every year and are considering closing after the 2012 season. I have some fond memories of SFGA from when I was younger, but now that I am a father, I cringe at some of the things I see.
Here are some gripes I have with this park. There are always two flagship rides that are not working (one was always Deja Vu), the Batman coaster has the hottest, most uncomfortable queue ever designed by man. The food is terrible, Iron Wolf should be condemned, the layout is pretty horrible and there are only three rides I truly enjoy.
Those would be Raging Bull, Superman First Flight, and Vertical Velocity. The Eagle has been broken every time I have recently visited, the other wooden coaster (Viper) is never running, and the bathrooms are worse than the old Comiskey Park.
I hate to complain but this place is awful...
Iron Wolf is supposedly being pulled out to make way for something else. I've managed to find a way to get the Flash Pass for reasonable prices some of the time, and I'd get it anyway, because I double or triple my rides.
These parks seem to have an identity issue. . . it's Six Flags GREAT AMERICA! They have theming in place for that, but it's mixed with the DC characters, and then even more with the other Warner Bros. characters (DC having an association with WB). Disney has their own characters to build around, and to some extent, Universal does to. They can augment their library through acquiring the rights, but Six Flags doesn't have any of their own characters.
I will say that the food disappoints me, to some degree. There are a couple of decent places, but I was thinking about this one day a couple of months ago. I know it's probably cost effective to have Papa John's come in, but wouldn't they make more money through visits with affordable cuisine from the regions of the country portrayed in their "lands"? They have the Southwest (Tex Mex), New Orleans (gumbo and beignets), fair food (elephant ears), etc. If they don't want to do that, at the very least, being situated between Chicago and the Wisconsin border, they could at least specialize in some of the very tasty local favorites. Hot dog/sausage/brat carts or taco carts with the churros. . .
As for the riff-raff, having the more affordable parks, you're going to have some of that. What do you do about that? I don't really have an answer for that, as they want people to actually come to the parks. If they get rid of those folks, will others take their place in enough numbers? I've never really had a problem or experienced any particular incidents at SFGA that I haven't at other parks, including Disney, and I've been to BG parks, Cedar Fair parks (there's one in my home town), etc.
I do agree that the layout could be improved. There is one area that I still get turned around in, and there are some pretty good hikes in there.
I've got similar thoughts on Six Flags Over Texas.
Iron Wolf is being torn down in September. I also have only seen Batman down once and I do not remember a hot line (believe me, I am super sensative to heat)
As for it being in decline, I do not agree. I think the issue is that it has had a couple of missteps the past few years. If anything, it more leveled out.
I will put it here clearly: Great America's biggest problems to date are the food situation (though the food was ok yesterday) and the clientelle.
While I can't find it right now, our fearless leader, Robert Niles, did write a trip report on the park last year. The way I read it, it was generally positive.
Compare that to the other ones I've referenced. We know why people go to Disney. Disney is character and theme-driven. Universal utilizes characters with mass appeal that will draw crowds, like Wizarding World of Harry Potter. SF is trying to do this with the DC characters. I'm not sure it's been as successful as they had hoped. If they want to go that route, make it more immersive. There is so much history to DC characters like Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, and a higher profile (with the movie) Green Lantern. Dedicate a whole area to those characters. . . a Hall of Justice for the Justice League, if you will. THOSE are the characters that should be in the commercials.
Walt Disney World
Tokyo Disney Resort