Six Flags incompetence on full display at SFGAdv's opening weekend

March 19, 2024, 11:39 PM

First of all i'm going to make clear I did not go to the park and this is not a TR, as I am currently now on year 6 of my personal Six Flags boycott (haven't been to a SF park since 2018). Out of pure curiosity I watched a few TRs on youtube and this is what I saw.

-Parking is $50. They did not have any signs up for normal parking, the only signs up at the toll plaza they had said "Speedy Parking: $50. Speedy Preferred: $60" I cannot find a normal "not speedy" price anywhere in the toll plaza signage or on the website, there apparently is no such thing as normal parking.

-Kinga Ka, SUF, and Green Lantern were closed and every coaster that was open was running 1 train. I have no idea what they are doing to the SUF/Green Lantern area, but it appeared to be walled off, and the Parachute Tower that they said they were going to get rid of years ago but has been SBNO is still just sitting there.

-They gave out wristbands to passholders which enabled them to re-ride. All of the open coasters were running 1 train. It was a nice day out, its the biggest park in the northeast, and its the only park open. You can imagine the massive cluster**** this caused at every attraction. I mean seriously, do the people that run this park think "what is the dumbest thing we can possibly do? Let's give everyone rerides when everything is running one train!"

-Food lines were 30-60 minutes, which I guess is to be expected on opening weekend at a major park since staffing is so tight which causes a lot of places to be closed. However they got rid of self-serve for those refillable soda bottles that they sell a ton of and make a lot of money off of, so the lines were way longer because everyone had to wait to refill their bottle. Apparently in previous years they had an RFID sticker they put on the bottom of the bottles that allowed for refills.

-And of course to round things out, they announced a new coaster for the 2024 season, and by the parks opening day it hasn't even gone vertical yet.

For the love of god people just stop going to these parks. This is capitalism, the only way your voice gets heard is to vote with your wallet. Nothing will change if you keep supporting this nonsense.

Replies (9)

Edited: March 20, 2024, 8:11 AM

We're planning on visiting SFGAdv in a couple weeks when we're in the area for Wrestlemania, so it will be interesting to see if the park is still operating as you have described (it's the tail-end of Spring Break after the park is open for the full week). We never made it up to this park last year, so it's been since 2022 since we've been up there, but I had generally thought that ops had improved slightly from the total clusterpuck that had been the norm prior to the pandemic, and most trip reports I read from last year confirmed continued improvement.

I think the re-ride thing is a new perk added to some levels of passes sold at this park to get people to renew. I know that I had done quite a few surveys from the chain in the past, and instant re-rides was a perk that had always been listed as a potential season pass/membership perk, though my home park (SFA) has never offered this perk - probably because it's not really valuable when lines are rarely longer than 20-30 minutes even for top attractions.

I'm not shocked that they were running with single trains - I can only imagine how slow the Nitro line would move with a single train. Most parks underestimate and under-budget the amount of time and money it takes to perform winter rehabs, and probably only had enough time/money to finish the work on one train for each coaster.

I also am baffled that SFGAdv is just now beginning vertical construction on their new coaster. It wasn't like the winter was overly severe or prohibitive for construction. It's almost like they expect the winter to be bad and deliberately plan to begin construction of new attractions in early spring, which is a huge disservice to guests they baited into purchasing season passes/memberships last fall with new attractions that won't be available until halfway through the year. FWIW, SFGAdv posted pictures of the track arriving at the park last week on their social media channels, so unless there was a disruption to the manufacturer's supply chain, the park was never planning to go vertical with construction until now. I think the same goes for the removal of the Edwards Parachute Drop, which only makes sense if they plan on utilizing the same crane to remove the tower that they're using for the coaster (decent cost savings if true). The plaza (including SUF and Green Lantern) would need to be closed as a lay down area for the crane and disassembled pieces since there's no "backstage" area close enough to the tower to disassemble the tower.

March 20, 2024, 9:06 AM

I think the reason the ride started arriving so late (at least in this particular circumstance) is because SF did not plan on adding a new coaster, but after several really bad earnings calls they decided at the last minute they needed to do SOMETHING, so the order with Vekoma was placed really late. Although I will say regardless of when the components started arriving I do not trust that SF would be much further along anyway.

From what the guy said about the re-rides (and he seems to know people that work there) the ride ops didn't know about it until that morning. I am looking on SFGAdv's website and it doesn't say anything about rerides on any of the AP options. There was just a random A-Frame up near the parks entrance saying all passholders get a wristband here to reride. You are absolutely right about Nitro it was running 1 train and doing rerides. I also saw in one of the videos Batman was 1 train and doing rerides with the line snaking into Gotham City Park. Total nightmare scenario.

Edited: March 20, 2024, 1:33 PM

The new "Speedy" parking was included as an perk for season passholders. The app notified passholders that "Speedy" parking was now included with your season pass, and you needed to register your car and the license plate. This will be one way to reduce staff, as the system will be automated to have the gate go up when the system recognizes the plate. I look forward to this being run absolutely flawlessly by our friends at SF because no one will ever: 1) Get in the "Speedy" lane without having a season pass 2) experience technology issues with a SF product because mobile ordering and the app (particularly the wait times) works flawlessly and are representative of the quality technology we have grown to expect at SF 3) Drive the non registered car that a family owns because the system only allows one license plate. So, please remember to change the plate each time you take a different car. I for one look forward to being stuck behind the all three of these scenarios, probably on the same visit.

March 20, 2024, 10:53 PM

I've never known a seasonal park to be operating at full tilt opening weekend, so I feel labeling the place as "incompetent" based on what happened then (especially when it wasn't experienced firsthand) is little more than an attempt to smear a company you have a personal dislike for. It should also be noted that SFGAdv opened two weeks earlier than normal this year and they weren't advised of the schedule change until too late to adjust maintenance schedules, hence the universal one train operations. While I haven't visited the park in a few years, my visits to SFGAdv (four visits between 2011 and 2021, all June-August timeframe) have all shown them to be among the better operated Six Flags properties, and I expect the same this year once the season gets rolling.

As for the other complaints...

-Speedy Parking is a new service Six Flags offers this year for passholders. It allows users to input their license plate in order to use automated parking lanes to bypass the wait at the ticket booth. The price is the same as regular parking, which is obscene at $50 but SFGAdv has always had one of the highest parking prices in the industry.

-It is clearly indicated on the website which attractions have not opened for the season yet. Anyone who went to the park and was surprised by closed attractions failed to do adequate preparation prior to their visit. Every ride not listed on the website as closed was indeed operational.

-The double ride wristbands are a SFGAdv specific promotion the park likes to do on select days during spring to incentivize season pass sales, though usually on days expected to have light attendance and not opening weekend. Is it a stupid promotion? Yes. Was it dumb to do it opening weekend with one train ops? Yes. Not going to defend that one.

-Long food lines are common at all regional theme parks and are not specific to Six Flags. I know Six Flags redid their souvenir bottle procedures for 2024 so I can't say if that caused the change or not, but that is one that is unfortunate.

-Flash: Vertical Velocity has been listed as coming Summer 2024 since the day it was announced. It was never promoted as being ready opening day. The coaster should not take long to assemble and is not a prototype expected to be problematic, so even though it hasn't gone vertical it should be ready on time. From what I've heard, they are right on schedule for a late June opening, which matches with the advertised debut.

As someone who is a regular Six Flags visitor, while I'm not going to put the chain on a pedestal, I feel that they're still providing a generally satisfactory experience and have no qualms about continuing to be a passholder. Like any park, there are good days and there are bad days, and while I'd appreciate more consistency, that is simply something that has been lost across the board in more recent times. While I don't expect everyone to agree with my opinions, it is pretty difficult to give much credibility to the opinions of someone who hasn't even experienced any of the parks in the chain under current management, particularly when more complaints than not hold very little water.

March 21, 2024, 12:57 AM

-Pay $50 to park
-Pay $300 for admission (online price right now is $75 -assuming family of four)
-Wait in line for 30-60 minutes to buy a generic meal for $80
...just to wait in stand in line for a ride like Nitro (3 minutes long) and Jersey Devil (12 seats per train) while they are running one train so the line is already an hour long...oh wait but now its 1.5-2 hours because someone decided trying to meet some arbitrary sales metric is worth completely ruining your day over.
-Also the worlds tallest and (almost) fastest coaster, the parks most iconic ride, is closed with no activity around it, and it was NOT posted on the website like you said it was. Actually the park was all over Instagram/facebook/twitter posting pictures of it as advertisements for opening day.

That's not me trying to smear anyone, that's the experience that the average GP has when visiting Six Flags, and that's why they went bankrupt once and were struggling again and ended up having to merge with Cedar Fair. We should be able to call it like it is in TPI.

March 21, 2024, 8:08 AM

I think you see want you want to see, particularly in today's world of curated social media. I follow a few different SF groups on both X and Facebook, and saw some of what is described here, but also saw quite a few accounts that were far more measured. Yes, many people were frustrated that so many attractions were not available, but contrary to what the_man4 has stated, there were plenty of guests who were actually excited for the re-ride wristbands and understood the slightly longer wait times due to them. Ultimately, it sounded like the experience was only frustrating to those who expected the park to be in mid-summer form, but if you're only looking for negative accounts of the past weekend, it certainly wouldn't have been difficult.

The same thing happens for Disney, where you can filter accounts of recent observations to make visits to the WDWs like going to the 5th circle of hell. There are numerous accounts of a recent operational day at DHS where virtually every major attraction was down at the same time and plenty of accounts of guests spending money for Genie+ and getting one good LL ride as their first selection, but nothing but bottom tier rides are available after 11 AM.

Edited: April 30, 2024, 9:45 PM

It's no surprise to me that they were operating with single trains. The Nitro line would have moved at a snail's pace if they were running with only one train. It's a common mistake for parks to underestimate the time and budget required for winter maintenance, resulting in incomplete work on the coasters. It's likely that they could only afford to complete the work on one train for each coaster.

May 2, 2024, 8:58 AM

Parking is $50 - Gulp - I will never complain about Universal or Disney at $30

I do remember when we first started to go to Orlando in 2006 it was only about $12 to park...

Not sure How a Six flags over GA can get away with those prices since Orlando is not that far away from them...

Edited: May 21, 2024, 7:16 PM

That makes sense, Brian.

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