Six Flags' year-round parks have dumped memberships in favor of a new three-tier seasonal pass system.
The new passes - now on sale at Six Flags Magic Mountain and Discovery Kingdom in California as well as the Texas and Fiesta Texas parks - come in three tiers: Thrill Seeker Pass, Extreme Pass, and Ultimate Pass. The Extreme and Ultimate passes offer no blockout dates and unlimited access to all Six Flags outdoor theme parks, as well as in-park discounts and a Flexible Pay option. The lowest priced Thrill Seeker pass is valid only at its home park on all but a handful of blockout dates, but does include free standard parking.
(Disneyland fans cry.)
Thrill Seekers passes are $114.99 at Magic Mountain and $79.99 at the other three parks. The Extreme Pass is $179.99 at Magic Mountain and $169.99 elsewhere, while the Ultimate Pass is $329.99 at Magic Mountain and $299.99 elsewhere. You can see the complete list of benefits for each pass tier on Six Flags' website.
If you are wondering if you can just buy an Extreme or Ultimate Pass in the Bay Area at Discovery Kingdom and use it in LA at Magic Mountain to save a few bucks, Six Flags says that certain pass perks are good only at your home park, where you bought and activated the pass.
And if you are wondering what makes Flexible Pay different than the old Memberships, the Flexible Pay option is a four-payment installment plan to pay off a one-season pass, as opposed to the Memberships' ongoing monthly payments. With Flexible Pay, you make one downpayment at purchase, followed by three monthly payments to pay off the pass.
Six Flags said that it would continue the Membership program for current members, as long as they make their payments. Six Flags' website continues offer new Membership enrollments at seasonal parks including Six Flags Great Adventure and Six Flags Great America. Memberships start at $6.99 per month, with four tiers offering different benefits.
"We continuously look at ways to improve our product offerings with the goal of elevating the guest experience," a Six Flags spokesperson said when asked to comment on the changes. "Based on guest feedback, we are testing a simplified product architecture at select parks that better aligns with our guest-centric goals. As a result of the test, we will decide which changes to implement company-wide."
In its most recent quarterly financial report, Six Flags executives noted that the company's Active Pass Base was shifting from Memberships to season pass holders. Please tell us in the comments what you think about these changes.Tweet
^Six Flags clarified that the 5 FOL passes for the Ultimate pass are for the YEAR, not per visit.
The previous pass options Six Flags offered were a complete steal for everything they included, which resulted in an attendance growth that outpaced revenue growth and probably did more damage than anything. The new passes look to be more in line with those offered at other regional theme parks, and while certainly more expensive, I don't think they're unreasonable given what they include. I am hopeful that this change will result in more investment in the parks, particularly beyond just dropping in new rides, as a majority of the Six Flags parks could use some refreshing and modernization.
As for memberships, it will be interesting to see how long those are allowed to continue. I heard a rumor that the free upgrades resulted in a loss for Six Flags on those who use the memberships regularly, so I wouldn't be surprised if they terminate them after the 2022 season and force a switch to season passes as everyone will have fulfilled their 12-month commitment by then.
Well now I know what the survey was for I just got. Another change with no real benefits. Had to go from Seasons Pass to Membership and probably back to Seasons Pass. Just completed a full circle. Cranky old dude is dizzy.
So being able to get a annual pass to all six flags parks and adding a food pass is now done. I noticed places like Phoenix Hurricane Harbor still offer a food pass but now if you travel out to Magic Mountain or Texas you can't eat. LOL I truly do wonder if that article that came out a few months ago about that guy eating everyday for 7 years is to blame, I laughed because I know like 100s exactly like him a Knotts Berry Farm and trust me it isn't breaking Cedar Fair banks.
Well since I have a young son and leaving the park to eat is exhausting and prices on food in the parks are insane and we travel from CA to NY every summer, Six Flags just lost my business and I won't be purchasing a pass for 2022. But all is not lost. I did purchase a Platinum pass for Cedar Fair this New Years at Knotts and added food. So as much as it regrets me to not being able to visit Six Flags parks this summer, Cedar Fair parks are better and more well maintained parks anyway. Good riddance Six Flags and I hope that new CEO enjoys that stock ride down from a huge profit drop. But a good thing could come out of this, maybe a better company like Cedar Fair will buy up some of Six Flags parks and actually turn them into something nice. ;-)
I predict either Cedar takes assets off of Six Flags hands, the CEO steps down or the food pass comes back. Why? Because Six Flags sucks without a food pass. Without a food pass it is just a run down lame cheap version of Cedar Fair
Six Flags never catered to the wealthy(It has the reputation of being the Budget Park Chain for a reason).
This is a better approach for annual passes due to they aren’t selling it at a loss like they did with memberships(More so if it was bundled with the Dinning Plan).
When I was a Diamond Elite member, I paid $24 dollars a month and it included 2 free meals and a snack for every visit. Now the meals often go from $10.99 - $16.99 and the eligible snacks were anywhere between $4.99 - $9.99 and if I were to use it every visit, I’ll be getting $26.97 - $43.97 of free food. And I went every week so I was taking advantage of the system and milking the company dry. And it wasn’t just me, so many people did this.
Personally, I’m glad they’re doing away with it because it was a terrible business model that got way out of hand for them.
Now that Magic Mountain is selling one-time lightning line passes to their top four coasters, and presumably jacking the line up just like with Disneyland, I'll pass.
As long as these parks allow the rich to screw over the not-rich and make them wait longer in line, I'm out. If that means I'm not going back, welp, not going back.
Everything I ever read about the food pass was that it was hugely profitable. Now if you look at the actual "business" reason they are jacking prices on passes and eliminating the food pass is they are trying to create a "premium" brand like Disney. But the problem is Six Flags isn't Disney. It is a system of old dated parks that are miles from from the general population and it cost real gas money to visit these parks. Some of the only reason we drove 60 miles from Anaheim or 400+ from Phoenix was the food pass, it just isn't worth my time to visit this park more than once every 5 years without a food pass. This new model will fail gloriously just watch.
I'm not saying Six Flags is for the wealthy, i'm saying I am sick of these parks just adding more and more line skip passes for people willing to pay more because it impacts the experience of everyone who doesn't want to pay more. When Matt Ouimet started doing Fastlane he said "the key is to sell enough to make the people who want to buy it happy, but not get greedy and sell too many to where it impacts people who don't want to buy it." CP now has Fastlane wait time signs. I have a picture of Maverick's Fastlane wait time sign posted at 15, so the amount that they sell not only impacts those waiting in the regular line, they sell so many that they get a long wait for Fastlane too.
Also I agree with you the food pass was ridiculous because its so cheap that it became impossible to ever get food because the food lines were always so long due to the food pass + chronic understaff. I'm actually all for SF raising their season pass prices and getting rid of memberships, I think the Spirit Airlines model of business for a big corporate theme park really ruins the park. Most people dont know this nowadays because SF has been the way it is now for so long, but SF parks actually used to be fairly nice and well operated without ads everywhere.
I hear everything you said about front of the line passes. I am from Anaheim and I saw the start of this in the old days with fast pass, then CP and SF went full money maker and just started to charge to go front and now Disney seems like they one upped them with pay per ride, now SF follows Disney.
Reason they start charging for lines was they need to squeeze every last nickel out out of packed to the brim attendance days. It is actually genius. The food pass was also the same, it was to get the family who is eating their meals in the parking lot out of a cooler to actually spend some money in the park. Well now those families will just go back to the mini van and eat sandwhiches in the parking lot.
Drive attendance is done 2 ways. New cool rides or cheap tickets
Drive Revenue is done by making people actually want to spend money. If you raise prices but the rides are still old, people just will go do other stuff or go just once in a while. I predict with food prices at the levels they are revenues in food will plummet this season and earnings for the company as a whole will be at decade lows. Also nobody is going to pay those new higher tier season pass prices when they been paying Flash Sale prices for the last 4 years.
This does not surprise me as everything else continues to go up and they have said things will continue to go up in 2022. I'm looking at it at two ways. My local park is Six flags Discovery Kingdom and I'll probably wouldn't need to pay to skip lines there. I have a pretty good idea what is the best time for me to go and have low attendance and short line wait. It's not like that park has many great rides to begin with and we usually get a lot done the 4 or 5 hours we are there.
Now if I'm flying to the East Coast and I only have one day, then I'm more than likely to pay to skip the lines because I have no idea when I'll be back and I want to ensure I'm able to ride the main rides. While I am lets get there at rope drop and knock out the big rides, the rest of my family is not. They like to take their time and arrive at the park between 11 am and 12 pm. Again, depending on time arrival and if I'm flying to the east coast, I'm likely pony up to skip the lines for the best rides.
While we all wish it would go back to the old days of first come and first serve, you will be surprised how many people are willing to pay to skip the line. I'm near 50 years old and believe me I did my time waiting in 2 hours plus lines for the newest attraction, but sometimes when your busy and running around and you can't spend the entire day at that park, it is nice to have options on trying to get on as much as you can in short little time.
When I went to Six Flags Great America back in like 2016 we were heading to a brewers games that evening and we stopped by the park for a few hours. I think I only had 4 hours and it was my first time there. Goliath has just opened the line was like 2 hours. I did pay for the flah pass and was able to knockout all the best rides in 4 hours. So in a situation like that, it was a nice option for me to have since I only had 4 hours and I have no idea if or when i'll be back.
I also would like to add I visited Disney between Xmas and New Year and did try out the genie plus and paid extra to ride spider man, cars and Rise of Resistance and I feel it's only a matter of time before they raise it. When I got back so many folks asked me about it and how it worked and believe me, 100% said they are willing to shell out money to skip long lines. It just a matter of time before folks catch on and start using it where Disney will probably rise it to $50 and up the charge to skip the line for the main attractions.
As someone who has the membership but wasn't allowed to attend due to not being a cali resident in 2020 they made money off of me. I think I signed up in 2019 expecting to make the 6 hr drive at least once a month and I haven't been back since June of last year. $20 every month. I'm sure I'm not the only dumdum
With the changes in prices and policies at Disney and the limited amount of squawking from guests when they happened, I guess I can’t be too surprised by Six Flags’ changes.
I’ve never been a big SF fan, but my daughter got a membership under the old system, and with all the concessions they made to members due to COVID, I had to wonder how SF could afford to keep the program going, I guess this answers my question- they couldn’t.
One of the promises SF made when we bought her membership was that if we cancelled, we’d be comped for an additional few months to make up for the period SFMM was closed due to COVID. As of this posting, we haven’t been able to talk to someone at SFMM to cancel - the only line anyone answers is the HR line, and even that just goes to voicemail. Coincidence ?
I think we all need to step back and give the new CEO a chance. He is making major changes; restructuring, bringing in new management specifically for food & beverage; new season pass tiers, etc. Based on the never ending litany of complaints about the SF chain on theme park forums, it is clear the 'old way' is not working. Will these changes work? I will reserve judgement until a later date.
I can certainly understand why the changes are coming to the dining plans. The current season dining is a STEAL, especially for locals. Attendance numbers are likely inflated by nearby residents showing up to claim a couple paid meals a day. But it is wasteful. I see an awful lot of food being discarded and not just because its mediocre but two meals plus a snack is a lot! I know I am guilty of claiming my second meal when I am not really hungry, but I just take it home to eat later. I do know SF is not in the takeout business. The new 4 - or 10 - meal plan will offer some savings but not as huge of a deal as the dining pass. But hopefully the changes will result in less insane food lines.
My home park SFoG has made lots of progress refreshing the park, re-painting rides, re-surfacing the parking lot (don't yawn, this was badly needed!) and re-tracking their wooden coaster. For the first time in many years it actually feels like SF is making some good moves. Time will tell.
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It’s about time. The membership program with dining was a terrible concept for the company. How were they making any money out of it?