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Six Flags files for Bankruptcy

9 posts in this topic

The overriding model that was put into place at their parks across the United States was one of cutting costs while regularly adding new attractions. The fundamental thinking was that new blockbuster attractions would keep the parks' attendance up, while reducing expenditure in other areas of the park would boost profits..... Anyone that's read the Parks Forums in the past year or so should see that there are many parallels to be drawn between Six Flags' model and how Australia's theme parks are becoming. Dreamworld has been on a path of aggressive cost-cutting for several years now, while it only seems to have just begun at WVTP's Sea World and Warner Bros. Movie World.
I thought Dreamworld's strategy was to do the cost cutting, but then not add blockbuster attractions :rolleyes: We'll never see the same situation as Six Flags, mainly because our parks don't overcapitalise, and have better service than Six Flags, but still I mean, cost cutting isn't bad if you are doing stuff like reducing wastefulness and choosing suppliers more carefully, but stuff like switching off special effects, deferring upkeep and closing attractions can only be damaging in the long term, and will inevitably negate any money saved. I find it interesting though that the parks that do consistently well are the ones that put quality foremost: Disney, Busch, Universal, plus a few of the European ones. I wish more parks would just follow their strategies, that way the good returns come naturally, rather than a result of reducing quality.

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Yeah, the big picture of this Six Flags failure is pretty irrelevant to our parks as the likelihood of this sort of financial failings is all but impossible given their relatively conservative expansions and acquisitions. But it goes to show plainly that people don't like a substandard theme park, and in Six Flags' case a substandard park was caused almost directly by cost cutting. If people didn't notice that year after year they were getting less despite spending more and more, then Six Flags' reckless growth would have been far less damaging than it has been. If our parks think they can reduce the quality of their product without people noticing, then I think they're kidding themselves, and unfortunately that seems to be the trend of recent years. The crazy thing is I think that no park in Australia is copying Six Flags. It seems that they've all come to the same flawed conclusion by applying business strategies that aren't suited to the long-term nature of the theme park industry.

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It is a pity they have gotten into much trouble. I have been to several of their parks and even written to them about my experiences (got some free tickets for my comments). As I see it they can fix this easily by changing their culture as follows: 1) The food could be better. Although I have to say I don't go to eat good food. I will acknowledge though that this is important to others. 2) Customer service. You would expect this in the US but Six Flags seemed to breed a customer service culture that just sucks. Waited 10 minutes once at magic Mountain for two servers to finish their private conversation before they took my lunch order. 3) Speed up ride load times. Some parks/rides are horrendously slow. Safety is great and important but again pivate chatting and skylarking by attendants should not slow up load times. 4) Get ride of additional costs. car parking fees and locker costs suck. You pay enough to get into the park but then to get slugged a US dollar for a locker to secure a hat and glasses does not go down well. I travelled to these parks mainly by myself while on business and put a lot of money into these lockers. As I said I think they can change this easily and I hope they do. They have some excellent rides (kingda Ka, X, Superman, Riddlers revenge) and I would hate to see them close.

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4) Get ride of additional costs... locker costs suck.
Remember that locker costs are standard at most if not all parks, so it is nothing exclusive to Six Flags as I am sure you are aware.

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I think he's talking about the $1 ride lockers. I haven't seen the $1 locker charge at rides anywhere except Six Flags and our parks. The thing is they really piss people off, and for the sake of $1 is it really worth pissing heaps of people off?

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That's right. The only other park where I saw lockers was at Chemlong Paradise in Guangzhou, China for their drop coaster. On the subject of butting in, sure I did. On commenting to them when they finally served me, I was promptly greeted with a "it was none of my business" response. I reported it to the SFMM office and that was the main reason for writing SF HQ a letter.

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