As always, the opinions of RD do not always reflect the opinions of this website as a whole, this is only the opinion of one person in the Park Journey family, and such is the case here. But we always have and always will give a voice for a difference of opinion. We've never been about appeasing any parks we have working relationships with. That being said, we do have working relationships with parks, we don't all hold the same opinion as RD does in this particular instance although we will defend his opinion vigorously.
So again, the opinions here do not generally reflect the opinions of Park Journey as a whole.
Lastly, this article is most definitely PG-13, so please, proceed with caution.
BOHICA (bend over, here it comes again)
It's that special day once a year where SixFlags reveals their new for 20XX attractions in mass announcements across the country. And in true, typical corporate fashion, they are marketed out to the masses in spoon-fed bites of typical overbloated promotion for what is essentially a case of the masses eating up regurgitated shit.
And you know what, the majority of the public will eat their spoon-fed crap and think it's the greatest thing in the history of EVAR, and it's the best thing since wonder bread, and it will save the world from the political turmoil and bullshit that are currently dogging the USA. It's a saving salvation of paradise in a world lacking in that aspect of civility. The media outlets will spew for these great new things, pushing the hyperbole and the bullshit further, exonerating on the press releases and massive blitz of crap that the new SixFlags CEO has put forth.
Here's the thing. If you look at the majority of enthusiasts, park fans, websites, countless pages that are dedicated to the world of the theme park, the opinions are just about unanimous. Other than a few teat-sucking sites which relish in the fact that SF is paying attention to their scroungy little pages, the opinion is clear. SixFlags Corporate bought the world's largest Xerox machine - and has hit the copy button one too many times. They say disasters and deaths come in threes... and today proved it in spades.
I honestly have lost all respect for the SF brand, the SF corporate staff, and for the most part their policies of "More of the Same."
Now why am I so damn angry right now? I ask you this: Why are YOU not angry? Why are YOU not as frustrated as I am? Simply put: The SF chain, a company that took pride in their parks having a good and solid feel to them has turned to the LOWEST form of mediocrity in the world: Duplication. Not just the rides themselves, but the name, the colors, the themes, the areas in the parks. All cloned. One by one. And like clones, they have no soul, no spirit, no emotions.
Duplication is the loser's way of drawing attention to themselves. I'm not talking about the ride builders per se (Yes, Vekoma has made an art out of duplication - as did Arrow & Schwarzkopf as well...) but rather, why is the second largest theme park operator in the world basically assuming their guests are mentally challenged and memory-failed automatons who won't notice that every park looks EXACTLY alike? And why are you, the guests, settling for such nonsense? Because. SF has trained you to do so. Because SF is letting you down. Because SF is able to. Because SF is happy on settling for second, third or even fourth best. Because you're letting them.
Humans as a whole thrive on creativity, they grow on thought, and are inherently curious creatures which learn best by acknowledging the differences in between things. We are imaginative and explorative. It is human nature to do this. And yet, Sixflags has decided that you don't need creativity, imagination or originality to run a theme park company. SixFlags is mocking you my friends. They're making sure you are satisfied with recycled attractions, duplication of every key attention point in a park, and ensuring you're lulled into a false sense of happiness.
Why am I going after SixFlags so badly? Because they deserve it. The high and the mighty they are not - and they are painting themselves into a corner that will be 10x more expensive to get out of than to stop the illogical and patently bad behavior of cloning their parks up the wazoo until they are all alike.
Let's compare for a second CF's parks and Disneyland/Magic Kingdom. Cedar Fair's parks have some VERY similar rides, and even some key duplication (Huss Troikas, NoWindSeekers, Morgan Hypercoasters.) And yet: You can go to Kings Dominion, and ride I-305, a wicked beast of a gigatwister. Or you can go to Kings Island, and ride the Beast - the world's longest wooden mine train. Or I can fly out to Knott's and experience Silver Bullet - an inverted coaster on stilts. Or I can head to Worlds of Fun & experience Prowler, a ground-hugging terrain twister. And yet: CF annual passes are more expensive to purchase, cost a LOT more to go up to Platinum status, and don't have all the frills that SF's passes have... and they have a continuity factor of nearly 50% - that is - 50% of ticket revenue is now derived from Season Pass sales & park pass sales. And their stock price is happy at the same time.
Thus the difference in CF from SF: They duplicate some things, but the coasters are almost universally different park to park. You don’t see 5 of the same exact coaster layout & style. (Yes, I'm pointing to Joker & to BatClone: THE RIDE). And by charging more, they are able to invest in more - and better, original attractions. Which keeps guests happy.
Now let's turn to Disneyland & the Magic Kingdom: Laid out similarly, with identical names on attractions, hell, even down to the style of each ride and to the ride's general purpose. Yet... Space Mountain is different. As is Pirates, Haunted Mansion, Splash Mountain, Jungle Cruise, Rivers of America, Big Thunder Mountain...
Thus the difference between Disney & SF: Disney uses the same name & themes, but the rides themselves are changed & altered to avoid duplication - a rule Walt himself once talked about. "You can't beat pigs with pigs."
So let's get back to Six Flags Over Duplication... or the future generic parks of the Six Flags Chain of Six Flags Parks. As it stands, the Six Flags corporate offices don't see that originality spurs sales... which spurs revenue increases... which makes the stockholders happy. In turn, they see cheap cloning and repeating over and over to make the parks work... at the same time, it's pushing guests away from visiting other SF parks. And this my friends is something they're pushing to INCREASE year over year: To get more SixFlags season passholders to visit other SF parks throughout the country.
But wait... why should I (Or any intelligent person for that matter) choose to visit another SixFlags park if they've got identical attractions? The answer: You won't. You'll spend your vacation money and go to another park or another original adventure... and not to visit another cloned park.
So way to go SixFlags. You're duplicating yourself into mediocracy and at the same time, you're ensuring that your future sales, growth & financial stability are in jeopardy by placating things with cheap, knockoff duplication of the attractions you're "investing" in. Way to go. Pat yourselves on the back. You're destroying what Angus Wynne worked so hard to build from scratch in 1960. Instead of looking new, contemporary & creative, you're looking old, stodgy and bland. Instead of investing in the new future and more original attractions, you're seeking refuge behind tired, old ideas. And meanwhile, Cedar Fair and other are not only gaining ground on you - they're passing you - both in revenue, ticket sales, operational strengths and many other financial factors. And you're not looking at CF through your rear-view mirror... they're looking at YOU through theirs. Wake up Six Flags Corporate. Before you become more of an obsolete dinosaur than you already are.
(As an aside, and as a shareholder in SFInc, I will be voting my shares in trust to the activist shareholder group currently building up pressure from outside. I stand with them and support the overthrow of the current CEO, President & entire board of directors. It's time to clean house up there - and I have -zero- confidence in their future with the SF Corporation in its entirety.)