The new regime at Six Flags has been promising to stir things up and make improvements at the chain. For a microcosm of what's right and wrong about the parks, management may want to use Six Flags Great Adventure as a proving ground. Obviously the New Jersey park is doing lots of things right; according to estimates, it attracted nearly 3 million guests last season making it the most-visited Six Flags park and ranking it number 20 in attendance among all North American parks.
It has world-class roller coasters and plenty of them. Echoing the new guard's call for Six Flags to be more family-oriented, the park has recently added some extensive themeing and created elaborate, family-friendly shows and attractions. And Great Adventure's Wild Safari, which is included in the cost of park admission, offers an impressive drive-through animal habitat.
But, some of the park's coasters have been dormant or running at less than full capacity, in some cases for years. To me that's maddening--and inexcusable. The food is overpriced and uninspired. And the lines can be overbearing.
Before he made a power play for the chain, new chairman Daniel Snyder did a lot of public bellyaching about the parks. Now that he's in control, will he take what's right about Great Adventure (including its wonderful coasters--I think it would be a huge mistake to deemphasize the chain's signature thrill rides as he has suggested) and capitalize on it? More importantly, will he address what's wrong and make the necessary changes?
With the new-age wood coaster, El Toro debuting next season (and with Kingda Ka down for most of the 2005 season, the record-breaking rocket coaster will effectively have a second debut in 2006), there will be much attention focused on Six Flags Great Adventure. Here's hoping that Snyder takes the ball and runs with it.
Six Flags Great Adventure Overview
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