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Fright Fest 2017

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Postby RollingCoasting on October 22nd, 2017, 12:43 pm
Speaking of the candy trail, the park was giving these out last Sunday:

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Really nice change from the usual bag full of stale Hi-Chews and other junk
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Postby B&MGuy35 on October 22nd, 2017, 3:24 pm
They were giving those out on Columbus Day too and they gave me a whole box!! Along with about 6 bags of takis


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Postby Lizardgi on October 23rd, 2017, 7:05 am
Was anyone here at the park on Saturday the 21st? I'd love to know how busy it was. We cancelled our plans to go assuming it was going to be record setting crowds.
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Postby ribsinbacon on October 23rd, 2017, 7:10 am
Lizardgi wrote:Was anyone here at the park on Saturday the 21st? I'd love to know how busy it was. We cancelled our plans to go assuming it was going to be record setting crowds.


The park was completely slammed, and from what I was told, it was indeed a record day for attendance.
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Postby hoju74 on October 23rd, 2017, 9:24 am
I was there on Saturday. It was the most crowded I've ever experienced it. At around 7pm, we waited 30 minutes for Hometown Fun Machine. Speaking of, the cycle time is laughably short. Lines for everything was horrible as you can imagine. By early afternoon, I gave up on refilling my sports bottle and just drank water.

The attendance number I heard thrown out was 51,400. I expected it to be this busy, so I didn't let it ruin my day. From 6pm on we just walked around watching people get scared with the exception of going on Colombia Carousel. There didn't seem to be many scare-actors, but that could be because of the crowds.

We always eat lunch at our car, and it was a godsend on Saturday. There were still people coming into the park at 10pm.

The bright side is I got to ride Lobster, and it was awesome. We're going to try and go back during the weekends in November.
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Postby Jackluver18 on October 23rd, 2017, 12:03 pm
I was one of the brave souls and went yesterday. It rained the whole day. Park closed at 8 and they still did Uprising. Everyone watched it and parade and then the park died out right after. Walked through each area about 4 or 5 times and there was hardly any people. I'd say by 7 pm there was about 1,000 people....maybe less.
SF trips 09 = 15
SF trips 10= 11
SF trips 11 =7
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Postby Lizardgi on October 23rd, 2017, 4:21 pm
Looks like we dodged a bullet taking Saturday off. Our plan is also to take advantage of a few of the weekends in November, hopefully the crowds won't be like November of last year. With a stroller and trying to take advantage of the pre-paid meal plan, busy days are more difficult than ever to manage.

Great America is going to have to take steps to alleviate this over crowding as it's getting absolutely out of control. I could not imagine paying full price only to wait 90 minutes to enter park, 90+ minutes for most attractions, and 30+ minutes for expensive food and drink. Here's my thoughts:

- Increase season pass prices, or implement levels of passes with blockout dates on the lower priced passes (similar to Disney)
- Future attractions need to be of high capacity. Our park is not a small regional park and attractions should be build to move lines.
- Staffing increases relative to crowd sizes. Having one employee taking food orders, then turning around to get the food and drink is not efficient. Putting two employees in the same location would pay for itself quickly with more throughput.
- More self-service drink refill stations. Many guests stand and cram in food lines just to get a refill, then take up non-revenue generating employee time to fill the cups. Don't even do the free style machines, just stick to the basics and make it quick for everyone. One employee could manage a location with 6 different fountain stations that would chew through people. Put 3 of these around the park.
- Clean out the midways. Packing 40,000+ in the park, then littering the midways with timeshare barkers, games, stand alone signs, and kisoks for cell service/utilities/PS4 games slows everything down - along with detracting from the overall experience. County fair games area is a great example of this and I think it checks all the boxes I listed.
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Postby Yourockman66 on October 24th, 2017, 12:42 am
How many people do you think will show up this Sunday. I am thinking of going with friends

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Postby RollingCoasting on October 24th, 2017, 8:16 am
The last weekend of Fright Fest is usually mobbed, but the current forecast may affect that. I still wouldn't expect light crowds though since I'd imagine many people are planning to go. (If you guys want that go this Thursday, or next Monday or Tuesday :P)
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Postby Jodon on October 24th, 2017, 10:19 am
Lizardgi wrote:Looks like we dodged a bullet taking Saturday off. Our plan is also to take advantage of a few of the weekends in November, hopefully the crowds won't be like November of last year. With a stroller and trying to take advantage of the pre-paid meal plan, busy days are more difficult than ever to manage.

Great America is going to have to take steps to alleviate this over crowding as it's getting absolutely out of control. I could not imagine paying full price only to wait 90 minutes to enter park, 90+ minutes for most attractions, and 30+ minutes for expensive food and drink. Here's my thoughts:

- Increase season pass prices, or implement levels of passes with blockout dates on the lower priced passes (similar to Disney)
- Future attractions need to be of high capacity. Our park is not a small regional park and attractions should be build to move lines.
- Staffing increases relative to crowd sizes. Having one employee taking food orders, then turning around to get the food and drink is not efficient. Putting two employees in the same location would pay for itself quickly with more throughput.
- More self-service drink refill stations. Many guests stand and cram in food lines just to get a refill, then take up non-revenue generating employee time to fill the cups. Don't even do the free style machines, just stick to the basics and make it quick for everyone. One employee could manage a location with 6 different fountain stations that would chew through people. Put 3 of these around the park.
- Clean out the midways. Packing 40,000+ in the park, then littering the midways with timeshare barkers, games, stand alone signs, and kisoks for cell service/utilities/PS4 games slows everything down - along with detracting from the overall experience. County fair games area is a great example of this and I think it checks all the boxes I listed.


I have no argument with any of your suggestions, but until the park starts getting hit with poor attendance numbers/falling revenues I doubt anything is going to change. They are making a conscious decision with the low capacity ride additions to the park, inadequately staffed ride/food operations, timeshare barkers (which bring in revenue for the park), etc.

Park management has made it clear that they are uninterested in making wholesale improvements to the operations in the park with they way they continue to staff the park because they have been "doing fine" with the current operating structure. It appears that Fright Fest attendance figures are only growing year to year as evidence by the estimated 51k last Saturday, so as a business, why would you make changes to a system that is showing its effectiveness. As a consumer, the best way to show a business that they are failing is to stop giving that business money. Unfortunately for the consumers, SFGAm has no competition within a 6 hours drive, so those in the Chicago and Milwaukee markets, your options to get a roller coaster fix is to suffer through poor operations or drive really far.

Again, until Six Flags starts seeing dramatic decreases in revenue and attendance, I doubt anything will change at SFGAm or around the chain which is really disappointing reality for those of us around here.
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Postby Jackluver18 on October 24th, 2017, 11:56 am
It's supposed to be 45 and windy this Sunday and 43 on Halloween. Usually Halloween is pretty dead..no pun intended there. I went last year on Halloween and it wasn't crowded at all. Weather factors into it too so if it's chilly, I doubt it'll be crowded the last two trips I go on.
SF trips 09 = 15
SF trips 10= 11
SF trips 11 =7
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Postby Lizardgi on October 24th, 2017, 12:25 pm
Jodon wrote:Again, until Six Flags starts seeing dramatic decreases in revenue and attendance, I doubt anything will change at SFGAm or around the chain which is really disappointing reality for those of us around here.


Sadly, you are pretty much correct in that there's no reason for SFGAm to change as long as people keep packing the parks. My only argument could be increased revenue from food sales if they had additional staffing. At some point adding a 2nd person to a food booth increases efficiency way beyond the $15 per hour labor cost (factoring in payroll taxes and such). They absolutely leave money on the table each night with people who were turned away from not waiting in a 45 minute food or drink line.

For now, we'll continue to use our passes at Great America as they are still a good value. As long as you play the calendar and avoid crowds, it's easy to still have a great time. What we don't do is spend any extra money in the park. I'm also fortunate to be able to take a yearly trip elsewhere in the country to parks that do care about the guest experience, and it's there where I spend most of my money.
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Postby CoasterCale on October 24th, 2017, 2:46 pm
I heard the park hit 60K on Saturday and was filled to capacity. Lines were insane. Bull had both of its queue houses open and the line still stretched back to JB's. Viper was full and spilling. The poor weather the previous Saturday, and early closing, mixed with the nice weather we had made crowds horrendous.
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Postby Geno21K on October 25th, 2017, 12:57 pm
I've been going to the park for more than 30 years, and Saturday's crowd laughably dominated anything that I'd ever seen. It took us two hours to get from the start of the Grand Ave. exit off of I-94 into the park. I cannot, for the life of me, understand why Gurnee PD wasn't out there directing traffic because that was a HUGE part of the problem. People kept entering the mandatory right-turn lane near MacDonald's only to go straight and try to merge back in. At various points, the entire intersection was blocked in the other direction. It was infuriating. Once we got close, I let my wife and kids walk to the gate, and it still took me another 45 minutes to get into the lot and park from that point.

Once inside, the app. noted every single major attraction as a 90+ minute wait, which is something I had never seen. We ended up deciding on Flash Pass (even though I'm morally opposed to them) because that was the only way the kids would get to ride anything. Toward that end, I'm not a big fan of the fact when the park is crowded, it won't even let you reserve certain rides. Still, in the end, having that stupid pass did allow the kids to get on all of their favorites at least once, and some of them more than that.

We didn't even bother with the food lines in most cases because those were almost just as long. To be honest, that's been a problem all year in my opinion. Even when the park wasn't swamped, it usually took a frustratingly-long time to get food and drinks this season.

All in all, we had an okay time, but I would never choose to be there on a day that crowded ever again. If we wouldn't have plunked down the extra $$ for the Flash Pass, it would've been an absolutely miserable experience, nothing but crowds and no ride time.
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Postby CoasterRiderSC on October 25th, 2017, 1:54 pm
Lizardgi wrote: - Clean out the midways. Packing 40,000+ in the park, then littering the midways with timeshare barkers, games, stand alone signs, and kisoks for cell service/utilities/PS4 games slows everything down - along with detracting from the overall experience. County fair games area is a great example of this and I think it checks all the boxes I listed.


Lizardgi, you make some great points! I agree with all of them especially the one about clearing the midways. I sometimes feel like I"m at Woodfield Mall with all the people trying to stop me and sell me/show me something! I also liked your analysis about the food service and increasing staffing. The park could definitely maximize revenue for food by shortening lines and increasing throughput.

As for high capacity attractions, we need more rides like Eagle and Raging Bull! That new coaster we have is terrible for capacity :)
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Postby Yourockman66 on October 25th, 2017, 3:25 pm
RollingCoasting wrote:The last weekend of Fright Fest is usually mobbed, but the current forecast may affect that. I still wouldn't expect light crowds though since I'd imagine many people are planning to go. (If you guys want that go this Thursday, or next Monday or Tuesday :P)
Can only go Sunday
If we buy a platinum flash pass, how many rides can we get on goliath and other popular coasters?

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Postby Sven18 on October 26th, 2017, 7:44 am
ribsinbacon wrote:
Lizardgi wrote:Was anyone here at the park on Saturday the 21st? I'd love to know how busy it was. We cancelled our plans to go assuming it was going to be record setting crowds.


The park was completely slammed, and from what I was told, it was indeed a record day for attendance.


According to Q3 conference call statements, saturday was the biggest revenue day in the history of the chain across all parks. The previous weekend was horrible weather wise for a bunch of parks so could have been just pent up demand. Ie...SFGAM got 50K and the saturday before people claim it was in the low single digits in thousands. The 2 weekends just might balance out to what 2 normal weekends are of high 25-28k.
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Postby Sven18 on October 26th, 2017, 7:56 am
Jodon wrote:
Lizardgi wrote:Looks like we dodged a bullet taking Saturday off. Our plan is also to take advantage of a few of the weekends in November, hopefully the crowds won't be like November of last year. With a stroller and trying to take advantage of the pre-paid meal plan, busy days are more difficult than ever to manage.

Great America is going to have to take steps to alleviate this over crowding as it's getting absolutely out of control. I could not imagine paying full price only to wait 90 minutes to enter park, 90+ minutes for most attractions, and 30+ minutes for expensive food and drink. Here's my thoughts:

- Increase season pass prices, or implement levels of passes with blockout dates on the lower priced passes (similar to Disney)
- Future attractions need to be of high capacity. Our park is not a small regional park and attractions should be build to move lines.
- Staffing increases relative to crowd sizes. Having one employee taking food orders, then turning around to get the food and drink is not efficient. Putting two employees in the same location would pay for itself quickly with more throughput.
- More self-service drink refill stations. Many guests stand and cram in food lines just to get a refill, then take up non-revenue generating employee time to fill the cups. Don't even do the free style machines, just stick to the basics and make it quick for everyone. One employee could manage a location with 6 different fountain stations that would chew through people. Put 3 of these around the park.
- Clean out the midways. Packing 40,000+ in the park, then littering the midways with timeshare barkers, games, stand alone signs, and kisoks for cell service/utilities/PS4 games slows everything down - along with detracting from the overall experience. County fair games area is a great example of this and I think it checks all the boxes I listed.


I have no argument with any of your suggestions, but until the park starts getting hit with poor attendance numbers/falling revenues I doubt anything is going to change. They are making a conscious decision with the low capacity ride additions to the park, inadequately staffed ride/food operations, timeshare barkers (which bring in revenue for the park), etc.

Park management has made it clear that they are uninterested in making wholesale improvements to the operations in the park with they way they continue to staff the park because they have been "doing fine" with the current operating structure. It appears that Fright Fest attendance figures are only growing year to year as evidence by the estimated 51k last Saturday, so as a business, why would you make changes to a system that is showing its effectiveness. As a consumer, the best way to show a business that they are failing is to stop giving that business money. Unfortunately for the consumers, SFGAm has no competition within a 6 hours drive, so those in the Chicago and Milwaukee markets, your options to get a roller coaster fix is to suffer through poor operations or drive really far.

Again, until Six Flags starts seeing dramatic decreases in revenue and attendance, I doubt anything will change at SFGAm or around the chain which is really disappointing reality for those of us around here.


Things are not changing anytime soon. SF just released Q3 earnings and did okay, there are some warning signs and challenges to their strategy that were not really answered that well in my opinion on the conference call. Overall, SF is not only doubling down, but tripling down on their current strategy. They are going to miss they aren't going to reach EBIDTA 600M goal this year and are even hedging on getting to 575M. If people want to get really into the mind of Jim Reid and SF listen to their conference call.

Finally, SF would not deny leaked claims of new parks in China on the conference calls just saying they would be released when contracts are signed. Then, today they have a press release of 3 new China parks. SF is ramping up the Foreign parks as they are easy money and was commented on in the conference call. Foreign revenue was up 30+%.

GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Six Flags Entertainment Corporation (NYSE: SIX), the world’s largest regional theme park company, and its development partner, Riverside Investment Group Co. Ltd., today announced the addition of three more parks to be built in China. Six Flags Kids World—the first park of its kind and designed especially for families with young children—will be built adjacent to both Six Flags Zhejiang and Six Flags Chongqing. Additionally, the all-new Six Flags Adventure Park, offering high-energy outdoor thrills, will adjoin the Six Flags Chongqing complex. The new properties are expected to open in 2020.

http://investors.sixflags.com/news-and- ... -120135094
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Postby CoasterDemon on October 29th, 2017, 2:46 pm
The park doesn't shut down for strictly temperature, does it? It's gonna feel like it's in the 30s tonight... and I'm thinking of going up for a couple hours later.

I've been at the park in the 30s... and a busy day. But it's been my experience that if the park "isn't crowded enough" AND weather is bad, they will shut down the entire park. Which is very low integrity, but whatever...
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Postby Jackluver18 on October 30th, 2017, 11:49 am
I was there yesterday all day and it was light crowds in the morning but once Uprising started at 6, it picked up. Midways were crowded but nothing too bad. Underworld was a 2 way street yesterday instead of walking all the way around Southwest to go in. It wasn't too cold either but...I was also being chased so that helped warm up a bit too. Hope the last day isn't too crowded...last year I remember Halloween was dead..so we'll see how tomorrow is.
SF trips 09 = 15
SF trips 10= 11
SF trips 11 =7
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Postby momlovescoasters on October 30th, 2017, 2:54 pm
Tonight we'll have the wind to deal with in addition to the cold. I was so excited to go for the last time this season. Do you think a lot of rides will be closed due to the wind?
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Postby Guy_With_A_Stick on October 30th, 2017, 3:14 pm
momlovescoasters wrote:Tonight we'll have the wind to deal with in addition to the cold. I was so excited to go for the last time this season. Do you think a lot of rides will be closed due to the wind?
Most rides only go down for lightning in the area. Although, Whizzer gets rather finnicky with cold weather, and GD goes down in *really* high winds, but that should be it.

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Postby batmanfan80 on October 31st, 2017, 1:52 pm
I checked the queue sites before going, looked like it was a bigger disaster than the ride times indicated. Everything was pretty good in late July and August this year when in any other previous year since 2011 they've been horrible. Attendance was much higher in the few weeks after Joker opened. I wish we could buy passes without Fright Fest. Ever since 2014 there hasn't really been one FF day where crowds and operations weren't horrible. I guess all the middle school kids within however many miles of the park just don't care. Sitting in 3 hour long lines is preferable to whatever else they could be doing. It's not just FF that sucks. Brookfield Zoo has turned into a disaster during October in the last 3 years too. Probably anything Halloween-related has garbage crowds and operations around here. That said, maybe tonight it won't be so bad as Halloween itself usually isn't.
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Postby Muck Finnesota on October 31st, 2017, 3:03 pm
batmanfan80 wrote:I checked the queue sites before going, looked like it was a bigger disaster than the ride times indicated.

Is this in reference to yesterday (10/30)? I was kicking around the idea of freezing my ass off at the park tonight, but not if there are bullshit waits on top of the cold/wind.
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Postby RollingCoasting on October 31st, 2017, 3:09 pm
Not sure what OP is referring to as I heard it was (expectedly) dead last night. Like last year, I'm sure tonight will be dead, especially with the temperatures in the 30's :D
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