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What does Six Flags do better than Cedar Fair?


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And enforcing no running at park opening...

Line management for new rides, including serially numbered boarding passes. If 1012 is being served, and you show up with 1386, you will get locked in the train, security will come, you will get two choices: prosecution for trespass or an agreed upon ban from the park.

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1. Food Service.

2. Season Pass Sales and Interpark Admissions.

3. In park entertainment (not just shows in theaters)

4. Something for EVERY park EVERY year.

5. Treatment of full time employees, from pay to working conditions.

6. Stockholder relations.

I would agree with all of those, except for the in park entertainment. Hollywood Nights in the Festhaus surprised me and as MDMC01 said "It was good and then it went to the next level!", Cedar Fair I think can learn from Six Flags about enforcing rules and putting more investment in its parks instead of the current system. Part time employees may need to be added to that list, also. 

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Objectively better? Food service and staff training across ALL departments, for starters. Especially compared to Kings Island. In general*, you can go to a Six Flags and get through line--with both season-long dining plan folks and regular paying folks both in line--without too many headaches or too much time spent in line. And when SIX offers something, it doesn't seem to suffer nearly as many issues with mistrained/untrained employees*. The staff know what they're doing when things like dining plans and limited-time promotional offers come around. This may be coincidence, but I've also had some of my better seasonal theme park customer service experiences in some Six Flags parks--every once in a while, someone will have a level of friendliness not unlike many employees at Dollywood. One of those was at Six Flags America. Really. (Of course, there have been several encounters with apathetic employees, too. But that's people.)

 

(* As of this writer's personal experiences as of April 18, 2016, offer not valid in the states of Massachusetts or Maryland. More on that later.)

 

Subjectively better? In my opinion: I like that they are willing to take a risk on new ideas. For better or worse, they'll try the new stuff that hasn't yet found a niche in any park (seasonal or year-round destination.) Sometimes that results in things like Rocky Mountain redos and the Justice League dark rides, and sometimes that results in things like capacity-crippling VR headsets. I'm not arguing that that is the best or worst idea from a financial perspective or customer service perspective; I just like it as a fan of creativity. I also vastly prefer THE FLASH Pass to Fast Lane, as it is much less prone to abuse and overwhelming front-of-the-line-people queues.

 

I should add a disclaimer that I've basically never experienced Six Flags live entertainment (I saw one show at SFGAm three years ago, and that's it), so I can't contrast that with Cedar Fair.

 

And there's a lot of stuff that SIX and FUN are evenly matched in, and there are some things that vary from park to park. Cedar Fair operations are much more consistent across all the parks; it's extremely ironic to me that Great Adventure's closest neighbors are SFNE and SFA, when SFGAdv has wonderful operations but SFNE and SFA have THE worst I've ever experienced. Cedar Fair's pass processing experience is much cleaner and consistent than SIX passes (I've processed at SFStL, SFGAm, SFA, and SFNE, and they all work differently) but SIX passes don't seem to have nearly as many issues as have been reported here with Cedar Fair Platinum passes. Some people have beef with Six Flags' in-park advertising, but honestly, it doesn't bother me too much. It's not that more noticeable than the advertisements on FunTV for me. Your mileage may vary.

 

Six Flags also gets bonus points from me for having Schwarzkopfs, because the world needs more Schwarzkopf loopers. But that's beside the point. ;)

 

I think that's everything I meant to put in here... I'm sure I'll think of something later and swing by to edit this post.

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Here's the noticeable difference that I've seemed to encountered the last couple of years.

At a Cedar Fair park its as if they could do without my business but my presence is welcome to stay..if I want.
At a Six Flags park its as if they need me to live there and be happy forever.

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Overall, I prefer the Flash Pass Qbot system over the Fast Lane wristbands, though I do find the way its been implemented on certain rides to be very irritating. 

I prefer the Fast Lane system, selling a certain amount a day so you don't screw up normal lines, also SIX operations are pretty terrible 

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Not sure if this is a good thing overall, but a $55 Gold Season Pass for every park in the chain plus free parking. Throw on the meal plan where they have places to store souvenir drink cups on EVERY RIDE PLATFORM and the only thing I have to pay for that day is the obvious gas money. The drink cup thing isn't to much of an issue at KI, but Cedar Point is a different story.

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Longer operating schedules. I don't think Cedar Fair would have Holiday In the Park in cold weather areas like NJ. Even for the regular season their parks open earlier, Great Adventure opens as much as 6 weeks earlier than Dorney each year depending on when Easter is.

Six Flags allows re rides on the coasters and often encourages it. There is no limit either unlike some other parks that only allow 2 consecutive rides if there is no line.

Lower height requirements on coasters.

Season Pass is less money, no extra cost for access to all parks. The dining pass also is less money, and includes free soft drinks all season with the gold pass and a snack each visit. You can also exchange a meal for a snack.

Less strict weather policies. They will run the coasters in under 30 degrees, even the B&M coasters.

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Cedar Fair DOES allow rerides. I know this first hand. One 100 degree day in July 2012, when everybody was in Soak City or the water rides, I rode Flight Deck 12 times in a row. One rainy cold halloween night that same year I rode Diamondback three times in a row. I got off both because I wanted to ride something else.

 

Season Passes are less money, but look at their insane parking prices!

 

Cedar Fair from what I have been hearing may or may not want to bring back Winterfest to its Theme Parks, CGA is getting one this year.

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Two years ago it was quite regular for the ride operators to allow for a re-ride if there was no line waiting at Kings Island. Starting last year though I noticed a few people ask if they could re-ride and they told them that they are no longer allowed to do that. Not sure if that was a new policy or a policy they just never enforced before, but I know all year last year I didn't see anyone get a re-ride at Kings Island.

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I've had a pass since the 2014 season, and as far as I can tell, it has been policy at KI not to allow rerides. I've heard a lot of complaints and reminiscences to know it used to be different, but "you gotta walk around" has been the response every time someone asked an op in the recent years I've attended. Re-rides weren't allowed when I was a kid/teenager so far as I remember, either.

Since one of my goals at the park is to get exercise, I kind of prefer it this way. It also keeps from the possibility of people getting mad at me when this single rider "kicks them out" of their seat simply by having chosen a row.

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Six Flags also has much more visible and much more aggressive security presence in the parks. This is partly because of the often larger metropolitan areas where those parks are located.

See also metal detectors.

When a security incident does occur, Six Flags is very likely to publicize it and to prosecute and/or ban those involved.

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Two years ago it was quite regular for the ride operators to allow for a re-ride if there was no line waiting at Kings Island. Starting last year though I noticed a few people ask if they could re-ride and they told them that they are no longer allowed to do that. Not sure if that was a new policy or a policy they just never enforced before, but I know all year last year I didn't see anyone get a re-ride at Kings Island.

That's a new policy! I am a bit mad at Kings Island for doing this..... some of my greatest memories were re-riding roller coasters. That gives me a bitter taste in my mouth.

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Interesting. Never once at KI have I been refused a reride, on at least one occasion I was actually offered a reride. This was as late as last year, mostly when I was there on a midweek afternoon when park attendance was quite light. So that might've been a factor.

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Things SIX does better than FUN:

  • Season passes.  SIX season pass system is way ahead of where FUN is right now.  I've never had an issue with any of my SIX season passes as far as getting into the parks.  FUN is getting better but they're still nowhere near SIX right now.
  • Their skip-the-line system.  THE FLASH PASS is much better than Fast Lane keeping things fairer for both users and non-users.
  • In park entertainment.  I agree with the Interpreter on this one.  Unfortunately a lot of SIX parks don't have much - if anything - beyond roving Looney Tunes or Justice League characters but it does add a nice touch. 
  • More orderly flow of guests at park opening.  I agree with all that's already been said on this point.

Things FUN does better than SIX:

  • Getting into the parks quickly - both with parking and front gate admission.
  • Early entry at the parks where it is offered.  If a FUN park advertises 30 minutes of early ride time, you'll get 30 minutes.  It's up in the air at a SIX park.  You might get 30 minutes or you might get nothing.  It's very random and is very annoying.
  • Ride operations.  There are a couple of SIX parks that are exceptions, but FUN parks - particularly the larger ones - are in a different weight class.  FUN is also much more apt to run maximum trains on their coasters all year, and have all their coaster trains running at the start of the season.
  • In theater entertainment.  FUN runs circles around SIX in this department.  Fiesta Texas is the exception for SIX parks but certainly not the rule.
  • No bring-a-friend completely free days.  It sounds like a great SIX season pass perk until you realize that those days are some of the busiest days they have all year.  The bring-a-friend discount days at FUN parks have MUCH more moderate crowds so they're not automatic "you couldn't pay me to go today" days like the SIX bring-a-friend free days are.
  • More operating days and longer operating hours.  There are more light to moderate crowd days at FUN parks because of this.       
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  • 4 years later...

Maybe I'm just a Cedar Fair fanboy but I'm not too fond of how Six Flags' operates their parks.

Quantity over quality is obviously their business model as evident with their numerous parks, cheap reproductions, endless supply of sponsorships on rides and mostly non original IP rides. I wish they would sell off some of their smaller parks and focus on delivering a higher quality of attractions to their larger ones. I'd argue their smaller parks would receive more love under another chain like Herschend and Sea World or if they were independently run like Adventureland or Kentucky Kingdom. 

The DC themes seem kinda tacky to me. The rides themselves are fine, most of them are extraordinary as a matter of fact. It just seems like a lazy and cheap practice to keep naming rides after comic book characters. For example, Great Adventure's 4d freespin was going to be named "Total Mayhem" but instead they opted to name it Joker. I'm sure they get some cash from WB to theme their rides after their characters but it just seems effortless. Compare them to Cedar Fair who've created original IPs like Mystic Timbers, Maverick, Copperhead Strike, Orion, Banshee, Steel Vengeance, and so on. 

Also cloning. Now I've talked about how Cedar Fair should buy cloned rides for their smaller parks but Six Flags does it for most if not all of their parks. Almost every park has a Batman clone, a 4d freespin, a larson loop, a giant frisbee and so on and so fourth. They've gotten a little better at this with their larger parks but its still mind blowing.

I know being the discount chain is kind of their thing but I'm honestly not a big fan of that mentality.

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