Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sabrina's Brochure Spotlight: Six Flags America 2009

The month of May is coming to an end, and so is this special SBS series featuring Six Flags America. From wildlife to water slides to wascally wabbits, this park certainly has evolved over the past 30+ years. But as they say, there's no time like the present. So without further ado, let's take a look at the Six Flags America of today. [Okay, okay--more like the Six Flags America of last year. Close enough!]

So what has this park been up to since 2003? Well I can tell you what they have not been up to, and that's building coasters. Six Flags America has not seen a new coaster rise since the great Premier building spree of the late '90s and early '00s. If you'll recall, that spree began with the very ride pictured on this 2009 brochure cover, Roar. While the TOGO Ultratwister which used to operate at Six Flags AstroWorld was moved to the Maryland property, it was never rebuilt.

As for Premier...Well, I don't think I need to tell you what happened to them. But you've got to give them credit for saving this park and converting it into a successful, profitable business--an accomplishment which had eluded all previous owners.

Things have been relatively quiet on the Maryland front since the Six Flags management shake-up of 2005-2006. Thus far, the new management team has spent the majority of its time and money on deferred maintenance and ancillary entertainment, such as last year's new concert series. While such upgrades were much needed, the lack of--shall we say--vertical construction has left thrill seekers chomping at the bit.

But change is on the horizon, as evidenced by the 2010 addition of North America's largest Thomas Town (not pictured in this 2009 brochure, obviously!). This gift to the kiddies represents Six Flags America's largest expansion in more than a decade. With any luck, it will be followed by their biggest coaster installation in more than a decade! (Wishful thinking...)

The Premier team did log one final accomplishment prior to their unceremonious exit from the park management business. In 2005, they oversaw the conversion of the stagnating Paradise Island water park into Hurricane Harbor. It was a tremendous effort, encompassing retheming, upgrades, and numerous additions. One of those additions, the Tornado, features prominently in this spread. By the time the park switched hands, it was firing on all cylinders.

One final note before we bid adieu to Six Flags America. Since it's advertised here, I may as well point out that this park has been holding a Halloween event for nearly two decades. Of course, it wasn't always called "Fright Fest" or sponsored by Snickers. It began as "Halloween World" in 1991. And unfortunately, that's all I know about it! Just happened to see a note about it in one of my old Wild World brochures (of course!).

For all you die-hard Six Flags America fans out there, I hope you've enjoyed this month's stroll down memory lane. As for the rest of you, perhaps you'll be more likely to morph into die-hard fans now that you know a little more about this lesser appreciated park in the Six Flags chain. Hopefully we'll have lots more to write about in the years to come!