Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Heard On... Six Flags 2007 Conference Call

Six Flags had a conference call this morning to talk about their plans for 2007, and while it wasn't a full capital expenditure breakdown it did have some interesting info. Here's some tidbits I heard that were interesting:

• Thomas the Tank Engine themed areas. They plan to open 3 next year, where to be announced later. They are building a railroad in the land, along with other rides. The queue for the railroad will have TVs that play tapes of the shows and take place in the train station. They also have plans for live characters to be in the parks from the show. Six Flags has exclusivity for these themed areas for 300 miles of the park they are built in.
• The Wiggles. They already announced this for Great Adventure, with two more coming in '07. They seem to be REALLY excited at the merchandise opportunities that come with this. They spoke of having personalized merch. available, and also having TV's in the land showing tapes of the shows. The areas will be cross promoted at Wiggles concerts, and the lands will have a stage show with "Dorothy and Friends."
• Tony Hawk rides: Two next year, more on the horizon in later years. Also going to have heavy merch. being pushed and videos of Tony Hawk stuff in the queue.
(Sensing a theme here?)
• Cold Stone Creamery. Eight will open next year, 7 will have premixed ice cream, Six Flags New England will feature the cold stone mixing of the product as a prototype. Six Flags Coaster Crunch will be featured as a signature flavor.
• Holiday in the Park: To be added to Marine World and Fiesta Texas for Christmas 2007, not in like a week as being reported on other sites.
• Panda Express food locations will double from 6 to 12 for 2007.
• Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom will have the park's largest expansion ever, focused on the waterpark. They said the name will change to Splashwater Kingdom, and it will have a ride unique to North America. Interesting name choice, as that is the name of the water park at Great Escape which is hardly a model park.
• Great Adventure is working on the Safari. Shapiro said he believes it's one of the most under utilized assets that Six Flags Inc. has. He also stated - get ready for this - that he thinks it is better than Animal Kingdom's Safari. WHAT!? Regardless, they are making some places to see animal shows and pet them and such. The biggest news to this is that it will no longer be given away with admission, but be extra charge once again. We'll see how this one turns out. Seriously.
• Last year to date they had sold 52,000 season passes, this year they are at 109,000. This is really rather promising. Group sales are also up 27%.
• The 9 parks for sale will continue to operate as amusement/theme parks regardless of who ends up owning them. They also stressed a couple times that originally they wanted to sell the group together, and that now they are looking at selling them separate, in groups, or however they feel like it. This tells me that perhaps only some of the parks will be sold and some will be kept. (probably cause no one wanted some of them)
• Attendance in 2006 was down 14% to 28 million.

Call me crazy, but which looks nicer to you?

Great Adventures Safari:
^ Photo from Coaster Net.

Or Animal Kingdom's?
You be the judge.