Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Sabrina's Brochure Spotlight: Six Flags New England 2000

When Riverside Amusement Park in Agawam, Massachusetts opened its gates for the 2000 season, it was hardly the park it had been the previous year. In fact, it wasn't even called "Riverside Amusement Park" anymore. Its owner, Premier Parks, had recently acquired Six Flags and a rebranding effort was in full swing. Enter "Six Flags New England".

So what's in a name? In this particular case, a lot.

What better way to usher in the new millennium than by shedding $50 million in pocket change, eh? Let me put this into perspective for you. Today's Six Flags works with an annual capital budget of approximately $100 million for the entire chain. We're talking about spending half that much on a single park! Of course, most would argue that at least some of that cash was very well spent...

It's faster than a speeding bullet alright, and it rose to the summit of enthusiast "top ten" lists in like fashion. Superman Ride of Steel was the crown jewel of Six Flags New England's 2000 spending spree, and arguably remains one of the crown jewels of all coasterdom. A decade of thrills later, it has not budged from its position at the top of the steel coaster polls.

Had Premier known that they had a masterpiece on their hands, perhaps they would have saved the rest of their "lesser" additions for a rainy day, or at the very least spread them out over a multi-year period. But the ball was already rolling, and Superman's lair--a brand new themed area dubbed "SuperHero Adventures"--was filled out by the family-friendly Poison Ivy's Tangled Train coaster, a Chance Wipeout known as Joker's Wildcard, and the Batman Thrill Spectacular stunt show. Another area of the park was rethemed as Looney Tunes Movie Town.

Did you think we were finished with 2000 additions? Not even close! $50 million is a lot of dough, people. Let's just go ahead and bump that new coaster count up to three, shall we? After all, it wouldn't be the "Premier era" if we didn't. A Vekoma Boomerang made the move from Kentucky to Massachusetts in 2000 and was rechristened "Flashback". A Huss Fly Away, Nightwing, was also added to the line-up. And because all good things come in threes, the park's existing S&S single-tower ride was transformed into a triple-tower ride which took on the name "Scream!".

WHEW!! Are we done yet? Judging from the sheer number of new additions, you'd think that this park had no rides whatsoever prior to 2000. Not so! Not only did Six Flags New England have rides, but also a water park, Island Kingdom. (That part of the park had yet to be renamed at the turn of the century.)

I'm exhausted after just reading about all the changes that took place at Six Flags New England in 2000. Must be nice to have $50 million to throw around! Of course, time would tell that they sorta didn't... But hey, it's all water under the bridge at this point. Now that Six Flags has done the hokey pokey and turned itself around, it's much easier to look the other way and focus on that crown jewel we got out of it!