Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Sabrina's Brochure Spotlight: Six Flags America 2003

Another year, another name. But at long last, this one should look familiar to you! See, I really wasn't pulling your leg about May being Six Flags America month on SBS.

One might contend that Premier Parks' purchase of Six Flags in 1998 spelled the beginning of the end for the ill-fated management regime, but it spelled the beginning of a whole new era for Six Flags America, which assumed its new-new-new-new name in 1999. And what's in a name, anyway? In this case, quite a lot. According to Jim Futrell's book Amusement Parks of Virginia, Maryland & Delaware, Premier went from spending some $40 million on this park over the entire six-year period it had owned it to spending $40 million in one year to remodel the park in the Six Flags image. (And that doesn't even include future years' expenditures!) As you're about to see, the transformation was marked.

Seriously, does this brochure even need the park name or signature logo in order for consumers to identify it as a Six Flags park? The preponderance of DC Comics and Looney Tunes characters pretty much says it all. It's also very obvious that this park had a new star attraction by the time 2003 rolled around. Even its latest and greatest ride, The Penguin's Blizzard River, didn't dare take the spotlight away from Superman - Ride of Steel.

Superman, which made its debut in 2000, was the fifth of six new coasters (count 'em--SIX!!) added to this park since our last "visit" in 1995. It was preceded by Roar (1998), Great Chase (1999), Joker's Jinx (1999), and Two-Face: The Flip Side (1999) and followed by Batwing (2001). Okay, okay: In all fairness, two coasters (The Great Alonzo's Cannonball Coaster and Python) were also removed during this time. But still! The transition to Six Flags "thrill park" status was evident.

On the losing end of all this new construction was Paradise Island. While still a staple attraction at Six Flags America, you might say the water park experienced a bit of a "dry spell" during this period. But something tells me that would change in time... [Just a little foreshadowing to whet your appetites for the final part of our series next week!]

But believe it or not, it really wasn't all about coasters. In Premier's estimation, making the transition to a "Six Flags" park also meant infrastructure upgrades, new theming, more flats and family rides, even more impressive shows, and of course, what Six Flags park would be complete without a Looney Tunes-themed children's area? They delivered all in kind--in a very short period of time. By the time this brochure was printed in 2003, this formerly sleepy little wildlife park was wide awake and ready to thrill, chill, and spill.

You need look no further than the laundry list of trademarks at the end of this brochure to know that Six Flags America had officially burst onto the theme park scene. Next week we'll conclude our spotlight series by taking a look at how this park closed out the first decade of the new millennium.