California Theme Park Guests Frustrated, Complain of 3+ Hour Waits

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Six Flags Magic Mountain

Credit: Six Flags Magic Mountain

It seems that theme parks everywhere are experiencing an interesting phenomenon where “slow” season seems to be a thing of the past.

Six Flags Magic Mountain
Credit: Six Flags Magic Mountain

Whether you’re visiting a tourism destination like Walt Disney World Resort, or perhaps a more local park like Knott’s Berry Farm in California or Busch Gardens in Tamapa, it seems that the amount of crowds that have been visiting during what is typically deemed to be a slower season has only increased. Disney CEO has just noted that the theme park has just underwent their second-biggest quarter financially, and it seems the demand is not stopping. Crowds and wait times continue to rage during times of the year that would typically be considered far less busy.

Six Flags Magic Mountain
Credit: Six Flags Magic Mountain

After the holidays, many Guests often take a break from vacation as they just spent a lot of their money on Christmas. Aside from that, after having time off from work and school from the holidays, taking a vacation right after is often not the desired choice. Because of school schedules and holidays, we are often able to detect when tourist destinations will be busier. Summer months are often bustling at any theme park as kids are out of school, as well as holidays like March break, spring break, Halloween, and more. This means that all of the times in between are usually “slower.” Well, it seems that even at Six Flags Magic Mountain in California, the “slow season” is no longer in effect.

Six Flags Magic Mountain
Credit: Six Flags Magic Mountain

A Reddit thread was recently launched, discussing the current crowds at Six Flags Magic Mountain with multi-hour waits.

Xsipkis stated:

What exactly is making the parks so crowded atm? I thought it was the off season?
In the past two weeks or so, I have seen many people complaining about the crowds at certain year-round parks. I think people have the right to complain, but it comes as a shock to me that the parks have the same level of crowds as they did in the summer?

Is there a special phenomenon or even that’s going on that’s making the crowds so insane? For instance, I went to Universal and Disney last July and the crowds were heavy, but manageable.

But I keep seeing people talking about these parks having posted times of 2-3 hours for almost every attraction, and my mind is completely blown.

What’s going on?

What exactly is making the parks so crowded atm? I thought it was the off season? from Themepark

Related: Six Flags Coaster Expected To Reopen After Derailing Mid-Ride

One good point, as frito11 pointed out could be the desire to travel after the pandemic held so many in for so long.

covid fatigue.

my perspective as a park goer post covid is only in CA at mostly at my home parks here in the bay area but they have all been far busier than they were pre-covid when open. now that seasonal parks around the state are closed people wanting to go to parks are i’m sure flocking to the year round major parks esp on weekends.

TheFigment seemed to agree, noting:

Pent up demand. All vacations that were rescheduled, many probably multiple times in the last two years, are all finally happening.

laurencbrown88 compared the Park to Disney, where they noted it was also insanely busy.

I went to Hollywood Studios on a MONDAY this month and it was wall to wall packed, looked like spring break. I don’t understand it either.

Credit: Six Flags

grandmarquis84 spoke about Universal Orlando Resort, where they commented that the wait times there were not too terrible. Interestingly enough, we recently visited Universal Hollywood, where the wait times were non-existent.

Spending this week at Universal and while there are lots of people the wait times aren’t that bad. Hagrid’s has hit 90 minutes a few times and Flight of the Hippogriff can get long but everything else has stayed close to a half hour or shorter.

universal hollywood crowds
Credit: Inside the Magic

ImaginaryDisplay3 noted that there is a good chance that Park Guest increases have been continuously climbing.

It’s true that some of it is just pent up demand from covid, but the larger issue is that the number of visitors has gone up dramatically over the last 15 years or so without a substantial increase in capacity.

Disney in particular is way behind on adding capacity and is really struggling to figure out how to deal with it. In the short and medium term, if they add a new ride, they actually increase overall attendance more than they mitigate it, plus the new ride has to replace something (and thus doesn’t actually add overall capacity).

They don’t have any other good short term options; they could double prices and it probably wouldn’t change attendance very much. That seems like a good thing for them, but it means that crowds are going to continue to be out of control no matter what they do.

Universal is tacking this problem the most efficient way it can, by just building a massive new park.

More on Six Flags

Six Flags Magic Mountain now has a Flash Pass, much like Disney Genie’s pay-per-ride Lightning Lane options. 

Much like Disney Genie, Guests can book the passes on their phones and should arrive at the attraction when their return time has come. Considering the cost can rise to $25.00 per person per ride, Six Flags has crossed the Disneyland threshold of $20.00 per ride which we can see with Rise of the Resistance at the moment. It seems that the upwards costs that is being implemented at Disney has now influenced Six Flags. Considering the theme park remained shut down for over a year, it seems they are jumping on the Disney train to make their money back.

Related: California Theme Park Destroys Iconic DC Universe Coaster

Flash Pass single-ride prices range from $5 to $25 per person and vary per ride and by day. Twisted Colossus and West Coast Racers were priced at $12 per person per ride while Full Throttle and Goliath cost $14 on the Martin Luther King Jr. Day national holiday on Monday, Jan. 17. The new Flash Pass Skip-the-Line program will be available at Magic Mountain for the foreseeable future, according to Six Flags officials.

What do you think of Park crowds as of late? Let us know in the comments below. 

Let the expert team at Academy Travel help you plan your next magical vacation to Walt Disney World Resort’s four theme parks — Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios — and the Disney Springs shopping and dining district!

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