Six Flags Overtakes Disney, Shuts Down 15 Theme Parks

in Six Flags, Theme Parks, Uncategorized

six flags magic mountain

Credit: Rich Fury / Flickr

While visiting a theme park like Walt Disney World Resort or Universal Orlando Resort is always a goal for many, it takes a lot of planning, money, and oftentimes, travel.

disney-world-magic-kingdom-empty
Credit: @DrewDisneyDude

Walt Disney World has some of the best themed rides of all times. While thrill is not their main target at Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, or Disney’s Animal Kingdom, you can get whisked away into worlds that have details you would never imagine. From the pirate whose leg on Pirates of the Caribbean hangs over the bridge (and had each hair individually placed), to the intricate story that weaves through attractions like Haunted Mansion, Tower of Terror, Big Thunder Mountain, Jungle Cruise, and more — Disney is constantly in the business of blowing expectations when it comes to creating new themed realities.

At Universal Orlando Resort, things are similar, yet entirely different.

Guests of all ages posing happily with the Minions
Credit: Universal Orlando Resort

Universal has two parks at the moment: Islands of Adventure and Universal Orlando Resort. They also have a water park, Volcano Bay, and soon, a new gate will open in 2025 called Epic Universe. Universal also prioritizes theming, which anyone would see when they enter the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, but the parks do contain a lot more thrilling entertainment and action, which can be catered to a slightly older crowd.

Both parks are world-renowned for their attractions, which is why Orlando is one of the most visited cities in the world. But getting to either park takes a lot of work, as it is typically a vacation destination and not a weekend visit.

Because of this, regional and more local theme parks have always been incredibly popular. Over the past decade and beyond, the Cedar Fair brand and Six Flags brand have both allowed Americans (and some Canadians if you lived in the Toronto area) to get a taste of a theme park, without having to travel far, or break the bank.

great-america
Credit: Cedar Fair

Cedar Fair parks include:

  • California’s Great America – Santa Clara, Calif.
  • Canada’s Wonderland – Toronto, Ont.
  • Carowinds – Charlotte, N.C.
  • Cedar Point – Sandusky, Ohio
  • Cedar Point – Shores Sandusky, Ohio
  • Dorney Park – Allentown, Pa.
  • Kings Dominion – Richmond, Va.
  • Kings Island – Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Knott’s Berry Farm – Buena Park, Calif.
  • Knott’s Soak City – Shakopee, Minn.
  • Michigan’s Adventure – Muskegon, Mich.
  • Valleyfair – Buena Park, Calif.
  • Worlds of Fun – Kansas City, Mo.
Guests riding the Jaguar roller coaster at Knott's Berry Farm
Credit: Knott’s Berry Farm

Cedar Fair owns 11 theme parks and four water parks, but now, it will own none.

While Six Flags has been gaining a negative reputation as of late due to poor guest behavior, the company is still a theme park mogul which has now officially purchased Cedar Fair.

Related: Mega Theme Park Chain Rejects Diabetic Guests, Refuses Medical Equipment

As reported by Reuters, “The combined company will operate 27 amusement parks, 15 water parks and 9 resort properties across 17 U.S. states, Canada and Mexico. Each Six Flags share will be worth 0.5800 shares of the combined company, which values Six Flags at about $2 billion.”

Knott's Berry Farm theme park in California
Credit: Knott’s Berry Fram

Just last year, SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. offered to buy Cedar Fair for around $3.4 billion, however, the offer was rejected. 

By entering into this partnership, the regional park operators aim to establish a more solid position and achieve a “robust revenue and cash flow generation profile,” especially in the face of competition from counterparts such as SeaWorld Entertainment and Disney’s theme parks.

This collaboration is anticipated to address the challenges related to seasonality and minimize fluctuations in earnings by expanding their presence in regions with year-round operating conditions, as articulated in their joint statement.

Guests aboard a roller coaster at one of the Six Flags theme Park locations around the globe.
Credit: Six Flags

The merger is anticipated to be finalized within the initial six months of 2024. Following the merger, Cedar Fair shareholders will hold approximately 51.2% of the combined entity, with Six Flags shareholders holding the remaining stake.

Upon completion, the new company will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the Six Flags ticker symbol. Therefore, Cedar Fair as we know it will no longer be the operator of their parks, as Six Flags will be the dominant leader, and namesake for both companies.

Revolution at Six Flags Great America
Credit: Six Flags

It has not been noted how this will affect the current Cedar Fair parks. There is a chance that the merger will require the parks to shut down for a short period of time for rebranding, as the theme parks will essentially be “new” in name, with the Six Flags ownership being displayed, and replacing the Cedar Fair branding.

Scott Gustin shared the news, noting that, “Cedar Fair and Six Flags announce $8 billion merger agreement. The deal is expected to close in first half of 2024. New company will include 42 theme parks and 9 resort properties across 17 states, Canada and Mexico.”

Again, while Six Flags does not hold the prestige and reputation that The Walt Disney Company or Universal has within their theme parks, they are now the very dominant force within the theme park industry following this takeover.

Current Six Flags Locations

Below, you can see the current Six Flags locations without the acquisition of Cedar Fair.

  • Six Flags Fiesta Texas: Situated in San Antonio, this family-friendly venue presents seven roller coasters and an accompanying water park, complete with a unique Texas-shaped wave pool.
  • Six Flags Over Texas: Found in Arlington, this original Six Flags amusement park boasts a collection of 12 diverse roller coasters and a multitude of other rides suitable for all age groups.
the top of the Scream drop tower at Six Flags Fiesta Texas
Credit: Six Flags Fiesta Texas
  • Six Flags Hurricane Harbor: Positioned just across the street from Six Flags Over Texas, this water park offers a wide spectrum of attractions, catering to those seeking gentle splashes to thrilling deluges. The offerings include a surfing simulator, toboggan slides, a wave pool, family slides, beach volleyball, and more.
  • Six Flags Over Georgia: Positioned in Atlanta, this park extends a warm dose of Southern hospitality and the distinct flavor of Six Flags’ excitement. Its lineup features 11 roller coasters and a diverse range of rides, including a standing drop tower, an exhilarating rapids ride, and various attractions suitable for all ages.
  • Six Flags White Water: Located in Atlanta, this water park offers a mix of gentle and moderately thrilling aquatic experiences. The offerings include a four-story interactive water treehouse, a funnel slide, lily pad walks, a six-lane racing slide, and a multitude of water attractions designed especially for children.
  • Six Flags Discovery Kingdom: This park offers an exciting blend of seven roller coasters and various other attractions, complemented by a fascinating array of wildlife, including aquatic tigers, orcas, and an interactive aviary. It’s a fantastic vacation destination in the vicinity of San Francisco.
  • Six Flags Great America: Positioned near Chicago, this park showcases a collection of 12 roller coasters offering various levels of thrills. Additionally, it presents an extensive array of spinning and freefall rides, along with the dedicated Wiggles World area designed exclusively for kids.
Guests ride Batman: The Ride at Six Flags Great America
Credit: Six Flags
  • Six Flags Magic Mountain: Situated to the north of Los Angeles, this park boasts a remarkable collection of 15 roller coasters, catering to a wide spectrum of thrill-seekers. The coasters come in various styles, including inverted, wooden, suspended, launched, flying, and 4-D designs.
  • Six Flags St. Louis: This park presents a selection of eight thrilling roller coasters, a seven-acre white-water rafting adventure, a variety of other exhilarating rides, the engaging Bugs Bunny National Park area tailored for children, and a sprawling 12-acre water park for guests to relish.
  • Six Flags America: Located in Baltimore, this park boasts eight roller coasters and a diverse range of classic rides that are fitting for its setting in one of America’s most historic cities. Among these attractions, you’ll find bumper cars, a Scrambler, swings, antique cars, and an exhilarating white-water rafting adventure.
six flags great america superman roller coaster
Credit: Six Flags Great America
  • The Great Escape & Splashwater Kingdom: Located in the vicinity of Lake George, this park offers a combination of wet and dry thrills. It features six distinct roller coasters and a variety of water slides for visitors to enjoy.
  • Six Flags Great Escape Lodge and Indoor Water Park: Also situated near Lake George, this marks the first indoor water park in New York. It boasts a multitude of entertaining attractions, including a surfing simulator, family-oriented slides, tube slides, and an interactive splash treehouse.
  • Six Flags New England: Positioned approximately 100 miles west of Boston, this park is home to the Hurricane Harbor Water Park and provides an array of roller coasters, family-oriented rides, and diverse entertainment options for visitors to enjoy.
  • Six Flags Great Adventure: Situated in Jackson, this park boasts an impressive roster of 13 roller coasters, including the world’s tallest and fastest coaster, Kingda Ka. It also offers a diverse range of additional rides, with options suitable for families and children.
  • Six Flags Hurricane Harbor: Also located in Jackson, this expansive 45-acre water park features attractions like a one-million-gallon wave pool, a variety of body and tube slides, and an interactive river replete with geysers and cascading waterfalls.
  • La Ronde, Montreal: Positioned in Quebec, this park offers a wide array of thrill rides, highlighted by the world’s tallest dual-track wooden roller coaster and a captivating VR experience with a gargoyle theme. Additionally, it provides a variety of rides and entertainment suitable for visitors of all ages.
Cyborg Spin at Six Flags Great Adventure
Credit: Six Flags
  • Six Flags Mexico: Situated in Mexico City, this theme park showcases a collection of eight roller coasters and two water attractions, constituting a total of nearly 50 rides. The park is divided into sections, each themed after various global destinations, including Mexico, France, Polynesia, Switzerland, and Hollywood.

Six Flags Hurricane Harbor: Located in Valencia, just north of Los Angeles, this water park offers an array of over 25 rides and slides. These include an interactive water funhouse, enclosed slides, a wave pool, racing slides, a group funnel slide, and a leisurely lazy river for visitors to enjoy.

There is also Hurricane Harbor in Oaxtepec (Mexico), Six Flags Haiyan in Zhejiang (China), and Six Flags in Dubai (United Arab Emirates).

What do you think about Six Flags gaining ownership of Cedar Fair? 

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