Final Days of Six Flags? Theme Park Admits to Financial Turmoil, Closure Imminent

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Entrance of Six Flags Over Georgia theme park with a sign in the foreground noting a $1.30 surcharge for orders due to increased labor and supply costs. People are visible near the gates.

Credit: Theme Park James (rectangle photo), Andrew Hyde (circle photo)

Things at Six Flags Over Georgia continue to get worse, with closures plaguing the theme park, and now, added charges being forced upon guests with no reward or pay off.

catwoman whip six flags over georgia
Credit: Six Flags Over Georgia

Six Flags Entertainment Corporation, a global leader in amusement parks, boasts a rich history dating back to the 1960s. The brand itself was born from the concept of showcasing regional heritage through themed areas within a single park.

The first Six Flags park, Six Flags Over Texas, opened its doors in Arlington, Texas in 1961. Inspired by the six flags that have flown over the state throughout its history (Spain, France, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the Confederate States of America, and the United States), the park offered distinct themed sections, each with its own unique architecture, cuisine, and attractions.

This innovative concept proved highly successful, paving the way for the expansion of the Six Flags brand, as well as theme parks around the globe.

Six Flags’ success in Texas sparked a wave of themed park development across North America. Parks like Six Flags Magic Mountain in California, renowned for its collection of thrilling roller coasters, and Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey, boasting the world’s tallest rollercoaster, Kingda Ka, all exemplify the brand’s commitment to immersive experiences that celebrate regional flair.

Six Flags Fiesta Texas further exemplifies this dedication, offering a vibrant atmosphere and a focus on family-friendly attractions, all within the context of Texas’ rich cultural heritage — and that is just scratching the surface of the Six Flags brand.

Guests ride Batman: The Ride at Six Flags Great America
Credit: Six Flags

Six Flags Over Georgia, located in Austell, Georgia, joined the Six Flags family in 1967, becoming the second park established by the corporation. Similar to its Texas counterpart, the park features five themed areas reflecting the state’s diverse history.

Six Flags Over Georgia has grown significantly since its opening, boasting a thrilling collection of over 12 roller coasters. From the classic Georgia Cyclone to the record-breaking Goliath (the world’s fastest wooden coaster at the time of its construction), the park caters to adrenaline seekers of all ages.

Beyond roller coasters, the park offers a variety of family-friendly attractions, water rides, shows, and dining options, solidifying its position as a premier entertainment destination in the Southeast.

While the park set records for its time, the reputation of Six Flags Over Georgia has deteriorated overtime due to ongoing brawls.

The highly anticipated opening day of Six Flags Over Georgia on March 2 took a disturbing turn as what began as internal park altercations escalated into a shooting outside the park’s premises.

According to Fox5, “Cobb County officials gathered Tuesday to address safety concerns around Six Flags Over Georgia after a series of fights and the shooting of a teen by a police officer during the park’s opening day.

Footage of an arrest near Six Flags Over Georgia
Credit: WSBTV

Mableton Mayor Michael Owens, the Cobb County sheriff and police chief, the general manager of Six Flags Over Georgia, and other officials held a closed-door meeting Tuesday afternoon to address the need for increased public safety and propose solutions followed by a press conference.”

Footage obtained by FOX 5 captured the chaotic scene, showcasing teenagers running through the park, a physical altercation involving several individuals, and a helicopter providing aerial support. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) reported an estimated 500 to 600 individuals engaged in disruptive behavior within the park on the evening of the incident.

Cobb County police intervened, guiding the unruly crowd out of the park onto South Service Road. However, tensions remained high, as gunfire erupted from unidentified individuals, striking an unoccupied Cobb County police car.

The pursuit of suspects continued into nearby woods, where an officer discharged their weapon, injuring 15-year-old Syere Littlefield of College Park. Despite his injuries, Littlefield now faces significant legal repercussions. The Cobb County Police Department has charged him with aggravated assault on a police officer, aggravated assault, possession of a firearm during a crime, possession of a firearm under 18, and interference with government property.

Adding another layer of concern, local residents reported witnessing social media posts suggesting some attendees may have anticipated the violent events. FOX 5 obtained footage of a video titled “[Point of view]: you live in Atlanta and you already know what finna go down March second at Six Flags,” accompanied by a laughing emoji.

This raises troubling questions about potential pre-meditation and the potential role of social media in inciting such violence.

After the incident, Six Flags issued a statement:

“Our goal is to provide safe, fun entertainment. We employ state of the art security systems and metal detection, maintain a robust and vigilant Public Safety Department, and have strong support from Cobb County Police who are present both inside and outside the park. Every guest is expected to follow our strict code of conduct and anyone unwilling to follow that code of conduct is unwelcome.”

A police officer in reflective gear on duty near the road with a six flags over georgia sign in the background.
Credit: Inside the Magic

Following the shooting, it was confirmed that the park would actually be shuttering its doors to Hurricane Harbor, the water theme park within Six Flags Over Georgia through the summer from Monday to Wednesday (for most weeks), showing a lack funding to keep the park operating.

Now, it has been confirmed via guest Andrew Hyde that the previous surcharge on all food and drinks, which was recently added as a $0.99 charge, is now increasing to $1.30. This is in addition to the 10% food cost price hike that has occurred at the theme park, due to “increased labor and supply costs”, per Six Flags.

As Hyde noted, there are also rides and sections of the theme park that are closed indefinitely at the moment.

“Six Flags over Georgia has raised the surcharge on all F&B to $1.30 from $0.99. For those keeping score at home: many F&B items have now gone up 10% in price this year alone. And yes, some rides (and entire sections) are still closed indefinitely.”

Six Flags over Georgia has raised the surcharge on all F&B to $1.30 from $0.99.

For those keeping score at home: many F&B items have now gone up 10% in price this year alone.

And yes, some rides (and entire sections) are still closed indefinitely.

What’s going on Six Flags? pic.twitter.com/oYoVnbv3jk

— Andrew Hyde (@OnlineHyde) May 24, 2024

Six Flags and Cedar Fair Merger

In a move that significantly alters the amusement park landscape, shareholders of Texas-based Six Flags overwhelmingly approved a merger with Cedar Fair, the Ohio-based parent company of Carowinds (amusement park) and several other properties.

With a staggering 67.3 million shares voted in favor compared to a mere 195,000 against, the decision signifies strong support for the union. Cedar Fair’s portfolio includes well-known destinations like Cedar Point, Kings Island, and Dorney Park.

Medusa Steel Coaster, World's best steel coaster in 2018 at Six Flags Mexico
Credit: Six Flags Mexico

The combined entity, expected to finalize in the first half of 2024, pending regulatory approval, will boast an impressive collection of 27 amusement parks, 15 water parks, and 9 resorts across North America.

Initially announced last fall, the merger plans garnered positive responses from both companies. This partnership positions the newly formed entity as a dominant player in the amusement park industry, offering a diverse portfolio of 42 parks, 15 water parks, and 9 resorts across 17 states, Canada, and Mexico.

The $3.5 billion merger agreement grants Cedar Fair shareholders a 51% stake in the combined company, while Six Flags shareholders retain the remaining 49%. This consolidation presents exciting possibilities for park offerings.

Guests in front of Batman: The Ride at Six Flags Great America
Credit: Six Flags

The merger brings together Cedar Fair’s Peanuts character licensing with Six Flags’ existing attractions featuring Warner Bros. and DC Comics characters, creating a more comprehensive entertainment experience for visitors.

Based on the financial turmoil that the signage at Six Flags Over Georgie is hinting at, this merger may be essential to the survival of the Six Flags brand.

What do you think of this new up-charge at Six Flags Over Georgia?

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