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Saturday, September 28, 2002
Six Flags Pantses Cedar Fair
Reliable sources told ARN&R yesterday that Six Flags Theme Parks Inc. pantsed Cedar Fair Ltd. last Thursday.
"Cedar Fair was just walking along when Six Flags came up behind them and just pantsed them, right in front of IAPPA and Paramount and everybody!" said one witness who declined to be identified. "It was, like, incredible. I don't remember anything like it since all the popular parks got together and TPed Visionland. Cedar Fair is totally not going to live that down, especially the Batman underwear."
A search of news stories indicates that this is the first pantsing in the modern era of amusement parks. As for past amusement park pantsings, some historians believe that Pittsburgh's famed Luna Park once pantsed Playland in Rye, New York, but, given the constricting clothes styles of the time, that has not been confirmed. In any event, there is broad consensus that this represents the first pantsing of an entire amusement park chain.
Cedar Fair, in a press release, noted that Six Flags would have to "watch its back for when the wedgiemaster comes a-callin'."
Thursday, September 26, 2002
Hershey Parks to Sell Appliances, Lumber
Hershey Parks's small chain of amusement parks announced today that it would start selling a wide selection of appliances and lumber throughout the parks. The appliances are expected to range from microwaves to full washer-dryer combinations, and the lumber selection is said to rival those of major lumber yards such as Home Depot and Lowe's.
The move has struck some as odd, but marketing director Marvin Douglas says it was an obvious niche. "We'd always thought about starting to sell big-ticket items at the parks, and our marketing research indicated that our guests spent a lot of time in line thinking about home improvements. So we expect to sell off about half of our flat rides in each of our parks and fill the space we save with an incredible number of appliances and a huge array of lumber."
No delivery or loading zones will be provided for customers. Douglas says that the parks' market research shows that their guests feel that they're more like true "do-it-your-selfers" if they are really involved in getting the lumber and appliances home.
In related news, Kennywood Parks announced that it would start selling farm equipment at its parks, focusing on cattle-feed systems.
Wednesday, September 25, 2002
Fiesta Texas to Improve Realism of Boardwalk Area
Six Flags Fiesta Texas has long been known as having one of the most beautiful settings of any amusement park, and its theming has been outstanding to match. But its management has always felt that its "Fiesta Bay Boardwalk" was somehow lacking. It had the boardwalk, the games, the flat rides, and a beautifully-located ferris wheel -- but it still didn't quite click, according to park manager Maria Valdez.
"And then it came to us -- it doesn't feel like a real beach boardwalk because it's too darn clean!" exclaims Valdez, clearly enthusiastic about the park's plans to revitalize the area. "So we went out to California and walked around Santa Cruz a bit. We picked up all the garbage we found there and dumped it all over that area of our park, and every day, we bus in a bunch of day laborers to urinate all around the area to add to the ambience, and they then loiter around glaring at guests -- some really get into it and mutter obscenities all day long. And after we just hinted at moving the park out of the city limits, San Antonio has allowed us to bring in crack dealers to wander the area selling our guests a high beyond that provided by our rides, with no risk of criminal liability on our part."
Future plans for "realityfying" the area (Valdez's term) include bringing in prostitutes to wander the area, the spreading of medical waste in the "beach" area, and convicted criminals operating the games.
End-of-Summer Employee of the Week Not Really All That Good
The Six Flags New England "Employee of the Week" program seemed like a great idea at the start of the summer: choose a different employee every week to praise as the best in the park. Morale would go up, visitors would see the park trying to improve service, and the employees would enjoy a $25 gift certificate to TGIFriday's.
But the park management didn't think about one problem: they don't have that many great, or even marginally good, employees. With the policy requiring no repeats, this week's winner, Charles Krisling, who works the counter at a pizza stand near Superman: Ride of Steel, is universally regarded as a barely acceptable employee at best but the best employee left at this late date.
Krisling came to SFNE at the urging of his friend, Dale Nothberg (also a food service employee at SFNE), with whom Krisling got stoned virtually every day of the school year. That tradition continued at SFNE, with frequent breaks behind a men's room roughly equidistant from each employee's work station.
Park Manager Bob Frankman, who chose Krisling for the award, explained his decision: "Krisling was on time upwards of seventy percent of the time and prepared a pizza with the correct toppings nearly eighty percent of the time. Those numbers are sufficient to avoid termination and, this late in the season, get you an employee of the week award."
Krisling termed the award "kinda cool, I guess. Friday's has those jalapeno popper things, and those things rule when you're stoned, dude. And I know the bartender at one near my house, and he won't card me."
Monday, September 23, 2002
Guy Way Too Into Old Amusement Park Trash Cans
According to witnesses, a recent visitor to Denver's Lakeside Amusement Park was way too into old amusement park trash cans. Mark Magaziner, a resident of nearby Littleton, Colorado, stated that the guy talked for an amazingly long time about how Lakeside's trash cans were "so much cooler than Elitch's," raving about the "attention to detail" and "amazing paintings on the side."
"It was the weirdest damn thing I've ever seen," said Magaziner. "I mean, come on. They're trash cans. Lakeside's are older because the park is older and they just don't really replace stuff here. And the paintings on the cans were clearly done by stoned seventeen-year-olds in about 1967. Have you seen the urinals here? They're probably fifty years old. I suppose there's some guy who's really into old amusement park urinals, too."
The trash can afficionado was identified by long-time park employees as Jon DeGagne, a visitor from Toronto, Canada, who visits the park every year (on what he calls his "pilgrimage"). "Yep, that's Jon," said Elaine French, who has been taking tickets at the park for fifteen years. "He comes, pays his two-dollar general admission, buys one soda, and spends five hours just looking at the trash cans. Occasionally we've found him, um, caressing them, and we had to ask him to stop. He was scaring the kids."
DeGagne, reached by e-mail through his website, www.oldamusementparktrashcans.com, offered ARN&R a complimentary subscription to his newsletter, "Without Trash Cans, Parks Stink!," a print quarterly with what DeGagne described as "a lot more than ten subscribers." He also emphasized that, while Lakeside has the best North American vintage trash cans, he's saving up for a trip to Japan, which he describes as "old amusement park trash can heaven." "You should see the cans at Nagashima Spaland Mie. I heard they imported them from the great old Rubbish Park outside London, and they still have the original slate on them."
Sunday, September 22, 2002
Six Flags Launches "Switch" Ad Campaign
In what is being described as a unique advertising campaign approach, Six Flags has started a national campaign trying to convince Windows users to switch to Six Flags.
The campaign, featuring "ordinary people" against plain white backgrounds, is one of the most aggressive efforts to date to convince users of a particular computer operating system to switch to an amusement park chain, with only Cedar Fair's long-ago "Cedar Point: Way More Fun Than the VIC-20" campaign being similarly extensive.
The first ad, featuring Anne Marie Osbourne of New Orleans, Louisiana, includes her discussion of why she switched. "Windows never provided any thrill to me. Sure, it was a fundamentally acceptable computer operating system, if a little buggy, but I was never able to get it to fling me around in all directions like the flat rides at Jazzland [a Six Flags property] or give me airtime like the Mega Zeph [wooden coaster] there. If Six Flags can provide all that, why can't Microsoft?"
Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, when reached for comment, immediately purchased every amusement park in the country not owned by Six Flags, priced each of them at $4 (including an open bar), and prohibited any customer who had visited a Six Flags park after September 23, 2002, from entering his parks. His attorneys denied any anticompetitive intent.
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