nitoro wrote:Great recap of a fun day Joey! It was a blast hanging out with everyone.
It was sad to see the Joker down though. Danny pointed out on the skyride that it looked like they were putting more fins on the ride, so maybe they will be making the ride spin even crazier this season. That would be insane, since I feel that the Joker is already a crazy experience.
the park president mentioned at ROTB back in sept that more fins were going to be added no clue if they have yet. as i didnt care for the joker since it was announced. and only rode it when the park was dead and it had no lines. and each time it sucked. had 1 spin max on the green side i do hope it gets fixed
Tommy's Inn at Millstone, a log cabin of a building across Route 537 from Six Flags Great Adventure, isn't really an inn, but it doesn't stop the theme park's visitors from calling the restaurant in search of a place to stay.
Owner Tommy Savastano is tempted to tell them he is willing to rent out his office.
"Name your price," Savastano said with a grin. "It's a slow day."
As Six Flags Great Adventure opens for its 44th season, elected officials think they are finally taking steps that would attract developers who want to build hotels and restaurants on Route 537, bringing ancillary businesses that are part and parcel to just about every other giant amusement park in America.
They have reached an agreement with the theme park and at least one other developer to help pay for a project that would deliver the water service that businesses need to operate.
If the project goes through, it could bring to an end a question that has been asked now for generations. Six Flags Great Adventure attracts visitors from New York and Philadelphia who have easy access from the New Jersey Turnpike, the Garden State Parkway and Interstate 195. Why is the closest brand-name hotel nine miles away?
'Coming to the table'
"You have plenty of people coming to the table now," said Mayor Michael Reina, who has pushed for commercial development along Route 537 since he was elected nearly a decade ago as a way to offset property taxes. "We're going to have some movement."
Savastano, 55, of Jackson, has owned and operated Tommy's since he bought what was the Millstone Pub 17 years ago. He affixed the word "inn" to reflect his plan to make it more inviting to his guests. And he thought he would benefit from an influx of visitors to the park, which is a little more than a mile down Route 537.
But he pointed to woods across the street.
Route 537 divides Monmouth and Ocean counties with Millstone to the north and Jackson to the south. There's a McDonald's, Burger King, Wawa and Dunkin' Donuts adjacent to Tommy's in Millstone. There's a modest strip center featuring Farley's Homemade Ice Cream in Jackson. And all around are acres of woods, whose trees hide a theme park that boasts of breakneck thrill rides.
The rural landscape is an anomaly for similar tourist attractions. A check of the TripAdvisor website shows Hershey Park in Hershey, Pennsylvania, has two dozen hotels within three miles of its gates; Sesame Place in Langhorne, Pennsylvania, has six hotels less than a mile away; Six Flags New England in Agawam, Massachusetts, has 10 hotels within five miles.
Six Flags Great Adventure? The theme park partners with Hotels Unlimited, a West Windsor-based hotel operator, to offer discounts to visitors. The closest, the Radisson Hotel in Freehold Township, is 15 minutes away; the farthest, the Doubletree in Tinton Falls, is a half-hour away.
"Six Flags Great Adventure, Safari and Hurricane Harbor provide ample entertainment for guests to span a multi-day visit," spokeswoman Kristin Siebeneicher- Fitzgerald said in an email. "Many of our guests travel from out of state and even internationally, and they would certainly benefit from hotels nearby."
Six Flags Great Adventure attracted about 3 million visitors in 2015, making it the 19th most-visited amusement park nationwide, according to a report by the Themed Entertainment Association, a trade group.
It wasn't supposed to be this way. Great Adventure's first president, Warner LeRoy, told the Asbury Park Press just before its opening in 1974 that a hotel was part of the park's future plans. Six Flags, the amusement park giant, acquired Great Adventure three years later. And the idea gained and lost momentum over the years.
Six Flags itself could be the biggest beneficiary. It owns 2,200 acres. And it received approval from the Jackson Planning Board in January 1998 to build a four-story, 200-room hotel and an 8,800-square-foot restaurant on Route 537.
But the plan fizzled. While Six Flags has a water treatment plant that serves the park and connects its sewer system to the Jackson Township Municipal Utilities Authority, it needed public water and sewer lines to reach Route 537. Given Jackson's sheer size of more than 100 square miles, the project could cost as much as $20 million, David Harpell, executive director of the Jackson MUA, said.
It explains the four-decade delay. "Somebody has to pay for it," said William Allmann, chairman of the Jackson MUA.
The MUA thinks it has bridged the gap. It signed agreements with Six Flags and Leigh Realty, which is building the Jackson 21 residential community, to help pay for the water project. It needs environmental approval from the state. But it could go out to a public bid this spring and be completed in 2019, Harpell said.
The MUA is continuing to negotiate with Six Flags about sewer service, Harpell said.
And there are hints that demand is picking up. More than five acres in Jackson adjacent to Six Flags— zoned commercial — is for sale, a sign on Route 537 says. The contact from Byron Real Estate Co. Inc. didn't return a call for comment.
"You have a job creator, you have a revenue enhancer not seen in this area in a long time," Mayor Reina said. "I’m excited. I’m also seeing a vision finally come to reality."
Still, one expert said the water and sewer service is only part of the equation. Developers need to be convinced that Six Flags can attract more than day-trippers. In that respect, Six Flags' location about an hour from both New York City and Philadelphia is both a blessing and a curse.
"It's within a commuting distance," said Peter Reinhart, director of the Kislak Real Estate Institute at Monmouth University in West Long Branch. "It's a long day, but it's doable."
For now, Tommy's Inn is simply operating in the shadows of Six Flags, and life isn't easy. The amusement park at times feels more like a competitor than a draw. It has expanded its menu, offering not only staples like funnel cake but also gluten-free meals. Like Atlantic City casinos, the park gives guests more incentive to stay at the property longer, spending their money there, nolt at businesses such as Tommy's.
Tommy's business once spiked 30 percent during the season. Now, it sees an increase of 12 percent to 15 percent, Savastano said.
"You need to be savvy and aggressive to make it," he said. "I’m here 17 years, and you walk in here and people say, 'Where is everybody?' I tell them, 'If I knew, I’d be there.' But we do OK."
"We do our parties, a great banquet room back there, a lot of parties, lunch and dinner, karaoke on Friday night," Savastano said. "So we do get a nice influx of people in the area. They all live here. But if you have Six Flags, that becomes just, for me, a bonus."
For the record, the reason people don't visit Tommy's is because it's f**king trash. If you want to eat the sh**tiest food you'll ever have in your life for the most exorbitant prices, give Tommy's Inn a whirl.
That article is the same old song and dance the comes along every few years. It's never going to happen. The township will never pay for it, and even if they do, it'll never get past the environmental impact issue. Look at how up-in-arms people in the area got over a damn solar panel field.
Even if all of the planets aligned and this project SOMEHOW actually got off the ground, it'll never have the commercial impact people will be looking for. There's just not enough of a population in the area to support it, and 537 doesn't have the same kind of traffic flow like other, already built-up areas, either. Having worked and managed that McDonald's outside of the park for ten years (2000-2010), I can tell you that the seasonality of the park, even with the recent inclusion of Holiday in the Park, will keep hotels and other businesses away.
To illustrate this: an average McDonald's will do $5-7K in sales on a decent day, $8-10K if it's in a prime commercial location. During the park season, our store used to do $20K easily on a slow day, nearing $25K on busier days (these are the days before the Dining Pass, too; I don't work there anymore, but I know from from people I keep in touch with that it has seriously impacted sales). However, if the park was closed, it was a ghost town - we'd be lucky to do $4K on a busy day.
As someone who lived and worked right in this specific area for nearly half of my life, I just don't see this ever happening.
michaellynn4 wrote:There's just not enough of a population in the area to support it, and 537 doesn't have the same kind of traffic flow like other, already built-up areas, either.
Isn't that kinda the point of hotels though? Even if there isn't traffic along the highway, I doubt hotels near theme parks really rely on foot traffic vs reservations and being the closest hotel to the property can't be a bad thing.
^ I didn't mean to imply that a lack of foot traffic is what would prevent it from being successful, but more in the sense that the park is essentially the ONLY thing in the area from which a potential hotel would benefit. The nearest hotels and motels in places like Hamilton and Freehold service much more densely-populated and commercially-developed areas and are also close to nearby traffic hubs (Hamilton is a mile off of the NJ Turnpike, Freehold has Route 9 running right through it and isn't far from the Garden State Parkway). When Six Flags is closed, there is NOTHING to do in that immediate area for miles in each direction (trust me, I know, I grew up there). A hotel would get little to no business when the park is closed, which it is for three full months out of the year as well as during the most of the "in-school" portion of its operating schedule.
I'm sure during the heart of the season an independently-owned hotel on 537 would see some moderate success, but when factoring in the area's year-round potential, it wouldn't be economically feasible in the long run. Now if it were a seasonal, park-run resort similar to what Cedar Point offers, that's a completely different story.
Nobody mentioning the new loose articles policy that went into effect this weekend? No items even in zippered pockets on Ka and Toro. See bottom of screenshot:
As I understand, security was asking every guest coming through, and if they saw you in the queue on your phone they would ask you to get out of line.
They are not wanding or putting people through metal detectors yet, but they have been enforcing pretty heavily... at least for now. Obviously you can't stop someone from lying and they aren't frisking anyone, but there you go.
Note: I have not been to the park this weekend, just passing along the news
^I'm not all that surprised to be honest. So many people lose their phones, sunglasses, and other items on El Toro. Last week, while waiting in line, I saw someone's phone fly out of their pocket and shatter on the track below. That just doesn't seem too safe being that it landed 10 feet from the queue line. Although keeping items in a zippered pocket would prevent that from happening, I just don't think the park wants to take those chances anymore.
Also while waiting in line for El Toro last week, I saw someone - excuse me - I saw some dumbass throw their hat off at the top of Kingda Ka. I hope they looked cool when they got kicked out of the park.
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