Today Theme Park Review was invited to come have a chat with Six Flags President and CEO Mark Shapiro as well as check out the first completed X2 train.
A lot of questions were asked, and I think you'll be very pleased with some of the answers! Be sure to listen to the interview below. It's in MP3 format and you can either stream it or download it.
As for some of the bullet points that were discussed outside of the audio portion of the interview, here you go:
TPR: When asked about taking out older rides -
Mark Shaprio: "It's about taking out what's not working. The old philosophy would just let rides sit there and rot. We are going to go through our park and clean them out. We have a master plan. You might not see an immediate exchange, but in time we will fill out the park."
TPR: When asked about 2009 at Six Flags Magic Mountain -
Mark Shaprio: "We are looking into a new coaster for 2009. Can I say anymore? No. We're also looking into Wiggle's World. "
TPR: What kinds of rides do you like?
Mark Shaprio: "I like big drops, but I'll be honest, I don't like to go upside down. Goliath is my favorite ride at Six Flags Magic Mountain."
TPR: Thomas Town looks like it will be well themed, you are adding new theming to X2, can we expect this level of theming with up coming attractions?
Mark Shaprio: "Everything we launch will come with a storyline, it will come with a theme. That's a focus for Six Flags moving forward. Historically it's been 'put down a ride where ever we have room', I don't believe in that. We want to do something for both families and the thrill seekers. Will Six Flags Magic Mountain gain back the coaster capital status? In due time, absolutely."
TPR: When can we expect X2 and Thomas Town to open?
Mark Shaprio: "Memorial Day weekend, 2008."
I can also mention two things that have not been announced yet that Shapiro talked about today. First off, in the location of Circus Wheel will be a new high-energy, complex Midway game. It will be a "3 point challenge Basketball Game" that promises will be full of entertainment for the guests. Not only the ones playing, but for spectators as well.
The Sky Tower will also be turned into the Sky Tower Museum. You'll see exhibits from past Magic Mountain rides on display and will give more reason to visit Sky Tower.
Anyway, onto the photos and onto the audio interview. There is quite a bit more covered in the audio portion of the interview - Fright Fest, attraction removals, where the park is headed in the next few years, etc.
Here we go.....
We arrive at the site of X2 where we will check out the first complete train and chat with Six Flags CEO Mark Shapiro.
Hey guys! Make sure that lift motor is good and working.
Here it is...the very first X2 train. Complete!
The station track has been painted.
Another shot of the train.
All of this old signage will be replaced with the X2 logo.
For those of you studying the wheel assemblies, here's a few more shots for you.
Hows that for a close up view?
"Hey guys...what about me?" Sorry old X, you're old and busted.
"It's all about the new hotness!"
Good to know!
This is the view that ride ops will see quite a bit. (with people...of course!)
Mark Shapiro, Jay Thomas, and Tim Burkhart tell us all about what's happening with Six Flags and Magic Mountain in the near future.
Hey! Who put their gum on the trains???
To get some really cool photos, we got to walk the lift hill of X2.
Nice view of Viper from up here!
Train Wheel View (or TWV for short)
Ok, ok, so it's not totally complete...but it's close.
The paint job is pretty much done, and it looks AWESOME.
There's the new turn around.
Looking down the lift hill.
"Hey everyone! Me and my buddy Mr. Folder are having a good time on X2!"
Check out the station.
The transformation looks really nice!
TWV coming out of the station.
This is X2's biggest fan.
(ps. The fire alarm says "HI JAHAN!")
Take one last look at all this old signage.
This is will all be replaced when the ride re-opens Memorial Day weekend, 2008.
It was time to take a look at some other improvements in the park. The old coffee shop will be turned into the "Cyber Cafe."
During the mid-week off season huge sections of the park are being re-paved.
Oooh....blue prints. I wonder what they could be for? Hmmm....
A new sign went up for Thomas Town yesterday. There's even kid sized holes in the wall so they can peek into the construction.
Quite a bit of work going on. We are told that vertical construction should be started by West Coast Bash.
At the moment it's still just ripping up dirt!
Again, more improvements. Some of this work you just can't see when the park is open for obvious reasons, so it was nice for the park to invite us in during the off season to show off the investments being made.
In the area where Circus Wheel once stood will be a new "3 Point Challenge" basket ball game. It's kind of a midway game meets entertainment venue. From what we've seen it looks like it will have a lot of energy and be fun for spectators as well. So what about new rides you might ask? Shapiro tells us "be patient...we WILL fill out the park."
Opening this summer in the Sky Tower will be the "Sky Tower Museum" and will feature many different pieces of Six Flags Magic Mountain's history.
Some examples of what you might see in the new Sky Tower Museum.
I just want to say a BIG THANK YOU to Tim Burkhart, Mark Shapiro, and Jay Thomas for having us out today! Thanks guys!
Theme Park Review Interviews Six Flags CEO Mark Shapiro. Listen to the interview now!
(NOTE: If the audio stream doesn't work, download the file at the end of the photos)
What a great interview! It sounds like Mark Shapiro really cares about the future of his parks. I think he has it spot on when he talks about variation in adding new rides. That's a good idea to mix things up a bit. Also, it really sounds like SFMM will be very worth while to visit. I've never been, but I hope I can in the near future!
EDIT: Hmm...I wonder if Shapiro can give Dick Kenzel a couple of lessons, but that's a story for another time.
Okay, let me get this straight. The Tilt-A-Whirl was known as Circus Wheel. Before that, there was a Trabant in that spot, also known as Circus Wheel. My memory has failed me as to where the T-A-W was located while the Trabant was there.
Wow, this guy is good. I'm really impressed with what he had to say. I can't wait to see what happens with SF parks in the next few years. I really feel like Shapiro has the right game plan. Any worries I might have had are now put to rest. I'm particularly excited about his move towards more themed attractions. That was the one question I was particularly interested in and he told me exactly what I wanted to hear. The future is lookin' good.
Thanks for the awesome interview, Robb! And thanks for asking a few of my questions, even I was directly the source!
^ Tilt-a-whirl has been in three locations. It was first where the Jolly Monster was (Goliath entrance) and it was called "Jolly Roger", it was next up on Baja Ridge near the entrance of the "Revolucion" (not the Revolutions entrance) and Viper where it was named "Balle de las Flores". And of course lastly it was where the Circus Wheel once was and surprise...it was called Circus Wheel.
It sure seems like Mark Shapiro knows what he's doing.
I trust him, he seems like he cares about the future of the park and how to improve it. I love how he's approaching the improvements one step at a time.. I'm sure this year we will see lot's of improvements not only at SFMM, but other Six Flags parks as well.
I'm pretty confident that with Mark Shapiro in control, the future of Six Flags parks will greatly increase.
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