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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Westporter Wants Families Back at Six Flags

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Mark Shapiro: seeks to improve theme parks. ESPN photo
Westporter Mark Shapiro, who took over last month as chief executive of Six Flags Inc. the world’s largest regional theme park company, says he wants to restore a family-friendly image to the firm.

In an interview Monday with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Shapiro said as a teenager, he loved riding the American Eagle roller coaster with his friends and eating pizza and hot dogs with his four siblings at Six Flags Great America outside Chicago.

“You could go one weekend with your friends and one with your family, and it was cool either way,” Shapiro said. “I want to bring that back.”

Under previous management—which was ousted in December after a proxy battle—Six Flags spent millions on new roller-coasters while cutting back on maintenance and in-park entertainment such as Looney Tunes characters that would roam the park, the newspaper reported.

And although the thrill rides brought more teenagers and coaster enthusiasts, families with small children stayed away, the report said.

Shapiro, a former ESPN executive, wants to bring those families back to Six Flags. With his new management team in place, Shapiro is ready to clean up the chain’s 29 parks and make them fun again for people of all ages, the newspaper said.

“The good news is, nobody has better rides than we do,” Shapiro said. “The challenge for us is to upgrade our service.”

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Posted 01/31/06 at 05:16 AM  Permalink



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Ain’t nothing “cool either way” spending a whole day at a park to ride two 90-second rides because every line is at least 2 hrs long, Mark. Fix that and you’ll have yourself a business model.

Posted by Jeff Kiker on January 31, 2006 at 01:03 PM | #