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horsesboy

DarKoaster stalker
Advisory Panel
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Jun 16, 2013
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Honestly don't know what the complaint is about SFA. I've had a good time every time I've gone. Now, it's true that it doesn't usually get big crowds, so that helps. If the crowds were big I'm not sure what the experience would be like.
It had some fairly significant issues several years back but they have a really nice job cleaning them up and don't get enough credit for that.
 
Nov 30, 2018
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Honestly don't know what the complaint is about SFA. I've had a good time every time I've gone. Now, it's true that it doesn't usually get big crowds, so that helps. If the crowds were big I'm not sure what the experience would be like.
The most common descriptors I hear people use for SFA is dump or ghetto. The fact that the local water parks (which are often little more than a pool and a handful of slides) can charge more for season passes than SFA says a lot about how bad their brand value is.
 
Oct 18, 2012
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The most common descriptors I hear people use for SFA is dump or ghetto. The fact that the local water parks (which are often little more than a pool and a handful of slides) can charge more for season passes than SFA says a lot about how bad their brand value is.

I am not doubting what you said at all but describing something as a 'ghetto' sounds like they mean a place populated by what they perceive as impoverished minorities. I haven't been there recently but I hope the people populating the park aren't being described as such because it's a nice place that a multi-racial community, even the some-what poor can afford.
 
Mar 16, 2016
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I feel like it’s come up before and I know I’ve mentioned that where I grew up, SFA was continually in the news in the late 90’s to early 00’s for fights, drug busts, issues with rides, notorious with being dirty, and stories of people getting sick off the food.

Now is it more likely than not that all of that is better? Sure. But those perceptions existed, so when you visit you are more likely to look for those things. I remember going in HS with friends and we would make comments about full trash cans, cold food, and likely just tweens goofing around as if our perceptions were right.
 

Jonesta6

Glumble
Feb 14, 2019
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My understanding is SF has maybe 3-4 parks they actually care about to invest in, SFA not one of them. I think this stems mostly from Premier's decisions to massively overextend the brand through buying out small local parks before ultimately restructuring under chapter 11 has something to do with it.
 

nick

Why are you booing me? I’m right.
May 6, 2020
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This was my home park growing up. As one of the poorer, minority community members growing up, it was the only place my parents could afford. Superman was huge for us; it was the high thrill in our affordable park.

With that said, people are incredibly rude in PG County generally speaking. The people running rides & stands and how people behaved in the park was something we put up with because we had to. The park also was run down for awhile. People got used to traveling to Hershey & King’s Dominion.

I just don’t think the park has recovered its reputation. It needs a few “big” attractions to get people to try again, I think.
 

Nicole

Administrator
Jul 22, 2013
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Arlington, VA
I’ve actually found the staff to be very friendly and the customer service to be much more helpful than either KD or BGW. It certainly isn’t as nice a park as either of its local competitors, but I don't think it deserves its current reputation either.
 

b.mac

Indiana Beach Vibe
May 14, 2011
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BFE, Virginia
Honestly don't know what the complaint is about SFA. I've had a good time every time I've gone. Now, it's true that it doesn't usually get big crowds, so that helps. If the crowds were big I'm not sure what the experience would be like.

I remember when @Gavin, @Thomas, @Shane, and I all went to SFA in 2013 and we were having a horrid experience with the ops and the appearance of the park.

When I went back for the first time in 2016 after visiting family in Virginia I was blown away by how much the park changed in that period of time. Every year since then the park has made further improvements overall and it honestly shocks me how well the park has turned around since I first visited. Hell they did the best job for Coaster Con as well, imo compared to Busch and Kings Dominion.

I remember getting heckled by my manager in 2017 at Great Adventure about SFA having the best Guest Satisfaction Survey scores in the region (iirc they were 3rd overall in the entire chain, compared to GAdv being 6th) and I had to answer back to him "I think that says more about what they've done than what we're doing."
 
Apr 22, 2019
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My direct perceptions of the park only started 3 or 4 years ago. Prior to that I hadn’t been since before it was six flags. I skipped the park for years because of what people said about it. Then I went and really enjoyed it. Good coasters (with some exceptions) and lines are often short early season, and then even in the middle of the summer because most people go to the water park.

The water park is good. They have one of the best lazy rivers I’ve been on, lots of slides even if no water coaster, and a great wave pool. Even though the water park has a lot of people it seems run well. The massive wave pool draws a lot of the people and has room for them.

I’ve not had poor experiences with the crowds. Sometimes I see people cut in line to join friends, but I don’t think it’s happened more than other parks I’ve been to. I like that the crowd is pretty diverse.

The park has a bit of a weird layout, could use more trees/shade and the food is standard amusement park fare, but it’s a good park and SF passes are dirt cheap. It’s about 45 minutes from me which helps.

They need to add a new coaster, but they are getting a Giant Discovery which is cool and a nice addition. They’ve been investing in the park and maybe we’ll get a new coaster next. A Raptor would be a great fit.
 

horsesboy

DarKoaster stalker
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Jun 16, 2013
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I remember when @Gavin, @Thomas, @Shane, and I all went to SFA in 2013 and we were having a horrid experience with the ops and the appearance of the park.

When I went back for the first time in 2016 after visiting family in Virginia I was blown away by how much the park changed in that period of time. Every year since then the park has made further improvements overall and it honestly shocks me how well the park has turned around since I first visited. Hell they did the best job for Coaster Con as well, imo compared to Busch and Kings Dominion.

I remember getting heckled by my manager in 2017 at Great Adventure about SFA having the best Guest Satisfaction Survey scores in the region (iirc they were 3rd overall in the entire chain, compared to GAdv being 6th) and I had to answer back to him "I think that says more about what they've done than what we're doing."
This pretty much echos my experience from about the same time frame of both examples. The first time I went I found unhelpful employees are a lot of trash laying around. The highlight of that visit was I came across a bag laying on the path clearly accidentally dropped. I took it to an employee who told me to walk it ALL the way through the park to lost and found. Thinking that was a one off I went to another two employees both of whom told me they wouldn't or couldn't do anything and to walk it to lost and found at the gate. leaving me walking all the way through the park with someone else's bag and hoping that I didn't run into the owner with the wrong idea that I was trying to swipe. It also meant that I spent part of my visit walking back and forth through the park just to do the right thing. I returned to the park around 2017 and have since returned multiple times a year and found a clean park with helpful staff and enjoyed myself on each visit. The park could definitely use a new coaster and maybe so new dining options but it's really a fun visit.
 

nick

Why are you booing me? I’m right.
May 6, 2020
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I’ll add a note to my experiences — I myself have not returned since maybe 2013 so take mine with a grain of salt. Time flies!
 
Nov 12, 2019
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I visited for the first time about a month ago and had a great time. The coaster lineup is relatively weak but the good rides are really good - especially Superman. I thought the park was very well kept and the staff were all friendly. I kinda stayed away from the park despite it being so close to me for many years because of bad reputation but I'm definitely planning to visit more often.
 

SLC Headache

The Spirit of the Forest is a raging Karen
Aug 9, 2017
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I first visited SFA in 2017, going in with the lowest expectations, and they surpassed them. The park felt well-kept, if outdated.

I just don’t think the park has recovered its reputation. It needs a few “big” attractions to get people to try again, I think.
RMC'ing Roar West instead of East may have been one of the worst coaster decisions of the 2010s. RMC Roar East in 2016 would have been just what SFA needed to get themselves back on the map.
 
Apr 22, 2019
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Wild One, Superman, Batwing, Roar (yes, it’s great) and Joker’s Jinx are all really good.
I first visited SFA in 2017, going in with the lowest expectations, and they surpassed them. The park felt well-kept, if outdated.


RMC'ing Roar West instead of East may have been one of the worst coaster decisions of the 2010s. RMC Roar East in 2016 would have been just what SFA needed to get themselves back on the map.

Strong disagree. Roar is a great wooden coaster. Underrated. Add a Raptor and keep Roar wooden. Losing one of their wooden coasters would be hugely disappointing for me.
 
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SLC Headache

The Spirit of the Forest is a raging Karen
Aug 9, 2017
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Strong disagree. Roar is a great wooden coaster. Underrated. Add a Raptor and keep Roar wooden. Losing one of their wooden coasters would be hugely disappointing for me.
I quite like Roar, but SFDK needed their Roar more. They had no major coasters without inversions until Sidewinder Safari. Anyway, RMC Roar East no longer makes any sense with Twisted Timbers existing. An RMC Raptor would be a solid choice, but an S&S pneumatic or Axis would be the kind of ride to put them "back on the map". The former could be marketed as the park's new fastest (but not tallest) coaster, and the area's strongest launch (more acceleration than Storm Runner).
 

Jonesta6

Glumble
Feb 14, 2019
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Curious if launch strength is all that marketable compared to height and speed.

G-force doesn't really tell the right story for launches, and usually serves as a complementary statistic than a standalone comparative descriptor - you can only go so high or low on a ride before it's not safe; time at the extremes also help determine the actual effect to how riders feel.
 
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Apr 22, 2019
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While an S&S air launch or Axis would be amazing, and while SF has been investing in park improvements (added a needed new rest room, repainting coasters, adding light packages to rides, etc) and now a significant new flat, I think that's pretty unrealistic in the short term. I don't know that they are set up to handle the crowds that would come for the first, or one of the first, Axis. It might backfire.
 

horsesboy

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I would love to see a raptor or something like that Busch having 3 possibly soon 4 launch coasters Kings Dominion with 2 SFA with one and a couple in New Jersey make the East Coast area pretty well saturated with launches.
 
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