Six Flags is often known for clones of rides across multiple park locations, relocating rides from park to park, and having an extremely affordable monthly membership. So, how is this theme park chain handling its safety protocol adjustments? Well, when I visited Six Flags St. Louis on June 25, I was excited to find out.
By Justin S. Landers
To my surprise, some of the bigger theme parks, such as Universal Orlando Resort, are using hand held thermometers to check people’s temperatures. This is something I expected to find at Six Flags — so imagine my shock when I walked through an air-conditioned tent into a thermal scanner designated box on the ground, much like what I found when I visited Worlds of Fun. These thermal scanners are a convenience for guests and park employees alike. They encourage quick entry and minimal interaction, two key factors during these challenging times.
My next big surprise came at the metal detectors. The old-style detectors were blocked off and in their place was a new system. When walking through, most guests will find they don’t even have to stop, as these new detectors automatically scan your bag. This is technology I have not seen at any other park yet.
Park entry was as easy as ever as well — I just scanned my digital membership card and off I went. The park was noticeably not crowded; there were more people than Worlds of Fun, but less than my day before at Silver Dollar City. What’s more, it seemed every ride in the park was running two trains! Most of the lines were almost non-existent with a few exceptions. One thing I noticed as I was waiting for Batman, the B&M invert clone you can find at many Six Flags parks, was that the trains were being cleaned between every cycle. This greatly hindered throughput and would frequently turn 5-minute waits into 15-minute waits.
There seems to be a consistent theme: Masks are required. That is where the consistency from park to park seem’s to end, though. Some parks, such as the Cedar Fair chain, seem to be cleaning every 30 minutes. Six Flags seems to have taken an extremely cautious approach, where Silver Dollar City seemed to be cleaning randomly. Six Flags is making an effort to eliminate lines by running multiple trains, yet with cleaning every cycle, they are adding back to the wait time.
The app made ordering food easy and allowed me to use my dining plan without much hassle. There were a lot more food options open at Six Flags St. Louis than what I found at Worlds of Fun, but certainly less options — and lower quality — than what I had at Silver Dollar City.
There is a noticeable lack of investment in Six Flags St. Louis in general, however. The upgrades to park entry were amazing, but even as I had never been to this park before, I could quickly tell they tend to be on the more neglected side of Six Flags. Why does it feel like Missouri chain parks catch the bottom tier?
The roller coaster lineup features a Boomerang, a Batman clone, a mine train, an old Vekoma/Arrow looper, a spinning family coaster, and three wooden coasters! Yes, three. I can’t imagine how great The Boss would be if RMC was allowed to pull some magic on it!
Until that happens though, you would be better suited taking a vacation to the Six Flags locations in Texas, or Magic Mountain when they reopen.
29-year-old Justin Landers owns Just Shoot Light Multimedia Productions. He has been involved in the amusement and theme park industry since 2013 as a freelance photographer and videographer. You can follow him on Instagram @Inverted_Therapy and Just Shoot Light on YouTube.