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Disney World Rival Has a Big Problem

This famous theme park is losing customers. But why?

With a recession looming in the distance (or already here, depending on who you ask), people are thinking more carefully about how they spend their money this summer.

While many families like to vacation at this time of year, some have chosen to skip it altogether or seek out ways to make it more cost-effective.

This seems not to apply to Disney  (DIS)  parkgoers, however, who have turned out to both Walt Disney World and Disneyland in droves this year. Disney has been slowly re-adding events to the parks that were suspended because of covid, and recently even took down its covid warning signage and hand sanitizer stations.

Another entertainment industry that is doing just fine is cruises. Both Carnival  (CCL)  and Royal Caribbean  (RCL)  have dropped their pre-trip covid testing requirements, giving those who love to sail an added reason to get back on the boats.

One famous theme park is not flourishing so well, however.

Jim Cramer: I've Liked Six Flags Entertainment Stock as an Income Producer

Six Flags Reports Disappointing Numbers

While other parks seem to be thriving this year, Six Flags  (SIX)  reported during its Q2 earnings call on August 11 that both attendance and revenue were down for the quarter.

The company saw a 36% drop in income in the second quarter of 2022. The company also saw a 22% drop in attendance during that same time period. 

CEO Selim Bassoul addressed the declines during the call, saying, "We estimate that the optimal attendance level that allow us to deliver an exceptional guest experience, while maximizing our profit represents a 20% to 25% decline relative to 2019. Our year to date attendance through July is down approximately 35% versus 2019. So, our current attendance trends are about 10% to 15% below where we would like it to be."

Bassoul also said the company intends to offer several new things this fall to attract visitors, such as a new dining plan, increasing the size of Fright Fest and adding more activities, and introducing a new Oktoberfest event.

Six Flags intends to spend $130 million over the next few years to improve the appearance of its park, its guest-facing technology, new rides and attractions, and food and beverage enhancements.

Why Aren't People Going To Six Flags?

While there's likely no one reason people aren't flocking to Six Flags the way they used to, a few say it's about service and cost. In the Six Flags forum on Reddit, many shared about negative experiences with both.

"Employees at SFOG are the worst I’ve encountered at any business ever," one user wrote. "Apathetic, slow, no social skills, just unpleasant to deal with. It does seem like the park is run by teenagers who would rather be somewhere else. I never see anyone who looks like they’ve worked there a while."

Others called the experience "miserable," saying "I've got no issue paying more, but even last year when it was dirt cheap, I felt ripped off."

Another believed that things had gone downhill for Six Flags since Bassoul had taken over as CEO.

"(It's) because they raised the cost of season passes by 400% and got rid of all season dining plans. That makes it too expensive for many people and they will opt to go once or twice a year instead of all the time," a user commented.

Six Flags shares took a tumble after the earnings call, dropping more than 22% from the prior day.