NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Back in 2009, Six Flags (SIX) wiped out almost all of its value for shareholders before ultimately declaring bankruptcy. Now, the world's largest theme park company is back with a vengeance, introducing the world to record-breaking roller coasters, and bringing incredible returns for shareholders along the way.
The company's Great Adventure Park in New Jersey currently houses Kingda Ka, the tallest and fastest roller coaster in North America. The u-shaped track reaches 456 feet in the sky. People on the ride experience the thrill of going from 0 to 128 miles per hour in a mere 3.5 seconds. The ride stretches over 3,118 feet and takes less than a minute to complete the run.
The Kingda Ka and Great Adventure are about to get even bigger with the introduction of Zumanjaro and the Drop of Doom. The record-breaking ride will have the tallest drop in the world from 415 feet in the air. Speeds on the drop reach 90 miles per hour in a 10-second drop from top to bottom. The ride is being built into the same structure as Kingda Ka, giving the theme park two record breaking attractions in close proximity for guests.
Six Flags recently unveiled Goliath at its Chicago theme park. The ride broke three wooden coaster records. The ride is the fastest wooden coaster, with a speed of 72 miles per hour. Goliath also features the tallest drop of a wooden roller coaster and the steepest drop at 180 feet and 85 degrees respectively.
Along with Kingda Ka, Drop of Doom and Goliath, Six Flags has other record-breaking attractions that are increasing yearly attendance. Full Throttle is the fastest and tallest looping coaster in the world. El Toro features the steepest drop of any wooden coaster in the country. Bizzarro has a 220 foot drop, which is one of the largest. Texas Skyscreamer is the world's tallest swing carousel ride. Medusa, a new ride to open in Mexico, will have a world record three inversions.
Also helping Six Flags in the future will be its strong relationship with Time Warner (TWX). The company's parks feature rides themed after Batman, Superman, and other DC Comic characters. With a plethora of DC Comic movie adaptations coming, Six Flags will have plenty of opportunities to cash in on increased attendance.
Six Flags remains the number one theme park in the world by number of properties. The company ranks in the top five for attendance and has seen a steady rise in the number of annual visitors. Six Flags has 18 theme parks that attract over 26 million guests. Take a look at these attendance figures over the last five years:
- 2009: 23.3 million
- 2010: 24.3 million
- 2011: 24.3 million
- 2012: 25.7 million
- 2013: 26.1 million
The good news for Six Flags investors is the record-breaking rides continue to increase attendance, revenue and season passes. A focus on adding record breaking roller coasters has paid off for investors. The company emerged from bankruptcy in 2010 and began revitalizing its parks and balance sheets. Since that time, shares are up over 350%.
Investors in Six Flags also collect a healthy 5% dividend yield. With a cleaner-looking balance sheet, investors are in good position with this theme park company. Thrill seekers continue to go to parks with the biggest and fastest rides. Six Flags strategy is working and investors should take note.
At the time of publication, the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned.
Follow Chris on Twitter @chriskatje
This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.