Six Flags puts off today's opening

Largo attraction gets finishing touches, to start season May 8

Entertainment

May 01, 1999|By June Arney | June Arney,SUN STAFF

Six Flags America has delayed today's scheduled season opening by a week to complete installation of power and support systems to run the park, which is unveiling $40 million in new rides and improvements.

"The transformation of this park is the biggest project our company has ever undertaken," Debbie Daniel, a spokeswoman for Oklahoma-based Premier Parks Inc., which owns the Six Flags chain, said yesterday.

"Frankly, we just didn't get everything 100 percent finished. We want to make sure that when we invite guests in, everything is in pristine condition."

The Largo attraction, previously known as Adventure World, has been owned by Premier Parks since 1991. Premier Parks bought the Six Flags chain in April 1998 for $950 million.

Premier announced in October that it would change the name of Adventure World to Six Flags America.

Officials said they thought long and hard about their decision to put off opening the park.

"It was an incredibly difficult decision to make, because there will be guests who are disappointed," Daniel said.

"We decided it was more of a disappointment for guests to have a less than Six Flags experience than to delay the opening of the park."

There is no chance that there will be any additional delay in opening, Daniel said.

"We really don't need a full week," she said. "It's going to take us two days longer than we thought it would. By taking the extra week, it allows us to put the finishing touches on the park that the guests would expect."

The park will be staffed this weekend with people available to explain the delayed opening to any visitors who may not have received the message.

All opening weekend tickets will be honored on the weekend of May 8 and 9, Six Flags officials said.

As Maryland's only theme park, Adventure World attracted 1 million visitors a year between May and September. The attraction competes with Paramount's Kings Dominion, a larger theme park near Richmond, Va.; Hershey Park, in Hershey, Pa.; and Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Va.

New Six Flags attractions opening on May 8 include Gotham City, a six-acre area with two new roller coasters: the Joker's Jinx, which will rocket passengers from 0 to 60 miles per hour in just over 3 seconds, and the Two-Face, on which passengers will ride with their feet dangling and drop 137 feet, at one point making a complete vertical loop. Its name comes from the fact that passengers experience the coaster twice, once forward and once backward.

Also new is a children's section, designed to look like a Hollywood back lot, complete with Looney Tunes characters, 12 rides and a 1950s musical family-style theater; a Batman stunt show arena; a new food court and a restaurant.

The ticket booths will open at 9: 30 a.m. May 8, with the park opening at 10 a.m. and closing at 6 p.m.

Regular admission is $29.99 plus tax, admission for children 48 inches and under is $14.99 plus tax. Children 3 and under are free.

Pub Date: 5/01/99

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