Six Flags opens today
by Rachel Gray
March 15, 2014 04:00 AM | 3556 views | 0 0 comments | 32 32 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Gene Petriello, communications manager for Six Flags over Georgia, stands inside one of the largest pieces of fiberglass pipe that will be used in the newest attraction at the park, Hurricane Harbor, as workers bring in new pieces. <br>Staff/Jeff Stanton
Gene Petriello, communications manager for Six Flags over Georgia, stands inside one of the largest pieces of fiberglass pipe that will be used in the newest attraction at the park, Hurricane Harbor, as workers bring in new pieces.
Staff/Jeff Stanton
slideshow
 Petriello gives a progress report on the new addition to park President Dale Kaetzel.<br>Staff/Jeff Stanton
Petriello gives a progress report on the new addition to park President Dale Kaetzel.
Staff/Jeff Stanton
slideshow
Today and Sunday, Six Flags Over Georgia, at 275 Riverside Parkway off Interstate 20, will start filling roller coaster cars with screaming fans who will zoom down the lines of steel wrapping around the park.

For two days, the park will have a food drive for Must Ministries. Patrons who bring six or more items of nonperishable food will gain entry for a little more than $20.

Normally, discounted online tickets start at $39.99, general admission is $59.99 and season passes range from $69.99 to $99.99.

Gene Petriello, communications manager for Six Flags Atlanta Properties, said the park remains busy throughout the season, including the hottest months of the summer.

But for years, customers leaving feedback on surveys have been requesting a place to cool off.

So the 200-acre park is expanding by 7 acres to build the Hurricane Harbor waterpark, which is scheduled to open Memorial Day weekend.

Hurricane Harbor, which is a feature offered at many other Six Flags theme parks around the country, will be included with the regular admission price, with no separate gates or entrances.

The multimillion dollar investment is the largest expansion in the park’s 47-year history.

“We expect more families and more teenagers than ever before,” Petriello said.

Although Petriello predicts “record breaking attendance,” he said there is not a need for additional parking structures, with the two huge lots already accommodating big crowds.

Six Flags Over Georgia expects to hire nearly 3,000 seasonal workers for 2014, with 200 to 300 for Hurricane Harbor. One hundred of those new positions will be for lifeguards, with two hiring events at the end of this month.

Waterpark to make a big splash

After a cold and icy winter, construction workers were swarming the small valley next to Skull Island on Friday morning, which will be rebranded as Paradise Island.

Last week the crew laid the concrete foundation for the 800,000-gallon Calypso Bay Wave Pool that will launch 4-foot waves.

Hurricane Harbor will include the world’s first hybrid zero-gravity slide, Tsunami Surge, which drops riders from five-story heights into a whirlpool.

“You are going to want to wear a bathing suit, because you are going to get wet,” Petriello said.

Next to the new features will be several locker stations. Although the plans do not include shower areas, there will be added restrooms to function as changing stations.

Scattered in a rear parking lot, near the picnic pavilions, are chunks of bright orange, white, turquoise, fuchsia and lime-green fiber glass.

On Friday morning, crews were using a master plan of blue prints to puzzle the pieces together joint by joint into long curvy tubes.

The massive tunnels will be installed in the next two weeks to create two slide complexes, called the Bonzai Pipelines, with 180-degree and 360-degree curves.

A children’s play area will include even more slides and hundreds of interactive water elements.

Improving the entire experience

Hurricane Harbor will be contained in front of the Great American Scream Machine, a white, red and blue wooden rollercoaster, which will rise and fall behind the future waterpark as scenery.

While surveying the construction site, park President Dale Kaetzel said the rolling sounds of the coaster will complement the screams of laughter coming from the wade pool.

“It is going to have a boardwalk feel,” Kaetzel said.

Along with the Scream Machine, riders of the nearby SUPERMAN: Ultimate Flight will get a birds’ eye view of the construction as different contraptions are added over the next two months.

Another initiative also prompted by customer surveys is the “Fresh Track Food” menu. Petriello said the entire park will now offer healthier food items such as vegetable pizza, chicken sandwiches and fish tacos.

This season will also introduce the biometric processing system, which will reduce entry wait times for season pass holders.

On the first visit, guests will scan their printed voucher for the purchase and place their finger on a pad to be read.

In a “nine second process” that finger print will be turned into a binary code of zeroes and ones, which will not be stored, said Petriello. The code will be tied to a plastic card that can be used all season to quickly scan and get through the gates.

The card will allow visitors to gain quick entry into any Six Flags park nationwide. Six Flags Entertainment Corp. is the world’s largest regional theme park operator with $1.1 billion in revenue and 18 parks across the United States, Mexico and Canada.

Comments
(0)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
No Comments Yet
*We welcome your comments on the stories and issues of the day and seek to provide a forum for the community to voice opinions. All comments are subject to moderator approval before being made visible on the website but are not edited. The use of profanity, obscene and vulgar language, hate speech, and racial slurs is strictly prohibited. Advertisements, promotions, and spam will also be rejected. Please read our terms of service for full guides