Thursday, Jan. 31, 2008

Six Flags America not affected by corporate cutbacks

Largo amusement park plans new shows and a new ride for 2008

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Six Flags America in Largo will not be affected by the amusement park chain’s plans to reduce its fiscal 2008 operating expenses by $50 million to $60 million, park spokeswoman Karin Korpowski said.

In a filing submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission on Jan. 16, Six Flags said $25 to $30 million of the cuts in operating expenses was related to marketing.

The company said other reductions could include the removal of inefficient rides at some parks, a new seasonal labor tracking system and layoffs by means of an early retirement program.

Korpowski said all of Six Flags America’s rides will return in 2008, and that the Largo park will move forward with plans to enhance the park’s entertainment package despite the company’s cost cutting.

‘‘Although the company as a whole has done some cost-cutting measures, most of what will be done at this park will be positive,” Korpowski said.

Six Flags America will debut five new productions and a new ride, Tony Hawk’s Halfpipe, when the park opens April 26, Korpowski said.

The five new productions include three new dance shows: ‘‘Freedom,” which will incorporate patriotic singing and dancing, ‘‘Mega Mix Live,” which will see performers racing through popular dances from each decade, and ‘‘Gimme A Beat,” which features hip-hop dancing, acrobatics and lots of percussion.

There also will be a new interactive game show in the park’s children’s section and a change in the theme and backdrop of the park’s stunt show from an ‘‘Old West” theme to a ‘‘New England seaside town” theme.

Tony Hawk’s Halfpipe is an exclusive new four-story slide, named after the well-known skateboarder, that resembles a skateboarding halfpipe.

The slide sends guests shooting down one side of the halfpipe aboard one- and two-person inner tubes as their momentum carries them to the edge of the opposite side. The frictionless surface will help create a free-fall effect as riders slide forward, in reverse and up and down the U-shaped slide, according to a Six Flags America press release.

The ride, which is being constructed, will be situated at the front of the Hurricane Harbor water park, Korpowski said.

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