Six Flags parks had a downturn in visitors during the summer but it's better than "a daycare center for teenagers" who entered the park at a discount, according to its CEO.

During a conference call with investors on Thursday, CEO Selim Bassoul said that a 2 million drop in attendance is because of the elimination of many discounts that created overfilled parks.

The stuffed parks created a domino effect of bad experiences including long lines to enter the park, two-hour waits for rides and another lengthy wait at park restaurants.

"So basically, we realized that literally, we had discounted too much and the philosophy of filling our parks was not the right strategy," Bassoul said. "We only got the discounter or we became a daycare center for teenagers. It was a cheap daycare center for teenagers during breaks and the summer."

Some of the discounts taken away include a "bring a friend" program, meal plans and free bottle drinks while block-out dates were added.

While acknowledging customers like the dining plans, Bassoul it was not good for the park. It contributed to long lines, waste and abuse of the program. The company is working on a new meal plan that addresses those issues.

"We are in the process of reintroducing a dining plan. And that dining plan is going to be a value to our guests, but also a way for us to be able to make money and not lose money on that meal plan," Bassoul said.

More than a million Six Flags guests took advantage of the unlimited dining plan at its 27 parks, according to Bassoul.

Sign for Six Flags Great Adventure
Sign for Six Flags Great Adventure (Dan Alexander, Townsquare Media NJ)
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Premium experiences at Six Flags

Bassoul said a season pass at Jackson's Six Flags Great Adventure in 1994, with four roller coasters, cost $75. The price was the same in 2022 with 14 coasters, some of which are considered the best in the world.

Calling 2022 a transitional year, Bassoul said there are already signs of improvement by focusing on guests who are willing to pay more for a premium experience.

He said guests get to ride more attractions, staffing has improved leading to better and friendlier interactions with customers, better-looking parks and more shaded areas to get out of the sun.

Six Flags Great Adventure is the largest employer in Ocean County.

Dan Alexander is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at dan.alexander@townsquaremedia.com

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