Six Flags Fiesta Texas
Boomerang, the visual centerpiece of the park
|Location||La Cantera, San Antonio, Texas, United States|
|Opened||14 March 1992|
|Previous names||Fiesta Texas|
Six Flags Fiesta Texas is an amusement park built by the Gaylord Entertainment Company and now owned and operated by Six Flags. Fiesta Texas opened on March 14, 1992 in the La Cantera district of San Antonio, Texas as the first business in the district. Spanning 200 acres (81 ha), the park was originally built to become a destination musical show park with its focus on the musical culture of the state of Texas.
The park's current icon is Scream which can be seen from all around the park and outside the park. The vibrant colors of Scream can be seen from the intersection of Loop 1604 and Interstate 10 as well as miles away from Fiesta Texas. Most of the other attractions at the park are hidden due to the park being surrounded by a rock quarry wall, but some key visible rides include the SkyScreamer, the Crow's Nest Ferris wheel in the Fiesta Bay Boardwalk, and the first climb of the Superman Krypton Coaster.
Before Six Flags Fiesta Texas opened in 1992, the park used to be the site of a limestone quarry created in 1934. The portion where Fiesta Texas is located was mined out in 1988 and ready for future development.
A development team consisted of property owner USAA Real Estate Company, a subsidiary of the USAA insurance company, and Gaylord Entertainment Company, a company which owned Opryland USA, a theme park in Nashville, Tennessee. When the initial ownership group began investigating a possible major theme park development in San Antonio, Texas, they faced significant competition in the Texas market. There were similar established Six Flags parks in Arlington and Houston. Based on the competition, the development team believed the opportunity in San Antonio (an established regional leisure destination) was there and that the stable, slow growth direction of the theme park industry in the U.S. was in their favor.
The concept plan and master plan were developed by FORREC International based in Toronto. FORREC handed over detailed design of the project to San Antonio-based architecture and engineering groups: Benham/Jones Kell and Pape Dawson. Actual construction of the theme park took approximately 23 months, running from early 1990 to the park's opening in March 1992. Construction of the theme park was overseen by a joint venture of two general contractors, Lyda Inc. of San Antonio and Manhattan Construction Company of Tulsa, Oklahoma. The park had four theme sections; Crackaxle Canyon, Los Festivales, Spassburg, and Rockville, along with a water park called, Ol' Waterin' Hole. Two years later since opening in 1992, Fiesta Texas opened a new theme area behind the area of Rockville called Fiesta Bay Boardwalk with multiple new rides and attractions.
Time Warner took over management and operations of Fiesta Texas in 1996 and added the Six Flags name to the park, while USAA remained as the sole owner. Premier Parks, which acquired the Six Flags theme park chain from Time Warner, purchased Fiesta Texas from USAA in October 1998. In 1999, Fiesta Texas saw the biggest expansion ever in park history with more than 10 new rides and water rides, as well a rename of the water park to Armadillo Beach. Also in 1999, Six Flags Fiesta Texas was awarded Amusement Today's Golden Ticket Award for Best Shows in the theme park industry. The park received the award every year until 2008.
Six Flags Fiesta Texas announced the rename and expansion to its water park to White Water Bay in 2006, with the water park's largest expansion.
The Six Flags company began the process of removing licensed theming company wide across its theme parks from attractions that the park had built in previous years. Six Flags Fiesta Texas had to rename and retheme seven rides as well as the kids theme area from Wiggles World to Kidzopolis, all in time for the 2011 season.
Six Flags Fiesta Texas is divided into five themed areas along with an adjacent water park, White Water Bay.
Los Festivales is a theme area that guest first encounter when entering Six Flags Fiesta Texas. Park goers will see Goliath upon entering Fiesta Texas as it dominates the park entrance. The area is also home to another ride, Boomerang which is the centerpiece attraction at the park. Los Festivales is home to two theater venues, Teatro Fiesta and Zaragoza Theatre. Zaragoza Theatre is known for the park's most popular show during the summer months, Creature Feature during Fright Fest, and The Majesty Of Christmas during Holiday in the Park. Goliath, added in 2008, is the newest ride to the area. Los Festivales is home to one sit down restaurant that caters to the area during certain events, La Cantina.
Crackaxle Canyon is theme to a 1920s boomtown. Crackaxle Canyon can be entered from Los Festivales and Spassburg. The area is home to Iron Rattler, the tallest roller coaster in the park as well as six other attractions such as Road Runner Express and The Gully Washer. Crackaxle Canyon is home to two theatre venues, Lone Star Lil's Amphitheater and Sundance Theatre. The Lone Star Lil's Amphitheater is known for Mayor Slayer's Monster Mash Bash, a show during Fright Fest, and a host site to watch the end of the day fireworks during the summer months. Iron Rattler and Gunslinger are the two newest rides added to the area which were added in 2013. Crackaxle Canyon is home to two sit down restaurants that caters to the area, Bubba's and Canyon Smokehouse, along with a Panda Express location.
Spassburg was established to resemble the German heritage in Texas with its own German theme village. Spassburg also has a kids sub-section called, Kidzopolis. The area can be entered from Los Festivales, Crackaxle Canyon and Rockville. The village is home to Superman: Krypton Coaster, one of the world's first floorless roller coasters as well as thirteen other attractions such as Bugs' White Water Rapids and SkyScreamer. Spassburg is home to two theater venues, Sangerfest Halle and a character encounter building in Kidzopolis. Sangerfest Halle is home to many shows throughout the year as well as a food court offering a wide range of food. SkyScreamer is newest ride added to the area which was added in 2012. Spassburg has two sit-down restaurants that cater to the area, Johnny Rockets and Sangerfest Halle. In 2016 the park added a virtual reality experience to Superman: Krypton Coaster.
Rockville is a fictional town themed to the 1950s. Rockville can be entered from Spassburg with a railroad crossing at both of the entrances. The area is home to Batman: The Ride, the world's first 4D Free Spin roller coaster as well as eight other attractions such as Poltergeist and Scream. Rockville is home to Rockville High, an indoor theater that is themed to a high school. The theater is known for its award-winning show, Rockin' at Rockville High which retired after 22 years in 2014. Batman: The Ride and Soaring Eagle Zipline are the two newest rides added to Rockville which were both added in 2015. The area has two sit-down restaurants that cater to the area — Pete's Eats and Primo's Pizzeria.
Fiesta Bay Boardwalk
Fiesta Bay Boardwalk is themed to a boardwalk setting. The area is the only area of the park that has an entrance before entering the boardwalk. The boardwalk is home to Pandemonium, a spinning roller coaster and seven other attractions. Fiesta Bay Boardwalk was established in 1994 and was the last themed area created in the park. The planks of the boardwalk were replaced in 2016 and the area was updated. The newest additions to the area was three new rides: Fireball, Hurricane Force 5 and Spinsanity. Johnny Rockets is the main restaurant in the area.
White Water Bay
White Water Bay can be entered from Crackaxle Canyon. The water park is home to 15 water slides and attractions such as the newest slides, Bahama Blaster, added in 2014. White Water Bay opened with the park in 1992 as the Ol' Waterin' Hole. It was renamed Armadillo Beach in 1999, then renamed again in 2006 to White Water Bay. The water park is included with park admission. The newest addition to White Water Bay is Thunder Rapids, a water slide-roller coaster hybrid, which opened in 2017.
Six Flags Fiesta Texas has featured numerous forms of in-park entertainment throughout its history. The park generally has kept the theme of the shows to the location of the theater, such as country & western shows at the Sundance Theatre in Crackaxle Canyon and the former Rockin' At Rockville High show (a 50's style show) at the Rockville High Theater.
Guests of the park are welcomed by a wide array of characters and performers all throughout the park such as, characters from the Looney Tunes universe to the superheroes of DC Comics. From 2009 to late 2010, another brand of characters from the Wiggles would also greet guest in the park in, before Six Flags had dropped the license to carry on the brand.
Fiesta Texas’ is known for having some of the best shows in America, and was awarded by Amusement Today the Golden Ticket Award for “best theme park shows” for ten straight years from 1999 to 2008. Several of the shows have won individual awards like “Best Sports Show of 2005" (Xcelleration) and IAAPA's Brass Ring Award for "best show with a production value of $25,000–$50,000" (Mayor Slayer's Monster Mash Bash).
Six Flags Fiesta Texas hosts a number of events for different holidays all throughout the operating season that often draw thousands of visitors to the park, the two most notable are:
- Fright Fest (September–October) takes over the park with ghouls and monsters that wonders around the park for the Halloween season. From Thrills by Day to Fright by Night, the park hosts themed live shows, scare zones, and haunted houses.
- Holiday in the Park (November–January) transforms the park during the Christmas season with millions of different lights scattered throughout the park. From Santa Claus to themed rides such as Frostee's Skating Rink. Started as Lone Star Christmas in the 1990s before the cancellation of the event after the 1997 season, but was reinstated for the 2007 season and years to come as Holiday in the Park.
- Theme park development case study
- Beckman Quarry
- Fiesta Texas history
- O'Brien, Tim (1998). "Premier Parks/Six Flags Exercises Option to Buy Fiesta Texas". Amusement Business.
- MacDonald, Brady (November 25, 2010). "Six Flags amusement parks prepare for thematic makeovers". LA Times. Retrieved November 27, 2010.
- "Themed Areas: Six Flags Fiesta Texas". Sixflags.com. Retrieved March 17, 2013.
- MacDonald, Brady (25 November 2010). "Six Flags amusement parks prepare for thematic makeovers". LA Times. Retrieved 28 July 2016.
- Six Flags 2004 Annual Report (PDF) does not include revised stats since Hurricane Katrina closed Six Flags New Orleans; or the closing of Six Flags Astroworld in 2005.
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