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Houston Wet 'n' Wild SplashTown Reopens as Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Splashtown
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With a new Caribbean resort theme, Houston’s Wet ‘n’ Wild Splashtown has been rebranded as Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Splashdown. 

Along with the new name comes a new six story water ride, general sprucing, and an over-all tropical resort style atmosphere. Located just off Houston’s I-45, the park opened this May for the 2019 season showing off its new theme and the Wahoo Wave. The latter is the new six-story water slide, planned as a major thrill ride which Six Flags Fiesta Texas park president Jeffrey Siebert terms something that will “completely change” what guests think of the park. He adds that “There’s no doubt that Six Flags is synonymous with big thrills.”

The Wahoo Wave will allow four riders to be sent down the slide at high speed – down being a 30-foot plunge before sweeping upwards, then reaching another steep drop off a waterfall to the pool below. 

Positioned at the front of the park, it will be close to another new but less experiential attractions: a new suspended Great White Shark photo opportunity.

The overall park vibe will feel like a “vacation in your backyard,” Sieber promises, making note of the tropical paradise setting. 

It will also include up-to-date technology with Wi-Fi throughout the park, and the ability to purchase through so-called global ordering, with guests able to choose their park restaurant, select food, and meal time from a lounge chair. The entire transaction will be made through an app; food can be picked up at a designated time and location. New luxury loungers by the wave pool are also available for that ultimate vacation-feeling.

An additional bonus is unlimited Hurricane Harbor visits this summer plus access all year to Six Flags Fiesta Texas and other Six Flags parks. A monthly membership is available for as low as $6.66. With a Diamond or Diamond Platinum membership, there’s reserved lounge seating and a separate parking area. 

Plans to expand the park for now are in a holding patterns, despite the fact that previous owners, Premier Parks, announced plans last year to expand the water park by about 30 acres. Currently, the park is located on 48 acres, but the property includes an additional 30 adjoining acres not yet been developed.

For now, Hurricane Harbor is concentrating on its added amenities and attractions; Siebert says the plans for expansion had no input from Six Flags. “We looked to see what the park’s needs were from an infrastructure standpoint to a guest standpoint.”

The new Wahoo Wave is ahead, and the 40 slides and attractions currently soaking guests have been updated with new styling and paint. Other new features include dining and retail locations and ride entrances. The new entrance plaza with its great white shark and a new marquee mark other changes to the park. 

The park is just one of three parks recently acquired by Six Flags that are being rebranded as Hurricane Harbor locations. Interestingly, Six Flags once owned Splashtown prior to its recent predecessor, EPR Properties. Originally opened as Hanna-Barbera Land, it became Splashtown in 1986.  It was sold off in 2007 along with six other parks: Darien Lake, Frontier Lake, and White Water Bay. It was renamed as Wet 'n' Wild SplashTown after renovations in 2014. EPR Properties, a real estate investment trust based in Kansas City, Mo., purchased the park in 2017.

Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Splashtown is just one of several new waterparks in the Houston area. Typhoon Texas opened in its Katy location in 2016, and Grand Texas' Big Rivers Waterpark is expected later this year. Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Splashtown makes the 25thpark in the Six Flags group of theme parks nationwide. According to Six Flags chairman, CEO, and president, Jim-Reid Anderson, the park’s acquisition is part of an overall growth plan that includes the acquisition of Wet n' Wild Phoenix, Frontier City in Oklahoma City and its adjacent White Water Bay, and Darien Lake in Buffalo, New York.

Reid-Anderson says “We are thrilled to welcome these outstanding properties and employees into our family of parks and look forward to sharing the thrill of Six Flags with guests of all ages in these key markets.” 

As for Six Flags overall, Reid-Anderson has more good news. Six Flags is the largest regional theme park company and operator of waterparks in North America, and its 2019 first quarter revenue was $128 million with attendance at 2.2 million guests. Compared to 2018, there was an eight-percent decrease in guest numbers, but that loss was offset completely by a five percent increase in guest spending per capita plus revenue from international agreements. The decrease to begin with was in part due to a change in the Easter holiday dates, shifting part of the company’s operating calendar and an approximate 200,000 guests visits into the second quarter for 2019. Guest spending was noted as being at all time high – an increase of $2.40 per person for total per-guest spending of $48.48.

Reid Anderson says “I am pleased with our first quarter performance as strong membership penetration continues to be a key driver of our long-term growth strategy, providing both a platform of increasing recurring revenue at higher prices and the ability to further grow attendance, especially as we expand our portfolio of parks.” He cites a record Active Pass base, price increases, increased dining pass reach, and expansion opportunities both domestically and abroad as presenting continued growth. “We are very well-positioned to deliver our tenth consecutive year of record financial performance in 2019,” he states. Hurricane Harbor’s new Houston outpost should be a strong part of achieving that prediction.
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