Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, formerly Marine World, has morphed from an animal park into an amusement park with animal attractions over the last few years. Originally, the parks ownership was under the non-profit Marine World Foundation. Since 1999, Six Flags, a struggling public enterprise, controlled the parks operations. In early 2007, Six Flags exercised an option to buy exclusive rights to the park. Great America in Santa Clara, which we reviewed previously, is a comparable park as far as rides and attractions.
The park opens at 10:30 AM and there is a good 10-minute walk to the park or a good 10 minute wait for the tram. Pricing for parking is steep at $15. Ticket pricing at the counter is $39.99 for adults and $29.99 for children under 48”. The website has better deals when purchasing tickets online. While this pricing sounds reasonable, inside the park ridiculously overpriced items line up to fleece guests. Day use lockers offered at $9 just outside the park entrance is but one of such.
The biggest challenge is to structure the day around the various shows. Undoubtedly, the crowd pleaser is the Sea Lion show. Unfortunately, there is only a single show at 12 PM. Some shows have only two showings. We missed several shows although we did find the time to see the Sea Lion show, the Dolphin show, the Killer Whale show, the Bird show, and the Looney Tunes show. In general, the shows are incapable of holding the interest of the audience compared to the shows we have seen in yesteryears in the same park – the animals and personnel are now distributed among the various parks with each park having comparatively fewer overall participants. As for the rides, the lines were very long as the park was really packed on the weekend day we visited. We only found time to do the Monsoon falls and called it a day at around 7 PM as the scorching heat made it almost impossible to appreciate anything. With time and energy, we could have fared better on the rides. At an additional cost of $20 ($17.99 online) flash pass allow visitors to cruise to the front of the line but is only applicable on the following rides: Boomerang Coast to Coaster, Kong, Medusa, Monsoon Falls, Roar, Tazmanian Devil, and Tony Hawk's Big Spin.
Few incidents lent a negative feel to the visit.
- While waiting our turn at the “Monsoon Falls” the coordinator decided on the spur that the boats are going to be fully loaded which meant people in a group may not be able to sit together. The only exception was parent and child. While that in it was acceptable given the length of the lines, the coordinator kept insisting over the microphone that if any visitor had a different opinion, they could ‘leave the line and that would be OK with them’. Such rude remarks are not becoming for a service company.
- Around 6 PM, one-park personnel frantically started policing people off the path though there was no mention or indication anywhere of anything occurring around that time. They were making way for the Discovery Kingdom Character Cavalcade. The initial elation we felt on being able to watch the cavalcade up-close swiftly disappeared when the ludicrous show put in their appearance. The entire cavalcade consisted of just two or three vehicles with few characters! Even the kids had trouble figuring out what that was all about and several guests commented on why they even bothered. The only guess is that Six Flags was also attempting to have some sort of a pageant in place as in other popular parks.
- Managing of the auto lines to the park entry leaves a lot to be desired: if of the six counters only four is operational, it is not rocket science to open two on either side and alleviate a lot of stress for the parks visitors.
Last Updated: 02/2011.