Six Flags has confirmed that it has ended several major licensing deals, with well-recognised characters including Thomas the Tank Engine set to disappear from the chain's parks in 2011.
The end of the licensing agreements comes as Six Flags battles to improve its finances following its emergence from bankruptcy last year. Attractions based on Thomas the Tank Engine, The Wiggles, Tony Hawk and Evel Knievel will all be rethemed as a result, although Bugs Bunny, Superman and Scooby Doo themes will be retained.
The Thomas Town areas at Six Flags Magic Mountain, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, Six Flags New England and Six Flags America will all be rethemed as "Whistle Stop Depots", with the company opting not to license another brand to replace Thomas. The news will come as a particular blow to Six Flags America, which opened the largest Thomas Town in North America in June 2010.
The Tony Hawk's Big Spin rollercoasters at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, Six Flags Fiesta Texas, Six Flags Over Texas and Six Flags St. Louis will also receive generic branding, being renamed simply as "Big Spin". Six Flags St. Louis will also see its Evil Knievel coaster renamed as American Thunder.
Children's TV stars The Wiggles will also be absent from Six Flags parks next year. The Wiggles World areas at Six Flags Great Adventure, Six Flags Great America, Six Flags New England, Six Flags Fiesta Texas and Great Escape will all be updated as a result.
Finally, Screamscape reports that the Terminator Salvation wooden rollercoaster at Six Flags Magic Mountain will also lose its branding. The $10 million ride only opened in 2009, and was the first wooden rollercoaster to feature an on-board audio track. However, the audio system broke down earlier this year and has yet to restored.
Six Flags runs 12 theme parks across North America and Mexico, along with a number of associated water parks. The company successfully restructured its debt in order to emerge from bankruptcy earlier this year, with a new board of directors and CEO being appointed to replace the previous management team.