Several Six Flags parks released new guidelines for content creators, drawing both opposition and praise for wording that appears to punish creators for sharing any information that isn’t pre-approved by the parks. 

The new guidelines were first flagged by ParkFans.net — a site which regularly breaks news about upcoming attractions in parks like Kings Dominion before official announcements. 

Journalists from legacy media outlets also bashed the guidelines.

Theme Park Tribune has found that the new guidelines have been posted on the sites of former Cedar Fair parks which are now a part of the new Six Flags chain the two companies’ recent merger. 

The guidelines did have some defenders on social media, including the points about Six Flags park not working with a creator who “shares park insider information (including, but not limited to photos, video, documents or details about future events/attractions) without park approval.”

To get clarity on the exact implementation of the new guidelines, Theme Park Tribune posed the following questions in emails to several media representatives from Six Flags parks:

  • First, this guideline – “Shares park insider information (including, but not limited to photos, video, documents or details about future events/attractions) without park approval.” Does this mean that parks would not grant media access to or respond to requests from news outlets for publishing publicly-available documents or documents they’ve obtained about upcoming attractions, or publishing photos of construction that is visible within the park? 
  • Second, this guideline — “Portrays the park, or any other Six Flags park, in an inappropriate manner.” What are some examples of what a Six Flags park would consider as portraying the park “in an inappropriate manner?” 

In a phone interview, Carowinds’ director of communications Courtney McGarry Weber said the guidelines, which are being applied throughout the company, only apply to what Six Flags parks considered content creators, not traditional news media. “These are different from media guidelines,” Weber said. 

When Theme Park Tribune noted that theme park fans often rely on content creators, especially those with large YouTube followings, as sources of information on parks, blurring the lines between who is and isn’t a member of the media, Weber said the distinction between content creator and media would be based in part on having some sort of media credential. 

Weber did not directly address whether content creators would be punished for sharing information about upcoming attractions in ways that are similar to traditional news reporting. That would include publishing documents, whether obtained from a source or through public records, about upcoming attractions, or publishing photos of construction visible inside the park.

Weber did state that the various Six Flags parks may interpret the guidelines differently.

In an emailed statement after the phone interview, Weber said, “The content creator guidelines were created to support an inclusive and positive community and to clarify expectations for those hoping to work with the park. Please note that these guidelines are specifically for content creators requesting to visit the park and attend media events.”

Former Cedar Fair parks have been known to base decisions about media access around the tone of news outlets’ coverage.

The Sandusky Register was blocked from Cedar Point’s Top Thrill 2 media preview in April following years of critical reporting on the park, including stories about the August 2021 accident which closed Top Thrill 2’s predecessor, Top Thrill Dragster, and reports of sexual assaults inside Cedar Point’s employee dorms. The 202-year-old newspaper also covered the views of local shareholders who were opposed to the merger of Cedar Fair and Six Flags.