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Haunt and Winterfest Canceled in 2020 Open through Nov 1st


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New update from Mike Koontz, Vice President & General Manager of Kings Island.

https://www.visitkingsisland.com/park-update

Quote

Kings Island’s Fall Schedule and New Family Event
Kings Island will continue to operate through Nov. 1 on select days. We will introduce an all-new family event, Tricks and Treats Fall Fest beginning Sept. 26 featuring rides, unique food offerings, entertainment and activities for all ages. This event will enable social distancing and capacity management, and you’ll be hearing more about it in the coming weeks. 

Halloween Haunt and WinterFest
We have had to make the difficult decision to cancel both Halloween Haunt and WinterFest this year due to operating constraints in our region.  

Extending 2020 Season Passes through 2021
Keep in mind that all 2020 Season Passes and add-on products have been extended through the 2021 season. We’re looking forward to a great year ahead and can’t wait to show you many ways to have fun, including the return of hallmark events like Grand Carnivale, Halloween Haunt and WinterFest. Gold and Platinum Season Passes for 2021 go on sale beginning September 8, 2020. 

 

 

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With many Christmas events being already cancelled this year, it still would be nice if the park put up just the Eiffel Tower Christmas Tree this season to bring cheer and hope for all those that drive by to see.  Christmas lights always make people smile, and in this strange pandemic everyone could probably use some Christmas cheer.

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I think it’s just the unknown of what things will look like in Oct and Nov. as of now... they could maybe pull it off, but if things get worse again... I think it’s just too big of a gamble with the fixed costs of mounting these if they have to cancel last minute. 

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I was REALLY looking forward to Winterfest this year. After the success of the Winterfest Wonderland Parade at Carowinds last year, Cedar Fair said earlier this year in a quarterly earnings call that they were going to roll the parade out to two additional parks this year. It was almost a guarantee that those two parks would be Canada’s Wonderland and Kings Island. I would have loved that! I hope they still add the new parades next year.

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My opinion of course, :ph34r: but this was likely an easier decision than we think--it all comes down to numbers.  It is a non-trivial cost to transform the part into Haunt and then again transform into Winterfest.  Kings Island now has a good sampling of data regarding how many people are attending (and spending money) versus previous years. 

Here's an overly simplistic exercise to determine if Haunt/Winterfest make economic sense:

  1. Make a general assumption of no significant COVID related changes from now through the end of the year (just for the sake of the math).
  2. Extrapolate some attendance numbers for the remainder of 2020 using current data (and normalize with prior years attendance data).
  3. Run the calculations, see if you are over/under.
  4. Give some margin of error to account for variances on assumption #1.
  5. Re-run calculations and see if any scenarios work out (reduce various costs, hiring expenses, etc).

My guess, there is likely no scenario where they come out ahead.  Emotionally it may seem like a difficult decision, but we must remember this is a public company.  Cedar Fair has to be thinking long term on their financials.  It looks like the best case scenario is to add additional operating days where they can generate enough attendance numbers (and in-park spending) to help lessen the pain.  

However, I am glad they are looking to remain open on select days till November! :)  That's really awesome consider what 2020 has dealt us :(

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39 minutes ago, Maddog said:

My opinion of course, :ph34r: but this was likely an easier decision than we think--it all comes down to numbers.  It is a non-trivial cost to transform the part into Haunt and then again transform into Winterfest.  Kings Island now has a good sampling of data regarding how many people are attending (and spending money) versus previous years. 

Here's an overly simplistic exercise to determine if Haunt/Winterfest make economic sense:

  1. Make a general assumption of no significant COVID related changes from now through the end of the year (just for the sake of the math).
  2. Extrapolate some attendance numbers for the remainder of 2020 using current data (and normalize with prior years attendance data).
  3. Run the calculations, see if you are over/under.
  4. Give some margin of error to account for variances on assumption #1.
  5. Re-run calculations and see if any scenarios work out (reduce various costs, hiring expenses, etc).

My guess, there is likely no scenario where they come out ahead.  Emotionally it may seem like a difficult decision, but we must remember this is a public company.  Cedar Fair has to be thinking long term on their financials.  It looks like the best case scenario is to add additional operating days where they can generate enough attendance numbers (and in-park spending) to help lessen the pain.  

However, I am glad they are looking to remain open on select days till November! :)  That's really awesome consider what 2020 has dealt us :(

I agree. I’d bet if attendance had been what they expected then I don’t think we would have this announcement today. 
 

Unfortunately it was the right call to make. 

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10 hours ago, silver2005 said:

BTW, this is coming as CF has pretty much cancelled the seasons on a huge chunk of their parks including Valleyfair, WoF, KD, Carowinds, and DP to name a few. 

We are very fortunate.  I can imagine there are many disappointed season pass holders for the parks that didn't even get to open this year who would have loved to have the chance to go to their park even while wearing a mask and doing social distancing. 

I think it also makes the lawsuit that Cedar Fair began to file back in June look silly.  I have not done an exact count, but it looks like less than half of amusement parks in the United States are going to open at all this year.  Back in April, I would have guessed that either all the parks would either open or stay closed.  It is so strange that we ended up with quite a mix of what opened and what did not.

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I'd be happy if the fall fest/family event they mentioned essentially means just normal park operations on Saturdays and Sundays in October.  I have no use for any of the seasonal activities they have planned, just like I have no use for the haunt-related activities and attractions.  But I do love visiting the park in the fall when the weather is cooler and the leaves are starting to turn.  If I can go then and still ride everything I normally would (other than water rides), that would be just about perfect for me.  I assume they won't stay open until 1 like with haunt, but given that it gets dark earlier, even if they can keep it open until 9 or 10, that would give a nice amount of time for night rides.  My suspicion is that since this is a family oriented event, they'll end up closing at 5 or 6.  Even still, I'd be content with that.

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Based off of the Cedar Fair conference call the event is indeed family oriented however it does seem like the event will also be focusing on food offerings. Can’t wait to see more information.

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Would to just see some fall decorations up around the park. Not sure how likely it would be because of cutting back and stuff could limit distancing options but adding a cornmaze or something could be fun. We went last year to Holiday Worlds Happy Halloweekends and loved it. That's pretty much the only change from normal was getting to be int eh park during all time and some general fall decor, it's a family friendly event so nothing scary. And we had a great time. The corn maze was a nice addition for the season too.

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I'm not sure if I would have made the call on Winterfest this soon.  The number of active cases on the down turn right now and a vaccine is hopefully around the corner.  One has been approved for limited use according to NY Times.

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I think they are missing a huge opportunity with Winterfest. Why couldn’t they operate a drive through lights display like Coney Island has. The walkways and paths around Kings Island could easily handle vehicle traffic. It would be awesome to be able to drive through Kings Island and see a Christmas light display. Just my thoughts.

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4 hours ago, wabashcr said:

I'd be happy if the fall fest/family event they mentioned essentially means just normal park operations on Saturdays and Sundays in October.  I have no use for any of the seasonal activities they have planned, just like I have no use for the haunt-related activities and attractions.  But I do love visiting the park in the fall when the weather is cooler and the leaves are starting to turn.  If I can go then and still ride everything I normally would (other than water rides), that would be just about perfect for me.  I assume they won't stay open until 1 like with haunt, but given that it gets dark earlier, even if they can keep it open until 9 or 10, that would give a nice amount of time for night rides.  My suspicion is that since this is a family oriented event, they'll end up closing at 5 or 6.  Even still, I'd be content with that.

Well they never were going to be open till 1am this year even before Covid messed it all up. If they are only open till 5 or 6pm in the fall then they likely won't even open on Fridays and there goes one of my 2 days a week I can visit. I would prefer they stick with their midnight close they had scheduled but even 10pm would be okay  because in the fall part of the reason I go is night rides. It may be harder to police social distancing at night in a dark park so that is one reason why they may not. These couple August 10pm weekends could be a test of sorts for that.

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54 minutes ago, SnakePlissken said:

Well they never were going to be open till 1am this year even before Covid messed it all up. If they are only open till 5 or 6pm in the fall then they likely won't even open on Fridays and there goes one of my 2 days a week I can visit. I would prefer they stick with their midnight close they had scheduled but even 10pm would be okay  because in the fall part of the reason I go is night rides. It may be harder to police social distancing at night in a dark park so that is one reason why they may not. These couple August 10pm weekends could be a test of sorts for that.

While the announcement doesn't specifically say the park will be closed on Fridays, it does say the tricks and treats fall fest is only on Saturdays and Sundays.  So I would assume that means no Friday operations, at least for the public.   I didn't realize they had moved closing from 1 to midnight.  Was that new this year?  I could have sworn it was always 1 in the past, although I rarely made it that late.  The general vibe I got from the announcement and the link on their website was that this was going to be mostly a kid and family oriented event.  I only said 5 or 6 because I believe that's when the kid and family stuff ended and haunt began in the past.  If it's mostly just the usual October schedule minus the evening portion, that makes it a lot less intriguing for me.  But I'll still probably try to get there for a full day on a Saturday, just because of how much I enjoy being there in the fall.

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23 hours ago, ohiocoasterfan said:

I think they are missing a huge opportunity with Winterfest. Why couldn’t they operate a drive through lights display like Coney Island has. The walkways and paths around Kings Island could easily handle vehicle traffic. It would be awesome to be able to drive through Kings Island and see a Christmas light display. Just my thoughts.

That’s a lot of infrastructure and liability expense to replicate an event that already exists. The goal is to reduce operating expenses. 

 

23 hours ago, flightoffear1996 said:

I'm not sure if I would have made the call on Winterfest this soon.  The number of active cases on the down turn right now and a vaccine is hopefully around the corner.  One has been approved for limited use according to NY Times.

I think it has less to do with actual and projected corona cases and all to do with overhead and minimizing fixed costs that could yield variable results. Best years Winterfest has dicey nights that probably don’t break even due to weather, but they can recoup with a killer nice night. If they can’t make that deficit up then that’s further into the hole they go. Have you seen the Q2 earnings report? I think going forward will Be about Minimizing loss until 2021

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I’m very sad about Winterfesr.  I was hoping that maybe it would be a lights only event with a few rides.     But the fact that they gave away a years worth of revenue with season passes doesn’t make this event worthwhile  

Also the fact that they could not do any of their up charge attractions like the ice-skating or cookie decorating, further reducing the revenue from the event.    For those that complained about the up charges, they helped make the event financially viable.  
 

Cedar Fair absolutely cannot lose money on an operating basis at this time. They have enough cash to last until the end of the year and then the line of credit to last until the end of 2021. So overall I would rather see Cedar Fair survive That have the parks operate and lose money.

It will be very nice to go to the park in the fall when it’s cooler. It will make wearing a mask much more bearable. It will be nice to enjoy the park in the fall without all the gory decorations   

 

 

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On 8/5/2020 at 1:35 PM, flightoffear1996 said:

I'm not sure if I would have made the call on Winterfest this soon.  The number of active cases on the down turn right now and a vaccine is hopefully around the corner.  One has been approved for limited use according to NY Times.

Another item to consider is staffing.  July & August are when auditions for both Haunt & WinterFest are held.  To audition and hire performers, make-up artists and park decor people would be a lot of wasted time & effort only to decide later not to have it, so in my opinion now was the right time to make the call.

On 8/5/2020 at 5:09 PM, wabashcr said:

While the announcement doesn't specifically say the park will be closed on Fridays, it does say the tricks and treats fall fest is only on Saturdays and Sundays.  So I would assume that means no Friday operations, at least for the public.   I didn't realize they had moved closing from 1 to midnight.  Was that new this year?  I could have sworn it was always 1 in the past, although I rarely made it that late.  

That was new this year.  Haunt had been open until 1:00 a.m. in the past but when the original park schedule came out pre-Covid, it was listed that Haunt would close at midnight each day.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Fall hours have been added to the park's online calendar.

11am-10pm Saturday and Sunday of Labor Day weekend; 11am-8pm Monday. Then, 11am-10pm Saturdays and 11am-8pm Sundays through September 20. After that, for the remainder of the season, it will be 11am-8pm Saturdays and 11am-7pm Sundays.

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  • 2 weeks later...

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