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Cedar Point 10-10-2020 : WAY over capacity


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Jess and I visited Cedar Point this weekend. To say that Cedar Point was crowded this on this visit simply does not do the situation justice. The park was beyond packed. The midways were so crowded that it was difficult to walk through them, and even the bad rides had multi hour waits. I am not sure what percentage of capacity Cedar Point allowed make reservations, but it was obvious to me that they were simply not conservative enough.

 

While I was at the park, I chatted with quite a few guests. The one thing that stuck with me more than anything else was that nobody was having a great time. Time and time again, I heard people complain that they had been at the park all day, and had only ridden 1 ride. I talked to one person who told me that he has been going to the point 20 times a year for over 20 years, and had never had a day when he has ridden so few rides. Every single person I talked to did nothing but complain about the experience. The most impactful conversation of the day was with a man who was leaving the park at the same time I did. His comment to me was “Cedar Point ripped me off. They said they were taking reservations to make sure that there were not too many people in the park, but they just wanted to take our money. I was here for 8 hours, paid for admission, paid for parking, paid for food, and only rode 2 rides the entire day. This place sucks, and I am never coming back again.”

 

Our day was not as bad as this guys was, but it was still less than ideal. We entered the park at 11 and when to get in line for a Top Thrill Dragster Access pass. Chatting with a ride op, he told us that due to the high winds, Dragster would not likely open for a few hours, and we may be better off trying to get access passes for something else. We ended up snagging passes to board Maverick between 1-2, and passes to board Millennium Force between 2-3. We thought we were off to a great start. After grabbing the passes, we were close to Valraven, and saw that its wait was only listed as 45 minutes, so we entered it queue around 12:15. A little over an hour latter, we were finally done with our ride on Valraven. We jogged through the park to get to Maverick, and make it into the queue around 1:30. From this point, it took us another hour and a half to wait for Maverick, and we got off the ride at 2:58, only having 2 minutes to get to Millennium force before the end of our window. We ran to Millie, but did not make it there before our 2-3 time slot ended.

When we got there, the ride opp saw us panting for breath after running across the entire park, and had mercy upon us, allowing us to enter the queue even though our access passes had expired 5 minutes earlier.  Every employee we interacted with was awesome on this visit, and a little gesture like this really made a big difference for us.


 

We waited for about an hour and a half for our ride on Millie, getting off right as the 4:30 access pass handout window opened. We resisted the urge to grab another pass for millie, even though we were right there as they started to hand them out, wanting to allow another guest to have a chance to ride her. We made it to the Dragster access pass distribution point at 4:38, but at that point, all the passes were gone. Talking to another guest who was there exactly at 4:30, she told us they were gone before then, and apparently, they had passed out the evening passes earlier that day for Dragster.

 

At this point, we had not had a chance to get a bite to eat or hit the bathroom all day, so we attended to nature and got some food at Chickie and Pete’s. By the time we were done eating, it was 5:45, and there were few rides with wait times short enough to get us on the ride before the park closed at 8. We took a lap of the park to grab some footage, and hit the road around 7pm. We had spent 8 hours in the park, and ridden 3 rides. Based off my conversations with other guests, we did better than most.

 

I hope that Cedar Point further reduces the number of reservations available for the last few weeks of the season, and I really hope that by next season, the capacity killing covid prevention measures will be a thing of the past, and it will not be necessary to limit attendance. That being said, we all know that Saturdays in October are the busiest days of the year at Cedar Point, and while I will certainly visit Cedar Point again next year, I for one will not likely visit the park on one off these days again. I love riding coasters, but there are plenty of parks that provide a better guest experience in October that I could visit.

For the TLDR crowd, here is a link to the youtube version of this trip report :

 

 

 

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This weekend also happened to be Columbus Day weekend, which is notorious for being one of the busiest, if not the busiest weekend of Cedar Point's season. I always avoid that weekend like the plague, and usually go the weekend after Labor Day or any other Sunday in September.

I'm glad you at least got a few rides in even though the day was far from ideal.

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One of the downsides to the parks limiting their hours of operation is that people have less time to enjoy the attractions given the crowd size and the reduced capacity on the attractions.  If the park had stayed open until 10pm on Saturday, people would have had two additional hours to enjoy the park.  Even with the crowd levels, that would have allowed most guests the chance to ride another ride or two.  

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Agreed.  There are way too many things that lined up to make last Saturday a miserable day at the park.

  • Saturday before Columbus Day
  • 8 hour day (12-8p) in 2020 vs. 13 hours (11a-12m) in 2019
  • No Friday night (normally 6p-12m during Halloweekends) to take some of the demand
  • Park capacity is capped by reservations to 50% of what management sees as park capacity (which would be a miserable day), combined with
  • Operational capacity, particularly rides, is reduced to 25-40%, due to
    • reduced seating capacity, and
    • increased cycle times
      • to allow for staggered guest exits, and
      • cleaning cycles

Do the math and a park at "50% capacity" during pandemic times is worse than 100% capacity in a normal year.

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35 minutes ago, jsus said:

Agreed.  There are way too many things that lined up to make last Saturday a miserable day at the park.

  • 8 hour day (12-8p) in 2020 vs. 13 hours (11a-12m) in 2019
  • No Friday night (normally 6p-12m during Halloweekends) to take some of the demand
  • Park capacity is capped by reservations to 50% of what management sees as park capacity (which would be a miserable day), combined with
  • Operational capacity, particularly rides, is reduced to 25-40%, due to
    • reduced seating capacity, and
    • increased cycle times
      • to allow for staggered guest exits, and
      • cleaning cycles

Do the math and a park at "50% capacity" during pandemic times is worse than 100% capacity in a normal year.

Totally agree. Last Saturday was the perfect storm to create the worst possible experience. Literally every possible factor was working against us. Really wish the park has limited capacity even more, as this mess could have been avoided.

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22 minutes ago, Rifleman said:

Totally agree. Last Saturday was the perfect storm to create the worst possible experience. Literally every possible factor was working against us. Really wish the park has limited capacity even more, as this mess could have been avoided.

Jason McClure is in way over his head.  The operations have been going downhill ever since he got promoted from that powerhouse Dorney Park(sarcasm).  Throw in a pandemic and it really shows up.

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I wish Kings Island would go back to reducing capacity at the park. With rides running only two trains and loading have the rides capacity and makes lines overly long. I think a reduced capacity should be in place while the rides are being dispatched half full. 

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I had a friend visit Cedar Point a few weeks ago, and his experience was similar.  He went home extremely unhappy and while he is an enthusiast and would never vow to never return, he really did not seem to want to return anytime soon.  He rode three coasters and was in the park from open to close.

I know Cedar Fair is trying to make as much from their Ohio parks as possible, but they are really ruining a lot of good will.  They have to reduce capacity if to do nothing else then to get the lines under control.

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If I didn't have the all park Fast Lane Plus season pass I don't think I would have enjoyed my visits to either park as much. I'm spending the entire weekend at CP this weekend and so glad I'm able to use FLP.

Sent from my SM-G986U using Tapatalk

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Sadly, I think as long as the number of new passes sold is greater than the number of passes not renewed each year, we will see this "overcapacity" trend continue.  Has anyone forgot how large the crowds were during last years fall season at CP or KI for that matter? 

What fun is it to get an access pass for a certain time and STILL have over an hour wait?  What fun is it to be at a park all day and get in 2 or 3 rides?

After last years debacle, I decided I was done with CP for awhile - might try an early summer weekday, but with all the gold passes sold, I think even those light days will be a thing of the past now.

CF now has to bring in the revenue for all those notes they continue to issue this year....so I expect to see them follow their traditional model of giving away the gate to fill the parks the rest of this year and next year.

And when that day comes that the new passes sold is less than the number of passes not renewed for a season, we will see gate giveaways like we have never seen, but that just exacerbates the crowding problem that put them in this situation that caused people not to buy or renew passes.

It will be an interesting cycle to see if they try to mitigate this before it becomes that problem where people decide it just isn't worth their time to visit a park...

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I will very likely be one in the “passes not renewed” category.  Ive been one who has gone mentally from “I think Im going to get all season FLP since I get FLP every time I go to the Point anyway” to “I think 2021 will be it for me, and thats only because my 2020 Plat is good in 2021”, and the gross overselling of CP Gold is one of the underlying contributing factors.  Other factors are the possible continuation of hoops to jump through to get into and “enjoy” parks post 2021, and the simple fact that other parts of my life are taking precedent and will continue to increasingly do so.  

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Fast Lane lines are likely going to be overcrowded next year too. The all season sold out this year as it did last year. But they put 2021 season Fast Lane back up for sale even though anyone with 2020 all season Fast Lane is good for 2021.

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