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Cedar Point Fall Season Crowding 2019: How to fix?

Jarrett

Most Obnoxious Member 2016
If you’ve seen it at all on Facebook this year, Cedar Point has been a complete madhouse this fall season. Last year I went on a Saturday and it was ridiculous, I waited an hour on the causeway just to drive back to my hotel on the mainland after. The park has hit capacity, traffic backed up all the way through downtown Sandusky, even a few car accidents resulting in injuries. Some blame this completely on the new Gold Pass, some think it’s a more complex issue, but one thing is for certain: this has become an issue of business getting out of control that needs resolved. Kings Island even has the same issue to a lesser extent, with Friday’s traffic stretching all the way through Mason and onto 741 out in the boonies. But how? How do you keep it a profitable, well-attended event while keeping things safe?

Personal Opinion: The Ohio enthusiast complaining fad this year has been Orion “not being a giga” in KI’s market and the new $100 Gold Pass in CP’s market. People have been whining and crying that they’re now “giving away the gate” and the increased attendance volume from the Gold Passes has “ruined it for everybody.” Personally? Kings Island has had a Gold Pass since the Paramount days, I remember my first Fearfest with my mom and sister and that was also stupid busy, with lines for Italian Job stretching all the way back to where Diamondback’s splash pool is now. We’ve also had nights this season where we pulled in and parked no problem when Cedar Point’s traffic line was three hours. Being in a more urban area, one would thing a Gold Pass would bring even more crowding through the gate, but it clearly doesn’t. Meanwhile, this was a common thing at Cedar Point last year, it just wasn’t as bad. I blame most of this crowding on an upwards trend of their Haunt just getting more and more popular, bringing more and more people through their gate each fall for some spooky fun, but to the point that their infrastructure can’t handle the craziness. The Gold Pass has certainly not helped, but the crowding isn’t exactly during a Wednesday evening after work, it’s at an event that’s proven to be so popular it’s problematic in the past.

Personal Solution: Carowinds and Busch Gardens all have their Halloween events as separate tickets. Carowinds shuts down the park for two hours, clears it out, and then opens it back up. Cedar Point needs to do this, maybe even provide something to do in Soak City while they wait since it’s not connected to the dry park and has no use in the fall season, and then reopen specially for Haunt. However, don’t accept any season passes at Haunt. Not directly at least. You need a special dated ticket to get in for Haunt, with the amount per date sold depending on the projected pass holder crowding. A number of tickets per night would be reserved for passholders, you get two for the Haunt the year of your Platinum Pass, one for the year of your Gold Pass, and one when you renew. That’s three visits max for a Platinum Passholder that would have to be claimed online and tied to your pass to get you in that night. They would have complete control of the crowding level for the event so it could stay chaotic, but kept at a healthy organized chaos that isn’t going to result in car wrecks or claustrophobic midways. Furthermore, it’s a way to drive pass renewals.

Just my two cents but I think this is worth discussing. Interested to see what others have to say!




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Hyde

I Lied About My Age!
Staff member
Moderator
Social Media Team
Halloweekends at Cedar Point has always been busy, as I've shared for years. What is different this year, in prep for the 150th anniversary, is Cedar Point finally launching a Gold Pass, which drew more attention to how crowded Halloweekends. It is a true fallacy case of correlation equally causation: Gold Pass did not cause a busy Halloweekends - it has existed for years.

Solutions proposed by @Pear and @Jarrett are perfectly fine and valid; separately ticket the Halloween event like Scarowinds and Knott's Scary Farm, limit benefits of Gold Pass, increase price of Gold Pass/Halloween entry.

Do I believe something will be done to remedy? Not really, because we have now seen 5+ years of continued elevation and ramp-up attendance of Halloweekends, rather than careful metering and limiting of visitor flow. The problem is always further exacerbated by the simple reality that Sandusky is relatively remote and not a major metro area, which makes park staffing extremely limited as many, many college students working summer head back for the fall and do not return to work Halloweekends.

The best solution in my estimation? Indeed, separately ticket the event, including season pass holders, to give you better crowd control on the matter. But, I also believe the problem will only continue for years to come before it's ever seriously addressed.
 
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