2020 announcement just posted

djDaemon's avatar

Right, I completely get the strategy of converting one-day-a-year visitors to the Gold Pass, with the goal of creating repeat renewals and getting them through the gate more than once for more per cap. Makes total sense.

Buy what I find surprising is that they're doing it at the cost of cannibalizing Platinum Pass holders.

Why not make the Gold Pass simply a season-long version of a standard ticket, with free parking and CPS thrown in? That right there is a compelling enough value. As it stands, they're converting one-day-a-year visitors to Gold Pass holders, while also virtually guaranteeing the conversion of nearly all Platinum Pass holders to Gold Pass holders. That's what doesn't make sense to me.


Cargo Shorts's avatar

They may have seen some disturbing churn with Platinum Pass holders and this is an attempt to keep them in the family. You can’t sell rooms, food and merchandise if they don’t walk through the gate.

Not so sure I agree with virtually eliminating the Platinum Passholders as that can largely depend on how far one is from the other parks. The farther south you are KI and Carowinds come into play and East KD, CW and Dorney (sort of), When at KI I still see a lot of Platinum Passes. Anything within that 7-8 hour magic radius is an enticing trip.

However I am still somewhat surprised at the Gold price and suspect is will start inching up. Also I have more of a concern about what this will do to the crowds at CPS.

JohnMosesBrowning's avatar

I’m not sure how they’ll play it, but, this reads to me as the initial step moving from yearly passes to some kind of subscription service. The evolution to a subscription is something that CF has discussed on the shareholder calls over the last year or so.

1974: Catering Slave for Interstate United
1975-77: Catering Manager for Cedar Point

Cargo Shorts said:

They may have seen some disturbing churn with Platinum Pass holders and this is an attempt to keep them in the family. You can’t sell rooms, food and merchandise if they don’t walk through the gate....

THIS. We didn't renew our Platinum Pass this year for the first time in 20 years. Various reasons being an off-year of a big attraction (ie Rollercoaster) and also our older kids not wanting to "hang with mom and dad" at the park as much, teens would rather be with their friends, etc.

Being close in proximity to the park, the Gold Pass got us interested again because we don't frequent other CF parks on our vacations. Also the $800+ cost for a family 4 pack of Platinum passes couldn't be justified anymore. We jumped on the Gold Pass last week because we were going to do a one day ticket to Halloweekends this year anyhow and also do plan on going 1-2 times next year. With free parking and CPS included, you can't beat the $99 price tag. One visit, it's paid for! You're right....don't think that price is going to last long.

Last edited by CPfan1976,
Kevinj's avatar

JohnMosesBrowning said:

I’m not sure how they’ll play it, but, this reads to me as the initial step moving from yearly passes to some kind of subscription service...

Can you describe what you mean by a subscription service?

Promoter of fog.

Presumably it would be similar to the Six Flags membership program. You sign up for 12 months and have monthly payments that continue until you cancel.


Cedar Point's core region has little population growth. With growing population, your attendance can grow without a lot of effort to grow it. Tougher when you do not have that growth. You either need to convince people who are not going now to go or convince people who are going now to go more often. At this point, they may have made determination that the latter is the better target.

Chuck Wagon's avatar

Cedar Point Shores attendance could also be playing a part, as well as "regular" season pass sales. Those 2 things go hand-in-hand. While CPS certainly exists to serve hotel guests, its other main audience is local families.

Many other Cedar Fair parks are primarily driven by their Gold Pass sales and their water park.

-- Chuck Wagon --
aka Pagoda Gift Shop

GL2CP's avatar

Cargo Shorts said:
Sir, this is a Wendy’s.

Are you Kevin’s friend Michael?

First ride; Magnum 1994

Kevinj's avatar

GoBucks89 said:

Presumably it would be similar to the Six Flags membership program. You sign up for 12 months and have monthly payments that continue until you cancel.


That's what I thought was being suggested. I just don't see how that applies to a park that is only open 6 months out of the year. Is there some twist I'm not seeing?

The problem with population growth is real. In the world of colleges and universities our backs are up against the very same wall. Cedar Point's strategy seems to be dedicated towards locking up the regional crowd to their park and their park only, with the belief that in-park spending multiplied by numerous visits by those guests will benefit the bottom line.

Last edited by Kevinj,

Promoter of fog.

Cargo Shorts's avatar

Kevin, the subscription model works very well with seasonal parks, it is not much different than the 12 month payment plans available at KI and some of the other CF parks. I think CP only goes to 9 months.

Take a look as the SIX model, it has grown to about 5-6 different levels in recent years with varying degrees of benefits such as preferred parking, front of line passes each visits, drink plan included, etc. . It is a lot easier swallow the monthly payments than one big payment for many people. After the initial 12 months you can cancel at any time with something like 60 days notice, Due to SF stupid requirement to process a season pass within a tight time frame to receive the extra benefits it is actually a great option if you want a season pass but doesn’t live near a park. Once you process initially it just rolls over each year without the need to “process” it at the park. Depending on when you buy a SIX pass or membership their equivalent to a CF PP is about $58.

Kevinj's avatar

Strange. I guess it's a cognitive thing. I am 100% a "pay up front in full" guy when it comes to all things pass-wise.

I honestly had no idea KI had a 12 month payment plan, and I admit complete naivety when it comes to the payment plans of any park of any pass, as I would gladly just pay it all off at once and be done with it.

As a consumer, what would be the benefit of being a "subscriber" rather than a "pass holder"?

I'm not opposed at all to the idea...maybe it's a good thing. Or maybe I'm old. When I think of a subscription (especially something with monthly payments) I think of something I can tap into whenever I want. Because I am a subscriber.

Last edited by Kevinj,
Cargo Shorts's avatar

With 0% interest like SF and CF one benefit is time value of money. The consumer actually comes out ahead a bit rather than paying all up front in the fall for the cheapest price, As I already said, they can cast a wider net because because many families just can’t easily write a $1400 check for entertainment but can handle $116 a month.

Theoretically they could even expand it and have a level where $150/month also includes 2 nights in one of their resorts. Now they have locked resort occupancy and reduce marketing costs.

Kevinj's avatar

Maybe I'm missing the point. This is from Six Flags' page, titled, "How are memberships (subscriptions) different from season passes". They make 4 distinctions.

Memberships don't expire. A Season Pass expires at the end of the current park "season" (the date that the park closes for the current year). A Membership will not expire until you decide to cancel it. (Membership are eligible for cancellation after the first 12 months.) Added bonus: Members can keep their Six Flags Membership cards from one year to the next and never need to get a new ID made at the park.

So the only perk here is that I don't have to spend the 2 minutes on the computer it takes to renew my pass. I haven't gotten a new card in years. Added bonus? I may want to cancel and forget (like a lot of people do with automatic memberships) after 12 long months.

Memberships have a low monthly cost. Season Passes must be purchased and paid for in advance via one upfront payment. Memberships are paid for one month at a time over the course of the year. With Memberships we charge your credit card at the beginning of each Membership month.

This is not different, since you can already opt to make a low monthly payment on a pass. I guess Six Flags is mean and forces you to pay up front. I'm just saying; at Cedar Point this is a non-issue.

Memberships may be cancelled any time after 12 months. Once a Season Pass is purchased it cannot be cancelled or returned. A Membership may be cancelled any time after the first 12 months.

This also can't be cancelled (for a year), and once a pass is paid off, the park doesn't need me to remember cancel something so they stop taking my money. I can "cancel" my pass by simply not buying it the next year.

Memberships let you keep receiving special offers or discounts forever. When you buy a Season Pass that includes free parking or a free upgrade to Gold, you only retain that free upgrade for one season. With a Membership, you get to keep the benefits of the free upgrade as long as you keep your Membership. A Membership purchased with free parking will always have free parking.

Forever and ever? Promise? My pass also gives me the perks I want. For the season I want it for. This paragraph simply makes no sense. My Platinum Pass has gotten me free parking.....forever.

So it all boils down to this. There is one difference; you don't have to sit down at your computer and renew every year. Add an "auto renew" feature to the pass and you have a "subscription".

The problem, of course, is that I'm using Six Flags' model and applying it to Cedar Point; I would be interested in hearing what a CP membership would look like, and what benefits/costs-savings could be included.

Last edited by Kevinj,

Promoter of fog.

XS NightClub's avatar

There is an auto-renew for passes

New for 2024- Wicked Twister Plus

Cargo Shorts's avatar

Kevin the one thing you are missing regarding SF passes is in order to get the lowest rate you must physically “process” it at a park within a narrow window, usual about 60 days or so. Each year. With the membership you just need to process it once,

I am sure SF reserves the right to raise the price of a membership but historically they haven’t once you lock in the rate that is where it stays. Once doesn’t have to play the game every year of determining when the best time to purchase is as prices generally start creeping up after fall.

Other than that there really is not much difference than a monthly payment like CF has.

I think the only benefit is to keep revenue rolling in year round. I don’t get the benefit of a membership as a consumer.

And like the change to a CP Gold Pass, a membership can be a money loser for Six Flags, too. For example, I bought my Darien Lake Pass with free parking and 99¢ drink cup last fall for $56. My sister in-law just bought basic memberships at $6.50/month in July, with free parking and 3 bonus months. If she cancels after a year she will have paid $78 per membership and the 3 bonus months will carry them through September 2020. She’s already ahead $34 per person over the course of 2 years.

Last edited by Shane Denmark,


From the park's perspective if someone forgets to renew their pass, the park loses revenue. If they forget to cancel their membership, the park continues to get revenue.

Passes are like other pricing decisions. At any given price point, there will be people who would have paid more. But the goal is to maximize revenue/profit overall. More of an art than science though the park has a lot more data than we do.

I think the main advantage to the customer is, after the first year, you can cancel at any time. For example, if I renew my Platinum Pass today and lose my job tomorrow, I may suddenly find myself desperate for that $191. Or at the very least, want to trim that expense from my budget. But if I were a subscriber, I could simply cancel my membership.

The only problem with that theory is that you will have quite a few people purchase a membership and go to the park for one month and then cancel the membership, thus only paying for one month of membership and say I am dissatisfied.

So they go to the park 4 or 5 times but pay $ 17.00, Cedar Fair will get crushed.

This is the main reason why they will not switch to that model. I do it all the time with Netflix, I subscribe for one month pay $ 14.99, binge watch, then cancel.

The same thing will happen to Cedar Point.

But you cannot cancel the park membership for 12 months. And thereafter I don't think you would be able to sign up for one month and then cancel. if you sign up for 12 months and cancel after the 12th month, you will need to sign up again for another 12 months. Or at least how I expect it would work.

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