Attendance and Ridership: A Theory

Friday, March 1, 2019 1:57 PM

There *are* businesses, even in this industry, that are satisfied with making money without taking every opportunity to maximize profits.

For example, Knoebels. There really isn't much "optimization" in custom-building a wooden bobsled and then working for six years to get it opened when it has problems over and over and keeps getting pushed back (longer than CP let a flopped ride, STR, even exist!) They certainly could've spent that money on something a bit more conventional. But they decided to do otherwise.

Why they do this, I don't know. Likely because they are a family-owned park and don't have to serve the shareholders in the way that CF and SF do. But it's just an interesting side note.

As for "character", there are parts of CP which are concrete seas, but there are also spots that have been given new character (Gemini Midway) or improved on the character they've always had (Frontiertown and to a lesser extent, the Trail.)

Last edited by GigaG, Friday, March 1, 2019 1:59 PM

#RMCMeanStreak

Giant Wheel Triangle 2018
maXair/Dodgem 2019
Iron Dragon 2020

Steel Vengeance Rides: 86
Last SV Ride: 9/27/2020

+1Loading
Friday, March 1, 2019 2:46 PM

I think that Cedar Fair/Point has done some tremendous things, don't get me wrong. I'm just saying I have a demographic of family who doesn't embrace the thrills and, as such, many of the past 10 years' improvements have not been a reason for us to take a trip into the park.


"You can dream, create, design and build the most wonderful place in the world...but it requires people to make the dreams a reality."

-Walt Disney

+2Loading
Friday, March 1, 2019 3:39 PM
XS NightClub's avatar

A wise man once said: you can please all the people some of the time, some of the people all of the time. But, you can’t please all the people all the time.


Sandusky Fan.

+0
Friday, March 1, 2019 4:31 PM

^ But how has Europa increased attendance by one million visits in ten years and Cedar Point attendance stayed flat? I look no further than the variety of capital which is far different than the last ten years at Cedar Point.

+0
Friday, March 1, 2019 5:38 PM

^Could the market be different in Europe?


#RMCMeanStreak

Giant Wheel Triangle 2018
maXair/Dodgem 2019
Iron Dragon 2020

Steel Vengeance Rides: 86
Last SV Ride: 9/27/2020

+1Loading
Friday, March 1, 2019 6:17 PM
Kevinj's avatar

I say this out of total ignorance, but is it also possible that Europe is not as saturated with parks of that scale?

Within a 7 hour drive, I could visit Cedar Point, Kings Island, Canada's Wonderland, Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Kings Dominion, Carowinds, Holiday World, Dollywood, Dorney, Six Flags Great Adventure....

And those are just the parks that come to mind off the top of my head.

But, as I said, I am not exactly hip to the European park collection.


Promoter of fog.

+4Loading
Monday, March 4, 2019 10:49 AM

I feel like this thread is just an attempt at procrastination of writing your paper.

Just kidding, good stuff.

A lot of good points made, I'm just wondering out loud what impact population change in the midwest has had in the last 15 or so years.

+0
Monday, March 4, 2019 7:03 PM

This very topic about variety and family appeal is something that I’ve become very vocal about as the years have gone on. I will start by saying that for the first time in six years, my wife, my 8 year old son and I are not renewing our platinum passes. We really aren’t into rollercoasters like we used to be, and after having spent an annual vacation between Disney and Universal, we have found that as a family, we’d rather be somewhere where there is never a question of height requirement or intensity.

Cedar Point is the roller coaster capital of the world, and try as they might to market themselves as anything else, it’s what they’re known for and always will be. And that’s perfectly fine, however, I would argue that Kings Island has far more family inclusive rides and still has enough intense thrills to be widely successful; I do wonder why Cedar Point doesn’t invest more into all demographics.

Now, they certainly have made huge strides the past few years in overall look and feel, and Forbidden Frontier looks like it could be that family attraction many have been asking for, but I’m not sure it will be.

Will we renew next year? I don’t know. We may actually look into passes for Universal because there’s a lot more value there and flights to Florida are dirt cheap.

I have always loved Cedar Point and I’ll likely come back in a few seasons, at the very least for their 150th, which I’m sure will be quite an event all season.

+0
Tuesday, March 5, 2019 6:23 AM
djDaemon's avatar

MaverickLaunch said:

...I'm just wondering out loud what impact population change in the midwest has had in the last 15 or so years.

And how that change compares to population changes around Europa.


Brandon

+2Loading
Tuesday, March 5, 2019 7:52 AM

^ Great point. That data would truly show if its fair to compare the two. I still find it fascinating that places like Magic Kingdom has grown attendance by upwards of 5 million in a ten year timeframe, and Europa has grown attendance by 1 million.

Magic Kingdom could possibly argue the crazy growth that Florida experiences year over year, but the Cleveland market has lost a world-class marine park (SeaWorld Ohio), a 119 year old amusement park (Geauga Lake) whose combined attendance was close to 3 million in its prime, and there's been virtually no change in attendance at Cedar Point.

Last edited by Tilt-a-Whirl, Tuesday, March 5, 2019 7:54 AM
+0
Tuesday, March 5, 2019 9:01 AM
djDaemon's avatar

I don't think you can include destination parks (MK, Universal, etc.) with regional parks like CP and Europa. That would be like comparing a Marvel movie with a low budget art flick. They're not competing for the same customer.


Brandon

+2Loading
Tuesday, March 5, 2019 10:15 AM
GL2CP's avatar

So speaking of attendance and ridership, im wondering if im the only one who did this as a kid.

In the 90s id make sure to give the turnstile on my favorite smaller rides an extra spin or two to help out with the count. It did not work with WWL but skyride is still there, so you're welcome.


First ride; Magnum 1994

+4Loading
Tuesday, March 5, 2019 10:22 AM
Kevinj's avatar

Not to mention Cedar Point is only open from May - September, and only on weekends after that until the end of October. Europa's only operations break is from January through March

I get that the park is competing for "vacation dollars", but a better comparison might be Cedar Point versus, say....Busch Gardens Williamsburg. Like Europa, they cater a lot more to families (in comparison to Cedar Point, at least) while also adding in a thrill-factor. And like Cedar Point, they are a regional/seasonal park with comparable operating schedules, with a healthy dose of park competition around them.

They just added an epic new family attraction this last season that has gotten great reviews. Did that do anything for their attendance? I doubt it. I don't know for certain, but I would highly doubt it.

Maybe more interestingly, they actually removed a beloved dark ride (Darkastle) a couple years ago. Did fewer people show up that year? I doubt it.

I'm not sure where you find reliable attendance numbers, but finding two things that are truly comparable would be a good starting point.

Anecdotally, we are at Virginia Beach last summer, and drove right past Busch Gardens Williamsburg, choosing Kings Dominion & Twisted Timbers over Busch Gardens and their new family-projection attraction. And I'm one of those "would be nice to see a great family attraction" folks.

Cedar Point is a mature park. To be honest, I'm not sure "epic attendance growth" is really something they are seeking. Steady up-ticks? Sure. Avoid decline? Sure.

At this point in its life-cycle, I think the park is more interested in increasing revenue with the people already inside the gates, rather than worrying about how to get more actual people there.

Have you been to the park on a summer weekend? During Halloweekends?

Cedar Point does not have an attendance problem.

EDIT: According to this article from Theme Park Insider, adding Darkastle (while pretty epic in scale) did nothing for BGW's attendance. They don't cite anything, but it's worth noting.

Last edited by Kevinj, Tuesday, March 5, 2019 10:51 AM

Promoter of fog.

+5Loading
Tuesday, March 5, 2019 11:22 AM
Sollybeast's avatar

Kevinj said:

They just added an epic new family attraction this last season that has gotten great reviews.

That looks awesome. I've been to Busch Gardens exactly once, but when I was there I enjoyed 'Corkscrew Hill' so much I rode it with the friend I was there with like five times. This reminds me of that, only better.

Last edited by Sollybeast, Tuesday, March 5, 2019 11:23 AM

Proud 5th Liner and CP fan since 1986.

+1Loading
Tuesday, March 5, 2019 12:22 PM

Kevinj said:

Anecdotally, we are at Virginia Beach last summer, and drove right past Busch Gardens Williamsburg, choosing Kings Dominion & Twisted Timbers over Busch Gardens and their new family-projection attraction. And I'm one of those "would be nice to see a great family attraction" folks.

I found this statement interesting coming from you. Do you think its because your kids are getting older and are beginning to grow out of the "kiddie/family" stuff? I know that is what has happened to my family (many years ago).

And for what it is worth, that epic new family attraction was viewed as a "one and done" by my youngest. It was fine for what it is but it in no way had him wanting to do it again as compared to Griffon or Apollo's Chariot. In fact I actually forgot what the attraction was that you referenced. I had to click the link to see what you were talking about. I would say that it did not make a very lasting impression.

+0
Tuesday, March 5, 2019 12:43 PM
Sparty42's avatar

Kevinj said:

Cedar Point is a mature park. To be honest, I'm not sure "epic attendance growth" is really something they are seeking. Steady up-ticks? Sure. Avoid decline? Sure.

At this point in its life-cycle, I think the park is more interested in increasing revenue with the people already inside the gates, rather than worrying about how to get more actual people there.

Have you been to the park on a summer weekend? During Halloweekends?

Cedar Point does not have an attendance problem.

I'd venture a guess and say that increasing revenue streams from the very loyal customer base is priority number 1 for them.

Anyone else remember at the end of the 2017 season how miserable the experience was for Halloweekends? Multiple weekends of the park being absolutely packed with extremely long lines for both rides and food.

I'm not saying that the park doesn't benefit from that, but that experience did make me question if I'd ever want to go back to Cedar Point for Halloweekends. We didn't this past season, instead going to Kings Island, but the points remains.

Excess in attendance does not necessarily equal a great experience for all guests and that's what the park must balance. Personally, if I had a choice between record attendance numbers with average in-park per capita spending vs a dramatic increase in in-park spending per capita with the average amount of guests, I think I'd take the latter because it shows you're providing more overall value to the customer.

+3Loading
Tuesday, March 5, 2019 9:27 PM
Kevinj's avatar

Shades said:

I found this statement interesting coming from you. Do you think its because your kids are getting older and are beginning to grow out of the "kiddie/family" stuff? I know that is what has happened to my family (many years ago).

We also thought it was interesting. The girls were at BGW when they were 3 and 7, so with 4 years removed I honestly thought that is where we would end up. The idea was to hit up a park on our way home from the beach (and for those who don't know, both BGW and Kings Dominion are relatively close, and "on the way home" to Ohio).

I think right now we're at an interesting spot. The 11 year old has done everything and will ride any coaster on the planet. The 7 year old has conquered Millennium, so she has the itch for thrills....but at the same time they are also both still very much in that place where they enjoy anything and everything; from Boo-Blasters to Soarin' to dining with princesses. For whatever reason, they both seemed more interested in Kings Dominion and the thrill in that moment, so that's where we ended up.

You know what's really incredible (popping into my head as we talk about this)? Cedar Point is a regional park with moderate (at best) annual attendance (compared to the "big boys" of the park industry), and yet it has arguably the best coaster collection on the planet. Not just Ohio, or North America, but the world. It's not in Orlando, it's not in Vegas, it's not in Paris or Dubai or some exotic famous destination city...it's right here in Ohio in a modest city that few outside of Ohio have ever heard of.

I have more to say, but I'm trying to avoid overly-long posts.

Last edited by Kevinj, Tuesday, March 5, 2019 9:47 PM

Promoter of fog.

+3Loading
Tuesday, March 5, 2019 9:55 PM
XS NightClub's avatar

Moderate at best is an interesting take on CP attendance, Considering as a regional park open seasonally they best some of the ‘big boys’ year round parks and most seasonal parks.


Sandusky Fan.

+0
Tuesday, March 5, 2019 10:00 PM
Kevinj's avatar

Well, I say that in relation to Disney, Universal, Europa, etc... (since that was the comparison that was made).

You're right. When compared with actual comparable parks, they are doing just fine...if not great.

Last edited by Kevinj, Tuesday, March 5, 2019 10:03 PM

Promoter of fog.

+0
Wednesday, March 6, 2019 12:27 PM
Urumqi's avatar

As an aside, I'm sad to see GM closing the Lordstown plant. I'm sure that closure and its residual effects will further complicate one's understanding about Cedar Point's attendance figures.


Tall and fast not so much upside down...

+0

You must be logged in to post

POP Forums app ©2021, POP World Media, LLC - Terms of Service