Beware: Early Ride Closings No Joke!

If opening day is any indication, the Point is serious about cycling everyone off of rides by park close.

I got off Skyhawk 8 minutes before close and ran in search of something else to get in line for. I managed to pass several rides in those 8 minutes, but not only were all the lines closed with few people left, some of the rides had already completely powered down (e.g. Iron Dragon, Cedar Downs).

An attendant at Power Tower was very aggressive in shooing newcomers out of a nearly nonexistent line two minutes before close.

So it looks like the park intends to close all rides with lines early by however many minutes those lines are, which is a big (and unwelcome) shift from the park’s pre-pandemic standard of keeping all ride lines open until 5 to 10 minutes after close.

I get this is an unusual season and the park has to conserve its limited staff (and money?). But I wish the park would be more upfront and consistent with early line closings (e.g. post “this ride closes x hour[s] before park close” signs at entrances) or simply close the whole park earlier. But saying the park is open until 8pm when most ride lines will close at random times before that isn’t very customer friendly.

And maybe it’s just a coincidence, but I find it weird this new policy coincided with the most congested exit (park and parking lot) I’ve ever experienced at the park.

Thrills Around the Corner!

It was in place last season as well, unfortunately. The big 4 being on access passes plus the half capacity led to most other major coasters closing 30-60 minutes early, with Valravn often closing 60-90 minutes early. I know a lot of people didn't get to the park in 2020, so it'll be an unwelcome surprise for many guests. Obviously, Tony announced it in a pre-season blog post, but the actual policy will still be unknown to many, especially given the longstanding tradition it ends.

I have two friends at the park this weekend and they're going to observe to see when Maverick and SV close tonight (Saturday). We'll see how early they do it.

Last edited by James Parker jr,

CP Coaster Top 10: 1. Steel Vengeance (40 rides to date) 2. Top Thrill Dragster (191 launches to date, 4 rollbacks) 3. Magnum XL 200 4. Millennium Force 5. Maverick 6. Raptor 7. GateKeeper 8. Valravn 9. Rougarou 10. Gemini

Aaronosmer's avatar

Top Thrill 182,

Yeah the parking lot was insane. The strict ride closures, and the 8pm closing are going to make traffic the parking lot a nightmare in the evenings.

Yes, it was a long standing tradition, but then again it wasn't always that way. From the time that George Roos and Emil LeGross took over Cedar Point in the late 1950's up until at least the late 1980's the park steadfastly was closed by 10:00 PM, (with the sole exception being the 4th of July) with security doing sweeps to make sure all the guests were out by 10:30 PM (there were a few food stands and gift shops up by the gate that were open until 10:30.) Apparently from what I have been able to determine it was the introduction of either Corkscrew, or Magnum that caused the closing policy to be changed.

630 was the SV line close time last night.

If it's been 45 years since the policy began, that's well longer than most guests have been coming to the park. I despise this process and sincerely hope they reconsider it in 2022 if they are able to staff more traditionally. It's clearly a cost saving/staffing issue measure and in line with all the operational cutbacks the chain is doing this year, but it's a significant reduction in value, both for standby line guests and fastlane guests. Seeing that KI has not made this change gives me some hope that it might not be permanent for CP.

Last edited by James Parker jr,

CP Coaster Top 10: 1. Steel Vengeance (40 rides to date) 2. Top Thrill Dragster (191 launches to date, 4 rollbacks) 3. Magnum XL 200 4. Millennium Force 5. Maverick 6. Raptor 7. GateKeeper 8. Valravn 9. Rougarou 10. Gemini

Jeff's avatar

That's really unfortunate to hear, because I think the closing time thing helped make it predictable about what you could achieve in a day as a day-tripper (as opposed to a season pass holder). I do hope that it's something they revisit once they can figure out staffing, in more normal times. Last night at Magic Kingdom, we squeaked out a last ride on the People Mover just before it closed, because despite their own staffing issues, in line at close means you ride.

Jeff - Advocate of Great Great Tunnels™ - Co-Publisher - PointBuzz - CoasterBuzz - Blog - Music

Steel Vengeance queue closed at 5:45pm fir an 8pm park close. Maverick will be following suit at 6

Awful. Absolutely awful.

CP Coaster Top 10: 1. Steel Vengeance (40 rides to date) 2. Top Thrill Dragster (191 launches to date, 4 rollbacks) 3. Magnum XL 200 4. Millennium Force 5. Maverick 6. Raptor 7. GateKeeper 8. Valravn 9. Rougarou 10. Gemini

Add Millennium Force to that list at 6:30. And the Fastlane+ line was sporting a modest 75 minute wait at that time

Dvo's avatar

I'm always hesitant to throw up the caution flag based on opening weekend. From the sound of it, there were many rides down throughout the day, the park is very crowded, and not staffed enough to meet the demand. I expect that all three of those things will improve in some capacity in the coming weeks/months.

With that said... I am also sad to hear that the lines are closing to be timed with the park closing. Especially with the shortened operating hours, that doesn't leave much time to ride the premier attractions on a decently-crowded day. I'm definitely hoping that we see this policy change at some point as well.

380 MF laps
Smoking Area Drone Pilot

Chuck Wagon's avatar

5:45 ouch. Hey let's get some dinner and then get in line...nope.

-- Chuck Wagon --
aka Pagoda Gift Shop

I agree Dvo.... I also agree with James P and assume that this is primarily a cost saving move for them, coupled with the shorter park open times allowing the park to staff fewer shifts.

I hope this policy will be revisited at some point, but I have my doubts. I wouldn't be surprised if this change was in the works even before the pandemic hit.

It is the kind of policy change that once implemented is hard to justify walking back from the perspective of a corporate overlord only concerned with quarterly gains until the end of time, as it likely saves tons of money in the long run, and while customers may grumble a bit about lost value, CP probably wont lose much business from this policy alone.

Jeff's avatar

I wouldn't be so quick to attribute this to "cost saving." There's a legitimate problem to have bodies on the ground right now.

Jeff - Advocate of Great Great Tunnels™ - Co-Publisher - PointBuzz - CoasterBuzz - Blog - Music

I imagine that the ride op who was busy shooing people out of Power Tower’s queue was told to have it buttoned up because under no circumstances would overtime (time past 8p) be paid.
That would be all I’d need to hear. The trash cans would be blocking the entrance in plenty of time to empty the line.
Oh, and Dutchman- I worked at the park in the 70’s and we had plenty of nights, usually summer Saturdays, when close was pushed to 11. It would depend on crowd size and queue length. The call would be made as late as possible, but an announcement would be made so park goers would know. I worked open on Saturdays so it never affected me, but my assistant manager was never too happy. I’d be in my civvies sitting at the Circus.

I would push back on the idea they were considering this prior to the covid shutdowns. Back at the February 2020 Chill Out presentation (crazy how close that was to everything happening) Tony and Jason spoke at length about plans for the then 150th. They even specifically mentioned longer park hours, Tony brought up a possible overnight 24 concept as a special event, and Jason mentioned longer hours because we know our guests love night rides. I think they've just gone into extreme cost saving/staff conserving mode all while selling inexpensive passes and nearly unlimited fastlane. It's a recipe for a drastically reduced guest experience.

I remember some of the especially negative feedback the park was getting from mid-august through end of season last year, when guests were often only able to ride 3-5 rides in a day with how the park had to run, combined with the increasingly large crowds. This year, the caps are off and fastlane is back. Staffing will likely be a major problem all year. How long does this go on before it begins to hurt the park's reputation in a meaningful way? It's arguable that, as long as they keep the price point low, they can continue to reduce and reduce the guest experience with little or no penalty.

It's just a sad situation. We have decided to only do one trip this year instead of our traditional 2 or 3. They certainly won't miss our business, but I still look forward to a better 2022 and beyond, hopefully including the return of night rides/lines open till close.

Last edited by James Parker jr,

CP Coaster Top 10: 1. Steel Vengeance (40 rides to date) 2. Top Thrill Dragster (191 launches to date, 4 rollbacks) 3. Magnum XL 200 4. Millennium Force 5. Maverick 6. Raptor 7. GateKeeper 8. Valravn 9. Rougarou 10. Gemini

DSShives's avatar

If the park were fully staff, I might buy into the cost savings discussion. Since its obvious that CP is grossly understaffed, that has more to do with the change in their operating philosophy. Its pretty clear they lost a lot of potential revenue with all of the food, drink, merchandise stands closed. No one in operations walking around the park had to like what they saw with the long lines everywhere. Thats not the guest experience they want to see. With no exchange students again this year and few people wanting to return to the workforce, understaffing is going to be with us for a while.

Steve Shives
First Cedar Point Visit - 1972
Dockholder-Cedar Point Marina

Very unfortunate. Let’s hope this changes a bit at the end of June as unemployment for Ohioans returns to normal pay rate (pay rate? I guess that’s what you call it?)

its not rare for Cedar Point to make corrections/changes in the middle of the season. I strongly believe this early line closure policy is only temporary. Businesses everywhere are scaling back hours for the well-being of their employees so they aren’t overworked anyway. We are living in a weird time right now, but there are hopes of returning back to some normalcy very soon.

Last edited by TwistedWicker77,

I didn’t know how hard the hard close was going to be. But I did hear that the parking lot was a total mess last night, and I completely understand that. On 8:00 close nights everybody stays to the bitter end anyway because it isn’t even dark yet. Do I hear a vote for a 12-10 schedule?

We know from the experience in 1995 that dumping the entire park population onto the parking lot at once is a Bad Idea. That’s why one of the legacies of the laser show was an 11:00 close, so everybody didn’t try to leave at 10:30. Last night I was talking with someone who was finally able to get out of the lot at 9:30. Maybe it needs to be a softer close, with the early-close rides scheduled to be empty 30 minutes to an hour after and everything else closing the queues at closing time...
And it shouldn’t take 90 minutes for anyone to get out of the parking lot. People should be leaving the park at a rate close to that at which the lot empties.

—Dave Althoff, Jr.

/X\ *** Respect rides. They do not respect you. ***
/XXX\ /X\ /X\_ _ /X\__ _ _____


Excellent points all around. Which begs the question, when they revamped the entrance to the parking lot, how was the exit made worse?

Last edited by mgou58,
Paisley's avatar

I think if this early of closings will be made for some rides it would be a good idea to have it clearly stated that these specific attractions may close as early as whatever time and then have it be a bonus that some nights it stays open longer if the crowd is smaller. That way everyone gets the heads up ahead of time that if they want to ride a certain thing they had better be there early enough to do it. Makes me glad I didn't try to fit a two hour closing visit in on Friday.

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