Gold Passes Are The Fall Guy?

Thursday, October 14, 2021 2:39 PM

They started selling Gold passes in 2019 for 2020 that were good for the rest of 2019 and all of 2020.

I'm not complaining about them doing it and the surprising generosity shown by CF to expand them until the end of this year...I am complaing about those complaining about it, especially the platinum passholders since they seem to think they paid SOOO much when, in actuality, they paid practically nothing for as many months as they got between all of the parks that opened that they were able to use the 2020 pass for. As far as I'm concerned, CF SHOULD be giving away the gate since they are selling way too many FL passes, which may result in guests getting way fewer rides in. BTW, you FL users are actually subsidizing the Gold passers...lol

Last edited by Zoug68, Thursday, October 14, 2021 2:40 PM
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Thursday, October 14, 2021 4:48 PM

1)Yes $17 does matter or Cedar Fair & every chain would increase pass prices $17 all the time, they don't for a reason...it matters to many consumers, that would not buy.

2)You have no point

3) Pure nonsense logic "anyone who bought passes before labor day of 2019 made things worse than those who bought later. Especially for those who bought 2021 passes"

Last edited by CED23, Thursday, October 14, 2021 5:41 PM
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Thursday, October 14, 2021 5:17 PM

Zoug68 said:

As far as I'm concerned, CF SHOULD be giving away the gate since they are selling way too many FL passes, which may result in guests getting way fewer rides in.

But if they didn't give away the gate they likely wouldn't sell as many Fastlane passes, leading to a more balanced park experience

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Thursday, October 14, 2021 5:26 PM

That's a great point but also I have to give them credit where credit's due. I've been complaining about them overselling FL+ since 2018. This year around late July, they finally figured out they're charging too little and raised the price significantly. I noticed a dramatic difference after that every time I've gone, even on busy days.

Last edited by Scott Cameron, Thursday, October 14, 2021 5:27 PM
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Thursday, October 14, 2021 5:40 PM

@Zoug68 I really don't think the consensus here is that the Platinum Pass is appropriately priced either. We've all been complaining about them giving away the gate and yes, the Gold Pass is the bigger offender in that area. But no one is acting like a Platinum Pass elitist here. Personally, I think the Gold Pass should be priced at the current Platinum rate (at a minimum) for what you get. The Platinum Pass should be at least $100 higher than it's current price, if not more. And that's coming from someone who just renewed seven of them.

On that note, this was shaping up to be the first year since the nineties that I didn't renew my family's passes. I even broke the news to my family late June. Had they not increased the FL+ day price, and made significant other operational improvements, I would not have renewed. We all agreed the second half of the season has been much better (not to mention having a good time at some other CF parks this year) so I decided to renew again.

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Sunday, October 24, 2021 11:59 AM

My two cents: I feel that it’s too soon to know how the gold pass deal will play out. I suspect that weekends will continue to be more crowded for a while, but I wouldn’t be surprised if gold pass holders begin to realize that, and many shift to more weekday visits. Or, they stop buying the gold pass because they don’t feel they are getting their money’s worth. But it’s guaranteed money, and even if someone visits 3 or more times, CP still makes money on the in-park sales. If the park felt they were putting enough people through the gates with the higher priced pass, especially on weekdays, then I doubt they would have experimented with the lower price. And it’s not like they can’t adjust the price in the future. I doubt the park doesn’t care about the visitor experience; they probably figure they can make it work. But the unexpected huge Halloweekend crowds the first year, followed by post pandemic hiring issues, have made that difficult.

And I don’t agree with the comment that, in the past, the park “wasn’t nearly the impressive product, comparatively speaking, as it is today.” It’s all relative. In my opinion, the park was equally impressive at least as far back as the 70s, relative to all other parks.

I also don’t agree with the insinuation that people who are buying gold passes due to the price won’t contribute much to in-park sales. These people aren’t necessarily poor, as they would otherwise be able to afford at least a couple park visits a year (which, for many, includes travel, lodging, and food costs).

As for myself, I bought a gold pass, but I will most likely only go for an evening and the following day sometime next year. Sure, I could have bought a single day ticket and a starlight ticket (do they still have those?), but this is easier and it keeps my options open, allowing me to maybe squeeze in another visit.

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Sunday, October 24, 2021 2:03 PM

Something I will mention: Are the people who bought the $99 gold pass more accepting of larger crowds than the people who bought the ~$150 regular season pass? After seeing the crowds last week Sunday (17th), I am seriously considering skipping closing day. If the crowds are anything like they were then, it isn't worth the time or gas money it takes me to get to the park, regardless of the pass cost. Last week it was so crowded, the fact that I got to meet some friends I don't see very often was about the only thing that made it worth my time to drive there.

Last edited by 0g, Sunday, October 24, 2021 2:07 PM
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Sunday, October 24, 2021 2:20 PM

I think it's important to keep in mind that a huge bulk of CP guests are driving from a greater distance, often staying in hotels, etc as compared to the typical regional park like most of the Six Flags and other Cedar Fair parks. I think this attendance spike that they've achieved with the cheap passes is likely to backfire in a year or two when a significant number of people decide it's no longer worth buying a pass or making the trip.

Someone driving from 15-30 minutes for a couple hours or even a whole day in the park is going to have a different tolerance for an overcrowded park than someone who drove 5 hours and blew $700 on a hotel for two nights.


-Matt

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Sunday, October 24, 2021 4:08 PM
MichaelB's avatar

MDOmnis said:

I think it's important to keep in mind that a huge bulk of CP guests are driving from a greater distance, often staying in hotels

I'm not convinced that is the case.

Let's say there's 30 hotels around the area with an average of 60 rooms each. We'll just assume every room is capable of sleeping 4 people (despite probably 1/4 of the inventory only sleeping 2 people). And we'll make another big assumption that all those get booked up solely by CP visitors. That's only 7,200 people. Add Breakers, Breakers Express, and Lighthouse Point to the mix and that's another 1,000 rooms or 4,000 people. That perfect storm number gives us 11,200 guests. A more realistic number is probably closer to 9,000. That's only about 1/5-1/4 of the park's capacity.

That's definitely a far cry from being the majority of the guests at the park.

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Monday, October 25, 2021 8:28 AM
djDaemon's avatar

TomT said:

If the park felt they were putting enough people through the gates with the higher priced pass, especially on weekdays, then I doubt they would have experimented with the lower price.

In Hildebrandt's book, it's clear that there is a contingent of park management who are solely focused on attendance numbers, all else be damned. This group is just completely, religiously convinced that they're "winning" so long as they get bodies in the gate. And that's not a terrible strategy for some parks, perhaps even most parks.

But as Disney and others are showing, there are opportunities for some parks to offer a more premium experience, at a higher price point, to fewer customers compared to "most parks."

Look at movie theaters, where 30 years ago going to the movies was a relatively common, mundane experience where the goal was to pack in as many people as could uncomfortably fit in upright seats, and sell crappy food at high prices. Then some new players came along and demonstrated that there are plenty of folks who would be happy to pay a fair bit more to have plush reclining seats, decent food, and booze. Yes, these theaters are putting significantly fewer butts in seats, but they're making as much or more in overall revenue compared to the "attendance at any cost" operators.

And I don’t agree with the comment that, in the past, the park “wasn’t nearly the impressive product, comparatively speaking, as it is today.” It’s all relative. In my opinion, the park was equally impressive at least as far back as the 70s, relative to all other parks.

In the 70's the park was not drawing global attention as the "Roller Coaster Capital of the World," nor were they fully leveraging the beach resort asset as they finally began to do under Ouimet.

I also don’t agree with the insinuation that people who are buying gold passes due to the price won’t contribute much to in-park sales.

But it stands to reason that someone who could not justify ~$200 for a season pass within their entertainment budget, but can justify half that, isn't going to spend as much in the park compared to someone who does budget more for entertainment.

It's not a rich vs. poor thing, it's all about what people value and how they budget based on those values. Our family, like any, has an entertainment budget, and we (well, I mostly) love hockey, but we cannot justify allocating a large enough portion of our budget to get season passes. If they were to lower season ticket prices by half, we might bite, but that doesn't mean we'd increase the portion of our budget to do so. We may very well buy the season tickets and be exceedingly frugal while at the arena, since we still want to enjoy the other things our entertainment budget provides for.

If the Red Wings were filling their arena on a nightly basis at high prices (spoiler: they ain't right now, but I digress), why on Earth would they cut season ticket prices in half to get my family in the door, since doing so would push another family out that is willing to spend more in concessions, etc.? They'd be selling the same product at a lower price point, which just doesn't make sense when your product is in demand.


Brandon

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Monday, October 25, 2021 9:35 AM

I think I said it before in this thread, but I’ll say it again…

I miss the Matt Ouimet era.


ROUNDABOUND.

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Tuesday, October 26, 2021 10:06 PM

I've probably said this several times by now, but I think they are over-selling the park, or selling more tickets than they can reasonably accommodate. October has traditionally been the busiest months. So why are they giving away the gate by including the entire fall season with the purchase of a next year pass? In previous years, they only included on same day visit, not the entire fall season.

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Wednesday, October 27, 2021 5:53 AM
XS NightClub's avatar

They aren't just giving away gate entry, I've gotten multiple emails this halloweekends for this:

"YOUR CEDAR POINT PASS PERKS REWARD
for your Season Pass

ONE COMPLIMENTARY ACCESS TO THE CEDAR POINT HALLOWEEKENDS VIP EXPERIENCE*
Offer expires 10/31/2021
Come use that season pass and relax in style before the season ends with the Cedar Point HalloWeekends VIP Experience! Redeem at the VIP Experience Check-in booth located inside the park near Millennium Force. Present your pass to gain individual access to the private Millennium Lounge with comfy couches, chairs and TVs to kick back, enjoy the football game or some live music, charge your phone, enjoy a private bar with seasonal craft brews and cocktails along with complimentary food and drink.

Plus, the VIP Experience comes with two, one-time Fast Lane OR Fright Lane vouchers for faster access to any two rides or haunted houses of your choice!"


Sandusky Fan.

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Wednesday, October 27, 2021 6:46 AM
djDaemon's avatar

If that's a perk for the Gold Pass, that is just insane.


Brandon

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Wednesday, October 27, 2021 8:27 AM

Gotta say I'm annoyed by that whole passperks program, and surprised they're sending out emails. I've gotten one email with a bogo offer for frontier fling through the whole season. I asked about it a few times in the park and got "don't know anything about that" or "that hasn't started yet". The description made it sound like you'd get something for every visit, but the fine print and actual experience suck... at least for me, anyone else actually getting stuff?

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Wednesday, October 27, 2021 9:10 AM

In late August my wife and mom got an email offering a one time Fastlane ride (not valid on FL+ rides). Also laughably when I entered the park one time the lady who scanned my PP excitedly told me that I had a pass perk for a 10% discount on merchandise. I said, "well don't pass holders already get that?" She said she wasn't sure.. Lol.

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Wednesday, October 27, 2021 10:58 AM

0g said:

I've probably said this several times by now, but I think they are over-selling the park, or selling more tickets than they can reasonably accommodate. October has traditionally been the busiest months. So why are they giving away the gate by including the entire fall season with the purchase of a next year pass? In previous years, they only included on same day visit, not the entire fall season.

A pass bought for the following season(mid August & after when they start sales) has allowed entry for the remaining of the current season for years & before the Gold Passes started.

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Wednesday, October 27, 2021 11:32 AM
djDaemon's avatar

True, but that made a lot more sense with the Platinum Pass, which was ~4x the gate price, than it does with the Gold Pass, which is ~2x the gate price. It's not the mere existence of a low cost pass that is a problem, it's that the low cost pass offers essentially the same benefits as a pass that cost twice as much, so doesn't need the added incentive.

The Gold Pass isn't an inherently bad idea. It's that it should have been strictly for access to CP, and not included parking, early entry, CPS access, in-park discounts, etc., and probably should have blacked out HW. Maybe include resort discounts to increase awareness and lure people to stay on-property, but that's it.


Brandon

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Wednesday, October 27, 2021 11:51 AM

I will just share that this season I went a total of one time. One. My wife has been twice and that’s it. We’ve been season pass holders for eight years, and I admit that we jumped onto the gold pass when it was first launched; (previously we has been platinum pass holders but just didn’t travel enough to justify the extra cost), to say I wasn’t prepared for the sudden increase in guests is an understatement, and that’s my own fault. I failed to see what the outcome would be of giving the entire park away. And on one hand, it worked I suppose. The park is wall to wall people on the weekends, and significantly busier on weekdays. As locals, we used to relish in the fact that we could go on a Monday evening and have virtually no waits and enjoy a quieter stroll through the park. Those days are long gone. Which leads me to where we are today; for the first time in a very long time we didn’t attend Halloweekends. It’s always been my favorite time to go, until the park just became too busy. It’s half the experience it used to be. What’s fun about being packed in like sardines? And so, again for the first time in a very long time, we will not be renewing at all next season. And likely we won’t even visit the park next year in any capacity. It’s sad but honestly, it’s evolution of park operations and leadership. I’m sure it’s still a great place to visit, and perhaps with some time off we can go back in a year or two and enjoy it again, but count my family in the group that will be staying away from the park, at least for the foreseeable future.

I do hope the park can find a good balance, like some have said blackout dates and event restrictions would go a long way for the gold pass. But only time will tell.

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Wednesday, October 27, 2021 11:21 PM

CED23 said:

A pass bought for the following season(mid August & after when they start sales) has allowed entry for the remaining of the current season for years & before the Gold Passes started.

No, they always included one admission in the fall if you bought a new pass for the following year. Renewing passholders got one free Bring-a-Friend ticket during the fall since they already had a pass for the current season. MAYBE it was different on the fall of 2018 when buying 2019 passes, but it wasn’t that way “for years & before the Gold Passes started”.


ROUNDABOUND.

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