News: Cedar Fair preparing for another pandemic-focused season in 2021

Walt's avatar

Walt Schmidt - Co-Publisher, PointBuzz
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Pay careful attention to the part where he states that 2021 will not bring any major capital expenditures, specifically because of cost savings and also because many attractions/events didn’t open this year that were supposed to. I’m glad to see they are preparing for all scenarios although that worries me that they are considering the pandemic to be a thing that sticks around through next year also. I hope that isn’t the case for all of our sakes.

operative_me's avatar

Eh, I want to be optimistic, but I'm somewhat resigned to the idea that we will be dealing this for at least the 1st quarter of 2021. We are booking shows for next year at our reduced capacity thru April. We've booked a couple of big shows for May and June that are listed at our full capacity, so hopefully someone knows something the rest don't, lol.

Lifetime Laps on Woodstock Express: 0

I see the 2021 season being a very similar repeat of 2020, with the addition of most (if not all) parks reopening and being able to at least have full seasons in terms of the calendar.

Thabto's avatar

I hope at the very least access passes are gone and they will be filling rides to capacity again. Many airlines have stopped leaving the middle seat open so I don't see why it can't be done on coasters that are outdoors.

Valravn Rides: 24| Steel Vengeance Rides: 27| Dragster Rollbacks: 1

The only smart thing to do is to hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

Even so, they did a lot of things this year that were probably totally worthless and some things that were mostly worthless. With better science I hope that even if the pandemic still is a thing next year, they can dispense with temperature checks, half empty rides, and over-the-top excessive cleaning.

Of course what we really need is a fast and reliable way to screen for contagion whether that be breath tests, disease-sniffing dogs or instant result testing. If it’s possible to reliably exclude contagious people from the park, then the park can literally get back to “normal”.

And no matter what happens, the face covering stuff has got to change for next year, or I’ll be the one demanding a refund on my as-yet-unused 2020 pass.

—Dave Althoff, Jr.

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

djDaemon's avatar

Their mitigative efforts were not "worthless" if they helped make customers comfortable enough to show up, irrespective of the scientific/epidemiological merits.


Paisley's avatar

For every customer that was only comfortable going to the park with excessive mitigation efforts in place there was likely another customer who decided against going because of, or after experiencing, the excessive mitigation efforts.

IF the pandemic is still a big part of their operations next year, then another pass extension likely won’t cut it for a lot of folks either. So that’s likely something they need to consider also.

Realistically I don’t see us being completely over this by May; even with a vaccine it’s not like everyone would all at once be eligible to get it anyways.

Dvo's avatar

^^So we've just made the decision that their protocols were excessive? Based on... what exactly? I'd venture to guess that more people skipped the park this year because they still didn't feel safe than those who thought the protocols were excessive. And if that's true, the protocols were not only not excessive, they weren't enough.

374 MF laps
Smoking Area Drone Pilot

^^ My family and I fall into this group. We just flat out didn't feel safe heading out. We actually haven't been anywhere. And, it's not that we didn't necessarily trust CPs protocols and response, it's more of a distrust in other guests.

Kevinj's avatar

We also don't know what the rules were that the park had to play by to open. Is it not possible that everything the park was doing was simply part of the deal?

Promoter of fog.

TwistedCircuits's avatar

From the bit that I understand Kevin I think you put the light on it. The way I understand it a good part of what they did was dictated for them to open, remember they sued the state for letting movie theaters open before them and from what I got it was a operations condition.

And with that in mind,If I were the park, not that I am but that aside, it would make the most sense as some of said to plan for the worst and look at continued if not extended covid protocols next year; if we are blessed and find a way that covid is not as much of an issue if any next summer then it will be very easy for them to loosen up as long as they can keep up with demand for employees. No matter what happens I am seriously concerned about the latter of those points, getting enough employees to meet partial or full park demands may be interesting going into next summer.

Still haven't been able to uncross these circuits...
DJ Fischer

I think it's fairly simple: since the park opened we have learned that fomite transmission is *not* a significant source of viral spread. Hence, shutting down a ride every x minutes to wipe down the seats will have virtually no impact on its own from a viral mitigation perspective, and will have a disproportionately negative impact on the customer experience due to the longer, slower moving lines. Likewise, we have learned of the outsized importance of the duration of exposure, meaning that it is likely more important to limit longer duration contact than it is to worry about short duration contact; likewise the importance of air movement has become quite clear, both as a source of trouble and as a hazard mitigation. People facing each other present a greater hazard at a greater distance than people sitting side by side or inline to one another. Closing down seats on a short-duration relatively high velocity ride is probably a minimally useful mitigation strategy, but again results in a disproportionately negative customer experience.

Even worse, if we take these two minimally effective mitigation strategies and look at them systematically, we can deduce that in addition to producing a disproportionately negative customer experience, they *also* could produce a disproportionately negative hazard mitigation impact: that is (in English), doing certain things that do very little to reduce your chances of contracting a virus in one part of the system actually create conditions elsewhere in the system where your risk of viral transmission is actually *increased*.

Add to that, at Cedar Point, the reduced ride capacity resulted not only in longer waits in the ride queues (increased transmission risk due to increased exposure time), but also the need to use the access passes to keep those queues from overflowing, which created an uncontrolled queueing environment which is, again, a point of increased transmission risk.

Setting aside for the moment how customers *feel* about visible mitigation efforts, it seems to me that the highest risk environment associated with a ride is the time waiting in line for it, so the best way to mitigate the risk is to keep people in the high-risk environment for the least amount of time possible. To do that, keep the lines moving by keeping the capacity up.

Oh, yeah, that means FastLane also needs to go away... 8-)

Anyway, yes, there will be people who will only come if certain mitigations are in place. There are also people who won't come because of those same mitigations (hi!). And there are lots of people who don't care either way. And there are people who won't come at all regardless of the mitigations employed. My gut feeling is that the largest group of people are in the second and third groups, and people's experiences in the park this year may have pushed more people from the third group into the second.

In any case, I *really* hope the whole discussion is moot by next May. I had hoped to have some encouraging news from parsing today's State data dump, but the most recent case onset peak has shifted from October 26 (3.390 new cases) to November 2 (3,928 cases)*.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

* Numbers are based on the COVID summary data sheet released by the State of Ohio on November 6, 2020. While 4,915 new cases were reported today, most of those cases actually indicate an earlier onset date; in fact only 28 of those new reported cases are based on tests given today. The daily reports are actually delayed from what is actually happening.


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

The only process i thought was misplaced at CP was the empty cycle runs for most rides after the every 30 minute spray down. That was also how Six Flags Great Adventure and Silver Dollar City did it (although all SDC coasters were on 1 train ops during our visit, even though it was busy). However, I think the Kings Island method, which saw ride host 1 spray and ride host 2 follow behind and wipe down, was fine. It saved a ton of time, especially with everything on 2 trains or more (Beast and Orion on 3). Watching Maverick cycle 6 trains like that from the top of the stairs, taking 13 minutes from start to finish, was painful. That pace leaves 34 minutes per hour for active operations. We also observed a 12-13 minute interval for Valravn and GateKeeper during a July visit when both were on 3 trains. Doing that twice an hour just slows the line to a crawl overall.

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

Paisley's avatar

Kevinj said:

We also don't know what the rules were that the park had to play by to open. Is it not possible that everything the park was doing was simply part of the deal?

That's what most of it likely is. Whether it helps or not it made the health department happy. On the plus side the park got to open but I sure hope it doesn't take as much to make them happy next season.

True; and add to that, once the procedures and expectations are set, it seems not to be in Cedar Fair’s DNA to change those expectations even if the science changes. Another example is temperature checks. Most places I have been stopped doing them once it became clear that the presence or absence of a fever means essentially nothing so far as a COVID-19 infection is concerned: a very high percentage of COVID-19 patients never have a fever. But the park keeps doing it, because it is part of their response plan and it’s easier to keep doing unnecessary things than to change the plan. But for next season, if it’s still necessary to do so, they can submit a new plan.

—Dave Althoff, Jr.

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

Disney and Universal still do temp checks. My workplace still requires an honor system self temp check.

Paisley's avatar

I imagine the equipment for the temp checks was likely leased for the season so there would be no motivation to stop it until the season is over. Hopefully things are reviewed during the off season for what is likely 'necessary' and what is likely a waste of resources and time. The temp check was the least aggravating of all the mitigation efforts as far as how it impacted my visit to the park but it is pointless.

Uncle Steve's avatar

I live 5 miles from the park and only made 4 trips out this past season.
To me, the Covid precautions ruined the experience.
The only upside I saw was that we breezed through the metal detectors without emptying pockets.

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