Park at capacity - 10/19/19

Tuesday, October 22, 2019 9:11 PM

I never given it much thought how the Gold Pass early entry has devalued the Platinum Pass early entry and resort early entry, but I totally agree that it did for the remainder of the 2019 season.

I feel the sense of being "Made Whole" situation for all 2019 Platinum Passholders, guess that is not going to happen.

The 2020 Gold Pass should have only allowed 1 entry into the park for 2019. That is the way it was in the past, 1 free visit this year, unlimited in 2020.

This entire Gold Pass has really screwed everyone over, not only the 2019 passholders but the 2020 passholders as well by way overcrowding the park. There is not one guest who is happy about this situation, at the end of the year Cedar Point employees will be super glad the season is over and long gone.

Hopefully they get a good days rest on Monday, October 28th, 2019, wake up on Tuesday October 29th and ask themselves what the heck did we just do, this was a huge mistake and we need to learn from this.

Tony Clark needs to go on the offensive on October 28th, contact all the media outlets, explain to everyone that Cedar Point did not anticipate the overwhelming response to the "Gold Pass", we are looking into making the park better for next year, meaning evaluating our parking procedures on how to get guests into the lot more efficiently, improving ride op performance so people are waiting in shorter lines, looking at ways to improve food service, how can we get the folks a soft drink quicker.

For example, making people who purchase an all day drink wristband and all day food plan, do it as they are entering the gate. Direct everyone over to the refreshment station adjacent to the front gate go over and get the paperwork scanned and get their bracelets on at that point. You get a family of (4) scanning the papers and getting the wristband on, takes 2-4 minutes.

This is the one task that slows down the food service lines tremendously, this will ultimately speed up lines for everyone, making it a more enjoyable day for all.

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Wednesday, October 23, 2019 8:35 AM

Just Coasting said:

Hopefully they get a good days rest on Monday, October 28th, 2019, wake up on Tuesday October 29th and ask themselves what the heck did we just do, this was a huge mistake and we need to learn from this.

Tony Clark needs to go on the offensive on October 28th, contact all the media outlets...



1) You literally just contradicted yourself. I thought he was supposed to get a good day's rest on October 28.

2) If he felt the need to do something like that, which I don't think is necessary, wouldn't it make more sense to do it at the end of April/beginning of May? As soon as the lights go out on closing day, Cedar Point is out of sight out of mind for pretty much everyone other than us enthusiasts. A shocking reality, I know. He usually makes some sort of media rounds the week prior to Opening Day to talk about the new season, new offerings, etc, and I'm sure that will definitely be a big thing next spring for 150. If he feels the need, he can briefly bring it up then.

Remember, all of the people that were having a hissy fit on social media Saturday afternoon have probably already moved on to having a hissy fit about something else. By the second Saturday of May 2020, it will just be a bad memory they exaggerate when talking about it with their friends.

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Wednesday, October 23, 2019 9:34 AM
djDaemon's avatar

Paisley said:

Someone pointed out on Coaster Buzz and I think it was a valid point that offering the half hour of early entry for the gold pass part way through the 2019 season devalued the 2019 platinum pass...

This. Beyond the base value of the pass (admission and parking), the most valuable benefit to us was morning ERT, when we got in probably 90% of our riding.

And when you consider the logistics (at least in our experience), it's a huge impact on value. They start letting people in right about at 1 hour before opening, which means even at the resort gate you may wait 5 or 10 minutes. No big deal, right? You still have at least ~83% of ERT left. However, now you have Gold Pass holders inside the park ready to head to ride without having to wait in a time-consuming queue getting tickets scanned. So instead of having ~50 minutes of ERT, you now have ~20 minutes of ERT, with another 30 minutes of what seems to be very light on the "E".

This by itself is not the end of the world. But combined with what appears to be higher attendance all around, and bonkers attendance during HW, the value just isn't there for us anymore. So we're not renewing next year. This isn't a big deal, we're not jaded or looking to be made whole or whatever, it's simply a matter of using our recreation budget differently at least for next year to see how things play out. We had been discussing doing so before the Gold Pass was announced, and the apparent results have made the decision easy.

But I sincerely hope we're not representative of a trend, because we are exactly the type of customer CF should be courting, I would think. We stay at Breakers exclusively, usually a few trips throughout the season for between 2 and 5 nights per visit. We have a recreation budget and we spend it with complete abandon. We pull per cap spending upward through multiple visits each year.

I sure hope they know what they're doing with this pricing strategy, but I am skeptical considering they released a dirt-cheap pass for next year that provided unlimited visits this year, and did this right before the busiest time of the year. It just doesn't make sense to me as a long-term strategy.


Brandon

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Wednesday, October 23, 2019 9:36 AM
Jeff's avatar

Few things are as amusing as people suggesting what Tony Clark should do.

There is clearly a lot of vocal butthurt on the Internet about the overcrowding, understaffing, etc., and a lot of it is probably justified. It's also ephemeral, and I doubt it will be much more than a distant anecdote in many minds by the spring.

What concerns me is that if the Gold Pass is really what's driving this, and for sure they know because obviously they scan passes, its effect will last into next year as a tactical error that will adversely affect gate integrity. If you look at Six Flags' results this quarter, you can see what happens over time when you pursue this strategy, as their earnings are down despite increases in attendance. It's my opinion that it's what led to that company's previous bankruptcy.

I do wonder about what effect this has on the Platinum passholders, because clearly the value of their passes are diluted, if in fact they routinely used them, but I think it only matters if they're typically good spenders, and historically, no passholders have been high spenders.


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

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Wednesday, October 23, 2019 10:16 AM

We are Platinum Pass holders and use them A LOT. Our visits to CP each season number at least 30. That being said we spend a lot at CP because we are pass holders. We know we can have a great day without spending the money to actually get it, so we splurge on food. We splurge on fudge and cotton candy. We've got caricatures . . . lots of them. Oh, and those Squid Hats that were all the rage the last few years . . . my kids have amassed more than 50 of those things. At $5 a pop (at the time) for the guessing game . . . you do the math. We are definitely in-park spenders. But, I would think the norm would be that CP makes less in-park spending off of us than the regularly ticketed visitor.

Last edited by Halfpint, Wednesday, October 23, 2019 10:16 AM
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Wednesday, October 23, 2019 10:37 AM
Cargo Shorts's avatar

We may not be high spenders per visit but over the course of the season we are. All the ice cream, pretzels, funnel fires, occasional game and other extras do add up.

If the experience is poor next season we would likely drop down to just once a season ticket holders and then obviously skip our a FunPix, 3 Dinning Plans and 4 drink plans.

If CP were able to solve their staffing issue all of this would be less of a concern.

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Wednesday, October 23, 2019 10:56 AM

Cargo Shorts said:

We may not be high spenders per visit but over the course of the season we are. All the ice cream, pretzels, funnel fires, occasional game and other extras do add up.

If the experience is poor next season we would likely drop down to just once a season ticket holders and then obviously skip our a FunPix, 3 Dinning Plans and 4 drink plans.

If CP were able to solve their staffing issue all of this would be less of a concern.

Well Said....

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Wednesday, October 23, 2019 10:57 AM

Jeff said:

Few things are as amusing as people suggesting what Tony Clark should do.

There is clearly a lot of vocal butthurt on the Internet about the overcrowding, understaffing, etc., and a lot of it is probably justified. It's also ephemeral, and I doubt it will be much more than a distant anecdote in many minds by the spring.

What concerns me is that if the Gold Pass is really what's driving this, and for sure they know because obviously they scan passes, its effect will last into next year as a tactical error that will adversely affect gate integrity. If you look at Six Flags' results this quarter, you can see what happens over time when you pursue this strategy, as their earnings are down despite increases in attendance. It's my opinion that it's what led to that company's previous bankruptcy.

I do wonder about what effect this has on the Platinum passholders, because clearly the value of their passes are diluted, if in fact they routinely used them, but I think it only matters if they're typically good spenders, and historically, no passholders have been high spenders.

Well said....

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Wednesday, October 23, 2019 11:08 AM

I guess I am just very frustrated. I hear people telling me that being a season pass holder I should have know better. My point is I've gone up there when the park was packed in the past but never, I mean NEVER have I had to wait to park...that's what floors me...in the past I've seen people parked on the causeway grass but never had any issue trying to get into the park.

One thing I really wish they would do is use the power tower cam to show the parking lot. Why keep that image a secret? What's the point. In the past when they had cameras that could not be moved unless you were at the camera itself I would always look at the parking lot to see how packed it was. If it was a packed parking lot I would stay home. This would help at least I think. Most pass holders would check before going and make their decision based on that. Would keep a decent amount of pass holders home and helping the issue. Every so often they have it pointed at the parking lot, but why hide it?

The next thing they really need for pass holders is a self scan only parking lane for pass holders. Again, Kings Island does it and it works very well. Granted Kings Island has a pretty large parking toll booth and Cedar Point is limited, but make one lane scan only.

Don't get me wrong I love Cedar Point and am very disappointed over the past few years as it truly seems to be nothing more than greed. Yes businesses want packed crowds but you cannot lose sight of repeat customers either. You start messing with them you will eventually go bankrupt. I am in the customer service industry and repeat customers are the backbone of our company.

Selling tickets online the day of when the park was at or beyond capacity is a stupid move to. I read that a handful of people had this blow up in their face. Drove there to sit for 2+ hours and just to be turned away...

Last, why in the heck did they move ride nights from Thursday to Tuesday. Another stupid move. Fridays were awesome but I get why they moved them to Thursday, this night was good because one could take Friday off of work and enjoy ride nights. Kings Island does the same thing but Kings Island also has 2-hour ride nights. Same company why two different standards?

I am mainly just venting. I am seriously considering not renewing my passes for next year. They are going to have overcrowding issues more often than not with the Gold Pass.

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Wednesday, October 23, 2019 11:26 AM

djDaemon said:
We have a recreation budget and we spend it with complete abandon. We pull per cap spending upward through multiple visits each year.

I think you are probably more the exception than the rule. We've had passes for a long time and spend a lot of days in the park each year, but we never eat in the park. Why would we when we can walk back to the camper for much better food at a fraction of the cost? We don't buy Funpix, we don't play the games, and we don't drink soda, so other than the cost of the camper parking spot we spend very little. I get that everyone is different, but I'll just say the passholders I'm friends with are much the same way as us.

Now if you count the one or two HW Saturday night per year that we drink heavily, the price of a bunch of beers there for two people certainly negates my prior statement.

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Wednesday, October 23, 2019 11:47 AM
djDaemon's avatar

That's kind of my point, though, especially if you are still planning on purchasing passes next year. If the Gold Pass results in low per cap guests renewing while high per cap guests do not, that is a problem. It's made worse if the new Gold Pass holders are also low per cap guests, which is a reasonable assumption to make.

Cargo Shorts said:

We may not be high spenders per visit but over the course of the season we are. All the ice cream, pretzels, funnel fires, occasional game and other extras do add up.

But it doesn't really "add up". Generally speaking the park would be better off with fewer guests who spend a lot per visit. People spending little per visit is not what CF should be seeking. They should be filling the park with fewer people who spend more for a premium experience.


Brandon

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Wednesday, October 23, 2019 12:09 PM

I want to throw my 2 cents in on this whole deal. I am not a local. I am from St. Louis and have had a platinum pass for the last few years as my income has gotten to the point that I can afford to make more trips to parks. The last 4 years I have made 3 trips to CP where I stayed in a cottage at Lighthouse Point, 2 trips to KI(one Saturday and one Sunday) and really hoping to make it to KI next weekend, and maybe 4 or 5 trips to WoF.

I was at the park this past weekend, and yeah...it got really crowded. But I think everyone on this site should know how the crowds are on Halloweekends. People just like the Halloween stuff, and I think it's a little much to complain about things that you know are going to be issues, as frequent park guests. I live 8 hours away and I knew EXACTLY how this weekend was going to play out. I created another thread here to ask about fastlane plus because I was concerned it may sell out for Saturday before I even had the chance to buy it. It turns out that my fears were completely out of line and I had zero problem buying them as soon as I was in the park for early entry.

I came for a Columbus Day weekend visit in 2013 and it went pretty much just like this past weekend did. By the time I decided to bite the bullet and get fastlane passes they were sold out. I didn't plan our day particularly well either. It didn't help that I told my girlfriend at the time that I wanted to ride MF then we could leave, waited 3.75 hours in line, then it broke down as we were at the bottom of the ramp up to the station. Then when we went to leave we sat stationary in the back lot for another 3 hours. I was pretty unhappy...but it was a learning experience.

I guess my point is that nobody on here should be surprised by how this past weekend went. The weather was beautiful on the second to last weekend of the season. It was going to be ridiculously crowded regardless of gold passes. This certainly isn't the first I've heard of long waits on the causeway to get into the park either.

I don't know if people are actually unhappy because they feel like they've been duped by the gold passes when they bought platinum passes already. I guess I could see that argument if you're a local and only intend to use your platinum pass at CP. That isn't my case, obviously, so I don't have that feeling. I have been getting the Platinum Pass because I know there's a good chance I will make it to 2 if not all 3 of the parks mentioned in a given season and save money on parking and entry at all of them. I can't agree, however, with the idea that CP has offered a way that allows more people access to the park and now your experience is ruined because the park is crowded. The people here should know how to plan and adjust for those kinds of days. I do and I only visit one weekend per year tops.

With regard to my in park spending, since that's also a topic of discussion: I am surely not towards the top of that scale. I obviously don't pay for parking, I saved 140 bucks on the Fastlane Pluses I bought this past weekend (2 Friday and 2 Saturday), and I don't very often buy food and drink in the park or play games. Last year I did decide to smash every penny available in the park and spent a bunch on that. Judging by the way the most frequent visitors to parks have spoken about their spending habits in park, I don't think they are huge contributors in general. When I go to WoF or KI, I don't really give them much of my money at all outside of what I paid for my platinum pass. This past weekend I did spend over 1000 bucks on the cottage and fastlane passes though. And I won't hesitate to get Fastlanes at other parks if I have to wait much at all either. So I guess I make up for my lack of food and picture purchases.

Obviously everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but the ones who visit 20 times a year and make it sound like "their park" is going to be overrun by the unwashed masses and ruin their park experience could maybe have a little perspective on this issue. Again, just wanted to provide my point of view as someone who loves the park, and isn't a local.

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Wednesday, October 23, 2019 12:10 PM
XS NightClub's avatar

What DJ is saying makes complete sense, and the illogical move to the gold pass could easily negate the positives of the building of the resort destination image they strived for. People saying jam packed midways are great business for the park aren't looking at big picture and longterm effects, its inexplicably short sighted. I am not sure how the image/brand building done during the Ouimet years will hold up under the Six-Flagging done to the parks over this very short Zimmerman tenure so far. Cedar Point in particular, if management is even viewing this overcrowding as bad thing, will likely have an entire season in 2020 to have to come to grips with the problems from the Gold Pass and trying to appease guests while honoring the contract they offered with gold passes. It's hard to imagine resort guests happily parting with their lodging dollars at CPs inflated prices just in order to get a Six Flags style park experience.


Sandusky Fan.

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Wednesday, October 23, 2019 12:28 PM
djDaemon's avatar

Drbyq9 said:

It was going to be ridiculously crowded regardless of gold passes. This certainly isn't the first I've heard of long waits on the causeway to get into the park either.

Maybe, but would every single HW weekend have been this busy? Would they have had to close the entrance to the park for the first time in history? I think it's a leap to suggest what we're seeing would have happened in absence of the Gold Pass.

Regardless, your statement is exactly why the Gold Pass was poorly executed, in that they made it available right before the busiest time of the year when the park already could not handle the number of guests that have been showing up. As Jeff mentioned, they can only sell so many burgers (etc.) per hour regardless of how many bodies are in the park. Packing the park with bodies only makes sense if you can remove money from their wallets. Instead the park has just diluted the guest experience and lowered per caps.

I don't know if people are actually unhappy because they feel like they've been duped by the gold passes when they bought platinum passes already. I guess I could see that argument if you're a local and only intend to use your platinum pass at CP. ... I can't agree, however, with the idea that CP has offered a way that allows more people access to the park and now your experience is ruined because the park is crowded. The people here should know how to plan and adjust for those kinds of days. I do and I only visit one weekend per year tops.

I'm not unhappy. I am disappointed, I guess, at the devaluing of my pass that came with the introduction of the Gold Pass, and disappointed enough to not make another trip this year (not that they missed me, obviously). I don't feel like my experience in the park would be "ruined" going forward, just would provide less value. And I do know how to plan and adjust for this situation. In our case it means we just won't go next year. No hard feelings. I just hope we are the exception, for the park's sake.


Brandon

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Wednesday, October 23, 2019 2:48 PM

Another consideration with staffing is that with the causeway being backed up like it was on Saturday is that the staffing issue got multiplied. A good portion of the employees are shuttled into the park. Those employees were also stuck in the same traffic. We observed groups of scares being escorted into their zones as late as 10:30! This may explain a lot of the issues later in the day as earlier shifts were done and no one was there to replace them. Or a scheduled opening of a food stand later in the day couldn’t happen because the employees were stuck on the causeway


Blue people fly sideways when it rains

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Wednesday, October 23, 2019 3:42 PM

Good Grief

Just let this be all over!

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Wednesday, October 23, 2019 4:28 PM
Cargo Shorts's avatar

We are just talking it all out Coast. It makes us feel Whole. You can understand that, right?

One thing I never could figure out is the profile of the old regular season pass holder. Who were they? They don’t like waterparks, didn’t visit any other CF parks like close by KI but visit at least 2 times a season but not more than 3 otherwise with free parking it made sense to go Platinum.

I could see a family buying one PP for the parking and then getting the rest regulars, but kids like waterparks. Suspect they just didn’t sell many of those.

Last edited by Cargo Shorts, Wednesday, October 23, 2019 4:55 PM
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Wednesday, October 23, 2019 5:06 PM
XS NightClub's avatar

They had to do something to market it as "A pass like no other."

Or maybe they were just ensuring that there is substance to their marketing: "150 years. You're invited to the biggest celebration in Cedar Point's history", surely the 'celebration' will extend into the parking lot, onto the causeway, near the commons, and possibly to the Thirsty Pony.

Last edited by XS NightClub, Wednesday, October 23, 2019 5:11 PM

Sandusky Fan.

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Wednesday, October 23, 2019 6:22 PM

While the number of people in the park may have been more noticeable during Halloweekends, the crowds actually picked up almost immediately when the Gold Passes went on sale. Now, it certainly wasn't Halloweekends crowded, but still crowded. And with their employees already starting to leave mid-August, it was very, very noticeable. In fact, I wrote to CP on August 31 (actually wrote a letter, didn't reach out through email or social media) telling them I hope they had a new staffing plan in place for next season. To date, no one has answered.

But, as far as we could tell, the increases in attendance started before Halloweekends.

Last edited by Halfpint, Wednesday, October 23, 2019 6:23 PM
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Wednesday, October 23, 2019 6:36 PM

And, to clarify . . . I didn't mean for that to sound like I'm waiting for a reply. I know that they don't owe me anything. :)

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