Understaffing at Cedar Point hits nightmarish levels...

Sunday, October 15, 2017 4:32 PM

Taking Haunt off the pass? Really? Knott's isn't the same as CP. Keep in mind the Fridays and Sundays during Halloweekends are some of the best riding times of the year, it's just the Saturdays that are a royal cluster-you-know-what.

On another note I'm sure anybody who disagrees with having it removed from passes if that happens will be pilloried here as an "entitled enthusiast."

Last edited by GigaG, Sunday, October 15, 2017 4:35 PM

#RMCMeanStreak

Giant Wheel Triangle 2018
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Iron Dragon 2020

Steel Vengeance Rides: 86
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Sunday, October 15, 2017 4:57 PM

Well to be fair, employees are making significantly more now than back when I looked at employment out there. I have a hard time arguing to pay more when the government keeps dictating how much the least common denominator is worth. (It restricts me from having a differential between newer and older/better employees)


Maverick since '99

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Sunday, October 15, 2017 5:04 PM

The solution for all this bi***ing is so simple. Don't go on a Saturday Halloweekend. You know it's going to be a clusterbleep and you go anyway? That's silly. I'm as big as a coasterdork as anyone here, and I'd rather sit at home and do nothing on a Saturday in October than go to Cedar Point. Nothing can convince me to go.

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Sunday, October 15, 2017 5:06 PM

I thought the discussion was “what could the park do” and wasn’t “omg lines”


Maverick since '99

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Sunday, October 15, 2017 5:06 PM
noggin's avatar

Cedar Fair is not going out of its way to alienate customers. They don't have to read Pointbuzz to realize there's a problem; CF has all that rich internal data to analyze.

Finding the tipping point between fully staffing the park and the cost of bringing in employees from distant areas I'm sure is difficult. College students are back in college. People willing to work three days a week are limited.


I'm a Marxist, of the Groucho sort.

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Sunday, October 15, 2017 5:32 PM

CPVet said:

The solution for all this bi***ing is so simple. Don't go on a Saturday Halloweekend. You know it's going to be a clusterbleep and you go anyway? That's silly. I'm as big as a coasterdork as anyone here, and I'd rather sit at home and do nothing on a Saturday in October than go to Cedar Point. Nothing can convince me to go.

Everyone on here is well aware of what you get on a Saturday in October. CP isn't advertising, "Stay at home on Saturday because we have staffing issues". They are promoting a product that clearly isn't delivering for many guests. Crowded seems to be much less of an issue than the services provided once in the park.

Constructive criticism is not bitching.

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Sunday, October 15, 2017 8:23 PM
ImpulsivePhoenix's avatar

How was the park Sunday if anyone was there?


Sacrificing playing video games to ride roller coasters.

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Sunday, October 15, 2017 9:26 PM

Windy! Gatekeeper, Raptor, Valravn, Power Tower, Windseeker, and Gemini never opened. The only early entry option was Maverick. MF opened around noon, along with Magnum and Rougarou. At 11am open it appeared to be Maverick, Iron Dragon, and Mine Ride. There were just enough 30 second rain showers to keep the Arrow coasters on one train ops starting around 2pm. Not very crowded though, I got two Millennium Force rides with a 20-ish minute wait each time while only running two trains all day. Had it not been for the wind closing half of the major coasters, everything would have easily been a walk on (although with better crowds there would have been a bigger crowd!)

Still.. having essentially half of a park was more ideal than the way things looked yesterday.

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Sunday, October 15, 2017 10:35 PM

I was at the park yesterday, Saturday 10/14 and would like to weigh in.

My family and I booked a suite at the Breakers for Friday night and Saturday night. Friday night was busy but not bad. Saturday was a nightmare.

It became clear very early that it was going to be a rough day. Early entry for Maverick was up to an hour 20 minutes before the park opened to the public. The ride lines were as bad as I have ever seen them, Raptor was over 3 hours at one point. The midways were packed and simply walking around was hard. I am not here to complain about crowded lines, I know thats always a possibility at Cedar Point, especially on a Saturday.

My issue was with the lack of employees and open food stands. I have a 2 year old daughter that has needs, which is why my experience yesterday bothered me as much as it did. I waited 35 minutes to simply get water for her. We left the park to eat at TGIFridays because the food stands were either closed or approaching 60 minute waits. In the evening, we tried to put our names in at Chickie and Pete's and were told they couldn't seat anyone for an hour because they were out of food. We went to MELT, waited 40 minutes only then to be told, once we were at our table, that our food would be a minimum of an hour and half out. We went back to the Breakers and the hibachi restaurant was out of Sushi and all tempura veggies. We went to Perkins and were told that the only items they had available to sell were asparagus and rice pilaf.

If you want to charge $1000 for a suite, then you better be able to feed your guests. If you want to charge $60 for admission to the park, then you better be prepared with more than just volunteers to run your food stands. If you want to be Disney, or even Busch Gardens for that matter, you better be prepared to offer that level of service.

What I saw yesterday was completely inexcusable, and the fact I had to leave the park to provide my daughter food and drink will cause me to reconsider where my money is spent next summer, and that kills me, because I love Cedar Point.

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Sunday, October 15, 2017 10:56 PM
ImpulsivePhoenix's avatar

This is my first year with platinum pass and thus going to HalloWeekends multiple times. I've been going exclusively on Fridays, avoid Saturdays like the plague, will show up one of next 2 Sundays.

But anyways on the topic of this Friday crowd wise, that one was by far the most crowded I've seen for HalloWeekends. The ones in September weren't anywhere near the levels of this Friday, the haunted attractions were short waits after 2 hours, bad all day last Friday. I'll find out next Friday if it's an October thing, Columbus day, less staff, maybe because of the Temps being mild (another annoying thing, I want to experience coasters in cold). But yeah the early entry had a bad day too

And lastly to stay more on the topic of Understaffed, the most annoying thing is having drink stands mostly be concentrated front of park. Thankfully it's not hot so I don't have a high desire for them. As for food, it is what it is for me. I'd like to get Chickie's and Pete's but it's so busy there and since I get it to go I feel bad having to take the time of the already very busy bartender. I'll just settle for the Corral and Drive In.


Sacrificing playing video games to ride roller coasters.

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Sunday, October 15, 2017 11:06 PM
Thabto's avatar

Taking Halloweekends off the platinum pass would likely make them lose me as a customer. They would have to decrease the price to make it worth it for me. KI was packed on Saturday, but the crowd was manageable during the day. Once the haunts opened, it was a different story.


Brian
Valravn Rides: 23| Steel Vengeance Rides: 23| Dragster Rollbacks: 1
2020 Visits: 2 Next Visit: Don't know yet

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Sunday, October 15, 2017 11:31 PM

I can see Cedar Point taking Halloweekend Saturdays off the Platinum Pass.

Why are people waiting in long lines for water? There are drinking fountains all over the park.

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Sunday, October 15, 2017 11:45 PM

It appears to me that the “Columbus Day” crowds showed up this weekend instead of last weekend.

Running out of food is a sure sign that business was significantly higher than anticipated.


Maverick since '99

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Monday, October 16, 2017 1:03 AM
We-o-we-oooo's avatar

While the staffing issue might indeed be a sticky wicket throughout the season, I think the bigger problem in October is unanticipated good weather. Last year, on this very same weekend, I went on a Friday and rode GK in the front for three re rides before someone appeared on the platform to join me (I was also the only one on the train). I was similarly solo at 7:55 outside Hexed, as well as having personal rides on WT, Tiki Twirl and a few others. In 100+ visits over my 35 summers (and every Halloweekend since its inception) I have never experienced such a thing, and it was as close to nirvana as I can experience in a place where the beers are nine dollars apiece.

Having said that, the forecast was a for 95% chance of rain for the evening, and I decided to roll the dice figuring I could at the very least do the indoor haunts. As it turned out, the rain stopped at 4:45PM and started again at 12:10AM, so admittedly this is not a 1:1 comparison, but the underlying point is that the park can’t plan for a June afternoon in October. Hell, one year I did Halloweekends in a hurricane, and I do mean that literally; the far Western edge of Sandy was parked over the lake on closing day 2012.

Perhaps instead of a massive recruitment drive the fall operations need to be restructured to accept the fact that you can’t run 100% of a seasonal park out of season. When we first got the differentiation between ‘haunt’ and ‘the great pumpkin fest’ I can remember thinking that it may be an attempt to split the day and night operations in twain; rides and family attractions during the day, then flush the park and reopen with adult haunts and perhaps the larger coasters for the evening.

As it stands, some form of capacity control would solve many issues; once the park reaches a predetermined attendance, put a moose on the causeway and turn people away. Many would be upset, but would they be as upset if they instead had to pay twenty dollars to park a mile away on Kafralu island, then make them wait a half hour just to pee or get a cold corn dog? You can disappoint people or you can disappoint them after taking their money.


Girl: "l want to ride that yellow one again... Twisted Wicker"
Me: "It's a roller coaster, not a broken clothes hamper."

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Monday, October 16, 2017 7:08 AM
djDaemon's avatar

Bull said:

If you want to charge $1000 for a suite, then you better be able to feed your guests. If you want to charge $60 for admission to the park, then you better be prepared with more than just volunteers to run your food stands. If you want to be Disney, or even Busch Gardens for that matter, you better be prepared to offer that level of service.

This. It is getting increasingly difficult to understand why they aren't solving the staffing issue.

Consider - 2016 annual revenue was $1.29 billion, and Q4 (which is basically the 5 weekends in October) brought in $192 million of that total. In other words, in a season of about 145 operating days, the 15 October days (about 10% of the operating calendar) brought in 15% of annual revenue. So I find it hard to believe they cannot justify throwing a little money at the problem.

Sure, people are still beating down the gates every nice October Saturday, but falling/static attendance is a trailing indicator of a problem. So if they're waiting for that to occur, that suggests a total lack of forethought. They need to solve the staffing issue.

As for making HW a separately-gated event (no passes), I think it's only a matter of time, unfortunately. I don't have confidence that CF will solve the staffing issue, so I would wager they'll "solve" it by finding a way to limit attendance, whether that's through raised admission, no passes admitted, or both.

And I don't know how I'd feel about that. On one hand, we've always included a HW visit as part of our pass value. But on the other hand, we still come out ahead by the end of June most years. So it would be a disappointment to lose HW, but not necessarily a deal-breaker.


Brandon

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Monday, October 16, 2017 7:08 AM

I get the whole weather thing being a huge reason for so many guests showing up on Friday night and I know they already tell you that many of the rides don't run on Friday nights, but, Cedar Point still had too few food and drink stands open, especially in Frontier Town. Since they probably won't change the amount of staff they bring in on Friday nights, I won't be taking anymore chances on having such a lousy time...I'll just stick with Sundays.

Adding on, I thought that the Frontier Inn next to Maverick was doing ok on Friday night, until I noticed the place was nearly full with people holding tickets waiting for their food since customers order their food without employees help. I would have been extremely PO'd had I not noticed everyone waiting.

To get a drink, without waiting a half hour, I walked all of the way back to Frontier Town and all of the way to the pretzel stand in front of Magnum before finding an acceptable line for my drink pass refill. At least open the Freestyle shops.

Last edited by Zoug68, Monday, October 16, 2017 7:26 AM
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Monday, October 16, 2017 7:32 AM
ImpulsivePhoenix's avatar

And once again temps looking to be in 70s next weekend and clear, wouldn't be surprised if higher attendance once again. Watch it be finally cool at the final weekend.

I'm going to have to go one of these last 2 Sundays and use my fast lane though I got for renewing, even though I would be tired with the hours, I'm such an extreme night owl. That's another reason I like HalloWeekends Fridays, I love the hours.

Last edited by ImpulsivePhoenix, Monday, October 16, 2017 7:52 AM

Sacrificing playing video games to ride roller coasters.

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Monday, October 16, 2017 8:48 AM

I could potentially see them taking Halloweekends Saturdays off the regular passes, but I can't ever imagine they would have any block out dates for the Platinum Pass.

That said, this past Saturday was an anomaly. Many Northeast Ohio schools were out for a teacher inservice day on Friday, which also had a lot of high school football games played on Thursday night instead of Friday night. This inservice day often occurs the Friday before Columbus Day - this year it was the Friday after. Couple that with summer like weather, and what happened, well, happened.

I have been visiting Cedar Point and Geauga Lake/Worlds of Adventure when it was open for the Halloween events for nearly 20 years. Staffing has never, ever been ideal at either place. It's not like the Orlando parks, where they can reshuffle full time staff schedules to focus on events like Halloween Horror Nights. These are seasonal positions primarily staffed by college kids and internationals. It's truly not practical to expect them to be able to staff the place like they do in the peak of summer for Halloweekends. I know they prepare as best they can for Columbus Day Saturday. But this past Saturday exceeded any and all attendance projections. You can't suddenly find a couple hundred extra seasonal team members a few days out when the forecast shows perfect weather. If yesterdays weather had been on Saturday, none of the issues would have occured. Parks staff and order product (aka food) based on attendance projections. I guarantee they do extra ordering and have extra staff for Columbus Day Saturday. This has never happened the weekend after, and while the park was not prepared, there was no way for them to predict this when they are making preparations.

I know the conditions were far less than ideal, but I still have to cut the park a break. They aren't intentionally giving us a subpar guest experience. They do the best they can with the cards they are dealt. Most days they knock it out of the park. On Saturday, they were dealt a pretty bad hand.

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Monday, October 16, 2017 9:22 AM

In my area, the local haunts are paying $12-15 an hour for weekend help, I sell them their blacklights and electrical supplies every year. They are fighting for quality employees.

If a little thrown up over a weekend in a barn haunt that doesn't have the merch, food and drink stands to make money from can pay that much why can't cedar point?

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Monday, October 16, 2017 9:24 AM
djDaemon's avatar

Cartwright said:

That said, this past Saturday was an anomaly.

These "anomalies" have been happening a few times every October for the last several years. An "anomaly" is something that is abnormal or unexpected. Are you suggesting that the park doesn't know what is "normal" or "expected" for a beautiful October weekend?

It's truly not practical to expect them to be able to staff the place like they do in the peak of summer for Halloweekends.

Why not? They charge the same admission, don't they?

But this past Saturday exceeded any and all attendance projections.

If so, they are flatly incompetent at projections. It doesn't take a rocket surgeon to crack the "nice weather = massive crowds" code.

You can't suddenly find a couple hundred extra seasonal team members a few days out when the forecast shows perfect weather.

Then they should staff all of October as if the weather will be perpetually beautiful.

If yesterdays weather had been on Saturday, none of the issues would have occured.

And if my grandmother had balls she'd be my grandfather.

This has never happened the weekend after, and while the park was not prepared, there was no way for them to predict this when they are making preparations.

Of course there is, see above. Sure, maybe they cannot have enough of all food items, but surely the frozen/pre-made crap they sell can be kept at appropriate levels through at least the first 3 weekends of October.

They aren't intentionally giving us a subpar guest experience.

They are intentionally not addressing the staffing issue, so I would say that they are intentionally giving a subpar experience. Though in their defense people are still paying to get in, so their guests apparently are OK with a subpar experience. For now.


Brandon

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