Cedar Fair announces its Covid-19 mitigation plans

Posted | Contributed by Jeff

From the press release:

Cedar Fair Entertainment Company (NYSE: FUN), a leader in regional amusement parks, water parks and immersive entertainment, is adding new technology and leveraging its existing mobile app capabilities to enable a safe and efficient park reopening experience for its guests and associates.

Cedar Fair CEO Richard Zimmerman said, “The safety of our guests and associates has always been, and will always be, our highest priority. I’m pleased that our internal health and safety experts, as well as state and local government officials, have informed the development and implementation of these technology enhancements which, when combined with our other in-park safety procedures being implemented, should help renew the public’s confidence when visiting our parks. Our more robust suite of mobile technologies not only strengthens the safety measures recommended by health officials, but also offers exciting, guest-friendly alternatives that could very well enhance the overall guest experience for the long term,” said Zimmerman.

The company will implement several technology enhancements focused on key aspects throughout the guest visit, from planning and preparing for an outing at the park, to leaving for the day. Changes will allow the parks to open with capacity limitations and processes in compliance with state and local health guidelines, while enhancing the guest experience overall. Key aspects include:

Planning and preparation –

  • Guests can make their required reservations online or through the mobile app, reserving a specific day and time to visit the park based upon capacity availability. The guest will receive a time-bound entry voucher, which will automatically appear in the guest’s mobile app when they are logged in.
  • Guests who have purchased a season pass will be able to process their passes through the website or mobile app, rather than visiting the pass processing center within the park.
  • Park mobile apps and websites will be enhanced with thorough information to prepare guests for changes they will see at the parks.

Arrival and entry –

  • Upon arrival, the guest’s reservation will be confirmed and their ticket / season pass scanned.
  • All guests entering the parks will be required to complete an initial health check; guests with the park’s mobile app can complete most aspects of the health questionnaire online prior to visiting.
  • Targeted messages delivered through the mobile app will remind guests of new processes and procedures; in addition, the app will provide real time alerts regarding any capacity constraints that may affect their visit.

Enjoying the park –

  • Enhanced cashless payment methods are being introduced to reduce touchpoints and expenses, as well as improve efficiency and throughput.
  • Mobile food ordering is being expanded to at least four parks in 2020 to improve guest service and eliminate long lines at selected food locations.
  • The mobile app’s mapping and wayfinding modules, which already allow guests to easily find things like restrooms and phone charging stations, are being leveraged to monitor potential overcrowding in various areas of the park throughout the day; this will help determine where to deploy crowd control measures and enable appropriate social distancing. These modules will also direct guests to the closest hand sanitizing stations.

Exiting the park –

  • Enhanced guest surveys will provide the park with firsthand feedback about their visit and the updated protocols and processes for continuous improvement.
  • Location services on the mobile app will be able to help manage guest flow and maximize park capacity without sacrificing safety.

Cedar Fair continues its work with state and local authorities and will advise the public on definitive park opening dates as they become known.

Read the entire press release from Cedar Fair.

That sounds like way too much effort for me. See you in 2021.

Vater's avatar

Yeah, I really don't need to ride roller coasters that badly.

To each their own, but it doesn't really sound THAT different from what other parks in this country are doing.

Jeff's avatar

That's what's interesting though... even with limited capacity and these mitigation efforts, how many people will actually go? I already bailed on Disney living right next door. I doubt that I'm an anomaly.

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Phrazy

The thing that worries me the most about the solutions some parks are coming up with is the dependence on cell phones. With having to use your phone for tickets, mobile ordering, perhaps even reserving ride times at some parks, I am not very confident my older phone can make it through half a day with a app using it's location.

Heck, I *know* my 8 month old phone won't make it.

99er's avatar

8 months and it won't make it? Sounds like you need to talk to your carrier because that isn't right. My iPhone is about 2 years old and it can handle a full day at a theme park just fine.


Jeff's avatar

If the park has reliable wifi, 8 hours should be reasonable. I don't know where parks are really at with that though. Disney has fairly reliable (if not the fastest) wifi. The bigger problem that some people have pointed out is that the apps can be too "chatty" in the background, which sucks your battery in a suboptimal way. I get this, because a lot of developers don't understand how precious cross-boundary communication (i.e., over the wire to a service) is. A lot of corporate developers have this problem even when they're communicating with a database excessively over the same network. But in this case, it's reaching over the Internet and often pulling back large payloads. There's a larger maturity problem among software developers that I see all the time, where they don't understand that part of performance as a deliverable includes not killing the client (phone).

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Phrazy

TheMillenniumRider's avatar

Maybe they are in cahoots with the battery pod people. Anyway, masks, train sanitation, closing rows, distancing, I don't have any interest in taking part in that mess. All the app based reservations and use sound like a normal day at Disney. So again, pass.

However, I do sort of like the no screaming thing going on in Japan. Some of my best rides have been on coaster event nights where the trains are near silent.

Last edited by TheMillenniumRider,

Jeff said:

That's what's interesting though... even with limited capacity and these mitigation efforts, how many people will actually go? I already bailed on Disney living right next door. I doubt that I'm an anomaly.

I have a fully paid season pass and have no interest in attending under these circumstances. It just doesn’t seem like it will be a good experience. Public restrooms are a really bad idea now.

Public restrooms at Cedar Point are always a bad idea...

I think it is worth noting that Cedar Fair has NOT announced its COVID-19 mitigation plans. They have announced the technology enhancements that will be used to implement and augment their COVID-19 mitigation plans. Those plans have not been announced, and if I know Cedar Fair at all (but do I, really?), I expect those will be announced on a park-by-park basis and in each case will reflect local conditions and requirements. Unlike Six Flags which prefers to try and standardize all the parks in the chain to the most restrictive local requirements.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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

hambone's avatar

It also sounds to me like those technology enhancements are developments that were either planned or make total sense (app-based ordering, cashless payments, etc.) Which is not to say I have a desire to go to any large (or small!) park in the near future, nor that I would want to buy a ticket in advance without knowing whether things were working well or a fiasco. Or, for that matter, that I would want to buy a ticket without some reasonable knowledge of what the weather in Sandusky would be.

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