Cedar Point guests experience traffic jams, complain on the Internet

Posted Tuesday, October 15, 2013 9:30 PM | Contributed by Jeff

Cedar Point officials are reviewing the popular park's parking and traffic procedures after last weekend's huge crowds led to hours-long waits to exit. Irate Cedar Point guests complained on Facebook and elsewhere, even as they sat in their cars with nowhere to go.

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013 10:29 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Pricing. Pricing. Pricing.

If the crowd is this crazy, you're leaving money on the table.

Maybe start with the Halloween event being a separate ticket? Weed out the passholders right from the start and go from there. (although I do understand that's one way they sell value on the passes)


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Tuesday, October 15, 2013 10:34 PM
LostKause's avatar

Good point, Gonch. I wouldn't be driving 5 hours to visit Cedar Point this coming Friday if it were not included with my Platinum Pass.


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Tuesday, October 15, 2013 11:02 PM
bjames's avatar

It's probably because they have a tiny two-lane causeway that connects to the mainland. Widen it to four lanes and connect it to a highway and it would be alleviated. Better yet, Cedar Point buys up some farm land outside of Sandusky, turns it into parking, and just buses people to and from their cars. It's a very profitable park, neither of these options are outside the realm of possibility.

My group was stuck on the causeway for at least a half hour some random weekday morning in August. It's a destination park and it needs better access.

Last edited by bjames, Tuesday, October 15, 2013 11:04 PM
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Tuesday, October 15, 2013 11:04 PM

Why is this an issue now and not a continuous problem throughout the summer months? What is different now?

I read the comments on Facebook and have to agree that when you've run out of parking in the regular surface lot it's beyond the point where you should've been turning people away.

I agree it's probably time for Cedar Point to significantly hike admission prices during this period and blackout regular passholders to reduce demand and improve the experience.

People are saying there were three hour + lines for the major rides. Even if admission were free that's a horrible experience.

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013 11:05 PM
bjames's avatar

^If they blackout passholders during fright fest or whatever they call it then they'd have to lower the cost of the passes, which might not be very enticing to them.

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013 11:15 PM

No they don't need to lower prices if they exclude it. That logic is flawed.

Right now demand exceeds capacity so the correct response would be to raise prices for all admission types and that would include season pass prices if they continue to include HalloWeekends.

The alternative would be to maintain season pass pricing, but just not include the HalloWeekends or exclude specific dates.

I think the solution for passes is to exclude HalloWeekends for regular passholders and only include the HalloWeekends for Platinum passholders.

They could also look at excluding a few specific dates for Platinum passholders or even consider eliminating free parking on selected dates to discourage Platinum passholders from attending.

Last edited by egieszl, Tuesday, October 15, 2013 11:19 PM
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Tuesday, October 15, 2013 11:39 PM

egieszl said:

I agree it's probably time for Cedar Point to significantly hike admission prices during this period

Even if admission were free that's a horrible experience.

And yet you want to raise prices even though you claim the value proposition is less than free.

Last edited by Captain Hawkeye, Tuesday, October 15, 2013 11:39 PM

This Isn't A Hospital--It's An Insane Asylum!

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013 11:58 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Captain Hawkeye said:

And yet you want to raise prices even though you claim the value proposition is less than free.

Because raising prices alleviates the conditions that make the current value propsition less than free.

That is to say you create a better value at higher prices because the higher prices presumably lessens the crowd...and the huge crowds are the reason the value proposition is so low.

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Tuesday, October 15, 2013 11:58 PM
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Wednesday, October 16, 2013 12:02 AM

And what happens if it is not a beautiful, sunny October Saturday, but rather a cold, windy, grey one?

Your increased prices, coupled with bad weather, destroy the value proposition.

Last edited by Captain Hawkeye, Wednesday, October 16, 2013 12:03 AM

This Isn't A Hospital--It's An Insane Asylum!

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Wednesday, October 16, 2013 12:04 AM
Superstew's avatar

The thing you don't want to do here if you're CP is to have the proverbial "knee-jerk reaction" to this ... Getting stuck in traffic for huge events such as pro-sports, concerts, Columbus Saturday at CP ect. just goes with the territory. If it was happening on a regular basis then maybe you should consider making some major changes. But if it's only a few times a season - tweak it a bit if need be - otherwise, leave it alone.

Last edited by Superstew, Wednesday, October 16, 2013 12:07 AM
Just when you think you have all the answers, I change the questions !
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Wednesday, October 16, 2013 12:11 AM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Captain Hawkeye said:

And what happens if it is not a beautiful, sunny October Saturday, but rather a cold, windy, grey one?

Your increased prices, coupled with bad weather, destroy the value proposition.

That's sort of true of the current prices though too. That's why amusement parks are dead on rainy days. The inability to enjoy the park is a sucky value proposition at $20 or at $40 or at $60.

Clearly the Halloween events hold more value than a standard operating day. We all see it. It's the busiest time of year at most parks and one the things the parks have expanded as far as they can on the calendar because of its popularity.

Why the hell aren't they pricing it accordingly? The demand is high.


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Wednesday, October 16, 2013 12:33 AM
Carrie J.'s avatar

I can only imagine the string of comments/complaints that would have ensued had people been turned away. That's a lose-lose scenario if I ever saw one.


"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

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Wednesday, October 16, 2013 1:09 AM

Change traffic patterns? Make three lanes outgoing? One way on the Chausee?

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Wednesday, October 16, 2013 1:50 AM
Superstew's avatar

Yeah, Lord, but at what point do they 'out-price' themselves ?? I mean the gouging can only go so far.

I know they want everyone to believe that the "guest experience" is their top priority - and while raising the gate price to purposely try and cut down the attendance so the patrons that do come can ultimately have a more enjoyable day at the fun park is certainly a noble and convincing enough idea - it's also something I don't think we'll ever see, simply because it would most likely come at the expense of CP's own bottom line.

Just throwing around some numbers for fun:

50,000 people at $50 a head, and 15,000 cars at $15 a pop is going to look much better to them than 25,000 people at $75 a head, and 7,500 cars at $30 a piece.

None of this math could be even close, but I'm sure you get what I'm driving at.

Last edited by Superstew, Wednesday, October 16, 2013 2:09 AM
Just when you think you have all the answers, I change the questions !
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Wednesday, October 16, 2013 2:36 AM

Turning people away is really not a lose-lose situation. Yes, it's unfortunate for the people who are turned away, but on the other hand did they really want to pay for a lousy, overcrowded experience? No. You're saving money and your time. You'll also learn from the experience and plan better in the future.

- Yes, I want to see prices rise so demand decreases. This is what Disney has been doing in California to address the annual passholder problem. I support price increases to improve the park experience just like I support premium programs like VIP and those that shorten the wait times. I'm happy to pay more to make my experience more enjoyable.

Weather is also a non-issue in relation to pricing. If the weather is lousy it will deter people from attending regardless of the price point. People who don't want to go on a rainy day or when it's freezing cold won't go even if the admission is super cheap.

Last edited by egieszl, Wednesday, October 16, 2013 2:37 AM
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Wednesday, October 16, 2013 3:19 AM
Superstew's avatar

Okay, playing devil's advocate here ...

What about those who spend over $100 in gas, drive 4 hours to get there (and another 4 back), and possibly $100 or more for a hotel if needed - only to get there and have them say, "Oh we're sorry, we're just not gonna be able to squeeze you in today!" ??

That scenario is hardly saving me time and money ... Matter of fact, that would piss me off WAY more than a traffic jam and some long waits for coasters.

And as far as demand decreasing ... It might. But they will almost certainly never do it because it's going to cost them money ! Do you think they would take a hit to their bank account just so you or I don't leave torqued off because we felt the place was too crowded.


Just when you think you have all the answers, I change the questions !
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Wednesday, October 16, 2013 3:22 AM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Superstew said:

Just throwing around some numbers for fun:

50,000 people at $50 a head, and 15,000 cars at $15 a pop is going to look much better to them than 25,000 people at $75 a head, and 7,500 cars at $30 a piece.

Well, that'd be a bad move wouldn't it? But what if you were getting 30,000 at $100 a head and 10,000 cars at $15 a pop? Suddenly, it's a good move.

I mean, we can throw arbitrary numbers about all we like. It's not as simple as believing a 50% increase cuts attendance in half. That may be true, but it very well may not be true.

I tend to buy into the idea that servicing less people who pay more is the better business model. It's traditionally known around here as Gonch's Business Model™ (smile)

The tradeoff is a better experience for the customer and when balanced correctly, creates even more revenue for the business.

In it's simplest form, that is to say, I'd rather have 10 customers paying $100 than 100 people paying $10. My overhead is going to be less and in the case of service or hospitality-based business (as is the case with parks), I can offer those people a better experience.

In reality, the idea is that ideally the experience is so much better that you actually get, say, 12 or 14 people to pay the $1000 and end up making more than if you tried to serve more for less.

Making sense?

You seem to be of the belief that the dropoff in customers is greater than the increase in cost resulting in lower revenue.

It can be, but it doesn't have to be. I'm of the belief that in a lot of cases (this being one) the price is simply too low and it's not only hurting the guest experience but also doing nothing to help the park's bottom line. They could easily raise prices, improve the guest experience and be bringing even more cash to the bottom line. Win/win/win.

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Wednesday, October 16, 2013 3:23 AM
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Wednesday, October 16, 2013 3:43 AM
Superstew's avatar

I actually agree with everything you're saying and it does make sense. The park is offering an awesome product this time of year and it does seem they could be charging more ... What scares me though, is how much more ?? I just don't know how much higher they could go, before you get that aforementioned "drop-off" and people start saying, "screw it!" And being that it's only a few weekends out of the operating season, does the potential reward out weigh the risk ??

As much as I love CP and Halloweekends, I'm not even sure I'd pony up $75, let alone $100 ... Well maybe I would - if it was just me, you, and some of CB's hand-picked finest in the park ! *Wink*

Last edited by Superstew, Wednesday, October 16, 2013 9:23 PM
Just when you think you have all the answers, I change the questions !
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Wednesday, October 16, 2013 7:07 AM
Break Trims's avatar

Aren't Halloweekends prices significantly higher this year than before? Even the Friday night admission now costs 44 dollars with the online discount (with an actual gate price in the mid-50s). I recall that ticket being about $30 at the gate even as recent as a couple years ago. So, it seems that increasing the admission price is something that's already been recently implemented to at least some degree.

Count me as someone who thinks, overall, that this sort of thing happening one Saturday a year is within the acceptable range of failure. I certainly wouldn't want to be there on that day, and I wouldn't want to be the poor sap who has to pour through the hate mail, but it doesn't seem to be an altogether too-steep price to pay for a system that works decently well otherwise.

I know Holiday World is upfront on their website about the days heavy crowds are expected due to company outings and historical trends, and they suggest perhaps going on other days. Obviously some people will not read or heed something like that, but forewarned is forearmed.


Parallel lines on a slow decline.

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