Cedar Point Mid-September...How Bad?

Timber-Rider's avatar

I have been to Cedar Point in September. I went friday and Saturday wich was also around my birthday. (September 10th) The weather was actually very decent both days, and It really wasn't that much different than summer. The Lines were just as long, and you could tell that they had cut back on capacity on some of the rides. But, most everything was open, except for Dragster which was down both days, and my main reason for going!!

But, I don't think anyone can give you a good estimate of how many people will be in the park. Some days that you would think would be packed are dead, and days that you hope will be dead are packed. I actually went on Labor Day once, and it wasn't busy at all. That was a monday of course.

I didn't do it! I swear!!

I might change gears a little and re-arrange my days..I don't know yet. Turns out there's a coupon on Kennywood's site offering a Buy One, Get One Free admission for Sunday (specifically that day.) I'm wondering how much that will affect the Sunday crowd. Maybe I'd go to KW Saturday (knowing it'll be crowded either day) then hit Cedar Point Sunday. You guys have already given me some good information. Many have indicated early Sunday is the best time to hit the Point on Halloweekends, but do the crowds become un-manageable later in the day? I'll put it to a vote..tell me what YOU would do, knowing now about the coupon:

Option 1..Friday Night and Saturday morning-early afternoon at CP, Sunday at Kennywood.

Option 2..Saturday at Kennywood, Sunday at CP.

Driving time/travel is not an issue.

The amusement park rises bold and stark..kids are huddled on the beach in a mist


I'd go with option 2.

It's not difficult to beat the price of Kennywood's buy 1 get 1 free admission for any day of the season. Use eBay to your advantage; I see Kennywood tickets for $17.50 each now. (I bought my $59 Hershey tickets a couple weeks ago for $24 each on eBay, and they were good for the sunset preview like any other.) And yes, I'd guess bogo admission might amp up the crowds on Sunday to a much higher level. But, I have no experience with these deals at Kennywood, so it's only a guess.

A Saturday Halloweekends day at CP can be really miserable, and Sunday really is that much better. And no, Sunday Halloweekends crowds don't tend to grow much into the night. I've only been to Kennywood once, and it wasn't on Saturday, but I'd be happier there just walking around than I would at CP on a slammed day.

Last edited by Jeph,

September 17th 2011 was miserable. I initially picked the day under the impression that Halloweekends started a week later, and that I could manage a September Saturday with my tight schedule. Once I realized that that weekend was opening weekend for Halloweekends, I pleaded with the group I was going with to either reconsider going on a Saturday, or pick a park less known for its Halloween events. I lost that argument.

Traffic was backed up into the highway upon arrival. Even using the "Magnum Strategy" as I call it, little time was saved. It was miserable. Luckily, the haunts put some damper on the coaster lines (I could care less about haunts), but it still wasn't worth it. Only positive was that the sun wasn't as brutal as mid-summer. General public likes a gimmick, and Halloween is a perfect example.

Cedar Point last year is the reason I'm making my fall trip to Hershey the weekend after Labor Day. No more Halloween events for me.

Last edited by AJFelice,

Oh, and if you'd like to check out some haunts, Sunday is definitely the day to go to CP. Waits on both Friday and Saturday for haunts tend to be miserable, while Sunday they're next to nothing in the afternoon.

Also, something I just noticed that I'm a bit confused by... You mention only being at CP on Saturday from the morning to early afternoon. They open at 11AM. Were you only planning on staying 3 hours or so on Saturday?

The Haunts interest me somewhat, but they're not a priority. Didn't mean to confuse you, but my Saturday time frame was indeed about 3 hours, having also been there Friday night...knowing it'll get worse later on Saturday. I'd have about a 2.5-3 hour drive to my brother's place. If I hit CP Sunday, I'd be there 12-9..the full open-close.

Last edited by Mike Gallagher,

The amusement park rises bold and stark..kids are huddled on the beach in a mist


eightdotthree's avatar

BOGO at Kennywood is not worth dealing with the CP crowds on a Saturday. Kennywood Saturday, Cedar Point Sunday. No question.

As long as you are not interested in the outdoor haunts, Sunday at CP is the way to go. The outdoor haunts are not open on Sunday until October 7th.

If you have never been there, there is really no adequate way to describe the pure insanity of a Saturday Halloweekends crowd, especially if the weather is good. Imagine 3 hour waits for MF, Maverick, and TTD, and 2 to 2 1/2 for anything else.

No, I *HAVE* in fact never been to CP except at height of summer. I'm starting to lean toward making this change and doing KW Sat. and CP Sun. You guys know your stuff. Although I've been to CP 8 or 9 times, I almost feel like I'm going in cold because of the time of year.

The amusement park rises bold and stark..kids are huddled on the beach in a mist


Jeph said:

Use eBay to your advantage

That's a good way to get burned with bogus or otherwise invalid tickets. In the short time I worked admissions at a park, you wouldn't believe the number of people I had to turn away who had purchased stolen, forged or voided tickets off of Ebay or Craigslist. Just trying to give you a heads up.

And then one day you find ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun

kpjb's avatar

In these days of scanning tickets instead of collecting or ripping them, it's pretty much impossible to know what's legit.


Except for MC Hammer, of course.

My author website: mgrantroberts.com

I go every year to both parks for Halloween events. I've gone on Friday's, Saturday's and Sunday's to both parks. Here's what I've learned:


Kennywood is probably the best day to hit due to local football games going on. Pittsburgh fans love football more than roller coasters. It is a MUST that you get to Kennywood any time you go right when it opens for this event. DO NOT get there late or you should just not go. Mainly due to how the traffic is, how the rides are, etc. Have a plan of attack of hitting the rides first until it gets dark, than hit the haunts.

Cedar Point is not bad on Friday's but the place just doesn't feel right with some things not running. If it's above 60 expect long lines for the haunts...rides aren't usually to bad...again mostly due to football games, and the park not opening until 6PM.


Kennywood is a JOKE with how bad it is now. I use to say go on Saturdays' now...I just laugh when I here someone is going. The word has gotten out with how awesome Kennywood does their Halloween stuff. Again, if you must go. GET THERE EARLY!!! You will not be able to move once it gets dark! Last year I was there and they had security trying to move people to one side of the midway just so people could move!

Cedar Point is the same way! STAY AWAY!! Cedar Point has some of the largest midways out of any park, and I have many pictures of it being wall to wall people on the MAIN Midway!! If it's above 70 it will be VERY bad! People will be parking before the toll booths, etc. BUT if you must go...Get there before the park opens. Pick one or two coasters you must ride and do those, then if you do like haunts...hit the indoor haunted houses during the day...This is the one thing I like about CP is that you can also do haunted houses during the day and it's dark in theirs. Then if you were there still at night, just due the outdoor ones since the lines for coasters are 2+ hours.


Kennywood you can't do Sundays. I'm still not sure why Kennywood doesn't do Sunday's with all the freakn' crowds they get at the park, it seems like they are throwing away money...and lots of it.

Cedar Point is by far the best time to go. Getting there early again is the key. It kind of stinks if you want to do all the outdoor haunts since the park is not open late, but if you want to just ride and maybe do some indoor haunts it'll definitely make one happy.


Kennywood is HANDS DOWN the better halloween experience. Kennywood does have the better haunted houses, overall look and and feel, etc. Cedar Point just feels like normal (except for the haunted trails at night.) I wish CP would decorate more. At CP when walking it likes normal, than you see a halloween scene, than normal, than scene, etc. Kennywood has the whole place decked out everywhere and music actors, etc.

Last edited by RollerCoasterGod,

That's an interesting observation--and I agree that there's a contrast between the two.

I wonder if some of it might have something to do with the different demographics targeted by each park. Where Cedar Point (and by extension, other CF parks) takes pains to keep much of the park family-friendly and "safe" for the little kids, Kennywood's program seems much more singularly focused on teens and adults. That being the case, they can go all out in the exact type of immersive experience you describe to a degree that CP can't.

My author website: mgrantroberts.com

RollerCoasterGod: All good advice, but remember my potential Saturday at Kennywood is BEFORE the Haunted stuff starts. That's not until late September, if I remember correctly from the site?

Last edited by Mike Gallagher,

The amusement park rises bold and stark..kids are huddled on the beach in a mist


I definetly would agree with your point on CP being geared towards families...and it works for them.

CP use to do more "gore" before 9-11. Now all my experiences and pics are more "boo" type experiences and pics. Kennywood, Universal, Knotts all give that more scary feel/experience.

I think CP could step it up in many different ways. Kennywood changes many of their light for Halloween. CP still leaves most of theirs normal, so you have a lot of white light. Kennywood play's halloween music...CP plays mostly their normal party music.

With a simple few changes CP could really hit a home run (ie how coold would it be on Top Thrill to have the Grim Reaper laughing at the launch or Mortal Kombat's get over here before launching.)

Cedar Fair made a mistake when trying to turn Geauga Lake's haunt into a "kiddy haunt", just like theirs. Geauga Lake was more scary and geared towards a different crowd much like Kennywood's. CP's is fine for who they want to attract and so is Kennywood's...but once Cedar Fair shut down Geauga Lake they lost a market and hence why Kennywood is become more and more popular as the word get's out.

Oddly enough, it's seems Kings Island try's to play both World's and does a pretty good job at it. King's Island needs LOTS more decorating, but they do a pretty good job with the haunts and trying to push some buttons/boundaries.

PS- Ohio is also very well known for many other haunted houses if anyone comes to visit Ohio make sure to check out the many highly rated haunts all around.

Does Giant Eagle still sell Kennywood tickets at a discount, and are they valid-post Labor Day? Sorry to belabor the point, but I couldn't find specifics on line.

The amusement park rises bold and stark..kids are huddled on the beach in a mist


Sorry Mike I forgot Kennywood starts their's a little later...As for how busy Kennywood is then, if it's above 60 it should still be pretty packed. Pittsburgh people love coupons/deals/promos. Plus they also have more than normal attractions closed since they are building the haunted houses/trails, so it condenses the crowds a little more. If I remember correctly, they also close one of the two main places to eat to turn into a haunted house, as well as Noah's Ark is closed as well to change over. It's been two years though since I've gone on that weekend. :)

Last edited by RollerCoasterGod,

I think Giant Eagle's tickets were good up through Labor Day. Most of Kennywood's summer stuff all say not valid Phantom nights. Even more disappointing is the fact that even a Season Pass is not valid during that time.

You know, Pittsburgh is noted for being a haunt saturated town and has Scarehouse, one of the nations top-rated attractions. There's production companies and no end of special effects and makeup guys there, too. So if Kennywood's haunts are superior to Cedar Point's it's little wonder. The competition there alone would require them to step it up or get out.

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