Cedar Point will likely restore operating days after robust response to wage hike

Posted | Contributed by hambone

Cedar Point’s seasonal labor problems should be resolved this month, with hours and daily operations likely restored by late June, according to Cedar Fair CEO Richard Zimmerman. Cedar Point’s new $20-per-hour wage is doing the trick, attracting new and high-quality job applicants, said Zimmerman.

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Interesting. So will wages go back down again next year when things settle?

that’s a hard genie to put back in the bottle.

The status of the J-1 visa program will likely determine that.

kpjb's avatar

I can see them cutting back a bit, but I doubt it'll be back to the $9-something that they were paying in '19. It will be interesting to see what not only amusement parks, but other businesses as well, will do in the long run.


Often times when starting wages increase significantly, there is wage compression. If you raise starting pay to $20/hr, people making more than your prior starting wage will likely expect to see increases. Someone who was making $22/hr when starting pay was $10/hr isn't likely going to be happy at $22/hr with startingat $20. At some point as you move up the pay scale, there aren't any increases. But if you compare the pre and post compensation structure, there is compression.

Often times the effects of that are seen in the following years in terms of raises. And there is a tendency for there to be some decompression in the compensation structure.

I think with this being seasonal work it will be slightly easier to put the genie back in the bottle than it would be in other situations. They may not be able to go back down to $9 but if the international students are available next season I don't see them staying at $20 either. Of course if the shortage continues in their particular situation then they will do what they have to I guess and that will probably mean we all pay more.

I'd gladly pay $250-$275 for a 2022 Cedar Fair Platinum Pass if it means they can continue to pay a competitive wage to seasonal staff and get parks like Carowinds and Kings Dominion open in mid-March, Kings Island open in mid-April, and Cedar Point open (and at least operating at 75%) for the second or third weekend in May. If the parks are operating at or close to 100% at least 90% of the time (and things like Opening Weekend, fringe season weekends, etc are only mild clusterf**ks), the product is absolutely worth it.

Last edited by BrettV,
Jeff's avatar

I don't understand how a platinum pass isn't already $250. I still feel like they undervalue the product.

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog

May not be remembering clearly but I think I paid $220ish the first time I bought Platinum passes in 2016 but that was late May or early June and not a renewal.

My sentiments are the same and would not bat an eye at $300+ if it meant the park could handle the attendance without excessively long lines.

I understand how some that are more local do not like the reservation system but at a minimum Halloweekends need it.

^ Not only would I prefer a reservation system for Halloweekends, I would be willing to pay for it.

I think the most I have ever paid for a Platinum Pass is $195.00. But I have been on the renewal plan since its inception.

Last edited by Bozman,

I still think even after COVID-19 operations are nothing more than a footnote in the history of the major parks that the reservation system would be beneficial to keep. Ideally the total number of reservations would be high enough where on 99% of operating days you have plenty of reservations available for day-of and walk up guests that aren't aware of the reservations. But on days like Columbus Day at Saturday at Cedar Point or New Year's Eve at Magic Kingdom or Epcot you do have an eventual cap on reservations rather than having to cut off the entrance at 2pm and making the casual park goers that don't know any better mad when they can't get in. The cap could still be high enough where you still wouldn't want to be near the place on those days, but still at a point where things don't get out of hand like they have on the above mentioned scenarios over the years.

Why not just make Halloweekends a separate ticket event? Don't some other parks already do this?

99er's avatar

This is something I think they should have done awhile ago. Halloweekends should be treated as a new "season" so passes would end on the last summer operating day. Either buy an add-on to you summer season pass or buy a Halloweekends season pass. Price the event differently then in the summer too.


Jeff's avatar

You would definitely have to price the passes differently. Maybe that's what you get with a $250 platinum pass.

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog

Mulfinator said:

Why not just make Halloweekends a separate ticket event? Don't some other parks already do this?

I know Carowinds does this with Scarowinds. October weekends have daytime hours from I think 11-5 where you can use a regular Carowinds blue or gold pass. And then to do the 7-Midnight Scarowinds it's a separate ticket or a Platinum Pass.

The thing keeping me from doing more Haunt events at different parks is the insane crowd levels these events bring in. It's my favorite time of year for parks (and in general) but the crowds just become unmanageable.

When I go to those events it's more about the ambience. I love decorating for Halloween so it's cool to see how parks deck the place out. I also love the weather in the fall for riding coasters.

I hear you on the crowds though. We tend to go early in the day before any of the haunts are open to avoid the mass of humanity. I could take or leave the haunted houses and haunted walk throughs. Given the crowds it's usually leave.

If memory serves, Knott's Haunt is a separately ticketed event; passes do not apply. The Halloween and Christmas parties at Magic Kingdom work that way too.

99er's avatar

Correct as well as the Universal parks with HHN and Busch Gardens. I believe Kings Island does this too. Closing to day guests and opening back up to event guests is a good way to control the crowds although some parks, like Universal for example, could still charge more to thin the crowds out.

Closing to day guests and opening for event guests may not work for Cedar Point though. However I do think charging differently from summer prices and not including admission to the event with a season pass could work.


I imagine the main reason they haven't made it a seperate event is the logistics of getting people on and off the peninsula. If they were to close the park proper at 5 and reopen at 7, just imagine the cluster that would be huge numbers of people trying to arrive and leave simultaneously.

Knott's has it down to a science, but they are also aided by the fact that they have multiple parking areas in the vicinity of the park, so they can easily direct day guests to one lot and Haunt guests to another, easing the congestion a bit.

Doing the same thing at Cedar Point is likely unworkable unless they expand both number of lanes on the causeway and the number of available parking spaces.

Kings Island does not close between the end of the"regular" day and the official start of Haunt.

Last edited by ThemeParkFan1990,
99er's avatar

Eh.. I would imagine that if the park did this, which I don't think they ever will, the day guests would be such a small number that traffic & tolls would be able to handle it. Aside from Magic Kingdom, just about any park I have visited during the day before a separate hard ticket event is typically dead. I was shocked the first time I went to Knott's on a Haunt night and everything, even Xcelerator, was a walk-on.


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