Cedar Point's 2007 Operating Schedule Released

Friday, November 3, 2006 11:50 AM
The 2007 operating schedule has been released. It can be found here. There are a few changes. As we knew, the park is opening a weekend later. The first change is the weekdays in May are now 10am to 7pm instead of 10am to 8pm. Another change is the weekend after Labor Day is now Noon to 8pm instead of 10am to 8pm. It also appears they are starting Halloweekends a weekend sooner. The third weekend in September now is set up like a Halloweekend instead of a Bonus Weekend. That is the only changes I see. If I missed something let me know.
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Friday, November 3, 2006 11:57 AM
Makes sense to me. No one is ever there during the week in May, so why should they be open until 8 or 9 or later? As far as the Halloweekends thing goes, I bet they realized that the park's Halloweekend attendance is very good, but the bonus weekend attendance is not. They're just making the logical cuts. I wonder how much money they save for every hour the park is not open.
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Friday, November 3, 2006 12:35 PM
I think the earlier closing in May is a mistake. I'm sure they know hour by hour what the numbers have been, but for the after work crowd, you need the later hours more than the earlier hours.
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Friday, November 3, 2006 12:41 PM
That's a good point Jeff. I hadn't thought of that. Perhaps it would be better to open at noon rather than close at 7.
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Friday, November 3, 2006 12:42 PM
I agree with Jeff. Rather than closing an hour earlier, they should open an hour later.
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Friday, November 3, 2006 12:44 PM
Weren't those the same complaints when SF slashed hours? People (at least those that post in places such as this) seem to prefer cutting hours at the beginning of the day, but for some reason the parks keep cutting them off the end of the day.

No insight, just an observation.

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Friday, November 3, 2006 12:50 PM
Do parks realize how much patrons ENJOY the parks after dusk?

Note that Disney has "Magic AFTER hours", as opposed to an earlier opening for resort guests...ya think Disney might know something? ;)

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Friday, November 3, 2006 12:50 PM
I couln't agree more. Back in 1994 on opening day, I was in line twice for Raptor and it broke down both times and I never rode it. I went back after work on Tuesday and walked right up into the station. I was a season pass holder back then so getting to the park at 5:30 and leaving at 8:00 seemed fine by me. Now I probably would not get there until around 6:00 and I am not currently a season pass holder so it would definitely NOT be worth the $24.95 plus $10.00 parking to go on a weeknight in May. Trust me, I WANT to since I still haven't ridden TTD and that would be the absolute best time to go.

I know, you say it WOULD be worth it because I could probably ride it 15 times in 2 hours, right? :)

Tom

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Friday, November 3, 2006 12:54 PM

Note that Disney has "Magic AFTER hours", as opposed to an earlier opening for resort guests.

Not quite---they do both. Although the extra morning time is one hour, and evening is three.

While the evening hours are probably better for the after work crowd, what sort of revenue do they bring in, compared to the family with young kids that take the day off? Especially if the after-work folks stop off at a drive thru on the way to the park?

As Jeff pointed out, the park is fanatical about knowing hour-by-hour ridership and revenue, so I'm guessing this wasn't done just at random.

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Friday, November 3, 2006 12:56 PM
^ Shoot! I missed an hour of early ride time? I stink! :(

LOL, it's OK, the previous night, I came *thisclose* to turning my sister into "one of us"... ;)

"I understand MUCH better now what it is about being in the parks after-dark that gets you so excited".... :)
*** Edited 11/3/2006 5:58:03 PM UTC by rollergator***

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Friday, November 3, 2006 12:58 PM
Well then let me turn my observation into an insight. :)


As Jeff pointed out, the park is fanatical about knowing hour-by-hour ridership and revenue, so I'm guessing this wasn't done just at random.

Which proves again that the wants and needs of enthusiast don't represent what's best for the park or what the park should base their decisions on.

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Friday, November 3, 2006 2:17 PM
Besides after dark in May, in Ohio, is not pleasant. Everyone enjoys crisp nights in the fall because its a change, but by May people are complaining about the same temps and when you factor in how rainy May can be, I cant really fault them for doing that, allthough it will likely hurt my riding time (no big deal, we have summer and Halloweekends for night rides :)).

Edit-Wish they would announce when they start SP processing though, hopeing for an April trip to PKI but with them opening a week later I dont think thats going to be to likely. *** Edited 11/3/2006 7:19:40 PM UTC by Touchdown***

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Friday, November 3, 2006 2:36 PM
Are you renewing? If so, you can renew by mail, and when I called to order my passes, I was told they'd do renewals around the first of the year.

If not, call guest services at the two parks, and they may be able to work something out for you. They did for me when I visisted KBF in a similar situation. My son was a new passholder (just turned three), had a SP cert for the summer, but we were visiting in the early spring.

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Friday, November 3, 2006 2:45 PM
^Unfortunatly not renewing, but thanks for the tip about calling, Ill try once PKI opens next year.
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Friday, November 3, 2006 3:55 PM
While I think I do have a legit concern, I had not considered that the bulk of the crowds during the weeks in May are school groups that can't be in the park late. Makes more sense than I thought.
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Friday, November 3, 2006 7:31 PM
One problem you have when you change the opening hours, is that the GP gets confused. When a park has been opening at a certain time and then moves it back, guests get very very pissed. I have never seen guests more angry about anything at an amusement park.
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Saturday, November 4, 2006 12:36 AM
It is one thing to say they are doing this for the bottom line and for shareholders... but a trend of cutbacks (that you can see for the last few years) can only be hurting the company who has a mission statement of:

"Cedar Fair, L.P. ("Cedar Fair"), is dedicated to providing our guests with world-class thrills, fun and family entertainment, guided by the principles of safety, service, courtesy, cleanliness and integrity."

Nothing about shareholders or bottom line. It is supposed to be about the guests. Sure... they need to make money, but we have all seen what Six Flags has become. Saying that the cutbacks are for the shareholders is true, but it shouldn't be accepted.

At the risk of a slippery slope here (although we have seen evidence the past few years to show this trend), what happens in 2008? Shorter hours? Do we still say it is OK then? Staffing was HORRIBLE this year (especially in the fall) but they make no attempt beyond lip service to make the park more appealing to employees.

If they have to make constant cutbacks to increase profits something is wrong.

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Saturday, November 4, 2006 1:57 AM

If they have to make constant cutbacks to increase profits something is wrong.

You know what I think it is? These large regional parks have peaked in terms of the attendance they can do. They've reached that threshold where the ability to grow without additional operating days is impossible. (the catch there is that extra days would be earlier or later in the season and with weather concerns, it probably wouldn't be very beneficial to add those days anyway)

So when attendance is stagnant, you need to find a way to make more profit per customer and there's two ways to do it:

1. Raise prices
2. Cut costs

I dunno, seems to me there'd have to be a sort of 'terminal velocity' in terms of how many people you can bring through the gate.

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Saturday, November 4, 2006 3:43 AM
My question would be what is the marginal cost of staying open an extra hour vs. the extra attendance brought in by that day customers seeing value in that extra hour? Obviously we don’t know the answer. However, it appeared it was a failed experiment when they cut an hour off halloweekends a few years ago. Yes that last hour might we might look like it’s worthwhile on the books, but if not as many people show that day then it then it affects the bottom line that day. IN this case though, I doubt is will have as big an effect since the majority of customers are school groups who plan on being there anyway.

The one thing Cedar Point does well is manage their hour by hour operating expensive without interfering with the customer experience too much. I know in my department (sweeping, bathrooms, garbage), we would run skeleton crews early and late accordance with crowd levels. Then everyday we would have a different quit time depending on attendance that day. Crews in the back of the park would sometimes leave 30-45 minutes early because there was nobody back there. I know the same applies with food as the food service mangers we’re out very night monitoring the lines and crowd, then telling them when to shut down.

While I’m not too concerned with the recent cutbacks as they make sense, this “good expense management” is actually why to me it’s somewhat surprising. That last hour of operations has by far the most least in terms of marginal operating cost. Plus the fixed cost of just getting the park up and running that day (ride inspections, morning prep/close prep, daily auditing, food delivery/waste, etc etc) is enormous. This doesn’t just apply to May but the hours cut on Saturdays and weekdays in July/August. They must really think overall people won’t see less value those days (particularly the last minute planners who go in the afternoon/starlight) and it’s worth the risk to save even the smaller operating cost of the last hour. While I agree these cuts makes sense on the hour by hour basis, I just wonder if it’s worth the risk of saving a smallest expense of that day. I’m gessing since they continue to cut, answer is yes :).

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Saturday, November 4, 2006 10:58 AM
Let's not be naive. The only mission any company has is to make a buck.
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