CP Bonus Weekends vs HalloWeekends

Last fall I took my wife and son to Cedar Point in September for HalloWeekends. We had a blast despite the cold, rainy weather and the ridiculous Saturday crowd. My son didn't really dig much of the HalloWeekend activities/decor (he was 3 at the time) so here's what I'm wondering...

How does the Bonus Weekend typically compare as far as crowds go? I know that weather tends to be the great equalizer but it made no difference last fall, it was FREEZING COLD with monsoon rains and the park was PACKED on Saturday... Does CP still have the great deals on accommodations and tickets? Is ride availability limited on Friday like it is during HalloWeekends? Typically are the water rides and/or Soak City still open?

I know the hours don't run as late for Bonus Weekend as they do for HalloWeekends, but if the crowds aren't as insane that may be a worthwhile trade... I hadn't been to CP since Maverick opened (we went yearly in the fall prior to that) and I was floored by how busy it was. I'd read trip reports, but I thought it couldn't be much busier than I remembered. I was wrong! So minus the obvious HalloWeekend decor & haunts & activities, how would you compare a Cedar Point experience between regular season, Bonus Weekend, and HalloWeekends?

My brother, his wife, and 3 kids age 3-7 might come with us this fall and I want to make it enjoyable for everyone...

Thanks in advance!

But then again, what do I know?

Morté615's avatar

Bonus weekends are usually not as crowded as Halloweekends. You can still find lots of deals on hotels and admissions also.

You will see some Halloweekends decor but not everything will be out, the bonus weekends are used as time to get the park ready. Also none of the shows or haunted houses will be open (though I think last year they opened the Garter show on a bonus weekend).

Ride availability is not limited, all the rides are open but Soak City closes on Labor Day weekend.

Morté aka Matt, Ego sum nex
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Halloweekend Saturday's are among the heaviest crowds of the year. Only 1 bonus weekend exists these days, and it's highly recommended for low crowds. September 6th or the 8th is a particularly good bet. Ride availability is typically limited on the 6th in the same way it is on Halloweekend Friday's.

blasterboy6500's avatar

I'd agree with Jeff and say that September 6th is your best bet.

Keep in mind the park is only open 4 hours on the 6th, but 8 hours on the 8th. The crowds should be plenty low enough for the day to be enjoyable on the 8th.

Last edited by Jeph,
Tommytheduck's avatar

I'm pretty sure we were there the same day as you. Sucked. The trick to Halloweekends is to come on Friday night. Saturday and Sunday can get pretty bad. That day you're talking about, we assumed the crowds would be light cuz of the weather, but we were wrong.

The most crowded you will *ever* see CP is on the weekend in the fall when it's forecasted to be 70 degrees and sunny. Everyone within a 500 mile radius sees the wx report and says "wow, it's gonna be a nice weekend , lets go to CP!" But Friday nights, when all of Michigan is still driving down, is your chance to have shorter lines.

blasterboy6500's avatar

^FIRST POST!!!!!!!!! :)

Last edited by blasterboy6500,
You don't need a parachute to jump out of an airplane. You need one to do it again.

I know awesome weather + HalloWeekends = HUGE CROWDS. We were there in 2003 for Columbus Day Weekend, it was in the high 70s to low 80s, and the park was absolutely packed.

Last fall we arrived on a Friday night to torrential downpours. Saturday started nice but then the rains came again, then cleared up in the evening but the temps were barely in the 40s. Rinse and repeat Sunday. The crowd was still packed on Saturday.

If the crowds tend to be lighter for Bonus Weekend, maybe we will give that a try. Friday night I'll get my fix of the bigger coasters, Saturday will be family time with the kids, more coasters for me Saturday evening, then a little bit of everything on Sunday...

Now hopefully the weather cooperates.

But then again, what do I know?

That sounds perfect. If you're going to be there that whole bonus weekend, there is a very good chance you'll have an amazing weekend crowd-wise.

Tommytheduck's avatar

blasterboy6500 said:

^FIRST POST!!!!!!!!! :)

Hey, how'd you know? (seriously, I don't see a post count on anyone's posts.) But Yup, I was spurred on by a FB thread *about* CB and it looked like I was missing out on some fun. If there's an intro thread on here I'll look for it and post a little something about myself. But I promise not to "muppetflail." (That made me laugh on FB.)

blasterboy6500's avatar

Oh, just click on the user's name thingy on one of their replies and it shows some of their profile and their post count.

You don't need a parachute to jump out of an airplane. You need one to do it again.

For years we did the first weekend of Halloweekends because it was slower in attendance and the weather was generally good (mid-September) compared to October weekends. However the past 3 or 4 years we started noticing that even the first weekend was getting crazy busy. So last year we decided to go on the bonus weekend and the crowds were much lower. Still limited ride availability on Friday (just like Halloweekends) and shorter hours but the short lines make up for that. Daughter wasn't happy that we missed all the haunts but I'll take shorter lines over haunts when we can do those at other parks.

Break Trims's avatar

I missed bonus weekend last year, but went the next weekend instead, on the first Sunday in Halloweekends. The crowds were very low, and the only long line was Maverick, which I attribute more to a mis-managed Fast lane than anything. Obviously, a lot of factors are in play concerning crowds, but I'd definitely do that day again.

As for Saturdays, I just avoid them at any point in the season.

I have gone to the Friday night of Bonus Weekend the past 2 years. Two years ago was amazing. Next to no one there. They were begging people to re-ride dragster to fill the trains. This past year, there were more people but it was still a very good day for a lot of rides even in the 4 hour window. I talked with a few people who said that is the only day they visit the park.

I have also been there a lot of Friday nights during Halloweekends the past two years. There are a lot of variables but crowds are generally pretty good then as well (though more people than for Bonus Weekend). Haunts often have longer lines if that is what you want.

I would never go on a Saturday during Halloweekends. Have just heard too many horror stories in terms of extremely long lines.

kpjb's avatar

If you want to ride a lot, bonus weekends are the way to go. We went this past year, probably our first time at the park in about 3 years. The weather was beautiful, sunny and 70s. Lines were nonexistent. To give you an idea, Dragster's mid-day peak line was about 15 minutes long.


I agree, I would go on the bonus weekend. I went last year and on friday I pretty much had the park to myself for the first 2 hrs. It was just me and my girlfriend on Maverick for a half hour. Then almost all weekend they were letting you re-enter Millenium Force's station right from the exit platform. It was the best weekend Ive ever had at CP. So if the halloween events are not very important to you I would definatly recomend going the weekend between labor day and HalloWeekends.

Last edited by NitroRider,

Tommytheduck said:

But I promise not to "muppetflail." (That made me laugh on FB.)

Muppetflail, Mid Timbers, taer it down, pancakes, disrespecting The Beast, Lemon Chill Guy, got Mooshed, W8 4 ME@CP, etc. Also Maverick.

The haunts are fun, I enjoy that stuff, but not at the expense of the coasters. Plus as I said before, my 3 year old son didn't dig the HalloWeekends decor. Some of it freaked him out (shape shifting pictures in rhe Hotel Breakers lobby come to mind...) It looks like Bonus Weekend may be the winner this year!

I guess now the only question is whether Cedar Point Resorts offer the same kind of discount packages as they do during HalloWeekends? We stayed at Hotel Breakers last fall... It was out first time staying on property, and with a little one its the only way to go!

Thanks for all your insight!

Last edited by ShaneDenmark,

But then again, what do I know?

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