Declining attendance at Cedar Point leads to admission price cuts

Monday, September 26, 2005 9:06 PM

"Reflecting on the second straight year of declining attendance at its flagship park, Cedar Fair is mulling the idea of lowering ticket prices, Chief Executive Dick Kinzel said.

This is good news! I've always felt that regional park admission prices were too high! But nothing solves that problem better than owning an annual pass that works in multiple parks ;)

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*** Edited 9/27/2005 1:07:55 AM UTC by kRaXLeRidAh***

Monday, September 26, 2005 9:08 PM
Or use and you don't have to register at all.
Monday, September 26, 2005 9:12 PM
/\ Thanks. I wish I'd found out about that site MUCH EARLIER. :)
Monday, September 26, 2005 10:03 PM
Am I the only person that thinks lowering admission price may be a bad idea? I could see keeping it the same, and maybe getting more agressive with targeted promotions/discounts. But lowering it?

I read the article, and I followed the bit about the surveys indicating faster income growth in the attending guests than the general populace. But, aren't those precisely the sort of guests you want? The ones with extra income to spend on that $7.99 cheeseburger basket and the $5 guess-your-weight stand?

At some level, this is precisely the role that Geauga Lake and Michigan's Adventure fill---a lower price point "competitor".

Monday, September 26, 2005 10:14 PM
i agree with you brian, because that means exactly what you said higher prices elsewhere. They have to keep costs up so the parks can operate great for the wallet in that respect of getting in the park and such but not so great for everything else.

Cheat cedar point by bringing a cooler than i guess would be better. You can do that at other places as well so i guess it works that you can cheat them in other places too.

Monday, September 26, 2005 10:17 PM
I guess the other thought that occurs to me is this: rather than lower the price in response to declining attendance, figure out why guests aren't coming as much, and fix that instead.

Imagine the reception this idea would get on CBuzz if it were Burke talking about SFMM rather than Kinzel talking about CP.

*** Edited 9/27/2005 2:19:51 AM UTC by Brian Noble***

Monday, September 26, 2005 10:24 PM
But I think that they actually believe that the reason people aren't coming is the pricepoint. That along with the continued decline of population in Detroit and Cleveland is probably the majority of the reason.
Monday, September 26, 2005 10:35 PM
I said it in the news section, and I'll repeat it here:

Now it'll cost $4.50 for a Mountain Dew.

It looks great for the GP with an ad campaign of lowered ticket prices, but my guess is they'll make it up somewhere else.

Monday, September 26, 2005 11:44 PM
Hopefully this will bring about that MF train redesign.
Tuesday, September 27, 2005 1:20 AM
I think that they should raise the admission price. Seems to me that through the years the parks with higher admission are cleaner, have better employees, and have better disciplined crowds.
Tuesday, September 27, 2005 8:45 AM
They'll make it up in other ways with higher prices on food, souv's and water. Maybe Johnny Rockets will have an all-u-can eat special for 20.00 and the GP will be wack enough to go for it.

Here's a scary thought: Maybe they'll charge only 25.00 on an admission that'll get you on most of the rides and another 30.00 for a ride band that'll get you on the big coasters.
I can see the ad: Why pay for full price when you know granny won't ride TTD or the other marvelous coasters at CP?

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 9:01 AM
It's simple, with parking, it costs a family of 4 about $200 just to walk in. Take into account food, drinks, games and souvenirs, and it could cost close to $400 for one day. Granted, it's a ton of fun, but in the intense heat we had this summer, and the continuous bad economy, most familes can not afford that. Need I mention that CP is weak in family attractions compared to, say, Kings Island.

Sure, thrill seekers have no problem paying over $40. We are the ones that usually buy season passes. I say keep the price where it is, but add more variety and family attractions...and include Soak City in the admission...attendance will climb because more families will go then.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 9:25 AM
Martling, I was with you until you said they should include Soak City in the admission. Where the Cedar Point is having success right now is on the resort side of the business. You want people to have a reason to stay a night or two and a second gated attraction plays into that.

Euro Disney's hotels were a huge bust when it opened because they only had the Magic Kingdom and people didn't have a reason to stay overnight. Things have improved now with the addition of the Studios park (though there has been some criticism of it).

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 9:31 AM

include Soak City in the admission

Not. Gonna. Happen.

I still don't see the price as being too high compared to other entertainment options. Here are two examples.

Family of four, attending a Michigan football game. Tickets: $49 per person (and that's for weak opponents like Eastern Michigan. Notre Dame was $59). Parking: $30 at one of any number of locations close to the stadium. Food: figure one dog and one soda per person, plus maybe some kettle corn or a lemon chill or two, that's another $40. Total: $266. Half-day of entertainment.

Family of four, going skiing for the day at Boyne Highlands on a Saturday. Lift tickets: $47 per adult, $41 per child. Rentals: $30 per adult, $18 per child. Again, figure $40 for food (probably will be more than that, but...) Total? $312. Full day of entertainment.

Cedar Point: $46 per person admission. $9 parking. $60 in food. Total: $253. Full day of entertainment.

These all look pretty comparable to me.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 9:40 AM
I used to use the increase in general entertainment (concerts, movies, other sporting events, etc) as a good argument to justify the increases in theme park admissions but I missed a couple of glaring issues.

First, the movie business isn't exactly gangbusters right now. Their attendance is suffering even as they "improve" the movie experience with stadium seating, sound, etc. Plus, you have Blockbuster, NetFlix and home theatres eating into the movie business.

Second, I didn't take into account fan loyalty when it comes to sporting events. People are willing to pay for personal seat licenses, high season ticket prices, crazy parking fees becase they are seeing THEIR TEAM. While Cedar Point has fans (as does WDW, King's Island and other parks) it is a small minority of their overall market compared to Columbus and the Ohio State Buckeyes or Cleveland and the Browns/Indians.

I'm not sure it is as fair a comparison as I originally thought.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 9:53 AM
I'd say market discounts particularly targeted at families. Admission for four + hot dogs or something for price X.

OR coupons for a smaller gate discount but free T-shirts (basic white with the park logo and year on the back) on off-peak weekdays. Crazy? Perhaps! BUT you have greater perceived value and you send 15-20,000 billboards home a day.


Tuesday, September 27, 2005 10:16 AM
Good it's about time a park did this. Prices have been skyrocketing gradually for the past 10-20 years due to the current coaster boom. Someone finally noticed there is a limit on how much people want to pay to go to parks. As for myself, I'd pay anything.
Tuesday, September 27, 2005 10:44 AM

bowtobusch said:
As for myself, I'd pay anything.

Which is precisely why prices went up during the coaster boom (and continue to go up in a lot of places).
Tuesday, September 27, 2005 5:30 PM
The corporate parks are gonna learn real quick that value is everything or the apearance of value.

Sorry but when people are paying $3 a gallon for gas, They sure as hell don't need the slap in the face $10 parking fees. $3 20oz drinks and $5 hamburgers.

This industries needed a overhaul for quite some time. I believe it will happen soon.

Chuck, who wonders why Kennywood and HW continue to gain or maintain without huge additions. Value and word of mouth beat advertising everytime.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 11:45 PM
Some of us have to step back and look at it from the other side.

We as enthusiasts find the cheapest ways to have fun at parks because we frequent them alot.

The average family of 4 that visits one time a year even with discounts on admission shell out alot of money for 1-days entertainment. Alot of times those families don't get to experience everything the park has to offer because certain family members won't go on everything, not enough time in 1 day to do it, or the park doesn't offer enough variety.

I see no problem with CP lowering admission because isn't in-park spending that these companies make the most profits? Same goes with SF doing this but their problems are far worse than lowering admission at this point.

And people bring up the other entertainment comparasons with pricing. However, alot of people feel that amusement parks, movie theatres, ballgames, concerts, etc. are equally ridiculous in what they charge so that theory really doesn't help.

The only place I don't mind being overcharged on things is at a zoo because I know that money is going to care for animals and not being put in the CEO's wallet.


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