Cedar Point's attendance has been decreasing each year for the past few years. It just doesn't look too bad on paper because they keep increasing per capita spending. Unfortunately they do this by increasing the prices on food and tickets every year.
I think that blaming the Detroit for low numbers is pretty lame. Obviously this isn't the first year they have had less than desired attendance, so it's not just that area's fault. They may have reached the point where people stop coming back because they just don't feel the need to go to the same park every year. I mean, with the Intamin seat belt policy pissing people off and their operations slipping this year maybe people think that can have just as much fun at a Six Flags or local waterpark.
2) Plenty of people still fit in MF's seats.
3) This is a company turning a smaller profit, not losing money.
I don't have a good answer: we've taken three different families with us to CP so far this season---two had never been, and one hadn't been in many years---and everyone has enjoyed themselves enough to want to go back next year.
And, for the record, MF seats didn't matter to any of them, because between the 14 of us, I'm the only one who rides it.
Last year (and this) will be the ONLY years I've not visited. I've made efforts to get to HW, IB, and PKI a greater priority. In fairness, I prefer wood. For whatever reason, I just do not have a desire to get back to CP...AND I still have not done TTD! Maybe I'm still upset that my last 5-8 trips were greeted with TTD breakdowns...? Or maybe I've just done the place too many times...
But they get my money through Knotts vists anyway! I love that place...
Yes, there is generally a certain degree of dissatisfaction on PointBuzz. I don't think it's the kind of lame Disney Rat type of complaining either, I think a lot of it is fairly legitimate. Aside from the Millennium Force seat belt issue, there are a lot of little things that I think overall add up to degrade the experience. I don't think that I'd go as far as saying that it has affected attendance though.
I think the Detroit thing is a valid issue, but I also think that it's time to rethink their marketing as a whole, including the choices made on new attractions. Look at PKI... they stopped with the "-est" race and diversified. It's working for them year after year.
I'm not sure what KBF should do as the thrill ride lines (basically walk-on for Xcelerator and Silver Bullet) were really short when I went, so I'm not sure if people coming to the park don't have a high interest in the thrillers or if the marketing was poor for SB or what's going on. IIRC, their attendance has been down this year, so I guess I'd be looking for something to steal some Disney audience as well again as their log flume was *really* popular. I'll go ahead and say all the CF parks should look at interactive dark rides (Peanuts theming??). =p
Dorney seems to be doing well with its new coaster and I think they did a good thing with that addition and competition with Hershey, Knoebels, and SFGAdv. Anything they do with their waterpark seems to be a nice hold for them.
I don't know anything about ValleyFair! except they need a wavepool and their coasters are sort of lackluster. =p
Does Michigan's Adventure have a waterpark? I'd change that if not. Even a small waterpark can do big things. PGA put one on the plot of Stealth and their attendance went up nicely.
Never been to Worlds of Fun and I don't know their attendance history either. They do their thing in a moderately competitive area with being about 4 hrs. from SFStL and SDC. Their coaster collection by next year seems to be at least on par if not better than StL's.
Geauga Lake.. I just don't know. It's so hard to set yourself apart sharing a market with PKI and CP on one end and Kennywood on the other. That's why I thought the animals and wildlife was essential to this park and area to draw people. I don't think CF needs to take the park and reinvent it again and try to get someone to be able to take care of the animals, but something needs to happen. Even I didn't expect stripping Six Flags off the name (and DC comics and Looney Tunes) and taking the animals would be that bad on their attendance. Not sure what they need to do now.
I really don't know anything about running parks, just trying to make suggestions according to trends I've seen elsewhere. Not sure how I turned it into "what I think CF should do", but I did. =p
I don't think I've ever seen a decline at a park where a kiddie/family section was expanded, a waterpark was expanded, or a new woodie was added, at least recently. Sounds like a plan for most parks if they haven't done it recently.
CP has done a lot, for a long time that put them on top, but to be honest, we aren't going to CP this year, and the reason is we simply wanted to go to other parks.
Memorial Day weekend - Holiday World
Also went to PKD & BGW in July
Labor Day Weekend - Going to Geauga Lake
October - HW again...plus SFKK
...We haven't missed CP this year! With all these trips, we've also been to PKI 7-8 times this year already, our kids have so much fun at PKI & HW. They have fun at CP, but you can tell a difference in their demeanor.
My focus here is on PKI though. They've found and know their niche: Children & parents like thrills too, and PKI has been stepping up. We all know their not done building adult coasters!! They just did what they needed to do...add MORE variety for more people. There's tons more fun stuff to do at PKI now than there was ten years ago...and that's not just the father in me speaking. I'm going tomorrow and I can't wait to get there!
Not trying to dog CP too much. But what was the reasoning for MAXAIR? I'll stay at PKI and ride IJ:ST 10-20 times, then ride Delirium, (if it's up again!), before I'll travel to Sandusky to ride their frisbee.
Next year'll be a different story depending on what may be happening over the off-season at CP. And it doesn't have to be a coaster to grab my attention. What ever they may do, they better do it big though because a bulk of the focus is already on HW, Beech Bend, and anything that may be happening at PKI.
C'mon CP show us the kind of creativity that made you one of the world's premiere parks. You can do better than you did this year...this season was a downer for me.
VF is down 4% from last year, but last year's drop (year after SV, installed a Rockin' Tug and a Foam Ball Factory) was a smaller drop than the year after PT.
WoF's attendance has been under a million for a few years now, which I believe has a lot to do with SFStl's complimentary waterpark. They're still down a bit this year, but OoF's numbers have jumped too.
The oil market has lost its collective mind, and consumers are getting stuck with the bill.
Cedar Point's new addition this season is a great ride, just the kind of new attraction they've needed to add for several years now...but while it is a great ride, it isn't the kind of new attraction that someone is going to build a trip around.
Cedar Point has saturated its market. If they do nothing, their attendance will fall. They are to the point now where they have to add new attractions in order to maintain attendance, not to increase it. That's why they are working so hard on the resort side and on increasing length of stay...because that's all they can do to increase attendance. maXair didn't do it for them this year, although in my opinion it was a good addition because it helps to round out the midway (well, it IS a circular ride...). But it isn't enough to give them an attendance boost such as they get when they put in a new coaster that doesn't get any bad press.
As for the stuff that certain people (myself included) have been grumbling about on PointBuzz, that's stuff that won't have any affect on them this year. Aggravating your customers doesn't cause your attendance to tank this season, because when they come through the gates you haven't pissed them off yet. But it will cause problems in the future. After all, that's a big part of why they have problems at Geauga Lake: because Six Flags burned the lot for them.
And Geauga? Cedar Fair needs to be patient. That park will come around. Functionally they are on the right track, but it won't really straighten out for a year or two. I think they know that, but just because they know it doesn't mean they have to be happy about it.
--Dave Althoff, Jr.
I'm not saying that it's a game worth playing, but if you go by the TLC, Discovery and general print magazines they usually seem to be drawn to the new and unusual. A flat ride isn't going to do it (and I'm surprised that Silver Bullet hasn't done more for Knott's).
Cedar Fair will be fine. The resorts keep getting bigger so the company is making more off each guest (not just from higher prices at the park). However, it's also something that Six Flags and Paramount are learning to do (it can't be just a coincidence that indoor waterpark hotels will be opening on Six Flags and Paramount property over the next year after CF rolled out Castaway Bay).
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