CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Parks owned by Cedar Fair, which includes Sandusky’s Cedar Point, are on pace for record season pass sales, the company’s CEO announced.
Cedar Fair’s year-to-date results have the company on the way to making 2019 the best year in company history, CEO Richard Zimmerman told executives during a third-quarter earnings call on Wednesday.
“Not only are we well ahead of last year’s record pace, but we are also seeing solid increases in the sales of related all-season products, such as all-season dining and all-season beverage,” Zimmerman said.
Early season pass sales for 2020 increased more than 50%, with executives citing the new Gold Pass as part of the reason for the spike.
“At Cedar Point, our early data is telling us of the lift there, and it is extremely big,” Brian Witherow, Executive Vice President and CFO of Cedar Fair, said.
Witherow estimated that for every season pass renewal, seven new season passes are being purchased.
“We’re going to continue to try and sell as many passes as we can,” Witherow added.
While Cedar Point and the other Cedar Fair amusement parks are benefiting from the sales increase, many attendants to fall’s popular HalloWeekends event complained about crowd control and traffic congestion.
Groups of parkgoers criticized the sale of the $99 Gold Pass, predicting that the reduced-price season pass already lead to monster crowds at the end of the 2019 season and will continue to do so in 2020.
The roads to Cedar Point were actually temporarily closed because the park was “nearing capacity” on Saturday, Oct. 19.
Zimmerman said the park itself never closed.
“I can say that Cedar Point never closed, I want to clarify. The park did not close. The park remained open on that particular Saturday, where we drove really high demand,” described Zimmerman. “And listen, we saw high demand every Saturday in October, both at Cedar Point and all our other parks. But working with the city of Sandusky, we had a lot of people trying to get here all at the same time.”
During Wednesday’s call, Zimmerman said, without going into specifics, that adjustments will be made to Cedar Point to help alleviate any potential parking or entrance problems.
“Planned additions to accommodate further growth in attendance is critical to executing on our priorities, particularly at several of our larger parks, including our flagship park, Cedar Point. Planned initiatives include improvements to parking and ingress, egress to the parks, additional food and beverage capacity and expanded restrooms, just to name a few,” added Zimmerman.
The Gold Pass is on sale through the beginning of January and offers unlimited admission to Cedar Point and Cedar Point Shores, plus parking.
Cedar Point will celebrate its 150th anniversary season in 2020.