Did discounts help CP gate?

Wednesday, 07 September 2005

Attendance down at Cedar Fair's largest parks; economy and gas prices blamed.


SANDUSKY - Cedar Point is benefiting from offering new admission discounts, but by how much, is still unknown.

Attendance at Cedar Fair's two largest parks was down for August through Labor Day weekend. Cedar Point's attendance was down 2 percent, while attendance was down 5 percent at Knott's Berry Farm near Los Angeles.

"Cedar Point has a long way to go," said Vice President and Corporate Controller Brian Witherow. "September and October weekends have historically become more and more popular. We aren't ready to close our doors completely on Cedar Point. It's been a tough year."

Witherow said a bad economy in the park's key markets of Toledo, Cleveland and Detroit, combined with high gas prices, has hurt Cedar Point.

The admission discounts, which were in part put in place because of the rising gas prices, went into effect in late August.

"We have been pleased with the initial response," Witherow said.

Cedar Fair, which owns and operates seven amusement parks and five water parks, reported Tuesday combined attendance at its parks for August, through Labor Day weekend, increased 2 percent to 3.3 million guests from 3.2 million a year ago.

Average in-park guest spending was up 2 percent and out-of-park revenues, including resort hotels, was up 12 percent, or $2.1 million.

Cedar Fair doesn't break out or specify results for individual properties until the end of the year.

Attendance at Cedar Fair's newest park -- Geauga Lake in Aurora, Ohio -- was up 19 percent, or 33,000 visits, from August 2004.

Attendance at Cedar Point's indoor waterpark, Castaway Bay, outdoor waterpark, Soak City, also did well attendance-wise, Witherow said.

Cedar Fair will announce today capital plans for World of Fun, Kansas City, Mo. Capital plans for the other parks are being finalized and will be announced in the next month or two.

Park spokesman Robin Innes said Tuesday he could neither confirm or deny speculation that Cedar Point's White Water Landing, a log flume ride, was for sale or being removed from the park. Innes said the water ride is currently operating.

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