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Cedar Point: Mistakes to Avoid

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Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio is a large theme park, known for thrilling roller coasters. It’s known as “America’s Roller Coast” because it boasts 72 rides, which includes 14 roller coasters. This number of roller coasters puts it in second place for most coasters in one park in the world. There’s a lot to love about Cedar Point. If you’re looking for absolutely unbelievable thrills and heights that will make your palms sweaty, this is the place to be. However, on our recent visit, there was a lot of disappointments and poor customer service. As someone who is very accustomed to visiting Disney World, this experience was so shockingly different, it was painful at times.

cedar point mistakes

We recently visited Cedar Point on a Sunday in October. We were visiting family in Central Pennsylvania for the week. So we drove over 4 hours to visit Cedar Point on our last day of vacation. We had 7 people in our party and we paid for Fast Lane Plus, which was supposed to give faster access to 27 rides, including the top 5 rides in the park. This ticket more than triples the standard admission price. Is it worth it? Keep reading…

Fast Lane Plus at Cedar Point was not worth the money.

Fast Lane Plus is a ticket upgrade that you can add on to regular admission in order to bypass the regular line. For our party of 7, we paid approximately $600 extra for our day at the park. The claim on the Cedar Point website is that you can “Ride as many times as you want all day long.” What they don’t mention on the website is that you may spend so much time waiting in line, you won’t even get to ride all of the top 5 attractions for which you are paying extra.

Cedar Point review

At one of the most popular rides at Cedar Point, Steel Vengeance, the wait time for the regular line was 90 minutes. The wait time for the Fast Lane Plus was also 90 minutes. Every person in the Fast Lane line had paid more than triple the price of admission of those in standby. This occurred time and time again. The wait times in the regular line versus the Fast Lane Plus would be nearly identical, or only a few minutes difference. This was just totally shocking and dishonest. Check out these photos, which are time stamped at exactly the same time, where the wait times are exactly the same.

Cedar Point wait times
Cedar Point wait times
  • Did Cedar Point oversell the Fast Lane Plus fro the day of our visit? Probably.
  • Was Cedar Point very crowded on this beautiful day in October? Probably.
  • Were there slight wait time advantages on certain rides in the Fast Lane Plus line? Yes.
  • Was Fast Lane Plus worth triple the standard admission price on the day of our visit? Absolutely not.

I don’t understand what went so wrong in the Park that day as compared to other days at Cedar Point. This was my only visit in the past 20 years. But because of this experience, I won’t be in a hurry to visit again anytime soon. And I’m not sure I would recommend going out of your way to do so.

Cedar Point group

On the day of our visit, Cedar Point was run mostly by volunteers.

I’m not sure what was happening on a corporate level at Cedar Point on the day of our visit. But in my estimation, 80% of the people “working” were volunteers. Yep, volunteers were checking metal detectors, supposedly checking wrist bands, running the gift shop, and more. Each and every time I asked what I thought was an employee a question about Cedar Point, the response was always the same, ” I don’t know. I’m a volunteer.” Excuse me, what? Since when are theme parks run by volunteers? And how is it volunteering when, I assume, this is a for profit business?

Cedar Point Power Tower

In one heartbreaking event of many throughout the day, a little boy waiting to ride the Power Tower, asked an employee/volunteer, “How long do you stay up there before you drop?” Volunteer baseball player who is substituting for a paid and trained employee responds, “How would I know kid?” This little boy asks the next person, wearing a Cedar Point shirt and seeming like they work there, “How long do you wait there until you drop?” The volunteer responds, “I don’t know. This is my first day.” How does a theme park not have trained employees available to answer even the most basic questions of a small child, who is working up the courage to ride for the first time?

The inefficiency was painful.

On every ride we went on, there were empty seats and sometimes empty rows. Again, I’m not sure if this is standard operating procedure, but the inefficiency was hurting my soul. When guests are waiting 2-3 hours for a ride, it’s shameful to have any empty seats. No one was even asking what your party size was, or filling rows. On most rides, it was a free for all as to where you would sit, if your party would fit, or what row you were in.

Cedar Point review

It’s just disrespectful to guests to not even attempt to fill the seats. When you only have a limited time in the Park, and wait times are so long, every single seat is precious. Just a small amount of training would prevent this large waste of everyone’s time. Would this be different on a day at Cedar Point when it wasn’t being run by volunteers? Possibly. But I had one day at this Park, and this was my experience.

Would I go back to Cedar Point?

To be honest, I’m really not sure. They do have some of the tallest, fastest, most thrilling rides in the world. From the Millennium Force at 312 feet, to being shot out at 120 mph to a height of 420 feet on Top Thrill Dragster, there’s a very impressive collection of rides at Cedar Point.

Cedar Point honest review

The most enjoyable extreme roller coaster I’ve ever been on was the Steel Vengeance at Cedar Point. My teenage son really wanted to try some huge roller coasters, and Cedar Point certainly delivered. When my daughter was starting to get scared in line at the Millennium Force (and I was too), conquering our fear together is something we’ll never forget. Cedar Point has potential, but it also has some things to work on. If you plan a trip, keep these things in mind and let me know how it goes! Have you been to Cedar Point?

cedar point pros and cons

8 Comments

  • Holly

    This is a great and very honest review! Like you said, maybe this isn’t how it always is, but this was your one day, and that was your one experience. No guest’s day should ever be wasted!

    • amber

      So true! And exactly- even if it is just one day, that was OUR day and that was our experience. It was sooo weird and so not right. At least we were together and have those crazy memories. πŸ˜‰

  • Cody

    “Since when are theme parks run by volunteers? And how is it volunteering when, I assume, this is a for profit business?” <- This! What in the world!? And that poor kid on the power tower.

    I noticed that a few times, the comments like "How would I know". Not only were the volunteers not informed – they were often downright rude. I heard one baseball player (they all seemed to be baseball players…) correct a guest who misunderstood what a sign meant, and then remark "yeah, I like to see if people have basic intelligence. Most have been letting me down today."

    If you can't teach them anything about how the park works you could at least teach them to treat paying guests with respect. But hey – I guess that's a risk you run when you take free labor. πŸ€·β€β™‚οΈ

    • amber

      Soooooo true Cody! You can’t have volunteers in these important roles and give them zero training. It’s just shameful to have them interacting with guests in such a rude way.

  • Cody Again

    Oh. It get’s better. The “Volunteer” thing is something that Cedar Point actively advertises. The get groups to come in – stay on site – and work for them, in exchange they make a donation to the group.

    Based on the details posted here: https://www.cedarpoint.com/community/fundraising The “FUNraisers” we interacted with earned their group at least $6.00 an hour, with a possible “bonus” of $2.50 an hour. That a whopping $8.50 an hour! Only *5 cents below* Ohio’s minimum wage! πŸ˜‚ No wonder they had such cheery dispositions.

    • amber

      Oh. My. Goodness. That’s just insane. And soooo wrong! It’s a for-profit business and they aren’t even paying/donating to the “volunteers” at a minimum wage rate?! Insane. That’s just not right.

    • amber

      Oh really? I bet that was an interesting experience. Based on some other comments, the volunteers (aka substitutes for paid and trained employees) were so rude to guests. But it’s hard to answer questions all day when you haven’t had any training to be able to know the answers!

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