I usually have a hard time feeling sorry for vacation destinations that pull in millions of dollars a weekend, but I honestly feel bad for Cedar Point this week. A combination of odd events has left the park facing probably its worst week ever.
For a little background, Cedar Point is one of the most popular vacation destinations for the Midwest. Located in Sandusky, Ohio the park sits on a peninsula surrounded by Lake Erie. The park has several hotels and a campground, along with restaurants, on the peninsula making it an excellent resort-like vacation spot. Cedar Point is the second oldest amusement park in operation, and it opened in 1870. It is known as the “Rollercoaster Capital of America,” with 16 coasters and the only park in the world that has 4 coasters taller than 200 feet. It also has a waterpark called “Soak City” adjacent to the theme park.
The park’s issues started Saturday, June 7, 2014. The weekend started out nice, with good weather and fairly large crowds expected, but about 9:00 am the sunny, beautiful day was interrupted by septic troubles. Being on a peninsula, there is only one way on and off the island for cars, and that holds true for water as well. On that morning, the water main that supplies the peninsula with water broke.
Now, this is not the park’s fault- the water main is owned and operated by the city of Sandusky. But, it did cause major problems for the park. Being that it is the only water supply for the peninsula, this meant that the park, the hotels, the waterparks and the restaurants were left without a supply of fresh water. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a quick fix either. After being initially optimistic about returning to normal operations, by 11 am it became apparent that this problem was going to take a while to fix. The park then announced it would be closed until Monday, June 9th.
With no water, this meant not only would the theme park close, but the restaurants and hotels had to close as well. The evacuation of the peninsula took hours and left many vacationers unhappy. This particular weekend was also bike weekend for the area, so local hotels were packed already. So, not only did people have to interrupt their vacation by leaving hotel rooms on the peninsula, but they also had to head out of the Sandusky area to find new lodging.
The good news is Cedar Point automatically refunded the hotel room charges for the people staying at the hotels during the fiasco, and they offered to honor their Cedar Park tickets any day this season or at two neighboring parks, including Kings Island, roughly a 3.5 hour drive away.
While this caused a lot of headaches for the park, it was just the beginning of the woes it has faced this week. On Sunday, 16 employees of the park were arrested for causing a large-scale melee. Police had to break up the fight, and even had to tase one employee THREE times to subdue him. Remember folks, these are the people strapping your kids into the rides and doing safety checks acting in this irresponsible and violent manner.
After this violent outbreak, park operations resumed normal activity Monday morning. Monday was a typical day for the park, but Tuesday had its own excitement. Around 4:30 pm on Tuesday, a small plane made an emergency landing on the park’s beachfront. It turns out a duck had hit the plane, breaking its windshield. This prompted the emergency landing on the northern beach near the Magnum XL coaster. No one was hurt in the emergency landing, and the plane did not appear to do any damage to the beach.
These weird happenings, all within the span of a week, have many wondering if Six Flags has finally been successful in their attempts to place a curse on Cedar Fair, the company that owns Cedar Point. However, this alleged devious plot may backfire on Six Flags, due to the customer-friendly manner in which Cedar Point has responded to the inconveniences caused to guests of the park. Cedar Point might be licking its wounds while Six Flags Great America launches its Goliath coaster in Gurnee this week, but their customer friendly policies will probably win them more favor in the long run.