An Insider's look at the new dining plans at Cedar Point
One of the favorite discussion topics among theme park and amusement park fans has always been food- the variety available, the quality and especially the cost of eating at a park. Cedar Point
in Sandusky, Ohio was once known for its fine dining, but that was many years ago, and while there are still some very good, very high-quality restaurants to be found at Cedar Point (Bay Harbor Restaurant and Famous Dave's at the Cedar Point Marina and Tomo Hibachi in the Breakers Hotel) Cedar Point has for years been fighting an uphill battle for culinary respect. This year it is adding an option to address the issue of value in eating at America's Roller Coast.
Famous Dave's has been a popular meal-time choice for visitors to Cedar Point. Can new meal plans help keep more visitors inside the park for lunch and dinner?
Cedar Point is rolling out two new dining options this year: an "All Day Dining Plan" and "Single Meal Deals". For $29.99 plus tax (bringing it to a grand total of $32.16 per person per day) guests at Cedar Fair's flagship park in Sandusky, Ohio can purchase the All Day Dining Plan and eat to their heart's content all day long at their choice of seven dining establishments in the park. The locations honoring the plan are Lakeside Express, Pink's, Corral, Coasters, Round-Up, Gristmill Refreshments and Dragon's Inn. An All-Day Dining wristband entitles the wearer to an entree and side dish at any participating location, but soft drinks are NOT included. There must be a 90-minute wait between purchases.
Information from Cedar Point's website states that "Menu choices include (the following combos): Cheeseburger, Colossal Dog, Chicken Finger, Perch, Cheese on a Stick, Hot Dog on a stick, Specialty Dog, Bacon Chili Cheeseburger and Pizza." It doesn't say if that is an all-inclusive list or if other items served at these restaurants (all of which are counter service with some having indoor seating while others at strictly walk-up counters with outdoor seating adjacent) can be purchased with the Plan. It also doesn't say what the "side" with the entree is.
The other new dining option this year is a "Single Meal Deal", which is available on-line only and costs $13.99 plus tax ($15.00 total). It allows one meal at any of the above locations, but does include a 20oz. fountain drink.
The choice of dining locations seem to be well spread out throughout the huge park. I was glad to see that Pink's has been included, since they have terrific hot dogs and sides, and Coasters has great burgers in a 1950's diner atmosphere (including vintage cars parked in front of the art deco restaurant). The other locations are your basic counter service "burgers and fries" places, but all have seating areas directly adjacent with many tables under umbrella cover.
Cedar Point doesn't open until May 10th (assuming the glacier that Lake Erie has become this winter doesn't wipe it off the map...that's a joke by the way), so I won't be able to check out these dining options first-hand and evaluate the value of them until Ohio thaws out. I discovered that Cedar Fair is also offering these dining options at other parks in their "family" with a variety of prices. Kings Island in Mason, Ohio charges the same for the all day option while the single meal is $12.99; Michigan's Adventure, a much smaller park on the west side of Lower Michigan, charges $23.99 for the all day option and $11.99 for the single meal.
It will be interesting to see how popular these dining options are with guests.
Is this the first column by James Koehl? I really enjoyed it. I'd love to see more from him. It was great seeing some info on Cedar Point. That was a place my husband visited a lot as a kid and I hear stories about it all the time, but have only been there once.
FWIW, you can click any front-page writer's "byline" (his or her name at the top of the post) to see a short bio and list of the most recent posts he or she has written for the front page.
@ Annette: First off, James has been writing here for, say, three years. He certainly helps people like me who are beginners to Cedar Point on how to make the most out of a trip while finding out which deals are worth doing. Mr. Koehl, kudos and keep up the good work.
With a name like "James" how can the guy go wrong? He can't. Appreciate the Cedar Point update, bro...
@James Trexen - Is what Jeff does really "a unique style"? I sure wouldn't call it that. To me, what James did was funny, with the acknowledgement of how bad the winter has been and how much ice has been on the Great Lakes...like it was an Ice Age happening. It was funny.
With the birth of the writer came the inevitable afterbirth: the Literary Critic.
Excellent reportage as usual, James. From what you quote about the menu choices, it's clear that they were not chosen with vegetarians in mind. This is why I will not purchase a meal plan at any theme park. I can understand places such as the retirement home where my 90-year-old mother lives not offering vegetarian entrees, as vegetarianism was practically unheard of in her generation, but the times they are a changing and it's time for theme parks to get with it.
For every critic, we get more critics. Why can't we respect each other's opinions? That's why we post. We shouldn't tell each other that we should refrain from giving an opinion of an opinion because... Are we such fragile flowers?
I think Jeff's writing is both informative & adult humorous. Many of his comments require a good background knowledge of theme parks and a strong intellectual capacity. Jim's articles, as always, are well written & very informative. It's nice to have different writing styles on TPI. It helps keep things interesting. But then, there always appears to be someone that needs attention by tearing down Jeff's writing. One suggestion, if you don't like a writer's reports, don't read his articles.
"One suggestion, if you don't like a writer's reports, don't read his articles."
Anon: It's one thing to critique a writer. But Annette has "repeatedly" criticized Jeff's writing, even referring to him in articles he hasn't written. It verges on a vendetta of sorts and I think the constant bashing of someone that is contributing articles on his own time is in very bad taste.
The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.
Jeff: You're a great sport & a class act. Please keep your superb reports coming.
Jeff, TPI needs you like the desert needs the rain. Peace.
Wow! And I thought this was a throw-away article that nobody would pay attention to! James Rao (whose last name I am proud to be able to say I know how to pronounce correctly)- I'm not nearly as familiar with Kings Island as I am Cedar Point (since it's about 3 hours away compared to the less than 1hr to Cedar Point) but they seem to have a very extensive list of eating establishments that take the dining plans offered- more locations actually than Cedar Point. This is not all-inclusive and I got it from their website, but some of them are the Coconut Cove Café in Soak City (which is included in admission to KI, unlike CP's Soak City which is a separate admission), several Skyline Chili locations, Festhaus (a huge German beer garden), Hank's Burrito Shack (located in the Oktoberfest section for some reason!), several pizza locations and the Juke Box Diner, similar to Coasters at CP. My favorite restaurant at KI is the Reds Hall of Fame Grille, featuring famous Cincinnati Reds ball players (sorry- don't know about Pete Rose being in there) but it doesn't take the dining plan.
With that sleep, maybe you'll remember to log in next time, James. ;-)
Uh, yea, sorry about that. My 40 minute drive home took nearly two hours last night due to black ice. And I get to do it all over again this morning!
Thanks for the info, Mr. Koehl ('Kayl'). I've found a few TPI posts related to Kings Island food, but most from circa 2009 or previous. I am thinking things have changed quite a bit since then, as they have at Cedar Point.
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