Park of the Week: Islands of Adventure

Are Cedar Point Fans Ready to Take Fun Seriously?

July 8, 2020, 6:52 PM · Cedar Fair managers are ready, but anxious, to welcome guests to the company's flagship resort, Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, starting tomorrow, July 9.

Ready, because media guests were offered a self-guided tour of the front portion of the park, where we witnessed the carefully-planned-and-executed health and safety procedures that have been installed for guests returning for their pandemic-delayed roller coaster and elephant ear fix. Anxious, because we at the event could feel that the Cedar Point administration is anxious to be sure that they have done everything in their power to provide a safe and enjoyable experience to their returning guests, coming to “A Place Like No Other” that in many ways looks the same as last year, but different in others.

The procedures are much like those at every other park that's reopened. At this time, guests must have reservations made ahead of time, using the Cedar Point app. On arrival, they must use the Main Gate. The Resorts Gate, near Cedar Point Shores (which is not opening this season) is reserved for Hotel Breakers and the Lighthouse Point and Camper Village guests only. The other two gates, the Beach and Marina Gates, will not be open this year. After distance waiting in a winding queue, guests will enter a large, air-conditioned tent for temperature screening. We were asked to stand on a spot in front of a white screen, and a camera placed about 10 feet away scanned us - and gave a body temperature much more accurately than the hand-held thermometer we use at work. We then proceeded to security, which seemed to be handled in the same fashion as in the past.

I can’t report on how tickets are handled, since we had media credentials and were waved into the park, but I believe that they want everyone to - if possible - have your tickets or passes already on your phone app to be scanned in, allowing for contactless entry into the park. I added my season pass into my phone last night and it was quick and hassle-free. I know others did have problems, especially when there were multiple members of the same party, so if going be sure you have everything loaded in and current ahead of time.

The tour was a self-guided chance to explore five areas of interest which showed a good cross-section of the changes instituted by Cedar Point to ensure as much as possible the safety of guests while adhering to the plans required by local and State of Ohio health regulations. Those areas were:

Cedar Point 150 merchandise

Point Plaza - At the main front-gate shop for souvenirs and collectibles, park officials showed off social distancing markers in the store and the procedure for guests to self-scan, bag, and pay for their merchandise. They also showed some of the new merchandise for the 2020 season. Although there was no mention of the pandemic, there were generic face masks for sale, and Cedar Point-specific masks ($9.99 each) will be arriving next week. The park also will begin selling - and eventually trading - collectible pins, and complete selections of starter sets were on display.

maXAir seat restrictions

maXair - It wasn’t running, but you could go through the queue to see how the social distancing markers were placed on the ground. You also could see that the park had reduced the available seats by two-thirds. Every rider will have two empty seats on either side of them. And for those of you who know me, the answer is... no. I still won’t ride maXair.

Physical distancing in the queues

GateKeeper - Running, but always empty, probably just for atmosphere. You could enter the queue just to see the same distancing markers as on maXair. I have no idea how the seating will be handled on the ride itself.


RelaxZones - These are areas where you can take off your mask. Other than while actively eating or drinking, this is the only place in the park where you can do so. The Lakeside Lawn (where the Oceana Station was located) is now a collection of distanced chairs - a few with umbrellas - and several hand sanitation stations. I suspect this area was chosen because of its wide-open space.

French Quarter Confections - A new building at the front gate, where in the past you could get taffy, cotton candy and fudge, is now an indoor confectionary shop featuring waffles, donuts, funnel cakes, and elephant ears - along with the candies and snacks that always could be found at this location. Just like outside, the ubiquitous distancing signs are on the ground, and the tables located outside were well-distanced from each other to meet health requirements. BTW, the funnel cakes and elephant ears that I shared with my buddy and photographer Scott E. were terrific!

The rules for guests at Cedar Point are not complicated. You must wear a mask at all times, except while eating, drinking or in a RelaxZone. You must maintain social distancing with other guests not in your party. You must have, at least at this time, a reservation to be admitted into the park, and you must pass the temperature check before being admitted.

This is now a personal thought. Right now Ohio is being baked with one of the longest stretches of 90+ degree weather in years. It’s miserably hot, and Cedar Point is no exception. The pandemic is not Cedar Point’s fault - not the park management's fault, not the employees’ fault, not other guests’ fault. Don’t get mad at them. Nobody wants to wear a mask. Nobody wants to have to make reservations. Nobody wants there to be six feet of social distancing between riders, nor to send out what looks like two-thirds empty coasters. It is what it is. Just deal with it.

If you can’t stand the heat while wearing a mask, then don’t go. We all understand, and personally I do feel bad for you. While I wish that we didn’t have to wear them, or that everyone could wear them with no problem, this is just the way it is this year. If everyone cooperates, works together and we get this pandemic under control, hopefully then next year we can all be back at Cedar Point, complaining about the long lines at Steel Vengeance, dodging the seagulls in the parking lot and having an amazing time at Cedar Point, a place that really is “like no other.”

Will I be going back this year as a guest? I don’t know. I do worry about myself - I work in a pharmacy that provides services for hundreds of nursing homes, and we’ve lost hundreds of patients to this pandemic. Believe what you want, but it’s real - and deadly for far too many. My wife has several medical conditions that leave her immunocompromised, and I live in fear of bringing the virus home to her. She would probably not survive it. I feel confident that Cedar Point has done everything it can to lessen the chance of someone catching it, but all their efforts will only work if people follow the rules - stay home if you’re sick, wear your mask, socially distance, and use the hand sanitizing stations throughout the park...and use your common sense. The platitude that has been thrown around since this all started is true - we’re all in this together.

Perhaps it takes an event like this to make us truly appreciate and realize what a gem we have on America’s North Coast.

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Replies (6)

July 9, 2020 at 2:26 AM

So on maXair, parties of 2 or more will be separated? I hope that isn't the case for the other rides.

July 9, 2020 at 4:04 AM

Yes, every seat was separated by two empty seats on either side. I don't know about any other ride, since they didn't say and, to be honest, I didn't think to ask..I'll keep my day job. With today being the first full day of operations, we'll hear more. BTW, let's hope that the weather forecast for next week in Ohio is completely wrong- after a cooler, rainy weekend, I've seen chances of over 100 degrees in real air temperature! Add the humidity into that, and it's going to be bad up here on the North Coast!

July 9, 2020 at 10:30 AM

It seems like Cedar Point is going to the extreme to maintain social distancing on rides, which will dramatically increase wait times. To be honest, I would think it would be safer to sit @4-6 feet from someone on a 3 minute ride than standing in a queue for an extra 20 minutes where social distancing is up to the will of those around me.

I'm also curious how Cedar Point will manage their many switchback queues. At Hersheypark, I was not very satisfied with their solution. Instead of having guests alternating switchbacks (would have been easy to accomplish with most of the park's switchbacks governed with movable chains), they were utilizing every row with social distancing markings on the ground that were sometimes 10 feet from the person in front because guests are also occupying lateral spaces in adjacent rows. If someone in an adjacent row was not standing on their assigned mark, it means you could be closer than 6 feet to another party. If they had forced guests to only occupy alternating rows, they could have ground markings 6 feet apart throughout the entire queue.

I think the biggest thing for me with masks is what parks consider an acceptable face covering. Gaiters/"buffs" and headbands/bandannas worn over the nose and mouth are not acceptable at WDW, but for me are the most comfortable to wear, especially if you wear glasses or want to wear sunglasses. The materials those type of face covers (typically athletic performance fabrics) are a bit easier to breath through than disposable cotton masks, but still effectively filter out potentially infectious droplets.

July 9, 2020 at 10:57 AM

First, hot summers at Ohio are nothing new. I remember visiting King's Island in a truly miserable 1988 July which was nasty. But yes, it can be ugly especially with masks and such.

Also, thanks for the personal insight, James, as my mom is finally backing down a bit from her planned WDW visit until things can get more under control (unlikely given Florida's leadership) as there are things more important now than a theme park visit.

July 10, 2020 at 4:40 PM

I was at Cedar Point today, and about 50% of the people were blatantly disregarding the requirement to wear masks. And they weren't even being surreptitious about it. They were proudly bragging and joking about it. Cedar Point is going to have to step up enforcement, or this little experiment isn't going to last very long. As a Californian, I was somewhat taken aback at how rude and inconsiderate so many people were being with their blatant disregard for others. Based on what I saw today, it's clear that people can't be trusted to police themselves.

July 10, 2020 at 6:17 PM

I wish I could say I'm surprised, but I'm not. Ohio will probably be the next hotspot, and everyone will be acting all surprised and mad at the governor and Cedar Point and everyone else but themselves. Probably why I'm less and less inclined to go to Cedar Point this year. Robert, I guess you'll have to dock my pay...oh, yeah, I do this for free!

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