Attendance is rebounding at Cedar Fair's theme parks, but second quarter financial results still lagged the same period in 2019, as parks began delayed reopenings for the 2021 season.
Cedar Fair reported total attendance of 3.4 million during the three months ending June 27, 2021. That's way up from the mere 38,000 who visited the chain's Knott's Berry Farm before it closed in the second quarter of 2020 due to the pandemic. But it remains far behind the 8.5 million who visited the company's parks during the same period in 2019.
The company noted that its parks were open for a total of 393 days in second quarter of 2021 compared with 726 days in the same period of 2019. Canada's Wonderland did not reopen until after the quarter ended, and other parks did not open until May this year.
Cedar Fair reported $224 in net revenue for the quarter, far up from just under $6.6 million a year ago but still down from $436 million in the second quarter of 2019. Guests spent an average of $55.94 in the parks this quarter, up from $47.22 for the same period in 2019. That led to Cedar Fair reporting a positive adjusted EBITDA of $1.72 million for the quarter, though interest, depreciation and amortization knocked that down to a net loss of $58.87 million.
"We are seeing strong consumer confidence across our markets, creating a tailwind in terms of guest purchasing power and enabling us to build momentum as we approach our busiest period of the year," Cedar Fair President and CEO Richard A. Zimmerman said. "Guest spending started off strong this year and has continued to increase in recent weeks, similar to the trends we saw at parks that reopened during 2020."
Excluding Canada's Wonderland, which remained under capacity restrictions, total attendance for the five weeks ending August 1 represented approximately 90% of comparable same-day 2019 attendance levels, Cedar Fair said. In-park per capita spending was up to $61.93 during that period - up 20% from the comparable period in 2019, the company said, attributing the gains to increases in guest spending in all key revenue categories.
"Our team did an excellent job of managing through early-season headwinds, allowing us to return most park operations to full capacity without the need for guests to make reservations," Zimmerman said. "We also took decisive actions to mitigate the effects of labor shortages, attracting thousands of seasonal associates to bridge the gap in our workforce and allowing us to resume more normal operating schedules at most of our parks. As park restrictions have been relaxed and capacity expanded, attendance is now approaching 2019 levels, particularly on our busiest days."
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