After reporting record earnings in 2022, the Cedar Fair theme park chain saw drops in attendance and revenue leading to net loss of $134 million in the first three months of 2023.
First quarter losses are typical for Cedar Fair, as most of its parks operate seasonally and only Knott’s Berry Farm is open most weekdays throughout the year. Even though other parks, including California’s Great America, expanded into being open on weekends for the quarter — leading to 31 more operating days compared to the first quarter of 2023 — Cedar Fair execs said record rainfall and cold temperatures in California kept guests away.
Guest spending, however, increased 10 percent during the three-month period, so the smaller crowds that did come out to the parks spent more during their visits.
“We obviously got impacted by weather,” Cedar Fair CEO Richard Zimmerman told analysts on Thursday’s earnings call, “but once they get to the park, we’ve seen no slowdown in what they want to spend and what they want to spend on.”
He added that 95 percent of the company’s attendance and revenues come from the other nine months of the year. The chain’s flagship park, Cedar Point, opens on May 6, and all of its properties will be open by Memorial Day.
“We are confident we will continue to build on the momentum we achieved last year,” Zimmerman said.