Cedar Fair’s financials are on a record-setting pace through the first 10 months of 2022, according to the company’s latest earnings report.
The Sandusky, Ohio-based amusement park chain said through Oct. 30, attendance hadn’t fully recovered from its pre-pandemic levels, but at 24.9 million guests, it was only off by 4 percent from 2019 and up 43 percent from the same time period last year. Revenue and guest spending, however, had both increased compared to 2019.
“We are poised to deliver the best year in Cedar Fair’s history, driven by solid demand trends and strong levels of guest spending,” Cedar Fair president and CEO Richard Zimmerman said. He added during the earnings call, “I think we’re back to consumers prioritizing experiences over possessions, whether that’s pent-up demand, revenge spending, all those things we’ve talked about. Experiences are what consumers in the U.S. and in Canada are looking for.”
The company has also paid down “more than 90 percent of the debt that we incurred to survive” the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Zimmerman. While he bragged about “investing in marketable new attractions” in 2023, he also said that inflation is putting pressure on capital expenditures that include building new rides.
“We are making adjustments within the capital program where we can to absorb those pressures without sacrificing the impact of the product,” Zimmerman said. “It may mean deferring some infrastructure things here or there but we’re certainly doing everything we can to offset those pressures.”
Cedar Fair’s slate of new attractions for 2023 is a break from its pre-pandemic additions, mostly focusing on smaller coasters and revamped family areas, rather than one or two large-scale thrill rides.
Kings Island, Carowinds and Cedar Point will each add new lands and Knott’s Berry Farm is revamping its Fiesta Village area. Arguably the biggest 2023 addition in the chain is the new Zambezi Zinger at Worlds of Fun, the Kansas City park’s first new coaster since 2009.