Here’s a sure sign that people have been and are continuing to be tight with their money: Cedar Fair, the company that operates the Cedar Point amusement park near Sandusky, Ohio and the King’s Island park near Cincinnati, has announced that it had 1.2 million fewer visitors at its 18 amusement and water parks this year than last year. It will not pay a dividend to investors in 2010.
You would expect that, when families tighten their belts during tough economic times, trips to high-end amusement parks would be among the first luxuries to go. Some people had theorized, however, that people would exercise the “step-down phenomenon” and, instead, of forsaking all travel and vacations, would take “staycations” to nearby locations within reasonable driving distances. Cedar Point would seem to fit that bill — but any “staycations” did not compensate for the general decline in attendance by cost-conscious Americans.
We’ll know when we are out of this recession when the million people who elected not to go to Cedar Point this year return for days of coaster-riding, junk food, and sunburns.