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Cedar Fair attendance up 8% in 4Q, 3% for year

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SANDUSKY, OHIO, January 13, 2009 -- Cedar Fair (NYSE: FUN), a leader in regional amusement parks, water parks and active entertainment, today announced that attendance in 2008 at its eighteen locations totaled 22.7 million guests, up 3% from the Company’s total attendance of 22.1 million in 2007.




“We experienced increases in attendance at many of our parks during the fourth quarter, as strong fall promotions and a favorable calendar increased attendance 8%, or 205,000 visits, from the same quarter a year ago,” said Dick Kinzel, chairman, president and chief executive officer. “For the full year, on a regional basis, our northern region and southern region parks experienced a 3% and 8% increase in attendance, respectively. The northern region, which includes the standout performer for 2008, Canada’s Wonderland near Toronto, and our flagship park, Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, entertained 12.8 million guests compared with 12.4 million guests in 2007. Our southern region parks entertained 4.4 million guests in 2008 compared with 4.1 million guests a year ago. Our western region parks hosted 5.5 million guests in 2008 versus 5.6 million guests in 2007, a 2% decrease. Meanwhile, preliminary results report average in-park guest per capita spending down approximately 1% between years.




“Overall, we are pleased to have achieved increases in year-over-year attendance in such a challenging consumer market,” said Kinzel. “Record high gasoline prices throughout most of our operating season, a troubled housing market, rising unemployment rates and the ongoing credit crisis were all challenges our parks had to overcome. We believe families chose to stay closer to home this summer, and we were successful in positioning our parks as an affordable alternative to the weeklong, out-of-town, family vacation.”






“It is likely that many of the difficult market conditions we faced in 2008 will be present throughout 2009, and we believe we are well positioned to meet these challenges,” continued Kinzel. “We will continue to focus on adding value to the guest experience through new shows, thrill rides, family attractions and special events that everyone can enjoy. I believe we have an excellent overall entertainment package line up at our parks for the 2009 season that will appeal to the budget-conscious consumers. Our parks are a family tradition and we believe they will continue to be for many generations to come.”




Kinzel concluded by noting the Company plans to issue a news release and host a conference call with analysts on Thursday, February 12, 2009 to discuss 2008 fourth quarter and full year earnings results for Cedar Fair. The Company’s 2008 year-end tax information will also be processed and mailed to unitholders at the beginning of March. The same tax information will be available to unitholders through the Investor Relations section of the Partnership’s corporate web site (www.cedarfair.com) beginning Monday, March 2, 2009.




Cedar Fair is a publicly traded partnership headquartered in Sandusky, Ohio, and one of the largest regional amusement-resort operators in the world. The partnership owns and operates 11 amusement parks, six outdoor water parks, one indoor water park and five hotels. Amusement parks in the company’s northern region include two in Ohio: Cedar Point, consistently voted “Best Amusement Park in the World” in Amusement Today polls, and Kings Island; as well as Canada’s Wonderland, near Toronto; Dorney Park, PA; Valleyfair, MN; and Michigan’s Adventure, MI. In the southern region are Kings Dominion, VA; Carowinds, NC; and Worlds of Fun, MO. Western parks in California include: Knott’s Berry Farm; Great America; and Gilroy Gardens, which is managed under contract.

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^Here's one little hint.


Meanwhile, preliminary results report average in-park guest per capita spending down approximately 1% between years.


Not a huge drop in spending--at least on the surface.

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^Yeah, I saw that. Those numbers are pretty good, but I'm wondering what the total per-cap spending was. They also said that attendance was boosted by "strong fall promotions", so if they got 8% more people through the turnstiles on heavily discounted tickets spending 1% less than they did the year prior, the overall numbers may tell a different story. For better or for worse.

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