Which 2018 Cedar Fair Season Pass Options are Best for You?

With announcements for next season being made last week, Cedar Fair parks have started to transition into the 2018 season, and this includes the availability of 2018 Season Passes and their respective all-season add-ons. In many cases, the sooner you buy these passes, the better, as parks provide incentives — including lower costs and perks for the current season — for buying early.

Have you ever been on the fence about purchasing a season pass for a Cedar Fair park instead of several days’ worth of one-day tickets? We’ll show you the costs and perks of owning a Cedar Fair Season Pass at each park (as well as the Platinum Pass), to see if it will change your decision making process!

Notes: Taxes not included on prices. Prices valid as of 8/20/17. Dining Plan Information from our friends at CP Food Blog is based on the 2017 Season and is subject to change for next year.


California’s Great America

  • New Season Pass Cost: Regular: $69, Gold: $89
  • Parking Included: With Gold Pass
  • All-Season Dining$79
  • All-Season Beverages: $29.99
  • All-Season Fast Lane: $199
  • All-Season Fun Pix: $39.99
  • Pre-K Pass Available: No
  • Special Events Included: Halloween Haunt and Winterfest (Gold Pass Only)

One of two Cedar Fair parks this year with two park-specific separate season pass pricing plans, California’s Great America recently announced the addition of the RMC Raptor Single-Rail Coaster, Railblazer for 2018. While the $69 “Regular” pass may seem enticing, the $20 upgrade to gold includes Parking, which based on 2017 parking prices ($20), pays for itself after the first visit. That said, the $69 pass option would be considered a great add-on for families with children who might not drive, who could buy one gold pass and multiple regular passes, and reap many of the same benefits.

New Gold Passholders receive unlimited visits for the remainder of the 2017 season including Haunt and WinterFest. Renewing Gold Passholders receive one free Bring-A-Friend Ticket valid on Sundays only (Daytime or Haunt) and one free Fast Lane valid on Sundays only (Daytime). Both valid until October 29, 2017.

 Additional benefits for the Gold Pass include a larger discount (20% vs. 10%) on food and merchandise (over the Regular Pass), free admission to Gilroy Gardens (a Cedar Fair-owned park located 40 miles south of California’s Great America), admission to both Halloween Haunt and Winterfest, and early access to the California’s Great America’s in-park water park, Boomerang Bay.

Canada’s Wonderland

  • New Season Pass Cost: $69.99 CAD 
  • Parking Included: Not included, but can be added for $45 CAD. (Thanks, @CoasterCircuits!)
  • All-Season Dining$83.99 CAD
  • All-Season Beverages: $29.99 CAD
  • All-Season Fast Lane: $499 CAD
  • All-Season Fun Pix: $44.99 CAD
  • Pre-K Pass Available: No
  • Special Events Included: Halloween Haunt Discount Only 

When taking the exchange rate into account, season passes for Canada’s Wonderland, Cedar Fair’s only “north of the border” park, are the most inexpensive of any park in the chain. With the addition of Lumberjack and Flying Canoes for 2018, the park continues to add to its unique arsenal of flat rides. Season Passholders at Canada’s Wonderland enjoy a wide array of benefits, including Water Park early entry, food and merchandise discounts, ERT, as well as Exclusive Passholder Appreciation events throughout the season

New Canada’s Wonderland Season Passholders receive one free visit this year valid beginning August 16 and $14.99 additional visits for the remainder of 2017 (neither are valid for Halloween Haunt.) Renewing Passholders receive one free Fast Lane Plus (valid 8/16/2017 – 10/29/2017) and one free Bring-A-Friend Ticket (valid from 9/10/2017 – 10/29/2017). Renewing Passholders also receive free entry into Canada’s Wonderland’s Dinosaurs Alive attraction.

Carowinds

  • New Season Pass Cost: $102
  • Parking Included: Yes
  • All-Season Dining$90
  • All-Season Beverages: $29.99
  • All-Season Fast Lane: $250
  • All-Season Fun Pix: $44.99
  • Pre-K Pass Available: Yes
  • Special Events Included: SCarowinds, Winterfest 

With the addition of Camp Snoopy for 2018, Carowinds will have added 16 attractions at the park since 2015’s Debut of Fury 325. With the newly re-branded kids area, Carowinds has also added the Free Pre-K pass for 2018, which provides free admission for guests ages 3-5 all season long. (Pre-Registration required).

Carowinds is one of three parks (Kings Dominion, Worlds of Fun) in the Cedar Fair chain to check all of the boxes when it comes to Season Pass benefits, including Free Parking, Pre-K pass, and included admission to both a Halloween event, SCarowinds, and Winter Event, Winterfest. Additional Season pass benefits include Early Access to Carolina Harbor Waterpark, ERT (Exclusive Ride Time) and EST (Exclusive Splash Time), Free Admission to Dinosaurs Alive, and a 10% Discount at Carowinds’ on-site Camp Wilderness Resort.

New 2018 passholders for Carowinds will receive one free visit this year valid for Fall Daytime, SCarowinds or WinterFest plus $14.99 additional visits for the remainder of 2017 valid for Fall Daytime (Not valid for SCarowinds) or WinterFest. Renewing passholders get one free 2017 Fast Lane and one free Sunday Daytime Bring-A-Friend ticket this fall through October 29, 2017. This ticket is not valid for SCarowinds.

Cedar Point

  • New Season Pass Cost: $135
  • Parking Included: No
  • All-Season Dining$90
  • All-Season Beverages: $29.99
  • All-Season Fast Lane: N/A
  • All-Season Fun Pix: $49.99
  • Pre-K Pass Available: Yes
  • Special Events Included: Halloween Haunt

Cedar Point’s $135 season pass cost is the highest single park season pass currently offered by the Cedar Fair chain. The flagship park in the chain features more rides than any other amusement park (71), including 17 roller coasters, highlighted by the record-breaking, new-for-2018 coaster, Steel Vengeance. New 2018 passholders receive one free visit plus unlimited $14.99 additional visits this year. Renewing passholders receive one free Fast Lane Plus (excluding Saturdays) and Bring-A-Friend Ticket (Sundays only) this season. Cedar Point is the only park in the chain to not have an all-season Fast Lane option.

There are many unique benefits to being a Cedar Point passholder, including a $1 Discount on $4 Midway Games, a Discount and Free Beer during Cedar Point’s Brews & BBQ, 10% off of select room types at Cedar Point hotels, as well as $10 off a parasail ride or jet ski rental at Northcoast Parasail.

However, for our money, if you’re considering becoming a Cedar Point Passholder, we would recommend spending the extra $60 and upgrading to the Platinum Pass (detailed below). You get all the perks of a gold pass, with the added benefit of included parking, included admission to Cedar Point’s new water park, Cedar Point Shores, admission into Cedar Point’s Dinosaurs Alive, early entry into the park and water park, as well as access to several other Platinum Passholder-only perks and events held at Cedar Point. (At Cedar Point, you’re also just a short 3.5 hour drive from Kings Island, which would be included in the Platinum Pass, just saying!)

Dorney Park

  • New Season Pass Cost: $115
  • Parking Included: Yes
  • All-Season Dining$99
  • All-Season Beverages: $29.99
  • All-Season Fast Lane: $125
  • All-Season Fun Pix: N/A
  • Pre-K Pass Available: Yes
  • Special Events Included: Halloween Haunt

New 2018 Passholders at Dorney Park will receive one free visit during the 2017 season plus $14.99 (plus tax) additional visits for the remainder of 2017. Renewing Passholders receive one free Fright & Fast Lane Pass (valid 9/10/2017 – 10/29/2017, excluding Saturdays) and Bring-A-Friend Ticket (valid Friday or Sunday 9/10/2017 – 10/29/2017). Halloween Haunt can bring a crowd for sure, so the Fright & Fast lane pass is a great perk for renewing passholders!

Parking is included with a Dorney Park season pass, along with admission to Halloween Haunt, admission to Dinosaurs Alive, early ride times and early access to Wildwater Kingdom, Dorney Park’s in-park water park. Dorney Park is also offering the Pre-K pass for 2018, one of six Cedar Fair parks to offer this option. The $125 All-Season Fast Lane is one of the more inexpensive all-season Fast Lanes chain-wide, and includes roller coasters like Steel Force, Talon and Hydra: The Revenge.

Kings Dominion

  • New Season Pass Cost: $99
  • Parking Included: Yes
  • All-Season Dining$87
  • All-Season Beverages: $29.99
  • All-Season Fast Lane: $225
  • All-Season Fun Pix: $44.99
  • Pre-K Pass Available: Yes
  • Special Events Included: Halloween Haunt, Winterfest 

A 2018 season pass at Kings Dominion offers four seasons of thrills, with the opening of the new Twisted Timbers next spring, unlimited visits to the recently renovated Soak City all summer, Halloween Haunt in the fall, and the all-new Winterfest to close out the year. Kings Dominion also has a Pre-K pass, for guests aged 3-5 who want to experience Kings Dominion’s newly-upgraded Planet Snoopy.

Season passholders at Kings Dominion can enjoy free parking, free Dinosaurs Alive, as well as food and merchandise discounts. At $225, I expect the all-season Fast Lane to sell out quickly, especially with a “Big Four” at Kings Dominion that now consists of Dominator, Intimidator 305, Volcano: The Blast Coaster, and now Twisted Timbers.

New passholders receive one free visit this season plus $14.99 additional visits for the remainder of 2017. Renewing passholders receive one free Fast Lane Plus and one free Bring-A-Friend Ticket valid Friday or Sunday from Sep. 17 – Oct. 29, 2017.

Kings Island

  • New Season Pass Cost: $103.50
  • Parking Included: Yes
  • All-Season Dining$94.50
  • All-Season Beverages: $29.99
  • All-Season Fast Lane: $499
  • All-Season Fun Pix: $44.99
  • Pre-K Pass Available: No
  • Special Events Included: Halloween Haunt, Winterfest 

Kings Island Season Passholders have the unique perk of Early Ride Time on Mystic Timbers, the park’s newest wooden roller coaster that opened in 2017. They also have included free parking, special passholder-exclusive events and promotions, unlimited visits to Halloween Haunt and Winterfest, and early access to Soak City, Kings Island’s water park.

New Kings Island passholders receive one free visit this year plus $14.99 additional visits for the remainder of 2017. Renewing Kings Island passholders receive one free Fast Lane Plus and Bring-A-Friend Ticket (valid Sundays only 9/24/17 – 10/29/17), Bring-A-Friend discounts and access to last rides of the 2017 season on 10/29/17.

Like with Cedar Point, given the proximity of the two parks (the two closest major parks to each other in the Cedar Fair chain), we would recommend looking into a Platinum Pass over a Gold Pass for Kings Island, especially if you plan on visiting both parks in one season.

Knott’s Berry Farm

  • New Season Pass Cost: Regular: $92, Gold: $110
  • Parking Included: Not Included, Can be added for $65 at either level
  • All-Season Dining$99
  • All-Season Beverages: $29.99
  • All-Season Fast Lane: $499
  • All-Season Fun Pix: $44.99
  • Pre-K Pass Available: No
  • Special Events Included: Knott’s Merry Farm (Season pass holders get a discount on Knott’s Scary Farm, or full-season access for $80)

Knott’s Berry Farm is billed as America’s First Theme Park. In 2018, they will be welcoming Hangtime, a Gerstlauer infinity coaster, and the first dive coaster on the West Coast.

While All-Season Parking and Knott’s Scary Farm are not included in the base season price pass at either the Regular or Gold level, Knott’s is still definitely one of the best deals in Southern California theme parks when it comes to season passes. Located less than an hour from both Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood, even adding in the $65 all-season parking cost and $80 Knott’s Scary Farm season admission price, Knott’s is still cheaper than both Universal and Disney, has no blackout dates for attendance, includes Hotel Discounts, and at the Gold Pass level, includes entry into Knott’s Soak City.

New Passholders: Receive one free visit this year to Knott’s Berry Farm and Soak City Waterpark plus $14.99 additional visits for the remainder of 2017. Free visit and $14.99 additional visits not valid for Scary Farm or special events.
Renewing Passholders: Receive a limited time renewal price and one free Bring-A-Friend Ticket valid any day from September 9, 2017 – December 15, 2017.

Michigan’s Adventure

  • New Season Pass Cost: $90
  • Parking Included: Not included, can be added for $44. (Thanks, @CoasterCircuits!)
  • All-Season Dining$90
  • All-Season Beverages: $29.99
  • All-Season Fast Lane: $99
  • All-Season Fun Pix: N/A
  • Pre-K Pass Available: No
  • Special Events Included: N/A

Cedar Fair’s smallest park, Michigan’s Adventure, doesn’t offer many of the bells and whistles of other parks in the chain, however their $99 all-season Fast Lane is the least expensive of any Cedar Fair Park. Their perks are similar to other parks in the chain with food and merchandise discounts, but do not include 2018 parking.

New Passholders: Receive one free 2017 visit plus $14.99 additional visits for the remainder of 2017.
Renewing Passholders: Receive one free Fast Lane valid for 2017.

Valleyfair

  • New Season Pass Cost: $75
  • Parking Included: Yes
  • All-Season Dining$75
  • All-Season Beverages: $29.99
  • All-Season Fast Lane: $125
  • All-Season Fun Pix: N/A
  • Pre-K Pass Available: Yes
  • Special Events Included: ValleySCARE! 

Valleyfair has both the cheapest Gold season pass cost and cheapest all-season dining plan of any Domestic Cedar Fair park. In theory, if you developed a taste for theme park food, you go to Valleyfair every day during the season, park for free, ride some great coasters like the Great Coasters International Woodie, Renegade and Morgan Hypercoaster, Wild Thing, eat lunch and dinner at the park, and only pay $150+ tax to do it. Definitely one of the most cost effective season-pass dining methods.

Valleyfair is also adding the 70′ looper, Delirious, for the 2018 season.

New Passholders: Receive one free visit this year plus $14.99 additional visits for the remainder of 2017.
Renewing Passholders: Receive one Fright & Fast Lane Pass and Bring-A-Friend Ticket valid this year.

Worlds of Fun

  • New Season Pass Cost: $99
  • Parking Included: Yes
  • All-Season Dining$95
  • All-Season Beverages: $29.99
  • All-Season Fast Lane: $125
  • All-Season Fun Pix: $29.99
  • Pre-K Pass Available: Yes
  • Special Events Included: Halloween Haunt, Winterfest

Like Carowinds and Kings Dominion, Worlds of Fun also checks all of the Season Pass perk boxes; Free parking, Pre-K Pass, Halloween and Winter Event. They are also adding the new Nordic Chaser attraction in 2018. 

Passholders at Worlds of Fun have early park and water park access, Dinosaurs Alive admission, and several other perks. It’s worth noting that their all-season FunPix (new for 2018) price is the cheapest in the chain, and that price is valid for all Cedar Fair parks that have FunPix. (A “hack,” if you will, for Platinum Passholders.)

New Passholders: Receive one free 2017 visit plus $14.99 additional 2017 visits and get access to our exclusive Season Passholder Sneak Preview in spring 2018.
Renewing Passholders: Receive one free Fast Lane and Bring-A-Friend Ticket valid Friday or Sunday this year and get access to our exclusive Season Passholder Sneak Preview in spring 2018.

Cedar Fair Platinum Pass

  • New Season Pass Cost: $193.50
  • Parking Included: Yes, at all Cedar Fair Parks
  • All-Season Dining: $115 (valid at all Cedar Fair Parks)
  • All-Season Beverages: $29.99
  • All-Season Fast Lane: Does Not Exist
  • All-Season Fun Pix: Price paid valid at all Cedar Fair parks
  • Pre-K Pass Available: No
  • Special Events Included: All Halloween Events except Canada’s Wonderland and Knott’s Scary Farm (Discounts available for both). All Winter events included.

Admittedly, I have been a Cedar Fair Platinum Passholder for the past two seasons, and as long as I’m writing for Coaster101, I don’t think I would have it any other way. If you’re like me, and travel to different theme parks multiple times a year, a Cedar Fair Platinum Pass is a card that you can’t leave home without. In 2016, I was able to visit my home park, Carowinds, multiple times, Dorney Park, Kings Dominion, and a 1.5-day stop at Kings Island. In 2017, I’ve made several more trips to Carowinds, visited Knott’s Berry Farm and Kings Dominion, with plans to visit SCarowinds, and at least one Winterfest if not more, before the end of the year.

The discounts and free parking alone are, to me, enough to justify the added cost of a Platinum Pass over a Gold Pass at several Cedar Fair parks. In the next few days, I’ll definitely be renewing my Platinum Pass for next season, because if the stars align the way I’d like them to, I’ll be visiting at least five of Cedar Fair’s parks (Carowinds, Kings Dominion, Cedar Point, Kings Island, and California’s Great America), and the Platinum Pass is by far the most cost effective way to do that.

You can click the above links for your home Cedar Fair park to purchase your Platinum Pass.


So, which pass is right for you? To summarize a lot of the basics above, we created this chart, showing costs and basic perks for the parks in the Cedar Fair chain. These numbers are current as of August 20, 2017, and as the 2018 season approaches, they are subject to increase and change. Which pass will you be buying, if any for the 2018 season?

Cover Credit: @SOTThemePark on Twitter. 

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2 Responses

  1. Zachary says:

    I wish I could live near a cedar fair park.My home park is SFGAm,but I am asking to go to Cedar Point as a birthday gift.Don’t think it will happen, though.

  2. Schoup says:

    If you plan on going to any Cedar Fair park more than 2 times a Platinum pass is the way to go. Btw, for Cedar Point platinum passholders an added benefit is that you can get a flash lane plus for the price of regular fast lane. Wonderland season passes are a steal. The passes are severally under priced IMO. If you do the conversion the passes are around $56 USD. It’s odd Cedar Fair makes them so cheap for a quality park.

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