It’s dreaded, but it always comes if you’re not living in a southernmost state. The off-season refers to the period of time that a theme park is closed, usually due to the cold weather. Even though northern parks in the Six Flags and Cedar Fair chains now have successful holiday offerings, once the new year hits, the parks close in preparation for the upcoming end of spring/summer seasons.
Although the off-season is an antsy time for theme park enthusiasts since they can’t ride their favorite rides and visit their favorite parks, it’s also an exciting time. During the off-season, parks begin to announce their new rides for the upcoming season and showcase the construction. It is usually fun to follow, especially if it’s a large attraction for a well-known park. For 2019, Carowinds is getting ready to test their new roller coaster, Copperhead Strike.
The off-season is also a great time to learn more about the industry. The standard Wikipedia is great for learning more about coaster stats or parks that aren’t near you, but there are also some good books circulating in the industry. For example, just last year, John Hildebrandt released an entire book on Cedar Point operations and business. There are books on many different parks from Walt Disney World to the defunct Geauga Lake.
Another great thing to do in the off season is to start planning trips. Many theme park industry devotees do not live extremely close to a park, so planning is critical. The off-season is a good time to square away finances, trip routes, plane tickets, park tickets, and hotel reservations. Generally, a season pass is the most affordable way for access into parks when planning to visit multiple in the same chain.
Sometimes, I like to watch documentaries and videos of my favorite parks and rides. It is sometimes even better to know some history about what you are getting yourself into than going into a park with a blind side. However, I find that if I have an emotional connection to a place, I will want to learn more about it. I like to learn just enough to where I can be surprised and enjoy the park I am going to, yet I can know some of the important aspects that makes the place enjoyable.
Not all parks close down, of course. You could always plan a February Walt Disney World, Disneyland, SeaWorld, or Busch Gardens trip.
As a theme park enthusiast, what do you like to do during the off-season?