SANDUSKY, Ohio - Thousands of people packed into Cedar Point on Saturday to take advantage of the beautiful weather for the park's annual 'HalloWeekends' event. However, many did not expect it would take several hours to get out.
NewsChannel5 received multiple phone calls and emails late Saturday night into early Sunday morning from viewers who were stuck in the park's parking lot for several hours.
Cedar Point's Facebook Page also filled up with hundreds of comments on the overcrowded parking lots and traffic from Saturday night.
One viewer from Westlake said his daughter, Amy Ford, and her friend Kenna Larson left the park at 10:45 p.m. Saturday. Both Ford and Larson told NewsChannel5 they didn't actually leave until closer to 2:30 a.m. Sunday.
The traffic back-up actually became a scare for the two Canton-area college students because of health reasons.
Ford told NewsChannel5 she is a Type 1 Diabetic and felt her blood sugar lowering as they waited in stopped traffic for several hours. Ford told NewsChannel5 she went to Cedar Point prepared for a diabetic emergency with "three juice boxes and two bags of candy" but went through her supplies in the unexpectedly longer wait to exit.
Larson told NewsChannel5, while in traffic she talked to a park officer and asked for help.
"I explained the concern to him and turned over to say that it was going to be OK, that it would be alright and he left," said Larson.
Both Ford and Larson then said they got the phone number to Cedar Point Police from Ford's father and called several times. Larson said it was only after calling 911 that they were able to receive help but explained, even that took a while.
Amy's father told NewsChannel5 he did not feel is was safe for Amy and Kenna to be driving in the early hours of the morning, especially when Amy's sugar was low, and spent over $100 for a hotel room for them.
Throughout the ordeal Ford said, "I was so mad, like I was crying. I was scared because both of our phones were dying too, and that's not the park's responsibility, but it just scared me that we were at a dead stop, we might not have communication with people and I exhausted all my supplies. And to my knowledge, people weren't helping me yet."
"My main concern with Cedar Point that day was even if it was a freak thing, if something was very off, that shouldn't normally happen. I think that they should've been responsive, especially in that situation," said Larson.
Ford and Larson said they won't be returning to Cedar Point until parking issues are resolved.
NewsChannel5 received the following statement Sunday afternoon from Cedar Point in regards to the situation:
"On Saturday, October 12, Cedar Point experienced a large crowd with the combination of perfect weather, the Columbus Day holiday and our annual HalloWeekends event.
While guests were attempting to park their vehicles, and subsequently, leave the park at the end of their day, they experienced a longer than normal delay in our parking lot and on our causeway. Like sporting events, concerts and other events where large crowds gather, guests leave around the same time creating a backup.
Our current parking procedures and traffic patterns are in place to safely direct vehicles in and out of our parking lot, as safety is our primary concern. However, we are aware that the delay on Saturday, October 12 was not normal.
We are currently reviewing our parking and traffic procedures in an effort to deliver a better guest experience."