Day 0: Drive to Erie, PA
We left Ottawa around 6:00 pm, crossed into US at the Prescott / Ogdensburg bridge, which is a much faster border crossing than 1000 Islands Bridge at I-81 (less traffic), even if it means driving 40 miles on county roads. The US Customs officer raised eyebrows at the idea we were heading to the US to ride roller coasters. The fact our passports say we're married but we don't have the same last name didn't help. But after a quick peak in our trunk, we were on our way -- until we crossed a Border Patrol checkpoint 10 miles down the road. (It didn't take them long to figure out we weren't harbouring any fugitives.) Once we hit I-81, I set the cruise for 125 km/h (~78 mph) and cruised right past Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo, finally stopping at the Super 8 in Erie, PA, around 12:30. We had a reservation, but others were turned away - it was full. I don't understand why, it was a pretty crappy room (3/10). The toilet ran all night, the windows facing the interstate didn't close properly, and because of the filth, my wife was afraid to take off her shoes.
Day 1: Cedar Point
We left Erie around 8:00 and arrived in Sandusky around 10:30, sticking pretty close to 120 km/h (~75 mph) the whole way through. We wanted to grab a good breakfast before hitting the park, but quickly discovered that most Sandusky restaurants don't open until 11:00 or they are jammed with hotel guests grabbing their own breakfasts. We eventually ended up at a Steak and Shake -- not too bad -- I'll give it a 6/10. When we arrived at Cedar Point, it was 11:45, and we parked in the 3rd row. However, by the time we bought our tickets, it was after noon. (FYI: Canadian's who request a CP brochure by mail get coupons good for $12 off any Funday ticket with no blackout dates. That's even better than CP’s Fright Fest $10 internet coupons.) While my wife visited the facilities, I went to guest services and asked about coupons for Geauga Lake. Unfortunately, either they didn't know what I was talking about, or these coupons I read about on CoasterBuzz were only distributed early in the season.
Top Thrill Dragster (9/10)
We entered the line at 12:15 and waited about an hour. TTD is a one-trick-pony, but oh! What a trick! I've never been sucked back into my seat like that before. EVER. Fast, smooth, perfect. I held my hands up from the top down past the finish line while my wife clung on for dear life. (I can finally razz her now. She did it to me after the first time we rode MF and I couldn't lift my hands until the 3rd hill.)
Since we were thinking about using freeway which didn’t start distributing until 2:00 (more about that later), we decided to ride Corkscrew before trying to get our hand-stamp for a later TTD ride. Corkscrew was a walk-on. It was a nice smooth ride with good air-pops.
We do not understand why Freeway is so popular. Why do people want to spend an hour lining up for a Freeway when the regular line is only 60-90 minutes long? Around 1:45 we checked the Freeway lines for both TTD and MF. They were ridiculous, so we just got in the main MF line.
Millennium Force (8/10)
The regular line took 90 minutes, which is the shortest we have ever waited to ride MF. 93 mph is very fast, and the weightlessness you experience as the train accelerates down the hills seems like forever. The anticipation of going up a conventional lift hill is a thrill TTD can't match.
I know my wife and I are getting old. If we don't eat a reasonably healthy lunch, we get grouchy and headachy, and can't last a day in a theme park. So with only 3 coasters under our belts, we stopped being disciplined theme-park commandos and turned into whiny, pathetic tourists, wandering all over the place before settling on Macaroni's. <roll eyes> The host and table bussing staff were terrible, but the wait staff and kitchen staff were good. The salad bar which comes with most meals was iffy -- the salads were good, but you had to be careful or you would pick up moldy grapes or mushy olives. The hot food was good, but 20 minutes is too long to wait for a table when we can see several that would be open, if only they were cleaned and set. I rate Macaroni's a 5/10.
Wicked Twister (7/10)
It was fast and fun, with only a 20 minute line. The beach looked gorgeous from up above. A perfect ride to settle our stomachs. :-)
Disaster Transport (5/10)
Even though half the queue line was lost to Pharaoh's Secret, the DT line was still very slow. The ride is very dark, but not exactly thrilling. Next time, I'm going to make a point of wearing my sunglasses.
Blue Streak (6/10)
The sun was setting as we waited in line. It was gorgeous, but it kept my brain from cluing in to the fact that every second train had the same 4 empty seats. When we got to the platform, we picked one of the two rows that loaded only every second train, so we waited 5 trains rather than 2 or 3. :-( But the ride was good. It was a little rougher than I remembered, but Blue Streak still has good air-time.
We checked Raptor next, but the line was over an hour, so we decided to wait and ride it later.
Iron Dragon (7/10)
Iron Dragon in the dark was great, weaving through dark trees, fog-covered water, and cheering TTD riders. It's just a suspended coaster, but Cedar Point designed the terrain and theming perfectly. We could have walked on, but we waited 4 or 5 trains for a front-row seat.
Magnum XL-200 (9/10)
The sign said the wait was 3/4 of an hour, but we were through in 25 minutes. There's a reason Magnum XL-200 has remained in the top-10 coaster lists 15 years after its record-breaking debut. AIR-TIME. Every hill has riders pushing up against the lap bar. There's no fancy high-speed turns or water-skimming helixes like Superman: Ride of Steel. MXL is simply speed and air-time. I can only imagine what MF would have been like if designers used MXL's simple out-and-back layout. MXL is the greatest of its kind: the best traditional chain-lift steel coaster PERIOD. (MXL kicks S:ROS's ass!)
Walk-on. So smooth, so quick, too bad the blue train beat us. :-)
Mean Streak (4/10)
We waited 20 minutes to ride MS, and we still don't know why we come back to it whenever we visit CP. It's fast and long, but it's rough from beginning to end. There's no descent air-time. Our only reward was that we got off in one piece.
Cedar Creek Mine Ride (5/10)
We never rode the Cedar Creek Mine Ride in the dark before. It was better than in daylight, but this coaster still needs some theming. Shouldn't a mine-themed coaster at least have a tunnel?
Woodstock Express (5/10)
WE is a cute kiddy-coaster that doesn't discriminate against adults who behave like children. Around 11:00 pm, Camp Snoopy was relatively dead. My wife and I took the back seat and two little kids took the very front (on the engine with Woodstock). The four of us had a great time on that little ride.
By the time we made it back to Raptor, it was 11:25. The sign said the line was 3/4 of an hour, but we were quickly on the platform. We could have waited +6 trains to ride in the very front (which we've done in the dark before), but we were tired (and my wife was cold), so we waited just 2 trains for seats near the back. Raptor at night is always fun - watching people on the midway below the lift hill, diving into darkness, corkscrews and heartline rolls that come out of nowhere - it's an indescribable thrill.
We were out of the Raptor in ~15 minutes. We decided to split up, my wife heading for the car to warm up, and myself to Mantis. (My wife HATES all stand-up coasters. They really bang her up.) I expected a short line, but it was shorter than I thought -- I was on the platform after only one load cycle. I decided to wait 4 or 5 trains for a front-row seat, and I'm glad I did. It was my best Mantis ride ever! The first dive, loop, and 2nd hill/dive were perfectly smooth. The rest of the ride was a little rough, but nothing like my previous Mantis experiences. It was a lot of fun riding in the dark. I exited the ride at 12:05 and headed straight for the car.
We didn't try to ride Wildcat or Power Tower, but they weren't tops on our to-do-list anyways. It was a perfect day at the point.
We checked into the Super 8 in Milan around 12:30. It was a good quiet hotel, but my wife found a couple faults. 8/10
Day 2: Geauga Lake
We were tired after our full day at CP. Knowing GL wouldn't be crowded, we slept in a bit, not worrying about being there for gate open. After a 45 minute drive, we arrived at GL and were directed to park in the front row. This was just before 11:00, nearly an hour after gate-open - we were shocked! Unfortunately, we didn't have coupons for this park, so we paid virtually the same price as we did for CP. However, we definitely got our money's worth.
X-Flight alone is worth the trip to Geauga Lake. Yes, it is a flying coaster, but it is not at all like the 2-minute torture chamber known as Tomb Raider: The Ride (Paramount Canada's Wonderland). The restraints were broad, flexible and a bit heavy - like the vests dentists make you wear when taking X-rays. Also unlike TR:TR, XF lets riders sit in a comfortable position on the lift hill and station, only switching to flying mode as you begin the descent and flipping back before the brake run. Going up the lift hill backwards is fun on any coaster, and XF was no exception. When you are gently rolled from your back to your front, the wide, soft restraints take all your weight comfortably. You fly, just like some un-named super hero not associated with Cedar Fair theme parks. ;-) We rode XF 3 times, and our dark ride was definitely the most fun. All the fog machines in the park must have been going full blast - it looked eerie.
Head Spin (6/10)
Just another Boomerang, but well maintained and well staffed.
Big Dipper (8/10)
Holy #$%&#! They let coasters go this fast in 1925? This classic woodie runs full-tilt beginning to end. While GL claims it only goes 32 mph, I suspect that's the speed going into the final brake run. The cars have good padding at the knees, and you need it. There is copious air-time on every hill, often so forceful that riders are lifted 4-5 inches to hit the single-position lap bar. They were only running one train, but there was never a wait. We rode BD 3 times and we enjoyed it the most when we rode 'single' since we had more leg-room.
Steel Venom (8/10)
Steel Venom = I can't believe it's not Wicked Twister. I also can't believe that this was a walk-on for both the front row and the back row. (That's why I ranked it slightly higher than WT.) We rode it twice - once in the morning in the very front, and in the back row around sunset. Riding in the very front (something we haven't done on WT), we got the full dose of +70 mph wind - incredible. Two things differentiate SV from WT (besides the lines), SV only twists on the front vertical track (the rear track goes straight up), and SV uses these weird brakes to hold the train vertical for a half-second before the forward free-fall into the station. I don't understand the braking thing. All it does is put your weight fully on the restraints, interrupting the weightlessness sensation. Besides this, SV is still a great ride.
We indulged ourselves in a giant pickle-on-a-stick while walking across the park. This is definitely our favorite theme park food. In past years, we found pickles at Cedar Point, but not this trip.
Raging Wolf Bobs (7/10)
RWB is another fast woodie. We had to hang on on this one. If we had our hands up going into any curves, we were really tossed about. Still, the ride wasn't painful, just very surprising. We rode it twice, back-to-back.
Dominator was the first floorless coaster we ever rode. Even though there was virtually no line, they ran 2 trains all day. (Big Dipper and X-Flight were the only multi-train coasters that operated only one train that day.) Of course, we rode in the very front. All I can say is WOW! It's an incredible ride, diving from what seems to be the highest point in the park, right down to the pond by the lake (where you can see all the lost shoes and hats). I loved it, but the two corkscrews at the end are very rough and they did a number on my wife.
Usually we love inverted coasters, but this is not one of our better rides. The train configuration and track layout seemed familiar, so I checked with RCDB, and sure enough Thunderhawk is a clone of Top Gun (Paramount Canada's Wonderland) and Mind Eraser (Six Flags Darien Lake and other SF parks). While Top Gun is the best coaster at Paramount Canada's Wonderland, Thunderhawk was rough beginning to end. It did not merit a second ride.
To avoid a coaster-induced headache, we stopped for lunch at the Jukebox Café (I rank it 5/10). We tried to eat healthy, sharing a large chicken Caesar salad and chicken finger platter. The chicken fingers and fries were excellent, but the salad wasn't good - the lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, bacon bits and grilled chicken were fine, but the cucumber and olives were definitely going bad. We picked them off, but they may have contaminated the entire salad. While we can't be 100% sure, we suspect the contaminated salad cost us a few extra trips to the bathrooms later that afternoon. Health food sucks!
Beaver Land Mine Ride (5/10)
The Beaver Land Mine Ride has one of the longest trains I've ever seen, 20 cars! We rode in the 2nd car, so we actually decelerated going downhill and accelerated going uphill - a rare but fun twist. I still don't understand why mine rides often lack any mining theming.
The Villain (8/10)
The Villain is the biggest woodie at GL. It's also the fastest (60 mph). Like other GL woodies, the Villain holds its speed throughout the course. There's lots of good air-time as well as a surprising trick track between the 2nd and 3rd hills. (According to Thrill World Online, a trick track is an element usually located on a straight, flat part of the track that causes a train to lean to one side and quickly return to level, catching riders off-guard.) We rode The Villain twice. Gotta love it!
Double Loop (6/10)
Another Arrow looper. Not outstanding in either a good or bad way, there were just many more interesting coasters to ride.
For an afternoon snack / early supper, we grabbed a smoked turkey leg and ate it on the boardwalk behind Raging Wolf Bobs. It was pretty tasty, but not as good as the one I had at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom two years ago. For those of you who have never tried a smoked turkey leg, they are very good. The flavour is similar to smoked ham, and you get a good 1-1/2 pounds of lean meat (plus 1/2 a pound of bone). Not bad for $5, plus it’s a hell of a lot healthier than the mystery meat sausages.
Besides the coasters, we also went on the Haunted Ferry Boat (5/10), Big Top Terror (actors scared us even when we were expecting it, 7/10), Candy Coral (wouldn't have been better even if we were collecting candy like the kids, 4/10), Americana (Ferris Wheel, 6/10), Pirates Flight (7/10), Bounty (swinging boat surrounded by trees, 7/10), Boardwalk Typhoon (scrambler, 8/10), Yo-Yo's* (swings, 5/10), Time Warp (an excellent flipping ride, "inverted double rotation"??, hard to describe, must be seen, 8/10), and Texas Twister (flipping log ride, 7/10).
*I barely fit in the Yo-Yo swings because of the very snug chest-strap. Because of the strap, I was forced to lean back, to the point where my center of gravity was directly in line with the rear chains rather than between the front and rear chains. My chair would tilt back like a lazy-boy chair if I didn't try and lean forward and hang on to the front chains -- I don't think it was safe and I'd hesitate before riding the Yo-Yo's again.
Geauga Lake definitely had better Halloween theming than Cedar Point, especially when they turned on all the fog machines in the evening. The entire front gate was consumed with fog, which hid half of the Villain, X-Flight, and the Ferris Wheel.
That evening we stayed at the Super 8 Twinsburg, less than 10 miles from GL and right beside I-480. This was the best hotel of the entire trip - very clean and quiet. Even my wife liked it. I give it a 9/10.
Day 3: The long drive home.
The drive rom Twinsburg, OH to Ottawa, ON, thankfully event-free. I just set the cruise for 120 km/h (75 mph) and went with the flow. We got off the I-81 north of Watertown, taking local highways and crossing at Ogdensburg / Prescott bridge again to avoid the holiday weekend traffic on the 1000 Islands Bridge and Highway 401. The Canadian customs worker didn't even ask for ID. For once, Highway 416 was busy between the 401 and Ottawa, but 120 km/h was perfect to go with the flow. The drive took 9 hours including breaks for food and fuel. Total distance traveled: 1951 km (1212 miles). It was a perfect long weekend.
[edited line breaks] *** Edited 10/13/2004 5:25:47 PM UTC by greatwhitenorth***
I am glad you had fun at both parks (though I mainly read the Geauga Lake section, since I work there). I am especially glad to hear that you had fun at GL. This has been a slow year for us, making is somewhat frustrating, so it is always great to read when our guests have a good trip.
For discount coupons, CP had some that were valid in September for Oktoberfest and the weekend(s) before it. I think Arby's now has discount tickets too. Also, Giant Eagle, a big grocery chain in Northern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania has discount tickets.
Thanks for the great report, and I hope you don't mind me sharing it with my co-workers, some of which might not read CB.
2004 Steel Venom, Head Spin, Skyscraper, Bellaire Express Crew!
Have you rode Superman in the very back seat? Cause thats by far better then any other seat on Superman.
Also for the record I have been to SFDL over 10 times and have ridden Superman probabaly 100 times so its not just the novelty that makes me think its better, because its obviously worn off
I miss my job...stupid school
"the best traditional chain-lift steel coaster PERIOD"
Your making Magnum sound like it's the best rollercoaster or one of the best rollercoasters you have ever been on; yet you only gave it a 9/10. Thats the highest ranking you gave any ride. My question is what is a 10 in your book.
Also I totally agree front seat or no seat on Mantis. Most rides I go for the back but this is one of those few exceptions. The feeling just standing up on top of that lift before the dive in the front is truly exilerating. *** Edited 10/18/2004 12:41:47 AM UTC by GIGAFORCE01***
I dont mean to sound like a jerk, but how the @#%$ do you find Magnum better then Superman(SFDL).
I can see why he'd say that. Superman @ SFA & SFDL has, what, 6 hills including the first drop, right? It has a couple ejector hills, some floater air, and a bit of flo-jector. Magnum has more ejector air, in my book. Maybe he likes a coaster with ejector air the best.
I'd say he is spot on if that is his opinion and all.
GIGAFORCE and Chitown, I'll admit I'm not a generous marker. The best coaster I've ridden so far is probably Pheonix at Knobles (May 2002). But even that, I wouldn't award more than 9 or 9.5/10. A perfect 10 would likely be a +400 foot coaster with a slow conventional lift hill (to build anticipation), a 1st drop bigger and steeper than MF, and a traditional out-and-back design filled with camel humps. As a bonus, it might hug terrain like the coasters in Kennywood. It will probably never be built, but I can dream!
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