Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio, USA
You may have a few thoughts running through your head after reading the title of this post: How can you spend an entire week at one amusement park? Does the world really need another Cedar Point trip report? Ooh, pictures!
Hopefully I can ease all of your concerns by sharing a few stories and shedding some light on other aspects of the park that I'm even just becoming more familiar with. The cast characters is comprised of me, my wife Amy, and our two daughters: 4-year-old Allison and 1 1/2-year-old Ava. Enjoy!
Day 1: Saturday, June 28th
We left Indianapolis on Saturday morning and, after a few pit stops and listening to “Let it Go” 5.62 x 10^14 times, arrived in Sandusky around 2:00 pm. As we approached the Causeway, with the trees on the left side peeling away to reveal the ever-famous Cedar Point skyline, Allison’s excitement grew. This was her first time taking in that view, which even for me never gets old.
We pulled up to Breakers and found out that our room wasn’t ready yet, so we killed some time moseying around the hotel and grabbed some ice cream at the hotel's ice cream shop. Even though we ordered small cups to save some coin, the server gave us some heaping portions, so a little teamwork was required. Alli finished her cone and had her sights set on the rest of mommy’s cup.
Our room was now ready, so we had our luggage hauled up to the 7th floor of the Tower Section. And that brings us to:
The Lord-Gonchar-Mandated Hotel Mini-Review
My wife and I stayed at Breakers for the first time last year, and afterward I commented to her that we would probably never stay off-site again. At the time I was kind of joking, but I'm now thinking that it's probably the truth. Yes, the rooms are horribly dated and the beds and sofas aren't terribly comfortable. However, in terms of room quality you're not going to find anything that much better off-site.
You simply cannot beat the convenience of staying on the property, especially with little kids, and especially at Breakers, where you are within easy walking distance of two entrances to the park, Soak City, Challenge Park, the beach and several restaurants. Not to mention that the hotel is undergoing renovations that will include updated bedding and furniture (and hopefully carpet). The staff was friendly and helpful, the room was clean and the perfect size for our family, and again: convenience, convenience, convenience.
After unpacking and organizing what would be our new home for the next six days, we headed into town to grab some groceries and fill up on Chet and Matt's. As has been said many times here before, this is a must-do if you like pizza and are in the area. After dinner it was finally time to hit the park. We made our way through the updated Gemini midway on our way to Camp Snoopy. The area looks terrific: fresh, vibrant, and colorful. I was eager to try out the Lake Erie Eagles since I was in love with the one that Kings Island used to have, but the line was a little long so we bypassed it for the time being. After making a short stop at Camp Snoopy, which included a whirl on Charlie Brown's Wind-Up (a nice intermediary swing ride that we all could enjoy), we finished up the day with a ride on Cadillac Cars and visit to the Town Hall Museum.
The first day was really about getting settled in, and everything went smoothly for the most part. Now the real fun could begin.
Day 2: Sunday, June 29th
We had breakfast at Perkins, where it was apparent that sharing meals was the best way to go. The menu was a little pricey, but the portion sizes were huge, so splitting a kids’ meal between the girls and sharing a stack a pancakes between Amy and I left everyone satisfied. With full bellies we headed up front to take advantage of the morning ERT, where I was able to nab rides on Gatekeeper and Raptor in short order. Amy doesn’t mind them, but she doesn’t like them well enough to ride by herself, so she sat out, treating herself to a Starbucks instead. By the way, this is what she ordered: venti iced caramel latte with dark caramel sauce, whipped cream and caramel drizzle. Seriously, there should be a 10-syllable limit for ordering a drink. I could never be a barista. It gets even better when I have to order it for her. Allison splashed around in the fountain thingy in front of Raptor while Amy enjoyed her verbose beverage.
We took a spin on the Giant Wheel and then headed back to the room for lunch and an attempt at a nap. Unfortunately, Ava was not adjusting well to her new surroundings, so a nap wasn’t happening. There are few things worse than the tease of barely dozing off only to be startled awake by screaming children. I put it just above getting a splinter and just below genocide. So we gave up on the nap and headed back to the park. We spent the evening at Planet Snoopy and Kiddy Kingdom.
Allison took her first ride on what would become one of her favorites: the Kite Eating Tree. Her initial excitement turned to fear once she got up in the air, but she warmed up to it and ended up riding it several more times.
We took two laps on the Sky Ride and then went back to the room to put the girls to bed, which was met with success.
With an hour left, I went back solo and was able to hit Magnum, Mean Streak, Wicked Twister, Gatekeeper and Raptor. There was some “jogging” involved, but I really didn’t have to work too hard to cram all of it in. Every ride was basically a walk-on with the exception of Gatekeeper, whose line was only backed up to where the queue split for the left and right sides. I really enjoyed my hour in the park, and my feelings about visiting in July were starting to change. I had not been to the park in July since I worked there back in 2005. My wife and I always made it a point to avoid the place during that part of the year out of fear of huge crowds. But this was more than manageable. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised.
I also road Wicked Twister and Gatekeeper barefoot, which I really enjoyed. In fact, I think I developed a new fetish.
Day 3: Monday, June 30th
The morning was to be spent at the beach.
Ava didn’t take too well to the sand at first, but she eventually came around. The water was chilly but nothing you couldn’t get used to. The girls and I spent most of the time playing in the sand while the wife soaked up some sun.
I dug I nice sized hole to fill with water (which struck me as absurdly redundant, given the gigantic hole with the enormous volume of water we were sitting right next to) and that kept the girls entertained for quite a while.
The beach was a good time. It was clean and not very crowded, the sun was out and the morning air was nice and toasty. We got cleaned up, took a quick dip in the pool, and then took a nice family nap back in the room. We decided on the Breakwater Café for dinner, which is next to Sandcastle Suites at the very back of the park. We arrived at 5:40 and discovered that dinner service didn’t start until 6:00. However, our waitress was very accommodating and hooked us up big time. She gave us a table and let me have at the salad bar, free of charge. She also didn’t charge us for a side of fries that we ordered. It was a bizarre combination of very friendly service and a lackadaisical attitude toward her job.
The kids were staying up past their bedtimes tonight, so we spent some time in Kiddy Kingdom and Camp Snoopy.
Allison got her first ride on Woodstock Express, which she tackled with no hesitation. I’ve been blown away by her bravery. I was scared to death to do some of these when I was her age (and older). She has a bug up her ass about Boo Blasters (or Blue Blasters, as she calls it), but other than that she’ll take on anything that she’s tall enough for. One side effect of this is that I’m now riding things that I haven’t ridden in a very long time and that, at my advanced age, my stomach can barely handle. This includes Monster, which was her favorite ride at Kings Island and which she was all-too-thrilled to see was also featured in Cedar Point’s lineup. And this version was painted all pretty-like!
Dusk was upon us so we swung around to the other side of the park to catch Luminosity. It was a nice high-energy show that the kids seemed to enjoy, as did the adults. Quick tip: grab some glow toys from your local dollar store to take to the park at night. It makes the kids happy and saves you the few extra dollars a light-up toy from the park costs.
Once it was over, we ran to Millennium Force so Amy could catch a night ride. All hail the 8-after policy! We got to the entrance at 10:07, and though the ride host was packing up and closing off the queue we talked him into letting Amy get in line. A pair of women followed behind, and one of them tossed her bag in the bush next to the sign and asked if I could watch it for her. I nodded “yes” out of habit without having time to think about what I had just signed up for. After a few minutes, I was hit with an emergency. Allison had to go potty RIGHT NOW! I was faced with a dilemma. The nearest bathroom was a little ways away, I had both cell phones so I couldn’t get a hold of Amy in case she got off the ride and couldn’t find us, and I was on purse watch. So, I had Allison climb on the ledge by the sign and told her to drop trou’ and let’er rip. More or less. It was dark, there was no one around, we were behind the big Plinko board, and I had wet wipes, so no harm, no foul as I saw it. And with that, another joyous day came to an end.
Day 4: Tuesday, July 1st
The big kids wanted to play a little, so after breakfast the wife and I took separate rides on Millennium and then strolled to the back so I could hop on Maverick. Morning ERT is so nice. We made our way through the Gemini midway and saw that the LEEs had a short wait, so Alli and I took it for a spin. I’m not sure why, but this incarnation was a bit of a downer from what I remember. We still had fun, but I used to really be able to get those things flying high and rocking hard. This felt much tamer. My theory was that the cables are spread wider at the top than some of the older models, but that’s just a guess.
We then took a ride on the train before heading back for lunch. Mommy and baby wanted some down time, so they stayed behind for an afternoon nap. Daddy-daughter time! Allison and I traversed just about the entire park. We hit most of the big rides, including my first trip on Wilderness Run, formerly Jr. Gemini. I immediately logged onto CoasterBuzz and added it to my track record.
Next up was our obligatory spin on Monster.
We made our way up front for Ocean Motion, which in addition to being another large-scale family ride also provides a nice view of Gatekeeper.
We took another ride on Giant Wheel, and thank goodness that we found a park map in our seat, because this ride took forever. The map at least gave us something to do, as Alli had me point out where all of her favorite rides were.
Back at Planet Snoopy, she got to meet Woodstock and hit a few more rides before it was time to go meet up with Amy and Ava.
One such ride has painted balloons at the top, and since Allison was fixated on the anything and everything to do with the upcoming holiday, she wanted to ride in the balloon with the “4th of July colors.” Now, I’m normally reluctant to acquiesce to her demands for a specific color, especially when it’s a big hassle. However, if the color she wants is open and it’s easy enough to get to then she’s free to choose whatever she wants. In this case, we were the first ones in line, so she basically had dibs on whichever car she wanted. Problem was, the little girl that had just ridden in the “4th of July” balloon didn’t get out. She wanted to ride again, and the ride host wasn’t interested in enforcing the rules. We walked up to the car and I told the little girl that my daughter really wanted to ride in that car. I had another parenting dilemma on my hands. On one hand, it felt ridiculous to kick a little girl out of a car (that was the same as every other car) when every other car was open, just because of a color preference. On the other hand, my daughter should’ve gotten the one she wanted because she was first in line. On the other hand (third hand?), the ride host should’ve taken care of it for me and not allowed the girl to re-ride. On the FOURTH hand, no one else was in line so who cares? AHHH!
The little girl agreed to let my daughter have the balloon. But…she still didn’t get out. She wanted to ride with us! So here am I, some weird dude awkwardly squeezing himself into a car with two little girls, one of whom was a stranger with her parents watching, all the while leaving the other seven cars empty. It was a seat-poaching, volleying-with-the-ride-host nightmare orchestrated by 4-year-olds!
The girls went to bed on time and the wife and I capped off the evening with a few drinks and some giggles. Good times.
Day 5: Wednesday, July 2nd
Water day. Beach in the morning, Soak City in the afternoon. More sandcastle erecting and destroying, more burying of children (in the sand, with their consent), more wet n’ wild fun! At the waterpark, we first took a lap on the lazy river and then spent some time at Tadpole Town. This was a perfect spot for both of the girls. Allison had fun swinging on the ropes and tackling me into the pool, while Ava seemed content to slowly wade her way through the shallow water.
Next we went to the Splash Zone, which has to be the coolest thing in the history of things. Every waterpark should be required by law to have one. Unfortunately, it was a little too intense for Allison, so we didn’t stay for long. Regardless, I still got to go down a few slides and have a splashy good time.
We went back to Tadpole Town for a little while, had another go-round on the lazy river, and called it a day. The weather could not have been any better. The air was warm but not humid, the sun was shining, and the water was cool and refreshing without being freezing. It really was a perfect day.
After the kids went to bed, Numero Uno got another hour alone for coaster riding. I conquered Gatekeeper, front seat (I’m liking the ride more and more with each trip) and Blue Streak before heading off for my own Millennium night ride. Can’t beat it. And I only had to wait 30 minutes.
On the way over, as I was making my way through the Luminosity scene, one of the crowd control guys with the runway flashlight stopped me right as I was about to cross the path that was reserved for the performers, and not half a second later did one of the dancers come racing across. Their timing and coordination was impressive.
Day 6: Thursday, July 3rd
Another round of morning ERT, beginning with Dragster. I won’t be surprised if my little thrill seeker climbs aboard the instant she’s tall enough.
Amy was first up. This is probably her second favorite ride in the park behind Millennium, so I was glad she finally got to ride it.
We then headed off for one last ride on Millennium, which still had a very short wait even though the park had been open to the GP for a few minutes by that point.
Next up was Mean Streak. We both like this ride more than most seem to. Given that it is almost always a walk-on, it has big enough drops, high enough speeds, and nice enough views to warrant our attention.
We browsed through the Town Hall Museum again, mainly so I could drool over the super-cool K'NEX ferris wheel. K'NEX was my favorite toy growing up, and I still have quite a few pieces left over from the various sets I had collected, including three Screamin' Serpent kits that I had used to build a coaster that went around my room.
I also wanted to demonstrate to Ava the proper way to ride a roller coaster for when she got older.
From there it was back to Camp Snoopy, then up to the front for another ride on Ocean Motion while Amy dropped another 600 pennies for an adjective-laden beverage from Starbucks.
It was at this point that our well-oiled machine of a vacation started to turn south, at least for me. When went back to the room for another afternoon nap, and I decided to sleep on the couch, as the bed had started to do a number on my back. I fell asleep with Rocky III playing on the TV, and I woke up with some pretty nasty pain in my back and legs. It felt like the Italian Stallion had leapt out of the TV and given me a pounding while I was asleep. We went back to the park where I checked in with first aid and found out that I was running a mild fever. I gutted it out while the kids spent some time in the acrades and made one more round through Planet Snoopy and Kiddy Kingdom. I had hoped to grab a few more rides on some of the coasters since it was our last night, but I just wasn't feeling up for it. Regardless, I was at peace with how everything had gone. We had a wonderful time, never felt bored or too worn out, and we were all very sad that it was coming to an end.
We packed up and headed for home the next day, stopping in Greentown, Indiana to watch some fireworks with family. It's hard for a vacation to live up to the hype you give it in the weeks leading up to it, but this trip definitely exceeded our expectations. I'm no longer afraid to visit in July, with or without the kids. In fact, we're already planning on making the same trip next year.
Well, I hope you enjoyed my report. Thanks for reading!
No, a week at Cedar Point seems just right. I've done it many times.
And what a perfect thing for you and your diverse group. It gave you enough time so everyone had a chance to do whatever they wanted to do (including you) and in a relaxed, no pressure kind of way. Plenty of time for it all.
Awesome report, loved the pics. Your girls are adorable.
That was epic.
I'm excited about the room renovations for next year.
Thanks RC. They are a couple of goobers. You were right on in everything you said. We weren't rushed to try to do everything because we had plenty of time.
I'm also looking forward to the interior upgrades. We'll probably do this same vacation next year, and though it's tempting to try a different resort, Breakers is so centrally located that it's hard to go somewhere else.Last edited by Bakeman31092, Wednesday, July 9, 2014 5:28 PM
Awesome TR, especially incorporating the pictures. We have 2 young ones (and are thinking about a third) and we tend to try to vacation on the cheap. Is a full week at CP necessary to enjoy everything? Could we get away with less days?
I go to CP for just one day several times a year, sometimes staying for only a few hours each time and I get full enjoyment from each visit. But, I only live 2 hours away. I see that you're in TX, so I would come up for at least 2 days. Maybe get a Fast Lane if the crowds are heavy. But if you're there 2 days, you shouldn't need to.
This is the kind of trip report I have been wanting to see around here, with picture illustrating along the way. Awesome!
While most people think of a trip to the park as a day or even two, it's been my dream to spend a week at Cedar Point sometime, but no one else will do it with me. :( LOL A week is perfect, because you don't have to rush around and try to get everything done. You can take your time, sit on a bench, people watch, and do everything the peninsula has to offer, including the beach, water park, Challenge Park, take walks, and everything else. Sounds like my kind of vacation.
A lot of people who patronize Camper Village spend a week at the park this way. (Is Camper Village even still around, or did it get eaten by the cabins?)Last edited by LostKause, Wednesday, July 9, 2014 8:30 PM
First of all...Fantastic Trip Report! If this was posted under the old "Day In Pictures" Forum, I would have commented on a few of your photos so I'll try to do that here.
1) You have a lovely family and it's great to see everyone share your hobby (and know they will only do so more as they get older and taller.)
2) If you don't mind me asking, how do you imbed photos into a post?
3) I had the same knex ferris wheel in my classroom. I am glad to see they are getting back into more classic rides and parts. I hate the micro stuff with the cheesey carboard.
4) I am an a Long Islander. How is the lake for swimming. How would it compare to an ocean or bay? Currents, waves, undercurrents, etc.
Lastly, If I had a week there, I would do a lot of the ancilary things too. I would do the fishing trip that they offer and perhaps try parasailing too.
Again, fantastic report!
I can answer one. To embed photos, you first need to host the photos somewhere, like Facebook, Picasa, or Photobucket. Then while posting here at CoasterBuzz you click the icon in the rich text editor at the top of the post box. A popup window appears that allows you to add the picture's location. It's like riding a bike.
Thanks LostKause. I don't have any of those accounts, but would consider starting one if I can post photos. The end result is amazing and negates the need for the Day In Pictures.
Thanks to everyone for all of the positive feedback!
I didn't know how to embed the photos either, but after some assistance from Jeff and some poking around I figured it out. I used imgur.com because I saw someone else on here use it for their Kings Island TR. It's pretty easy to set up an account, upload and edit pictures. You can crop them, resize them and grab the url.
I never even bothered with the micro stuff. You could do just about anything with the original pieces. I always loved how mechanical they were compared to Legos, which were more about static models. As for the lake, the waves and current can vary greatly according to the wind. Both days we went swimming the water was pretty calm. However, the swimming area that was roped off was not very big and didn't get more than waist deep.
Even if you plan to spend a good amount of time in the kids' areas, two days should be enough to do everything in the main park, especially if you a) go during the week and b) stay in one of their resorts to take advantage of the morning ERT. If you want a little breathing room to allow for re-rides or take a more leisurely pace then add an extra day. Add another day for Soak City and/or the beach. Four days should be more than enough to experience the whole park. We did six because I was off work for the week and we wanted draw out our vacation as long as possible.
I may suggest Flickr for those of you needing a photo host. You won't run out of storage and they have loads of options. I've been a pro member for years. Free is now pretty much the same thing but with ads.
Love the format with the pics imbedded.
Why doesn't your name start with "A"?
My middle name is Aaron, so there's that.
Sensational trip report with great pix! I had been totally unaware that it was possible to include photos in a trip report on CB. I do have a Photobucket account b/c the owner of a website to which I contribute articles insists that all photos and videos be uploaded with the embed code through a service such as PB or Picassa, so that's what I'll do here. Photobucket is really pretty reasonable; when I set up the account I soon found myself running out of space so now I pay $2.99 a month for what would appear to be unlimited space. The only problem I've had with Photobucket thus far is that whereas it allows you to edit photos, it doesn't allow you to edit videos - so when I need to edit a video, such as I did with the footage I shot of Zumanjaro, I end up uploading it to YouTube and trimming it there, then getting it into Photobucket. If anyone knows of any easier way, I'd love to hear it.
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