Bringing the Thrill-Averse to CP: A Primer

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Tuesday, August 2, 2005 11:11 AM
Each year, we take a midsummer visit of several days, staying on Point, and living in the lap of luxury. This year, we convinced my wife’s family to join us on July 28th and 29th. Of the six of them (her parents, brother, SIL, 13 year old nephew, and 2 year old niece), precisely one is willing to try anything beyond CCMR (and that means no Woodstock, either!). Amazingly, this "thrill seeker" was not the teenaged boy, but rather his mother, and her limit was Gemini. (However, the two year old REALLY liked Jr. Gemini, so she may turn out to be a rider too. I guess every family has at least one black sheep.)

In light of this, I was not at all convinced that the in-laws were going to think Cedar Point was such hot stuff. Since I’m more or less responsible for my family’s coaster addiction, and I’m "that crazy guy that married my daughter/sister/aunt," I figured I’d be on the hook for dragging them out to middle-of-nowhere Ohio so they could sit around twiddling their thumbs. For two days. In the (oppressive) heat.

The short version: they had a great time, and barely got on a ride in the amusement park. They had so much fun, they are considering coming for a longer visit next year—my BIL even asked me how much season passes cost!

We bought each of them a Ride-n-Slide. Our general plan of attack was to spend mornings through lunch in Cedar Point, take a break, spend the afternoon in Soak City, and the evening back in Cedar Point. This turned out to be a winning plan—as we suspected, the water park was a big hit. Somewhat surprisingly, so was the amusement park, but not for reasons I would have imagined.

First, the water park. Everyone loves the wave pool and both lazy rivers. EVERYone. The toddler loved the toddler spaces (as do my six and four year olds for reasons I don’t completely understand.) Splash zone is also a big hit, though only the kids and I went on the slides there. The teenager liked hanging out, looking tan, and checking out the scantily-clad ladies (which were, of course, plentiful.) My six year old daughter and I tried a tube slide and Eerie Falls---the latter of which was a total hoot. We also tried the lily pad walk. I got about four pads before eating it, while my monkey of a daughter got almost halfway on her first try.

The high point of the water park was when my six year old, my wife, and her parents decided to try Zoom Flume. Now, my mother in law is moderately cautious, in the same way that the Universe is somewhat big. She couldn’t even bear to watch my wife get in line for Raptor. Needless to say, I was surprised that she agreed to try the Flume. And, as you may know, the heavier the raft, the higher up the walls one climbs on the way down—with three adults and a kid, that’s a pretty good-sized raft. Mom started out okay, but was slumped down into the middle of the raft, in mortal terror, by the time she got to the bottom! Good Times.

I knew that SC would work out, but wasn’t sure about CP. I needn’t have worried. We tend to take the atmosphere of the park for granted because we go so often, but just walking around is interesting if you are an infrequent visitor, because there is so much going on. Frankly, I think my father in law could have sat in the grandstands watching TTD launches all day and feel as though he got his money’s worth.

The family enjoyed the obvious candidates: Paddlewheel, CP&LE RR, the Sky Ride, Antique and Cadillac Cars, Cedar Downs, and the Carousels. There were also some surprises. Dad enjoyed CCMR. Camp Snoopy’s collection was a sleeper hit, particularly the samba (Balloon Race), Peanuts 500, and the Lolli Swings because Mom and Dad can ride those with their grandkids. They even took Thunder Canyon for a spin. They thought the new ice show (which I like) was very impressive, as was the laser show (meh.)

Looking back on it, I’m surprised with how much they DIDN’T get to, given that they were there for two full days. We probably covered most of the water park, but we didn’t hit any of the other shows, Space Spiral, Giant Wheel, the Frontier Trail, or any of another half-dozen things that I had in my list of things to show them. We could have spent a third day without running out of new things to try. It was a very different visit for me, but it was really interesting to see the park through the eyes of people who mostly insisted on keeping their feet firmly planted on the ground.

Of course, there were some concessions made to feed my family’s adrenaline addiction. I snuck in to ERT on the second morning to get two quick Force rides in before 9:30—I’m still the only one who will ride it in my clan, but my wife is starting to make noises about trying, and my daughter might this season too. The grandparents watched our kids so that my wife and I could ride Raptor together. This is a rare event for us. My wife’s only been on it once before because she won’t ride it alone, and the kids are both too short. That time she came off wobbly, but this time kept her eyes open and LOVED it. My daughter and I took a front-seat Mean Streak ride. Maybe my expectations for the ride are now sufficiently low, maybe I got lucky with time of day/condition of the track, maybe the front seat is better, or maybe it’s just better riding with your kids, but the ride was a lot of fun AND didn’t beat me up. Who knew?

We also parent-swapped a couple of Magnum rides with my daughter, who has fully conquered this ride. She’s been riding it all season, but up until last weekend was still freaked out by the first drop. She’d get about halfway up the lift before squeezing her eyes tight, scrunching down into a little ball, and white-knuckling the lap bar. Sure enough, she went into freak mode again, but just as we crested the hill, I turned to her and said "Erica, open your eyes." I watched her face the whole way down. She opened her eyes, which immediately got as big as coffee cups. Halfway down, she breaks into this uncontrollable grin. On the second trip with my wife, she kept her eyes open and her hands in the air the whole trip.

Crowds on Thursday and Friday (with the in-laws) weren’t horrible. The place was busy, but we didn’t have to wait too long for most of the things we rode. The afternoons in the amusement park were probably busier, but we were elsewhere then. Soak City had lots of people, but we mostly avoided the slides until early evening, and always seemed to be able to grab a tube in the wave pool. Saturday the 30th (with just our family) was another story entirely, but by sticking to either high-capacity or less-popular rides, getting in early, and leaving for home by mid-afternoon we still never waited more than a cycle for any of the flats we tried, and only about 20 minutes for coasters we rode. I have never seen a line for Raptor as long as it was around 11AM on Saturday. It’s a fun ride, but not that much fun.

Kudos go to the Magnum, Raptor, and Iron Dragon crews. They really move those trains. The Millennium crew is also much improved over earlier this season. This is partly due to the relaxed slack rule, but the hustle is back on the platform. Kudos also are due to Coasters, the one counter-service location in the park that can reliably handle big crowds quickly. An especially big cheer for Lisa, who was working Woodstock on Thursday night, and is faster opening those silly Plexiglas-covered seatbelts than should be humanly possible—despite the lawyers’ best attempt, capacity there was still good, and she earned herself a compliment card at Park Ops the next day. Jeers go to Breakwater Café—Worst Service Ever. I realize that a party of ten should take a bit longer to serve, but it shouldn’t take TWO HOURS, and the kids meals should come out early, not ten minutes after everyone else’s. Even with the Joe Cool discount, the fact that one usually doesn’t have to wait, and the convenient-to-Lighthouse Point location, that may be the last time we ever eat there.

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Tuesday, August 2, 2005 11:21 AM
HA!

*pulls out well-worn pad*

Another Wavepool Disciple!

*scratches down a hash mark*

Oooh, wait. Liked Mean Streak.

*hastily erases mark, flings pencil and hides pad under seat*

-CO

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Tuesday, August 2, 2005 11:31 AM
Good trip report. How were the SC lines? I'm sure they were long, but were they really long? I'm going there this Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. However, I don't think I'll spend that much time in SC, because, after all, it is the coaster capital of the world.
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Tuesday, August 2, 2005 1:31 PM

Brian Noble said:
Frankly, I think my father in law could have sat in the grandstands watching TTD launches all day and feel as though he got his money’s worth.

Wow. Sounds just like my dad. When we went in June, all he did with us was Thunder Canyon and the Sky Ride, yet he had great fun watching Top Thrill Dragster launch.

Glad to hear that everyone had a great time!

Edited because I can't spell.

*** Edited 8/2/2005 5:32:03 PM UTC by nesdude***

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Tuesday, August 2, 2005 1:54 PM
BSBMX: by 5PM both Thursday and Friday, the slide lines were probably 10-15 minutes tops. The waits did not seem long at all. Earlier in the afternoon, they are certainly worse. Monday will be about the same. Saturday will be worse, Sunday is often pretty good. *** Edited 8/2/2005 5:55:21 PM UTC by Brian Noble***
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Tuesday, August 2, 2005 5:24 PM
"...just as we crested the hill, I turned to her and said "Erica, open your eyes." I watched her face the whole way down. She opened her eyes, which immediately got as big as coffee cups. Halfway down, she breaks into this uncontrollable grin. On the second trip with my wife, she kept her eyes open and her hands in the air the whole trip."

Those are such great moments! I can tell just from reading that you were beaming ;)

I have not posted the trip report but I had a similar experience at Knotts last week. My 7-yr-old nephew Connor [yes, the one who's "Uncle Matthew" would sound like "Uncoo Mamoosh" when he was about 3, hence my username] is pretty fearless when it comes to coasters. If he's tall enough he wants to ride. He rode X with his Dad last year at age 6!

Having just hit the magical 54" mark -- I told him he was now able to ride any coaster in the world! -- he was looking forward to Silver Bullet and Xcelerator, even though I felt Xcelerator would be a bit too intense for him [heck, that launch is intense for me!]

First ride of the day was Silver Bullet. We took a middle seat ride as the forces would be less intense there. He was nervous at first and due to the OSTRs I could not see his face to know how he was reacting during the ride. I purposely kept the mood light by laughing during the ride and even shouting "this is my favorite part!" during the zero-g. Thankfully he loved it! With no line we immediately ran back for front and back seat rides. Front was his favorite and we'd return to it thoughout the day. Silver Bullet immediately became his favorite coaster. I made sure to buy the on-ride photo of us in the front row so he could brag to his mom and friends.

After lunch we made our way to Xcelerator. He's ridden Monty, Superman, and California Screaming so he's familiar with launches. Still, I told him that this launch was "more intense than Monte." He looked up at me and asked, "What does 'intense' mean?" I knew I was in trouble, LOL!

I explained to him that I was not trying to scare him or convince him not to ride but that the launch was going to be VERY scary and that the "funny tummy" feeling he likes so much would be so strong he probably would not be able to breath. His biggest concern was not knowing when the launch would happen. Upon seeing the countdown lights he was sold and with fellow coaster nut Grandpa in tow he insisted we ride.

Choosing a middle seat we. Since he'd ridden with me all day while Grandpa and Grandma took his younger brother thru Camp Snoopy I asked him if he'd ride with Grandpa but he said he wanted to ride with me. I felt bad but my Dad said it was OK. Soon we were strapped in...he had a death grip on the grab bar and I counted down the launch.

I kept my eye on him thru the launch...his eyes were closed and the expression on his face was a mix of surprise, horror, and pain. I was a bit worried that Xcelerator was just too much for him. Up and over the top hat...his eyes remained closed but about half way down they opened and a smile appeared. He was whooping it up thru the figure 8 and into the breaks.

Overall he liked the ride. He said the launch was "a little scary" and while he would ride again it would be on the next trip. But I was sure proud of the kid!

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Tuesday, August 2, 2005 6:42 PM
My best visit to the Point was a few years back when I took my three nieces out there with me. They arent big into coasters, especially the younger one, so a majority of our trip was spent hitting rides like Cedar Downs and the Vintage Cars. The coaster highlight was riding Gemini in seperate trains and doing the handslap each time the trains passed each other.

That trip allowed me to see another side of the park and slow down when I am at other parks and see the park for what it is and not just a collection of coasters.

One last thing, the middle child of the group just got her driver's license the other day. I of course managed to make a comment about her driving skills on the Vintage Cars at CP that still gets laughs from all those that were in attendance on that trip.

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Tuesday, August 2, 2005 8:09 PM
I have to admit this one turned the corner with the family talk. Now i havent done much with the family much, outside of a few cousins. My little one Kyle comes to mind in a hurry.

He just had his first trip out to cedar point last year. This guy just hit the 54 inches barrier, alot slower than mooshs nephew by a few years. Hes 11 now i think. Anyhow i took him this year. We were gonna hit the dragster but it was down. I had to get permission for that one as well. But he hit everything else we could ride in the park. I can tell you his day was a great one in any language. He was telling my friends as we met up with them for twilight what a great time he was having. Now those are the things that make me feel like i did something good for the kid. One thing that also made me laugh all day was how he kept telling people to ride millenium cause it was so awesome to him(not the best to this guy, but can you blame em). Such a thing shows me i might have that riding buddy, when mom cant do it anymore. He was itching to go to hershey but couldnt make the trip with us. That is how much he gets into these things. So heres to the new generation coming up in a few years and to the ones already there.

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