Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio, USA
NOTE: Also posted at PointBuzz.
My friends and I took our annual spring trip to Cedar Point yesterday. We always like to go this time of year before after M&S week but before school is out. No early entry as not everyone in the group has a platinum pass. Arrived about 9:45 AM at the main gate so one member could upgrade a regular season pass to a platinum. There was already a huge crowd waiting to enter. Once the gates opened, it took 15-20 minutes just to enter the gate. IMHO, the new front gate is not equipped at all to handle the initial crowd.
Despite not being M&S week, there seemed to be a lot of high school students present, more than I've seen in the past at this time of year. Granted, this is by observation only and could be completely off base. The park definitely seemed more crowded than past years but it may have just seemed that way due to things I will discuss later. It probably didn't help that the weather was awesome (actually, a little too hot to me as the temperature topped out at 88F).
The main issue of the day was downed rides. This was a serious problem the entire day. Let me run through as best as I could tell (granted, I couldn't be everywhere in the park at the same time so things may have been opened when I was on the other side of the park). Skyhawk is still down. We didn't look closely but it seemed mostly assembled but did have a large lift/small crane sitting within the ride area. Maverick was down at least once but I believe it was down at least twice. We rode it twice with a 40 min wait time and a 60 min wait time (more on this later). MF was running only 2 trains for a significant part of the day (the blue train was not running). As a result, until the end of the day, we never saw the posted estimated wait time below 90 mins. Didn't get to ride it at all. At the end of the day, all trains were running. TTD went down around 3 or 4 ish and as far as I know, never re-opened. We did ride it first thing and had less than a 30 min wait (we made the mistake of not riding it again immediately and didn't get a ride on it again). We did ride Magnum once and it was nearly a walk on (it had been closed and we just happened by as they re-opened it). We didn't visit it again so not sure whether it stayed up or not. The drop side of Power Tower was only running a single tower (the only side our group cares for). Nearly everyone in FastLane wanted the drop side and they were taking 50/50 from FastLane and regular. Result was what should have been 15-20 mins took about 35 mins. Only a single ride there. We had stayed away from GateKeeper early in the day due to long lines. When we rode it in the afternoon, we were pleasantly surprised with a 45 min wait and a 50 min wait (rode it back to back). There did seem to be at least a slight glitch as we approached to ride the first time. A train was sitting very close to the bottom of the lift hill and just sat there for 5 - 10 mins. Not sure the issue. Also not sure if there were any other issues with it yesterday. Did come back around to it later in the day and the wait was 90 mins. MaxAir was down the majority of the day. I did get a single ride on it as I happened to be right there when it got re-opened later in the afternoon (couple others went to ride Wicked Twister - didn't see that go down any as far as I know). Since I was right there, I was on the first ride of the re-open. I noticed that after 1 or 2 more rides, it was back down again. Finally, we rode Raptor once with an hour wait. The Raptor line appeared to stay fairly long all day (we were used to about 15 min waits on it in the past). This may have been due to the issues with the other coasters. No wooden coasters nor Mantis for us so can't comment on them. WindSeeker was running earlier in the day but when we came back later in the afternoon it was down with the high winds sign. Winds on the ground were maybe 10-15 mph at that point.
Now, back to the 2 different wait times for Maverick. For both of these rides, we started at almost the exact same place in the queue (talking within a few feet) but ended up with one being 40 minutes and one 60 minutes. The difference? FastLane! The first ride, there were very few people coming through FastLane. Most of the time during that wait, the FastLane queue was completely empty (and just a handful coming through it at all). The second ride, the FastLane queue had people waiting on the steps the entire wait time. The end result was it added 50% more wait time. Many of the FastLane folks were getting off and then right back into line (I don't necessarily blame them). If they want to cut this down, they could merge FastLane into the regular queue at the bottom of the steps. So, overall, the 2 places we definitely saw FastLane making a significant difference was Power Tower and Maverick. Power Tower was a little bit of an anomaly as only one of the towers was running. There was a little impact on GateKeeper but not enough that I think it made anything more than a minimal difference. Can't really speak for MF since we didn't ride it. When we rode TTD first thing, we saw maybe a dozen people come through FastLane at that time (very early though).
I should also point out that I only ever saw a couple of water rides running during the day despite the high temps. I have no idea why this was (ride issues, staffing, etc).
Overall, it wasn't a great day for us. I'm not too upset as I have a platinum pass and will be back at least 3 or 4 more times this year (one of those being later this week). I believe I counted a total of 9 rides. We spent a lot of time walking. Several times, I would have rather rode multiple times in a row but the others didn't want to so the majority won out. I believe my philosophy would have gotten us more rides.
And as for GateKeeper. I enjoyed it and think it is a good ride but only put it into the middle of the pack at the point for me. The main issue for me was the straps of the vest digging into my shoulders. That takes it down a couple of notches. Our first ride was the second row and second was next to last row. Between these, to me at least, the back was significantly better. I still want to ride the front row but in the future it will be either the front row or very near the back.
Finally, I tried to use an app on my Android phone called Ride Hopper to check estimated wait times. Unfortunately, it appeared that I was about the only person entering times so it was completely useless (it relies on rides in the park entering wait times). It was easy to use as you could just check into a ride and then check out while letting it keep track of your wait time. Would be nice to either see more people use this or better yet for Cedar Point to build it into their own app (which I removed last year as I couldn't find any value to it).
BrianLast edited by Brian00, Tuesday, May 21, 2013 4:25 PM
I haven't used Ride Hopper in ages, for that reason. I guess if I had yesterday, at least the 2 of us could've helped each other!
This was by far the busiest May weekday I've ever seen at the park, and I've done at least one per year since 2005. My guess is that Monday was "senior skip day," as a lot of schools had their senior proms the previous weekend. I also noticed a good number of physics students. A friend of mine is at the park today, and the wait times are easily half or less what they were yesterday. However, he's having the same problem with Dragster, GateKeeper, and others being closed due to high winds.
With early entry yesterday, I got on GateKeeper just before 10:00, then upon seeing the hordes making their way over, we immediately got back in line. I think we only waited 10 and 15 minutes (the latter because we waited for the front left).
After that we headed to Millennium, which was running all 3 trains and would've only been a 20 min. wait, but they stopped a train on the lift hill for about 10 minutes. I don't know if someone undid their seatbelt or what, but security arrived before they started up again. Upon returning to the station, they escorted someone away then sent that train through again.
Power Tower was running both 'down' towers, and had a longer line than I expected. We did have to wait an extra cycle because 3 of the 4 sides of one tower were given to Fast Lane, but that only happened once that I recall.
I forget if Dragster was down or had a longer wait than we wanted. Maverick was down. And Skyhawk. At some point we saw a boat of people stopped on the lift for Shoot the Rapids, then later saw them being evac'd. Gemini was only running the red side, and was 30 min. Magnum was also 30 min. I didn't ride Raptor, but a friend of mine said it was under 30.
Around 5:00, Maxair was finally up, got through a good number of cycles, then went down while we were in line. We gave it another 10 minutes then left. WindSeeker was closed, which wasn't surprising. Rode Magnum again with a slightly shorter line. We saw Dragster running and headed over there, and waited about 15 min. before it went down due to high winds. This time we allowed another 30 min. before leaving.
I don't know when Maverick came back up, but it was our last ride of the day, ending just before 8:00. The wait was just under an hour and I don't recall seeing many Fast Laners then.
Having averaged less than 1 ride per hour, I'm thinking from now on we'll avoid Mondays in May... except Memorial Day, which can be hit or miss, but regardless I've never seen as crowded as yesterday.Last edited by birdhombre, Tuesday, May 21, 2013 6:12 PM
Wow that sounds awful. I'd never expect the crowds to be that extreme on a non-M&S-week weekday in May. It's ridiculous there were still physics students there since this is no longer Math & Science Week. I hope it's better Friday when I go.
I was also in the park yesterday (Monday the 20th). We drive from Toronto, and usually come every year during M+S week on the monday/tuesday or tuesday/wednesday, which we normally find quiet. We are used to walk ons for almost everything except dragster and maverick (and then the park clears out at 5:30/6pm and dragster can sometimes be only a 10 min wait).
We were SHOCKED at how busy the park was all day, even after 6pm. Most trips, we normally average anywhere from 20 to 30 rides a day, but yesterday we only managed 12 (although we were highly satisfied with that number given how busy it was). We lucked out for most of the day, although we have good sense and tried to be as strategic as possible. I will also preface this trip report by stating that I do NOT hate all teenagers, but there was a specific breed of them at CP yesterday that made the later half of the day stressful, annoying, and a reminder as to why we don't visit theme parks in june, july or early august.
We had early entry and were close to the front of the line to get into the park. When they let us in, we headed straight to Gatekeeper, where we only waited about 15 minutes for our first ride. We sat in the middle of the train on the left side, and we all were really underwhelmed in general. It lacked strong forces, and all four in my party felt that the restraints were much more uncomfortable than Wild Eagle's. We all thought it was unbelievably photogenic, but average at best (more on Gatekeeper later)
We then headed straight for MF and waited 30 minutes for the front seat. It felt like the ride was in great shape, running very smooth and fast! The ride ops seemed to be a little scattered but the trains were leaving the station pretty quickly. As we exited the ride, the park still seemed quiet, so instead of re-riding MF we thought we'd head to Maverick. We were thrilled to see that the line was only at the bottom of the stairs inside the wooden building. We got into line, but our wait ended up closer to 20 min, and we have no idea why. We didn't see any Fast Lane people coming past us, but we waited on the stairs for quite some time. We also waited for the front seat. Unfortunately, we felt as though the ride was running extremely rough. It was almost TOO fast. We ride Maverick anywhere from 3 to 6 times per visit, so we know what we are in store for, and were shocked at how uncomfortable and jerky the ride felt. The woman seated behind me was actually really upset at how painful our circuit was, overhearing me and agreeing that it was the worst ride that she's ever had on the coaster. Anyone else feel the same way?
By the time we exited it was close to 10:30am. We were thrilled at the idea that the park would be this light on traffic all day. The skies were turning grey and cloudy at this point, so we thought we'd head towards TTD to get in a ride before the weather could turn against us. As we walked up to Magnum, we noticed the ride was closed (to the dismay of my friend). The girl at the entrance said that it was going to be open later in the day, but she wasn't sure exactly when (understandable).
We continued to TTD and were surprised to see a 1 hour wait time, because the walk from the back had been so devoid of any foot traffic. This area of the park was much busier than the back, but we wanted our ride on Dragster so we waited. The TTD ride ops were running a great team and were getting trains out very, very quickly. It was only about 45 minutes, and we waited a tad longer to ride the back seat but we were highly satisfied that we had the four big coasters under our belts by noon. As we exited the ride, we noticed that the midway was absolutely crawling with people. It was like the park had gone from empty to bananas in that hour.
This was when the day started to depart from our usual experience. We wanted some food, but EVERYWHERE had a line. We settled on Panda Express, and waited TWENTY FIVE MINUTES in line. We finally arrived at the counter to order and the entree's were empty, and we had to wait for a choice that wasn't chicken with mushrooms. The skies had cleared and the park was suddenly VERY hot, and after standing in the heat and then the hot building for so long, we were not impressed with having to wait. It was clear that PE was not prepared for the large crowd. Cashing out was even worse. It was so disorganized: the cashier charged me, gave me my fountain drink cup and pointed me towards the pop towers back behind the cashpoint. After filling up my cup, I walked by, and was stopped by the same cashier who said I needed to pay for my food, meanwhile, there were probably 30 high school students pushing me aside and screaming at one another. I know she was probably stressed, so I said I had already paid and then dug out my receipt to show her, but she was rude about it! Needless to say, we opted to eat inside the saloon across the square, which was air conditioned, and empty. With us being slightly older (30), the staff seemed to understand that we didn't want to sit with the kids, and even brought us cups of water without asking. We were impressed, small detail but a good one.
It didn't make sense to us that people would come to the park between 11 and 12 and then get food RIGHT away. We knew we were in for trouble: we wasted almost an hour getting lunch and eating it, which is not like us. Normally, 15 minutes and we are back in line. It set the tone for the rest of the day.
We then headed to Windseeker, which was a 20 minute wait, but I like the ride and was happy to put in the time. We then walked to the raptor entrance and the ride time was 90 minutes. We thought we'd come back at the end of the day when the traffic at the front of the park would be much less. The midway was also wall to wall with teens, in huge groups. We were so confused, knowing that it wasn't M+S week. We thought, if the park is going to keep getting busier, we might as well get another ride on Gatekeeper again before it ballooned to a three hour wait. We walked back over and the line was only a 1 hour! We waited patiently, but about 50 minutes into our wait, the ride stopped running for a good 20 min. There was no announcement as to why, and two trains were sitting in the brake run, with the ride ops walking back and forth down the catwalks talking to those on the train. Having just been on Windseeker, we knew the winds higher up were quite strong, so we thought perhaps that was the problem.Suddenly, with no warning, a train went up the lift hill and we then moved quickly up to the loading platform.
Here is where my usually calm and rational demeanor was tested. The girl running the turnstile was not filling the loading bay queues up. They were only holding two to four people were queue. We asked politely if we could wait for the front row, and she said no. We asked why and she said that she was sorry, but she couldn't. We looked and there were only 6 people waiting for the front seat, and were not 'spilling out' of the front seat wait queue. The four of us were directed to sit at the back of the train instead. We were given no reason as to why we couldn't wait for the front, and frankly, found it highly irritating that the couple directly behind us were then allowed to go wait in the front car, after two had got on the train that we walked directly onto. We were all pretty disappointed, but being the polite people that we are, we didn't say anything.
Fortunately, riding the ride again at the back was a revelation. WHAT A DIFFERENCE. The forces are MUCH stronger in the back, with some amazing pull on the drop, out of the first loop element, and coming back after the turnout post keyhole. We were abuzz at how different an experience it was, and said we would ride it one more time before we left the park. This time, we also sat on the right side, and I thought that the head choppers/feet choppers were more thrilling as well.
We also wanted another ride on MF and Maverick, so we headed to the back of the park, but MF was a two hour wait. It was hot, so we thought we'd jump on Shoot the Rapids instead, but it was down, with a boat stuck on the lifthill. As we walked past Snake River Falls, they were loading the boats into the water just behind the station, to our disappointment. It was so hot out and we wanted a water ride, but alas the park wasn't on the same schedule as the weather, apparently.
Unfortunately, Maverick was now down as well. There were people waiting along the perimeter fence from the entrance back towards the antique cars. We stopped at chick-fil-A and got a drink, which was again a **** show - all of the tea was gone and we had to wait for them to refill the containers while a ton of teens ran inbetween the cash points and the pop towers (I also don't like that patrons fill their own tea now, it seemed to run much more smoothly when employees filled it up for you). We knew that Skyhawk was closed before we came, so we stared longingly at our fav flat ride and headed for the front of the park. Magnum was now open: the line was 1 hour (it started at the vending machines), but we decided to wait anyway. The amount of teens in the line was almost unbearable, with constant screaming and line jumping. Loading in the station was a **** show, with people pushing and trying to make queue's 'even' so people could ride with their friends in the seats in front and behind etc. It was just slow slow slow all around. I would say the wait stretched to 1 hr 15. We sat in the front (shortest lines, everyone was gravitating to the back) and I am pretty sure my lapbar tried to castrate me on the bunny hills. I won't be riding in the front car ever again, regardless of wait times lol.
We walked up to Blue Streak, which was a walk on, and then decided to wait the now 1 hour wait time for Raptor. The Raptor crew was struggling with the amount of teens taking their time fussing over leaving/collecting items in the bins. It took forever to be dispatched, with ride ops standing around waiting with very impatient looks on their faces while girls were running all over the station. We had honestly never seen anything like it in the 8 years we've been coming to CP. However, Raptor is the park's ole faithful, and we loved our one ride, as usual. It is just a satisfying, well paced coaster (but we all know that), and I don't think that Gatekeeper matches Raptor in terms of pure thrill factor.
We then thought we'd head to Gemini since it was the only thing of interest to us that we hadn't done, and as we walked past Corkscrew, it was a walk-on, and we like riding in the back seat, so we did that in 5 minutes. We noticed going up the lift hill that Top Thrill wasn't running, so we approached Magnum and it was only about a 10 minute wait, so we did that again too: rode in the back car, which is a great great ride (no pain!). It was getting close to closing time, and we were all kind of meh about Gemini anyway (although I like it, just didn't seem to care enough to wait the 30 min wait time), so we headed for one more ride on Gatekeeper.
After a 45 minute wait, we were told again by a second employee that we could not wait for the front, despite the fact that there were again only 6 people waiting. I was quite livid. We won't be back to the park until at least the end of Aug, if at all (may try Waldemeer Park for Ravine Flyer 2), and knew that people behind us would probably get to as soon as the next train loaded. We even asked her if we could let people go in front of us and wait it out on the steps, but she said we had to come into the load station. We chose the back again, but were pretty pissed off. This is something that they need to address/change now. I understand that with it being the popular new ride, they need to maximize efficiency, but there was no reason that the four of us should have been turned away twice, only to see the people behind us, yet again, get to wait for the front. It was maddening, and poor customer service, in my opinion.
However, we loved our ride on the back right again.
This trip report probably sounds really negative, but overall the day in the park was enjoyable despite the wait times we aren't used to and the teens. These are things that the general public have to deal with when they go to CP through the year, so I guess it was just our turn to have a taste of 'reality'. We will definitely move our trip in may next year back to M+S week though, it proves to be a much more enjoyable experience
1) I really like the new front entrance plaza. Very visually impressive, and I, as opposed to the poster above, thought that the crowd entering the park for early entry was handled reasonably well (although with multiple queue's open, instead of just the one, it wasn't precisely 'fair'). Traffic flowed through quite steadily, and the distance to GateKeeper was the great equalizer because many of the families went to the side for washroom/sunscreen application and we just continued past everyone quickly. The open space is great!
2) I really like that the park is now pumping music into the queues. It just adds a nice sense of atmosphere. The top 40 playing in GateKeepers line was great, and the top 40 country that was playing in Maverick's line was also enjoyable. Raptor had classic rock going when we were there, which isn't my taste, but others seemed to be enjoying (I saw some of the older couples singing along, which was cute). It's a simple touch, but effective in keeping energy up while in line.
Interesting report. I'm surprised at how often people are encountering mechanical issues on the rides there.
SquareOne42: My comment about the front plaza was for the normal entry at 10 (not early entry). By 10, the plaza was nearly full with people stretching clear out close to the blacktop. The crowd was spread wider than the entrance so there was a funnel effect. We were not in the back when it opened and it still was about 10:20 give or take a minute until we actually made it through the gate. Looks wise, it is very nice with how they integrated GateKeeper.
It's amazing how quickly the wait times can change. We headed straight to TTD when we entered and waited less than 30 mins (this would have been just prior to you coming by and the wait being an hour).
I know what you mean about the food. We didn't eat until close to 2. One guy ate at Panda Express while the other 3 of us walked over to Chik-Fil-A (not a short walk). We made to Chik-Fil-A (and a bathroom break), got our food (fairly short line but hectic as all get out with the way they take a million orders and everybody is standing around to get their food) and walked all the way back to Panda Express and still got back before our friend had his food from PE.
Agree totally about the back of GateKeeper. That is where most of my rides on it will be.
I did have one good thing happen yesterday. I had gotten a souvenir cup with the first day free refills band which they placed around the cup. Before I had even received my first refill, the band had fallen off the cup without me noticing. I went back to the same stand to see if the worker I had gotten the cup from was still there. He wasn't but the girl at the counter did not give me any fuss whatever. I explained what happened and she immediately gave me another band.
I just hope more rides are up and stay up when I go back up this Thursday (and that the rain, if any, stays limited).
Did you steal any pop at Chick Fil A? I here that's a trend for like 3 different usernames.
Could be more than that, Tyler. :-)
Sheikra Fiend, ChariotPrince, and what's this mystery man's other title?
Sorry to hear that you had such a long wait to get into the park, a twenty minute wait after the gates opened is unreasonable, imo. They are going to have to figure out a way to speed up that process or there is going to be a lot of angry people heading into the park each morning.
Do they replay the national anthem at 10am again and make you wait for that too? I've never been to CP without early admission.
The same thing happened with my boyfriend's refillable gatekeeper beverage container thingy, with the bracelet part falling off. They just reapplied it to his wrist instead with no hassle. He filled it up at least six times due to the heat, so it's a really great deal as well. Offsetting the wait times and down rides are all of these little details like the music, refillable cups, great-service-in-the-saloon type things. Another was that we also got to play Gatekeeper plinko in the entrance plaza. Sure, it WAS $5, but it was fun, and a good photo op for us. We didn't win the big prize of getting to go to the front of the line for Gatekeeper, (we won coupons that we didn't use), but it was a neat little extra that I thought added some atmosphere to the park.
Tyler Boes said:
Sheikra Fiend, ChariotPrince, and what's this mystery man's other title?
Dalemund78. If you blinked you missed him, but he managed to send me a PM about the Coke theft thing and also wondered why he was banned. I'm sure he'll turn up again like a bad penny.
Why was he banned? Was it for negativity?
No - identity theft.
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