Cedar Point - Rougarou Media Day, Preview Night, and Opening Weekend May 8-10, 2015

Monday, May 11, 2015 1:03 PM

I spent the whole weekend at the park and attended Media Day, preview night along with Saturday and Sunday of opening weekend. Stayed at Comfort Inn on Cleveland St. in Huron.

First, I'll start with Media Day. At first I had my doubts about this and said I wasn't interested in attending. I didn't sleep well that night, but I got there at 5AM and headed to Rougarou. First ride, I rode front seat. I liked the new fog and lighting effects and the ride feels more intense than it was when it was Mantis. The trim brake is off and the MCBR is dialed back. In total, I rode 7 times during media day. I would've rode more, but I was reaching my limits and beginning to feel nauseous. I was interviewed by Walt, of the admins of PointBuzz for 2 different videos, a Detroit news station, and a Norwalk newspaper.

Now onto Preview Night. What a joke. This was a disaster on many levels. First, it took 20 minutes just to get through the front gate. The crowd was about a mid-summer level. On top of that, half the rides advertised weren't running. I was heading to MF hoping to ride that, was told it was down for mechanical by the employee at the entrance and that it may not open at all. It kept running empty trains the whole night. So I headed over to Magnum. It was running, but lots of rows were chained off, reducing capacity. When I was about to enter the station, it went down for mechanical reasons. Waited about 20 minutes for it to be fixed, then rode it. Then I headed down to Gatekeeper, waited about 45 minutes. Then I went to check out Sweet Spot and it looked good. At that point, the night was about over and was ready to leave out of frustration. Unless they make some changes to this, I don't think I'll be attending another one of these in the future.

Now onto opening day. Got there about 5 minutes before ERT began. Headed to Rougarou since we had someone in our group who wasn't with us on Friday. Waited about 45 minutes. At that point ERT was over, so while we were in the area, we headed to MF, waited about an hour. As I got closer to the station, I noticed the yellow train wasn't even on the track, which was ridiculous. That wait could've been reduced to about 35-40 minutes. Then I headed back to Maverick, it was down. So then proceeded to Gemini. After Gemini, we went on Pipe Scream. We had someone in our group who was in line for MF, but went down while he was waiting, so the rest of us took a break at Coke Freestyle on Gemini midway. We then proceeded to Maverick because we saw it testing. Our straggler in the group met back up with us and about 10 minutes later Maverick Opened. Waited only about 10 minutes and rode front row. New restraints are comfortable. I never had an issue with the old ones. After that, I headed over to Last Chance Saloon to try a Rougabrew. Very good beer. I'm not much of a beer drinker, but this one is easy on the taste buds and not much of an aftertaste. I hope they continue to sell this for a while. Since the straggler in our group didn't go on Gemini and Pipe Scream, we went back there to ride them again. After that we headed over to Challenge Park to do the short go-kart ride. The Grand Prix was not running After that, we took a walk down the path that goes behind Magnum and Soak city which leads to Sandcastle. Nice view of the beach and Magnum from back there. After that it started to rain, so we headed to Breakers to check out all the improvements. Really nice hotel. It now feels more like a resort and upscaled, premium hotel. After the rain let up, we headed back into the park. We saw Maxair testing, and it opened shortly thereafter so we got on. The ride felt nerfed, I didn't think it was going as high and the ride cycle felt shorter. Then we saw Raptor testing, got in line and it opened shortly after. RIght when we got to the station, it started to rain and they shut it down again. So then we proceeded over to the arcade to play some skeeball. Was in there for a while. Then headed over to Sweet Spot and bought some Birthday Cake fudge. At that point, the rain let up and headed back over to Raptor, waited only about 5 minutes then got on. Then we attempted to go to Rougarou, got in line then it went down. Heard the reason was there was a fight up in the station. Is this true? I saw some cops going up the exit. At that point, it was almost 10, so we left and went to Thirsty Pony to eat. I know I went on Magnum at some point during that day as well, but I'm drawing a blank as to when it was.

Now onto May 10th. Got there at around 10AM, headed for Gatekeeper. Waited only about 2 cycles for front row. Then over to Blue Streak, walk-on. We saw Maxair testing, so we went over to that and walked on. Didn't feel nerfed like the day before. Now we headed off to Millennium Force. Waited about 45 minutes. Headed to Rougarou, it was down. Then we took a break and stopped at Toot Sweets for a funnel cake and Coke Freestyle for a drink. After that, we went to Skyhawk, walked right on. Then we stopped to look at Town Hall Museum. Next up was Mine Ride, another walk on. Then we got over to Mean Streak. This was one of the rare occasions where there was a wait. Waited about 15 minutes. I think it was due to not being open the previous day and Maverick being down. Next, we wanted to go to Maverick but saw it was down, but testing. Waited a few minutes, but went onto other things and it started to sprinkle. Next up was Gemini, showed about a 45 minute wait on the sign, but was only about 15-20. I think the sign was tampered with. Next up for us was Pipe Scream, only waited one cycle to get on. Next, we took a walk through Dinosaurs Alive. I always wanted to go in there, and since everyone in our group was Platinum Passholders, we gave it a shot. It was nice in there, but nothing to write home about. I wouldn't be upset if they removed it. I liked being very close to MF whizzing by. While I was in there, I saw Maverick was running so we headed there and waited about 20 minutes. From there we wanted to go to Rougarou next, since CP&LE was at the station back there, we jumped on. 2 in our group had to use the bathroom and missed the train, so the rest of us rode 1.5 cycles to allow them to catch back up with us. When we went by Rougarou on CP&LE, we saw it was down again, so me and one other in our group went to Dragster. Walked right on for second row. Next was Corkscrew, another walk-on, lots of empty rows. We saw Rougarou running again, so we headed there. Waited about 5 cycles for front row. Next up was Windseeker, my first ride on it ever. My fear of heights kept me off this ride. Got there as it was ready to take off, so had to wait for the next cycle. Nice view from up there. Next up was Tiki Twirl, nice little flat ride. It was a little slow to board, the op was training. From there, we rode Gatekeeper again, waited 2 cycles for front row. Lots of empty seats. After that, we went to Raptor and waited 1 cycle for front row. At that point it was almost 8, so we went to the gift shop to end the night.

After the park, we stopped at the new Quaker Steak at Castaway Bay. The atmosphere was really nice and the service was good. The food tasted good. I got a Mac and Cheese burger. I didn't get wings because I had wings at Thirsty Pony the night before, which I thought were fantastic. The manager of QSL came over to talk to us and ask for our feedback on the restaurant. I gave positive feedback and asked if there will be AYCE wing nights at that location. He said they were working on getting it to happen and said it may only end up being during the off-season. And they do accept gift cards at that location. I remember that being one of the gripes about Friday's. I think QSL and Thirsty Pony will be in my rotation of places I will eat at after going to the park.

Overall, this weekend was frustrating with all the downtime, but still a good, fun weekend. I got to do most of what I hoped for. It was disappointing that WT wasn't ready. Sunday was by far the best out of the whole weekend with mostly walk-ons so downtime didn't cause too much of an inconvenience on that day.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2015 9:58 PM

We were at the passholder preview night as well, I have to agree it was a big flop. There were few rides running, including some of the ones listed in the publicity, I don't think anything in Frontiertown was operating except the railroad. The lines were extremely long (45 minutes just to get in the front gate) and considering the whole thing was only a few hours, we decided not to wait in anything with more than a 30 minute wait and therefore missed some of the newer/bigger coasters (including Rougarou and Gatekeeper). From what I could see, the biggest problem was that they did not have the staff available to do this event properly. A good example is the front gate, each entrance station can have two ticket scanners, but they only had one person as each station, cutting capacity in half. I saw similar things on the coasters, entire rows of seats blocked off apparently because they did did not have the platform staff on hand to safety check the entire train and still keep on schedule. It is very disappointing to wait in line for 15-20 minutes and when getting to the platform find that 1/3 of each train is not being used. I would like to see a couple of changes for the future: 1) Make the preview night longer, perhaps starting at noon, even if it overlaps a bit with the media day. From what I understand, most of the media was there at something like 6am, I doubt many stayed past the initial couple of hours, they had to get footage in for the noon talk shows :) 2) Have more staff available. I know this is a tricky one, most of the seasonal employees are college students that simply cannot be there on a weekday, especially toward the end of the school year. Perhaps instead of having media day and preview day on the Friday before opening day, do it on the weekend before. CP's marketing department probably won't go for that, the hype will die down too much in a week to pump impulse sales for opening weekend :(

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