Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio, USA
Made it back home to Ohio for my annual trip to Cedar Point. I grew up going to the park several times a year, but now living in Orlando it is a once or twice a year treat. The weather was perfect, and here are the observations:
Valravn is a solid, solid ride. Like others, I was expecting Sheikra at Busch Gardens Tampa and got so much more. The view of the lake and beach is fantastic from the top, and it is much more of an overall ride experience than Sheikra. I got lucky and got a front row ride, and I don't understand the complaining at all about the vests. They were comfortable and I didn't even notice them. And yes, the hangtime on that one inversion was fantastic. The only bummer was the wait time was posted at 45 minutes and wound up being exactly an hour and a half. And since it was a new one for me, I couldn't just take a look at the queue and make a guess. But the crew was cranking out train after train, which was good to see compared to some of the other crews I saw.
The park wasn't dead, but crowds were managable. I would up waiting an hour for Millennium Force due to a short downtime and the hour and a half for Valravn, but didn't wait more than 20-30 minutes for anything else. Blue Streak was down for a while with a train parked on the lift. Gemini raced all afternoon and I took 3 laps, reminding myself that it's still one of the most fun experiences in the park when both sides are running. Mean Streak is still awful. I realized only hours later that I never even looked for all the so called construction markers under the ride, proving again to myself that my super coaster geek years are past me and it's just a fun, casual hobby for me now. Rides like Rougarou and Raptor are still running great. Magnum is still my favorite in the park after all these years, and was running really well. Although I made the mistake of riding in a wheel seat - and what a difference compared with a middle seat.
The only two rides I wanted to ride and didn't were Maverick and Gatekeeper. Maverick's line was never under 90 minutes any time I walked by, and as much as I love that ride, I just didn't feel like waiting in thast line. Gatekeeper went down when I was in the area, and I just never made it back. I hadn't ridden Raptor in a couple of years, and wanted to do that over GK, which I had done a few times last year.
Brew & BBQ was a good time. I don't like beer, so my dad and I split one pack of tickets and he had a couple beer samples and we split all of the food offerings. Every food item we had was great and much better than any quick service options in the park. It's a great event for the park and I hope it does well.
The only real issue I noticed was the lackluster operations on some of the coasters. During my short wait for Raptor, I saw 4 different occasions of all three trains stacking. Back in the day, stacking on Raptor was unheard of. I took three laps on Magnum and saw more setups than I would in an entire season back in the days when I would visit 8-9 times a year. And yeah, that stop on the safeties is still quite abrupt, I got to do it once. Never once did I see them dispatch when the previous train crested the second hill, which was the old normal (and yes, they were running three trains.) Gemini stacked two trains on most dispatches. Corkscrew was constantly stacked. I completely understand that with bins and airgates and additional safety checks that it will never be like it once was, but it was definitely more noticeable than it ever had been for me in the past. Especially when rides like Rougarou and Dragster (and Valravn) were still cranking them out. Both Magnum and Millennium Force were also constantly starving their stations. The line for Magnum was down the stairs and through two or three switchbacks at one point, but they were only allowing one load of riders in the station at the time, which resulted in 2-3 empty rows in each train. Yeah, the wait was only about 15 minutes anyway, but that kind of stuff just never used to happen at CP.
Also, the app sucked. Never once was a wait time accurate, and a few times it wouldn't even register we were in the park (back in the Maverick, Mean Streak area during Brew & BBQ)
It was still a fantastic day. Spent the day with my dad at one of our favorite hangouts, ate some good BBQ, and rode all of the rides I grew up with. My hardcore coaster geek days are past, but I still love parks and coasters and still love Cedar Point. The overall guest experience is at a whole different level than it was even less than 10 years ago, and I mean that in the best possible way. I still need to go walk around Breakers, as I haven't been over that way since before any of the renovations. I spent most of my time in line reading up on the Orlando tragedy and checking in with co-workers and friends who were downtown (I work just a mile or two from the Pulse club) - but if I couldn't be at work with my co-workers yesterday, being back home at CP was the next best thing.
That's surprising about the inefficiency on the coasters. I wouldn't expect that, as they typically have leads from previous years who know how to keep things moving. And with so many coasters now, the overall capacity of the park is such a great opportunity to keep lines shorter and moving.
That is why it was so noticable - because it was so out of character for the park.
The worst "offense" was easily the Gemini crew, who were forcing both trains to see who could clap and cheer louder to get excited for their ride. And then it seemed they would give the louder train an earlier dispatch by a second or so. But the "who's ready to ride" shenanigans just kept going on, long after the rest of the crew gave the all clear and the last set of trains slammed to a stop in the holding brake. And starving the Magnum station to the point of empty rows with the line down the stairs and into the first couple switchbacks was just as much of an annoyance.Last edited by BrettV, Monday, June 13, 2016 10:34 AM
I didn't notice any of that this weekend. Magnum was down to two trains and closed rows when I rode it late Saturday night and the queue was empty as I was leaving at around noon on Sunday. Gemini on Saturday afternoon was a walk on.
It could have just been flukes for me. I honestly think (and hope!) that the Raptor stacking was. As I said, the two major issues for me was the forced cheerleading on Gemini that delayed dispatches and starving Magnum's station.
The crowds yesterday actually picked up quite a bit late in the day. I had thought it would have been relatively quiet, and it was early in the day. Not sure if it was a local crowd coming in for the final night of Brew & BBQ or folks from the morning races went and took naps and freshened up and then came back. I went back for my last Magnum ride around 6pm thinking perhaps they would have taken off a train, but that was actually when a line had formed. Dragster was down, creating a line down the stairs for Corkscrew and Iron Dragon which had been walkons every other time I had walked by.
Vote up for the kind words on Valravn + vote down for not liking beer = no vote... sorry. JK, I'll vote it up as I enjoyed your TR.
Any knowledge on who provides the BBQ for the B+B event? I'd guess it's the Brew Kettle, as they provide the CP specialty brews, and they do good BBQ. Is there more than one BBQ vendor? I'll probably not attend the event, even though I'd love to, as I attend CP with my 13 yr old son and have decided not to drink in his presence any more. Besides, I'm a little scared of mixing alcohol and coasters, as I'm already slightly prone to sickness on the more forceful rides.
Haven't played with the ap a whole lot yet, but the times seemed mostly accurate when we were there Friday afternoon. I couldn't get the "Battle for CP" game to load, but we were in the Maverick queue when I tried, so maybe that was it.
Glad you got on Valravn, it's been down for extended periods on our last 2 visits, despite the fact that B+M's don't break.
I'm honestly not sure if it is Brew Kettle or if it is CP's in-house catering team. The food at all six stations appeared to come from the same place and nothing was posted about it coming from a particular place.
That's a miss. At the Ohio State Fair we have a morning where the BBQ guys and gals come from all over and cook, offer samples, and I believe there's a competition involved. They also promote and sell their sauces and rubs. (If it's not a secret)
I'm not sure how that would work at CP though. The event's run is longer than a day or a weekend, and these guys make a living touring to various rib/bbq festivals.
Ok, never mind. It's not a miss.
The BBQ is all prepared by the CP catering department. The beer is also served by catering staff with the exception of Great Lakes Brewing and another vendor who staffed their own employees who were knowledgeable of their product.
I think CP purchases all the beer considered as craft brews from their local beer distributors in Toledo and/or Cleveland. I'd say about two thirds of their selection were from local area breweries in OH and MI while the other third were pseudo-craft beers from national corporate-owned brewers like Shock Top, Sam Adams, Sierra Nevada, Goose Island, etc. There was no representation from small mom & pop breweries who only generate enough beer for their taproom and don't have the production capability to have a bottling/canning line.
That being said, the $20 passholder price point (which includes food options) is still a great deal compared to your average local beer festival that usually charges a minimum of $30 and only gets you x number of beer samples. For being a more frugal passholder, CP will always get my money for this event.
The $20 price was fantastic for us. With the event on the midway, you did not need to pay to get in, and one pack of tickets provided plenty of food for the two of us as well as enough beer samples to make my dad happy. Compared to what we would have spent at a park restaurant, it was a steal - and the BBQ was darn good.
Good report, I was also at Cedar Point on 6/12 but only from about 3:30 PM to close. Then I was there all day on Monday. Im about to post my trip report as well. I was wondering, when you rode Valravn, did they seem to be letting Fastpassers pick the front row, while everyone else was normally stuck with row 2 or 3? I got stuck with row 3 both times I rode it, and it was frustrating as from my observations, they seemed to be letting only fast pass people in the front row. I too liked Valravn, but row 3 pretty much kills the experience of the hold on the drop.
I honestly don't know. I was in the standby line and got row one. Since they only allow one load of riders into the station at a time, I wasn't at the merge point long enough to notice.
Perhaps it's as simple as letting Fast Laners choose whatever row they want, and guess what? Row 1 it is. I know of people in standby that snagged row 1. (Not me. Ever. )
Yea, that seems to be exactly what it is. And its not fair. Why should the fast lane people get to chose their row while the rest of us do not? Fast lane is advertised as something that lets you skip most of the line, not something that gets you seat priority over everyone else.
No, I chose my seat as a standby person. I took row 3 when I was next up for row 2. Standby can get row 1 if the front row queue isn't already to capacity. It's a matter of timing more than anything. And maybe later this season or in future seasons it will change for the better and things will loosen up.
That said, I'll repeat that I've yet to snag a front row ride. It sucks but I certainly don't feel victimized.
I will try that this season. Cheaper than overpriced CP beer....
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