Cedar Point: 7-8-13

Tuesday, July 9, 2013 3:10 PM

I never thought I'd try and spend an entire day at Cedar Point in July. I also didn't expect it to potentially be my last visit for the season, but life finds ways of surprising you. Team Puzzoni is moving to Orlando, so this was our last big hurrah for awhile. We also haven't done much in the way of adult rides this year, which is totally fine, but we definitely wanted to knock a few out while we could.

We started the day at Chet & Matt's for lunch, and it was delicious as always. The buffet is such a stupid good deal. We were first in, so everything was super fresh. I was skeptical of the "hot wing and cheddar" pizza, but it's delicious.

We arrived at the park a little after noon, and scored our Fast Lane+ bands. After a ride on the "buckets" (Skyride), I went to Raptor while Diana started Simon on the Midway Carousel and trucks in Kiddy Kingdom. It was my first time this year, and the intensity was somewhat surprising to me. I can definitely agree with the position that it's more intense than GateKeeper. It's still my favorite inverted B&M, no contest.

After parent swapping, I took Simon on the Kiddy Kingdom Carousel and Sir Rub-a-Dub's Tubs. I love the enthusiasm he has for these rides. From there, Diana took Simon to Giant Wheel, where they didn't care that he did not have Fast Lane (more on that in a minute), and I went to GateKeeper.

I've been on GateKeeper just once since the TV shoots and media day, and that was a short wait. This one would have been tolerable even without Fast Lane. I sat in row 4, outside left, and the vibration was a little more pronounced this time. I suppose I have all kinds of theories about why this might be, but wheel condition seems to have a much greater, more amplified impact on ride smoothness in the outside seats. It's still not a problem to the point of discomfort (most wood coasters will beat you up more), but I'm surprised that B&M didn't totally eliminate the problem. Regardless, it's such a great ride.

The switch from Pepsi to Coke has been a huge win, not just because I like Coke, but also the boatload of fresh signage around the park. It wears Coke well. Unfortunately, I don't think Coke is keeping up with demand. Almost every visit, we find some problem, like empty CO2 tanks, or a park-wide outage of iced tea or lemonade. On this day, Diana had to go to two stands for lemonade, after paying at one, then having to wait in line at another to get filled. We've taken advantage of the refill cups, but not without this peril.

I had a short wait for Wicked Twister. I'm not positive, but I'm inclined to believe that it was operating at full, opening-year speed. They have neutered that ride on and off, but the forward launches in particular felt full strength. I didn't think to look from the ground to see how far they were climbing. That's such a great ride, and completely underrated. I've grown indifferent about the standard impulse model, but this one still wows me.

From there, Diana did Windseeker, but I did not, as Simon needed a timeout. :) Ah, the problems of parenthood. We did ride a few things in Planet Snoopy right after that. While in the neighborhood, we backtracked toward Blue Streak. Diana went first, and I took Simon to the Cadillac Cars.

This is where the park has a big box of stupid to address. As I said, they weren't looking for a Fast Lane band on a 3-year-old at Giant Wheel, so I expected they wouldn't care at the cars either. Well, they said, sorry, you have to wait in the regular line. Let's explore why this is stupid. First, by my count, there are four rides a tiny person like Simon can ride. No one in their right mind is going to buy him a Fast Lane pass. Second, if I get on the car alone, the car is in use, whether it's me or four people. I wasn't going to let it piss me off, but I was certainly annoyed.

So let's talk about Blue Streak. It's no secret that since the big rehab several years ago, it has been running like a champ. This is still the case. The trains looked very shiny, and I seem to recall them going to PTC for refurb last winter. In any case, the ride is balls-out nuts right now. You can feel the upstop wheels hammer the bottom of the rails. The turn around felt like a bit of a mess though. The best moment is stopping in the brakes, and hearing the upstop wheel whirling under the train. Good times.

Watching the radar, we saw a downpour coming, so we ducked into the Jack Centennial Theater for their Broadway revue show. A friend of mine complains about recycled choreography, but I think from a vocal standpoint, it's a really ambitious show that delivers. It's a good example, too, of how casting makes a difference. The woman who was in Luminosity last year didn't seem well-suited to that show, but she's fantastic in this one. I mean really good. Two of the male leads are also fantastic. The ensemble of "One Day More" from Les Miserables is surprisingly good, even without Wolverine.

The rain stopped by the time we left the show, and we headed back for some laps on Simon's beloved Jr. Gemini. What a transformation for him. At the end of last season, he reluctantly went on, but wouldn't do the second lap. Now, he cheers for the second lap, and asks almost every day if he can ride. He's only been on Woodstock Express twice, and doesn't quite embrace it just yet. With the rain, it was down for the count, so we didn't get to ride.

Next we did a full lap on the train, then the Antique Cars, where they didn't care that Simon was without Fast Lane. The sky opened up again at that point, and we left the park to meet friends at Buffalo Wild Wings. Timmay, Lois and Tony were there to share stories and sauce. Good times.

Despite Simon being suboptimal in terms of behavior, we decided to go back to the park. It was definitely going to be a touch-and-go time, but most importantly for Simon, we did get on Jr. Gemini again. He is going to miss that ride!

Headed up the Frontier Trail, it was like a ghost town. No Maverick, which was a bummer because that was one of the rides we would have liked to snag. At this point, I wasn't interested in hitting rides I haven't been on in awhile. I'm not all that sentimental. Mean Streak will still suck if I don't ride it. Instead, I thought I should try to get on GateKeeper again, since my lifetime count on that is obviously not high.

There were more Skyrides, then we split up again. I was three trains from riding, front seat left, on GateKeeper, when it poured again. After 15 minutes, including block checks, they started loading again. I've only had one other front seat lap, so this was a treat. What a visually amazing experience. The airtime hill is very strong in the front, as is the pop into the midcourse brakes. The keyholes are dramatic in any seat, but really fantastic in the front. It's not as intense as Raptor, but I really think that's OK.

One more ride on Skyride, and we headed back toward the Soak City lot and our car, just before closing. Simon was a trooper, and closed the park for the first time. In a fit of awesome, the park opened up Dragster and Power Tower with only 15 minutes to go. I love that about the park.

I haven't been to the park on a day in July or August in years, and despite the weather, we had a great time. It's a little sad that the visits won't be as frequent. I hope Simon remembers how special it is.

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Tuesday, July 9, 2013 3:59 PM

When I think "opening year speed" on Wicked Twister, I reminisce of the glory days when it used to travel the full length of the back spike twice. They only did that in the beginning of the first year, then switched to halfway up the first reverse launch then full way the second. I already know what you're going to say, but please please please tell me that in the 3 weeks since I've been that they are sending it up the reverse spike all the way both times...

Yeah... that's what I thought... sigh... Either way, it's still my second favorite coaster at the park.

I have yet to have a smooth ride on Gatekeeper. It's been rough for me in the front, back and middle. And I still have yet to ride in an outside seat. (my 10 yr old insists on the outside.) DOn't get me wrong, it's a fantastic ride, but the only reason I said WT is my 2nd and not GK is the roughness.

Congrats on the move. We will be moving to Denver later in the year. Certainly less coaster opportunities than OH, but with the rockies in our backyard I think we'll manage...

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Tuesday, July 9, 2013 4:09 PM

Jeff said:

I went to Raptor while Diana started Simon on the Midway Carousel and trucks in Kiddy Kingdom. It was my first time this year, and the intensity was somewhat surprising to me. I can definitely agree with the position that it's more intense than GateKeeper. It's still my favorite inverted B&M, no contest.

Glad to see the love for Raptor! It's always been my favorite B&M invert, too. So much smoother than Alpengeist and most of the Batmans.

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Tuesday, July 9, 2013 4:41 PM

Jeff said:
In a fit of awesome, the park opened up Dragster and Power Tower with only 15 minutes to go. I love that about the park.

Absolutely love this about Cedar Point.

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Tuesday, July 9, 2013 4:41 PM

Jeff said:

In a fit of awesome, the park opened up Dragster and Power Tower with only 15 minutes to go. I love that about the park.

Some of my most memorable moments at Cedar Point are from the sheer joy when they open rides/attractions after just about everyone has given up.

I was at a Friday Halloweekends a few years ago and knew it was going to be my last visit of the season. The whole evening was clear, with no significant chance of rain. I saved Maverick, Millenium Force, and the new haunted house in Frontier Town as the grand finale of the year.

We were walking past Gemini toward Maverick at about 10:45PM to begin the grand finale, and it started pouring out of nowhere. Sure I had ridden these rides many times before, but I was SO disappointed. I wanted one last ride on Maverick/MF for the season so badly, and it looked hopeless. Everyone was running out of the park, and my friends wanted to go as well.

I told my friends I'd buy them anything they wanted at Happy Friar if they just waited under an umbrella with me. The park got so eerily quiet, and there was only an older lady left, eating fries by herself under the umbrella next to us.

The rain stopped by 11:25PM or so, but it was still dead silent. A few minutes later, my heart skipped a beat when I heard Gemini climbing the lift. Then there was a Dragster launch, and we just started sprinting to Maverick. The queue opened with a smiling employee just as we arrived, and I believe we all got front seat Maverick rides. Then we went through the new haunted house and Frontier Trail scare zone, which were amazingly still fully staffed. Everyone left in the park was apparently at Millenium Force, but it wasn't more than a train worth. I think we even got a re-ride with the open gate.

It was just such an exciting end to the season for me, and the whole way home I wondered why CP did all that for such a tiny audience. Who was giving orders in the park to hold all Screamsters and open rides at about 11:30PM? It was absurdly awesome of the park, and I renewed my Platinum Pass the minute I got home as a result.

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Tuesday, July 9, 2013 4:52 PM

You said sprint.

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Wednesday, July 10, 2013 11:36 PM

So, what were the lines like in general for non fast lane riders? The last time I went was in 2010, and the lines weren't that bad. The only ride that had a huge line was Maverick at 2 and half hours. But most of the other rides were running under an hour to 45 minutes. Rides like Corkscrew and Iron Dragon had little of no wait at all. I actually waited longer for Max Air. I won't make that mistake again. 5 minutes yes, and hour no.

I am also a big fan of Raptor, though, I kind of like Batman better. My main reasons are that there is less head banging on Batman, and without a midcourse to slow it down, it's fast and furious from begging to end. I also HATE the slam into the brakes on Raptor. If they smoothed that part out, I think I would like it a lot more. That really hurts.

As for Wicked Twister. I did two back to back rides with no wait on my last visit. I did the very front seat, and the very last seat. I'm not sure which I like better, though it is very freaky in the backwards spin. I like Wicket Twister a lot better then Verticle Velocity. I also rode the Superman version that was at Geauga lake, and did both front and back on that as well. Still give the edge to Wicked Twister. Love Wicked Twister!

I am very much looking forward to a ride on Gate Keeper, and hoping to Ride Top Thrill Dragster again, and Maverick. I also have a love affair with Blue Streak. As far as wooden coasters goes, it blows Mean Streak away, as Mean Streak totally sucks. And, it's sad, because it was really a fantastic coaster in it's first few years of operation. Now, it's just a park killer, as all you want to do after riding it, is go have your spine checked, and go to the dentist to have your teeth checked for cracks. Aweful.

Anyways, glad you and your family had a good day a Cedar point. When they are good, they are something you will remember for a long time. We won't talk about the flip side.

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Thursday, July 11, 2013 12:29 AM

I've been to Cedar Point on Opening Day, which was rediculously buisy, and I've been on slow days this year. Essentially, plan on waiting 1+ hours for Maverick and Millenium except when you ride them during early morning ert. TTD has unpredictable waits, but keep an eye on it in the morning. It sometimes opens before 10, and sometimes doesn't open until after 12. It can be 30-55 minutes unless you get there right when the ride opens. Expect 1.5 hours for Gatekeeper and Raptor in the morning non ert. Then, plan on waiting 20-35 minutes for them later in the day. Expect 15-30 minutes for Magnum and maXair all day. Expect 5-20 minutes for Mean Streak, Corkscrew, Blue Streak, Power Tower, Mine Ride, and Gemini. Then, Mantis and Wicked Twister are unpredictable. Expect 5-45 minutes.

Make sure you ride Shoot the Rapids on the left side of the boat if you want to get hit by one extra waterfall.

Also, make sure you show your plattinum pass and ask for Soak City parking at the parking booth. It gives you a shorter walk (or sprint) to Maverick for ert, and it is less crowded. It is also nice to be able to not have to carry stuff around in the park and get your food, swimsuit, and sunglasses when you're ready for Soak City.

Just in case you're wondering, Soak City won't produce lines of any problems unless the weather is gorgeous.

Last edited by Tyler Boes, Thursday, July 11, 2013 12:31 AM
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Thursday, July 11, 2013 12:39 AM

Jeff said:

I also didn't expect it to potentially be my last visit for the season, but life finds ways of surprising you.

Don't you live in the pacific northwest though? Traveling all the way to Ohio for CP seems like a hassle....

And Tyler, the last time I was there it was mid-August, and a few of the coasters were walk-ons. I remember an unbelievably long wait for Raptor, but Magnum and Mean Streak was only a few minutes. Later that night I hit Millennium and it was only about 15 mins too. I guess it depends on when you're there. Wicked Twister is one of my favorite rides ever, it's so exhilarating. I can't compare it to the VVs because I've never been on any other ones, but WT was awesome.

Last edited by bjames, Thursday, July 11, 2013 12:43 AM
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Thursday, July 11, 2013 12:47 AM

I like how Tyler has to give us a step-by-step process every other thread for how to spend the day at an amusement park a good portion of us have been to 1000 times over.

I like it even more when it's in response to a thread about a visit somebody has already had.

Last edited by sirloindude, Thursday, July 11, 2013 12:49 AM
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Thursday, July 11, 2013 12:52 AM

I know. I feel like a broken record, but when people ask questions, I answer.

bjames, I've been to CP in previous years and only waited 25 minutes for MF. The fact is that MF doesn't require fast lane plus, and all the people who have regular fast lane use it on Millennium.

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Thursday, July 11, 2013 12:56 AM

My amazing thing with you, Tyler, is how you've got the savant thing going with the wait times. How, and maybe more urgently, why do you keep track of such?

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Thursday, July 11, 2013 12:59 AM

I don't know. Maybe I just like to do the work to eliminate the waits.

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Thursday, July 11, 2013 12:12 PM

Timber-Rider said:

I like Wicket Twister...

This will be the name for a new Star Wars themed ride at Disney Studios in Orlando. lol

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Thursday, July 11, 2013 12:43 PM

^^Or a new Extreme Cricket upcharge in Challenge Park.

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Thursday, July 11, 2013 9:15 PM

bjames said:
Don't you live in the pacific northwest though? Traveling all the way to Ohio for CP seems like a hassle....

I lived in Seattle for two years, then Cleveland for almost two years, and as of tomorrow, in Orlando.

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Thursday, July 11, 2013 11:58 PM

Thing is, though, Tyler is almost spot on, and it's decent advice for a first timer. It's amazing how short some of the waits have been on GK. I've seen 5 minute waits in the middle of the day while Maverick is *never* under an hour. It's all about timing it so you're up front when everyone else has gone to the back.

We also park in the Soak city lot often. But we never get there too early. The secret, (and I know this isn't really a secret) is, if you're going to show up late, look at the "Dragster Cam" on their website and in the back of the picture you can see how many cars are in the lot. Then you can decide whether or not your afternoon visit will be worth the trouble.

Of course, being locals, we typically don't visit in July or August. That's what Wildwater Kingdom (Formerly Geauga Lake) is for.

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Friday, July 12, 2013 12:26 AM

I normally stay away from all parks in July and August, for the most part. This year, I might add a park to my BeastBuzz trip in August, but that's an exception.

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Friday, July 12, 2013 6:49 AM

Late August is usually a great time to visit, depending on when school starts in the area. However, going on a weekday in any month is very manageable, the crowds are not bad. Finally speaking as a person who has survived Spring Break and the 4th of July in FL, and multiple Saturday summer/Halloween visits to regional parks if you get there at opening you can always ride plenty of attractions, no matter the crowds because we as enthusiasts due to the frequency we visit these places have a much better understanding on crowd flow then the average guest. I haven't waited over 1 hour to ride something in a long time.

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Friday, July 12, 2013 7:08 AM

Let me guess Jeff, you're next stop will be...San Diego?

I don't think I've ever been to CP in August, but we're planning a Mon/Tues visit during the last week before Labor Day. I scoped out the Dragster cam last season during that time, and the place appeared to be dead. I've got my hopes up.

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