Three things made this day different from the previous evening: Having to meet my other brother in the afternoon, Major Crowds..... And Top Thrill Dragster.
The five of us got up bright and early, and were inside the park by fifteen to Ten. After the impressive display we had witnessed the previous evening, there was only one thing to do. We were in line for Dragster about five minutes later. At the time, the line stretched out past the photo booth, with all of the official line filled. Surprisingly, the line moved quite quickly, and we were halfway through the official line in an hour. However, trouble was brewing. The speed indicator next to the launch track consistently indicated about 120 mph (as opposed to the 125 advertised), and the trains were frequently barely cresting the hill. Sure enough, an hour in, there was a roll back.
TTD is an interesting ride. Throughout the day, there were stretches when it just ran as smoothly as could be. These were, of course, interspersed with even longer periods when nothing got over the top of the hill. For two hours, we watched train after train (usually fifteen to twenty minutes apart) get shot up the hill, only to come rolling back down to the launch track. Fortunately, people in front of us kept bailing. If the line hadn’t moved I don’t think we could have stayed. In any event, by the time we reached the ramp to the boarding station, the ride finally started working again. Shortly thereafter, I found myself pulling down the lap bar in the right hand seat of the last row of the green train.
That’s about all I can say about that. The launch is incredible, the climb is awesome, the view from the top is awe inspiring, and that Drop... Not only is the 400 foot drop amazing, but that support (even though I knew it was coming) is nothing short of terrifying. This ride is something else. It was totally worth the three and a half hour wait.
From there, we left the park to have a picnic of sorts in the car. On the way, Marc and I commented on the size of the crowds. We were only five people, but it was some chore keeping us together on the midways. After the car, one of our number decided a little Wicked Twister action was in order. I was the only one in our group who had been on an impulse (V2 at SFGAm), so they were all quite interested. I, of course, had heard a lot about the back twist, and was rather keen myself to give it a try. The ride ops were really pushing people through, so the wait was just under an hour. The ride itself was a whole lot of fun. Even after Dragster, the launch carried quite a bit of kick, and both of those towers are just, well, fun. Quite a ride.
After that, unfortunately, the day began going somewhat downhill.
From WT, we headed right over to Disaster Transport. The guy at the head of the line said the whole thing was full, and to expect and hour and a half wait. Even my brother, who rather liked the ride the previous year, was disgusted at that prospect. Moving on, three of us caught a quick ride on Chaos, which I found to be a lot more fun than I had anticipated. From there, we headed to the Gemini Midway, with Magnum or Gemini as our targets. Along the way, we almost got separated five more times from the gigantic crowds. At Magnum, we found about an hour wait. Not bad, but we were coming into striking distance of the time my brother would arrive at the park. We past it by. A short walk brought us to Gemini.
Gemini was fun, as always. Unfortunately, we were unable to coordinate, and our two mini groups did not end up racing. Also, my train (Red) ended up smashing Blue, so no hand-slapping was even possible. Still, it was smooth, and that head chopper gets me every time.
After that, we headed deeper into the park, towards Frontier Town. We glanced at the Cedar Creek Mine Ride, but the line looked immense. I directed us over to Mildly Agitated Streak, but that line was well over an hour. Not when that evil trim brake is dry, thank you very much! So we took the train ride (my friends were highly amused by Boneville’s outhouse) and hiked up to the sweet shop by MF’s tunnels. Kevin phoned us shortly thereafter, and we waited a half hour for him to reach us.
At that point, we were all getting sick of the crowds. In my opinion, there was really only one thing left that was worth a long line (the only kind available), so we headed for it: MAGNUM XL-200. Despite the crowded queue, the wait was only about forty, fifty minutes. I got a ride in the second row of the train, and thoroughly enjoyed it. The first drop still blows me away. TTD and Millie are amazing, but they’re almost too vertical. Magnum’s drop fells amazingly steep, but it still feels like a roller coaster. And, of course, the ride is still fantastic after that. The turnaround is, to me, about as powerful as any of Millie’s overbanked turns, and those bunny hills are just little slices of heaven placed here on Earth. Great ride.
Magnum was probably the highlight of the day. All six of us were together, there was a fast reasonable line, and the ride itself was superb. After Magnum, unfortunately, the other five of our group professed that they were feeling a tad “coastered out.” As we now had two cars, they decided to go back to the motel. I was somewhat tempted to join, but I just couldn’t. It was CP, and I hadn’t ridden nearly enough. So, I continued on, alone. The first order of business was a repeat ride on Magnum. This time, I waited for the very back seat. Oh, yeah. The airtime on this ride is still, for me, unsurpassed. After viewing my photo, I seriously considered rounding out my lifetime Magnum trips to an astounding ten. However, something roughly the shape of my thumb called to me. Basically, I wanted a front-seat ride on Dragster.
The line wasn’t full as I got in, and I reached considerably past the then-current halfway fairly quickly. With three snakes left to go before the ramp, though, it happened. I had seen it happen all day, but it still disappointed me. A rollback. Another stupid rollback. They readied train after train for an hour. This time, however, it didn’t seem to want to follow the pattern. They would send two up, only to fall down, but the third would make it over. Unfortunately, the next one wouldn’t make it. And so it went. After about an hour, they started to hit consistently, and the line moved again (at this hour, and this close, almost no one bailed). Halfway up the ramp, it happened again. Most of another hour. Finally, they started up again, and I made it to the station. I glanced at my watch, and saw that there was only about forty minutes until the park closed. Eyeing the enormous line for the front seat, I said screw it, and headed for the second seat. One train later, It happened again. I eyed both the launch track and my watch apprehensively as they launched two more trains. Both failed. When the clock struck Ten-thirty, I threw up my arms and said forget about it. I turned around, and marched right down the FreeWay line to the Midway. When I got there, I turned around to see just how much TTD resembled a different digit, just in time to see another train roll back.
Well, with a half hour left and the Midways still amazingly crowded, I wasn’t sure I could do anything right. Still, I decided to try. Wicked Twister, I remembered, had been a “short” line in the middle of the day, had been running well, and had been a lot of fun. I headed there. The wait was about fifteen minutes, but only because I was a single rider. When I was a bout ten minutes away, the ride ops called out for a single to immediately round out the very back row. Score! Felling very lucky, I jumped ahead of many people, and took my seat. This ride was even better than the first one. The night added to it, and that full drop on the back spike... I won’t go so far as to say that it is better than the holding brake on V2, but it’s awfully good!
With fifteen minutes left ‘till the lines closed, I sprinted, ahem, “walked quickly” over to a coaster I knew I wanted to ride at night: Blue Streak! When I got there I found, surprisingly, no line! So, with nearly every other line in the park still stuffed, I managed to get in some Power Riding. I got three rides in, including the last one of the night. Blue Streak was, of course, fantastic. The lighting is wonderful, and there’s just no way to beat a good old wooden ride.
That was the end, of course, of the coaster riding for that trip. After that, all I had to do was buy a pretzel, a giant-sized map of CP, and fight my way through crowds the size of noontime of the previous year, and I was outta there. All in all, I had a very fun time, but I came away a bit disappointed. I was hoping my friends would have a really good time, but I think the long lines and few rides prevented them from truly appreciating the experience. As for me, I was spoiled from a great weekday the previous year, and was constantly amazed at how little we accomplished. I do believe I have learned a valuable lesson: NEVER go to CP on a weekend again! Also, I was rather more than annoyed at Dragster’s performance. I was quite pleased (more so, really) that I got to ride it at all, but he whole bailing on the station thing left a sour taste in my mouth. In any case, I know I must return at some later date, and truly take in all of what I know Cedar Point has to offer.
I hear America screaming...
The Millenium Force ride Ops: Squishing you where it counts since 2000.
Track Record: 62 coasters at 17 parks.
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