Cedar Point and Florida -VERY long!

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Wednesday, October 22, 2003 6:03 PM
Alright, that´s the first time I´m writing something here but I just came back from some great vacation in the US that almost completely consisted of riding coasters and going to amusement parks, so I thought this might be of some interest to you. Please note that everything I say about how good or bad some of the things that I´ve experienced during my trip are just my personal opinions and I´m not interested at all in bad talk about what might be your personal favourite coaster, all that depends on your personal taste I guess. Also forgive me for some mistakes in language, but English is not my native language and I hope, you´ll be able to understand what I want to say even if there might be some mistakes.

Okay, I started my trip with Cedar Point, cause that was something I wanted to do all my life and then went on to Orlando. My brother works there (yes, at Disney) and I wanted to visit him and, besides that, I have been there the last time some years ago, I don´t remember exactly when, but it was when Islands of Adventures was currently under construction, so now there were quite a few nice things to see there too.

I arrived in the US on Friday, 10th and I made a free stop-over deal with delta giving me three times in Ohio. Well, I had to drive all the way from Cincinnati to Sandusky and because everybody told me that would be about a 3,5 hours drive I originally planned to visit the Point on Friday night. Well, bad idea... By the time I made it through immigration and customs and after some trouble with my rental car (ouh, automatic gear, well, we don´t have this in Europe, and cruise control, what´s that?) I ended up in some really bad traffic on Friday night in Cincinnati. After an awfully long drive all the way up to Sandusky I finally arrived there about 11pm at night with a total of about six hours driving there so the first day at Cedar Point was Saturday, 11th. Yes, the first time ever I make my big dream happen and get to Cedar Point was Saturday, 11th. For all of you who weren´t there, it was probably the worst day you could chose for going there if you haven´t been there before. I have never seen longer lines in any park in the whole world, it was unbelievable. Dragster was a 3,5 hours wait most time during that day, and in the early evening even Gemini was 1,5 hours. I talked to some peaople there who go there more frequently and I got the impression that this is absolutely not what it´s normally like at CP during this time of the season. I ended up waiting for over half an hour just for getting dinner! Well, don´t get me wrong, I had a great time anyway and the reason for all these people coming up to the point was the perfectly warm and sunny weather. And I went there again on Sunday, so I got all my coaster riding on my second day.

I´ll now tell you about how good or not that good I thought those coasters at Cedar Point where, and with my second part of my vacation down in Florida I have some good ways of comparing all those rides. I know very well, that some of you will disagree about the one or the other, but as I have said before, that´s just my personal opinion.

Well, I start with the "not that great ones". First, mean streak, I just don´t know why this thing turns out to be THAT bad. I mean, it looks pretty nice at first and it doesn´t even seem that old (or am I wrong about that?) but I´ve never been on any coaster giving me such a rough ride, assuring you get some bad headache no matter in which row you sit. That´s something I don´t like about many wooden coasters, they normally give me some type of aching in my head (though there are few exceptions to this rule), but this one is really bad. And besides that, they somehow managed to build a woodie that gives you absolutely not the smallest feeling of airtime, at least not as far as I have noticed (one time third row, one time last).

Okay, the headache thing, you know, if a coaster is just boring or lame, that is still much better than getting a headache that will haunt you for the rest of the day, and Mean Streak prefectly accomplished that for me, so that´s why it appears at the bottom of my list. That´s also the reason why next up comes Mantis. Alright, I´ve only been on one single standup before (it was at Paramount´s Great America, I don´t remember the coaster´s name) and I remember that it wasn´t that much fun and gave me a really rough ride. Well, Mantis is really a nicely layouted coaster and I especially liked the colour sheme of this coaster but still - it´s a standup. I went on it three times (one in front, one in last row and one somewhere in the middle) and though the ride would have been fun just by the pure ride experience it wasn´t because I kept banging my ears onto the harness and my head was like bursting after my second ride. I don´t know if you can do anything about it and if there´s any standup coaster out there that is just pure fun, but Mantis, unfortunately, wasn´t.

Now comes the all-time object of hatred (at least that´s what I have heard from all Cedar Point fans), which only ranks third worst in my opinion, that´s Disaster Transport. The reason for that is though it might not be the most exciting coaster around, at least it doesn´t hurt you at all. Well, all the "theming" looks indeed like the work of some art class in kindergarten, but I didn´t think the ride itself was THAT bad, especially the dark parts of it where even fun. I even ended up going on it twice, I don´t know why everybody is complaining about it. I would say it comes even with Corkscrew, that´s the kind of old coaster we even have here in Europe, and there´s really nothing special about it, neither good nor bad.

Next there is Iron dragon, I thought this was fun, probably because it was the only walk-on this Saturday, but I guess back when it was built this might have been something really special, I liked it. Next up I would rank the mine ride and Gemini, especially the latter one being a really nice coaster for that age. And I´ve never seen a steel coaster on a wooden structure before, so this was quite interesting to me. Oh, and befor I forget about it, yes I would also rank Blue Streak somewhere around here, considering its age it´s still not only a classic but also a fun coaster and compared to Mean Strek it gives you not only more airtime but also a really smooth ride without any headache whatsoever (which was what I expected before I went on it).

Okay, next on my list comes raptor. I originally expected this to be one of my favourite rides at Cedar Point cause since I got my first inverted some many years ago (Top gun at Paramount Great America) these coasters where my favorite type of all. And still, it was fun, but somehow, Cedar Point seems to have bad luck with its B&M built coasters. It was better than those rough standard Vecoma build inverted we got here in Europe, but still, it´s not that much of a special inverted coaster. Maybe I´m just spoilt by Montu in Bush Gardens, Tampa, I have been on that a couple of years ago and this time was reassured, that this is one of my all-time favourite coasters, but Raptor doesn´t quite make it there. It´s fun, yes, but by far not the greatest B&M can build.

Now come the big ones which I enjoyed the most. I know many of you will disagree, but Dragster comes in on fourth for me. Yes, the pure sight of it is impressing and I admit that it was the first coaster in my whole life that I´ve been a bit scared of before my first ride. The launch is maybe some of the most intense feeling ever created by any coasters and the look down on Millenium Force from the top is impressive, especially at night (which was the last thing I did on Sunday, shortly after 8pm). But, and that makes me rank it only four, it is short, very short and before you realize what just happened it´s already over. Maybe it was just because this weekend was so packed with people and maybe if the wait was only half an hour or so I would rank it higher but I just thought the wait/ride time ratio was too bad to rank it number one (I´ve been on it three times, one in front, one in back and on in third row).

My number three is Magnum, which came of some surprise to me cause I didn´t expect too much from it. But I was really positively surprised. I went late at night on Saturday for the first time and the best thing about it is that it´s almost completely hidden and out of sight till you finally ride it. I couldn´t believe how huge the track is when I had passed the first hill for the first time and the atmosphere out there in this hidden spot of the park close to the lake was just great at night. And I liked the covered airtime hills at the end of the ride, this was a great feature. Yes, that´s some kind of a coaster, really nice.

Okay, my first two. I rank Millenium Force only second with my favourite one being... Wicked Twister. Well, as I said earlier, that´s just my opinion, and I was pretty much surprised by it. Millenium Force what great, the height of the frist hill really makes some difference, I didn´t think so before I went on it. This hill is just great and, well, somehow, the rest of the ride didn´t seem that special to me. I rode it over and over again, anyways, especially on Sunday when the lines where shorter, but mostly for the first hill really. Well, and Wicked Twister, this one probably gave me the inverted feeling I missed a little on Raptor. I originally thought, well, it´s not even a real coaster cause it doesn´t make a complete circuit, but the feeling of the ride was just awsome. I think most people underrate it a bit, at least that´s my impression. The start was pretty intense even when I rode it again and again and I liked the feeling when you got up there twisting and twirling around the track. And maybe part of the reason I liked it that much was that though it also doesn´t give you a really long ride, the wait times on this were so much shorter than on all major rides, even on Saturday, so it wasn´t like waiting for three hours just to do it again.

That uch for the rides, apart from that maybe some overall impressions and hints for some of you who also plan to go their for the first time ever: First of all, yes, I definitely think it´s worth going there even if you have to cross the Atlantic Ocean for that. I´ll never forget these two days, no matter how crowded it was, and I would always do it again, and probably will some time during the next few years. Though not all of the coasters are the best of their kind, the shere amaount of different rides is just amazing to some coasterlover like me (and probably everybody else who is reading this now). What also was very special was the overall atmosphere, all the ride ops were really friendly, all the rides were going with all the trains they could use and, I have to mention this, also the crowd was really nice all the time. I mention this because I have experienced differnt things, especially at Bush Gardens Halloween Night, but I come to that later. Some advice for averybody who´s interested: First of all, never ever try driving all the way from Cincinnati up to Sandusky, especially if you just came over by plane on a long and exhausting flight. I really thaought I won´t even get there, maybe it was because I´m a foreigner and had to get accustumed to American traffic first, maybe it took me so long because I always kept to the speed limit, I don´t know, but it really seemed like a ride through hell to me.What I can recommend, by the way, was my motel, it was the Days Inn Mall Central in Sandusky, I booked it on the internet for only $29 a night and for this price it was really nice. Only ten minutes away from the park, they had endless television channels, friendly staff and it was really clean though maybe a bit old fashioned, but for this price I originally expected something really bad and it definitely wasn´t. Oh, and one last thing, the prices at CP are quite reasonable I think, especially if you compare it with those parks in Florida. I especially liked Midway Marked thought I had to que for getting in but it was still the best what I could do on early Saturday níght when the park was soooo crowded and the food was great and not too expensive considering that you can eat till you burst apart :-)

Okay, now comes Florida. As I told you earlier I´ve been there before a couple of years ago but much of the best things there haven´t been built yet by that time. On my first day, which was Monday 13th, I just relaxed from yet another flight and I met my younger brother which was the real reason for my trip in the first place. The next day I stated with going to Wet n Wild, which I remember as being a really fun place. Well, it probably was the biggest disappointment of my whole trip, is it only me who gets the impression that this park seems a little bit run-down nowadays? I don´t know, they even got new slides during the last couple of years that I haven´t been there but somehow I didn´t enjoy the whole place at all. Maybe it was the fact that the high season was already over but the people working there were mostly in a bad mood and ther rides seemed all old and lame.

Well, next day I went to Sea World and this was quite a surprise in the opposite direction. I´ve been to those parks in San Diego and in Australia before but I didn´t expect such a nice, clean and fun place as Sea World Orlando is. Well, for my liking it´s maybe a bit too family-orientated and I definetely didn´t go there for that whale, that seems to be called Shamu all over the planet and definitely not for the over-prices food that even was absolutely disgusting in taste. No, I went there for the Kraken but I didn´t know if this allone would be worth spending about 50 bucks. Well, let me tell you, yes it was. This lame water ride, Journey to Atlantis, was something Disney could have built (booooring and not even wet) but the Kraken, well that was one of my most favourite coasters on my whole trip. Unbelievable, I loved it. Proper lift hill (I love this noise a chain lift makes when you go up), a great spot where it´s located with the water right next to it and an incredible fun and clever track-layout you won´t see that often anywhere else. With friendly ride-ops and almost now cue at all during the whole day, this was just too much fun to describe, I guess I had finished my 50th ride by 4pm. That´s exactly the kind of coaster I would dream to have in my backyard because I could go on it every day.

On Thursday I went to Blizzard Beach at Disney, because I just loved it the first time I had been there some years ago. It´s still one of the best waterparks in the world, and it definitely got the nicest theming of them all. I still loved it, though I think there are better water parks. Especially the one I´ve been to last year, that was in Dubai, so just as a small hint, if any of you ever get to the United Arab Emirates, the Wild Wadi Waterpark there is definitely something not to miss, just as a side remark here.

Okay, Friday I got my big park double with first going to Epcot the first time in my life. I really only went there because I couldn´t resist seeing my brother working there in the German Pavillion and it really was some great fun watching him selling Sauerkraut and Beer in these fake Lederhosen they have to wear, well, this alone was worth the visit. Otherwise, as I had expected, the whole park is just crap, especially considering what they charge you for admission and even worse for food. The whole park is just plain seventies style and nothing, really nothing, is of any reason going there. The much-advertised "Mission Space" is the least a simulator ride should offer, but it´s still nothing compared to any real coaster and it´s definitely not worth the amount of money they say was spent on building it (I still wonder where all this was going, come on, it´s nothing more than a giant centrifuge you sit in with some stupid plastic space-ship kind surroundings, come on...). And, by the way, me not being interested in any kind of simulator ride, if you really want to experience one that is actually good, go to Univeral´s Islands of Adventure and ride Spiderman, but I come to that later. Test Track, the other newer of the rides there was even worse, stupid theming, more for the sponsor than for anybody else, and reaaaally lame ride that comes with a waiting time of more than an hour on a Friday in October, that´s just insane. I won´t even talk about the rest of the rides there that don´t even deserve the word "ride" and I knwe exactly why I didn´t even bother to go to the Magic Kindom because I´ve been to the one in Paris an the original one in California before, so i really think I´ve seen enough of it (and with Mickey being some stupid of a character anyways, at least, that´s what I think...).

That same day at night I picked up my brother at work and we drove to Tampa where we did the Howl-O-Scream Halloween-Event at Bush Gardens. We didn´t go there because the Halloween stuff but mainly it gave us the chance to go on the rides there for a relatively cheap price but unfortunately we dind´t do much during this night. First of all, it was packed with people, and second, most of the folks there where really annoying. Most of them were badly drunk and some of theme seemed pretty agressive, too. In the end we even witnessed some argument on the parking lot, where some drunk a...hole for no reason crashed another car and started a bad fight afterwards. Well, we did Montu which used to be my favorite coaster for a long time now. With the rides at Cedar Point and the Kraken i don´t know exactly about this anymore, after all, there seem to be more than one "Greatest Coaster" around, but it´s still a great ride and definitely the best inverted coaster i´ve ever been on, so it was much fun. Afterwards we did some of the Haunted Houses and tried the double wooden coaster but unfortunately it was shut down for quite a while just shortly before we were on the train so this made up loose much time on that crowded night. Well, but to my surprise, this was the first wooden coaster I´ve ever been on that was really, really fun to ride and I wished we could have done this one more often. It really has a great, pretty strange track design going in all kind of directions which was even more fun at night with almost the whole ride in complete darkness so you completely lose any sense of orientation during the ride. And, after all, it was one of the smothest wooden coasters I´ve ever been on with no head aching or banging your ears at all. Unfortunately they closed all the cue lines half an hour before the official closing of the park which was pretty disappointing, but we still had a great night there.

On Saturday I decided to sleep long (I didn´t get back to Orlando til like four in the morning) and do a bit of shopping instead of enduring some overcrowded park so the next and last park I did was Islands of Adventure on Sunday. As with Bush Gardens and Cedar Point those Halloween Events were a nice bonus touch but it wasn´t really the main reason for going there, after all, we have Hauted Houses in Europe too and they never meant that much to me. Well, First I went on the Hulk coaster and I had heard many great things about it so I really was pretty excited and -deeply disappointed. Maybe it´s because I´ve been on too many great coasters in such a short time, but I thought it was pretty lame. Not fast enough with a pretty boring start (well, nothing to compare with Dragster or wicked Twister), so I wished they would have a traditional lifthill instead. And I also had the feeling that the track design was not very original, especially not if you compare it with the likes of Kraken or Montu. Well, Dueling Dragons was broken dowen for most of the day, so I couldn´t go on that before 4pm, but in the end it was quite fun, and the dueling aspect gave a nice extra touch to it. Somehow, I ended up liking the Ice one more than the fire one though I had heard the opposite before, but well, as always, that´s just my personal opinion. What really came as a surprise to me was the Spiderman ride, it was the first and only simulator/3D-glasses kind of ride that I really enjoyed so I did it four times during that day. What i also have to mention is that all rides and the buildings in the park where really wonderfully themed and it gave you a great atmosphere in all areas of the park. It even made the waterride fun, which, by the way, was the wettest I have ever been on, I got so soaked though I´ve been in the last row, I couldn´t believe it. Oh well, and the Jurassic Park ride, I really loved the book and the movie, at least the first one, and I was really looking forward to this just because it´s Jurassic Park but I had the feeling that it could be much more exciting than it was, well.

Alright, thanks to all of you who really managed to read all this and I hope none of you is angry because I rate some rides different than you do. After all, I had a great time, also because I just love not only rollercoasters but also the US and the American people so I enjoyed myself and met many nice people during waiting in line for all those nice coasters.

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Thursday, October 23, 2003 8:06 AM
Berlin,

Wilkommen zum CoasterBuzz. Ausgezeichnet Fahrenbericht!

Hopefully I didn't mangle your lanuguage too much. It's been a long time since high-school German class. Don't worry about offending anyone with your opinions. That's what forums like this are for. I'm of the mind that you can't have really good discussion if everyone agrees all the time.

Interesting rankings of the coasters at Cedar Point.

Later,
EV
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"Everybody has desperate days of quiet questioning.
Everybody has times when they feel like they don't fit in."
- Color Theory, So Many Ways, 2001

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