Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio, USA
I had hoped today would be better as far as crowds were concerned. There was some noticeable improvement, but it would still meet my definition of crowded.
I made the decision to get up early and try and get at least part of the early entry time included in my day. I walked in just past halfway through the hour and began my journey to the back of the park. The goal was an encore lap on Millennium Force as well as my first spin of the trip on Maverick.
Walking to Millennium Force, I saw a line that looked to be about an hour, so I opted to bail and take the risk on wasting more time walking in hopes of a short Maverick wait. I would not be disappointed. Less than half an hour after entering the line (maybe twenty minutes?), I was in the front row of the "Ben" train.
Maverick still rocks my socks. It would greatly benefit from having the padding that Intimidator 305 possesses, but in spite of the attempted decapitations, I love the ride. It's so viciously aggressive with a lot of snappy elements that make for a great, well-rounded experience.
I debated going on once more (and I should have, but I'm a doofus), but I decided to instead head over toward Top Thrill Dragster in hopes of an encore there. No such luck as the line was over an hour. I doubled back to Magnum XL-200 to find a beautiful lack of a wait.
Magnum was good fun, but it didn't wow me. The airtime just wasn't as exciting as it used to feel to me, but no matter. A bad ride on Magnum beats a good ride on a whole lot of other coasters, and it was nice to ride it again.
I swung all the way over toward Millennium Force with another dose of optimism, but no dice. The wait had hit the nasty two-hour mark, so I figured it was curtains for any hope of a second spin on it. Mantis, however, had no wait at all, so I jumped on that.
It's not comfy by any means, but I think Mantis is easily one of B&M's best designs. Gone is the inversion-inversion-inversion sequence most B&Ms have and in its place are a lot of elongated, twisted transitions and outstanding non-inverting maneuvers. Perhaps it would be better as a floorless, but it's still an epic ride.
A whole lot of walking and lousy picture-taking (I thought I nailed some TTD shots only to find that, well, I didn't) later, I was back up near the front. Wicked Twister was down and GateKeeper's line was entirely too long, so I jumped over to WindSeeker for what I would later find would be my last ride of the trip (ending my total ride count at ten laps on nine rides). It's probably the most terrifying of the bunch that I've ridden (all but the KBF model) given its proximity to Wicked Twister and the impressive number of other horrifyingly oversized rides throughout the park that remind you just how high up you are, but it's still the only non-coaster ride outside of Orlando that is effectively guaranteed a spin on my visits.
And that was that. To be fair, I could have snagged another Raptor or GateKeeper lap, but I was expecting some friends to join up only to find out too late that they were running way behind.
I am looking to go again hopefully in September or early next year to try and make up for the substantial lack of riding I got on this trip, but I decided to appreciate the trip for what it was. This was the first time I came back to Cedar Point without the bitter taste left in my mouth from working there (I'd been back twice in between working there and this trip, but the bad memories hadn't fully left by then), and I rediscovered a passion for the rides I hadn't felt since the first time I rode them, especially Millennium Force and Top Thrill Dragster.
Basically, I looked at it from the perspective of my other family members. They all have their stories of sitting and watching me ride and ride and ride while only taking an occasional lap on something we all can handle (Iron Dragon and Blue Streak are within the limits of everyone, and my brother can add Magnum, Corkscrew, Mean Streak, and Gemini on top of those), so I got to see what it felt like for them. It made me appreciate what they go through, even if their waits are spent on midway benches as opposed to endless seas of switchbacks. Mind you, I think they somehow love the park even more than I do (my parents often long for return trips there), but I think I finally understood why. Sometimes just being there is fun in its own right.
I'd still prefer substantially lower crowds, though. ;)
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