Cedar Point Early Entry Strategy

Hoping to visit CP on Friday, 5/31. It will be my son's (big thrill seeker) first visit since he was a little guy, now pushing 54" tall. Staying at the Express hotel.

How many coasters would we be able to get in during that first hour? I was thinking Gatekeeper, Valravn, MF, Maverick, then SV. I figure we MIGHT get to Maverick within the first hour, and while the line for SV will build it shouldn't be too bad shortly after public opening.

Also curious what time you would recommend leaving the hotel to get ahead of the pack. On our Disney trips we're usually belly up to the rope at opening so if that's what it takes that's what we'll do!


Jeff's avatar

It's unclear, but are you asking if you can get more than one of any of those coasters in the first hour? I wouldn't think so, if for proximity alone.

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog

Just trying to get one of each.

If you are looking to get on everything in one day with early entry: I would ride Valravn, Millennium Force, and Maverick during early entry. Those three should be do-able on a moderately slow day in the early entry hour as long as you walk fast. Head toward Top Thrill near the end of early entry to ride it when it opens at 10. The line for Gatekeeper is often quite short by late afternoon. Steel Vengeance is going to have a wait all day. I typically like to get to the park 20 minutes or so before opening. From CP Express, I would think 30 min before park opening would be ok.

OhioStater's avatar

There are two coasters that will 1) have the longest waits of the day, and 2) easily have the shortest waits of the day during early entry, and they just happen to be next to one another; Steel Vengeance and Maverick.

The wait for Steel Vengeance is about 30 - 45 minutes, and Maverick about 20, so that sucks up your "early entry"; what it boils down to is how long you want to wait in line for those two. After early entry, you're easily 90 minutes - 2 hours for Steel Vengeance, and about an hour for Maverick. Yes, Steel Vengeance is going to have a wait all day (and so is Maverick), but those lines get busier as the minutes tick by, while the other rides ebb and flow. Gatekeeper will be a walk-on later in the day.

Since you're staying at Breakers Express, I have another strategy for you. When you go to park, drive up to the Boardwalk (yes, all the way up to the Boardwalk) to park. Instead of entering the front gate, just stroll down the Boardwalk to either the entry gate by Windseeker, or maybe better yet the gate close to Magnum (known as the "resort gate").

This will save you a chunk of time, as (depending on the day), the front gate can get a little crowded. All depends on the day.

Congrats on your little one hitting 54"! This will be our own first season with no use for parent swap with two little ones. Fun times for sure.

Last edited by OhioStater,

Promoter of fog.

eightdotthree's avatar

Remove Gatekeeper from your early entry plans. I personally love to session MF in the morning then try to jump on Maverick before the park opens.

Bakeman31092's avatar

I also agree that Millennium and then Maverick and/or Steel Vengeance is the way to go. You might consider parking in the main lot and then catching a shuttle over to the marina gate—which has basically become the Valravn gate. The shuttle stop is to the left of the main gate and they should be running before the park opens. You could also just walk to it. If you enter through the marina gate, Valravn is just inside and Millennium is right around the corner. If you hustle, you might be able to hit the first three and then be in line for Steel Vengeance before gen pop arrives.

Of course not to be a pessimist, but CP's record with getting any of these rides open on time has become rather spotty in recent years.

I definitely agree to not include Gatekeeper with your morning plans (it will be a walk on by late afternoon or evening) and to enter at a gate other than the front. Try to knock out two rides like the two in the back right next to eachother (Maverick and Steel Vengeance - which also will be the longest waits during the day) and if you're lucky, get in line for either Millennium Force or Dragster before the masses get in.


Wow... great tips here. Really glad I asked!

Love the idea about going through the Valravn gate. I didn't even know there was a shuttle from the main lot, let alone one that operates early. Even if it isn't, it looks to be a short walk.

Maverick and SV have the longest waits (I have yet to ride SV), but I'm surprised to hear of a 90 minute wait on a Friday in May. Good to know.

Based on what I'm gathering here, going Valravn, MF, Maverick, then SV should be doable, with possibly a decent wait (45 min) at SV. Being my son's first big kid trip to CP, I'd like to have some sort of build up to the best two rides in the park.

OhioStater's avatar

It was a 90 minute wait on a Thursday yesterday at 10:30 AM. The closer we creep to June, the more resort guests start to appear.

Have a blast with your son.

Promoter of fog.

Holy Smokes 90 minute wait on a Thursday in May?! That's crazy. Maybe I will start with MF just to be safe.

Can't wait to go. He loves Kings Island (home park), with Banshee and Vortex being his favorites.

Last time we visited he was just 44" as we did an extended family trip, so he couldn't do much but still had a blast. My twins were just 2 or 3 years old, but burned the midnight oil. I'll never forget... they were so tired. They'd come off a ride jumping up in down, arms raised in celebration. Pick them up, and they would rest their little heads on our shoulder while pointing to the next ride in the summer night. It will be a real treat when all three are tall enough to hit the big rides.

Bobbie1951's avatar

The comments about Gatekeeper are interesting, especially as I had a completely different experience. I went to CP last year on a Monday or Tuesday and bought Fast Lane Plus, which got me half a dozen rides on Steel Vengeance within an hour during the evening. With Gatekeeper, however, the Fast Lane queue merges with the standby queue early on and there was quite a wait in the late afternoon so I ended up skipping it.


SuperSonicSam's avatar

You can also just park in the Marina overflow lot for a short walk to the marina gate. Probably a little quicker than parking in the main lot and waiting for the shuttle. Also a good place to park for Famous Dave's.

Keep in mind it's a long walk to the front entry to SV. I am "once a decade" visitor, but I forgot how far it was from the front gate.

Astroworld.....Gone But Not Forgotten

I would head straight to the back of the park and ride Steel Vengeance and Maverick. SV line gets pretty long as the day goes on. Then head towards Dragster as the public crowds show up. After that, you should be able to find a time when everything has a reasonable wait throughout the day.

But then again, what do I know?

Keep in mind that as long as you are in line for a ride at park close, you will be permitted to ride pending no closures for weather or mechanical difficulties. This can be nice for getting on one of the rides that typically has a long wait without eating up a bunch of your day.

I have found the line for Steel Vengeance peaks around 11 to 12, then dies off a bit as late afternoon comes along. Not as much as Gatekeeper or Raptor, but a bit. Personally, if you're not going to be in the line for Steel Vengeance, in the first 30 minutes the park is open, I would wait until 3 or 4 to ride. Take advantage of the short lines on the other rides, then wait for Steel Vengeance, but your mileage may vary.

Last edited by 0g,

OhioStater said:

It was a 90 minute wait on a Thursday yesterday at 10:30 AM.

I was also there on Thursday - my first visit in 11 (!) years. SV had a 90 minute wait pretty much all day, even as I walked onto Maverick. So Thursday May crowds were definitely still light, but SV was just stupid slow to board. (Last ride of the day Thursday evening, SV was down to about a half hour, which meant I missed out on a dark ride with the 8pm closing. Sigh.)

Friday morning I went back for a little bit before heading home, and my non-optimal (because I didn't care and didn't want to run around) early entry strategy was just go back to SV, see it wasn't opening anytime soon, walk on (again :) ) Maverick, then line up for SV to wait for it to open, which happened around 10:15. After SV (2nd train of the day) I walked up the Frontier Trail and the wait for Millie was about 5 minutes. But in my case I'd already ridden all the majors I cared to ride on Thursday, so Friday was just "garbage time".

By the afternoon the park was actually pretty crowded, but I was heading home then anyway.

So based on my sample-of-one, I'd say don't waste your early entry time waiting for SV; go in the Valravyn/marina gate, and hit that, Millie, and Maverick. But after 11 years, any of my patterns from back in the day are shot, so what do I know? :)

Have a blast with your son.


Last edited by GregLeg,

"You seem healthy. So much for voodoo."

Last year, I wasted several early entries on SV because it never even opened by the regular time.

Do not park in the main lot. Park by the water park. Use the entrance by Magnum and then head to Steel Vengeance. Hop over to Maverick next. Gatekeeper rarely has a long wait.

zoug68 said:

Last year, I wasted several early entries on SV because it never even opened by the regular time.

I wouldn't call it wasted though. If Steel Vengeance isn't ready, go to Maverick. If Maverick also isn't ready, Millennium Force is a 5 minute walk on the Frontier Trail. If all 3 are closed, chances are it's weather related or Opening Day, and you probably knew the possibility was there for that to occur.

Folks that run to Steel Vengeance at 9 and then wait for an undetermined opening time (not saying this was you) only to complain that they wasted x number of hours have missed out on enjoying everything else the park has to offer.

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