Cedar Point Early Entry Strategy

Don't they have some sort of signage or notification system at the gate stating which rides are not ready for early entry?

Regardless, I could see people being frustrated if SV is down. You go all the way to the back corner of the park to find it's not open yet. Then you wonder what the safe play is... wait it out, hoping it will open in the next 10-15 minutes? Or go hit other rides, and risk the ride opening up while it quickly forms a huge line.

As you are walking in and to whatever coaster you want to ride first, you can check to see what coasters are running (and hopefully which ones have riders in them). I am typically a fan of leaving lines for rides that shut down. It may come back up in 2 minutes or it may be down the rest of the day. If other rides are running, hit one of those.

Danimales said:

Don't they have some sort of signage or notification system at the gate stating which rides are not ready for early entry?

Correct - they do not post that.

I have two strategies. One for entering through the main entrance, the other through the resort gate.

If I enter through the main entrance, the goal is to get rides in on Millennium Force. I'll usually start with one ride on Valravn and then head to Millennium Force. However, I won't walk back to Millennium Force unless I see loaded trains. As I'm riding Millennium Force, I'll check to see if Maverick appears to be running with guests, and if so, I'll head that way after a few rides on MF and snag one or two Maverick rides before 10. With this method, I can usually get on Valravn, as many MF rides as I'd like, and at least one Maverick ride prior to 10.

If I enter through the resort gate, I'll do the running of the bulls to Steel Vengeance. I typically can get on within 5-20 minutes depending on how fast I go. You may be able to snag a second SV ride in, but that second one will likely take 30-45 minutes. I instead will go to Maverick and get a few rides in and then head to Millennium Force once the line starts to build.

Check which rides are even available that day for early access. That will somewhat decide your plan of action; as others have said, a few rides won’t even open early, though the signage will state they will.

I do concur that parking by the water park is your best bet for quicker access to SV and Mav. These will almost certainly be your longest wait times (though Raptor has some pretty arduous wait times around the noon hour and just before “dinner” time (aka the 4:30 to 5:30 hour). Utilize the queue apps too! Although they can be spotty, I find them close enough to actual times to still be of use. (Though my definition of close enough constitutes +15-20 mins, but when you’re talking 70 mins vs 90 that’s okay by me, when you dip into the 30 mins and below range, you might check for walkon on rides like ID, Magnum Gemini etc.).

Be aware that between Memorial Day and Labor day, the parking lot by the water park is often closed for early entry. It opens at 9:30 I believe. You can ask a tool booth attendant when you get there what time the CP shores parking lot opens. Just check before you drive all the way back around.

My suggestion would be head right to Steel Vengeance. Immediately after, get to Maverick. If all goes smoothly (rides open on time, you don’t walk super slow and are there right when the rope drops…) you should be able to knock those two out quite easily before early entry is done. Once those two are done, I’d head to Dragster then Millennium Force (or flip those depending if you see Dragster even testing/running). After that, take your time and knock out the other lesser-popular rides… Magnum, Gemini, Mine Ride, Iron Dragon, Blue Streak… You should able to hit up the big 4 in the first two hours or so, quite easily in my experience. But again, just depends if things are actually open on time and whatnot, so that can make or break and you may need to call audibles along the way…

Late evening, hit up the front of the park. Gatekeeper, Valravn and Raptor. Usually even on the busiest days, those rides can be nearly walk-on late.

Early entry coasters are Marverick, Steel Vengeance, Millenium Force Gatekeeper and Valravn. But that’s also subject to weather and maintenance issues which the park doesn’t post for early entry. I think the consensus is enter at Magnum entry on east side of park, walk briskly back to SV, ride that then Maverick, and make your way to MF and the other coasters on the West Side of Park before hitting TTD ID, WT, CS etc and saving Raptor and GK TIL early evening for shortest wait times.

eightdotthree's avatar

Tbone's chop said:

I think the consensus is...

There is no consensus.

0g said:

Be aware that between Memorial Day and Labor day, the parking lot by the water park is often closed for early entry. It opens at 9:30 I believe. You can ask a tool booth attendant when you get there what time the CP shores parking lot opens. Just check before you drive all the way back around.

I emailed the park about that. At first they said CP Shores kit wouldn’t open till the water park opens. Then they emailed again saying they got new info, CP Shores lot would be open for CP Early Entry.

But then again, what do I know?

From what I gather SV has not been opening until 12:00 so far this year. If that continues, it changes things. I may just hit Gatekeeper and Valravn first, then head to Maverick, and backtrack to MF. Yeah, smart play would be just to go direct to Maverick for what will be its shortest wait of the day. But I'd like to start the boy out on "tamer" coasters first.

I guess we'll see what we encounter as we approach the gates.

Last edited by Danimales,

Did this today with my son. Were standing at the main gate when National Anthem played. Talked about going to different gate but stuck with main. Headed back to Millennium Force. Were in line when first train of day returned to station (less than 10 people on it). Got on the third train (was less than 1/2 full). Exit gate was open so second ride was easy (ended up on the same physical train).

Headed over to Maverick with the idea of riding once or twice before going to Steel Vengeance. We had to leave by noon. Maverick line was less than half way down the stairs. So two laps was easy.

All was going well. But there was one fly in the ointment: entire time we were there, we noted Steel Vengeance wasn't running. When we got in line a 3rd time for Maverick, ride host told us to enjoy our third ride. On the 4th entry into the line she told us to enjoy our 4th ride. I told her if they opened SV, we would ride that instead. She said it wasn't opening until noon. The best laid plans as they say.

People behind us in line the 4th lap told us they were told by people near Steel Vengeance that there were mechanical issues and noon was the best guess. The train gates were down the entire time so I am not sure who they may have given them that information because you couldn't get anywhere near the ride or its line.

Gatekeeper and Valravn were running with people at or near 9. We didn't check the lines during ERT. Line for Gatekeeper was 45-60 minutes at about 11. Raptor had a huge line (was outside the line entrance). But there were mechanical issues. Ride was shut down and entire line empty when we left. I have always had good luck with Raptor and Gatekeeper late afternoon/early evening. Seems like everyone starts there when they first walk in the park and by late afternoon/early evening they are at the back of the park. I am sure there are days when that doesn't happen though.

Walking in from the main gate, we ended up with 2 MF and 4 Maverick rides by 10:15. Rode a few more rides by 11:30 after walking around a bit and finding lines too long at Dragster, Gatekeeper and Raptor. As we got to our car about 11:45 or so, we could see in the distance the train clearing the first hill of Steel Vengeance. Oh well. Still a fun day.

Seems like you need to plan on Steel Vengeance not being open for ERT. Ride on Gatekeeper may not be a bad option if you want to get your son off to a slower start. Then try Millennium Force and Maverick. Not sure how typical today was. Holiday weekend so maybe crowds are a little lighter? Parking lot was about 1/2 full by noon. There were a fair number of school buses.

However it works out, spending the day/time with your son should make it well worth it.

Danimales said:

But I'd like to start the boy out on "tamer" coasters first.

That does change things; Steel Vengeance is not a very good starter coaster.

I would be in the car by 8:15 am.

And some advice from a grandparent who is starting my 5th kid on coasters - let them take it in at thier own speed. There's always another trip to the park.

To being an "us" for once - instead of a "them".

Thanks Chaindog. He's been on the big dogs at Kings Island (except Diamondback... wasn't 54"), and did the sky coaster so he's very brave.

But, he hasn't experienced ejector air, so I'd rather not start with it. Besides... It will be more fun to "build" a bit to the best ride in the park!

I think you're on the right track. I'd go in through the Beach gate and do Gatekeeper, Valravn, and Millennium Force in the first hour (easy if they get them running on time). If he feels ready, head back for Steel Vengeance before the 10:00 crowd gets back there. It will still be a wait , but if it's open it will only get longer, and then Maverick if it's not too bad of a wait. The only other big line to deal with is Dragster, which is the most inconsistant coaster on the planet, and possibly Raptor.

Good luck and have fun.

Last edited by Chaindog,

To being an "us" for once - instead of a "them".

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