Cedar Point (First Time!) 8/16-8/17

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Thursday, August 18, 2005 9:58 PM
This summer I had an internship at a place very nearby Dorney Park so I had decided to get a season pass there as I was going fairly frequently, and the season pass there includes parking which is a definite plus. As my season pass was being processed I noticed they had copies of the Cedar Point Getaway Guide for 2005. When I realized that my season pass would allow me entry to Cedar Point, I knew I had to get there this season (I had never been there before, but I've heard nothing but great things about it). Booked the package deal at Breakers Express with a friend, my sister, a friend of hers, mother and a friend of hers.

Breakers Express

After the 8 hour drive turned 10+ due to traffic and Mapquest delinquency, we finally arrived at our hotel. I had previously read very bad things about Sandcastle Suites, and not-so-great things about Hotel Breakers which was part of the reason we decided on Breakers Express. The 2-night package was definitely an awesome deal. The rooms were much nicer than I expected, definitely above the average motel accomodations. Coffee pot and hair dryer in the room, nice size cable TV, etc. The pool was really nice as well, and the free "express" breakfast with the package was a good deal.

But what I came here to write about...

Cedar Point (First Night - 8/16)

The place was extraordinary. I had my expectations from everything I'd read here and elsewhere on the internet beforehand, but the overwhelming size (and beauty!) of the place really caught me off-guard. Being surrounded by beaches, seeing the endless waters of Lake Erie on nearly every coaster's lift hill was incredible. The park was also very clean, and beautifully lit at night. Ride ops were extraordinary, at least compared to what I'm used to from Six Flags Great Adventure. Even "Ready, ready. See you back in two-forty-two" is better than a dronish "Dispatch." Some of the ride ops, especially at Gemini, really got into it.

Because of the longer car ride the first day, we didn't get into the park until 6:30pm. At the gate, trash cans with the sign "Millennium Force is closed for today." I was extremely disappointed, but hopeful for the next day.

Raptor (50 minute wait)

As it was right in front of us when we walked in, and we really had no idea what was where, we just roamed into the queue for Raptor. It seemed pretty long, sign said an hour and that was about accurate. I still prefer Talon because of its awesome and relentless pacing, but Raptor is definitely my second favorite B&M invert of the several I've ridden. Not incredibly special, but I did enjoy it. (8/10)

After Raptor, we picked up the non-inversion friendly members of our party, and headed towards Disaster Transport (not before being greatly impressed by MaxAir in motion, however).

Disaster Transport (25 min)

After the totally disorienting (but well-decorated) queue we boarded our train and were off. The lift hill is also very disorienting, but is well-done. The rest of the ride is so-so. Better than Skull Mountain at SFGAdv, at least, but among similar coasters, Space Mountain is still definitely my favorite. (5/10)

After that "disaster," we walked over to Wicked Twister, only to hear the ride operator announce that it was closed for mechanical reasons, but we could wait near the queue if we wanted to. We noticed there were a bunch of people still in the queue, so we figured the ride would go back up at some point or they would have kicked everyone out of the queue. Literally 5 seconds after he repeated the mechanical reasons announcement again, he opened the queue.

Wicked Twister (15 min)

Because there was hardly anyone around due to the false "breakdown" announcements, we hardly waited at all for this ride (the line did build up quite a bit behind us before we got on). We had a lucky spot in the queue so we got first dibs on seating choice (not including front/back rows). Ran for the second row. This ride immediately became one of my all-time favorites. The spiraling ascent/weightlessness/descent has to be one of the wackiest feelings ever, and nothing compares to it. I really, REALLY, loved this ride. Not to mention the queue goes right along the shore of Lake Erie and we were there right at sunset. (10/10)

Chaos (5 min)

After that amazing ride we walked across the midway and got in line for Chaos. There was a one-ride wait, so it only took about five minutes to get on. Chaos was fun, but I had been on it before in GAdv and Hersheypark so I knew what to expect.

At this point it was about 8:15, and the people with me were getting hungry. I argued with them that we could eat after we left at 10, but to no avail. Got into a bit of a fight and split with them and headed toward the back of the park. I roamed through the quiet frontier/wilderness area in the back. I can't even remember how many times "what an awesome place..." went through my head as I walked around. I randomly found the entrance to Mean Streak (wasn't even looking for rides, just roaming), and got on the line alone.

Mean Streak (No wait)

Walked right onto Mean Streak (literally, there was a train in the station with some empty rows and the air gates were open). The ride definitely lived up to its name. My entire body ached for a few minutes after this ride, and it felt as if someone had shaken me violently for a few minutes straight (which is basically what had happened). That being said, I did enjoy myself. Perhaps with a few other people, watching their expressions of agony might liven it up a bit more. (6/10)

Met back up with my party after this. We were going to ride Magnum, but the line was over a half hour (probably because MF was closed), so we decided to wait until the next day. So we headed over to Corkscrew.

Corkscrew (5 min)

Walked into the station and had a 3 or 4 train wait. The ride itself was nothing special, but if nothing else, it serves to really liven up the walkway it corkscrews directly over, especially at night. (6/10)

As we headed over to Power Tower for our final ride, I couldn't help but marvel at how incredibly well-placed Top Thrill Dragster seems. It's really a magnificent showpiece for the park, and "fits in" light years better than Kingda Ka at Six Flags Great Adventure (yes, I've been on it). The yellow, yellow, yellow, green lights on the tower are an awesome touch, and the ultra-bright spotlights on the soon-to-be launched passengers put smiles on their faces and provoked cheers from the onlooking crowd (which never seemed to go away, at any time).

Power Tower (Drop) (5 min)

Got on line for Power Tower as the last ride of the day. No wait on the space shot side, but we were hankering for a nice drop. And what a drop it was. Being up at the top for 10 seconds is enough to give anyone anxiety. After this we headed back to our hotel.

The next day... (8/17)

Woke up, got breakfast, and noted that the early entry rides for hotel guests were MaxAir and Top Thrill Dragster. We got to the park at about 9:10, and used our resort ID card to get past the gates within the park. We had 20 minutes so we headed straight to MaxAir.

MaxAir (5 min)

Waited one ride for this, seeing as only resort guests were in the park at the moment. Nice little perk. This is definitely a unique ride...and it swings with some great speed. Really made me wonder about the mechanics of swinging all that weight. 50 people alone would weigh a few tons, plus the weight of the ride itself...wow. Anyway, this was an awesome experience. (9/10)

As we got off the ride, we saw the gates open and the masses run into the park (it was just 9:30). We probably could have still got onto TTD with less wait than later in the day, but we decided to hold off. Instead we headed to Millennium Force. Thank goodness it was open.

Millennium Force (1 hour)

It would have been 45 minutes, but there was a 10+ minute delay with no rides leaving the station (no idea why, wasn't close enough at the time). I was really quite excited to get on this ride, and when we finally did, it was unbelievable how fast we were at the top of the lift hill. It seemed like less than 20 seconds. The first drop is insane, and the ride lives up to its name with some truly forceful moments. While it's not my favorite coaster, it definitely ranks way up there, and I'd love to ride it again at night one day. Didn't have the time this trip. (9/10)

After this, we headed over to Iron Dragon as we had passed it earlier and the queue was empty. Luckily it still was.

Iron Dragon (5 min)

Only wait was in the station. This ride was more fun than I expected, and the presence of a second lift hill surprised me. Has some nice moments after the second lift hill, especially the helix in the mist before reentering the station. (7/10)

After Iron Dragon it was about 10:30, so we headed over to Millennium Force and asked about the Freeway hand-stamps. They said that they were done using the system for the summer, and we crossed the train tracks to get on line for Mantis.

Mantis (25 min)

The stand-up nature of the ride definitely provides for an interesting passenger loading experience. (Question for anyone that's actually read this far...is there a magnetic brake right in the center of the drop on Mantis? It definitely looks like one, and the ride makes a slight braking sound as it passes through...I found that odd, but I guess it's needed to maintain the right amount of force due to the unusual nature of the ride). My legs were tingling at the end of the ride, but I didn't feel that standing up actually added anything to the ride. In fact, it probably detracted somewhat. Also my head banged around quite a bit in the shoulder restraints and my ears hurt after I got off the ride (found that unusual for a B&M). (7/10)

After this, my sister and her friend headed to Wildcat, which my friend and I skipped. We went over to the Coliseum arcade to wait for them. What a HUGE arcade. I've never seen an arcade this big, and they seem to have years and years of arcade machines (some REALLY old, and a lot really new), in addition to the traditional ticket spewing quarter eaters. I had some fun in there on Percussion Master, DDR, and Skeeball. I can't really stress how great this arcade was, especially for someone like myself who used to love arcades when they were more popular. After spending some time there, we headed over to Gemini.

Gemini (10 min)

The ride ops were awesome on this one. Didn't catch their names, but they were really keeping the crowd entertained and at least attempted to build up some rivalry between the blue and red trains. My party split into the third row of each train so we were taunting each other throughout the ride. As a racing coaster, it's really well designed, especially the relatively slow banked curves where one train usually passes the other. The fact that everyone was yelling at the other train added a lot to the fun factor, even though we "lost." (8/10)

Grabbed some lunch after this, and then headed for Magnum. At this point I got into another mini-brawl with my party. My mom was at the Sandusky mall with her friend, and seeing as we only came with one car, she had to come pick us up from the park to bring us to the hotel. Well we had planned on 3:30, and it was 2pm, but they wanted to jet. I got in line for Magnum alone, slightly frustrated, as they called to be picked up.

Magnum XL-200 (30 min)

It seemed like it might have been less at first, but the station was really packed so I had to wait quite a few rides to get on. The ride itself reminded me a lot of Steel Force at Dorney Park, only with a less intense helix. I enjoyed the longer tunnel elements though, and definitely got some great air time. (8/10)

Met back up with them at the front of the park to leave (still don't know why they didn't come on the ride, they just wound up standing in the front of the park). We had reservations for 5:00 in the Bay Harbor restaurant (which had EXCELLENT food and we had a wonderful waitress, plus got 10% off from the coupon as part of the hotel package). Got back into the park at 7:30 to finish up everything we wanted to before 10, as we left bright and early this morning.

Entered the park along the marina side, and headed back towards the arcade area to let our stomachs settle a bit before going on rides. We actually wound up being sucked back into that massive arcade. Hung out for about a half hour to digest, then headed towards and got on line for Blue Streak at about 8:00.

Blue Streak (15 min)

This is a fun ride, definitely moreso than Mean Streak. Picks up some nice speed at points, but never feels like you could derail at any moment (a la Mean Streak). I'm glad I didn't miss it. (7/10)

Next we headed back towards the frontier/forest area and checked out some of the stores there. Made our way around (couldn't convince my companions to get on Mean Streak after my explanation of the ride the night before), then got on line for Cedar Creek Mine Ride at about 9:00.

Cedar Creek Mine Ride (No wait)

Walked onto the first train that got back into the station, hardly anyone was in the station at the time, a few more people entered before we pulled out. Going through the barn before the lift hill is a little creepy at night as it sounds like there are a ton of bugs in there and you cant see a thing. Other than that, nothing special about this. Never really picks up any significant speed except for one decent sized drop. I couldn't help but laugh at the ride op commenting on the fact that the ride would take us up 40 feet. (6/10)

At this point both my friend and my sister's friend claimed that they were done. They both left the park at 9:30, and my sister and I got on line for our final ride.

Top Thrill Dragster (90 min)

Would have been about 75 minutes if not for delays. At some point they just stopped launching rides. We weren't close enough to see what happened, but they took about 15 minutes to get the ride out of the station. Though the queue is entirely switchbacks, I couldn't help but get more and more excited as we approached the station. Seeing the launches is exciting itself, but as you pass through the sections of switchback and get closer to the station, you witness the returning riders get slower and slower. Once you get close enough you realize that each car is coming back full of cheering people, often with the people on line cheering back. Really gets you in the mood.

Anyway, we took the right side of the line split. About 15 minutes later, we were in the station, 2 sets of trains from boarding. I hear gasps from the crowd and see people covering their faces and turning away. It's too bad I wasn't watching, but there was a rollback. I said to my sister, when they launch it again, if it makes it over the hill, everyone's going to cheer. Sure enough, five minutes later, they relaunched, cleared the top hat, and the station erupted with cheering. Awesome.

So finally we board our shiny green dragster. The two trains pull out of the station. 20 or so seconds later we see the train in front of us launch, and clear the top hat, and we know it's our turn. Move up to the launch area, bright spotlights on our train. The park has been closed for 45 minutes already, but there are still no less than 30 people standing to our right side either smiling, laughing, or in awe. Our engine is revving and I see the brakes in front of us lower. Yellow, yellow, yellow, green, we blast off and I start screaming like a maniac. Straight up...straight down, finish, clapping, cheering, waving to the people still on line. Awesome set-up.

Afterwards, I had to grab the on-ride photo (nice that it's actually two photos, one from the start area, and one from the finish, though I look equally insane in both photos). My sister and I talked about the ride for a while, and we both agreed that it is, without question, better than Kingda Ka. There, I've said it. Perhaps I'll get flamed for it, but I stand by it. The two rides offer practically the exact same experience. If it wasn't for the second hill on KK, the feelings you'd experience while riding would be nearly indistinguishable. Atmosphere is what sets TTD apart. It's not that Cedar Point spent millions theming the area of the ride, but it's how well placed everything is, how inviting it is to onlookers, how the people about to be launched are put in the spotlight, how the engines rev loudly, and how everyone, everywhere in the park sees yellow, yellow, yellow, green and knows what just happened. What an awesome way to end our trip. (10+/10)

If you can't tell by now, I had a great time. I hit every coaster but Wildcat, a few flats, had a great hotel experience, and a wonderful dinner. I couldn't really have asked for more, and I'll definitely be back to Cedar Point in the future. *** Edited 8/19/2005 2:00:35 AM UTC by JoQuo711***

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Thursday, August 18, 2005 10:11 PM
Great TR!! Glad you are now in the CP spirit!
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Friday, August 19, 2005 12:20 AM
Now you know what all of us fanboys have been raving about for years, great TR.
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Friday, August 19, 2005 8:05 AM
Great TR. Glad they got MF back up and running for you.

Yes, Mantis does have a trim brake half way down the first hill. It is just a mechanical brake though, not a magnetic brake.

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Friday, August 19, 2005 11:28 AM

CP ismyhome said:
Great TR. Glad they got MF back up and running for you.

Yes, Mantis does have a trim brake half way down the first hill. It is just a mechanical brake though, not a magnetic brake.


Thanks for the info. I don't remember feeling any unusual braking during the drop on the ride itself and I only noticed it after I got off so it must not slow the ride much.

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Sunday, August 21, 2005 9:36 PM
Very nice entry. I love trip reports that add personal insight as well as technical and factual info. I only made it to CP once (For a two and a half day stay) and I felt I was re-living it all over again through your posting. Well done!
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Sunday, August 21, 2005 10:11 PM
Awesome TR! I visited on 7/28 as part of my honeymoon. That's the 4th time I've every been to CP. I've decided that CP will be a yearly even for my family, acutally am going again for two days this time on Wed and Thurs of this coming week. CP is #1. And I totally agree with your point of view on TTD! Love it, wish I could role out of bed every morning and get launched, much, much, much better than coffee! What a way it would be to start the day!
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Monday, August 22, 2005 12:48 PM

Bob Sekerak said:
Love it, wish I could role out of bed every morning and get launched, much, much, much better than coffee! What a way it would be to start the day!

It's funny, I said exactly that to the friend I went with (the one who was too chicken to go on TTD...) and he looked at me like I was nuts. I would love to just be woken up one day by the sound of revving engines instead of the sound of a buzzing alarm.

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