Weather: Bright and sunny, a bit cool but otherwise great
Despite having been to PKI on opening day back in April, it still felt like the offseason hadn't ended yet. It really never does until CP opening day rolls around for me. I admit it, I'll go ahead and be a dork and say that yes, I did miss being at the park. Something about PKI just didn't do it for me. So plans were set, and I'd drive down to stay with James Draeger on Saturday night so I wouldn't have to drive the 2.5 (well, this time around an astonishing 2 hours 5 minutes!) at 5:30 am in order to make it for Joe Cool ERT. Rolled into the outer Cleveland area around 12:30 am after having worked a good portion of the night playing music for obnoxious little kids. The drive down offered up some time to regain my sanity by listening to far better music, courtesy of the CD "What it is to Burn" by Finch. As I crossed the Edison Bridge on route 2, I saw it for the first time. Staring right at me, the obnoxious luminous glow of Top Thrill Dragster. They've put together an impressive lighting package for the ride, it stands out as this giant monolith lit up in the center of a maze of other brighly lit rides. Holy crap it's HUGE! You can see it clearly from route 2 all the way from the bridge past the exit for Rye Beach Rd. in Huron! A sight to behold indeed. Got to James' parent's place and headed for some Taco Bell, then off to bed to catch a few hours of sleep.
Headed out around 7:45 am or so, after I luckily woke up and went over to James' room and reminded him that we'd planned on leaving by 7:30, and it was then 7:20! Oops! Made very good time heading over to the exit & chausee which is very unusual for me, as I'm used to coming in from the other direction. A nice change of pace for once. As soon as I could see IT, I nearly ran off the road and into the lake! It's just, behemoth! Freakishly huge and standing right there smack in the middle of the already amazing Cedar Point skyline. Never in a million years would I have thought there would be a 420 ft. tall red & yellow beast of a coaster sitting there. Paid the $8, drove around to the Soak City lot just as I caught a glimpse of the first train of the day going over the top.
We managed to head in about 10 minutes after the Joe Cool entry had started, so we figured the line would maybe be an hour. Yeah right. It was a good 2 hours before we'd ride. Walking in we both immediately noticed how different everything looks along the midway. It has lost a lot of the good old feel that it had with all the trees there, but somehow CP managed to make this fit, and I'm sure after they've had some more time to spruce everything up it will look splendid. The only thing I really didn't like were the tacky, garish yellow benches. Eww! For once CP did a nice job of setting a theme and carrying it out very well. You can tell the queue still needs some work, as stuff still looks a bit strewn about. I'm also wondering if they'l equip it with more than two cheap PA speakers, seeing as they opted not to have a DJ booth here. I can see the playlist of 10 songs or so getting really old fast, and it's a shame you can't hear it much at all in the middle of things. (/end Jeff being a sound dork) 3 of the 6 trains were running, with one of the six mystereously not present. We asked politely if we could wait for the front, and got what we asked for. Or should I say, more than we asked for. First ride, 2nd train of the two in the station. Oh. My. God. And we hadn't even left the station yet!! I love the choice of Republica's "Ready to Go" in the station. So very fitting, and doesn't have the cheap feel that WT's station music seemed to have. Just sitting there in the front seat, staring down the nosecone of the incredibly slick blue train, it all hit me. I'm actually on it! After watching construction from the very first day of last season, to the first spotting of track, to the vertical construction in October, and the "interview" about what I thought the ride was... to sitting there in the train.
Ready to go. Both trains advanced forward into the launch and ready positions. I'm shaky, this is a feeling no ride has given me since who knows when. I get a good look at the operation of things, and the TONS of people watching from the stands and midway. I hear the tires sqeal and the train ahead FLIES down the launch and I just get giddy with anticipation. Unlike most who have watched along and had all kinds of ideas and expectations for this ride I had none. Until this moment. We both glance to the side and notice a camera crew filming our every reaction, and I can only imagine the expression on my face. It's something I wish a good friend of mine (who couldn't make it :o( ) could have seen, she'd have died laughing I'm sure. We spot the sled making it's way back and under the train. I'm gripping the front of the train as hard as possible. Then all hell breaks loose. The train inches backwards and for a fraction of a second I hear those squealing tires again but it all goes blank with insane speed, as the train viciously lunges forward at an unheard of rate of speed. It's almost sickening, but in the best of ways! Everything is a blur. Up and up and up the tower the train goes, flying skyward and twisting ever so smoothly and over the top. On this first ride I could barely tell we had crested, still mesmerized by the sheer power of the launch. I do recall the insane whirlwind of the spiral drop. Wow. Freaking wow. Hitting the 120 miles per hour again and feeling the raw intensity hit, then the smooth gradual stop in the magnetic brakes I could not close my eyes and mouth. Top Thrill Dragster had just implanted a gigantic smile on my face that would not go away for days. Onlooking friends said my expression was absolutely priceless. Never before had a ride done that to me. It had left me in complete and utter shock. We both stumbled down the exit ramp and ran into the camera crew and some friends who had seen us endure the whole experience. Shared some laughs, and found out that we might end up on TV in Japan! Sweet!
James and I managed to somehow start walking. Still reeling from the ride I didn't even know what to say! We did figure out that we were both hungry, and sticking with tradition I grabbed a Cheese on a Stick. Mmmm. Some point in there I recieved a few calls from friends back home wanting to hear my reaction. I had little to say only because I didn't know WHAT to say! There is really no good way of describing how amazing that ride is. After food we hopped aboard the CP&LE railroad for a ride over to check out Mantis and MF. The Mantis paintjob looks terriffic, good to see it red instead of pink. It's a shame the line was so long as the drop trim was not on. Mantis used to be one of my absolute favorites before that butchering occured in the year after it opened. Since lines appeared to be long we headed to the front of the park to mess around with the shooting gallery game and go for a spin on Demon Drop. This ride still gets me every time, for being that small and having such weird forces.
Continuing our trek around the park, we checked out the new locations of Trokia and Chaos. Both rides look very good in their new locations and Troika looks especially good with its new paintjob. Wicked Twister looked to be running less powerful than before and sported a 30 minute wait. Maybe next trip. Some of the day ended up as a blur, but at some point we took rides on both Magnum and Raptor. Magnum still doesn't do a whole lot for me like it used to. Parts of that ride just beat me up more than I care for. Raptor continues to be one of my favorite rides, consistent as ever and even running with no trims! Wow! After Raptor I grabbed some cheese fries and James went for nachos at the new food stand under the bleachers by Dragster.
We decided at this point that 3 hours wasn't that bad and we'd wait again. This three hour posted wait developed into five full hours of waiting after several breakdowns. By the time we boarded the back row of the green train, it was 9:15 pm and completely dark! Woohoo for a night ride! This is something I didn't think we'd get on opening day. I will say already that I like the front a lot more. You actually feel the launch end in the backseat, it's weird. Still an unbelievable ride, and even more ridiculous at night. Seeing the lights of Millennium Force BELOW you is something to behold. Then seeing it all blur into a vortex of light as you drop down the spiral. Holy #$)(^&#*()%@!
So there you have it. Opening day 2003 off with a bang, and a new #1 coaster for me. Yes that's right, a 30 second ride is my #1 coaster. Believe it. I can't think of anything else I'd rather ride, it's just that good! For all the naysayers, the hype is for real. This ride is one sick puppy :o) And some eye candy for those who haven't seen much of this beast yet:
*** This post was edited by Tobe 5/7/2003 8:02:27 PM ***
It's a shame we didn't get to hang out, but it was one of those crazy insane days. Bet you're wishing you would've hopped on the band wagon and worked at CP this summer too, eh Tobe? Atleast now I'm certain you'll be around alot this summer to uh...fulfill your responsibilities as my elder....haha.
Magnum Crew '03
1024 Laps on Timbers
621 in '02
Go green... and they weren't matching shirts haha.
"arms down. arms down."
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