Coastermania 2002!!

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Sunday, June 9, 2002 5:39 PM

Well just returned from my first ever Coastermania - it was superb, I must say, with many high moments.

Flew in the evening before and got to CP area rather late - between 930pm & 10pm. Checked into a budget hotel on Cleveland Rd. and got a little rest that night, but not enough for the long day ahead on Fri.

Arrived Friday a.m. around 6:40am at CP and there were already quite a few Coastermania people there. Everything was handled in a very professional manner and the staff at CP were just great, as usual. After a short speech and announcement that Wicked Twister was down & might not be up for ERT that evening (with Mean Streak to be subsituted for it, no lights) the park was opened to us. I later learned from a ride op that WT had been down for 3 days before that already, and that the control room's computers had blown up (his expression, not mine).... but he proceeded to assure us that the ride's safety systems are phenomenal, and that he has complete faith in the ride. He added that it was a prototype, and that if things didn't start operating more smoothly, it might be WT's first and last season in its present form. I don't know exactly what that meant, but it was no big deal for me, because I've ridden S:UE and V2 at MarineWorld and it just wasn't really what I came for.

Started off on Raptor and it was running great - ride ops were super, very professional. One of our entourage who was new to inverted and looping steel coasters was feeling queasy after Raptor and waited out a few after that. We went on Power Tower and did the downward drop (it's very scary but I just don't get the same thrill out of the upward shot). Went on to Mantis (I'm not a big fan of standup coasters) and waited for front seat for a short time. It was running about as I expected, but I just find the position you're put in on this on mildly uncomfortable...especially that little "bicycle" seat you have to straddle - oddly enough this was my first-ever steel coaster 5 years ago when I really became an enthusiast. But I always do Mantis anyway when I come to CP because I love B&M designs. We rode Blue Streak after that (my first time) and it was great fun with some super airtime. Then back to Raptor, which was a virtual walk-on at this point, and waited a short time for the front seat - first time doing Raptor in the front and it was definitely worth it, although a midgie-fly (sp?) did a strafing run right into my forehead! G Those early Summer bugs that visit the Point temporarily each year were pretty numerous during Coastermania, mostly early in the day and at night. They didn't begin to interfere with our fun, though!

We then went on to MF close to park opening time but the line was way out into the beginning of the "Frontier" section of CP, and none of us were wanting to wait in that. Besides, most of us had done MF in the daytime and we were really looking forward to riding during ERT that night!!

Then we headed over to Mean Streak but it was closed (staff said they were "waiting for the carpenters") so we headed to Cedar Creek Mine Ride (my first time on that one) and it was a lot of fun for a smaller ride... great theming and definitely worth it.

We passed Gemini but since the park was open now to the GP and crowds were massing the line was just too long at that point - headed over to Magnum which was only about a 20 min. wait and rode that baby... it just keeps getting better and better with age, best airtime in the park, even if it is a little rough from time to time.

Tried Disaster Transport for the first time, and it was a much longer wait than I thought it would be (the line is hidden inside now), and maybe if I had opted for the $1.00 3-D glasses it would've been better, but I was just not that impressed all told. Especially after coming off Flight of Fear a couple of weeks ago at PKD, which was way more intense and better visuals.

Everyone was getting hungry and we didn't want to wait til the picnic at 2pm so we headed over to Applebee's for a quick lunch... then back into the park, and well, we couldn't resist free food, even if we'd just had a bite, so we headed to the Pavilion and were pleasantly surprised at how well organized it was and at how good the food was! Hot Dogs, potato salad, pasta, baked beans, sodas for the asking.... very nice.

The feet were growing weary at this point and so we took the gondola ride over to the middle of the park and then headed over to Mean Streak for what was about a 35 min. wait (not bad especially because the weather for Coastermania this year was SO spectacular - dry, cool to mild, only a little warm in the sun, 60s to low 70s, with that great Lake Erie breeze!)... Mean Streak was running really great- would be better without all the trim brakes, but what can you do?! A buddy of mine got a positive "chiropractic adjustment" on Mean Streak last Summer, if that's any indication of its intensity ;-)

We then went on to Gemini - my first time on this one as well - and I was bowled over! Much higher lift than I realized, and there was some super airtime on it - I can see how it must have been THE coaster at CP when it first opened.

We then broke for the afternoon for a much-needed rest, and reconvened around 9:00pm at the park. Throngs of guests were flooding out of the park, so there was no prob. getting a parking space closer to the entrance.... we hopped on the gondola again over to where the Laser Spectacular was to debut this year and discovered that the midgie-flies were swarming in great numbers .... Fortunately I was sitting backwards on the gondola but my ride buddies were cringing with every wave of them we hit - from the ground at the other end it looked really eerie - you could see them swarming in black masses that looked like something out of a "Killer Bees Attack Theme Park" movie..LOL ... but as I said they don't bit and they certainly didn't hurt my fun. The Laser Show was superb, very patriotic theming, and the crowd was extremely responsive - it was my first-ever time in the park at night and I was hooked -loved the lights on the coasters, and it's so neat to walk the park at night when the crowds are gone.

After the show we sped over to MF for the ERT and queued up for about 30 min. while the GP riders in line were accommodated, then they opened the queues right on schedule at 11:00pm and the ride was pretty much a walk-on, except for the first seat... We hopped on and WOW I had forgotten how intense that coaster really can be - that first drop is SO incredible; it was running very fast and smooth and I LOVED it at night... I got some definite quality airtime on the hills and all I can say is it just takes your breath away. I love the visuals during the day, but the mysterious lack of visibility at night was incredible... They had like 4 or 5 trains lined up for ERT, but I'm not sure how many they were running. When we got off the ride ops said, "See you in half an hour" and the line was then as long as earlier in the day, so they must have been really cranking those trains through. I was amazed that I didn't notice any annoyance from the bugs on this one at night.

But we decided to head over to Magnum and it was a total walk-on (YAY!)... did the front on it for the first time and it was awesome (the bugs were swarming around Magnum but it was not a problem). That front seat is fun, but I still like the back :) It was running furiously at night, and I loved it.. last ride that night on Maggie was TOTALLY out of control (I don't know what they did but I've never felt it at that intensity).... camelbacks at the end were practically throwing you out of your seat !! It's an amazing coaster with a an masterful design, no question.

So that's it for this TR ....a good time was had by all, and the attendees at Coastermania were great people, very enthusiastic, and the staff at CP, to my mind, are beyond compare - SOOO different from some SF parks I've been to. CP's staff are obviously well trained and well versed in their job duties and the ride ops are THE best. Don't get me wrong - there are many fine SF ride ops and employees, but CP just comes out on top all in all. IOA & Busch Gardens Williamsburg is right up there in quality, in my estimation.

All told, I *definitely* will be at Coastermania next year, God willing... it was a great experience in all respects.

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Sunday, June 9, 2002 10:25 PM
Great TR! God Bless the parks for events like this!

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