Monday, June 25, 2001 9:40 AM
For the final time this week, I find myself waking to the interior of the room that has become my home at Hotel Breakers. I had already known that Lexi and Hollie had no intention of waking up in time for MF, but Kathey surprised me by wanting to sleep in as well.
So, it was at 8:45 that I found myself standing alone in front of the hotel, awaiting the shuttle that would deposit me at the Marina gate. At 9:00, we pulled up to the Bay Harbor Inn, and I headed across the street. It's a Tuesday, and this is the longest line I've seen to enter the park yet.
I signed in my Dorney pass, and passed the time watching the crowds, the incoming employees, and playing a few games of Snake and Memory on my Nokia phone.
The daily ritual of the National Anthem, then the run. Oddly, most of the folks that were at the Marina gate walked, not ran, not even jogged over to the MF. My run allowed me to be 19th in line (yes, I counted).
At 9:40, the crew sent the first train up the hill, and within a matter of minutes, the crowd was allowed up the ramp and onto the platform.
Since this was to be my last ride on MF (I figured that the length of the line would prohibit a second) I headed for the front seat. Of the 18 people ahead of me, 6 opted for the front, so I'd get the fourth car out.
I was paired with another single rider, an older guy (even older than me) wearing a "Sandusky, Ohio" T-shirt, and off we went. An interesting riding style, this one had. As we crested the peak, he not only put his hands up, but also leaned as far forward as he could. Maybe he lifted his feet off the floor as well, I didn't notice, but I'm going to have to try that next time. If he got more air than I did, I'm jealous.
However, this final jaunt was solely for the purpose of saying goodbye to the bohemoth for another season. (Sure, I'm tentatively planning another trip, but I do this every year and never find the time.) I enjoyed it on my own terms, leaning hard into each curve, taking pleasure in the views atop each hill, and trying to ingrain every detail into my memory. The ride was over far too quickly, and while my heart wanted so badly to jump back into line, my head realized that checkout time was an hour away and I hadn't yet packed.
When I arrived back at the room, the girls were in the process of getting ready for the day so I organized the packing and had the car filled at precisely 11:00 AM. In only a few hours, we'd be gone. Time flies...
Kathey wanted to (go figure) get some sun time before we left, so we headed once again to the pool, where our entire group wound up congregating by noon. This wasn't planned, but nobody wanted to depart Sandusky just yet.
I had a coupon from the Getaway Guide for 50% off a t-shirt with the purchase of a second at the Cedar Creek Trading Company. Since Kathey had already picked out a shirt she liked, I figured I'd take the half-price deal. While the family stayed poolside, I headed back into the park.
OK, so maybe I had ulterior motives. I thought maybe, just MAYBE, I could score a ride on Magnum while I was gone. To my chagrin, the line looked to be an hour wait. I decided to pass, but knew that I could at least grab a quick run or two on Gemini.
WRONG! Gemini was running four trains, one section of queue was actually being utilized, and the line was into the midway. I checked my watch. It said that the date was June 19. I verified that it was indeed Tuesday. What's with the crowds?
Ah, the Old Timer Tim axiom of Cedar Point crowd prediction! It rained all day in Detroit yesterday, so not only did that help to explain yesterday's light crowds, it also served to elucidate the mobs I was experiencing now.
I rationalized my lack of getting another coaster in today with a sour grapes approach. Millennium Force was a worthy final ride this morning, so why screw that up? I think I believed it!
I bought the shirts, headed back to the pool, and a short two-hours later, we were saying our goodbyes to the lucky folks whose drives were half what ours would be.
Once again, Cedar Point supplied us the sort of mini-vacation to which we've become accustomed. I envy those of you who live closer and have ample opportunity to experience the thrill of the coasters, the sheer pleasure that most park employees seem to get from their jobs, and the delight on your children's faces as they discover and rediscover the park's treasures.
I used to wonder whether I'd feel the same about CP if I lived in the area. I live 20 miles from Hershey Park and don't typically go more than once a year. However, having had the opportunity to meet some regulars, and reading the messages on this and other boards substantiates that Cedar Point is different; is superior; is, well... Cedar Point. If not before, see you at the Po!nt next season!
QUICK THUMBS UP
With only two exceptions (Howard on MF was one - severe case of "little big man's" disease, and an unidentified ride-op whose name I regret not getting was the other), I didn't run into a single negative attitude on any of the employees. On the other hand, there were a few that bear mentioning specifically (CP will be receiving letters about these folks):
- Magda at the French Fry stand (pretty sure it was Mr. Potato). Even on a hot day that had to be appreciably moreso inside the stand, her attitude and friendliness were conspicuous in a park where such traits are the norm.
- Harris at Midway Market. Harris, if you ever need a job after you're done at CP, look me up. Exemplary customer service skills!
- Christine (maybe Caroline) at the Breakers front desk. Except for telling me that there was no way MF would begin running before 10:00 Saturday (I knew better), her radiant personality must certainly be an asset when frustrated guests confront her with various miniscule hindrances to their vacations.
I'd have been remiss if I hadn't given props to these employees, who shine as outstanding examples of customer service, the main reason that I continue to make Cedar Point an annual vacation destination, even though I live 375 miles away. Thanks again!
I need a vacation to recuperate from my trip reports!