Thursday, June 21, 2001 10:38 AM
The trip - Annual pilgrimage to CP with approximately 30 members of our extended family.
The participants - Myself, Kathey, daughter Lexi (12) and her friend Hollie.
Cruised into Sandusky at 11:30 PM Friday after an uneventful 6½ hours exploring both the Pennsylvania and the Ohio turnpikes. Saw many interesting things such as toll booths, rest stops and, uh... OK, no interesting things.
Got to the Travelodge and checked in for one night (more like for eight hours) instead of our usual first night at the Breakers. This move saved me about 100 bucks. Very rarely have I stayed off-site, but I'll likely cheap out on the first night from here on out if we're going to arrive late.
While the girls showered, I went to Meijer's to stock up on snacks, drinks (OK, maybe an adult beverage or two) and most importantly, to stretch my legs. 30 minutes later, I got back to the motel room, which was now a cozy 138 degrees. The air conditioner was set to "superdy-duper high", but no cold air was coming out. I called the front desk and had them move us to the room two doors down. It wasn't a non-smoking room, but at least the AC worked. Really worked!
Saturday morning, the alarm went off at 6:30, and Kathey and I woke up to find icicles hanging from the ceiling. I broke off a few to keep my Pepsi cold and headed for the shower. By 7:45, everyone had showered. We checked out, hit the deluxe continental breakfast in the lobby (doughnuts and OJ) and made our way over to the park.
We had time to check-in to the Breakers before the gates opened. Our room wasn't ready yet (who woulda thunk it?), so we just left our bags in the car and headed to the Oceana gate. (Hopefully Cedar Point has considered the ramifications of getting rid of Oceana. For instance, this gate needs a new name.)
For those of you who don't religiously read every word I post on GTTP, we have passes to Dorney Park. When you come into CP and have passes from another CF park, you have to sign in since your pass won't scan. Today's tip: make sure that you sign in BEFORE the park gates open. Just walk up to the ticket booth, show them your pass, and tell them that you want to sign in. This will save you 2-3 minutes at the gate, which translates to approximately 2000-3000 people who will get ahead of you in the "Millennium Dash". Fortunately, we learned this lesson last year, so we did indeed sign in the passes and were the first in the season pass line.
We were at the Oceana gate with about 20 other denizens when the National Anthem played. If someone asked me for my top five CP "secrets", this gate would certainly make the list. While the folks at the Marina gates beat us over to MF, we were FAR ahead of anyone coming through the main gate.
While the gates opened promptly at 9:00, MF didn't begin running until 9:45. I thought this odd for a Saturday, and by the time the ride started, three queues were full. So much for starting the day with back-to-back rides.
Several other things happened on Saturday, but I can't necessarily recall them in order, so here are the general observations: It was a gorgeous day. The park was crowded. We rode rides. (Hmmm... doesn't make for real interesting reading, does it?)
We did manage to hit all 12 coasters on Saturday, and as this is our goal for day one, it was our main focus. After MF, we went over to Mantis, which was just opening. A 15 minute wait had us in the 2nd row. Mantis was running two trains, and weren't stacking early on during the day, so I give the crew a thumbs-up.
Next, the obligatory rides on Iron Dragon and Wildcat. What can I say about these coasters? How about this? "If we hadn't ridden them, we wouldn't have been able to do all 12 coasters in one day". Dragon was a walk-on, Cat was a 5 minute wait.
After these two thrill-packed rides, we needed to be upside down. How fortunate for us that the planners of CP put Corkscrew so close! We had a 5-minute wait on a crowded day, a testament to the severe decline in popularity of this ride. However, it was screaming! I don't know if there was major maintenance done, new wheels, upstops or whatever, but we're talking the kind of smoothness that you used to get when you used Noxzema shaving cream in the 70's because Farrah Fawcett advertised it. But I digress. Actually, I digress quite frequently. Suffice it to say that aside from Magnum and MF, the airtime on the first hop was the best that I'd experienced in the park this trip.
We grabbed the SkyRide over to the main entrance, checked out Raptor's line and decided to come back after Disaster Transport. It was only about 11:15 or so, not blazingly hot, and DT was running a 20-minute wait. I know the ride has its fans, but I was very surprised that we waited this long. We used the "go to the left at the top of the platform" trick to slide ahead of some folks and claimed the front seat. (heh heh)
Next, we decided to knock out Blue Streak in a hurry before heading back to the hotel to meet up with the rest of the family (who typically don't make the trip until Saturday). The entire queue was full! After waiting about 5-7 minutes, we decided to blow off Blue Streak and come back later.
It was about noon when we headed back to the Breakers, and several of our party were already in the pool. While your room isn't guaranteed to be ready until 4:00 PM, we've generally had better success, so we let the girls swim and decided to wait on the room.
Well today, Murphy won this one. We waited. We waited. In the shallow end of the pool, they waded. We waited. I continued to call the front desk from my cellphone poolside (is that the epitomy of laziness, or what?) and our room wasn't ready until 3:45. While we lost primo park time, I did get a chance to catch up with people I only see now and at Christmas.
By the time we unpacked, it was 5:00 before we headed back into the park. Since we had most of the front of the park in our hip pockets, we hit the back first. Magnum would begin our evening.
The line for Magnum was about 40 minutes, just about what I would expect for the kind of crowds in the park today. DJ C-Train was crankin' out the tunes, and I was fortunate enough to be standing in the right spot when he came out of the booth for some CP Trivia. Today's question? What, in terms of ridership, is the most popular roller coaster at CP? I was standing right next to him and blurted "Gemini" before he had a chance to ridicule all of the people who were going to say "Magnum" or "Millennium Force". (Actually, based on my experiences throughout the weekend, they'd have merely said "Millennium"). My grand prize? An authentic, licensed, 100% metal of some sort, Cedar Point Live Guest Star Button!
Magnum was, as usual, a great ride. I could go on and on about my experience, but since I could never live up to Dan's description (the one the Tim continues to ride him about), suffice it to say that it has reclaimed my #1 coaster spot from MF. I'll go into detail as to why when I wrap up this TR with Tuesday's experiences. Don't miss that!
From Magnum to a walk-on Gemini. Picked red. Won for a change! Red never wins . Then Mean Streak. MS was running better than recent years, and was a more satisfying ride than I've had in awhile. Finally, we ended our back o' the park tour with a walk-on to Mine Ride.
Now, I'm a big guy, but I'm not THAT big. I understand that CCMR has only one lock position. This has to change. Natalie and Kevin both came back to push on the lapbars enough that I think they ruptured my spleen. I'm not sure, because I don't know what a spleen is, but if the time ever comes that I need to use mine and it doesn't work, CP is going to hear from me!
We headed up the Frontier Trail, but didn't stop anywhere. Figured we'd do some of that later in the trip. Two more coasters and we could call it a day.
Blue Streak was practically a walk-on now, as the morning crowds had made their way to the back of the park. I, like everyone else, pine for the olden days of a bench seat and a seatbelt, but it ain't gonna happen, so I squeezed myself into one side of the car and off we went. Unfortunately, we were closer to the front that I'd have liked (I had to let Kathey pick a seat occasionally) and didn't experience the air that I had on Corkscrew. Still a fun ride nonetheless.
Finally we were going to hit Raptor. Even with the earlier hordes having diminished from the front of the park, Raptor was still a one-hour plus wait. Unfortunately, there was no DJ nor entertainment, so the wait seemed interminably long. The wait for the front seat stretched around both platform queues, so we went instead for the back. Far right seat, which for my money is the most intense on this ride. What a way to end the night! We were pulled around the first downhill turn with such force that I thought we were going overbanked. The pullout of the loop was mind-numbing, and between that and the corkscrew, I lost all semblance of orientation as we did the cobra roll. The best thing about Raptor is that it never stops. Just when you hit the midway brake, you're off to another breathtaking dive into a helix. By next year, I'm wondering if Raptor won't supplant MF as #2 on my coaster list.
One observation on this -- The weekend previous to this, we had gone to Dorney and taken a few rides on Talon. Talon is fairly intense, but CF had only a small footprint to work with. I liked Talon last week, but after disembarking Raptor, I looked at Kathey and said two words. "Talon sucks". OK, Talon doesn't at all suck, but it doesn't begin to compare.
Those were the highlights of our Saturday. Sunday through Tuesday reports will come later this week.
I need a vacation to recuperate from my vacation!