NOTE: THIS IS VERY LONG. DON'T WANT TO READ? THEN MOVE ON.
One of the saddest things in the entire world is the way that we as a race tend to minimize the significance of the dream. In reality, dreams are probably the most important thing that we possess, one of our most sacred and holy pastimes. For, without dreams, life is but a meaningless clutter of unrelated events, with two elements constantly passing by one another without any coherence. Dreams are the threads that bind the past and the future into the vibrant fabric of the present, the shimmers of light that make even the darkest day inviting. Without dreams, we live aimlessly; with dreams, we have direction and purpose. And the exultant joy of a dream realized could very well be the most fulfilling and pleasurable feeling in an otherwise cold and lonely world.
Three years ago, when I first considered myself a roller coaster enthusiast, I immediately imbedded in my head a dream: a pilgrimage of Mecca-like proportions, to what many consider to be the greatest frontier in our recreation. That dream was Cedar Point. Earlier this year, with the pressure of midterm exams, drama auditions, concerts, and work schedules raging through my cluttered mind, a friend invited me to forget it all and make this trip, to make that dream come true.
On August 13, 2002, that dream came true. And now, taking a page from Arthur Miller's book (particularly Death of a Salesman), I will attempt to tell my story in a way that defies time and logic, but remains perfectly sensible. Because of the nature of the trip, I really can't recount every event as it happened, so I have chosen to divide them in a particular way:
To the disappointment of purists, I'm sure, my group hit only the coasters. No flats, no non-coasters, nothing. We were strictly on a coaster expedition. As such, I've decided to tackle each coaster alphabetically, and place it in the time frame that it belongs in. It may sound tough, but you'll catch on soon enough. Here goes nothing:
Upon reaching the outskirts of Sandusky, my mind raced with anticipation of what would appear when our packed minivan first emerged onto the causeway. My first reaction, I cannot reprint here. The first sight I saw was the towering lift hill of Millennium Force, even more massive in person than I could have ever imagined. Driving past it a short time later at close range gave me the opportunity to savor its enormity and raise my anticipation ever so greatly. Our car made out way past Blue Streak, Raptor, MF, Mean Streak, and Gemini before turning into the Sandcastle Suites parking lot. Shortly after checking in, my mom-for-the-trip gave me and my coasting buddy Steph a room key, directions, and tickets. We were free at last to take in all of Cedar Point.
As we made our way to the gates, we passed innumerable memorable sights. A close-up view of Gemini. A trip through Soak City. The rising arch of the RipCord. The Challenge Park Go-Karts. But the most stunning view, our first and last view, was of Magnum XL-200. With each look at its enormous structure, we were reminded of just where we were. I'm not ashamed to admit that I was tingling. Maybe it was just the highly-sugared coffee or the five Pixy Stix I had inhaled. Maybe it was the atmosphere of the Point. Probably a little of both.
After securing our tickets at the gate, it was time for the first huge surprise and realized dream of the day: my introduction to Kara, better known as ST chick, one of the coolest coasting people I've had the pleasure to speak to. There she was! There we were! Speaking online and planning and anticipation and last minute changes abounded in the weeks before, but there we were! We had expected a huge eruption of excitement, practically mauling each other in the main midway...but the mere shock of the meeting manifested itself in a short hug and brief exchange of pleasantries. To my additional surprise, she was joined by Kristin (KicksTheSky) and Rob (Robodud), creating an unprecedented foursome of newly introduced Buzzers! And though, in my mind, they were not the primary attraction (sorry guys!), I severely underestimated how awesome they, as well as the entire group dynamic, would be.
All introductions aside, our own little "fearsome five" set off to tackle the coasters of Cedar Point. This was the story of five strangers, sent to coaster paradise, forced to ride together, to find out what happens when enthusiasts stop being polite and start getting real. That night, we tackled nine of the park's fifteen coasters, with the final ride of the night securing my personal 50th coaster ever!
After parting ways that evening and then proceeding back to the hotel for a restless night filled with the occasional dreaming glimpse of coasting goodness, I returned with Steph the next day. During the second day, we met up a great deal with her family and rode together, and not at the frenetic pace of the evening before. We managed to accomplish our goal of riding all fifteen of Cedar Point's coasters by the end of the afternoon, and the evening was filled with some night riding goodness...but also, an unfortunate event that left a VERY sour taste in my mouth. More on that later.
Fourteen hours of coasting took its toll on my feet, which were literally beginning to rip to shreds, so the bed was a welcome sight that evening. After an easier, but no less uncomfortable, night of sleep, I awoke at a more reasonable hour the next morning for a leasurely day with my adoptive family at Soak City. We enjoyed the many slides, and particularly the wave pool, but with the gathering of clouds at 3:00, we packed up and hit the car. Having secured ourselves safely in the minivan, the rain began to mercilessly pour down -- not bad for having forecast rain all three days. Through the storm we drove back past Gemini, past Mean Streak, past Millennium Force (who's highest point was barely visible), past Raptor, past Blue Streak, and finally, back to the causeway.
On our exit, I took one last longing look behind me, every great memory rushing like a torrent through my head -- but the torrents of rain rushing through the sky clouded every view. When I turned to see the island of dreams I was leaving behind me, I couldn't see it at all. Perhaps it was fated that I should only be allowed to look forward. For there behind me was a dream realized.
But ahead of me, many a dream yet to come.
Now that the narrative portion of my TR is aside, I will tackle the most important part -- the coasters -- in the most logical order that I could establish: alphabetical order. So, without further ado, here's what I thought of the coasters of Cedar Point:
BLUE STREAK -- This woodie was probably the second biggest surprise of the entire trip. From the looks, it is wholly unimpressive: short lift hill, a couple bunny hops, an all-too-quick turnaround, and a short run back to the station. Yet, as the Fearsome Five learned, this thing was gonna give me a run for its money! We took a lap on it as a group the first night, and Steph and I dragged her brother (who's afraid of coasters, mind you!) on it the second day. Both days found the ride punchy, full of airtime, and with very forgiving ride ops (i.e. much room!). All in all, one of the best rides in the park, made even better due to its lack of line (so it's ALWAYS worth the wait!). Rating: 4th out of 15.
CEDAR CREEK MINE RIDE -- This was a one-time only deal, with the Fearsome Five, and good riddance to it! Possibly the slowest, most boring mine ride in existence, it features the single slowest lift hill I've ever had the displeasure of sitting on. Even riding with Kara couldn't save this puppy. "Welcome back, Mine Riders, how was your ride?" [cheers loudly] "How many of you are lying?" Ooh! I am! Rating: 14th out of 15.
CORKSCREW -- Kara decided to sit out this ride, and she was the lucky one. It's not terrible, and with it's lack of transitions (and, therefore, creativity) it's not as rough and tumble as most Arrow loopers can be. But it's short, not too fun, and not worth any extended wait. In a day and age where Medusa and B:KF tower over the dreaded GASM, a coaster like this just doesn't impress anymore. Maybe 20 years ago it would've fared higher, but not now. Rating: 12th out of 15.
DISASTER TRANSPORT -- This is the first case (alphabetically, at least) of unrealized potential. My first bobsled, I was seriously looking forward to this, and during my ride with Steph and with the family, I found it pretty cool. But the problem lies in two major areas: 1) yeah, it's a bobsled, but it should be able to do more forcewise than it did (or perhaps I just have overly high expectations and no respect for the laws of physics); and 2) it should be MUCH longer. Not worth the wait if the time is long, but if there's no one waiting for it, it's a pretty interesting diversion. Unique but unimpressive. Rating: 10th out of 15.
GEMINI -- And just when you thought the whole damn review was going to be negative, LOOK OUT! This was the first ride that the Fearsome Five tackled, and boy, was I surprised! It was my first racer, but it was an Arrow, so I didn't have the highest of expectations...but DAMN! This is a ride that, in a small space and relatively small stature, packs a hell of a punch. Stellar air time, great fun slapping hands around turns, a smooth as glass ride, and mad dangerous laterals on the closing helix made for a ride that I would've ridden all day if I had forever there! Definitely the biggest surprise of the trip, and one of the park's best coasters and biggest surprises. And did I mention...no line? EVER! I can't keep the smile off my face! Rating: 2nd out of 15.
IRON DRAGON -- This is one of those weird rides where you really can't say anything good about it, but you also can't say anything bad about it. I rode it once with both the Fearsome Five and the family, and I did enjoy it, but there's nothing overtly impressive about it. It's certainly no Big Bad Wolf, but for a suspended, it isn't half bad. Worth riding, but don't expect to be blown away. Rating: 8th out of 15.
JR. GEMINI -- Come on...it's a kiddie ride. Am I a credit whore? You bet! Plus, any ride where you get two laps for the price of one is a winner in my book! Raise those hands, baby! Rating: 11th out of 15.
MAGNUM XL-200 -- I had extremely high expectations of Magnum when I arrived, and when the time came on Tuesday for the first ride with Steph, I was positively blown away. This coaster is everything that Nitro isn't, but it's just as good. The airtime is vicious and unyielding, the drop is furious, and that turnaround feels more dangerous than ANYTHING I've ever ridden in my coasting career, especially on the inside seat. And the speed just NEVER gives, even with the trims before the turnaround. And yes, it's rough, but it has to be...the characteristic roughness gives it soul, and it just wouldn't be Magnum without it. And at night, it's the ultimate adrenaline rush. There's a certain intangible quality about this ride that, for those reasons, I can't put into words, but this thing is magical. Clearly the best ride in the park, hands down. I still put it beneath Nitro as my all-time #1, but just barely. Magnum is the undisputed queen to King Nitro...and what a royal pair they are. Rating: 1st out of 15.
MANTIS -- And then we go from the King of the Hill to the Bottom of the Barrel. I once held a powerful delusion that Bolliger & Mabillard could do no wrong, but this beast gave me a VERY rude awakening. Forgive me if I'm insulting a ride you like, but I can't imagine how anyone would subject themselves to this. The transitions are rough and painful, the drops are less than impressive, and even the cool tilted loop can't make up for a ride that is, in my opinion, an abomination. I can't believe I'll say this, but the TOGO SkyRider at PCW is, in my opinion, the superior stand-up. I'll ride B&M stand-ups in the future, but definitely NOT from the back seat, and definitely not with front-seat expectations. Rating: 15th out of 15.
MEAN STREAK -- The second case of expectations gone awry, I can't say bad things about this ride either. It's certainly not as rough as people painted it to be, but the fact of the matter, in plain English, is that with such an ambitious concept, they could've done so much more with the design...made it more interesting, added more air, ANYTHING. And as if that wasn't bad enough...TRIMS on the FIRST DROP??? That's just terrible. All in all, it's fun, but a major let-down. Rating: 9th out of 15.
MILLENNIUM FORCE -- A two-hour and fifty-minute wait. A three-hundred foot drop. Was it worth it? ABSOLUTELY. The Force certainly wasn't with us when the Fearsome Five got on line, but we managed to entertain ourselves until our turn came. When I sat in the seat, I will admit that I experienced a tinge of fear, something I'd never before experienced on a coaster. Thirty seconds later, I was on top of the world, and heading down an interminable drop into a misty, foggy abyss. But there's one major problem: after that hill, though it's relentlessly fast and breakneck, there's not much else in my mind. I didn't experience any significant air over the three hills, and though the overbanked turns rocked, they didn't mess with my body the way I hoped they would. But I don't regret it at all...it was probably the most important roller coaster ride of my life, and a fitting #50. Unfortunately, a mishap with line attendants over the FreeWay policy led to a MAJOR disappointment to me when I attempted to secure my third and final ride Tuesday night, but sourness aside, MF is exactly that, and definitely worth the wait. Rating: 3rd out of 15.
RAPTOR -- By default (I've only experienced Batman: The Ride before it), Raptor takes the crown of the best B&M invert I've been on. The elements rock, the pacing is great, and it has a ton of things going for it. But this is not the coaster to go backseat on. I got beat up first ride, and was almost ready to dismiss it until I dared to go front seat. Only then did I salvage it from the trash bin and see it for what a beautiful thing it was. As a whole, I was unimpressed with the Beemers at the Point, but Raptor certainly does kick the sky...but near the back, the sky kicks back! Rating: 6th out of 15.
WICKED TWISTER -- The ride that the Fearsome Five would affectionately call Twicked Wister was one of my biggest anticipations. And while it certainly wasn't a letdown, per se, it wasn't everything it could've been. My timing was poor, given that the weakening steel led to it not being run at full power, but despite groans of disappointment from the threesome that had ridden it in its glory, I found it to be quite a rush! Launches are definitely surprisingly powerful, and the negatives, even in twist, are good. And besides, it's just fun to say, "I got screwed in the rear!" Plenty of fun, with relatively quick lines and plenty of good times. Rating: 5th out of 15.
WILDCAT -- Another pleasant surprise, this tiny little package packs a decent punch itself. Nice air, fun laterals, and a surprising amount of speed combine to make this a ride that's easy to underestimate. I expected nothing more than a boardwalk ride, but it definitely is better than that. Yes, it's low capacity, but if the lines aren't too short, go for it! Rating: 7th out of 15.
WOODSTOCK EXPRESS -- Again, it's a kiddie coaster...what do you expect? It's fun to ring the bell from the front seat, but you only go around once...what gives?! Rating: 13th out of 15.
And so ends one incredible coasting odyssey.
Damn, I can't wait for the next one... ;)
The Luv Monkey, authoritatively, has spoken...
Say what you will in response, but allow me to point out two things: 1) No, I'm not an idiot, and 2) No, I'm not a crack baby, nor do I partake in any such substances. So please, I encourage you to share your thoughts, but if your thoughts consist of any statement in one of those two veins, keep it in your head.
Thanks for reading, and reply away!
[Nitro Dave -- 89 Laps] [Track Record: 56 and counting...]
[Proud Coasterbuzz Club Member, Credit Whore, & Jr. Gemini Double-Lapper]
Gemini -- It's no Millennium Force, but it's twice as nice!
The Beast and Night, They go together like Peanut Butter and Jelly
1.Fire Dragon 2.Ice Dragon 3.Raptor 4.Batman Knight Flight 5.Kraken
I didn't even cheat :)
491 in '02
BuzzCon Frequent Flyer
Proud Co-Founder of the CoasterBuzz Street Team
Thank You for challenging TOS: The Ride. We hope you enjoy the rest of your day, here at SFCB.
Instead of bashing your ratings like everyone else, I will talk about your experience.
I made my first trip to CP last year and clearly remember taking that last look at the park before I left. What an experience! I agree that Gemini is awesome and it surprised the hell out of me when I rode it also. CP impressed me in every way and the way they run the park should be followed by other parks.
Thanks for sharing your experience.
As an old CP'er, it's nice to hear someone likes some of the "smaller" coasters such as Blue Streak and Gemini, two that are still rated high for me.
I'm surprised Raptor bashed you while riding in the back. Although I prefer the front most times, I love that "kick" out before the drop from the back. Raptor is actually rated in my top 5 at CP.
I'd rather die living than live like I'm dead
Insert clever signature.
"We love Megan!"
*** This post was edited by JFNJ on 8/18/2002. ***
You must be logged in to post