Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio, USA
First off, I want to thank CP for allowing us to attend Media Day and for all the free food, loot, and bonus rides. It was such an amazing, memorable day for me. I probably got about 15 rides on GateKeeper.
I'm not going into much detail about Media Day, as RCMAC covered it all very well. I met up with him and Ensign Smith, and I had a great time with them both. I was there every minute of Media Day...nearly 16 hours! Without these guys, I doubt I would have stayed over an hour.
All I wanted to add about Media Day was how cool it was to see the park preparing for opening day. I figured that CP would have the whole park barricaded off with security chasing us back to the GateKeeper area. No, the whole park was open to roam around, and we were only met with smiling employees. I compared CP's foot traffic layout to a highway before. Well, in the off season, apparently it is a highway. Cars were driving around everywhere, which was bizarre to see.
I loved seeing employees doing their spiels to empty trains and watching the food stands prepare all the food to an audience of no one. I never realized that CP basically does do a dry run before opening day. I think it'd be cool if they allowed Platinum Passholders access to this dry run in future years....a few riders, and a few people to actually eat the prepared food.
Now, my GateKeeper review:
All things considered, GateKeeper is a nice addition to the park, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed with the ride. I'm trying to figure it all out. Was it that I kept getting increasingly excited and building this ride up all off season? Probably not. I did that with every other new coaster at CP, and they all delivered except Mantis.
Was it the motion sickness and lack of sleep? Yes. Maybe it was because it was the first ride of the year, but even after taking a motion sickness tablet, the very first ride made me feel sick. I think the lack of a track directly in front of me was adding to a disorienting feeling. When I rode in the front seat and looked at the track, it didn't seem half as bad. I also stayed at the park from 3:50AM until 7:50PM. So, 16 hours of CP on 1 weak hour of sleep was surely taking away from it all.
Was it the restraints? Somewhat. My first couple rides, I had no issues with them. Then, a couple times the ride crew pushed down hard (I'm not heavy, so there was no reason). I totally understood the complaints of shallow breathing and a little pain then. Plus, I personally felt the restraints were so restrictive that I didn't feel much airtime or ever feel much thrill...they were too secure, if that makes sense. (Tip: What I did in later rides was to hold the two vest straps like a childhood swing away from my chest, pushing forward the whole ride. I'd say I maintained an inch or two of leeway the whole ride. No more breathing issues, no more pain/discomfort, and even a little airtime.)
Was it the Wingrider ride type? Yes. I heard so much positive stuff about B&M's Wingrider all last year and over the off season. I purposely avoided trips to try the new B&M Wingriders so that GateKeeper could be my extra special first. After riding GK, I just don't get this style. The train feels heavy, and most of the ride felt like it was in slow motion. The front seat helped bring the feeling of speed, and it was by far my favorite seat on the ride. Still, while the front seat was a great ride, it didn't floor me in the same way that Raptor does.
Additionally, I don't agree with those saying the ride was super smooth. Maybe on the inner seats. But, the more-desirable outer seats have a bouncy vibration that is undesirable. It's not a big deal. I had the same issue with Intamin's SkyRush, to a lesser degree. Putting unbalanced mass on opposing sides of the track is going to do this. Other then a couple head-chopper moments, I don't understand the appeal of Wingriders. I'd take a B&M invert over one any day.
Was it the layout? Possibly. Maybe this is more of an issue with the Wingrider style for me, but the layout lacked any of those quick, snappy moments that I love on a ride like Maverick or Raptor. Additionally, other than the second pass by the keyholes, the second half seemed a little weak. There was no grand finale like Raptor or a feeling of fast, fun pacing from start to finish on a ride like Maverick. I did think the first inversion, loop, and first couple hills were very nice though.
All that being said, it was still a good ride. It's just not going to be the signature ride I was expecting. It's not a top 25 coaster to me, and I'd place it mid-pack at CP after Maverick, MF, Magnum, Raptor, Dragster, and possibly even Gemini. Many people just love this ride though and some are calling it their new favorite coaster. I'm going to ride it later in the season hopefully without motion sickness and tiredness, and I'm hopeful my opinion will rise from good to even better.
The coaster looks gorgeous, and its lighting package is incredible, especially the front gate pass-over. CP went from having one of the dullest park entrances to one of the coolest, most memorable. GateKeeper's ride entrance area, the patio, etc. are so well done...it's a notch above what CP has done before, and it all looks so nice with that open beach view. Great job, CP!
Sorry it didn't meet your expectations. I haven't ridden any of the wing riders either, but I'm not sure I see the difference between them and inverts...except they're slower.
Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."
To be honest, I loved Gatekeeper...
I basically agree with everything Jeph said (other than getting sick), including the bit about it being weird seeing cars and trucks zipping around the midways.
I rode Wild Eagle last year and loved it, and was expecting GateKeeper to be an even better version of that. But after riding, I kept trying to remember why I'd ranked WE so highly. Once I rode GK in the front and back rows, I remembered somewhat, but I still would put it at maybe #6 among Cedar Point's coasters. In re-watching the Wild Eagle POV, I think I just liked that collection of elements better than GateKeeper's, other than the keyholes and first drop.
You're right about the ending being disappointing -- which has nothing to do with the block brake, which isn't enabled under normal circumstances. After the first hour or so of riding, there was no longer applause or cheering at the final brake. And I don't think it's because people were tired; later in the day, Millennium got its usual cheers (before *and* after the run), and so did Raptor at times.
My collar bone was sore with red marks the next day from where the restraint vest rubbed, but normally I wouldn't be riding this 10 times a day. The vest locks upon dispatch, but even if you'd thought to lean forward to give yourself a little more room, it'll lock tighter throughout the ride like a retractable seatbelt. That's unfortunate, especially if you have to sit on the brake run a long time.
That all said, I do enjoy the ride. The inside seats are smooth as silk, while the outside seats are a bit bumpy -- but also more fun with the forces. Back left and front right were ridiculously fun.
I also think it makes for an awesome new front entrance, and love that it opens up the lake view with such flair. But that queue is going to be atrociously cold and windy come HalloWeekends time... during which I assume they'll temporarily rename the ride CryptKeeper... or GrimReaper. ;)Last edited by birdhombre, Sunday, May 12, 2013 5:20 PM
I'm so glad that you do, Tyler! I hope most people love it. I want this ride to be a smash success for CP like all their top coasters. It might just be one that I don't get as much as others do, and I'm okay with that. The little coaster that could in the back of the park should have a shorter line in the mornings now, so I'll be perfectly happy there.
Either Ouimet or Hildebrandt had said words to the effect of, they wanted this to be less 'extreme' so that more families could ride it. Hopefully the keyhole twists don't scare off that intended demographic, but I do think it's a great addition in that regard. It would take quite a bit for it to outdo Maverick and Millennium in my book... but who says it has to? GateKeeper does plenty else that's good for the park. :)
I think its a great addition to the park and definitely needed. It's a higher capacity ride than what was in its place and its not too extreme of a ride. I think it will alleviate the longer lines at other rides around the park because it should better spread out the guests.
As far as the nitty gritty goes on the ride experience, this was my first Wing Rider. I'd compare it to a less snappy invert. But I can't really compare it to any of the other ones out there. I wish the vests didn't over tighten throughout the ride, but other than that its a comfortable ride. And yes, I'm not surprised that the outside seats have a bounce to it. I found myself preferring the inside seats because of that issue. There's not a whole lot you can do about that.
Media Day itself was a blast! Probably the best time I've had in the park in a long time. The food was amazing, the crew running the ride were excellent, even though some had to show up at 2am to open the ride for us. It was great to see the higher ups interacting with us. I really hope that as a whole our group will be welcomed to future events like this as new attractions open.
When I waited 2.5 hours the line moved long and quickly. There was so many kiosks, but the line was going fast.
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