I rode MF with Dick Kinzel :-)

Monday, June 21, 2004 3:53 PM
I was at Cedar Point for four days last week. On Tuesday, I was at the park by myself in the morning, and about 10:30ish I got in line for Millennium Force. Since I was alone, I decided to wait for the front seat. I've ridden MF probably about a hundred times, but I've never ridden in the very front seat. I've ridden in row two a bunch of times, but never row one. So, since no one else was with me to complain about the extra half hour, and since there's always a slim hope that there are other single rides in that extra line, I hopped in line for the front.

Twenty minutes later, I'm literally next in line for the front seat. No single riders in line ahead of me, and none behind me, so I'm gearing up for a solo ride in the front. I was staring at the yellow pulleys under the lift hill watching them adjust the tension as the train is going up when the ride op comes up to me and says "you're going to be delayed a train." I ask why and he points to the unload station and says "The president of our parent company Cedar Fair wants to take a ride." I look down to my left, and sure enough, there's three people riding the train as it pulls into the load station. I've never met Dick Kinzel before, and I'd be hard-pressed to remember what he looks like. The only guy I could recognize on sight would be Monty Jasper, and only then if he's wearing a hardhat and holding a clipboard like on the construction update page when they build a new ride.

Anyway, the train pulls up with 1-1, 1-2, and 2-1 taken. The people waiting for row two were together, and the guy in 2-1 looks around and asks "any single riders?" I decide to give up my once-in-a-season chance at a front seat ride for a once-in-a-lifetime chance to ride with the CP brass. I hop into 2-2 and introduce myself to the guy, whose name I didn't catch because of the noise. While the train was loading, we chatted about how long I was staying, who I was with, and where I was from. Typical small talk when you're riding alone. The guy in 1-2 remarked as the train was going up the lift that he had never seen one so steep and fast. The guy next to me starts talking about how they had to do it that way to get the capacity up: a slower hill at that height means a lot more waiting in line. The last thing he said was "it's actually an elevatooooorrrrrrrrrrRRRRRRRRRR!!!" as we went over the top.

The ride itself was fairly typical of MF: great speed and airtime. This was my first time on it in 2 years, and there was a little more vibration than I remember. It seemed smoother when I rode it before - worn wheels or something? I don't know. As we're cresting the bunny hill coming back from the island, the guy next to me sticks his face between the seats in front of us and says "smile for the camera!" At this point, I realized they'd be a picture of me sitting with these guys. I had never paid $10 for a picture before, but I knew this one was too good to pass up.

We pull back into the station, and the three guys immediately start talking about what a great ride it is as we all walk down to the photo booth.

Obviously, I bought the photo: http://kenkogler.com/images/mf_onRide.jpg

The clown in the green shirt is me. Anyone recognize the guy next to me? I saw him on a Discovery Channel special that was playing in Dragster's gift shop later in the week, but I didn't see his name on the screen at any point.

While we were in the photo booth, the guy I was seated next to called the guy in the blue shirt (seated in 1-1 in the picture) "Dick", so I'm guessing that's Kinzel. I got the impression that the guy seated in 1-2 was a prospective Intamin customer, or another amusement park owner, or something like that. The whole time, the guy next to me is talking about design decisions, the planning and development process, and other information that really sounded like he was trying to convince this other guy to buy one of his own Intamin hyper/giga coasters.

There's not much of a point to this story other than to share my experience. I was half-tempted to follow these guys around all day and see if I could skip any lines, but then reality kicked in and I realized that wouldn't happen. I kept an eye out for them during the day, but never saw them again.

*** Edited 6/21/2004 7:55:03 PM UTC by KenK***

Monday, June 21, 2004 3:58 PM
Cool story!!!!
Monday, June 21, 2004 4:02 PM
Sounds Awesome. I wouldn't know what Dick Kinzel looks like so I don't know which one he is for sure. He was at Valleyfair! on opening day 2003 down by Steel Venom with a bunch of other corperate people talking about how great Wicked Twister was and thats why we wanted one here.
Monday, June 21, 2004 4:04 PM
Cool stuff. You deserve a smiley with sunglasses, but they're not on here. :(
Monday, June 21, 2004 4:09 PM

VenomThing said:
...talking about how great Wicked Twister was and thats why we wanted one here.

Can't say I blame him. I love that ride, and compared to other steel coasters, it's a fairly minimal investment. It's also nice if you don't have a lot of land.

Of course, $9 million could also buy you a heck of a ride from Gravity Group. :)

Monday, June 21, 2004 4:38 PM
hehe, Whats this....Kinzel has his arms up? Uhh ohh ;)

That was one lucky ride.

*** Edited 6/21/2004 8:52:57 PM UTC by Big D***

Monday, June 21, 2004 4:55 PM
I don't think the guy with his arms up is Kinzel. I think the dude in blue in front of him is Kinzel. I have no idea who the guy next to me is.
Monday, June 21, 2004 4:59 PM
There is a picture of him on this page: judge for yourself.

Monday, June 21, 2004 5:08 PM
Well damn. I guess I *was* sitting next to Dick Kinzel. He definitely called the guy in blue "Dick", though. In the photo booth, he said "How many copies do you want, Dick? One? Two? OK, two" or something very similar.

The plot thickens.

Monday, June 21, 2004 5:55 PM
Yea, Ive got that CP special from several years ago taped, and id be almost sure that you were riding next to the President of Cedar Fair, Dick Kinzel.
Monday, June 21, 2004 6:22 PM
Dicks of a feather... ;)
Monday, June 21, 2004 6:25 PM
The guy next to you does appear to be Kinzel, not the guy in the front. Kinzel appears around 60, sandy blonde hair and shorter than most people. He would be wearing a gold name tag. I can't place the people in the front row (especially the guy in front of you who is cut-off), but if the boss pre-empted your seat, he must have been someone important.
Monday, June 21, 2004 6:51 PM
Yup, you were sitting next to him! I saw him in the Discovery channel show "World's Largest AMusement Park!"
Monday, June 21, 2004 7:20 PM
See Dick ride. See Dick smile.
Monday, June 21, 2004 7:32 PM
That is too freakin cool. You got to ride with my hero.
Monday, June 21, 2004 8:14 PM
Great story!
Monday, June 21, 2004 8:27 PM
Does Karien Burke get this much love if someone rides with him? :)
Monday, June 21, 2004 8:40 PM

Jeff said:
Kinzel appears around 60, sandy blonde hair and shorter than most people. He would be wearing a gold name tag.

Sounds right. Didn't notice the name tag, but he sure looks like him, and one of the three guys in the train was referred to as "the President of Cedar Fair", so I'm going to take the flying leap and say it's really him. :)
Monday, June 21, 2004 10:12 PM
That was definatly him next to you. I work at Valleyfair and have seen him out there several times and talked to him over the last 4 years.
Monday, June 21, 2004 10:20 PM
I would have thought that Dick would have gotten you an on ride photo for free. ;) That would have been a fun ride.

*** Edited 6/22/2004 5:58:31 AM UTC by Coasterfantom2***


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