Is Cedar Point the pinnacle of amusement parks?

cmingdayton's avatar

I am a sophomore in high school and am fascinated with rollercoasters and thrill rides. I have many ambitions to travel to a diversity of amusement parks as I get older. I live in Nebraska, so that limits some of my traveling. My mind sees the top dogs in Cedar Point and Six Flags Magic Mountain, but are those truly the best? I have been to Adventureland, Worlds of Fun, and Mt. Olympus. This summer I am going to Valleyfair and Six Flags St. Louis.

So my question is which park is the best roller coaster/thrill ride wise? Is it the Cedar Points and Six Flags Magic Mountains or the world or are there other parks under appreciated?

Thank you,

Cole Mingo

(AKA Barry Allen and Niles Crane amalgamated).

Jeff's avatar

I suppose it depends on what kinds of rides you like, and how many you've been on. You certainly wouldn't get bored at CP.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Phrazy

LostKause's avatar

I tell kids this all the time. Make sure you put yourself into some kind of decent career or get a good job. I have an expensive hobby/interest, but no money to fulfill it. Don't be like Uncle Krause. :p

The answer to your question depends on what you like about Parks and coasters. Many of us would be satisfied with a large park with the biggest and best, and many of us would be excited about a smaller, quaint park. Do you like getting big thrills all day, or do you enjoy a slow pace, taking in all the "charm?"

Then there are some of us who like both. When I visit a big park, I take my time and soak in the scene the same way I do when I visit a smaller park. That's because I'm older than Methuselah. When I was a whipper-snapper like yourself, I liked to run (or sprint) as fast as I could from ride to ride, accidentally knocking old people out of my way, and jumping over bushes and benches to find the best short cut between rides. I couldn't wait for my next thrill. My insatiable need to ride made me act like a meth head on welfare check day.

A lot of smaller parks are amazing. Some of them offer unique attractions that you just can't find anywhere else.

Last edited by LostKause,
OhioStater's avatar

The good news for you is that some people think Nebraska really deserves an amusement park.

Part of the fun of being a fan of roller-coasters and amusement parks in general is really getting out there and visiting a variety of parks. I used to think Cedar Point was the alpha & omega of amusement parks until I ventured out of Ohio. That said, in terms of your specific question, I still believe that Cedar Point is the best in terms of overall collection.

With the parks that you have currently been to in mind, I think your brain would have a roller-coaster orgasm as you drove up the causeway to Cedar Point for the first time. Does it have a great collection? Absolutely. Any great wooden coasters? No (but hopefully that will change in about 10 months' time). The world's greatest steel collection? Yes (and a classic woodie [Blue Streak] to round it all out).

Have fun in this world of amusements we have all around us, and take every chance you get to visit a new place. They all have something really special to offer, and you have no idea where you will find yourself uncovering something unique and surprising.

Last edited by OhioStater,

Cedar Point has many things going for it: quantity, quality, location, atmosphere. It mixes many things I like about the old time amusement park (midways, bright cheesy lights, food) with the big time thrills I crave (beyond just coasters as well). Part of what makes CP so amazing to me is it's location on Lake Erie. It would still be an amazing park anywhere else but those lake views while you're on rides just adds another element you're not going to find anywhere else.

Hersheypark is another fantastic example of a park that's not necessarily massive but has an extremely well balanced assortment of rides and attractions to please a wide demographic. It's got that small park charm that's just hard to replicate.

Then there's a place like Kennywood...I spent all of four hours there from the evening into the night and it was absolutely magical.

So I guess to me, the 'pinnacle' of amusement parks isn't about how much, how fast, how high, etc. Does it provide that feeling of being a kid again? Does it make me forget about the outside world if only for a moment? If so, that's the pinnacle of an amusement park to me.

I am the type of person who always thinks 'just imagine, there is something even better than this elsewhere'. With that being said, this is my opinion after really starting to venture away from just Ohio parks: Cedar Point is the best collection of rides you will find almost anywhere. I don't necessarily think Cedar Point has all of the 'best' rides, as I do think there are plenty of rides better than Millennium Force, Rapter, Gatekeeper, etc., but to go to one place and be able to get a taste of everything rollercoasters(and flat rides for that matter) are capable of, I don't think many places come close.

Jeff's avatar

Yeah, I agree. Most of the coasters are better than average, even if they aren't the best, and there is really only one true dud among them (Mean Streak).

Something I did forget, in the context of being in high school... don't forget when you're an adult and responsible for yourself that you can travel and do what you want. I somewhat regret that it took me so long to realize that I could do that.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Phrazy

Since you live in Nebraska, try to add SF Great America near Chicago to your to do list.

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Pagoda Gift Shop's avatar

Different parks do different things well. Cedar Point is a great park, but there are things that are done differently at places like Holiday World, Dollywood, and the Busch Gardens parks (just to name a couple) that are also really terrific. From a rides perspective, you can't go wrong with Cedar Point and SFMM. But there are many other parks that offer great experiences without having quite as many rides packed into one place.

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OhioStater said:

The world's greatest steel collection? Yes

I think the word "largest" applies here, rather than "greatest". Cedar Point has a lot of good coasters, but IMHO there's very little there that's outstanding. I've not ridden Valravn yet which might change the equation, but as I see it right now, Magic Mountain has the edge in terms of really excellent rides. In terms of coasters I would sit on all day:

- MM: Apocalypse, Batman, Full Throttle, Goliath, Ninja, Riddler (ok, stand...), Scream, Tatsu, Twisted Colossus

- CP: Gatekeeper, Iron Dragon, Millennium Force, Raptor, Top Thrill Dragster, Wicked Twister

I'd also throw out there that Cedar Point is very much in the *amusement park* category rather than the *theme park* category. Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Europa Park, Phantasialand, et al will always have the edge over it for me on that basis.

I live in Columbus, Ohio and consider myself extremely fortunate that I have two awesome Cedar Fair parks so conveniently located.
I'm known amongst my friends and co-workers as the go-to guy for information and advice and occasionally someone will ask something like "Hey, what do you recommend as the best amusement park to go to? We're tired of going to Cedar Point every summer". And I have to say in all honestly "My educated opinion is that you've already been to the best park and apparently you've grown used to it, and I get that. The truth of the matter is we're spoiled."
I usually send them to Kennywood for a change of pace. I've never had any complaints.

I'm pretty well traveled, at least here in the US, and my track record is fairly high. I've visited my share of crappy parks to get those rides in, too. And every one of those visits reminds me of how good I have it at home.

CP has what I believe to be an inordinate amount of fans and fan boys, maybe the largest collection outside of the Disneyphiles. They think the world revolves around the place and often it's clear from their conversations and posts that they've never been anywhere else. CP is awesome for all the reasons expressed above, but even if you're the type that only wants to ride coasters you've got it made there.

The good news for you is that you're young and have plenty of time. The bad news is you're in Nebraska and activity there is limited to say the least. Jeff's comment made me smile as I used to think, especially when I was young, that travel like that was frivolous and an irresponsible expenditure. Then I realized, (not too late, thankfully) that if I was going to do this it could not be from my apartment.

So not to worry, you'll get there. And this is a marvelous hobby in that there's something for everyone. If you like charm and history it's there for you. If you like show business, amusement parks are a good way to get that fix. Maybe you'll write or take photos for everyone to see. Perhaps you'll go in search of the ultimate dark ride. Or- maybe you'll just want to power-ride roller coasters all day and you'll discover places like Cedar Point and Magic Mountain sit at the pinnacle for that reason alone.

So good luck and have fun. You have a lifetime of great experiences ahead of you.

While I haven't been to the Point in season since the late 90's, I'd have to agree with Mac. If you are in the hobby for the coasters, it's hard to beat the place. It's not the same place I worked at back in the 1970's, which some of us that did now describe it as Kennywood on steroids during the Roose-Legros era.

Of amusement parks, I would say yes, but not theme parks. Cedar Point is a must do as a budding enthusiast, while there are people who aren't in love with the place I have yet to ever here an enthusiast say they hate it, which is quite an accomplishment.

I live close enough I usually am able to go a few times a year but if I wasn't close I don't think I would go every year. I can only really spend 3 days there max (I prefer 2.5 combined with 1.5 at KI for a long weekend.). I have no problem spending a whole week at Disneyland, WDW, combo Universal/SWO/BGT, or in Williamsburg (but that is so much more then BGW.)

2022 Trips: WDW, Sea World San Diego & Orlando, CP, KI, BGW, Bay Beach, Canobie Lake, Universal Orlando

ApolloAndy's avatar

If you have the budget, Orlando/Tampa is also an incredible Mecca. With the addition of Mako, the "everything but Disney" pass will give you access to some of the most unique and also best B&M's in the world. You also get Cheetah Hunt, Then if you have the extra time and money, Disney is incredibly, but in a different way. It's got decent thrills, but is so immersive and well themed, that it makes me feel like a kid. Of course, if I were a teenager, maybe that wouldn't be such a good thing but as a bitter old man, I welcome the charm.

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john peck's avatar

The fact that you're branching out further and further each trip reminds me of me. I grew up in Cleveland with Geauga Lake being my home park, so it wasn't until college (except for 2 trips to Disney World as a "lucky" kid) that I started hitting Kings Island and Cedar point.... eventually, i would travel as far as California and Maine.

There are two limitations to hitting a ton of parks: Money and Time off. I try to schedule my parks in big trips and hit as many parks as I can with multiple people to reduce costs, and try to go for one a year. In 2003, we drove into Washington DC and hit six flags America, then worked our way up the coast to Maine and New York. 38 parks in 8 days... it was wild.

Last edited by john peck,

Jeff said:

Something I did forget, in the context of being in high school... don't forget when you're an adult and responsible for yourself that you can travel and do what you want. I somewhat regret that it took me so long to realize that I could do that.

I wish I had taken this to heart more when I was in my 20s...

Young people have it a lot easier than I did at that age. Now the world's information is at their fingertips.

When I was in my late teens/early twenties I worked at Cedar Point, then at the telephone company in Sandusky. I'd get a day or two off with not much to do until one day I thought "hmmm... I wonder how far Geauga Lake is from here? I have a car and a couple of bucks, so what's stopping me from going?" So I did and I had a ball at a park I'd heard about since I was a kid, but never thought there'd be an occasion to go.
In 1978 I ran across ACE, quickly became a member, then suddenly I knew parks like Kennywood and Idora existed. That sort of started it all for me. I figured out it was easy to take some random Sunday and make a day trip out of it. Once I took a long weekend and drove myself to Six Flags over Georgia, just because I could and always wanted to go there.
It also taught me a few things. I listened less to my worrisome mother and I learned to travel and have fun even if I was all by myself. (That second item serves me well to this day) I also consider myself fortunate to have experienced parks when they were younger too, including a few that no longer exist.

I guess my point is when you have a hobby like ours that requires travel, don't just sit there. Plan the time, find the money and take off. I've never been sorry that I made myself go and I do it to this day.

DJTimmay's avatar

Well hopefully in a few months I'll be able to answer this outright. We are currently traveling to every major park in the country. Cedar Point jas always been my favorite park but after visiting hundreds of times we figured we should put it to the test by checking out the competition and their sister parks. Stay tuned.
IG: The Naked Deejay
SC: TheCoasterNerds

Don't forget 2 small parks in Iowa: Arnolds Park & Adventureland. Both worthy of stop

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Famous Dave's- 206 restaurants - 35 states - 2 countries

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