Place: Cedar Point
Time Spent: 10:20 am to 6:00 pm
Weather: Absolutely beautiful- 67 degrees, sunny and minimal wind
After arguing with my friends over whether we should go to Kennywood or Cedar Point, the general consensus was to head to Sandusky for a day of fun at Cedar Point. With the weather as good as it was (and according to the forecast, the only good day of the week), the crowds were a little larger than usual for a May weekday. After paying our $8 to park, we headed to the main gate and proceeded to wait 20 minutes just to buy a ticket! We had our $13 Pepsi cans in tow, as did just about everyone else in line. Once inside, we noticed the Raptor had a posted 1 hour wait time already. Amazes me how every year this seems to be the big first stop for many guests. So what do we head for.... Millennium Force? Wicked Twister? Schwabinchen? Nope... my friends LOVE Power Tower, so that was our first stop on this absolutely fantastic day at America's Roller Coast.
We lined up for the Turbo Drop side first and within about 10 minutes we were being hauled slowly up the 240-foot tower. I was not wearing a jacket, and the temperature yesterday morning was a chilly 45 degrees.... making our 10-second stall at the top rather brisk! We were facing the Mean Streak/Magnum end of the midway, and I must say that the view is just absolutely spectacular from up here. You don't get to enjoy the view for long though as we were soon sent plummeting down at 50 mph. I love the feeling you get as you float off the seat... but for some reason I don't find this ride to be as intense as an Intamin 2nd generation freefall (like Kennywood's PittFall). A fun ride nonetheless. Since the Space Shot line was considerably shorter than the Drop side (which had nearly tripled in size), we waited another 10 minutes and took the blast up the tower. There's a nice jolt of airtime at the top, though nowhere near as severe as Vegas' Big Shot. Again we faced the Magnum side of the midway and I just get a kick out of watching the entire park fall away from our feet. I enjoy Power Tower... I just don't like the usual long wait.
As we proceeded towards the back of the park, we jumped on an old classic- Corkscrew. This 1976 Arrow coaster looks absolutely tiny compared to its larger neighbors, but for some reason, it has that bit of "nostalgia" surrounding it. There was no wait whatsoever, and the park had 2 trains running.... something you probably wouldn't see at a certain other Ohio park. The double dip first drop launches you directly into the shoulder harness, causing a rather severe jolt. Riders are then flipped upside-down through a vertical loop, then after a turnaround, enter the corkscrew section placed directly over the midway. This is such a cool placement of the ride and I certainly hope CP never gets rid of this... it would make that end of the midway look a little bland.
Next stop was Magnum XL-200, where we greeted with a walk-on ride. There were no more than 20 people in the station, and with all 3 trains going, we essentially had choice of seats. We opted for a ride in 1.3, the infamous "ejector seat". All I can say is "wow". Magnum was running a bit rougher than I remember, and the airtime on the bunny hops was just extreme. I have a nice souvenir bruise on my leg where the lap bar was as this was without question the most vicious airtime I have ever felt on Magnum. It's a shame that most of the people in the park seemed to be forsaking Magnum in favor of taking rides on Millennium Force and Wicked Twister and it just seems weird that we were able to walk on one of the world's greatest steel coasters twice in a row. 10 years ago, we'd be waiting 45 minutes or so for a ride.
We passed the "mystery wall" where the Dodgems once stood (across from Magnum) and I didn't notice the footers. To be honest, I really didn't care. I just wanted to have a good time and enjoy this year instead of worrying about next year.
Gemini was next on our coaster cavalcade. While only two trains on the blue side were running, I am never disappointed in this ride. Some people say it's "dull", others say it's "slow".... I say screw them. This is one of those rare rides that is just fun all the way around. Between the first drop, the low headchoppers, the smooth ride and the wild helix finale, Gemini just plain rocks. Oh yeah, we only had a three train wait.... not too bad, really.
We took a break for some of Cedar Point's "world-famous" fresh-cut fries at the Happy Friar stand across from Gemini. This year the fries were actually very good, but still not on the same level as Conneaut or Kennywood. The gouging continues here- an order of fries and a medium Mountain Dew costs $6.35. Give me a break!
After emptying my wallet, we ventured over to the Cedar Creek Mine Ride where we were greeted with no wait. Not much to write about here.... the Mine Ride was its usual self, offering a smooth, out-of-control ride that isn't too thrilling, but is still amusing, especially the final helix. For an Arrow, it's still smooth after 32 years.
Next came the surprise of the day. Cedar Point has taken a LOT of flack over the Mean Streak as most "enthusiasts" consistently rank this ride as one of the worst out there. Personally, I have always thought it wasn't as bad as everyone makes it out to be, and this year, it's running better than it has in years. The train is lightly braked on the way down the first drop, which results in a totally amazing high-speed ride through the first half and even a slight hint of... gasp... airtime on the drop before the mid-course brake. The mid-course also didn't grab too hard and we were sent speeding through the second half and didn't lose much speed by the time the ride was over. Yes, it's still a bit rough in spots, but in my opinion, MS has moved back into my Top 10 wood coaster list with a wonderful performance. I hope it lasts this way throughout the season.
As we began our trek to Millennium Force, we stopped for a quick ride on the Wave Swinger, which had a VERY brief ride cycle time despite having no line.
Our walk-on fun was brought to a screeching halt as we got in line for Millennium Force, which had a posted 1 and 1/4 hour wait time. However, even with only two trains running (the yellow train is still being worked on from what I have heard), the line moved pretty well and we were on within an hour. Even in its third season, Millennium Force is still my #1 roller coaster. The feeling of pure speed is just incredible, and plummeting down a 300 foot drop angled at 80 degrees never gets old. We were riding in seat 3.2 and there was a noticeable amount of airtime on each of the hills... unlike what many CP bashers have said. Millennium Force may not be everyone's favorite, but for now, no other ride even comes close.
Since Wildcat had no line, we walked right on this Schwarzkopf classic. It amazes me that even after 20-some years (this was the second such ride to appear at CP), Wildcat is still running extremely smooth. I enjoy the drops on this compact ride, but it's the turns that make this ride so great. You are really flying around some nice helices and the speed feels greater than it actually is thanks to the small 4-passenger cars.
We also noticed the Iron Dragon had no line so we took a spin on the 1987 Arrow suspended coaster that is often referred to as "Draggin' Iron". While I will not say this is a bad ride, Iron Dragon really kind of bores me during the first half of the ride. It almost seems like I should have brought a newspaper or something to read as nothing exciting happens. The second half of this ride is a nice downward run that causes the cars to swing a bit, then there's a "pretzel-knot" turn over the park's lagoon, with misters spraying to create an "eerie" effect. This part of the ride is pretty good, but it all ends way too fast. Iron Dragon is a ride that could have been so much more.... but instead, we have a fun family coaster that is still quite popular among park visitors who can't handle the big thrillers.
If there's one ride at Cedar Point I can't leave without riding at least once, it's Cedar Downs. This Prior and Church Racing Derby Carousel was originally located at Cleveland's Euclid Beach Park and was relocated here in 1967. I have to give major props to CP for maintaining this truly awesome ride. The horses race around at 14.5 mph as they move not only up and down, but forward and back.... creating a racing effect. The "Call To Post" soundtrack is still used (that's a huge part of this ride's charm) and the ride was running very well as always. I guess I'm a sucker for a classic ride!
I had heard that Blue Streak was running the best it has since it got retrofitted with new trains back in 1997. With no wait, we walked on Cedar Point's oldest existing coaster and expected a great ride. Unfortunately, I thought the Streak was running no different than it has the past few years... offering little to no airtime and a ride that just pales in comparison to SFWoA's Big Dipper. Maybe I just sat in the wrong seat... but I wasn't very impressed.
While we were riding the Blue Streak, we could see that the Raptor's line area was virtually empty, so that was our next stop. This 1994 B&M inverted coaster has been in my Top 10 since its inaugural season, but this year, something didn't seem quite "right" with the big green bird. The first drop was still great, the loop was fine, but from that point on, the ride seemed much rougher than usual. The inline twist seemed a bit jerky, the cobra roll especially had a wicked, head-banging slam to it that pretty much finished me off for the day, and the final transition into the brake run slammed my neck out of whack. I guess I'm just getting old..... Raptor is still a very good ride, but I think it's losing some of its appeal.
Since we didn't see Wicked Twister operating (although there were people in line and in the train itself), we opted to enter Disaster Transport.... in 3-D! For $1 extra, you can buy a snazzy pair of 3-D glasses with the Cedar Point logo on one side and the Disaster Transport logo on the other. You get to view the Disaster Transport posters in room one of the queue, which all feature neon colors to provide the illusion of depth, you then enter a hall filled with neon handprints that appear to be floating out at you (obviously used in the HalloWeekends haunted house), and then the repair bay room has been re-done, so that the conveyor belt carrying spare parts above the room actually move and the damaged "transport" is being worked on once again after several years of sitting dormant. Once aboard this enclosed Intamin bobsled coaster, you climb the lift and once the sled reaches the top of the lift, you see a bunch of "floating stars" which are kind of 3-D... but nothing spectacular. The former satellite room has had all the lights turned out except for more floating stars..... which I guess is an enhancement... but I kind of liked the old effects. The "I'm Losing Control!" voice was also absent as we flew through yet more stars before speeding past "Alaska" and hitting the brakes. Disaster Transport is a pretty whacked out ride. It's definitely different, it's unusually fun.... but man is it ever cheesy!
As we began our stroll through Alaska (which looks suspiciously like Cedar Point's Space Spiral area), we saw Wicked Twister operating, and noticed a 1 hour posted wait time. Since I wanted this for a cheap coaster credit (and the fact that it looked pretty cool sitting on the beach), we entered the queue. 45 minutes later, we were sitting in seats 5-3 and 5-4 (which I believe is row 10 on a 16 row train), waiting to be launched. Let me take a few seconds to compliment the Wicked Twister crew. With SIX people on the platform checking restraints, the time between launches was barely more than 90 seconds.... something I'm not accustomed to on another Ohio impulse coaster. Speaking of Superman: Ultimate Escape, Wicked Twister is a COMPLETELY different ride experience thanks to the addition of the back twist. Is it better than SUE? I can't say for sure yet.... but Wicked Twister is definitely a thriller. The ride op counts down "3... 2... 1... launch!" and off we go, shooting about halfway up the forward spike. At this point, nothing too radically different from SUE. As we fell backward and the LIM's kicked in again, we were sent flying up the back spike... and when the train twisted what seemed to be past a full revolution, I was pretty freaked out! We then dove head first to the ground, revolving through the spiral again, and watching our feet barely clear the supports. The visuals here are awesome to say the least. As we were sent blasting through the station to head up the front spike at full speed, I noticed the train doesn't come anywhere near as close to the top as SUE does.... but that could have something to do with the extra height. When all is said and done, I predict Wicked Twister is going to be a huge hit with the masses this summer. It's funny that most people in line had never seen one of these rides in person before (despite SFWoA having one just 90 minutes away). There were all sorts of comments such as "Is this ride safe? The towers swaying!" and "This thing goes backwards?". It made the wait bearable! The queue was a little less than half full and the wait was 45 minutes.... I can only imagine how long it will be once the peak season kicks in.
After purchasing my obligatory WT t-shirt and keychain, I took a quick spin on the Schwabinchen. This Trabant-style ride is one of my favorites. The polka music, disturbing images on the backdrop (who thought of this stuff?), and the buxom woman covered in seagull droppings made for a relaxing spin. A rare find.
We ended the evening with another ride on Millennium Force, where the wait was about 50 minutes. We rode in seat 3.2 again and it just made for a perfect ending to a perfect day at one of America's greatest parks.
On the way home we stopped at Lee's Famous Recipe chicken on US 250. While the place won't win any awards for decor, the prices were pretty reasonable. For $5.25 we got a 3-piece chicken dinner, 2 sides, a biscuit and a drink. Compare that to the fries and drink prices in the park.... not even funny!
In any case, if you've read this far, thank you for reading another glowing review of my favorite park. I know CP isn't exactly everyone's favorite park, but in my eyes, the place is truly special. The midways are spotless (nothing stays on the ground longer than 3 minutes.... amazing!), the park was running most of their rides at full capacity, there were NO rides closed for the day, and the park just looked good. I feel VERY lucky to live just 80 miles from such a great place. I have to return to see "Snoopy Rocks On Ice", which premieres June 22nd. Next stop- Knoebels and Hershey in mid-June. Can't wait!
2001 Magnum Crew
Great TR! I am going on Monday, 5/20, and I hope to have your luck. All that matters to me are WT, MF, Mantis, Raptor, and Magnum...
How much more floorless can they get?
Wow! Nice TR! I will be returning to CP on May 25th (hopefully) or on June 7th for Coastermania. I am extremely anxious after reading this TR.
Hey man. Wanna buy some weed? Crack? Freepass on Millennium Force? I got the hook up...
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