We arrived in Detroit at 6 AM. It was early, but the idea of being at CP by 10 AM motivated me to keep going. Picked up the car, which ended up being a Ford Mustang. Better than the Escort I was expecting.
It was about a 2 hour drive to Cedar Point after leaving the airport at 7 AM. After stopping for some delicious burger king french toast sticks, we arrived at the park. I had been to Cedar Point once, in 2001. I get goosebumps whenever I go over that causeway to the point. Millennium Force alone is a sight to behold, but this time my eyes were set on the new giant, Top Thrill Dragster. After parking, I headed into the park and met Josh inside.
There was only one ride to hit first... We ran over to Dragster and hopped in line. To my surprise, the line was quite modest, about a 45 minute wait. What a show this ride puts on. Revving engines, squealing tires, this ride is a joy to watch, and I have no problem standing in line because I am so fixated watching the ride. I think my jaw dropped the first time I saw it launch and crest the top hat. Just a work of art. So we get into the station and the ride breaks down. We were so close to boarding too... About 20 minutes later, the ride is back open and we hop into our hot rods. What a nerveracking moment, pulling out of the station and onto the launch strip. The countdown lights were active and ready. Yellow..yellow...yellow...green! And like lighning, we were off. At first, it feels very reminiscent of Xcelerator. But you rocket right past Xcel’s 82 MPH top speed! Just when you think it can’t get any faster, it just continues to accelerate.
After receiving a facelift, the train blasts up the 420 foot-tall top hat. Into the twist, then more vertical climb until the train reaches the apex of the ride. It is interesting to twist then continue to ascend, rather than twist directly into the top hat as on Xcelerator. Reaching the top, the pure insanity of the ride sets in. This ride doesn’t creep over the top hat, it maintains a solid speed. And then we plunge into the spiraling dive, appearing to be aimed right at every support. But amazingly, the train twists out of the way of all of them. Under the finish line sign we go... Then my heart begins to beat again. In a word..wow. Top Thrill Dragster is just plain amazing. Every Xcelerator fan has to give this ride a shot, because it is the best 28 seconds of roller coasting ever devised.
Pumped up after that amazing ride, we headed over to the Cedar Creek Mine Ride. I didn’t really like this last time, and while it was better than I remember, that still doesn’t say a whole lot. I like the drop down onto the lake, but aside from that, its not a favorite of mine. Perhaps I am just spoiled by Disneyland’s Big Thunder.
We decided to go to the old standby, Gemini. Capacity monster that it is, it is always good for a ride. What happened? Two trains on one side?? They weren’t racing Gemini. A non-racing Gemini is a Gemini not worth riding. We got out of line.
We headed over to Camp Snoopy to ride Woodstock’s Express. I hadn’t been on it before, so it was a credit for me. I actually liked it quite a bit for a kiddie coaster. Packs a bit of a punch.
Next up was Magnum. I always liked this ride. Not quite as smooth as I remembered it, but its an older Arrow Hyper, so one cannot expect perfect smoothness. Still a good ride, very enjoyable.
Going around the park, we hit Corkscrew next. It was a walk on, and based on my prior visit, it was one of my least favorite coasters. I was willing to give it another shot. Well, it was better than I remembered it, but a bit of a headbanger. Not totally awful, but still nothing too respectable either.
It was time for lunch. Must be early in the season because it took me no less than 10 minutes to get my chicken strips and fries AFTER I ordered. And then I got pink uncooked chicken. Disgusting to say the least, particularly for the 9.00 I paid for that and a drink. Needless to say, this was the last time we eat at Cedar Point on the trip.
We got a Freeway stamp for Millennium Force, then moved on to Blue Streak. Blue Streak is another one of those rides that I just didn’t like a whole lot. Its not bad by any means, but it isn’t anything special either. Whatever. I still enjoy a ride on it. I was joking around with Josh about a one-click ride on Blue Streak, as he was telling me about the great airtime in the back. Though I pulled the bar down, some ride op must have seen this and decided to staple me, then said “I looked a little too comfortable.” Six Flags over Cedar Point? Seriously, that was just a rude move and an even more rude comment. Personally, you could slap me if I ever act like that to a guest. After being a bit pissed off over that, we moved on.
Disaster Transport time! For whatever reason, I think this ride is fun. Its cheesy, but I guess that’s why I like it. Any storyline involving a disaster, space pirates and Alaska is a good one in my book. So I had a nice ride after a 10 minute wait. Its just fun to laugh at, if nothing else.
Next up was Wicked Twister. This would be my first time on it. We went for the back seat, having heard it was the best. Not sure why exactly, but this ride failed to impress me. I love V2 at Six Flags Marine World, a ride most people consider the lesser of the impulses. Whatever, I think it rocks. But Wicked Twister just didn’t do it for me. It just felt weak and altogether less than satisfying. Maybe my expectations were too high. Its a cool ride to be sure, but certainly not a ride that I would wait too long for.
Time to head over for another one of the Cedar Point greats, Millennium Force. I had one ride on this on the previous trip, waited over 2 hours for it. With freeway we got on in just 15 minutes, while the ride had a standby wait time of about an hour. We jumped into the backseat and were off on the cable lift to the sky. Wow MF does have some airtime! Nice ejector air down the first drop. Sad to say that overbanked turns don’t do it for me. Somehow the camelbacks are designed to give minimal airtime. Amazing potential, a brilliant first drop but a layout that just falls flat. The average guest may still love this ride, but I can’t say that it is the best work of Intamin. I KNOW they can do better, and they have, with coasters about half of MF’s size. A fun ride, but not the end-all to coasters that some make it out to be.
Now for a ride that is always satisfying: Raptor! After a 15 minute wait, we were on the original Cedar Fair bird coaster, and what I believe to be one of the best Inverted Coasters in the world. Just as usual, the ride was excellent. Fast paced, intense with a great selection of inversions and an awesome first drop. Never had a bad ride on this one! Just a great ride.
Went back to Mean Streak now to meet up with Sean Flaharty. We met, talked for a few minutes, then agreed to meet at Dragster a bit later. Since we were right in front of it, we decided to take a ride. I rode this in 2001, and while I didn’t think it was rough, I always disliked the layout of the ride. Predictable and boring, really, and not helped by the trims. Well, count me in as another enthusiast who calls this predictable, boring AND rough. This one will rearrange your back!
After that, it was 6:30 and we decided to head back to Dragster to meet up with Sean. When we arrived, the ride was broken, but we got in line at the entrance. Sure enough, they started firing trains, and we got in line. All to easy, sadly. No sooner than we got in line than the ride broke down again. We of course waited it out, and by about 9 we were on the ride. Sean suggested that we try out the front seat. I know as well as anyone that Xcelerator’s best seat is in the front, so I should have known that Dragster would be the same way. Wow all over again. It feels 10 times more insane from the front. This truly is near perfection when it comes to coasters. Absolutely wonderful. Bought the on-ride photo this time. After that ride, Sean was a few trains behind us. Intamin that it is, it broke down again before he got on. We all waited it out, and Sean got his ride.
What a day! I will say right now that Dragster is my new favorite coaster. I knew it would be good, but not neccesarily THAT good! It was an awesome ride. Cedar Point went all out with detail on this one, right down to the bleachers (complete with a food stand) and the decorative goodyear tires on the trains.
We ended our night at Steak and Shake in Sandusky. Kind of on the greasy diner disgusting side, but at that point, I would have eaten anything set in front of me. With Sean’s help, we checked into the Ramada in Sandusky, and that was it. A very long day on 3 hours of sleep. We were ready to fall asleep! Tommorow had a ton of driving... more than we ever imagined.
TOMORROW: Six Flags Worlds of Adventure and Kennywood, plus adventures in Pittsburgh!
The Trip: CP, SFWoA, PKI, KW, HW, IB, SFGAm, MiA and LeSourdsville too.
8 Days- 10 parks. May 2003
Ah, well. Maybe next time. Hope the rest of your trip goes well.
Just an FYI- Gemini was racing when I got to the park at about 7pm.
*** This post was edited by Michael Darling 5/25/2003 2:42:17 AM ***
This is Matt, the guy that was with Sean that Friday. It was great meeting you and Josh. I hope you all had fun on the rest of your trip and that the money spent on the Mustang was worth it!
By the way, I think I had a nightmare last night about Dale, the Steak & Shake waitress...
TTD: the most exciting & intense moments of every coaster rolled into 17 seconds of pure sensory overload!
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