The Great Midwestern Adventure - August 2017 (HW - KK - PKI - CP)

Tuesday, August 29, 2017 1:40 PM

The Great Midwestern Circle Tour!

Hey everyone! I was asking for advice a while back about doing a circle park tour out of Chicago, so I thought I would post a few of my thoughts on the trip we did end up taking.

It’s REALLLLLY long, but it was a big trip! So, I hope you enjoy it!

Day 1: Chicago to Dale, IN

The first day we had a leisurely start before heading out of Chicago and down towards Holiday World. The trip was uneventful and took about 6 hours heading down US Highway 41 through some small towns and wide-open cornfields. All and all, a nice drive. We stayed at the Baymont Inn & Suites in Dale, IN (just off I-64 about 20 minutes from Holiday World) and it was packed, but acceptable. One interesting thing that I didn’t know about Dale is that they have what looked like an interesting park set up around a recreation of President Lincoln’s boyhood home. We didn’t have time to go, but it looked like it was worth a visit if you have some extra time to kill.

The next morning we woke up and headed through some beautiful back-roads to Holiday World, which brings us to the stuff we’re all interested in anyway…

Day 2: Holiday World & Kentucky Kingdom

Since we were afraid that early August lines might get out of control, we went down to the park before opening and secured some great parking in the lot right next to Raven. We got there about 45 minutes before the park opened, and about 30 minutes before the park opened, they started letting people in. It appears as though they let people into the Christmas section of the park, and then have ropes up at the entrances to Halloween and about half-way into the 4 of July section (it seemed like the closest rope-drop to Thanksgiving… Which is where we were headed first). Anyway, there was a pretty big crowd, so we were happy to be among the first. Ropes dropped, we snagged a free drink for the walk back, and off we went back towards Thanksgiving.

The Rides (in riding order)

Thunderbird

Wait Time: 10 min, 15 min

Seat: Front right, Back left

I really like the entrance of this ride, which is by far the best looking of all the Holiday World ride entrances. The line moved pretty fast, but you could see that it was building quickly. The launch was actually more forceful than I thought it was going to be, so that was nice. The first two inversions feel enormous (party because they are on a hill I think), and I actually had a bit of a “gray-out” moment on the loop both times we rode. The rest of the ride through the trees is great, and feels really fun and swoopy. The first zero-g roll was especially effective, and maneuvered fantastically. The only element that I thought was out of place was the direction-changing airtime hop directly after. Something about the center of gravity on the trains makes it feel uncomfortable; you have a lot more lateral Gs on this element than you would if sitting on a regular train, and I just don’t think it works on a wing coaster. I’m not sure if any other wing coasters have this element, but it wasn’t the strongest. My other complaint is the near-miss features through the extended heart-line role. I may be in the minority here, but I think they actually take away from the great physical sensation this element has. Instead of tensing up when you think you are going to hit something, I’d rather slowly roll through like you are in a spin cycle. That’s just me though. Overall, a really great ride, and I think it really bumps up the park’s cache.

The Voyage

Wait Time: 30 min, 45 min

Seat: Back, Front

Wow…. Wowowow. What a ride! So I went into this having heard (MANY years ago) that it was the best wooden roller coaster on the planet, and also (more recently) that it beats the hell out of you. I will admit that I am not one of those people who like spine-snapping wooden roller coasters. Getting that out of the way, this ride is absolutely amazing, and really has something for everyone. The large hills are filled with great airtime, as are the little hops that are peppered throughout the circuit. Probably my favorite part of the ride was that back section with the spaghetti bowl full of turns, which reminded me of the power and fury of the final helix on The Beast. I don’t have any real data on this, but it feels like some of the coaster had been re-tracked more recently than others, and this you could notice. It’s a forceful ride, so the older sections really have taken a beating. The run back to the station is where it started to be a bit too much for me personally (this even with the mid-course brake bringing the train to a crawl before the tunnel). Specifically, the highly-banked right turn that throws you under the lift hill gave me a pretty painful jolt both times we rode it. I can only imagine what this must have been like when it opened… Truly amazing even as is. I really couldn’t say if I liked it more in the front or the back, but I like them both a great deal and would probably say that this would be a Top 5 wooden coaster for me.

Legend

Wait Time: 5 min

Seat: Back

I hate this ride. I’m sorry, but I hate this ride. I rode it the year it opened and I didn’t like it, and now I have ridden it with the PTC trains and I still don’t like it. There is one good drop with some airtime (not the first drop, maybe the second? I can’t remember), and I did actually think the far turn around was good, but the rest of the ride I was just kind of waiting for it to be over. The double helix is uncomfortable and, while powerful, it is somehow boring at the same time. After that, the ride just kind of makes a bunch of painful jolts in various directions before hitting the breaks. I will say that the entrance area has really grown in nicely, and that particular section of Halloween is leafy and well protected from the oppressive sun.

Raven

Wait Time: 5 min

Seat: Front

Ah the Raven… My first trip to Holiday World was specifically to ride this (back when it was the only roller coaster in the park), and it’s still a lot of fun. I kind of forgot about the ride, so we made the mistake of getting our one ride in the front seat instead of the back (after riding I remembered that the back was better). All in all, the ride is just how I remembered it; a fun, fast sprint through the trees with some fun pops of airtime. It’s just really… pleasant. I think that’s the best way to describe it. It’s no longer a Top 10 ride, but it’s just a really pleasant experience… Like a nice break between another round on the Voyage.

Quick notes on the park, and non-coaster rides:

So, first of all, we didn’t have very much time at the park because we were rushing off to do Kentucky Kingdom that night (the trip HAD to fit in Monday-Friday, so it was that or nothing). So, the only non-coaster ride we did was the Sally dark ride about turkeys. It’s right in front of Voyage, so we did that between our two spins on the coaster to give our heads a break from all that intensity. The ride itself is your typical shooting-style attraction, although I felt like this one wasn’t shooting as well as others. I couldn’t really tell where I was aiming, and I didn’t end up doing very well… But the scenes are super strange and therefore really entertaining. I don’t really get the storyline, but we enjoyed it none the less. There is a really good grandma animatronic in the queue that kind of explains what’s up, but we were straining to hear what she was saying. I think she was my favorite part of the ride. However, I will say that it was a bit strange to have her look so great, and then have the ride filled with a lot of 2D cut-outs… It didn’t seem to go together really well. We liked it though, and I’m glad to see when parks make the effort to add in something that everyone can enjoy together.

Sadly, we did not have enough time to do any of the attractions at the waterpark, but it did look really nice. We actually got in line for Mammoth, but with ride operations as they are at this park, we had to get out of line. The waterpark itself was nice, although I would have liked to see more trees and shade. As it is, the waterpark is just a lot of concrete and was packed when we went. The free suntan lotion is a really nice touch though!

As a final thought, and as mentioned above, the operations at this park are a little bit on the slow side. We still didn’t wait too long for anything (mainly, I believe, because most of the park guests were enjoying the water park), but the waits could have been even shorter if the ride ops were really bringing their A-game.

It’s a quirky park, and we really enjoyed our half-day here, but now it was on to our next stop!

After getting some fast food along the way, we arrived at Kentucky Kingdom about 2 hours after leaving the Holiday World parking lot. They had a special promotion for out-of-state guests, so we didn’t feel too bad about spending so much money for about 3 hours of in-park time. As we all know, the parking situation is strange here, so it took a little extra time to figure out where exactly we had to go. Once in, it was on to the rides!

The Rides (in riding order)

Lightning Run

Wait Time: 5 min, 0 min, 5 min

Seat: Front, back, back

This was really one of the rides that I was most excited to experience, and it didn’t disappoint. I don’t know what the price tag is for one of these things, but I really hope that more smaller parks find a way to open some of these. I am going to go out on a limb and say it was our favorite ride at the park. First of all, the layout is fantastic. It’s non-stop, and filled with a lot of variation that keeps you guessing. I had watched POVs of this ride many times in the past, but I still found myself disoriented on the first run. The airtime is beautiful, and it is surprisingly forceful for its size. However, I will say that I had a few complaints… The first being the train design. These trains are really uncomfortable, and the way you are pinned in made me feel a bit claustrophobic even though pretty much your whole body is exposed. My second complaint also has to do with those restraints… The last few bunny hops into the break run are painful, plain and simple. There is a lot of force, and it hurts. If I were to re-design the ride, I think the only thing I would change in the layout is that section. If those hills were substituted with a floater hill, I think it would have turned out better. Overall though, it’s really top-notch and a perfect fit for a smaller park.

Storm Chaser

Wait Time: 5 min, 0 min, 5 min, 0 min, 0 min

Seat: Front, back, front, back, middle

So, first of all, I should point out that this trip was our first chance to get on an RMC. We had been to Sweden earlier in the year, and Wildfire had not yet (re)opened. Our VERY first RMC experience turned out to be Goliath at Six Flags Great America about a week earlier, so that was our only point of reference for this ride. Anyway, let’s talk about the walk-up to the ride first. This goes for the majority of the park, and I am aware of the park’s history so I can see where this comes from… But it’s a total mess. With the old footers and pretty much a complete lack of landscaping, the area looks like the park was abandoned but they forgot to shut down the rides. To be fair, this area was not much better when I visited for the opening of Twisted Sisters (later, Twisted Twins). But we were really here to check out our first RMC conversion, so on we went. My first impression of RMC is that the trains feel cheap, and because of that I found myself thinking about safety during many of the more intense sections of the ride. Once I got that out of my head, I was in a happy place. Storm Chaser is a great roller coaster. I like it both from the front seat and back, and that first inversion as you tumble towards the ground is especially effective. As we all know, there’s great airtime on these things, but I was especially surprised at the zero-g roll (or whatever it’s called) mid-way through the ride. It’s perfectly engineered, and couldn’t feel more natural. The first drop, the second drop, and that zero-g inversion were the real highlights of the ride for me. Sadly, after that inversion I pretty much wished the ride had ended. Storm Chaser has the same problem as Lightening Run as far as the bunny hops are concerned, and Storm Chaser has the added bonus of taking them at odd, off-center angles that I don’t think did anything positive for the experience. I know that these types of hills have kind of become an RMC staple, so I’m a bit concerned to see how they work out on other rides as I get a few more of them under my belt. Here, for me, they don’t work. However, the rest of the ride is so much fun that I think it more than makes up for it. I will say though, that even with no line and the option to re-ride without going back around, Alvaro had to be coaxed into another ride because his thighs hurt so bad.

Thunder Run

Wait Time: 5 min

Seat: Front

Oooooooooh, now I get it. Thunder Run, Lightning Run, Storm Chaser… Someone at Kentucky Kingdom is a meteorology buff lol. Anyway, Thunder Run is fine. I rode it many years ago and I seemed to recall it running faster and with more airtime then, although maybe my perception is just off after riding Lightning Run and Storm Chaser. It’s fun. I don’t know if there is much more to say about it… If there were another re-track at some point, it would be nice to see that long, straight section after the second turn-around re-profiled (again?) to have another floater hill or something. Regardless, I’m glad it’s still around.

T3

Wait Time: 5 min

Seat: Back

Since Port Aventura is our home park, and Stampida provides a surprisingly great ride experience with its KumbaK trains, I was pretty excited to try out the new trains on T3. Holy crap, so wrong. I am already not a fan of the SLCs, and while some of them are better than others (Blue Tornado at Gardaland is my ‘favorite’), this one is the worst. I could not believe how uncomfortable these trains were. My experience has always been that SLCs have a violent front-to-back shake more than side-to-side jolts, and so removing the OTS restraints doesn’t fix the problem straight away. These seats are so hard and awkward, that I think slamming back and forth into them is actually worse. I don’t know, I guess I’ll have to see if these things can be fixed by the Vekoma vest-restraint trains, but for now I am of the opinion that rides are garbage, and I don’t know why (SO MANY!!!!) parks buy them in the first place.

Quick notes on the park, and non-coaster rides:

So, just like Holiday World, we didn’t have time to do the waterpark. We tried to run at the last second to the water coaster, but it had already closed. That being said, this waterpark looks fantastic. There is a collection of waterslides with a lazy river around them that you can see as you walk from Thunder Run to T3. These are particularly beautiful, with some rockwork and fountains that really kick it up a notch. Aside from the main entrance area, the rest of the dry park has a really strange, abandoned feeling that I hope they can improve on as the years go by. I noticed that there is a lot of space that is just kind of chained off where old attractions used to be, and it makes the whole place a bit confusing and easy to get lost in. The area near the Larson Super Loop is particularly derelict and off-putting. We also tried to get on the rapids ride, but that didn’t seem to be operating that day… Or maybe at all, I’m not sure. I do miss Chang, but overall I’ll say that the park has definite potential.

On the road again.

After the park we drove about an hour to Carrollton, Kentucky where we spent the night. If you are planning on doing this trip, I would really suggest you do the same. Carrollton has a really cute (although somewhat abandoned and kind of creepy) downtown that’s right on the Ohio river. We went down to the riverbank and enjoyed the sunset, and it was a nice bit of Americana thrown in to break up the highway fatigue. Also, just because we had points to use, we were staying pretty much exclusively at Hampton Inns along our trip, and I have to say that the new beds they have at all their properties are heavenly… What an amazing night’s sleep!

Day 3: King’s Island

After about an hour’s drive, we got to King’s Island not much after the park had opened. I had pre-purchased a Cedar Point / King’s Island combo ticket to save some cash, and also prepaid for our parking at Cedar Point. I hadn’t thought about King’s Island parking before, but ended up buying it from a gas station parking lot via their app to save $5 or so… Have to save where you can!

Anyway, we were somewhat concerned about lines because the park already looked packed, so we booked it back to Mystic Timbers and hoped for the best.

Mystic Timbers

Wait Time: 30 min

Seat: Front

Great ride. Great entrance area. Great addition to the park’s already fantastic collection of rides. Also, we were so glad to see that the operations at King’s Island were incredible, so even with a pretty full queue, we only waited about 30 min for the front row. The ride itself is fast and fun, and just a great experience for the whole family. The shed part is fine, although I think it’s really awkward that they focused their marketing on that… I was listening to the In The Loop podcast before coming, and someone mentioned that they thought this would be more effective if it came at the beginning of the ride. I totally agree with this statement, because at the end it kind of provides a false climax (a la Adventure Express). We didn’t get a chance to ride this at night, but I bet that really amps up the experience as well.

Diamondback

Wait Time: 15 min, 20 min

Seat: Back, back

I love this ride. Alvaro loved it too. Our natural point of comparison for this was Shambhala at Port Aventura, and Alvaro said he liked Diamondback even more. I don’t know if I agree with him, but it is a really amazing ride. One thing Alvaro said that I will say is true, is that because it is kind of off by itself with nothing really tall around it, you do feel like you are higher up on Diamondback than you are on Shambhala (even though Shambhala’s first drop is some 50ft taller). My personal opinion is that Diamondback is a solid ride and, for me, it’s certainly one of the better B&M hyper coasters.

Backlot Stunt Coaster

Wait Time: 20 min

Seat: Front

I like these, I don’t know what it is exactly, but I think they are fantastic family coasters. Most of the effects seemed to be working, and the layout is a total blast. Here I go again with the trees… But my only complaint is that this ride isn’t surrounded by more of them. Also, didn’t that final drop used to have water jets or something? Still a really fun ride and a great family option.

Somehow, I actually lost my wallet on the river rapids ride of all places… So we did spend a good chunk of time figuring out what happened and filling in a report at lost & found. We did (amazingly) get it back at the end of the night with everything in it, so really there was no problem… But we were pretty worried and mopey about it for a while until we got back into the right mental state to go enjoy some roller coasters again.

Banshee

Wait Time: 10 min, 5 min, 10 min

Seat: Front, back, front

Another wow. It’s been a long time since I rode Alpengeist, but I think I’m going to come out and say that this is my favorite invert out there now. The first drop was such a great surprise, and in the back seat you get some pretty awesome airtime… which I didn’t know was possible on an invert. From there, the whole thing is just powerful, and big, and fast, and fun. It seems to me that the zero-g roll is profiled differently on this ride as opposed to other B&M inverts, where it’s kind of like a smooth roll-over movement instead of that wild, thrown-out-of-your-seat feeling you get on older versions… I don’t know if I would say I liked it more, but it is different. The big take-aways for me on this ride were: the first drop is amazing, the restraints feel fantastic, and the ride is so big and so fast that the flying feeling is really accentuated. Loved it. Alvaro went on to say that it was one of his top rides ever.

We were devastated to see that The Bat was closed all day… I have a real soft spot for these things, and Alvaro had never been on one, so it was extra painful. We ended up going on Iron Dragon at Cedar Point the next day… But we all know that’s the worst of the Arrow Suspended coasters (especially when more of them existed). We dried our tears and moved on.

Invertigo

Wait Time: 5 min

Seat: I think rows 2 and 3 if you count from the front of the side that goes up the spike first. We sat “facing off”, which was cool.

Alvaro saw this from the parking lot and, as he isn’t a life-long coaster buff like I am, was probably MOST excited about trying this. I was not. However, since there aren’t many of these in operation, and since there was basically no line, we went on. I had ridden this a long time ago when the line was over an hour and was not impressed. This time, I actually really enjoyed it. I went backwards through the loops first and, of course, this is the most interesting part of the ride. However, I was actually pleasantly surprised that it didn’t smash my head around as I had remembered. I don’t know if it was where I was sitting, or if it was because I was shorter then, but I did like it this time. Alvaro didn’t. ::shrugs::

Adventure Express

Wait Time: 20 min

Seat: Somewhere in the middle

When I had ridden this a long time ago, I remembered it as being my favorite mine train coaster out there. It was faster than a normal mine train, and the hilly setting in the woods was spectacular. Yes, it has a dumb lift hill at the end that makes you think the crazy part is yet to come, but it was still good. This was not our experience this time. First of all, since the last time I had been to the park, it seems like a lot of the wooden area that surrounds the ride had been cleared out (first to build Son of Beast, then to remove it). Second of all, it was rough as hell. The ride was jerky and painful, and I was happy to have it end. Also, the operations on this ride were pretty bad, so it ended up being one of our longer waits. Meh.

The Racer

Wait Time: 0 min

Seat: Back

It always amazes me how gentle older roller coasters feel compared to how crazy they have gotten over the years. The Racer is a classic of course, and it continues to be a lot of fun. It was riding pretty smooth, and we enjoyed it. I had previously ridden it backwards, so we were looking forward to doing that, but apparently that’s not an option at the moment. Good starter coaster.

Firehawk

Wait Time: 30 min

Seat: Who knows, in the train.

Alvaro loved this thing. While he has been on B&M flying coasters (specifically Manta and Superman, in that order), this was his first Vekoma creation. My complaint is always that they feel slow. He thought that was true, but said it was just such a unique experience that he liked it anyway. He liked it better than Manta, and I was appalled by this opinion J. Anyway, it is what it is. My favorite part is always the vertical loop, which is a cool sensation. The problem with this ride was the operations. I’ve never seen this before, but they actually hold the line way out towards the beginning of the queue and send you down to the station in groups counted out to fit the number of seats available on the train. Anyway, it took forever and it was kind of annoying.

Flight of Fear

Wait Time: 30 min

Seat: Back

Alvaro didn’t want to wait for this one, but I convinced him that he would like it. In the end, he loved it and was glad he waited. I was kind of surprised that the line was so long actually, because operations were moving pretty quickly. In line, all of the theming seemed to be working, and it was entertaining. I’m always happy to see when a theme park takes care of their older themed attractions and doesn’t just let them die a slow death. The ride itself is pretty good. It’s bumpier than I remember, but I still like the layout and the effect you get having the ride packed into that small space. The mid-course breaks slowed us to a complete stop before continuing on, but I’m actually glad they did… If we finished the old, warn-out ride at full speed I think there would be some snapped necks through those final direction changes. Overall, I’d say it’s still a pretty positive coaster experience.

Vortex

Wait Time: 5 min

Seat: Front

Having grown up riding Shockwave and the Demon, I have a soft spot in my heart for classic Arrow loopers. This one is no different. It’s still a fun ride, and it’s still one of the great coaster super models when it comes to park photography. Sure, there are a few head-banger moments, but for some reason I really don’t care. As Arrow rides are starting to become a thing of the past, I really hope they hold on to this thing for as long as possible.

The Beast

Wait Time: 30 min, 15 min

Seat: Front, back

FINALLY! It was finally time for The Beast. I had been talking this ride up to Alvaro pretty much since we starting doing park trips together, so I was a bit nervous he wouldn’t think it was as great as I did. Also, I was trying to think back, and I’m pretty sure I’ve nailed down my previous King’s Island visits (based on what rides were there when I went) to ’91, ’96, ’98, 2000, and maybe 2009 or 2010… Just to give you an idea of what I’m comparing my personal ride experience to. What can you say about The Beast? It’s incredible. There is something about it that I can’t explain, it’s just really good. Alvaro loved it too. I don’t know if it’s the location, or how long it is, or the really unique layout, but it’s just really, really good. The power of that final helix is something that you just have to experience to understand. Now, that being said, I was really saddened by the breaks. I hadn’t been on the ride since they installed the magnetic breaks, but they really slow the trains like the fin breaks never did (or at least I don’t remember them that way). Also, the second drop doesn’t seem to give anything but the slightest floater airtime now, whereas before this was a star moment for me. Somehow, the ride still feels fast, but with breaks on the first drop, the second drop, and the drop into the final helix (they have them elsewhere too, but I can’t remember where), it really takes away from what used to be major highlights. Ok, that’s all the complaining I’ll do about this… Because it’s still one of my favorite wooden roller coasters out there. I think we only nitpick about it because it’s just so good in a way that you can’t really figure out how to explain… What a classic. In fact, while waiting in line there was a cute exchange between an older woman in the train and a middle-aged woman behind the station gates. The older woman said, “I haven’t been on this ride in years! But you know…” pointing to the girl sitting next to her, “my grand-daughter talked me into it…”. It just really made me think about what an institution this ride is, and how well deserved that status is.

Quick notes on the park, and non-coaster rides:

Aside from the coasters, we did do Windseeker (neither one of us had been on one before), and enjoyed it. It was quite hot, so we also hit up Congo Falls (literally just to cool off), White Water Canyon, and the Peanut’s themed Arrow flume. The rapids ride was one of the better ones I had been on, and we had a total blast (aside from realizing later that I had lost my wallet). The flume was also great, and was shocked at how soaked we got from that one little drop. It was crazy. We didn’t hit up the waterpark (are you seeing a pattern here?), which I didn’t even realize was included in park admission until later in the day. Operations were fantastic throughout the day, and really made this our favorite day on the whole trip. The collection of rides at this park is absolutely fantastic, and I actually prefer them to the line-up at Cedar Point. All in all, a really great day.

From there we drove a somewhat painful 2 hours to just north of Columbus and collapsed into bed.

Day 4: Cedar Point

To be totally honest, we aren’t used to driving for long periods of time, and we were starting to get kind of exhausted. So, even though we were elated to be going to Cedar Point, we took the 2-hour morning drive nice and easy. Between our leisurely breakfast, a quick workout, and a jump in the pool, I don’t think we even got on the road until about 9am. We got to the park about an hour and a half after opening… So it wasn’t the end of the world.

Pulling up along the causeway, all of our energy returned. What a sight Cedar Point is… We were pumped.

Maverick

Wait Time: 1 hour

Seat: Front

We had been spoiled with next to no lines throughout our trip, so starting the day off with an hour line was a bit of a shock. It was hot, operations were slow, and we knew that we had a lot to get on before the day ended. I was concerned. Adding to our delay, there was what I guess you would call a rollback on the lift? It was reset quickly though, and on we went. The ride is still a lot of fun, but very noticeably less intense than it was when I first rode it opening year. As I was watching the train go around later, I could see why: just as you are reaching the top of the lift, the train slows down quite a bit, whereas before you hit the drop at full speed. Still a good ride, just not as good as it used to be (and what was with that crew?? All the other ops at the park were fantastic!).

We were there just before they formally announced Steel Vengeance, so we took a moment to ponder the construction site before moving on. It’s going to be amazing.

Cedar Creek Mine Train

Wait Time: 30 min

Seat: Towards the middle

We just did this to do it…It also had really slow operations going, and they actually stopped a train on the lift at one point to go up and confiscate phones from people, so that took a while as well. This isn’t my favorite mine train ride, but it was running well and we had fun. Since I am the Lorax, and I speak for the trees… They really need to plant some along the ride. I seem to recall being able to see much less of the ride in the past, so maybe this was the case at some point, but a mine train without a forest is no mine train to me.

Iron Dragon

Wait Time: 15 min

Seat: Front

We wanted to run in quickly and do this before they changed it over to the VR experience, so that’s why the order in which we rode the rides is so strange… Also because we had some wet electronics issues on Thunder Canyon (what an amazing rapids ride!), followed by Alvaro getting really excited about the petting zoo on Frontier Trail (what an amazing section of the park!). So anyway, I love these things. This is definitely the worst one I have been on, but I still think they are fun. It was actually running better than it was on my last trip to Cedar Point in 2007, and I’m happy to see that they haven’t scrapped it. My heart still hurts that Big Bad Wolf is no more.

Gatekeeper

Wait Time: 5 min, 5 min,

Seat: Front left, back right

I had heard a lot of negative things about this ride for some reason, so I had pretty low expectations. We were definitely surprised. First of all, the location right on the beach is so pretty. That to me is what a park like Cedar Point should really play up. That first inversion is so, so tall that it actually made me kind of nervous as we were rolling over the first time. I just loved it. I’d say the rest of the ride is fun and well paced, although I do think it has a throw-away finish. It would have been nice if they could have figured out a way to do an extended heart-line roll (or whatever those things are called) instead of that boring turn thing it does now after the mid-course breaks… But, even so, we loved this ride. I think I can say that is my favorite wing coaster so far.

Wicked Twister (or as Alvaro called it, “Maleficent: The Ride”)

Wait Time: 5 min

Seat: Back

Again, I love the beachfront setting of this ride… Although that side of the park does feel a little dead for some reason. Anyway, the ride is a lot of fun. We had just been on V2 about a week before, so I was curious what Alvaro thought about the backwards spiral. We both agreed that it was cool for the visuals, but in terms of the physical sensation, we prefer V2 (even though the holding brake is gone).

Raptor

Wait Time: 15 min, 10 min

Seat: Front, towards the front

Is it too soon to say that this ride is a classic? Regardless, I really like it. It’s a bit rougher than it was in the past, but it still has such a good layout. Who’s ready for a tree comment? THEY REMOVED ALL THE TREES! Ok, there weren’t many to begin with, but there were some before they built Valravn. Cedar point (aside from the Frontier Trail section), is in dire need of some trees. But coming back to the ride, it’s just as intense as I remembered it, and I’m a big fan. As the ride starts to get older, I wouldn’t mind seeing the classic B&M invert trains being switched over to the new vest restraint trains.

Corkscrew

Wait Time: 5 min

Seat: Towards the back

It’s a classic, so we had to. I liked it, Alvaro felt like the classic Arrow trains beat him up a lot more… Specifically, he noted that the back support was odd and really uncomfortable. The corkscrew over the midway is still fantastic though, so check it off the list.

Top Thrill Dragster

Wait Time: 30 min

Seat: Back

I will come out and say that I am not a fan of these things. I will definitely do them, but I really don’t want to wait more than like 15 minutes. They are really intense and a good time, but it’s just SO fleeting that I don’t think it’s worth it. Also, they just opened Red Force at Port Aventura, so I could take it or leave it. We took it. I think it’s showing its age a little bit though, as you really get some heavy vibrations along the launch. But what can you say? It’s huge and it’s fast and it does get your heart pumping. The judges are still out as to whether we like the straight or spiral pullout from the top hat… They are both cool for different reasons.

Magnum

Wait Time: 10 min, 5 min

Seat: Back, front

I. Love. This. Ride. It’s like The Beast insomuch as I don’t know how to explain it, but I love this ride. Of course, I am going to complain about the fact that they took out all the trees when they were expanding the hotel and waterpark, and they really did have the breaks on hard before the turnaround, but it’s still a blast. Alvaro agreed, so much so that he insisted we walk all the way back there for a night ride. It’s definitely a classic, and I would argue that it’s still one of the best roller coasters in the world… Although I’m sure that’s a controversial opinion.

Gemini

Wait Time: 5 min

Seat: Back

Alvaro was kind of indifferent about this ride, and when asking him about it later he had a hard time even remembering it, but I was pretty blown away by how good it was. Not only is there great airtime, it’s also running glass smooth. I was really impressed by this, and I wish we had more time to ride it in a few more seats. Is Excalibur at Valleyfair as cool as this ride is and I never knew it??? Am I an Arrow fanboy now!?!?

Millennium Force

Wait Time: 30 min

Seat: Back

I actually didn’t think this was as amazing as I thought it was the last time I rode it, but Alvaro was into it. That first drop right next to the water continues to be a fantastic experience, and man does it haul… This is another ride that I wish we had more time to try again. However, the one ride we had was still fantastic. For me, it doesn’t really stand out as a top coaster, but I still really enjoy it.

Rougarou

Wait Time: 10 min

Seat: Front

So, I don’t know what it is about this track layout… but something is wrong. Way back in the day I used to think Chang was one of my favorite coasters, while I found Mantis to be painful and not very enjoyable. Rougarou does not escape from that assessment. I actually do really like floorless coasters, and as far as floorless coasters are concerned, I’d say that this has a strong first half followed by a boring and painful second half. I don’t know, I wish I could like it more, but I just don’t.

Blue Streak

Wait Time: 5 min

Seat: Front

This was one of our night rides (mostly because we hadn’t done it yet, and it was near Valravn and the exit), and I was pleasantly surprised. It’s running really smoothly and there was plenty of fun pops of air. My two previous experiences on this ride were great, then bad, and now it seems to be back in the great category… Good job Cedar Point!

Valravn

Wait Time: 45 min

Seat: Back

This is another ride that I wish I had more time to get on a few more times. We did this one as a night ride (because it was a 90-minute wait all day, and I’m too impatient for that these days), and it was spectacular. Alvaro was already a huge fan of SheiKra, but I actually preferred the smaller versions like Oblivion at Gardaland, so my expectations weren’t that high. One of the things that I thought was incredible is how high up you feel, even with all of those other tall structures near you. On other attractions, this tends to take away from that feeling, but here that was not the case. You are WAY up there. The rest of the ride had your typical forces, but the true star for me here was the final inversion. I don’t know what the name is for this, but it’s kind of like an inclined corkscrew with a swooping pullout and the sensation is unique and a lot of fun. I’d say this is a home run for the park, and from the guest reaction, I would say most people feel the same.

Quick notes on the park, and non-coaster rides:

We did do Windseeker here so that we could compare it to the one at King’s Island. This was a really magical moment for us actually, because it was one of the last things we did on the trip, it was late at night, all the lights were sparkling, there were bonfires on the beach below, and a nighttime show was happening as we spun through the air. It was just a really nice way to cap off our visit. I’m pretty sure they are the exact same model, but I liked pretty much everything about this version better than the one at King’s Island. Also, it’s actually kind of freaky… Alvaro just kept looking forward and wouldn’t respond to me once we got to the top lol. You can tell that the main focus of this park is having the most insane roller coasters, because a lot of it just feels like a paved slab of land that rides were built on. I think they could really up their game if some attention was placed on…. Wait for it… PLANTING TREES!!! Like I said, this wasn’t the case for the area between the rapids ride and millennium force, but could you imagine how great the place would be if it was all filled in like that? Regardless, Cedar Point is Cedar Point, and we had a great day…. Except for the spiders.

What is the deal with the spiders!? THERE ARE SO MANY SPIDERS!!!! They all come out at night apparently, and waiting in line for Valravn was TERRIFYING. I literally had to push this stranger in front of us out of the way so that a giant spider didn’t drop down onto his head. I cannot over-exaggerate to you how many giant spiders there were everywhere… It was insane.

The park closed late, so we got some gas station food and headed to our hotel out by the highway. The next day was just the long (terrible) hike back to Chicago. If we had any more time, I would have liked to have done SOMETHING on the way back from Cedar Point just to break up that drive… Maybe by visiting Detroit or the sand dunes on Lake Michigan… But, as it is, I think we got a pretty great trip out of our 5 days on the road.

I should eventually put up some videos on our YouTube channel… But I’m actually 4 trips behind on editing soooooo…. maybe I’ll have them up by Christmas lol.

Thanks for reading!

Last edited by Eric y Alvaro Van A, Wednesday, August 30, 2017 4:52 AM

Eric & Álvaro
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YouTube: Eric y Álvaro Van A

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Tuesday, August 29, 2017 3:52 PM

Nice report, but way to steal my thunder. I did nearly the same trip in reverse a few weeks back, but in three days. Just waiting for the long weekend to have a chance to type up the report.

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Tuesday, August 29, 2017 4:34 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

Nice TR. I'm only about halfway through, but am enjoying reading it. Just for clarity, in Holiday World you listed Thunderbird twice and the second time was presumably actually the Voyage.

Last edited by ApolloAndy, Tuesday, August 29, 2017 4:34 PM

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."

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Tuesday, August 29, 2017 5:33 PM

When I seen "PKI" in the title I thought someone had been necro-threading. Nice report though.

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Tuesday, August 29, 2017 6:30 PM

Nice report, sounds like you had a blast! If you like the trees and whatnot on Frontier Trail, you should really try to get to Kings Dominion in Virginia... We just checked that park out for the first time on our way home from Myrtle Beach and it is BEAUTIFUL! Huge, full grown trees everywhere make the park feel even bigger because you can't really see around the park aside from a few giant rides.


But then again, what do I know?

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Wednesday, August 30, 2017 5:16 AM

I'm not really sure how (or if) you can do direct responses, so here goes:

ThatTallGuy: are you joking!? How on earth did you do that in 3 days!? I was proud of ourselves for doing it in 5 lol.

ApolloAndy: Thank you kindly! You are totally right, so I just went back and changed the second "Thunderbird" to "The Voyage". I think I was starting to go cross-eyed from so much typing.

Blackie: I actually realized I had written "PKI" a few minutes after I posted, but I can't actually figure out how to change the thread name at this point... Kind of embarrassing. Also, apparently I'm kind of old now... Because I just looked it up, and King's Island hasn't been PKI since 2006 soooooo... Whoopsie doopsie! lol.

ShaneDenmark: I think the last time I was at King's Dominion was in 2010... And you're right, it is nice and tree-filled. I think as far as pretty (non-Disney) parks in the US are concerned, I would probably say Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Dollywood are the prettiest I have been to... Although I will admit that I haven't been to a lot of the old school parks up in New England.


Eric & Álvaro
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YouTube: Eric y Álvaro Van A

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Wednesday, August 30, 2017 2:02 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

Eric y Alvaro Van A said:

I'm not really sure how (or if) you can do direct responses, so here goes:

Your way of directing posts is perfectly fine. I think a lot of people cut and paste quotes to achieve the same effect.

Last edited by ApolloAndy, Wednesday, August 30, 2017 2:02 PM

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."

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Thursday, August 31, 2017 12:57 PM

Eric y Alvaro Van A said:

I'm not really sure how (or if) you can do direct responses, so here goes:

ThatTallGuy: are you joking!? How on earth did you do that in 3 days!? I was proud of ourselves for doing it in 5 lol.

Nope. Left Battle Creek, Michigan at 6:15 AM on Monday, got back home at 11:30 PM Wednesday night (wanted to minimize $$ spent on hotel stays). I cheated a little, though. Took the money I would've spent on a second ticket, went solo, and got Fast Lane passes for CP and KI. Less time waiting in line meant I got to leave the parks a little earlier so I could get my driving in and still get a decent night's sleep. I was admittedly a little slow by day 3.

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Wednesday, September 6, 2017 8:35 PM

Registered just to say that a couple of weeks ago when I was at Cedar Point the ride operators started freaking out just after we got loaded onto Valravn because a big ol' spider wanted to sit on the controls. I don't think I've ever seen so many spiders in one place before in my life.

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Wednesday, September 6, 2017 9:24 PM

Spiders are our friends. They eat bugs, so they're on the Meal Deal at Cedar Point. If I was a spider I'd move there.

I once heard that at no point in your life are you ever more than 3 feet from some kind of spider.

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