Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point 5/1/03

Associated parks:
None

Thursday, May 1, 2003 5:21 PM
I'm tired as hell right now, but I'll try to recount what I experienced without being all poetic.

Old Timer Tim and I arrived at abot 5:30 a.m. to see what we now know to be only half of the total lighting package. This thing is far more impressive to look at in the dark.

After checking in we learned that there was a great deal of lightning around the area, which at CP, means you can expect the ride not to run. Someone said they "heard" something got fried by an overnight strike, but I don't buy that.

The midway looks entirely different. Corkscrew's front queue has been eliminated and the exit stairs shortened. The trees have been for the most part saved in areas not actually occupied by the ride itself. Iron Dragon looks naked, but with the trees not yet filled in, it's hard to say how it will look.

The station and theme elements look great. Gone are the wood fences all the way down to Magnum, replaced by concrete posts with shiny metal in between. I'll let you see the images on VirtualMidway.com for more.

As the lightning finally started to move away and to the south, the first train was launched. Let me make something very clear... 122 mph is really freakin' fast. Despite a drizzle, the opening ceremony was quickly held, the ribbon cut, and our posse walked up the Freeway lane to the station.

We finally got to board. Row 3-2. Our train moved up into position, as the car sound effects and smoke made their noises. The hook engaged, the brake fins dropped, and we started to move. Fast.

I can assure you right now that no launched coaster sustains acceleration like Dragster. If it were even a fraction of a second longer, I think it might be uncomfortable. For about 2.5 seconds you go... faster and faster, until you reach 120 mph and the train disengages the hook. For a couple of track sections you coast before smoothly transitioning to a vertical climb.

The climb seems to take forever. 420 ft. is really freakin' high up there. The twist comes, more climbing, until you finally start to slide over the top.

At this point, your ass is out of the seat. Yes, they staple you and tug the belt, and for this I approve. Enthusiasses can whine, but it's necessary. You don't touch the seat again until you start to pull-out.

The twist takes you past a support you think you can't possibly miss, but you do.

Before you know it, you hit the brakes and slow down, just in time for the final brakes.

I'll describe more later. Bottom line: This is one of the greatest rides ever.

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Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com - Sillynonsense.com
"Pray that your country undergoes recovery!" - KMFDM

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Thursday, May 1, 2003 5:24 PM
Excellent Jeff, thanks! I noticed you said 122mph......is that the figure the park is saying now?

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- "I used to be in the audio/visual club, but I was kicked out because of my views on Vietnam........and I was stealing projectors" - Homer Simpson

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Thursday, May 1, 2003 5:29 PM
Sounds like a great ride...does the launch pack an instant hard punch like Xcelerator's? (that's if you've ridden Xcelerator)
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Thursday, May 1, 2003 5:34 PM
So then im guessing despite all the whining about the shortness of the ride, the intensity and uniqness more than make up for it?

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G-Forces: The only positive addiction out there!
CoasterCount: 42

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Thursday, May 1, 2003 5:40 PM
I've yet to hear a bad thing about the ride...definitly a good sign.
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Thursday, May 1, 2003 5:42 PM
Sound great! All the reviews for the ride so far have been very good.

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All who think Mean Streak needs a match taken to it say I.

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Thursday, May 1, 2003 5:52 PM
I can't wait until my ass isn't touching the seat until the pull-out in August. :)

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SFNE Central v5- Online Six Flags New England Resource

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Thursday, May 1, 2003 7:07 PM
Were the staging lights on the top hat there and/or working?

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Be polite and ignore the idiots. - rollergator
"It's not a Toomer" - Arnold Schwartzenkoph

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Thursday, May 1, 2003 9:11 PM
All I can say is OH...MY...GOD...

Yes, it's short, but it is amazing. I rode in 1-1, 2-1, 3-1, and 3-2. The airtime in car 3 is nothing short of breathtaking, as is the height. The rush in the front seat is a surprisingly different ride, and worth it at least once.

I am EXHAUSTED, but will post more tomorrow.
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--Greg, aka Oat Boy
My page
"I can't believe I just left a nuclear weapon in an elevator." -- Farscape

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Friday, May 2, 2003 12:18 AM
122 mph? Strange. I guess that must be like the MF 92 at announcement, 93 after testing, eh? Or is that just a figure you got?

That sounds killer. I can't wait to ride it. It'll be the coolest rush ever.

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I was asked to describe X in one word. The word? -- OhmygoshwhathaveIgottenmyselfintothisisthescariest
thingintheworldhelpmeIamgoingtodieAHHHH!!!

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Friday, May 2, 2003 1:42 AM
My only concern is the glasses policy. Can you wear glasses with a strap or does the park make you take them off?

X Factor

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Friday, May 2, 2003 2:51 AM
I'm almost positive that I read that as long as you have the strap around the back you can wear them. I saw people yesterday had them on..
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Friday, May 2, 2003 2:51 AM
Well, you've got to remember Cedar Point has everything cranked up for media day because they can't afford to have a roll back. I heard it was rollin at about 123.

The ride is incredible folks. That launch just seems to go on forever. I've heard many say it was better than Millennium. I guess you'll just have to wait and see for yourself!
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Jes
Jes's Roller Coasters DJ Jes
Six Flags Worlds Of Adventure Ride-Ops Crew 2002-2003(Find Me, Win a prize!)

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Friday, May 2, 2003 3:51 AM

Zero-G said:
Well, you've got to remember Cedar Point has everything cranked up for media day because they can't afford to have a roll back. I heard it was rollin at about 123.

Well , a friend of mine with whom I worked at the Point a long time ago, who has in 26 yrs, told me this. With the five cars it was only doing about 119 mph. So until they can tweak the system for more mph they used the 4 car trains. He said the trains were doing about 125mph with 4 cars. I'm not sure if it's true, but man it sure felt like it!

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tambo

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Friday, May 2, 2003 4:15 AM
Yes, you can wear glasses with a strap.

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--Greg, aka Oat Boy
My page
"I can't believe I just left a nuclear weapon in an elevator." -- Farscape

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Friday, May 2, 2003 4:54 AM
After just watching TTD run last Sunday I made a joke on GTTP they should call it the "Poop your pants ride" and OMG after riding this thing, it so fits! :)
Despite Mother Nature being her usual CP Media Day self-the ribbon was finally cut and my daughter and I (and some CP/CB buds) headed for our 1st ride. The launch was best described here by Jeff. When you're on the "start line" you hear dragster noises and "peeling out" (with the smoke and all) sounds when you take off. FORGET any other launches you have ever been on! My daughter summed it up best by saying all she kept thinking was "too fast-too fast!!" :) On our 1st ride I remember when we came over the top looking straight down and seeing water, that spiral really does come from no where and if you ride with your hands up you DO swear you're going to hit one of the poles. Coming to a stop is very smooth...We got off our 1st ride and I was in total shock when I got out of the train. Mr Kinzel said "so Jo, what'd ya think?" And I said "It was great Mr Keller!" I DIED! THAT'S how messed up my head was!! duh!! I, of course apologized, blaming TTD! :)
The (QUICK) view from the top of TTD is incredible. If you want to look at something specific you have to look fast. MS looked like a model it was so small and looking DOWN on MF was breath taking. Waiting in line watching the people's faces on TTD was fun!
Seeing tons of my friends (and even fellow CP employees) was awesome as always. The TTD medalian they gave us was really cool. The food at Coasters was great. Mother Nature actually turned it into a wonderful, warm sunny day and I'm sure my daughter and I aren't the only ones toasted today.
I was totally spoiled by past Media Days (MF-43 rides, WT-20 rides) but we still managed 5 rides, which in speaking to some was about the most we heard.
If they get the 30 second intervals working on TTD and all other problems tweeked this ride gonna rock. Do NOT be surprised if the running of the bulls now heads for TTD.
As for me? You'll find ME you know where!!! ;)
Thanks to CP for another great time!! :)

Jo
2000/2002 Raptor Crew
Lifetime Raptir flights: 708 :) (goin for 1k in '03)
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It's all about getting around the barrels or over the fences, right leads, no faults, fastest time and still looking pretty when done. What's so hard about that? :)

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Friday, May 2, 2003 5:24 AM
I am glad to hear I can wear my shades now! I wear contacts and high winds do not go well with them! LOL! Now I have to find a strap, even though I know they will stay on.

Looking forward to Sunday!!! OMG!

-Tina

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Feel The Adrenaline....
www.intenserides.com

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Friday, May 2, 2003 6:15 AM
Greg - How does TTD compare to Excelerator? More/less air on the tophat?

chris, Couldn't believe how blown away I was by Excelerator.

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Friday, May 2, 2003 6:26 AM
More air. MUCH more air.

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--Greg, aka Oat Boy
My page
"I can't believe I just left a nuclear weapon in an elevator." -- Farscape

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Friday, May 2, 2003 6:32 AM
Part two... let me fill in some blanks here.

First off, I now know that a lot of misinformation was reported about why the ride was down in the morning and what have you. Out of respect for my relationship with the park, I won't go into a lot of details, but basically what I learned is that they haven't had the ride from Intamin for very long, and there's a lot of training, tweaking and breaking in they need to do. Despite all that, the ride has obviously been approved by the state, and it is a very safe ride.

First off, in the morning during the lightning, I think most everyone there early did live hits with various TV stations. Having not been on the ride yet, naturally we had to talk more about what a wonderful addition it was to the park, etc., instead of talk about the ride itself.

I did one with 24 out of Toledo that was fun because the reporter wanted me to have a posse. So as I talked with the reporter and photog about a friend that used to work there, Brian Haverlock and Walt were my body guards, while everyone else acted as part of my entourage. If you think that's silly, a Detroit reporter tried to get Dan to bust a rhyme on camera. Kid Rock and Eminem he is not. ;)

Just before I did the hit with 24, that station was doing weather, and I saw on radar the orange and yellow radar blobs nearby. Somehow the worst of it missed us, but the lightning was still plenty close, and I'm not surprised they kept everything down. That's a bummer, because the bulk of the invited non-media didn't arrive until 9, so we missed out on some good ride time.

Which leads to my next point about why I don't understand the fascination with media events as a great chance to ride. When the ride did open the media line was absolutely huge. Word around the campfire was that the total RSVP count was about a thousand. Combine that with the park's relative infamiliarity with the ride, and you can see how this would not be a big day for riding.

But no worries... I love these things because it's the one day a year I get to go back and do radio and TV stuff. I really miss working in that business because it's a lot more fun than this Internet nonsense. Of course, after chatting with a photog friend of mine at a Cleveland station, I also don't miss the hours and crappy pay.

When we got off the ride I had to do a quick follow-up interview, then Tim and I were interviewed by the USA Today reporter, right under our photos in the on-ride photo booth. You bet I got one of our first ride.

The photos show you at launch, with a second photo from the brakes in a small inset photo in the upper right. Pretty cool stuff.

After our first ride, the posse went to Johnny Rockets. We got our fill of Love Shack and YMCA for an entire year. The food there is so mediocre in the first place (for all franchises, I'd add), so if it weren't for the entertainment, it might as well be any other place in the park.

After some hilaious disposable camera antics, we headed back toward the ride. At this point, nearly all of the rides in the park were being run (except for Corkscrew and Himalaya, probably due to their proximity to the TV trucks and equipment). Mantis didn't appear to be painted enitrely, but it was close. Looks great with red rails.

We jumped in line for what would end up being a five hour wait. It took so long because, again, there was a ton of media there and you've got to get them equipped and set. Aside from that, there were a couple of other delays. We watched a couple of mechanics replace a couple of air hoses to the final brake fins in probably two minutes tops. It was really impressive.

Tim and I went to board, then decided not to because one seat was roped off in the blue train. That was fine, because we backed out and would be in the next one... front seat. We board green as blue launches. I hear a ton of cheering from the queue, then look up to see that blue had misfired. I could've been on that rollback! Dammit!

So we were unloaded and did a lot of waiting. At this point they were being very cautious, and had electricians and mechanics all checking various systems out in the motor and control buildings. Kind of a pain, but as I said, they were clearly still getting used to the ride. About 20 minutes later they cycled a few trains and we got on.

Let me make this clear... the front seat is the single most intense experience I've ever had on an amusement ride of any kind. Yes, at that speed in the wind, you get cheek flap, and it makes for hilarious onride photos. When you crest the top, it feels like you could tumble right over the front, since there is no assist bar, and you are very nearly fully exposed. You drool like hell if you're yelling (and you bet I was). You can see the entire Millennium Force layout from up there, though you can't see it long. The body chopper support looks even bigger.

So while the back seat has strong air, you still float starting before the crest until the pull-out. The front is about different air... that being the air that rushes around your body.

By this time, we were getting hungry, and had some deli sandwiches at Coasters. By the time we got back, the line had shrunk and most of the media had been served. We got another ride, and at that point I was done. Having been up since 4 a.m., I needed to go.

All in all, it was a great day for a great ride. The media coverage they got was insane. I'm happy for the park. I know it'll take awhile for them to get used to the ride, but I know they'll run it the best they can as soon as they can.

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Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com - Sillynonsense.com
"Pray that your country undergoes recovery!" - KMFDM

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