Thursday, August 16, 2001 6:52 PM
Trip Report: Cedar Point
August 14, 2001
"Since when did Saturday come (1 day) after Monday"
On August 14th, a great event happened in the world of roller coaster fanaticism, Coasterville Dave FINALLY got back to the Point. It had been 12 YEARS since my last visit, and I was curious to see if anything had changed since 1989. :)
On this ocassion, I went to Cedar Point with Dave "RideMan" Althoff, Jr. With the best laid plans we first made a very worthwhile stop at Meijer so I could get a diso**** ticket that is even better than the Getaway Guide. Seriously, only $29 at Meijer during the week, and there is a participating Meijer in Sandusky! With clockwork precision we hit the backgate entrance to the park just as the rides were opening.
After a brief stop in fromnt of the Magnum to engage in coaster nut behavior. (Sorry for my rudeness guys, but after 12 years without Magnum, I don't feel much like small talk) Magnum was a walk-on, and soon I was headed to none other than the Ejector Seat. 12 years later, nasty rumors about shrinking asside, Magnum still performs exceeedingly well, A truly awesome ride on a truly awesome hypercoaster with massive amounts of airtime.
We then headed down to Gemini, again another walk-on, only the blue side was open at this time, so we headed towards the rear of the blue train, were seated and for a brief moment I had a pinball brainflash. There is a sign in the Gemini station "Track Trim Brakes Are Open" (When Lit). The sign was lit when we left the station, we then had an awesome airtime filled Gemini ride (Hey, Cedar Point does believe in airtime!) After an awesome Gemini ride we returned to the station. I had reffered to the brake sign as "Special When Lit" Upon exiting the ride Dave said we must have gotten the knocker, when I looked up the trim brake sign was no longer lit.
2 up 2 down, 2 awesome airtime filled coaster espeirences. After a brief pause for the train to pass, we enter Frontiertown. After a brief stroll down the street, we end up at Mean Streak. Mean Streak is placed back behind everything and its entranceway isn't all that apparent. Almost like they are trying to hide it. We entered the queue for Mean Streak, again another walk-on. Just as we were boarding the last car, they dropped the chains and filled in the two previously empty cars in front of us. Dave seems to think that that action may be responsible for the Mean Streak ride we recieved. I will say Mean Streak is better than Hercules, though it still acts like a Mine Ride more than a big tall 161' twister. However on one especially noticable drop before the block brake we experienced a true moment of high quality airtime. Hey Guys Mean Streak ain't THAT bad. Rideman infromed me that what I had experienced was not indicative of the way the coaster ususally behaves itself. Hmm, three walk on coasters and Mean Steak putting on its best for me, could be a great day here at the Point. Rideman ven suggested we try to hit every adult ride that did not involve H2O. (Mean Streak is #181 for me!)
We headed accross Frontiertown to The Cedar Creek Mine Ride. Thsi ride is just loads of fun, especially when you ride with Dave "Let's scream in all the wrong places" Althoff. A fine ride, and another walk-on. I think Cedar Creek Mine Ride is my #2 mine ride between Adventure Express and Goldrusher. After riding the Mine Ride, we stopped by the town Hall musuem, so that I could beat Dave at an old fashioned penny arcade Soccer Game. After a brief tour of the Town Hall, we were back on the riding circuit and heading through the artsy craftsy section of Fronteirtown to Millenneum Force.
"So THAT's where EVERYBODY is"
Looking at the ride wait sign informed us that it would be 2 hours to ride MF. We decided to try again at a later convenience. We then headed down by Mantis:TCFKAB where Dave said "Be my guest, I'll go find something else to ride" After seeing the 75 minute wait, I decided to go ride somethig else with him. Wildcat had a full queue and so we thought that maybe we should go look at a different section of the park,
But first Dave decided that he wasn't gonna get much use out of his video camera, so we decided to walk it back to the car. Along the way we got in a reasonable line for Corkscrew (under 20 minutes) and were 2 or 3 cycles away from getting to ride when:
"Attention oncoming riders, please stay behind the yellow lkine as we are not loading this train" and this cycle repeats till all three trains go out empty and we are informed the ride is closed. We decide not to wait for it, and spend a fair amount of time and energy backing ourselves out of the line.
We look at Magnum and see that it had a fairly lengthy line, so we decided to just walk to the car. We decided to walk through Challenge Park where we caught our first glimpse of the S&S ThrillShot. Thrillshout, named VertiGo by Cedar Point was not up and running yet, and all we could see is a small ride pod with six seats and not much happening other than some maintenance type guys hanging around the ride. I inquired at the ticket booth and was informed it would be open that night. Oh and I love the silver engraved plaque near the ride safety inspection sticker "ABSOLUTELY INSANE!" Camera bag dumped into car, we renetered the park. Oh and I kinda like how Cedar Point stamped the back of your arm.
Upon renetering we noted Magnum still had a sizeable wait, Corkscrew line was still not open, an so we headed to the Troika. Dave told me about those short ride cycles, but I thought he was kidding. Overall Troika was a fun ride and there are some subtle differences between this one and the one at PKI. We headed to the Main Mioway and Daves jaw dropped at the lines for Matterhorn and Scrambler. We decided to take a ride on the Sky Ride. Sky Rides as a whole are becoming increasingly rare, Skyrides that actuallly serve as transportation are even more scarce. From the Skyride we learn that the front half of the park is pretty crowded, but hey this is Cedar Point and the view from the Skyride is an attraction in itself. After exiting the Skyride, we decide if we have to wait for something during the peak time of the day, it may as well be in air conditioning.
We entered Hangar 12E as opposed to the usual Hangar 18 I an used to :). In Hangar 12E I learned that E must stand for Egyptian Air :) I had heard at one time that this had an elaborately themed queue, now its just a queue. The posted time was 45 minutes, but it didn not seem that long. We were soon in a seld and although this ride gets dogged alot, I actually kinda like this coaster in a box. Mind you I would rather it have been a Mack model rather than an Intamin, but its actually a neat little ride (#182). We exited down a stairway, had a nice drink of cold water, then boarded the Space Spiral.. From the Space Spiral we learned that the main parking lot was JAM PACKED. Some more good views of the park, and then it was down past the games of skill, where I noted some interesting strength tester in a box. You hit it with a hammer and want the ball to go around EXACTLY 35 times, The machine counts them for you. To win a consolation prize, you must get it between 32 and 38 times.
We decided to head over to the Derby Racer, Cedar Downs, which I fondly remembered riding with my parents the last time I was at Cedar Point. I still find this unique carousel variant to be fascinating. We passed some scary looking lines for Raptor and Blue Streak, and then some other scary looking lines for Wilcat, Mantis and MF. We caught the train ride to head back to the rear of the park. Hmm, I like this train ride along MF and the lake though it seems awfuly similar to what i passed on the way to the parking lot this morning.
Hey things don't look so bad back here. We get off the trian ride at the Frontiertown station, head over to Gemini and see a full queue spilled out onto the midway. Uh-Oh. We duck into Camp Snoopy, and listen to some realy awful kiddie karaoke while waiting out a full queue for Woodstock's Express. Mind you a full queue is not that long but still. Woodstonk's Express is the more conventional version of a ride called Reptar which I'm getting used to. We almost felt bad about riding single, and even willingly volunteered to ride with small kids. (As thoughts of Jr. Gemini danced in my head) But alas it wasn't too be for Jr. Gemini, but I still scored my Woodstock credit (#183). We walked through Camp Snoopy, where Snoopy STILL hasn't learned not to try to take the canoe over the falls, and soon found our way to Dodgem I. I wasn't really planning on riding Dodgem I but the old time looking cars intrugued me, and soom we found ourslves in line. I live the way the whole ceiling lights up in RED when the ceiling is energized and the cars seem to have a lot more control to them, Oh and the seatbelts don't try to strangle the rider. Cedar Point is the Roller Coaster and Seat Belt Capital of the world. I'm quite sure we passed a seatbelt factory right outside the park.
After our nice hard hitting ride session on Dodgem I, which I found to be quite enjoyable, we started to have visions of lunch. "We'll eat now and maybe byt he time we finish eating the lines will die downto sensible levels. We investigated Maccaroni's, Silver Dollar and the Midway Market before deciding on the Midway Market. Hey $10 and all you can eat at an amusement park. We entered the buffet and it was clear that lots of folks had the same thought as the crew responsible for keeping the bar stocked and the crowds moving just could not keep the food stocked. Can you say HAMMERED? Cedar Point really needs to think about installing a beverage bar in the serving area and freeing up the servers time to exclusively bus tables. Putting silverware, napkins, and condiments on the bar would also help in this regard. I mean the only reason the hide the drinks is so the servers can say "I served you something, now give me a tip" Sorry friends, that plea left on our table fell on deaf ears as It is not my practice to tip at buffets to begin with, especially not those that I have to stand around waiting for key food ingrediants to be restocked. Say the pasta for an Italian bar. In all fairness to the Midway Market, the food served was quite delicious, and seems to be a step above say an Old Country Buffet. Again $10 for an amusement park buffet is one of the better eating deals you can find.
After the buffet we left stomachs recover by a ride on the Pirate, Hey what happened to the dark ride. Oh well a game at the Quarterdeck Aracde would have to suffice, and I noticed some old time aracade games that surprisingly had SEGA nameplates. I didn't realize Sega had been in the arcade business for so long.
From the arcade, we follwed to old Pirate Ride Exit through the archway, and onto the Blue Streak, here a short 10 minute wait was all that was required to ride in the Shmeck Seat. I realize this isn't a Shmeck, but I thought I would give it a try. Payoff, the Shmeck seat offered up nice amounts of airtime, and will definetly cause the Blue Streak to go significantly up from near the bottom of my wood coaster rankings. Kudos goes to all the assorted ride crews at CP for being reasnable about lapbar heughts. Not once during my visit today did I get stapled into a rollercoaster, From Blue Streak we challenged dinner and took a spin on the Calypso. This one runs at Psycho Speed next to Americana's, then again if it ran at 1 rpm it would be faster than Americana's *SNIFF SNIFF*
From the Calypso we moseyed down the midway and headed for the Wilcat. About a 20-30 minute wait put up on *sniff* a fine piece on Anton Scwarzkopf History (May he rest in peace) Wildcat was running real well, but after that it was time, nothing could stop me from my appointed destiny of riding Millennum Force. We entered what was advertised asa a 90 minute wait, in actuallity it was 75 minutes. The wait for MF moved avery briskly, and the final curves of the ride setup some real nice eyecandy. It was also nice meeting you Richard and Nat. We talked, we listened t some bad DJ music, we talked, we waited we pondered, then we got to the soft drink and water cart. Not a surpise in and of itself. Till you learned the bottles were $2.50, and at the next twist in the queue are soda machines selling water and assorted drinks for only $2.00. For once the vendors undercut the humans. If you must buy a soda at CP, your best offer if from a vending machine. Some more talking, speculating, and my how the time flys we are already up to the loading station.
The fickle finger of fate put me into a middle of the train seat, but the fickle finger of fate was not mean, I fastened the weird seatbelt, and was soon rushing up lift 1 like a sppeding bullet. Over the drop 310' of nice floater all the way down, into the first inversion, around up hill two, AIR, into the tunnel, curves hills more air, back through the tunnel, one more air spot as we rush over the midway to do the queue house flyby. Second inversion, then stop smooth on a dime on the magnetic braking and slowly led into the unload station. WOW! This is the smoothest rollercoaster I have ever been on. and contrary to popular belief there is nice airtime to be found, even in the middle of the train. Its not ejector like S:ROS is but its still there and noticeable. (However for airtime, you just can't beat seat 3 of Magnum) Wow, I HAVE GOT TO GET ME ONE OF THOSE! (#184)
Cedar Point has a clear winner both for us thrill ride nuts and families as evidenced by the family groups seen in the MF queue, as opposed to the younger teen groups seen in say the Raptor and Mantis queue areas.
After a stop in the restroom, "Hey that WAS a 75 minute wait afterall", we headed for Raptor, We considered using the Skyride until we saw its line. We soon joined a mass exodus heading down the main midway, where Igot to marvel at that fascinating 1970's replica nostaligc fountain. :) We soon found oursleves at Raptor with an hour wait ahead of us. Another session of talking, speculating, etc then we boarded Raptor:Rules the Sky!. Intersting queue configuration leading to a solid B&M Inverted. This is one of the better inverted designs I have been on. I kinda like Montu better but this is still a high class, smooth Inverted coaster with great pacing. (#185) Now where did this headache come from. We exited Raptor and walked over to the Oceana Midway via Kiddie Kingdom to look momentarily at the kiddie rides most notably the carousel and the Rotowhip. Oh and the kiddie rapids ride was interesting.
We found the Giant Wheel straight ahead, I hear its another Anton Masterpiece. Aftera one cycle wait we boarded the Giant Wheel, According to the announcements picture taking and videotaking of ANY kind is forbidden on the Giant Wheel. Thanks for ruining any purpose for riding the Giant Wheel. A nice view, and a ride for Anton, but not all that great. We exited the Giant Wheel and headed to the Schwabinchen, and interesting variant on the Trabant theme. It's actually better thsan a trabant, with certain decoractive pieces adding to its appeal. From the Scwabinchen we headed to Ocean Motion for an end seat ride ont the rocing boat. Here we heard a funny announcement. "SIT DOWN! Please do not stand while riding Ocean Motion, if you want to stand while riding a ride, go ride Mantis"
A stop past the interative attraction that allowed me to check in with the home front then it was back towards Corkscrew. Uhm what a surprise Corkscrew was eithr broken Down, breaking down, or jujst reopening from being broken down every time we passed it. We decided to scratch Corkscrew from our riding schedule tonight. Being a mrere Arrow Loopscrew it was an easy sacrifice. Funny though I though usually the Chaos was the ride causing the mechansincs trouble.,
A short stroll over to the Chaos led to a one cycle wait. There was a bit of the three stooges when the greeter decided to try to assign 4 people all to the same car. The Chaos is back and running. I got a few flips and the ride was mildly entertaining. What was more entertaining was in store just accorss the midway.
A short 20 minute wait led to Magnum, again in the Ejector Seat (Once you've ridden the best, why try the rest". Magnum was bound and determined to show me what Magnum was all about, to win me back over from falling in love with Millennuem Force" And it put on a fine show. I still love that ride. While accesing the lifthill I noted the Vertigo (Evil new S&S contraption) was opersating, and the time was about 10:15. The park closed at 11:00 and I was interested in Vertigo, but I was also interested in Mantis and Iron Dragon (We had written off Corkscrew and Jr. Gemini as lost causes). We took a walk back to the Challenge Park exit and was informed by a friendly hand stamp person that Chellenge Park was open till midnight. Problem Solved.
We did not exit the park, and instead did an about face. I indicated I was interested in Mantis, Rideman indicated he was interested in Magnum. So we each headed for our respective coasters. I was able to run myself ragged and find myself with only 20 minute wait for Mantis after it reopneed from the Laser Show. This time I had no one to talk to but myself. I found some other coaster craqzies in line, and we talked for a few minutes. Then as a single rider I was seated with another party, ifs seated is the right word in this case. After proceeding to ram the sheat horn up my butt to have any hope if getting the OTSR down far enought o gert the belkt fastned, which did require some influencing of the OTSR by the ride op. I was soon on my way up Mantis's lifthill Ya know I like this one a lot better than Chang, but Riddler's Revenge is my #1 B&M Standup still (#186) Mantis put on a fine exebition and upon exiting and heading towards a cold drinks stand I spotted Rideman waiting. We made a mad dash for Iron Dragon
Iron Dragon is not a bad suspended coaster, its just not a good suspended coaster. It was intertaining and a nice mild ride to wind down on. Hey where else can you ride 12 coasters, plus a good portion of the flat rides, plus walk around looking at stuff, all when the park is packed to the gills with people. But there was still one more stop, an S&S. Power Tower was closed, oh well. We headed to Challenge Park and lo and behold the Thrillshot was operasting. After watching an insprational cycle, I went to buy a ticket while Rideman again said "Be my guest, I'll enjoy the ride from the midway" Rideman was soon informed of his new job duties as the non-riding partner. Not 5 minutes after buying a ticket and getting into VertiGo's line two men in blue shirts walked up, two ride mechancis for the dense. And I swear I heard a ride op say "It's hasn't been acting right" I was politely infomred that I may not get to ride, or I may have a delay in m flgiht time. 2 minutes after that my ticket was torn in half and was was invited to choose a program. I went with the Big Bang. (Nosedive Up/Nosedive down) as opposed to the more sedate Cosmic Flip (Normal Up/ Nosedive Down) or the tamest option which is normal up/normal down. The then got our group fitted with harnesses just inc ase the ride came back online. The harness consists of a vest. The vest is slipped on over your head so that there is a loose fitting loop around your head, in the rear the shoulder straps join and there you will also find a large metal peg. The harness is secures snug about the wate with velcro. The front of the vest bears the S&S logo and sizing information. The front sides of the vest each has a peg attached to a short teather. A slightly shorter peg hung from a teahter attached roughly where a crotch strap would normally go. We were then assigned seat numbers, and shown to seats programmed programmed in. (They make you commit to a program while harnessing you, and give you a color coded carabeaner to hold and give to the opersator upon programming. The caribeaner seems to be purely decrorative in nature.like those noverlty ones they use for keyrings. A quick comparison to my keyring confirmed this.
Okay I sit down on what is basically a bike seat (or carousel sadle as you wish to describe it) There is a grab handle mounted on the front of the saddle right between my legs. I was slightly taken aback when the operator instructed me to insertr the peg hangin down by my crotch by passing it under the grab bar and into the hole. Hey who is the operator and who is the rider here????? Thinking back I can think of some very good reasons why they want the rider to deal wiht this peg. Mostly becuase it would involve the operator putting their hands in a very lewd, awkward and compromisng position. After the rider pused the crotch peg into its hole, The pegs themselves seem to be ribbed and as they are insrted the trheated get caught up in some ratchet mechanism. the operator then secures the two side pegs to the hold on the front sides of the seat forming a sort of lapbelt with a crothstrap. You then sit all the way back in the seat, and hold the front of the harness vest aginst you chet while someone goes behind you and pulls the shoulder straps semi taught and drives the lastpeg trought he hole int he back of your seat. This last strap isn tightened to anyt degree, leading me harshly test its connection before launch. Speakingof testing connections, the ops check three of the pegs, and you are to yank on the front center peg in the ride ops presence.
Then the fun begins, the pod is slowly lifted off the gounr, the "Fire at Will!" is given, and you prepare for the next world as the air filled rocket in the center of the pod launches up up even taller thsan the support towers. They claim in excess of 300'. Then for me the fun begins shortly after takeoff, the seat did a 180 roll forward leaving me looking headfirst at the concrete below,stangely I seemed to keep going up when the pod stopped for a split second then came crashing back down to eatch, David staring at the pavement rushing up at me at full speed. then shortly before the pod stops at the bottom the chair rerighted itself so I came into the laoidng area rightside up. The mechansim then let go of the pegs, The operators pulled threeof them out, I was instructed to pull the fourth out, I'm sure you can guess which one. A short parade past the crowd assembled before the harness vest was removed.
We then exited Vertigo and Challenge Park and proceeded to get into quite a lengthy dialogue about what just ranspired and how it could be made better. Right now they are going through an awfully convoluted harnessing and attachment process for a 20 second thrill. That and I don't want to be around the day whatever locks those attachement pegs in their holes deicdes to loose its grip midflight. There has got to be a beter way of doing this and that may be to go into the 4th Dimmesnion. If someone merged Arrow 4th Dimesnion cars into an S&S tower ride, with the harness system on a 4th Dimesnion, i'm sure they gsan get this thing up from a 72 PPH attraction to at least 1,000
After a stop past Meijer for Cokes and other assorted products we started the long drive home. Hey it was a useful drive as I learned which state has the Lowest Highest Point.
Coming Soon: TR's for Wyandot Lake and the OH Stair Fair Midway