Since trip reports have already been posted, I’m not going to do a long trip report on Coaster Con. I’ll just post some of my thoughts, observations and experiences.
For those of you following along, we arrived in Sandusky on Saturday, June 19, and checked into the Breakers Express. Saturday was my birthday and we went out to dinner with some family and friends. My parents drove in from Cleveland to join us for dinner. After dinner we visited some friends who were staying at one of the cottages on Lighthouse Point. There I was surprised with a birthday cake. It was a fun evening.
Next morning I attended the Executive Committee meeting at the Radisson Harbour Inn. The meeting room was one of the nicest we’ve ever met in with plenty of table space and nice cushy chairs. The staff was even kind enough to turn on an Internet connection for me so I could check my e-mail. After the meeting we checked out the sales tables, and finally headed into the park around 7:00 p.m. more than 24 hours after we had arrived.
In no particular order—my thoughts, observations, experiences and some questions:
Cedar Point provided each con attendee with an admission card that functioned somewhat like a season pass (valid only for the week however) that worked at both CP and GL. That was very convenient. It was nice not having to fumble with daily paper tickets that are easily lost or damaged. They also provided a nice large placard to put in the window for parking, we didn’t even have to stop at the toll plaza; the attendant could easily see the placard and waved us through.
This was my first time at Breaker’s Express. We usually stay on the peninsula during CoasterMania! but we couldn’t justify that kind of expense for so many days. The hotel is much larger than I had realized and the room was pleasant. I did eventually get tired of driving back and forth over the causeway. I’m amazed that they do not provide any type of shuttle service and make their regular guests pay to park.
They had a nice spread for the opening reception but there were only two lanes of service. It took much too long to get 800 people through. At the two other Cedar Fair parks we visited they had multiple serving stations, even though Timbersfest had a fourth of the amount of attendees.
TTD never opened for any ERTs but they gave us two freeway passes to make up for the loss of ERT. It did manage to come up on Wednesday a little before 9:00 a.m. for the hotel guests and Joe Cool club members. I managed a total of five rides during the con, one in the front seat. Before con started that was my goal, so even without ERT, I managed to get the rides I wanted.
I’ve read quite a few reports about people getting a lapbar pushed into their gut, but fortunately it never happened to me, although I did occasionally witness it happening to others. There seems to be just one or two employees at MF and TTD who are a little zealous when it comes to lapbars. The rest of the employees were fine, giving a firm tug on the belt and stopping their push when the lapbar contacted flesh. Given the propensity for Intamin rides to throw an occasional guest, I didn’t mind a snug seat belt.
Even during ERT they would not let people wait for their choice of seats on Wicked Twister (only the very front and very back). I prefer next to last so I was forced to play the game of queuing up for the last seat then moving to the next to last line after the queue gates opened. It was ERT, there was no line, the trains weren’t getting filled anyhow, and the station is plenty big. Would it have been a travesty to let enthusiasts wait where they wanted?
Magnum was running well, but the trim brakes were still on during ERT. Having ridden many ERT sessions during CoasterMania! with the brakes off, I was hoping for some brakeless rides. Perhaps those days are long gone.
I didn’t understand Gemini’s trim brake situation. Sometimes the trims were off with full trains, and on with partially filled trains. The control system seemed to be monitoring the speed of the previous train and making adjustments to the next train. Wouldn’t it make more sense to monitor the current train between point A and B and then apply the brakes as needed (like Raptor does)? Why bother with trim brakes at all? I watched a full train come it at full speed and it didn’t have any trouble stopping in the station. Why is there a big, lighted display in front of the operators indicating that the trim brakes are off? Do they do anything differently when they are off? I did manage a brakeless ride but not with full trains. That finish is a lot more fun when you come in at full speed.
Raptor was pretty much what I expected. It was running well and it had a very efficient and friendly crew. It’s one of my favorite rides in the park and one of my favorite inverteds. I think I rode this more than any other coaster there.
I like stand-ups and Mantis is one of my favorites, but this time around it started to hurt the inside of my thighs. This experience would repeat itself later in my trip as we rode two additional stand-ups. I don’t know why it would start to bother me now. Other than getting older and gaining an inch or two around the waist, I really haven’t changed in proportion that much over the years. Mantis was fun, but as we were standing there waiting for the train in front to dispatch I could hardly wait to get off.
Tim & I had both ridden Junior Gemini in the past but we thought it would be fun to get on all 27 coasters during Coaster Con 27, so we rode it again. Each attendee was given a pass to ride once at their leisure during the convention. As it turns out we missed one coaster at GL, but I’ll discuss that in the next trip report.
I grew up in Cleveland and visited CP at least once every year with my family. When Raptor went in I started buying season passes and visited often, but I never remember the mayflies being as bad as they were during con. Maybe I just timed my visits right in the past. I remember the muffleheads but not the mayflies. With all these bugs on the peninsula it kind of makes you wonder how this place ever became a vacation destination over 100 years ago.
During ERT they were letting people stay in their seats on Magnum if no one was waiting, but not on Iron Dragon. When the line got low, the gate between the exit station and the regular line was open on Millennium Force so riders didn’t have to walk around. I asked the attendant why we couldn’t wait on Dragon and he told me that every rider needed to go through the counter. Why is it so important to have an accurate count on Iron Dragon but not on Magnum or MF?
It was great having the Wildcat in two ERT sessions. During the day this often gets a long line, and I usually get only one ride per visit. I managed several rides during the con. I love these little coasters, I’m glad to see CP maintains theirs well.
The weather was kind of cool for June. A visit to Soak City was included with our con fees, but it never got warm enough for me to want to visit. It might have been warm enough on Wednesday but I was tied up with meetings and platform speeches during the heat of the day. Tim and Alan visited on Tuesday, but it was too cool for me. I went back to the hotel and took a nap.
I think CP really liked the ACE landmark plaque that we gave them for Magnum. Usually when nominations are brought up before the committee there is often much discussion. I don’t think we discussed Magnum very much when it was presented; this was pretty much a no-brainer. I can’t think of too many other coasters that have had as much of an impact on the industry as Magnum.
I’m glad that both Janice Witherow and Cedar Point got honorary ACE memberships. I think Janice is the first park employee to receive an honorary membership. Janice wasn’t back to work yet, but she did stop by with her new son to visit with everyone.
The two Streaks still have those awful hard seat backs. CF needs to take a clue from their Michigan Park and put in the kind of soft cushy upholstery they installed in the Shivering Timbers trains. As an interesting side note, when chatting with Tom Rebbie I complimented him on what a nice job PTC had done with the ST trains; he kind of sneered and said that wasn’t their work. Oops!
The second meal was very nice, but again service was too slow with only two sides to the serving line. I never did see what the Wednesday morning breakfast was. They had something in Midway Market but the line extended almost to the skyride and it was moving very slowly. I suspect it was probably the usual donuts and pastries that I don’t eat. All I really wanted was some juice, but I wasn’t going to wait in a long line for it.
We ate at the new Famous Dave’s Bar-B-Que. The transformation from the Boathouse to Famous Dave’s was amazing, I didn’t recognize the place. The food and service were both very good. This place was very busy in contrast to the Boathouse which was pretty dead the last few years I visited.
Sawmill Creek was a nice place to hold the banquet. They had multiple serving stations and plenty of food. The entire evening lasted way too long. The keynote speaker didn’t get to the podium until almost 10:30 p.m.
Sandusky stinks—literally. I guess it comes from the shale quarries, but when the wind is in the right direction it smells like you’re inside a petro-chemical plant. I was even stopped outside our hotel entrance one night by another guest who asked if I knew what that awful smell was.
I didn’t accomplish many of the things I was hoping to do during the con. I was hoping to put on a bathing suit and ride the water rides, and visit Soak City but the weather didn’t cooperate. I was hoping to ride some of the flats I hadn’t ridden in years like Calypso, but never did find the time. Tim wanted to get on the Super Himalaya as it is the only flat at CP he’s never been on, but we never did. I was hoping to see a few shows but some weren’t even up and running yet. The first half of the week seemed to go by too fast, as it always does at Con.
I’m glad we finally got to CP for a Coaster Con, even though I think it was too expensive. I enjoyed being there, and I think most of the convention attendees did too. I don’t think I ever stayed to the very closing of any ERT. We left when we were content and didn’t need to stay up that late. Everyone should have gotten plenty of coaster rides in during the con.
I have no photos to share with you for this particular portion of the trip. Cedar Point is not a very camera friendly park, so I didn’t bother taking any this year. I’ve got tons of photos from previous visits, and I think you all know what the place looks like anyhow.
Next stop Memphis Kiddie Park and Erieview Park.
*** Edited 7/12/2004 9:18:29 PM UTC by Jeffrey Seifert***
I enjoyed myself as well at Con. I was really busy the entire week so I didn't get to ride as much as others, but the rides I did do were amazing.
I didn't notice any slow moving lines during the picnic or breakfast. I guess I got there early or something.
Sandusky does stink. When I was driving back to Columbus with Justin Garvanovic last year, he almost hurled in my car when he got a whiff of that odor.
I am not sure why no one was allowed to wait for any specific row during Wicked Twister ERT. Perhaps it is a safety thing with the train going back and forth or something. I was very happy that they allowed us to wait for any row we wanted on Millennium Force though.
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