Discovery Channel debuts Cedar Point documentary

Posted Thursday, July 12, 2001 8:39 AM | Contributed by Jeff

In the coaster-building boom of the last few years, The Discovery Channel and its other networks have been good enough to show us the rides we couldn’t always ride. This year, the cable network takes us back stage at what many consider the best amusement park on the planet, Cedar Point. The park scored several 2001 Coasters’ Choice Awards, voted on by members of CoasterBuzz.

"The World’s Largest Amusement Park" is the story about a typical day at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio. The park is home to 14 roller coasters and a staggering number of other attractions. It also includes a complete resort facility that includes hundreds of rooms, a campground and a water park. Even if you think you know what’s going on at a park like this, the show will most certainly surprise you.

The program starts the way most days start at the park, with ride inspections. You’ll get to see what is involved with the daily checks of both Mean Streak and Millennium Force. The show ends with the park’s "Summer Spectacular" light and fireworks show and the clean up and preparation for the next day.

What makes Cedar Point stand out in so many ways is its guest service, and the program does a good job in capturing that, documenting and exposing the personalities of employees from food service to sweeps.

The show starts with the "coaster show guy" voice, but for the most part follows the narration of Cedar Fair CEO Dick Kinzel. The program’s editing pace is often swift, in part because they try to cover a lot of ground in only one hour. In depth coverage is given to the activities of food service, linen service for the hotels, the morning coaster inspection, the police department, park operations, the call center, traffic control, wardrobe, planning and design, the CP & LE Railroad, lifeguards and other areas.

The show features three rides with point-of-view video. Magnum features the same video from the "Top 10" program using Dan Haverlock, while Raptor features the Rockhold family from the same program. The Millennium Force video this time uses ACE representative Howard Gilooly in the front seat.

Overall the show is well produced, though another 15 to 20 minutes would have been helpful to cover aspects like the overnight maintenance and landscaping. Even for a Cedar Point veteran, there are probably things featured in the show that you didn’t know about. The show captures the personality of its staff while providing some moments of humor (just wait until you see the test rides for Millennium Force).

As a fan of the park, the thing that stood out the most was the segment of park operations, where the former vice-president of operations mentioned that they account for everything from traffic to gate entry, from number of rides taken to number of hot dogs eaten. He explained that collecting all of this data is what allows them to run the park as efficiently as possible, and provide the best experience possible for the guests. This is where the park shines, and the show captures it perfectly.

"World's Largest Amusement Park" debuts on The Discovery Channel on Monday, July 16 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

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