Trip Report: Cedar Point
September 1-2, 2011
who have been reading my trip reports for a long time now,
may recall the many coaster trips I took with Eric. Those became fewer after
Eric moved away, and lately it seems as if there is always something stopping
one of us from meeting up. This year, I received an interesting offer. It seems
that Eric would be celebrating a significant high school reunion, at a school
in Ohio. He also planned on stopping at Cedar Point for a few days, and had to
drive right past my house on the way to and from. Would I like to come along? I
Getting time off work was at a premium, such that Eric left work, far away right at closing time, and arrived at Coasterville around 2am. He has been using a Garmin, and it is scary how accurate that thing is at predicting arrival time. He doesn't have a Cedar Fair pass anyway, so we figured we would go up for Starlight on Thursday, and all day on Friday. Consider it akin to the Hersheypark night before offer.
So after he got ample sleep, we stopped by First Watch for some breakfast, and was on the road. Remember how I said it was scary how accurate Garmin is? Well Cedar Point starts Starlight at 4pm. We left Coasterville at the time Garmin recommnded, and even with a refueling stop, and a stop to check into our hotel, we still were on the famous Cedar Point Causeway at 3:45.
We first noted the topiary bushes alongside the Causeway, then noted only one toll booth was open. Hopefully, this is a sign of the size of the crowd at the park. We start driving through the parking lot headed towards Eric's favorite section. we were not amused when this family decided to walk five abreast, in the main aisle, slowly, while giving us shit eating grins, because they know, there really isn't anything you can do about it.
We found ourselves in stride, such that we hit the ticket scanners right at 4pm, and I used a Cedar Fair pass, and Eric used a Starlight ticket. We proceeded to breath in the Cedar Point atmosphere as we walked back the main midway. We could see evidence that they were starting to set up for their Halloween event. We get back by Wildcat, and notice it has a pretty short line for Wildcat.
We start our trip with a quick peppy ride on Wildcat, sure its not the biggest, fastest, whateverest, but it does pack a lot in a tight compact package with its sharp drops and helix turns. I note a loading gate has been after the turnstile that is remote controlled by the loader.
After Wildcat, we proceed to the train station and take a quick glance at the display about the historical trains Cedar Point owns. We then proceeded to take a ride on one back to Frontier Trail. The ride back offers you a great view of Lake Erie on one side, and Intamin coaster goodness on the other.
We were seated near the front of the train, which means you exit quite near Mean Streak. We decided to get Mean Streak out of the way. We recalled a couple years ago, before riding The Boss at Six flags St Louis, a coaster that most people don't like that "Here comes the pain", and were then surprised by a ride we actually really liked. I wonder if the same trick will work here. Mean Streak was its usual walk on self, and I took a moment to look in awe at the massive queue area tucked into the middle of the ride. We took our seats in the back of the train and proceeded on the larger of Cedar Points wood coasters.
Mean Streak, the first half is actually quite decent, it doesn't really beat up up anymore, the rides problem is after the mid course brake, the ride is brought to a slow crawl and you just sort of meander through the rest of the course at a crawl. At least we got that out of the way for the trip.
Next, we headed to Maverick. This would be Eric's first time on several Cedar Point rides, and Maverick would be one of them. The signs said 15 minutes, I have me doubts as the most but not all of the covered section of queue was full and the bridge was full almost back to the first section of queue. It does move rather quickly though, and pretty soon we found ourselves at the split. I see they still have the stupid single rider line you can't even get to until after you have waited through 90% of the queue. Anyway, while waiting for our train, we note the complex system. The ride runs very short trains, only 3 cars each with 4 seats in a car. However, it has 6 of these and the ride really runs 3 pairs of trains. What do I mean? When you load, they load two trains at once, so 24 people per load, like a normal coaster. Then, both trains depart the load station, the front train goes on up the lift, the second gets held just short of the life until it gets the all clear. Both trains, now separated, now run their way through the course, and then they pull in one behind each other in a line of trains waiting on the brake run. Trains are then brought into the station from the brake run in pairs, and the next set of trains move up to just behind the station.
We would be in the middle car of the back train. Drop the OTSR, the belt fastens easily. The first gimmick hits when you realize it is a launched lift hill, the second gimmick hits when you realize the drop is at a 95 degree angle, that is to say beyond vertical. The rest of the ride features sharp turns, some nice airtime hills, corkscrew like rolls. Oh, and the mid course tunnel where the ride brings you to a near stop, only to launch you again. I think they got rid of the fire hose that used to spray down the riders, but all in all, still a great ride.
After that, we passed Snake River Falls, and Eric mentioned that he had never ridden it, nor have I, and that he didn't plan on changing that on this trip. He did, however, want to try out Skyhawk, an S&S Screaming Swing. They had the entire queue maze shunted off so you walked right up to the turnstile. This caused the line to overflow onto the midway which is atypical for Cedar Point, but I noted by the tie we had ridden, the queue maze was indeed open. Maybe the park is getting busier for starlight. At any rate, they only had one half of the ride working, and the other half showed signs of repair work in progress. Also, atypical for Cedar Point, we have a non coaster ride that gives an above average ride experience with that weird "airtime" caused by your body still wanting to go up, even after the swing has forcefully started going back down.
From Skyhawk, we went to Cedar Creek Mine Ride to experience a classic. After shoehorning ourselves into the back seat, with both the typical Arrow mine train lapbar that is too tight, and the typial Cedar Point seat belt that is too short, we managed to ride this classic mine ride.
From Cedar Creek Mine Ride, we started our way back towards the front of the park, we got almost to Gemini before we realized we forgot to check out Shoot the Rapids, and figured we would come back to it tomorrow during the day. Gemini is one of the parks other classics. It is one of those Arrow "steel tracked wood coasters" that caused much debate in coaster forums of years past. It is a steel tracked racing coaster that follows a very classical wood coaster profile. Today, only the red/orange side was running, and at least one blue train looked to be partially disassembled. Again with the way too short seat belts that barely fasten on an empty seat, let alone one with riders. We shoehorn ourselves into this one as well, and I thought the ride was running sluggish this year. It didn't seem to have near the amount of airtime that I remember, yet the final helix can still yank you into next week.
Continuing our little tour, we next came to Magnum XL-200, one of the first coasters to break the 200' height barrier. 22 years ago, that was a BIG DEAL, I know, I went to Cedar Point in 1989 to ride it, when the entire queue maze, plus the overflow that runs behind the restrooms was packed to the gills. Lately it seems to be another dependable short wait ride, such as the walk on it was today. That is one thing, except for Maverick and Skyhawk,every ride so far has pretty much been a walk on. Looks like we hit the park on a good day.
Magnum is a great coaster, you start with the 200' drop, and while you go up the lift you get a nice tour of the water park, and they claim on a clear day you an see clear into Canada. After you enjoy the view, its a classic airtime hill laden out and back masterpiece. It has the profile of a classic out and back, just exaggerated for height, with a funky little pretzel turnaround tossed in, and of course those airtime hills were carefully calculated to produce the most airtime possible. And to make sure you get to experience this all undisturbed, all the mid course block brakes are at the end of the ride. We took our ride in our favorite seat, #3, also known as The Ejector Seat. The Joy and the Pain of airtime coming right up. Yes, it is very strong ejector air, and if you don't take precautions it can do a number on your legs. You will feel it after the ride, but you'll be too caught up in excitement of having just finished an extreme airtime coaster to notice.
You may be noticing I have been dancing around some rides, rides like Raptor, Top Thrill Dragster, Wicked Twister, and Millennium Force. Well, it's just that on recent visits we have had negative experiences involving not being able to ride those, and we didn't want to ruin this trip right off the bat.
Well, now we are passing Top Thrill Dragster, a coaster I have never ridden (notice the tense, spoiler alert). I go first in the Test Chair of Doom. Over the last however many years I have really grown to hate this chair. On my last visit, two years ago, I couldn't get the belt fastened, and when I say that, it wasn't even close, like a good inch or so between buckle ends. Well, I have lost some weight since then, I have gained some back since then. Now, I can fasten the belt! Don't start celebrating yet. Cedar Point has this asinine policy I have not seen in any other amusement park. No, they aren't satisfied that the belt is fastened, they want the belt fastened and a certain amount of extra belt through the adjustor. How much extra belt? Well, that's another asinine thing, it depends on who you ask. Anywhere from a quarter inch to an inch. On Maverick, I note they have stitched in a white line, no such thing here, it is all subjective. Luckily, there is not one, but two greeters stationed less than 5' from me. Great I can get two opinions.
I would have probably been better off had their been one greeter. The problem is that the two greeters were very engrossed in a very non park related conversation. How engrossed, they wouldn't even acknowledge our presence when we were looking right at them, talking to them. When they did finally notice us, we were a big bother, obviously they wanted nothing to do with us, let alone help us. Eric tried the seat next, and he managed to get a bit more slack out of the belt than I did. Our two ever so helpful ride attendants verdict, "Maybe". Said with taking about a half a second glace over at the test seat, then right back away from us and into planning their weekend. What you want us to wait 45 minutes on a Maybe. Some help you two were.
But, I figured that if Eric is a Maybe, then I can forget about it. We decide to go and see if the Millennium Force greeter would be any more helpful. He was! It also helped that I think the belt on the MF test seat is a bit longer than that on TTD, as I had a much easier time with it. So great, now we are both cleared to ride MF, but the ride is closed.
Let's see, what areas of the park haven't we been to yet. Oh, Oceana, and it has some changes. The big chance is that Ocean Motion has been moved to the spot formerly taken up by Demon Drop. The beach gate has been moved a bit, the area that was opened up was filled in with their Windseeker.
I think their Windseeker has even less queue area than the one at Kings Island. I wonder if this is because they figure once the initial craze wears off, that its not going to be that popular a ride, particularly since it does handle 64 people a ride, as opposed to the 20 or so on most flat rides. Or, are they trying a tactic learned from Roller Coaster Tycoon, where they have gotten people used to thinking, an oveflowing line is too long. At any rate, they do have a sizeable portable queue area available under the stadium grandstands next door. Today, it was just in the permanent queues, so you walk about a third of the way around the ride, where the only thing separating you from the outside world is a tall fence with spike like points at the top, then back around to the front, where you go through the turnstile and assigned a seat. I want to say the Kings Island ride has every individual seat numbered, where at Cedar Point it is just every row. Same general concept, and same general ride. Right down to the problem with the lap bar lights not being visible.
Windseeker is one of the trendy new high altitude circle swing rides. It's essentially much like Wave Swinger, only the swings go up to just shy of 300' in the air. The height really does make the ride, and its also what makes peoples phobias get the better of them.
I think by now Zamperla, Mondial, and FunTime have versions of this ride to market, and I would not be surprised if its on the drawing boards at other manufacturers. I have not yet ridden the Zamperla version, but I have a feeling I may get that experience with Sparkler next year (see the benefit of writing these trip reports so late), but I have some experience with the Fun Time version both in Orlando at Magic Midway, as well as Oktoberfest in Munich. Kings Island has the Mondial version, and the main difference here is the seat attachment is much more rigid than on the Fun Time. Don't get me wrong the swings still swing, but the main attachment is tubular piping instead of just chains or steel cable. The Mondial also has a fantastic LED light show that gives a park that classic midway experience.
I take my seat, drop down the overhead lap bar, which is similar to the kind used on a chairlift. A safety strap connects the lap bar to the seat base, as a back up to the bar lock. I can tell you, as a larger rider, the rides computer is more demanding than the seat belt, so just because the belt is fastened, doesn't mean you are good. A rule of thumb is to look at the stub end of the lap bar, it it isn't lower than the armrest, your in trouble. Mondial did something dumb here. They mounted two lights on the outboard side of each seating unit. When the lap bar locks, the light goes out. Seems simple enough except the light is red, on a red background, and once you add the sun into the equation the loaders can't really see them. The advice from the control booth isn't much better "You've got a bar open" Gee, thanks. Warning to larger riders, even if your bar is fine, you will be the first ones they target, and will staple you in the hopes that you are the culprit. This is more annoying when they find out you weren't the problem. They really need to add some kind of box around those indicator lights so the loader can see them easier. This ride loads much faster at night than it does during the day.
So once they have spent 10 minutes playing "Which bar is loose?" the ride starts. At first the cars raise straight up for awhile, before the ride starts turning. The ride does offer on board audio by means of speakers mounted to the ride gondola, so the speakers raise and lower with you. At the top the ride spins for a while, and even speeds up. Not too fast, it just gives a slight hint of laterals. It would be a perfect family ride, if people would get over that whole 300' up thing. The Cedar Point ride scores over the Kings Island ride in three categories: Location, Location, Location. Set so half the way around you get a great view of the park, and the other half a great view of Lake Erie.
So, the ride then slows down to its slower spin setting, and then lowers down. Again once it hits some magic point, the rotation stops, and you lower straight down. That was great, in fact I rode it again. This time in the outside seat instead of the inner seat. No, it's not a thrill ride, but it scores high on the just pure fun meter.
From Windseeker, we learn that Wicked Twister is also closed, not a good day for the Intamins, but wait there is another Intamin ride back here. We make our way into the newer Disaster Transport entrance now that most of the queue has been given over to haunted houses. Now it is just the final room, which is kept just dark enough sot hey can try to sell night novelties, I suppose that was better than the 3D glasses that littered the sides of the brake run in years past.
Disaster Transport is one of those old Intamin Bobsled rides in a box. Lots of black lights, and a futuristic feel. You board a sled, go up a lift hill, then the ride is mostly turns and he car riding up a bit as it changes direction just like a real bobsled. There are some ark ride type elements you breeze past, but there are not really important. With that we exit back onto the midway and make our way to Pinks.
Pinks is a new eatery that is supposed to represent the Hollywood hot dog stand. We were going to try it, but it was already closed for the night. We then cut across the main midway to Raptor.
It was a walk on ride on Raptor. In 2009, I could not ride Raptor, but this time, no problem at all. Raptor is one of the earlier B&M inverteds, but it is still a great ride. After the ride, we finished off our night with a ride on the classic Blue Streak.
Blue Streak is the parks classic older wood coaster. The entrance looks like you are going down a service path, but the ride is a classic. In fact, they have done amazing things with it, as in certain seats, like the Schmeck seat, or the back car, it delivers some great airtime.
With that, we stopped by BW3's for wings and beer, then headed back to the hotel.
Day 2: Friday Sept 2.
We got some doughnuts and coffee at Dunkin Donuts, and got to the park right before 10. This time the parking attendants were out, and parking you where they wanted you to park, even though where they send you may not be the best parking available. On the way to the park, we noted that Sandusky, like many toursit areas is begining to have fierce competition from indoor waterpark resrots. Kalahari, Great White, Cedar Point's own resort, and I'm sure a couple more. I noted the Holiday Inn holidome looks to have tried to make the conversion into a waterpark, but has since been closed. In a way that is a shame, since I think the holidome was the forerunner of hotel indoor recreation complexes. The wierd one is the one right before you turn onto the Causeway, going with the trendy one sylable name: Rain, it looks from the road to be a tiny indoor waterpark, attached to a motel, off track betting parlor, and sports bar.
We decided to start the day at Top Thrill Dragster, and true to Cedar Point, it seems to take just under 3 hours to walk from the front gate to Dragster. Well, at this point, for reasons the reader doesn't need to know, we decide to split up, and I fall right back into "Cedar Point Ride Program 1"
Yup, I used the touring plan I usually take with Rideman. I knew better than to try TTD, so I headed to Magnum. Going up the stairs for this walk on ride, I told myself I wasn't going to ride in the Ejector Seat. But, what do you know that's right where I wound up. It's actually an easy seat to get to, because that end of the station is so cramped people can't get around the front seat line to get at it. That doesn't mean you don't have to be agressive, but still. So, I started with a Magnum ride that worked way better than the large coffee I just had at waking me up.
From there, I followed the ritual, on back to Gemini. I think the most noteworthy thing about Gemini is that this time they were running the blue side. I took about the third seat on the Blue side, noted the "Track Brake Open When Lit" sign was lit both when my train left the station and when it returned.
Continuing the pattern, I headed to Mine Ride, but Mine Ride would not open until 11. That's not that far away actually, I use up most of the time riding Skyhawk, which had just about the same line and ride experience as yesterday.
Now, its time for Mine Ride to open, so I was on the second train in the middle seat of the back car. That seat affords more room as you don't have the boxcar front, nor the wheel well behind you. Much better this time.
Now Ohio had been going through a very wet spring, followed by a sweltering hot summer, then it had cooled off the last week or so. Today, over 100 degrees. I decided to see what Snake River Falls was about. Snake River Falls was a walk on seeing as t had just opened. I took a seat in row 1, and headed up the lift, at the top you go through a tunnel, and then down the big drop. Like a lot of the early shoot the chutes rides, this one is no nonsense, also like a lot of the early shoot the chutes rides, it is very effective at getting you drenched.
Okay, now that I am drenched, lets find Shoot the Rapids. The exit for Snake River actually helped put me in the right direction, as Shoot The Rapids is alongside the frontier trail, just across from the closed for the season rapids ride. Shoot the Chutes is an Intamin, like Pilgrims Plunge, but unlike Plunge, the boats do stop in the station which I like. I do find it interesting they didn't motorize the loading gates. They are mag locked, and spring loaded. When it is your turn to board, you are supposed to push them open and board, but there is no signal they are unlocked. You know, for those of us from my era, i they would install a little buzzer that would sound when the gate was open, I bet a lot of us would have a pavlovian response to open the gate. So the boats are about like Pilgrims Plunge with the overhead lap bar and all. The ride is a whole lot more complete than Plunge, first you have a long disorienting lift approach tunnel with misters, then lift 1, then the first big drop and run out. You then go through a rapids like section (hence the name) with waterfalls that all but encourage you to rock the boat to try to avoid getting wet. Then it is up lift 2 for the big drop and run out. My word of advice? Ride BAREFOOT, your feet will thank your for it. After drop two, the floor well of the boat fills with a least a foot or more of water, and stays filled until the unload station. At this point, with the lapbar you can't raise your foot enough to get it out of the pool of water. A minute of this will lead to the squishiest shoes, and soaked socks. That is really the ride's only downside, other than that it really came out great.
After that I took a ride on Maverick. The line for Maverick was just a little longer today than yesterday, with the covered portion full, the uncovered portion closed off, but the line was starting to overflow into the midway. Cedar Point, won't have any of that, so right after I enter the line, they open some of the unshaded queue area. I remind myself that the line really isn't any longer if they open up more sections of the queue after you have entered. I did find it interesting they did not open the parts that would offer access to the vending machines. I know yesterday, I laughed at the single rider queue, but today, when I got toward the covered section of the queue, I noted no one going for single rider, so I darted up those stairs at first opportunity, and bypassed a trainload or so of people. I know, not really a big deal. They have stopped assigning seats, so alll single rider does, is when an odd number group from the main line enter the trunstile, they let one in from single rider. I think it is encouraged yoou mate up with the odd rider. We wound up in row 2 of the front train on Maverick and proceed to have another awesome filled ride of Intamin goodness.
From Maverick, I head over to get the daily Mean Streak ride out of the way. I enter the queue I get about halfway to the turnaround, where, speaking of turnarounds I note people coming my way, I look over and people are coming down the load stairs. This has all the signs of a ride closure. You know, there are some ride closures that you stand in front of the closed ride for 15 minutes sulking about life not being fair, there are some that register as a disapointment, and then some you go :Oh, well". This falls firmly in the "Oh, well" camp.
I head down the Frontier Trail, where I note them getting the old Frontier Carousel building, and Rapids Ride area ready for haunts, as well as general theming in the area. It's the last area of Cedar Point that hasn't been lined with thrill rides, and as such offers that nice relaxing, shaded walk. At the other end, you find Millennium Force. I enter a 45 minute Millennium Force queue, which is to say just the last section fo queue maze was open. I am a biit more nervous than usual, I mean the test seat says I am fine, but what about the actual train. For a short time, it looks like the ride went down to two trains, slowing things down even more. Eventually, I make it to the station and take the first available seat. I fasten the belt, pull the tail, drop the lapbar and hope for the best. I really got scared when the loader got near me, and made the upbar hand signal. Luckily, it was for the rider directly behind me. So, I am cleared for takeoff. The rider next to me asks if I am nervous, and I ansswer, no, just relieved since it has been something like 5 years or so since I could ride this. The ride starts with a very steep, very fast launched lift hill, then into an overbanked turn, before you go through the tunnel to the twisted track that is on the island. Force is 300' tall, but the airtime, while there, isn't near as violent as Magnum. A lot moe gentle floats, and showing that you can do interesting things with curved track. I am real glad I was able to ride this again. I think I did the Dance of Joy all the way down the long exit ramp out onto the midway. You may recall in RCT when the riders would stop at the end of the exit ramp of their favorite ride and jump up and down. I briefly cosidered that.
Walking across the street, I next took in Mantis. Mantis should have been a near walk on, as the line was only back to the top half of the final staircase. A train later and I was positioned to board row 8. That's when it happened, a Mantis train pulls into the station, and one of the riders is puking their guts out. Okay, this shouldn't be too bad, they will unload it, hose it down, spray some sainitizer, run the train empty a couple cycles, but still use the other train But wait, there's more! The sight of the rider in the train puking their guts out started a bad case of chain reaction puking in the load station. When all was said and done, they had to move everybody up into the front half of the load station so they could completely hose down, and wash with some kond of chemical, the back half of the load station The mic man tried to keep those of us waiting entertained. "You want to know what the best thing about working at Cedar Point is? Well, this isn't it!" Some time later, they decide to load a train, and they do something unusual, since they were concerned about people slipping on whatever they used to wash down the station floor, they loaded rows 5-8 all through the row 5 gate. As it was, I was in the back left 'seat' on Mantis. Another eay fit, and its up and away on the stand up rollercoaster. It has the usual B&M intensity, and as usual I spend the next 2-3 minutes walking off the feelings in my lower legs.
From Mantis, I again cross the street, and note that Wildcat has about the same line it had last night, so I grab a ride on the Wildcat. I follow that up with a walk on ride on Iron Dragon. Iron Dragon has not recived the belts that Cedar Fair has seemed to have put on all their other arrow multi element trains, inclding the suspended coaster at Kings Island. That may be becuase Iron Dragon is a lot tamer ride. It is a two lift suspended coaster that was considered extreme when they showed the ads for it in 1987. The part after the first lift is really lifeless, it gets better after the second lift is a bit better but theat may be due to the interation witht the lake below.
After Iron Dgraon, I really need to get a drink, or something, maybe the heat is getting to me. The pepsi cart by Coasters is like an Oasis as I graba soft drink before contining. Next up is Power Tower, and it is a walk on, so I ride both sides. Power Tower is still in Sour Tower mode as there is just no airtime force at the top. S&S makes a shorter ride called the Double Shot that does way better in the airtime department. At least the ones at Ocean City, NJ, and Indiana Beach offer good airtime. Double Shot combines the upwards thrust of the Space Shot, with the faster than frefall downwards thrust of the Turbo Drop. But, Liberty Launch at Holiday World shows that the strong airtime is not a sure product of the Double Shot, as well as Dr. Dooms Fearfall and the Big Shot showing that a Space Shot alone can produce good air, just not on Power Tower. Power Tower is a 4 tower complex, with only three open today, 2 drops, and 1 shot. Makes sense, since the Turbo Drop ride experience is longer, with the having to slowly raise the gondola to the top of the tower.
After Power Tower, I make my way to Corkscrew. Since Cedar Point is in the middle of Big Ten country, you know how Big Ten has Legends and Leaders didvisions? Well, at Cedar Point they have botht he record breaking new technology "The Leaders", mixed with some olde ride technology that was top of the line in its day "Legends". Corkscrew is a legend, and so I took a walk on ride in the back seat. Corkscrew may have been the ride that started putting the belts in the Arrow cars. I'm glad to see they replaced the original installtion with a more customer fiendly version they have used at other parks. Corkscrew is not the generic out of the box corkscrew ride from Arrow. You may recall that one was a compact coaster - turn out of the station, up the lift, turnaround, down the drop, , turnaround, through the corkscrew, then turnaround one last time onto the brakes. No, Cedar Point Corkscrew is more of an out and back. On this one you take one of the patriotic themed trains, and do a turnaround out of the station, up the lift, down the drop, through an airtime producing speedhill that would be great fun if it weren't for the shoulder bars, then a vertical loop into the turnaround. On the way back yoou have the rides signature corkscrew element which is placedsuch that you actually go over a major park walkway, then onto a very long brake run, capeable of holding all three trains.
From Corkscrew, I continue witht the Legends. For a long time, the park has offered a low key ride called the Paddlewheel Excusion. It's a slow, family ride where you ride in a faux paddlewheel boat in the lake around the big island. It seems, this year the ride is closing. Now, it usually closes after Labor Day, becuase they use the island in the middle of the lake as a haunt and use the floating bridge from Geauga to get people to the island, which blocks the route for the Paddlewheel boat. Now, when I say Paddlewheel boat, don't think of the big boat ride at Disney, instead think of Jungle Cruisse size boats. Very fitting analogy, actually becuase the cruise route is dotted with tablueax that the skipper would introduce in comedic fashion, on a pun filled ride. Yes, this was Cedar Point's Jungle Cruise. Well, next year the park is leaving the floating bridge up all season, as the island is about to become a pay extra Dinosaurs Alive attraction. Hey families, we have a new family attraction for you, at the expense of another family attration, and you have to pay extra for it. Great. I hear they just got new canvas canopies for the boats too, that figures, as at Kings Island, King Cobra had been rumoured to be removed for 5 years before it actually was. I think it was removed the season after it got a complete overhaul and paint job.
I don't have the strong nostalgia attachment to Paddlewheel Excursion that some do, but I wanted to get in my last ride on it. I head back to the dock, which is somewhat hidden behind Camp Snoopy. Doesn't this figure, usually when I ride this, I merely have to wait for the next boat. Now that the ride is closing forever in 4 days, the line is spilling out onto the midway. In the hot sun. I think Cedar Point wanted this wait to look as long and uncomfortable as possible. I think they were only running 1 boat as well. I say look, becuase when you finally did make it into the big shelter, they had the line configured to take the shortest route to the turnstiles. 30 minutes later, I was being loaded onto a boat. For the last time - the Svillians (Civilians) from the Barber Of Saville, the Lighthouse (95% lighter than other houses), the crazy inventor and his flying machine that never got off the ground, and much more. They say on these types of riders the skipper makes the show. In this case, the Skipper was doing everything right, he was telling all the right jokes, and seemed into it. it was the riders who sat there stone faced. Come on guys: "Jokes? Funny? Ha-Ha?" I think the skipper almost gave up on them. Maybe it was waiting 30 minutes to be rushed around the lake at full throttle, maybe it was the mourning of their last ride, make it was some kind of silent protest, maybe it was just total exhaustion from the heat. Whatever the case, no more pier pressure.
From Paddlewheel, I pass Dragsters, and grab a Lemon Chill. If I would have known they would have given me the just the little wood ice cream tastig spoon, I may have reconsidered. Also, why do they price their products so after tax, it comes to $5.06. Couldn't we lower the actual price just a few pennies and have a net price of $5. I suck on the Lemon Chill as I make my way towards Oceana. Yes, I've pretty much taken care of the back half of the park, time to move up front. I finish the Lemon Chill just as I am passing Matterhorn. I grab a quick walk on ride on Matterhorn before continuing on.
I head to Windseeker, which has a slightly longer line than yesterday, but nothing too terrible, so I get rewarde with another fine view of Lake Erie, and a swing ride. From Windseeker, I hea to Wicked Twister. Now, I wasn't really seriously thinking I could ride it, but I needed that confirmation. I pole vaulted myself into the test seat, lowered the bar, and just as I thought, "Not a Chance". This one still isn't even close.
By this tie, something started coming over me, and I wasn't feeling that great. I sort of stumble over to MaxAir, and get there just in time to be rider #50. MaxAir should be just like Delirium at Kings Island, except its not. For one thing, they have improved traffic flow with two exit gates as well as the two entrance gates. They have a platform deck that doesn't look lke it would tear your feet up if you rode barefooted, and the cubby holes for lose items look better than the big metal toolboxes that look like they belong on the back of a pick up truck. The queue area looks smaller, but that may be just becuase they didn't try the experiment of mainstreaming wheelchairs through the main queue on this version. Also, the on deck 'bullpen' is the final twist of the queue, which keeps riders lined up in order, instead of the holding areas Kings Island uses. Kings Island has had to resort to painting numbers on the ground, not to keep order, but to get people to keep moving in and filling up all the available space in the holding areas. Note that both parks went to the Cedar Point style bullpen for Windseker. Now, that I have gone over all the off ride imrpovements, let's talk about on ride. In a nutshell, the ride expeiene on MaxAir is much better, its more like the ride program Delirium used when it was first installed. I don't know what happened to Delirium, but the program they run on it now is a shell of its former self. It also is a plus that MaxAir is in the middle of the midway, and not situated where one side of it swings out over a service area.
MaxAir was refreshing, and while in this corner of the park, I note Space Spiral is closed, not that I had any intention of getting in that sweat box, I instead got into a different Sweat Box. Disaster Transport. I should have known I was in trouble when I walked all the way through the queue and into a waiting sled. Last night the line was down the stairs and ust starting to back up into the queue maze. Last ngiht I wasn't riding in the middle of a 100 degree day, in a metal building, with no air conditioning. Trip to Alaska? (Who remembers that stroyline anymore), try Trip to Death Valley! Trip to Hell! That building was roasting inside, which is something I guess the Cedar Point regulars know. I make my way down the exit stairs and dash over to the water fountain. That fountain used to be very cold, not anymore. I duck into the restroom building near Space Sprial.
Wow this was actually a good move, as this restroom building has an air condiitoner! I admit I hung out in the restroom, until it got crowded with 10 other guys all hanging around trying to soak in the air conditioning. Cedar Point has been criticized in the past for nasty restrooms. I do think the park is trying to fix that situations, one tell is when you go into a restroom if it has the sea green/blue walls it's likely been renovated. This one, the one my the Funway train station, Mean Streak, and Mine Ride are all in great shape. The one by Mine Ride even has changing rooms, before you get into the restroom itself, trying to solve the wet floor problem that persists in restroom buildings near water rides. The one by Magnum is still pretty bad, and the one by Raptor is still at "Avoid at all costs".
But, I' still not feeling good, almost delerious. I make a trek through Kiddy Kingdom and into the Coliseum. If it's one place you can pactically guarantee air conditioning, its in arcades and gift shops. Stnding aound in a gift shop tends to bring unwanted attention to yourself, so I duck into the Coliseum. When I see the big fans, I know, no air conditioning here. I do find a table that looks like it came fro a 1970's fast food restaurant and sit down for ahwile. It may not be air conditioned, but its better than outside. I do watch some interesting 4 player air hockey matches going on, on a true 4 sided air hockey table. Yes I know all air hockey tables have four sides, but this one is more square, and has goals on all four sides. I also take a tour of the aracde. It is really neat, its like a time machine, the games nearest the midway are generally the newest games around, and as you go to the back the games get progressilvely older. The back wall is lined with pinball machines, many from the electromechanical era, and many still operate. (When you see cyclometer scoring, you now its an old game. They also have some old shooting games and the like back there. For some even older games, check out the Town Hall Museum back by mine ride. Though, last I checked, none of those games operate anymore, they are all show pieces.
So, its blazing hot outside. If this were during the middle of July or August, I could duck into a theatre and get 30 minutes of AC while watching a show, but I think both the ice show and the show in what was the Centennial Theatre have ended for the season. At least during the wee, anyway. Someobdy suggests the Red Garter to me, but that seems far away. I do decide to venture forth and check out Cedar Downs. Cedar Downs is the park's rare Racing Derby. It's similar to a carousel, except the horses are in full speed race poses instead of parade poses, and instead of focusing on going up and down, each row has 4 horses, and they move back and forwards within their row to crete the sensation of a race, and the ever changing order of the horses. It is also perceived to spin faster than a rgular carousel, but I think somebody has shown that the actual rotational speed of the turntable is actually the same as that of the main carousel up by the front gate. The difeence is the Racing Derby has a big infield in the center, so the turntable is much larger, and the horses are much further away from the center. Which means, that even through the machanism is moving at the same speed as the regular carousel, the horse has to travel a lot farther distance in the same arount of time, which yields to a much faster ride. The ride is sentimental for me, as it is one of the rides I remember enoying together with Mom and Dad, so I try to ride it every time I go to Cedar Point.
From Cedar Downs, I take a ride on Blue Streak, and decide I didn't really enjoy it all that much. On the way back to the main midway, I spot Gameday Cafe. More importantly, I note signs of air conditioning. I'm not sure what problem I was suffering but somewhere between the 45 minutes of air conditioning, the soft drinks with free refills ("Keep Em Coming!") and what was actually a very reasonably priced, generously sized and actually quite good Chicken Ceaser Salad, I was feeling much better. From my table at Gameday, I could watch Raptor run, and right after eating, I went to take a ride on Raptor. If I thought I had a walk on last night, I was mistaken, now this is a walk on.
After Raptor, I took a ride on the sky ride. I hit it at a time when not many people wanted to ride from the front gate to the center of the park, so I esentially walked up on a waiting car and got in. They loaded me in, locked the door, and as they were dispatching the car, the loader left me with a, "Don't forget to buckle up!" I, of course, looked for the non existant seat belt. It was a nice relaxing ride over the main midway, and I recalled a favorite scene from the movie Rollercoaster. In fact, I think I'll give the signal I switched suitcases as I near the north platform. The north platform was considerably busier, with a line of eager skyride riders almost all the way down the stairs. Beore moving on, I took a ride on Dodgems, I am somewhat of a bumper car fan, and Cedar Point actually has a nice set of cars. Of course, Cedar Point is also in Ohio, where most Dodgems operations are in a competition to see which one can be the worst.
From Dodgems, I take stock in what I have accomplished. I have been on all my Tier 1 rides that I am eligible to ride, except Mean Streak. I have een accomplished many of my favorite flat rides in the park, so not really a bad day for a Labor Day Weekend friday at the park. I decide to go pick up the Mean Streak ride for the day, and in doing so decide to ride back on the train ride. As the train is pasing by Milennium Force, I think I spot Eric coming in on a Milennium Force train. Now, even though I know by the time I get back there, he will be gone to some other attraction, I decide to skip out on Mean Streak, and just ride the train round trip. While the outbound leg of the train ride is the Intamin showcase on one side and Lake Erie on the other, the return leg cuts through the center of the park, and I suppose with Milennium Force and Shoot the Rapids is also an Intamin showcase ride, but it is also dotted with animated tableaux that make it much more interesting.
I get in line for Milennium Force, and much have gotten in line just in time, as the line was taking the shortest route possible, and was only halfway back to the entrance. By the time I was halfway up the big ramp, the last part of the queue maze was completely full. I suppose this is with people rushing to get their last ride of the night on the big rollercoaster. Did I mention how happy I am I can ride Milennium Force again? B this time it is almost time to catch back up to Eric. So I go up to the prearranged meet up spot by Raptor, and take a Raptor ride. The "One Last Time" crowd is here as well, as the line is all the way down the stairs and backing up into the maze.
I finish up my ride, and get a text that Eric is running a bit late. So I go over to Blue Streak to get another classic airtime filled wood coaster ride, then I walk next door to Calypso. I like the Calypso, and they have a good example here. For theme, they do play calypso style music on the ride, and they actually give you a decent length ride that spins pretty good. Maybe not Munich Oktoberfest fast, but a good ride none the less. Speaking of Oktoberfest, as I was waiting for my ride on Calypso, I note they have you wait up on the big ride deck just outside of the area with the turntable. Unlike Oktoberfest they have a fence between you and the turntable. It was actually running so nice, I rode it twice.
I finished up with a ride on Blue Streak. This is also being hit by the "One Last Time" crowd, as the line was halfway back to the tunnel under the track. When I got up to the station I realized they had taken the ride down to a single train. After that, I met up with Eric at Ocean Motion, which is now by the main gate, and we headed out. We exchanged notes, and I learned Eric focuses his day on Dragsters and Millennium Force. He noted the actual trains on Dragster are a harder fit than the test seat, that you can't ride the Giant Wheel alone, and more. We stopped by Danny Boy's for some Italian dining before heading to the hotel.