A new Gemini Midway highlights a new season at Cedar Point
Published: May 11, 2014 at 10:41 PM
The area of Cedar Point
known as the Gemini Midway has always been problematic. From the moment it was created it has basically been a wide, flat, open-aired boring hallway, connecting the original Midway with Frontier Town. One side is dominated by Gemini, a massive wooden coaster which was one of the tallest, fastest and steepest wooden racing coasters in the world when built in 1978, while the other side was lined with a shop, some carnival games and two small kiddie spinners, backed by the Jr. Gemini, a misnamed kiddie coaster that was not a double coaster despite its name.
This year that has all changed. A multi million dollar renovation has made this once drab stretch of asphalt into an exciting stretch of rides, new and improved snack areas and attractive landscaping, and a lighting design unique at Cedar Point. Two new rides, Pipe Scream and Lake Erie Eagles, several refurbished ones and another one under construction (SlingShot) promise to make the Gemini Midway one of the most exciting areas in the massive Cedar Point Amusement Park.
Photo courtesy Cedar Point
Pipe Scream is a Disk'O Coaster manufactured by Zamperla, and is located on the south side of the Gemini Midway, where the kiddie rides and carnival games once stood. It runs on a 302 ft. long track and reaches heights of 43 feet and travels up to 43 m.p.h. Not record-breaking, but it never was intended to be. It is part of Cedar Point's intention to expand family-friendly attractions, and it accomplishes it very well. It is surprisingly an extremely fun ride, much more so that one would expect from just observing it from the ground. The constant spinning of the train on the undulating track provides air time, a continually changing view and a chance for young or less-adventurous riders to experience the thrill of a coaster without the fear that some have of them. Thirty-six riders at a time get to experience this ride, which has been described as a flat spinner on a coaster track.
Lake Erie Eagles is a flying scooter ride by Larson International, and stands opposite the entrance to Pipe Scream in the grassy area in front of Gemini and next to the beautifully repainted Monster. Eight cars painted like giant eagles can hold one person comfortably or two people cozily, and a large rudder on the front of the car allows riders to control the flight of their "eagle" as it spins around the central tower. Once again, no records broken, but Lake Erie Eagles brings a ride unlike any other at Cedar Point to allow families (and couples who like to get cozy on rides) to discover a favorite ride of amusement park patrons since the 1930's.
Several rides and structures that stood on the old Gemini Midway have been either removed or renovated. The Frog Hopper, a children's drop tower, has been moved to Camp Snoopy and renamed Woodstock's Airmail, and the Junior Gemini, now called Wilderness Run, had a new entrance built to include it in Camp Snoopy also. The children's bumper boats ride was removed completely. Several of the structures that housed carnival games have been reconstructed to house a Coca-Cola Freestyle and Yogurt Plus stand.
The entire midway has been redesigned and lined with benches for seating, large round shades to ease the notorious heat that this area was formerly known for, and strings of overhead lights that cross the midway and will make this once dark zone a much more welcoming and festive place to visit when the sun goes down. The media day ended before I could see these lights on, but from what I could tell it will be a major improvement to the former gloom of this part of the park.
One new addition to the Gemini Midway is still under construction and won't open until June. A Sling Shot ride (up charge but no idea what the price will be yet) will be located next to the Gemini loading station in the grassy area between it and the restrooms. It promises to launch riders 360 feet into the air, making it the second highest attraction at the park.
Cedar Point continues to redevelop and improve itself. Two years ago Celebration Plaza and the Luminosity Stage was created. Last year we got a new main entrance and the beautiful Gatekeeper Plaza. This year a once rather dreary stretch of asphalt and tacky carnival games has been eliminated and replaced with an exciting mixture of new rides, attractive vistas and a festive lighting scheme. The Gemini Midway is no longer someplace to walk through as quickly as possible- it's a place to stop, admire and enjoy.
Published: May 12, 2014 at 3:40 AM
Nice to get a report out of the frozen north! Are you recovered sufficiently from your blustery winter blues yet, Mr. Koehl?
It strikes me that Matt Ouimet (president and CEO of Cedar Fair and former Disneyland savior) strikes again, as this article contains one of the greatest updates I may have ever read about a Cedar Fair park: they removed kiddie bumper boats and carnival games! Yes!!! As far as I am concerned everything else mentioned is just icing on the cake! Well, except the part about adding a new upcharge ride. *Sigh* I guess it is one step forward a half step back for the Point this time.
Mr. Koehl, you mentioned "new and improved snack areas"... is that improvement limited to a Coca-Cola Freestyle and Yogurt Plus stand or are there other snack options/changes as part of the renovation?
Published: May 12, 2014 at 4:23 AM
Geminiis not a wood coaster. While the structure is wood, the track itself is steel. It IS a steel coaster.
Published: May 12, 2014 at 6:08 AM
The Lake Erie Eagles reminds me of a ride they had at Kennywood Park long ago when I was a very young kid. It was always one of my favorite attractions and I'd ride it numerous times. It';s good too see them redo that section of the park. You are very correct when you describe the open asphalt area as hot.
Published: May 12, 2014 at 1:35 PM
James, the Gemini Midway already had a food stand called Happy Friar that served fresh-cut fries. It now also serves Chickie's and Pete's Crabfries. Chickie's and Pete's is a Philadelphia-based restaurant chain that is expanding and is now operating a sports-themed restaurant formerly known as Game Day Grille in Cedar Point. I didn't make it down to try the crabfries but will do so on my next visit to the park.
As far as recovering from this past winter, everything here in Ohio is thawing out nicely. The grass is growing out of control, the trees have their leaves and the temperature right now is 85 degrees. We've already had our first severe thunderstorm of the season, and Cedar Point was under a severe thunderstorm warning as of about 1/2 hour ago.
Published: May 12, 2014 at 1:48 PM
I think that Gemini is considered a steel hybrid coaster, with steel tracks on a wooden framework. I'm not sure how well it would do if all the wood was taken away from it, leaving only the steel track and some places where a steel framework was used. I suppose that, technically, it is a steel coaster, but looking at it from the Gemini Midway (which this article is really about, not the Gemini coaster itself) all that most people see is a huge, wooden coaster with two trains racing each other. If you look closely you can see the steel in it, but most people don't care.
I've never ridden the Gemini without seeing people reach out and slap hands with people in the other train as they race by. It's become a tradition.
Published: May 13, 2014 at 4:33 AM
Glad they payed some attention to that area, it needed something. In the past, these little pockets of land have been a hodgepodge of things put together with little regard for aesthetics or design. Making these spots time worthy instead of just roads to the next coaster will help with the crowds and generate more revenue in that area.
I'm sure the big rides will keep coming because those are the draw, however paying attention to these spots by using a coherent layout and a lighting package (keep those LEDs coming) will be important for a couple of reasons. One, it's a fairly inexpensive investment and will make a difference both visually and monetarily. Also, even though it's a big park, Cedar Point doesn't have all the space in the world to work with anymore. Unused land is still there in bits, but I'm pretty sure that big picture, increasing the "value" of existing, developed space is a priority, or at least it should be.
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