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What's New at Cedar Point for 2015

May 15, 2015, 8:38 AM · I had a free weekday and decided to make my first visit to Cedar Point this season. There have been quite a few changes in the park, and the weather was nice, so I headed to Sandusky — and found that every road between my home and Cedar Point is under construction. I finally arrived about a half-hour later than I expected, but still with plenty of time to get my Platinum Pass validated for this year and get into the park for most of the early ride time from 9-10 a.m.

I entered the Season Pass Processing Center promptly at 9 a.m., just as the park was broadcasting the National Anthem as they do every morning. Everyone in the room stopped what they were doing, stood and respectfully faced the American flag outside the building in the entrance plaza. I was quite impressed.

My card was processed quickly, I entered the park and walked to the "new" coaster this year — Rougarou. I used quotation marks because it is sort of a new coaster. Built in 1996 as Mantis, a B&M stand-up coaster, the ride was converted over the winter into a floorless coaster using the same track (repainted a bright orange) and renamed Rougarou, which I understand is Creole for werewolf. The ride takes its name and theming (I use the term loosely) from the swampy, murky, stagnant waters of the lagoons over which most of the ride races, and that visitors must cross (via a floating bridge from Celebration Plaza) to the loading station.

Rougarou
Photo courtesy Cedar Point

Rougarou was not cooperating with ride operators this morning, and it was nearly 1 p.m. before it actually started carrying riders. I was fortunate and was on the second train of the day with people on it. I was also fortunate in that they stopped loading trains after my ride and I don't know if they ever started running it again that day.

How is the ride, especially compared to Mantis? Well it is surprisingly different despite the fact that the track layout is unchanged. Rougarou seems faster than Mantis and physically rougher. It used to be a nut-crusher, and now it is a head-banger. It uses over-the-shoulder restraints, and the seats were very comfortable, but during the ride my head was slammed back-and-forth into the restraints. So much so that despite copious amounts of padding I still felt like my ears had been in a boxing match. Interestingly enough, everyone in my row (I was about half-way back on the train) said the exact same thing.

Rougarou is not a bad coaster but is not worth a special trip to Sandusky, Ohio, just to ride it. However, if you are in the neighborhood and haven't been to Cedar Point in a few years, a visit is always fun. Just don’t expect Rougarou to be the exclamation point of your trip.

Is Rougarou a "new coaster"? IMHO, yes, it is. Simply because the ride uses the same track as Mantis, the ride experience is totally different now that riders are sitting down rather than standing up. It is also a floorless coaster, but that fact was a small feature of the ride, and to be honest I never bothered to look down anyway, just straight ahead, and the seats appear to be elevated slightly as they progress to the back of the train so that everyone seemed to have a good view ahead. Anyway, if you count your coasters and have already ridden Mantis, you can ride Rougarou and increment your count with a clear conscience — just in case there is actually someone who cares about your coaster count.

The other major changes at Cedar Point this year involved opening up a huge area of land for future development. The Good Time Theater (formerly the Cedar Point Cinema) was torn down with no fanfare or advance notice, and several other adjacent rides were either moved elsewhere in the park or sent packing (probably to some lesser Cedar Fair Park like James Rao’s infamous Worlds of Fun Sass). The Calypso (a flat spinner) and the Dodgems (bumper cars) were moved to the Wicked Twister Midway, and the Turnpike Cars and Sir-Rub-a-Dub's Tubs were eradicated so completely it was like Cedar Fair was trying to hide the fact that they were ever in the park at all. This area of the park now stands completely fenced off, leaving lots of room for rumors to run wild about what is going into that space next year. Cedar Point has always been pretty good at keeping secrets, so I will just wait and resist the urge to add fuel to the rumor mill. (*cough cough* dive coaster *cough cough*)

The addition of Calypso (now renamed the Tiki Twirl in homage to a similar ride from Cedar Point's past) and Dodgems to the Wicked Twister Midway, and the moving of the kiddie dodgems from Kiddie Kingdom to Planet Snoopy, made me wonder if Cedar Point was attempting to reinvigorate this Midway the same way they breathed new life into the Gemini Midway last year with the introduction of Pipe Scream. If that was their intent, it didn't work. The location of Tiki Twirl next to the Giant Wheel balances the location of Troika on the other side of the Wheel nicely, but it also destroyed the entrance plaza to Wicked Twister and makes this area of the park look like Cedar Point's Attic, where they store rides that they don't know where else to put. It comes perilously close to looking cluttered, especially with several temporary food service wagons, the omnipresent basketball hoop games, and other pathetic cash grab sites.

The two-year renovation project on the Breakers Hotel was also completed this year, and the structures have been completely remodeled and much of the public areas (lobby, rotunda, and entrance) have been restored to their former glory. It looks amazing, but is a renewed Breakers Hotel and a floorless conversion worth a making special trip to the area in 2015? Maybe not, especially with that big new project — whatever it is — on its way.

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Replies (8)

May 15, 2015 at 9:34 AM · Thanks, Jim, for the review and nod to my underwhelming home park, Worlds of Fun. Based on your comments it looks like The Rao Family will be camping out at your house in 2016!!
May 15, 2015 at 11:45 AM · The new Breakers is pretty spectacular. It is easily one of the most impressive projects I have ever seen at the park. They did a really great job. Breakers finally feels more like an actual resort now.
May 15, 2015 at 12:52 PM · I think I met you yesterday while waiting for the Blue Streak to start. It was nice talking to you. I came back and rode Blue Streak at the very end. First car arms up all the way. ;)
May 15, 2015 at 3:21 PM · It's a shame that Rougarou seems to be a little bit of a dud. I heard very positive things from media day, but since then I've generally heard that it's just a different experience and not necessarily a better ride. I liked Mantis, but always considered it in the bottom tier of B&Ms and I'm not sure Rougarou will be able to move higher than that. Anyway, I'll have to give it a try next time I visit the park, and if the rumors of the world's largest dive coaster for 2016 are true I may be visiting again in the near future. Perhaps I'll use the renovated Hotel Breakers for my next visit.
May 15, 2015 at 4:59 PM · To anonymous above, Great Job, buddy!! I hope I didn't annoy you too much with my history lesson about the Blue Streak. First car arms up all the way!! You're on your way to being called a Ride Warrior! Now be brave, sign up as a Theme Park Insider member, and we'll see you in here and at the Point.

AJ, maybe if I had been invited to the media day for Rougarou I would have had a different opinion- but I doubt it. Robert tried to get me invited, but there seems to be a problem with Cedar Point not recognizing Theme Park Insider as a legitimate on-line website for theme park enthusiasts. I don't know why- I've had plenty of complimentary articles about Cedar Point in here.

I hope you do make it out here in 2016 for whatever they build. Maybe if you're here when the Raos are here we can have a TPI Invasion of Cedar Point. Anyone else up for a party?

May 15, 2015 at 8:24 PM · James, I'm a little surprised TPI isn't considered a legitimate enthusiast website by Cedar Point when other Cedar Fair parks welcome representatives to media days. However, I have also heard that Cedar Point is one of the hardest parks to get invited to, so I don't know. I'm guessing invitees gave the ride a slightly more positive review than they actually felt simply because going to a media day and their new ride isn't anything special would probably get you uninvited in the future.

I probably won't know until the winter what my theme park plans are for next year, but based on what I've heard rumored and what opened this year I'm currently debating between a deep south trip (Carowinds, Dollywood, and Six Flags Over Georgia) and a mid-west trip (Cedar Point, Holiday World, Kings Island, and possibly a couple smaller parks) for my out of state theme park trip in 2016 (2017 is already reserved for Florida). If I end up going to Cedar Point and there is a TPI mini-meet, I'd definitely make sure I'm there for that.

May 16, 2015 at 2:36 AM · AJ, the odd thing is that for the past several years they have been extremely welcoming to me for media day. I don't know about other CF parks, but along with media they also invited members of coaster clubs to the event, both for the opening day of the park in May and also for the first day of HalloWeekends. Usually media were admitted first, then coaster club members. Something changed this year- they invited my local small-town newspaper, who send their theater critic! A very nice lady, but more of a human interest person than a ride warrior. There was something else going on in the background between TPI and CP, and I let Robert deal with it and just stayed out of the way. We'll see what happens- maybe they'll finally be won over by Robert's combination of Midwestern charm and SoCal sophistication.

If you do make the Midwest tour, think about Michigan Adventure, over on the west side of the lower peninsula of Michigan. Also a CF park, underreported in TPI but it has what I've heard is a great woodie called Shivering Timbers. If you do CP, KI and MA, get a Platinum Pass- lots of great discounts and free parking, and early admission/late ride times.

Hope to see you up here on the north coast. While here we can talk in person about your misguided voting during the latest Theme Park Apprentice competition ;+)

May 16, 2015 at 3:57 PM · At the moment, I'm thinking about pulling the route east and adding Kennywood since I've never been there. However, Michigan's Adventure is definitely an alternative possibility, especially if I were to do Indiana Beach as well (which had a couple major attractions down when I visited last year). The park is the highest priority of the three remaining Cedar Fair parks for me, but since it is so remote it's difficult to plan a trip to it. It's also probably not much more than a half day park, but if only 4 hours of extra driving were required and I could get it free I'd definitely consider it. The other smaller park I'd almost certainly include would be Kentucky Kingdom as I'd go right by it anyway and the park definitely was not at 100% last year.

We'll see what happens. I usually don't start actual planning until about 6 months out, so in February I'll likely have a good idea of what I'm doing for summer 2016. Also, we may have more than one Theme Park Apprentice competition to discuss by the time I get up there. You never know...

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