Trip report May 2010

Cedar Point: My first visit to CP May 17-18, 2010

From Jean Seo-Park
Posted May 26, 2010 at 6:08 AM
A coaster enthusiast at heart (only having been to SFGA, Universal Studios, Disney), I decided to make a stop in Sandusky for two days before heading over to my sister's wedding on May 23 in California. The tickets were a reasonable $29.99. Not so true of the taxi ride. No one else, including my husband was up for CP so I arrived at Hopkins airport myself and accepted my receipt for a taxi and was flummoxed by the $120 fare quote. What was I to do? Though I work in NYC, I rarely hail cabs, or call car services. This was roughly $2/mile, boy are NYC cab riders spoiled! I also tipped $20. Why not a rental car? I have yet to obtain a driver's license having worked in NYC most my adult life, and hubby drives us both in to work with our one Camry.

Day one:

The Breakers hotel gave me an "upgrade" which meant I had a double bed in the regular section, rather than the more quaint "Bon Air" section. Ironing board, refrigerator, and clothesline in the shower were included (features that are not offered even in some chain hotels). Acceptable, no-frills, and most importantly, no evidence of bed-bugs, though only time will tell ( I know from experience)

1:30 pm My day already started off rainy and cold! 40-50s all day! Had to buy a poncho, hoodie, and gloves there-I NEVER GET COLD! But the rain just exacerbated the near frigid temperatures. Also, There were many high schoolers here, due to physics week and the beginning of summer vacation in some part. Opted to start at the south end. Raptor was closed.

Wicked Twister: Fun suspended ride, but not quite a coaster. Good warm-up I thought for TTD (I would imagine, having only ridden Kingda Ka at SFGA)

Power Tower: All these types of rides are similar in every park. Here, they let you opt for speedy up, or slow up. I was unfazed, having ridden the Stratosphere tower in Vegas 3 times by myself due to wind/weight balance condtions in February. Still, a great transition ride to coasters.

Corkscrew: Good intro/transtional coaster. Kinda hurt my hips though. CP is definitely not for obese folks. I am moderaely overweight at 130-140 pounds on a 4'10" frame

Magnum XL: Super air time and unbeatable view of the ocean. Practically the only ride that stayed open through the rain. One of their first coasters, there is the old-school coaster feel and slow mechanical first uphill. Best of all is the awesome 80's music while waiting in the line.

Mean Streak: At least in the rain, I thought this was a fine wooden coaster, but nothing compared to El Toro at SFGA. (changed my mind later...)

Max Air: I don't like "dizzy" rides, but this was also one of the few that were running. It was exhilarating though at this height, my face felt as if it were being pelleted by hail.

So not much of a first day, due to late start and rain. Found the hotel through the tsunami and shivered myself to sleep with the heat on in the end of May! I would never wear flip-flops at a coaster park, but my sneakers and socks just served as a heavy cold pack for my feet all day. Was this a corporeal punishment for trying to get a little fun in before my sister's wedding I wondered?

Day two:

1-hour early entry is a must in peak seasons. Can not stress this enough. Not raining as hard as previous day but...

Maverick: Closed

Milennium Force: Probably a mistake to start with this one. Most everything else pales in comparison. My rule for coasters is hands down the first time. Hands up downhill thereafter. Hands down with shoulder restraints ALWAYS! This coaster is like buttah! Totally smooth.

The other "early-entry" coasters are not even testing yet.

MF: Again! By default. Hands up! Glimpsed the single rider and some wannabees. Some boys wore similar neon yellow shirts with their names on their backs as an homage.

Blue Streak: ugh! Just as I am next in queue, the ride pauses because some student pulled out his/her physics instrument going up the hill rather than down the hill. Apparently, on every coaster, there are "eyes". (The newer coasters use lasers). Anyhow, this entailed that an operator walk up the first hill to reprimand, while the loading operator warned the waiting guests not to do the same. Lo and behold, same thing happens on my ride! This wooden coaster was also a bit painful on the turns, but an ok transitional coaster.

Iron Dragon: Don't really care for suspended coasters, but this one's visibility is pretty good. I mistakenly rode this, thinking it was Mantis.

MXL: again, hands up!

Mantis: again, I am at the front of the line, when the ride is indefinitely suspended due to a rider fainting. This is a stand-up coaster with groin "support" and a non-cushy shoulder restraint. I had the most painful headache and backache after this one, no wonder someone fainted. Do not ride this with earrings, it has an unprotective shouder harness, much like the one on the GASM at SFGA.

Raptor: Finally running at least intermittently! There were many test runs with a single operator serving as "dummy". Again, not caring for suspended coasters, I still liked this one's smoothness. Felt it could use a faster, more modern launch like the Hulk's at Universal.

Maverick: Finally open! Strangely enough, the longest queue. The single rider line is not an option until the last 15 yards, so that is quite counter-productive in my book. Great launch (kinda like the Hulk) and this was one of the few rides that were running more than one train. I didn't notice the shoulder restraint as much, but due to my Mantis experience, I did my best to keep my head midline and back against the seat. I am short, but my torso is long while my legs are practically non-existent. So, on rides, I am usually at the same head level as others when I am seated.

MF: Again! Just gets better.

Disaster Transport: This was closed the other day due to "weather". Why? Oh cause it is so tepid. True, it makes the only "theme" coaster attempt, but falls so short.

MXL: Again! OMG the air time was sick this time because of the windier conditions. My souvenir photo screen showed my poncho flying in the air like a superhero's cape. It's a wonder the ride didn't stop because of this. The CP coasters are so sensitive to track deviations/obstacles at CP for safety QA. That was the given reason as to why most of them were going through testing most of the day. A falling bird feather, big drop of rain, or unsecured cell phone falling out of a car can stop all running cars (at the next plateau of course!)

Wild Cat: A decent kid's coaster. It really only seats one adult per seat. Actually these "kiddie" coasters often feel more dangerous to me in that they are usually shorter trains and feel just more "rickety" like the ones in travelling amusement parks.

Mean Streak: It was dry for the first time! Not so good for this wooden coaster. Ouch! Never again!

Gemini: No twin train running. Not enough riders anyway. If you have to ride a wooden, ride this one for your spine's sake!

Top Thrill Dragster: Neverending lines and spotty launches, I decided to make this my last conquest. There was about a 20% failed lauch rate, meaning that folks would just make it to the top and then come down backwards to the start. Bummer! And that was with only 6 people=2 of 4 cars filled. After many closures and reopenings, I was again, at the front of the queue when at 7:30 they announced that a nut-like part had to be replaced. We could cut the line at any of the other super coasters, accompanied by one of the TTD operators. Boo and hooray! As I joined the group for Maverick, others joined in like the "Pied Piper" poem, except without the fatalistic ending. Drats!

Maverick: Not a bad consolation prize for the second time. No useless single rider line.

All in all, I got my money's worth I guess. However, my experience was marred by the presence of so many unnaccompanied minors with their PDA (I don't mean their blackberrys), spitting, horseplay, whining about not being able to light up and be altered for the rides. Others complained about how their parents paid $$ for them to wait on long lines in the cold. (I am really turning into a crotchety curmudgeon.) I also noticed that most of the ride operators were high-school age "1st season" employees=not much experience. Not sure if it is good business practice to list one's length of experience on the ID tags-this was the case even at the Breakers hotel. I was reassured though because I know the sheer brains behind the engineering of the rides themselves (trying to convince my baby bro-mechanical engineering graduate from Columbia to design these rides).

I found the bathrooms to be plentiful and clean. However, the maps did not have the "you are here" designations which is often a default even in the smallest of parks and malls. Most rides also have a bin to stow items, which is great since they are not forcing you to rent their lockers.

I would suggest to steer clear of Midway Market, even with the coupon, as their "international section" consisted of meatballs, spaghetti, and taco fillings. I passed on the elephant ears because as much as I love fried food, it does not love me back. The park food is comparable or even better than others-really enjoyed the handcut fries.

Get to know the seasonal crowds and when schools let out. The school group weeks are listed right on the website! I should have known that these May tickets were so cheap because of physics week!

I will return one day, and follow my plan barring weather conditions.

Seeing the "single rider" really made my day!

From Mike Gallagher
Posted May 26, 2010 at 6:29 PM
Glad to see a fellow Jersey resident (not far away from me, either!) finally made it to the Mecca. I like the way you referred to CP as your "Everest" on your profile. You had some downtime issues, but it sounds like you made out pretty well overall. I'll be going the end of next month for my seventh or eighth visit.

"Ocean?" Yeah, it seems like one, especially when you're in it. But it's not an ocean. We Jersey peeps are spoiled..we've got the Atlantic.

PAINFUL as it is for me to admit, there was a time..after my first visit to CP in the early 90's..when Mean Streak was my favorite coaster. El Toro long since replaced it in that spot, but Mean Streak lost a lot of traction on my list WAAYYY before El Toro was born in 2006.

*EDIT* Two things I neglected to comment on the first time through: Yes, Midway Market is QUITE bad. And you referred to the rollbacks on TTD as a "BUMMER?" I would KILL to experience a rollback on TTD or KK! The only coaster I ever had a rollback on was a kiddie Dragon Coaster at Blackbeard's Cave at the Jersey Shore!

Thanks for sharing, Jean.

From James Rao
Posted May 26, 2010 at 8:54 PM
Great TR, Jean. Thanks for sharing. And, while I am sorry you had a few hiccups during your adventures, I agree with Mike and think the rollback on TDD would be a huge boon! After the launch, what else is there? =)

From Melissa Donahue
Posted May 26, 2010 at 9:07 PM
Thanks for the detailed trip report, Jean.

I was fortunate enough to experience a rollback on TTD during the first summer that it opened. It was a blast, and most importantly, the scary moment was definitely worth one and a half rides! :) On the way up, I remember shouting, "We're not gonna make it," and sure enough, we flew backwards down the hill and back towards the station. The look on the peoples' faces who were observing in the grand stands was priceless...

From Derek Potter
Posted May 26, 2010 at 9:09 PM
After the failed launch again. That's the best version of TTD. It's like you ride twice.

Sorry the weather wasn't on your side. It's a bit of a gamble to go in May. The weather hasn't totally turned summer yet in Sandusky by that time. Rain all day at Cedar Point tends to cramp the park's style, as most of the big rides go down. You hear about Cedar Point talking about bad weather affecting attendance, and it's true. If it's raining, the park clears out because there isn't a ton to do indoors.

From Jean Seo-Park
Posted May 28, 2010 at 10:56 AM
Thank you all for getting through my ramblings. I think KI will my next excuse to visit the midwest. I had fun waiting for TTD with our collectively exhaled and heartfelt "awws" when there were rollbacks. But every time they made it over, there were also resilient cheers for both those riders and the miniscule chance that the rest of us might experience that! The engineering behind Dragster and the like is still brilliant and beautiful to look at.

From Melissa Donahue
Posted May 28, 2010 at 5:03 PM
I live about 5 min. from Kings Island, yet I would still prefer to travel nearly 4 hours north to Cedar Point anyday! Don't get me wrong -- KI is an enjoyable park, but for the thrill seekers and coaster junkies, it just doesn't compare to CP. If nothing else, a ride on Diamondback is worth the visit, but don't get your hopes up too much. This Cedar Fair property is really nothing like its sister park in Sandusky.

From Jean Seo-Park
Posted May 29, 2010 at 8:13 PM
Thanks Melissa. Until I get my driver's license, I'm thinking of BG Williamsburg if not for the atmosphere and accessibility via public transportation. I'll put KI on the backburner for now....

From Erin B
Posted May 29, 2010 at 10:47 PM
Great TR, Jean. Glad you enjoyed your time at CP even though the weather was less than impressive. I think I was there at least one of those days [I've kind of lost track of visits by already, haha].
Just an FYI, Magnum isn't one of CP's first coasters. It was built in 1989 :P Also, Gemini is actually a steel coaster. The track is steel, while the supports are wood & it's the track that counts. Minor details for the general public, I know, but I figured I'd just throw that out there.

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