Overwhelmed at planning Cedar Point

June 8, 2015, 10:48 AM

Let me say that I can plan ANY Disney vacation down to the minute and tell you which ride to ride in which order but am overwhelmed with Cedar Point! Go figure..

Facts - Arriving June 15th thru June 17th with 4 pm admission on 15th and two full days 16 and 17.

Staying at Breakers.
Crowd to please: Early/mid teens

Does a tour plan exist from anyone that states : Enter this gate first then do this ride then that ride, etc. etc. Like an idiot's guide to Cedar point version!!!

Tempted to buy the Fast Lane but would need to buy for 4 teens, and 3 aren't mine :)

THANK YOU For any and all help!

Replies (9)

Edited: June 8, 2015, 11:15 AM

Since you're visiting during the week and not over the weekend, you probably should not need FastLane. If for whatever reason you don't get on everything you want on the 16th, you could always pony up for the FastLane for the 17th.

As with any iron park, you should plan to ride the newest and lowest capacity attractions early in the day. If you're staying at Breakers, you get early entry, and should enter the back gate by Magnum. Technically, Rougarou is the newest coaster, but is just Mantis with sit-down, floorless trains. I haven't been on it yet this season, so I don't know how popular it is, but I probably wouldn't recommend going there first. Maverick and Dragster have the lowest capacity of all the coasters (aside from Wicked Twister, which is not really worth running for first thing), so I would recommend trying to hit those early in the day. However, Dragster tends to take some time to get going in the morning, so I would probably recommend doing Maverick first. You might even want to ride Maverick a couple of times during the early entry period before lines get long (also since most people will be coming from the main gate and it can take 5-10 minutes just to get back to Maverick for most guests). I would then work my way over to Millennium Force, which has decent capacity, but is very popular and still draws big lines, and then over to Dragster to see if it's running and what the line looks like. If Dragster is running and the line is not beyond the first ground-level queue area (unfortunately you can't see it without actually getting in line), then go ahead and ride it. If not, I'd make my way to the front of the park and hit Gatekeeper and work back around the park counter-clockwise. Plan to do a lot of walking because Cedar Point is a lot bigger than it looks like on a map and for the most part the coasters are pretty well spread out, especially Maverick (next closest coaster to there is Mean Streak which is not worth the scrap wood it's made of), which is probably the best of the bunch. Avoid Raptor early in the day (it tends to draw lines because aside from Gatekeeper, it's the first coaster people see when they enter the park), because it can be virtually walk on later in the day when crowds disperse throughout the park. On weekdays, you probably won't have to wait more than 30-40 minutes for any single coaster (aside from perhaps Force and Dragster or Maverick if you want re-rides later in the day), and don't forget about the flat rides since Cedar Point has a pretty good collection of them. 2 and a half weekdays is a good plan for a first time Cedar Point visitor, and you should be able to get on every attraction you want without needing FastLane, especially with the early entry you get from staying at Breakers.

June 8, 2015, 11:42 AM

You are wonderful. THANK YOU. Printing and dissecting. But honestly 30 minute wait is more than I want to wait. Again, spoiled master Disney planner waits no more than 10 minutes for ANYTHING!!! So if 30 minutes is considered mild maybe I do need Fast pass. I know you don't have a crystal ball BUT on average what is a typical coaster wait (aside from the BIG new one)...30 minutes for weekday June? I am looking for no more than 15 tops....

June 8, 2015, 12:20 PM

If Dragster is down for any length of time during the day, you can expect to see the line swell over an hour on a weekday once it reopens. Maverick was running 45-60 minutes in the afternoon when we were there last July on weekdays. Force will run 30+ minutes after the initial swell of guests in the morning as will Gatekeeper. The rest of the coasters will probably fluctuate between walk on and 15-20 minutes. So if you can hit those top coasters during your early entry time, then there's no reason to get FastLane. It really isn't worth the expense on a weekday in June unless you really need to ride those top coaster dozens of times over your 2+ days. The lesser coasters at Cedar Point are simply not worth the extra money just to save a few minutes waiting in minimal lines, particularly compared to weekend crowds when you can wait 30+ minutes for the 26 year old Magnum.

For some perspective, we waited 4 hours in line to ride Dragster in its inaugural season when it was the world record holder for speed and height. We planned a 3-day visit, and were lucky enough to get 2.5 rides (our first ride was a rollback, so we got relaunched) over the visit because the coaster was up and down so frequently (it's far more reliable these days, but still rather finicky).

June 8, 2015, 1:19 PM

Thanks! I am going to outline this into a flow chart to follow. I need to check park opening but I think it is 10 am that day meaning I get in at 9. Would you arrive as early as 8 am to line up for a 9 am opening? Would you enter both days from the BEACH entrance I think that is what it is called....or would one of the days you enter up front to do the front of the park coasters early?

June 8, 2015, 2:17 PM

You don't need to line up more than 15-20 minutes before early entry. The "Beach" entrance is by Windseeker and Wicket Twister, which is probably not a good place to start, and I'm not even sure if that entrance even opens for early entry. You should enter at the "Resort" entrance, which is by Magnum and Soak City and the closest to your hotel. You could go all the way around to the front and enter the main gate, but it's a long walk around the outside of the park or you would need to drive around to the main parking lot. The only reason to enter the front gate would be if you wanted to ride Gatekeeper first and needed multiple repeat rides during the early entry period.

In general, I think you're WAY over thinking this trip. Cedar Point is far too expansive and there are so many variables (rides going up and down throughout the day, enthusiast events, weather, etc...) that you cannot jump around the park. Unlike WDW, Cedar Point is much more of a walk around and hop on something that interests you park. Pick the 2 or 3 coasters you really want to ride during the early entry period, and for the rest of the day, systematically walk around the park and ride things as you come to them, if they're open and have a reasonable line. Once you've made a loop (will probably take 4-6 hours or longer depending on re-rides and how many flat rides you hit), go around again and hit the rides that you missed the first time around or the ones worth another go. After 2 loops, which will probably take most of a day, you should have hit all of the major coaster and best flat rides along with a few others. The only strategy you need at Cedar Point is what to ride first, which I highly recommend be Maverick, especially since you'll likely enter from the Resort entrance.

June 8, 2015, 4:40 PM

Sigh...I am so type A aren't I?? Yes my systematic plan of Disney does not seem to be working here. Thanks for the great advice. We are staying at Breakers by friends meeting us are at Breakers Express which I think they have to drive. Since I want us all to stay together, can they still drive into the RESORT entrance to meet us since we can walk...

Edited: June 8, 2015, 4:57 PM

Melissa, if it will set your mind at ease, here's what I experienced on my Cedar Point trip last summer. I visited for about a day and two-thirds on weekdays in July. My guess is that you'll encounter similar or lighter crowds at the time of your visit, but definitely not more crowds. The first day, we didn't arrive until 2 P.M. and still managed to ride every coaster before closing. On the second day, we decided to purchase Fast Lane Plus and got enough riding in that we left a bit early. No matter what you do, two and a half days should definitely be sufficient on the days you are visiting.

Cedar Point (and most non-destination parks for that matter) is different from a Disney park and does not require comprehensive planning. In my experience, it is good to plan out the first couple hours of your day and then just go from there. If you try to schedule everything down to the minute you will probably drive yourself crazy. If you insist on having a more structured visit, I would do the following:

June 15th: Upon arrival, head to the Wicked Twister midway. Ride GateKeeper, Wicked Twister, and anything else you feel like doing in this area (I'd recommend MaxAir and Windseeker). If you plan on eating in the park, you may want to grab an early dinner after doing these rides. Next, head back to Frontier Trail for Millennium Force, Rougarou, and the water rides (if you want to get wet). Once you are done here, go back around to the Gemini Midway to and ride Top Thrill Dragster, Magnum XL-200, Gemini, Corkscrew (if desired...this one isn't very good), Power Tower, and any other flat rides of interest. If you still have time left, just go around and do whatever for the remainder of your evening.

June 16th: Get to the Soak City entrance (the one by Magnum XL-200) about 20 minutes before opening. Once inside, head to Maverick. Ride Maverick as many times as desired during the early entry period. At park opening, head to Top Thrill Dragster and ride. Ride the other coasters of interest in the Gemini Midway, then work back toward Frontiertown, riding attractions as you reach them. In Frontiertown, ride everything you wish to ride (Mean Streak is optional, but I'd recommend anything else non-standard back here), then grab lunch and board the Cedar Point and Lake Erie Railroad for a trip to the Main Midway. Ride Millennium Force and Rougarou if interested, then do the various attractions at the front of the park. You should be done with everything by mid-afternoon. From there, just do whatever you feel like doing for the remainder of the day.

June 17th: Use your early entry this day to get plenty of rides on Millennium Force and Rougarou. Once the park opens, just go around the park in a logical order and do anything you want to ride. You should have experienced everything on previous days, so there is little need to rush around on this day. Just avoid the Main Midway until after lunch and you'll probably have few issues.

Unlike at a Disney park, your attractions of interest may vary depending on your preferences. For a first-time visitor to Cedar Point, I would consider the following the must-ride attractions:

Cedar Downs Racing Derby
GateKeeper
Gemini
Magnum XL-200
Maverick
MaXair
Millennium Force
Power Tower (try both versions)
Raptor
Rougarou
Skyhawk
Thunder Canyon (only if you're okay with getting wet)
Top Thrill Dragster
Wicked Twister

As far as Fast Lane is concerned, I would only buy it if you are the type of person who likes to re-ride the major attractions numerous times (say at least 4 rides on every attraction in the above list) or if you encounter lines greater than an hour for all of the big three (Maverick, Millennium Force, and Top Thrill Dragster). If you do decide to purchase Fast Lane, wait until you are at the park before buying, do not purchase it for more than one day of your visit, and do not buy it if rain is forecast. I would also opt for the Plus version (which includes GateKeeper, Maverick, Rougarou, and Top Thrill Dragster) as other than those Millennium Force and Raptor were the only rides where Fast Lane saved a notable amount of time. Keep in mind that Fast Lane is not a virtual queue and only grants access to an alternate queue, so you will likely still wait 10-15 minutes to ride (more for a high demand seat).

For reference, here's the approximate wait times I experienced for the roller coasters on my visit last year. You'll likely see similar:

Blue Streak: Walk-on (with both trains...15-20 minutes with one train)
Cedar Creek Mine Ride: Walk-on
Corkscrew: Walk-on
GateKeeper: 15-30 minutes (longer in the morning)
Gemini: Walk-on
Iron Dragon: 5-10 minutes
Magnum XL-200: 15-30 minutes
Maverick: 45-60 minutes
Mean Streak: Walk-on
Millennium Force: 30-45 minutes
Raptor: 30-45 minutes (longer in the morning)
Rougarou: 5-10 minutes (likely 15-30 minutes now due to the conversion)
Top Thrill Dragster: 30-45 minutes
Wicked Twister: 15-30 minutes

The non-coaster attractions were generally no more than 15 minutes. Short version...you really don't need Fast Lane with the amount of time you have at the park, but if you think waiting in the above lines is too much you can buy it for one day and get as much use out of it as possible. Cedar Point generally runs all available trains on their coasters and they have the best operations of any seasonal park I've visited, so even if a line looks long it will move fast.

Lastly, have a good time. It's not Disney, but Cedar Point is still a great park and is probably the best "Iron Ride Park" in North America. Don't get stressed out if something throws your plan off and just adapt to it.

Edit due to above post: Anyone is able to use the Soak City/Resort entrance at Cedar Point. If your friends are driving from Breakers Express, they just need to tell the guard at the parking booth they're going to the Soak City lot and they'll be directed around the perimeter of the park to the back. The lot for day visitors will be on the left before reaching Magnum XL-200, then guests walk under the ride and through the Challenge Park to reach the entrance.

June 9, 2015, 4:58 AM

THANK YOU AJ!!! I Am going to print this out and try to organize my thoughts...I may have more questions but your post looks fantastic and I see a LIST...love lists :)

June 9, 2015, 5:04 AM

AJ this is my dream come true! We would travel well together :) thanks ever so much for taking the time to type that up. SO HELPFUL!!!! I so appreciate it!

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