Steel Vengeance at Cedar Point — There has been so much anticipation for this new roller coaster, so much excitement, so much "hype" that I was worried that there would be no way it could live up to what was expected of it. Now we've had a chance to experience it first-hand, and my fears have been laid to rest.
I'm going to make a statement that some will dismiss as coming from a born-and-raised, Cedar Point coaster fanboy, a statement that a professional journalist like our own Robert Niles will probably cringe when he sees I wrote it.
Steel Vengeance is, right now, at this moment, THE BEST ROLLER COASTER IN THE WORLD.
Some might argue, and that's fine. The title of "the best" is a subjective one, especially in the roller coaster genre. Healthy, respectful disagreement is something that Theme Park Insiders do love to participate in. I make that statement based on a few subjective observations, on some solid facts, and on the history of this landmark coaster, originally named "Mean Streak" and originally built by the now-defunct Dinn Corporation.
Quick history lesson (quick for me): Mean Streak made its premiere in 1991, towering over the Frontier Town area of Cedar Point and setting it own list of world records ("tallest, fastest, steepest, etc.") It was magnificent, a wooden mountain so massive that the queue area was placed inside the infield... and only occupied a small part of it. Waits of two to three hours were not unusual, and it was worth it.
Whether it was the design, the weather-beaten location on the edge of the Cedar Point peninsula, or a combination of these and other factors, Mean Streak soon began to show its age. It began to lose its smoothness, and rides became less of a thrilling experience and more of an uncomfortable endurance race — a "one-and-done" tradition for Cedar Point visitors. Many refused to ride it — just too painful — and by the mid-2010s, Cedar Point's largest coaster was usually a walk-on even on the busiest days. There was even a small fire in 2010 that damaged a five-foot section, and many die-hard Cedar Point fans wished that they had just let it burn. There was little love left for the old Mean Streak — it had gotten too mean to continue taking up valuable real estate. Several attempts to retrack it and refurbish it did little to improve the riding experience.
Cedar Point (and I WISH I knew who actually made the decision so that I can thank them) decided to take the hard road, and instead of demolishing the still-beautiful old girl (the "Grizabella" of roller coasters for any theatre geeks out there), it decided to bring in the team from Rocky Mountain Construction and challenged them to work their legendary magic on Mean Streak. Disney isn't the only theme park business with some magic — RMC turned an intensively-rough, painful, almost embarrassing ride at America's self-titled "Rockin' Roller Coast" into what I declared earlier — the best roller coaster in the world.
I'm not going to go through the list of records that Steel Vengeance breaks. I'm not going to give you a turn-by-turn, hill-by-hill description of the ride. I hope you enjoy the video of Robert and I experiencing Steel Vengeance ourselves, and above all, I hope you get yourselves somehow, someday soon, to Cedar Point and ride Steel Vengeance. That is the ONLY way for you to truly discover just what an adrenalin-rushing adventure this new coaster is.
Update: Here is the front-facing POV.
The layout is similar to the old Mean Streak, with some major alterations. The lift hill is higher, the first drop is steeper, the hills have been changed — morphed so that you take turns on the OUTSIDE of the curve. There is air-time before you even reach the lift hill! Much of Steel Vengeance is experienced inside the superstructure, with the four inversions being buried deep in the massive wooden framework.
There is actually a bit of a backstory to Steel Vengeance (I know... "Gasp?! A theme on a Cedar Point coaster?") Like any roller coaster, it's really not all that important and like any good coaster geek, I feel if a ride is going so slow that you can enjoy the scenery, it's not really a coaster — it's a scenic railway. But I digress. It goes something like this:
"Years ago, Maverick came to Frontier Town and soon took over the town, tearing down White Water Landing and building his own world-class coaster named, appropriately, after himself. He also chased out of town three townsfolk who challenged him, and took over the place.
"They're back. Jackson 'Blackjack' Chamberlain, Wyatt 'Digger' Dempsey and Chess 'Wild One' Watkins have returned, and they want vengeance — not just any old vengeance, but 'Steel Vengeance.' Rumor has it that Maverick is updating his own coaster with new features in preparation for the challenge. Who will win?"
The answer is already known. The citizens of Frontier Town, and anyone who visits Cedar Point in the coming years will be the winners. Maverick and Steel Vengeance, two world-class coasters sitting side-by-side, are just two of the 18 coasters and nearly 100 rides and attractions that make Cedar Point a multi-day amusement park destination for millions of visitors every year.
Steel Vengeance has everything and does everything that The Best Roller Coaster in the World should do. It thrills. It entertains. It breaks record after record. The new RMC tracking makes it smooth as silk. It has amazing amounts of air-time throughout the ride. Its restraint-system is remarkably comfortable and lets you feel both safe and free to enjoy the kinetic energy of the coaster with remarkable freedom.
And it's beautiful. It's huge. It's now so tall that you can see it from the front gate of Cedar Point- over a mile away.
I won't say "if you get to Cedar Point," I will say WHEN you get to Cedar Point, get to Frontier Town and discover the newest, best roller coaster in the world, Steel Vengeance. Ride Maverick, right next door, and decide who won the battle for Frontier Town.
I think you'll agree — we all did.Tweet
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