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Andy's 2017 Coastermania Photo TR

PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2017 9:27 pm
by The Great Zo
Andy's 2017 Coastermania Report -- aka "a whole bunch of long-zoom pictures with water in the foreground."

Fully credentialed.

Decided to throw together a few more pictures from Coastermania, and ended up with a few too many, so I guess I'll do a trip report on the event. This was the first time I've ever attended Coastermania, and it won't be my last. It's an incredibly long day, but there's pretty much no question you'll have time to do everything you want to do in the park.

Valravn (x2)
Millennium Force (x3)
Raptor (x2)
Blue Streak (x2)
Millennium Force (x4)
-- Coastermania Cruise --
-- Lunch --
Top Thrill Dragster (x2)
Magnum XL-200
Gemini [Red]
Pipe Scream
-- BBQ --
Train [to front]
Iron Dragon
-- Q&A Session --
Wicked Twister (x2)
Maverick (x3)
Top Thrill Dragster

So -- what were my main reasons for attending?

1) The cruise.
I like photography, and I really like zoom photography from a distance. A cruise around the peninsula was a picture-perfect opportunity for this! I'd crack a joke about how I'd probably wear out my camera doing something like this, but, uh, I actually did. Seriously. I'm gonna blame Tony or whoever came up with this way-too-awesome idea for that.

2) A very long day in the park.
That makes the travel worth it. Time to ride every coaster, time to enjoy the atmosphere, and time to not have to completely rush to do everything. I didn't get to do the photography I'd hoped for, but pretty much everything else was covered.

3) A night-time marathon on Top Thrill Dragster.
Sadly, the one goal left unachieved -- the infamous Intamin was being an infamous Intamin. This is unfinished business, and I will return to take care of it.

As weather forecasts changed from stormy to sunny, we were left with near-perfect weather and relatively light crowds (I'm gonna take credit for that one). In addition to the short waits during ERT sessions, most of the rest of the park had short lines as well -- even top-tier attractions for parts of the day. Millennium Force was a "through the gate shortcut" walk-on a half hour after the park opened, and Top Thrill Dragster was a few-train wait at 2PM. The second-tier rides spent most of the day with waits of 5 minutes or less. At their worst, the top tier attractions may have hit a half hour, but not consistently. It may be among the least crowded days I've ever seen at Cedar Point.

I enjoyed the Q&A session, which featured several Cedar Point dignitaries -- Tony Clark as MC, along with Jason McClure, Rob Decker, and three others. We got to hear about the issues in the back of the park ("that contractor just isn't getting the job done the way we'd expected"), why they've gone ahead with big investments in the hotel and water park (targeting families and multi-day stays), and why Pipe Scream is a roller coaster ("Marketing"). Also, while obviously no details were given, the park seems open to dark rides, log flumes, and Intamin -- perhaps as options to consider going into the future. Finally, for all the "parks don't care about anniversaries" people (which in large part I'll usually agree with) it's clear that Cedar Point is very invested in their upcoming 150th. The photo contest was also held at the end of this event. My GateKeeper long-exposure shot wasn't selected as a finalist, though someone else's near-identical shot was. Have to say I was glad that one didn't win! Nonetheless, I thought the winning photograph was worthy of the prize, even if (to the best of my knowledge) it wasn't a TPR member with the victory.

Sadly, it was a rough day for the big three Intamin coasters. Millennium Force seemed OK most of the time, but it was stopped on the lift shortly before close. Maverick was up and down for much of the day, and while it was up for evening ERT, there were some waits in the station (~10 minutes). TTD had the biggest problems all day, culminating in some significant issues during evening ERT. I ended up getting just one ride, and watched the trains both in front of me and behind me have rollbacks. I've still never had one. Good on the maintenance crew for keeping at it, because everyone who waited got on at least once, even if the ERT session didn't let out until 15 minutes after it was supposed to end.

Next, some thoughts on a few of the rides:

Millennium Force -- Still my favorite. It's been challenged in recent years, but it comes out on top. #1 on the list, period.

Valravn -- The only new coaster for me on this trip. It reminded me a lot of GateKeeper, and that's not really a good thing. Lots of big drawn-out elements, and even the first drop didn't have the same kick I felt from Sheikra a few months ago. It's probably a "ride once per visit" coaster for me going forward. Seems to be more of a crowd-pleaser than GateKeeper, though!

Maverick -- Wish I could do a marathon session on this one again. It feels short, but it's about as much fun as you can have on a coaster of this size.

Wicked Twister -- I walked-on to two rides, one in the very front, and one in the very back. Still amazed at how much fun the full launches up the spikes are in those two rows. I've been on a few other Intamin impulse coasters, but this one is far and away my favorite.

Raptor -- Probably slots in #3 behind Banshee and Montu, and it's close, though it'd be closer if it weren't for the cobra roll. Raptor was running really well on our morning rides.

Blue Streak -- Felt a little rougher than I'd remembered. No, I wasn't on a wheel seat.

Magnum XL-200 -- Felt a lot rougher than I'd remembered. Maybe my fault for riding in the far back row? My appreciation for this coaster is dropping.

Pipe Scream -- In case I ever go insane and decide to count these, there, I got the credit. Done. ;)

Final random thoughts:

1) Believe it or not, this was my first-ever non-TPR enthusiast event. I had no issues at all with the crowd. Maybe a few excited adolescents, but that's hardly a crime. If there were annoying, over-obsessed, poorly-behaving adults around, I didn't see them. This seemed like a really good group of people.

2) Though admittedly I wasn't going through the gates during peak times, the extra security was essentially a non-issue.

3) One part of the Coastermania plan that might need a slight adjustment is to ensure shuttles running from Hotel Breakers in the morning are a little more frequent. Despite being on the second shuttle out, I got into the park a little late for the start of ERT.

4) Speaking of Breakers, it's stunning what Cedar Point has done to it. Any praise this place is receiving is worth it. It's fun, it's classy, it's clean, and it's got the best location of just about any hotel on the planet.

5) The BBQ event is a great idea! Cedar Point still lags behind top-end parks in terms of dining, but having an event like this is a big plus. My only wish is to be able to purchase a smaller number of tickets -- 15 is too many for a single person to go through, especially if they aren't drinking.

6) I'll discuss this more in the photo captions, but the coaster formerly known as Mean Streak looks insane. It's going to be worth every little piece of hype it gets.

7) Huge thanks to all the ride ops who worked long days (way to go Josh!) and to Tony, Jason, Kristy, and everyone else at Cedar Point for planning and operating such a fun event.

Re: Andy's 2017 Coastermania Photo TR

PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2017 9:28 pm
by The Great Zo
Thursday, June 1 -- The Day Before

Re: Andy's 2017 Coastermania Photo TR

PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2017 9:28 pm
by The Great Zo
Friday, June 2 -- Coastermania!

Re: Andy's 2017 Coastermania Photo TR

PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2017 10:52 pm
by thrillseeker4552
Those are AWESOME photos! It makes me even more excited for my visit this August. Thanks for sharing!

Re: Andy's 2017 Coastermania Photo TR

PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2017 11:04 pm
by ThemeParkJunkie51290
So much has changed since my first visit in 2013! LOOKS NICE! Great report!

Re: Andy's 2017 Coastermania Photo TR

PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2017 11:12 pm
by Vonni
Wow! You took amazing photos! Loved your TR!!!

Re: Andy's 2017 Coastermania Photo TR

PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2017 4:00 am
by boldikus
As always, absolutely incredible photography, Andy. Thank you so much for sharing with us (and continuously supplying my desktops!)

Re: Andy's 2017 Coastermania Photo TR

PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2017 5:11 am
by DoinItForTheFame
Wow. What beautiful photos. So many of those are background worthy. Thanks for sharing. :lover:

Re: Andy's 2017 Coastermania Photo TR

PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2017 6:29 am
by coasterbill
Amazing photos!

Re: Andy's 2017 Coastermania Photo TR

PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2017 6:44 am
by Steely Dan