Andy's 2017 Coastermania Photo TR

Early June at Cedar Point
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Andy's 2017 Coastermania Photo TR

Postby The Great Zo » Mon Jun 05, 2017 9:27 pm

Andy's 2017 Coastermania Report -- aka "a whole bunch of long-zoom pictures with water in the foreground."

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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.

Scorecard:
Valravn (x2)
Millennium Force (x3)
GateKeeper
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]
Rougarou
Iron Dragon
-- Q&A Session --
Windseeker
Wicked Twister (x2)
Valravn
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.
Last edited by The Great Zo on Mon Jun 05, 2017 9:46 pm.
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Re: Andy's 2017 Coastermania Photo TR

Postby The Great Zo » Mon Jun 05, 2017 9:28 pm

Thursday, June 1 -- The Day Before
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Headed to the Dockside Cafe when I got to Sandusky. Actually tried to go here in 2015 but it was closed. This time it was open!
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The rest of you can ramble on about your Parched Horse or whatever. I'll keep heading to this place. A simple order-at-the-counter operation with burgers and tacos, and a bar for those of you who are interested. As for the view?
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Pretty much fantastic.
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Of course I had to get a few better shots of the park from this place.
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Let's start in the back, where some changes are ongoing.
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Up front, there's a lot of blue and green.
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Valravn dives.
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Mantis climbs the lift.
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Totally not correcting the "Mantis" in the last caption, by the way. Anyway, here's Rougarou looping in front of Hotel Breakers.
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Finally, the big two Intamins. Since Dockside Cafe is a bit west on the bay, the photo angle is a little different than from, say, Battery Park.
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Plus, from here, you can get boats in the foreground more easily. That's a five-coaster, two-train, three-boat shot.
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Everyone's looking forward to construction photographs, but why not start with next year's /other/ new addition? Here's the progress on the new wing at Breakers.
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A decorative top to one of the hotel towers.
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Also, a great view along the beach.
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I didn't have admission to the park on Thursday, but that doesn't mean it can't be photographed.
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Magnum dives through the sun.
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Magnum on the return leg, with riders who are likely in some degree of thigh pain.
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Millennium Force has been framed.
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Valravn loops around.
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Raptor and the Sky Ride, two of the park's more popular attractions.
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Corkscrew, backed by a wall of Power Tower.
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Gemini, backed by a wall of Dragster.
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America's most beautiful summer pleasure health resort!
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Got some nice views of Maverick.
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The single best airtime hill at Cedar Point.
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I have a feeling there will be more airtime hills to come in the future.
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This is the construction you're probably looking for. A fresh batch of track in the foreground, ready to be installed.
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With this and the last picture, it appears there will be some low-to-the-ground twisted/tilted airtime hills through here.
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A side view of the structure.
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Tilted airtime is awesome.
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A straight bit near the old MCBR.
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TTD/RMC.
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This remains one of the craziest things I've seen in a while.
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Quite a twist as the track crosses back through the structure. I'll speculate more on what's going on here in the second half of the photo set.
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The turnaround after the first run around the Mean Streak structure.
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There are some interesting metal beams going across the structure here, but I'm not sure what they're for.
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Another wide view of this section. Other photographers at TPR and elsewhere have noted the apparent steepness of the first drop, and I'll note the remarkable geography of the lift's potential height.
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A flag at the top.
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A side view of the same. This is the ride's second big hill, after the lift.
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A wider view of the above.
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The whole turn-and-go-uphill segment into the second hill.
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So, after that round of photography, I headed to Battery Park for some night pictures. Good news and bad news.
Good news: the wind was calm, so my camera held steady on the tripod.
Bad news: the wind was calm, so the mayflies were /awful/.
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Reflections at sunset.
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It was a pretty stunning sunset.
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Headed down behind the Marblehead peninsula.
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Swimming in a lake of fire.
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OK, back to the other side, here's a dusk shot of Mean Whatever.
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MF/TTD. There are some bright lights just to their left, in the vicinity of the Frontier Fling.
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Coasters on the bay.
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Looking over at the front of the park, and the Giant Wheel really lights things up.
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Back to MF/TTD as the sky gets darker.
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More reflections, this time from Power Tower.
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Ferris Wheel laser beam.
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Colored LEDs make photography fun.
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Last time I was here, Valravn wasn't.
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MF looks best with the rainbow lights, in my opinion, so I had to be patient to time my photography for them.
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The blue looks good, too.
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A wide view of the park.
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Last shot of Millennium Force for the night!
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Back at Hotel Breakers, they were showing the NBA Finals game on the beach. Sadly, it wasn't going well for the hometown Cavs.
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Hotel Breakers is pretty awesome.
Last edited by The Great Zo on Mon Jun 05, 2017 10:08 pm.
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Re: Andy's 2017 Coastermania Photo TR

Postby The Great Zo » Mon Jun 05, 2017 9:28 pm

Friday, June 2 -- Coastermania!
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Started the day with my first-ever rides on Valravn! Josh's crew was dispatching trains in 40-50 seconds, meaning that any tiny line on the steps was gone by the time we got up to the platform.
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Then, headed to Millennium Force, with seven rides in two sessions -- never more than a couple trains for a wait, even just after the park had opened.
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Raptor was sending near-empty trains during ERT.
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Though my camera broke before I got to do any real serious in-park photography, I did get some shots of Valravn, which was kind of the highest priority anyway.
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Valravn at the top.
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Dropping in.
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Another view at the top.
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The 8x3 trains really fill a camera frame well.
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Valravn again.
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Twisting through the first inversion.
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More Valravn.
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Upside down.
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Next on the agenda was the Coastermania cruise, one of the things I was looking forward to the most!
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I took a GPS track of the cruise. Now everybody can see where we went.
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The Jet Express had mechanical problems the week of the event, but Cedar Point was able to book the Goodtime boat as a replacement. My friends (who had been in attendance last year) actually preferred this boat to the Jet Express!
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Starting the "scenes from the boat" tour with a shot of Millennium Force.
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A wider shot of Millennium Force on the way out of the marina.
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Because every one of my photo sets needs a well-posed bird.
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I love the views this cruise offered -- camera angles that would otherwise be impossible.
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Like this one, looking through the Blue Streak structure at Raptor and the Giant Wheel.
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Or, Millennium Force diving alongside regular vehicular traffic.
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RMC/MF.
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GateKeeper keyholes at the front of the park.
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A three-coaster juxtaposition, with two trains on their lifts.
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For some reason, people paid a lot of attention to the back of the park.
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Some analysis on this part of the RMC. There are some Iron Rattler elements here -- an uphill rise into a barrel roll, followed by a low-amplitude overbanked / wave turn.
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Also, though not really visible here, there's actually a double-up leading into the barrel roll, which is a bit different.
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OK, lots of well-posed birds.
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Are there really people who thought RMC might not be able to make something truly creative out of this structure?
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I do think it's funny how the first track to be installed /still/ hasn't been lengthened.
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Below: a straight-on airtime hill. Above: a really, really messed up airtime hill.
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Symmetry.
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Twisted horseshoeing.
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Backed by Millennium Force.
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The top of the uphill barrel roll, leading into the small overbank.
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Another look at how this part fits together. A little more interesting than Mean Streak's turn around the structure.
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The crazy twisted element through the structure, just after the small overbank. Honestly, it sort of looks like this heads into a smaller version of the Medusa / Storm Chaser inverted drop.
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RMC-seeker.
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TTD/RMC again.
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Magnum drops into the trees.
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Coming around the north end of the peninsula, a view down the beach.
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A long distance view of the park's southeastern corner.
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A view over the breakwater.
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Cedar Point Shores looks great. It's much more colorful, which helps for pictures.
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Hotel Breakers and some water towers.
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Another view of the water towers. They used a very similar design on the new one.
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200, 300, and 400 -- all in one shot.
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Cedar Point over the breakwater.
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The Sandusky Harbor Breakwater Lighthouse.
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Not ignoring the views in the opposite direction! Managed to get both the Marblehead Lighthouse (left) and Perry Memorial (right) in this shot.
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One of the best park skylines in the world. Might just be the very best.
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A whole lot of roller coaster in one picture.
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Magnum on the turn-around.
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Gemini was running both sides on Friday.
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Heading back around, with time for a few more shots of this monstrosity.
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The first drop ledgers, which are /remarkably/ steep. I guess I can't say for sure, but it does look like it's set up for 90 degrees.
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The left side of this picture proves why -- just another element to add to the insanity.
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Photobombed by a boat.
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Millennium Force again. Right here was about when my camera broke. I had just taken 587 pictures in 40 minutes, and honestly, my camera probably wasn't too happy with me.
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So, the last few pictures in this set are from my phone. Still a great view.
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The Coaster Cruise was worth the price of admission!
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Here's TTD's line at around 2PM -- a walk into the station. Sure, it had just come up from some downtime, but still. That's really short for an afternoon like this.
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Bluegrass covers of Guns 'N Roses!
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Got a few more views of the mystery RMC from the train. This shot shows the double-up into the uphill barrel roll...
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...but these last two pictures show that after the downhill barrel roll through the structure, the track flips around into a double down element -- roughly paralleling the inbound leg. From here, presumably, the track will rise up into the flat section at the old mid-course break.
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Didn't go to Melt, but thought it looked pretty cool at night!
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At 9PM, a completely empty Wicked Twister station. OK, actually, there's one person waiting for the front row behind a pillar.
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Evening ERT on Maverick (MaveShark?) was fun, even if the crowds seemed to have focused there. After that, it was off to TTD for (unfortunately) just one ride, and that ended the day and the event!
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On the way out the next morning, I saw this license plate in the Breakers parking lot. That's a little on-the-nose.
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Thank you for visiting -- and thank you for reading! And to Cedar Point, thank you for hosting the event! Hope I can return next year.
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Re: Andy's 2017 Coastermania Photo TR

Postby thrillseeker4552 » Mon Jun 05, 2017 10:52 pm

Those are AWESOME photos! It makes me even more excited for my visit this August. Thanks for sharing!
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Re: Andy's 2017 Coastermania Photo TR

Postby ThemeParkJunkie51290 » Mon Jun 05, 2017 11:04 pm

So much has changed since my first visit in 2013! LOOKS NICE! Great report!
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Re: Andy's 2017 Coastermania Photo TR

Postby Vonni » Mon Jun 05, 2017 11:12 pm

Wow! You took amazing photos! Loved your TR!!!

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Re: Andy's 2017 Coastermania Photo TR

Postby boldikus » Tue Jun 06, 2017 4:00 am

As always, absolutely incredible photography, Andy. Thank you so much for sharing with us (and continuously supplying my desktops!)
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Re: Andy's 2017 Coastermania Photo TR

Postby DoinItForTheFame » Tue Jun 06, 2017 5:11 am

Wow. What beautiful photos. So many of those are background worthy. Thanks for sharing. :lover:
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Re: Andy's 2017 Coastermania Photo TR

Postby coasterbill » Tue Jun 06, 2017 6:29 am

Amazing photos!

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Re: Andy's 2017 Coastermania Photo TR

Postby Steely Dan » Tue Jun 06, 2017 6:44 am

.
Last edited by Steely Dan on Tue Aug 22, 2017 3:28 pm.

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