Cedar Point makes for amazing TRs and this was especially fun to read! It's great hearing you loved Maverick, Gatekeeper, and Millennium Force so much as well as Cedar Downs. I am heading to the park next week and can't wait. Even though I have been going once a year for several years now, there always seems to be something new to look at or learn! Their incredible collection of rides and stellar location on Lake Erie make it one of a kind. Really glad you had a blast there!
^It doesn't look like they're currently available except at the park.
Working down the line of coasters in the park, we were able to cover a lot over the two days after Steel Vengeance:
Maverick - Such an insanely fun coaster. Having never been on an Intamin like this, the speed of the coaster and the pace at which the trains move through the ride's transitions is just relentlessly fun! We ended up riding this four times (the only other coaster we rode this much was Gatekeeper) during our two days and each ride got better as we went along!
Top Thrill Dragster - I rode Kingda Ka on the TPR East Coast trip back in 2008 so I was familiar with the ride experience, but no less excited to ride another Strata Coaster. The launch was powerful as heck and the return to Earth is an incredible sensation. We rode this one twice and if it hadn't have broken down consistently throughout our visit, we probably would have ridden it even more.
Magnum XL-200 - I was really excited about this one, having not been on an Arrow hyper coaster before. I enjoyed the ride, particularly for its drawn out layout and Arrow's weird attempt at airtime hills (which produce pops of mild ejector air versus floater air) but it was the kind that only needed one go to get the full experience. Operations for this coaster were pretty poor throughout our visit, so it was doubly not worth waiting for more than one time.
Gemini - What an unexpected surprise! For a coaster that is 40 years old (as of this year), this one was surprisingly smooth, had some nice airtime akin to old style wooden coasters and was just plain fun. They weren't running both sides or racing, but it was still cool to see the layout up close. The only part that was a bit jarring is the final helix before the brake run, which slammed my friend's head into my shoulder in a hilarious final jolt.
Corkscrew - I really, really appreciate when parks go out of their way to maintain legacy coasters and Cedar Point has done an excellent job keeping up their catalog alongside their newest coasters. I consistently walked in and around Corkscrew and wondered how the park got away with letting guests pass underneath the namesake corkscrews without massive nets overhead... Never in Central Florida could we get away with such a thing. The coaster itself was surprisingly smooth throughout with no Arrow-style transitions that would otherwise bash my face into the over the shoulder restraints. Oddly enough, my favorite element of the coaster was the airtime hill after the first drop leading into the loop. We rode Corkscrew once during our visit.
Rougarou - The only coaster we all universally disliked. The ride had no wait, which was surprising considering it was one of the newer additions to the park (if you count its conversion from the stand-up style Mantis to the now-floorless experience). I found Rougarou to be one of the more rough coasters in the parks and I kind of shudder to think what the experience would have been like as a stand-up coaster. That being said, the layout is incredibly tight with some of the maneuvers being really cool (like the tilt loop) so I give B&M some credit for that. We rode this once during our visit and never looked back.
Iron Dragon - Iron Dragon feels like Cedar Point saw Kings Island (The Bat), Busch Gardens Williamsburg (Big Bad Wolf) and Six Flags Astroworld (XLR-8) getting in on the Arrow suspended roller coaster game and asked if they could do the same, only to be told they had a limited plot of land and thus couldn't go very high or very fast to make it work. I only ever had the chance to ride one of the three suspended coasters that preceded Iron Dragon (Big Bad Wolf) but I remember it being far less meandering and far more swinging with forceful turns... Iron Dragon has almost none of this. The final 10-15 seconds of the layout briefly touch upon these sensations but the cars never gain enough momentum in the rest of the course to make the total experience that thrilling. Still, getting to ride another legacy Arrow coaster and a smooth but rare suspended coaster was still a plus that was worth one ride during our two day visit.
Millennium Force - I grew up watching Travel Channel specials on this coaster... The height, the cable lift, the speed--all of it. I was afraid of the ride being over-hyped over the years and while I wouldn't call this the best coaster I've ever ridden, it was insanely fun. The cable lift is a unique experience for sure, and the trains are super comfortable. The speed of the coaster is such that there's little to compare it to for such an expansive layout--it is actually hard to tell that you're flying around that fast until you get towards the enter of the ride where you're on the elements closer to the terrain (the tunnels and the final airtime hill and overbank before the brake run). Our first ride was even more insane because a torrential downpour started right as we left the station and ended right as we hit the brakes. 93 mph bee stings essentially, so my eyes were closed for almost the entire first ride, but we were later able to get back on with only a 15 minute wait which allowed us to truly experience it the second time.
Valravn - I love B&M dive machines... Sheikra is still one of my favorite coasters in Central Florida. But for some reason, I felt like Valravn was just ok. The initial drop was fun and the elements that followed were nice but maybe I've just ridden the coaster's Florida sister attraction so many times the thrill just doesn't do the same for me overall. We only rode this once during our stay.
Wicked Twister - I'd not been on two many inverted Intamin coasters and only one of them was an Impulse (Volcano at Kings Dominion and Possession at Dorney Park (the Impulse) so I made it a point to ride this if at all possible. The coaster had almost no wait time (for only being able to have a one-train operation, the train is so long that the ride ends up being pretty high capacity for one cycle) so I was able to get on while the others in my party opted out. I was surprised to find that the OSTRs are locked in place with a side seat-belt as opposed to the standard clip between the legs. The placement made for an incredibly difficult time closing my restraints... I'm not skinny, but I've never once had a problem getting on a coaster before, and this was the first time I genuinely needed a ride attendant's help to get my restraint to adequately close. Thankfully once I locked in, the coaster was really fun. I also forget how weird the sensation of going backwards through one of the twisted spikes is and the the backwards launch after the initial forward cycle is really powerful. If I had done this earlier in the trip, I probably would have gone back for more.
Gatekeeper - Such a pleasant surprise! My first B&M Wingrider and something that I expected to be entirely "meh" about before riding... I ended up really loving the drawn out layout, the super smooth maneuvers and the general sensation of sitting so far away from the track without anything beneath me. In a way, it is like B&M perfected the concept of a floorless coaster pushing the seats outside of the track itself. The initial drop and the keyhole elements were of course my favorite parts of the coaster and this is one of the few times I would actually push hard for a front-row experience... Not much quite like it! This was the one other coaster were rode four times in our trip.
Blue Streak - For a coaster that opened in 1964, this was well maintained and had a few good pops of airtime. And there's nothing like a classic coaster with PTC trains to give you that terrifying sensation of the train warping beneath your feet!
Raptor - Our final coaster of the trip... We managed to get one ride in between the reach of the thunderstorms and what a ride it was! At night, right before close, in the rain! Now this was an old-school B&M like Montu or Alpengeist! This ended up being my second favorite coaster of the trip (behind Steel Vengeance)! Super forceful, really fun elements like the final two helixes and super smooth overall. I wish I had discovered this one earlier because I would have gotten at least one more ride in if I could have!
We also made it a point (particularly on our second day which I'll share photos from shortly) to visit some of the park's other attractions including:
Windseeker - I had really wanted to try one of these despite all of the challenges they had in their first few years. The ride didn't open at all during our first day but when we saw it operating on our second day, we ran over and got in line. To our surprise, the carriage has inbuilt speakers that play music while taking you up in the air. We were able to hear the iconic score of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial while waiting in line, we got music from Apollo 13 and the riders after us had music from the live action Peter Pan film. Overall it was a really fun experience that I would have done a second time if it wasn't freezing cold to the point that we were getting windblown while riding.
Matterhorn - A classic flat ride with a super energetic ride operations team.
Skyhawk - The largest Screamin' Swing I've been on and easily the most fun. Well worth taking a few minutes out of your day to ride!
Cedar Downs Racing Derby - I'd not seen anything like this vintage experience before but I was so glad I got the chance to ride it. To think that the mechanism was designed in 1967 and still works today is incredible. Such a gem in the park!
Ocean Motion - I figured since they took the time to relocate this flat ride after Gatekeeper opened, it must be worth something... It was fun albeit simple--nothing I haven't experienced before or needed to do again after the first time.
Tiki Twirl - Probably the first flat ride I've been on in a while that almost got me dizzy... Sadly the tiki element was just in name as they were playing very different music than what I would have expected.
Cedar Point & Lake Erie Railroad - I'm so glad we ended up riding this charming train! Riding past the animated skeleton dioramas was a really pleasant surprise (and a great break from walking in the rain).
Town Hall Museum - We spent almost an hour in here, checking out the park's coaster models (including Mean Streak, Blue Streak and a currently-under-construction model of Steel Vengeance) and reading up on the history of Cedar Point. If there's one thing that's incredibly apparent here, is that there's a lot of pride in Cedar Point's history and achievements and this museum is a living record of it all. We spent a good time with one of the museum hosts, talking about the evolution of the park and the impact of Kings Island, SeaWorld Ohio, Six Flags Worlds of Adventure and Geauga Lake on Cedar Point over the years. I can't recommend visiting this museum enough. It is rich with detail and is a great break from the heat or cold (depending on what it is like when you're there).
Change the scheme, Alter the mood! Electrify the boys and girls if you would be so kind!
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