Cedar Point Day 1 – Monday, July 13
We begin this journey at four o’clock in the morning in Mason,OH. To make it to Cedar Point for opening, I’d need to be on the road at 6:00, so that’s what happened. After three and a half hours of half highways, half country roads, I had arrived at Cedar Point at around 9:15. My reservation for today wasn’t until 10:30, so I decided to take a drive around the island to see if non-hotel guests would be allowed to use the resort gate; we were not. So, back to the front, sun-tan lotion’d up, and made my way to the substantial health screening line at 9:50. Note that they were selling "face coverings" outside from a little booth for $2.00; I didn't see anyone buy one so I'm not sure what type they were.
I figured I’d try to sneak in early right as they opened the gate at 10:00, so after the gates opened and the crowd had died down some, I walked up to the ticket checker and provided my pass, which was scanned and I was waved on through. Perhaps they’re more lenient here than at KI?
Either way, we all know about the “access pass” situation for Steel Vengeance, Maverick, and Millennium Force. I first thought about hopping in the SV standby line, but decided instead to wait for an access pass – I was probably 50 people from the front. By the time I left the line, noon-1:00 pass in hand, it extended all the way back to the train crossing – absolutely huge. The Maverick access pass line was almost as long, and not yet moving, so I decided to head to MF to grab the access pass for that then head back for Maverick’s, which would put me almost at the right time frame for my ride on SV. Arrived at the back of the MF line right as it started to move, and a few minutes later I had my pass for that ride (also noon-1:00).
On my way back to the Maverick line, I swung into Panda Express – one of the food locations that was open – to grab an all-day-dining wristband. I tried to cash in my first meal at Wagon Wheel Pizza, but they were not yet open despite a sign indicating that they should have opened a half hour prior. The only two food locations open at this time (around 11:30) in Frontier Town were Panda Express and Hate Chicken, so I was out of options. Made it to Maverick, grabbed my pass (2:00-3:00), and by then it was 11:45 so I dumped 90% of what I had on me in a fluffy, fluffy bunny filled with medicine and goo and plopped down in the developing line for noon access pass holders for SV. Noon rolls around, and I make my way up to the station after about 15 minutes and find myself at the head of a grouping, so hooray for front row. You can read my thoughts HERE and HERE in the CP thread, but overall I was unimpressed. A great ride? Sure. Top 5 at Cedar Point? Nope.
After riding SV, I quickly stopped in to the now-open Wagon Wheel Pizza for a slice on my meal plan. MUCH better pizza than that at Kings Island, that’s for sure, but until it was my turn they only had one window open and the line was four groups deep and barely moving. This will be a recurring theme for the day.
I made my way down to Millennium Force, and was l0cker-in to l0cker-out in 47 minutes. Note that I entered the queue at around 12:42, so towards the end of my “group” of access passes. Somehow I lucked out and got the front row, my preferred seat, on this too.
By this time, my second meal was about due, so I began searching…and did not find; more restaurants on the meal plan were closed than open. I am quite non-happy. A quick trip to Guest Relations for a refund on my dining plan resulted in me actually running in to the #4 of the park, who provided the best customer service I’ve ever gotten at an amusement park, and we chatted a bit about my experience thus far. Great to meet you, Stephanie X!
By now, it was just after 2:00 and time for Maverick. Made my way in and all the way to the bottom of the stairs before encountering any other people, and a few brief minutes later was up at the grouper. Rows 3 and 6 of the second train remained vacant, so I asked if I could go to the back row (the best spot on this coaster), but the employee was initially like “no” and “we can’t take requests.” So, I relented and walked up to row 3, while row 6 behind me remained vacant. I looked over at the grouper, who kind of nodded his head in the direction to signal I could move, so I thanked him. Apparently the next group was more than 2 and didn’t want to split up. Thank you very much to them.
Awesome ride as always, still my Number One, and to make it even better, it suffered a breakdown as we pulled into the brake run. Apparently the two trains prior to mine didn’t want to dispatch. So, as we waited for maintenance to come out and do their thing, I kept silently begging for an evacuation. Being evac’d from my favorite coaster would be something. Sadly, no evac, but we were given exit passes that say “good any day” for our trouble of sitting in the sun for 15 minutes.
After this (just before 3:00), it was time for some more food, so I made my way to Melt (along the way noting in the app wait times of 45-90s minutes for Magnum, Valravn, Raptor, and Gatekeeper – the only other coasters operating (Iron Dragon had been running but was currently broken down). Had their basic grilled cheese (of course) with a side of mac & cheese, and a delicious if not mixed strong enough Jack & Coke.
After Melt, I decided to check out SV and Maverick to see if I could grab another access pass (I was initially told at both locations that they would give out another bunch at 3:30), but no dice at either ride. Having been up since way-too-early-for-vacation and feeling a bit tired, I decided to call it a day and head to my hotel and check in.
All in all, a day that started out not so great turned out to be pretty good, despite only getting on three rides. The way I see it, I’ve got two more days to try to hit everything I want to.
Cedar Point Day 2 – Tuesday, July 14
So, my game plan going into today was similar to my plan for yesterday - snag all three access passes first thing, then schedule the rest of the day around that. Using the same route (Steel Vengeance line before they start handing out the passes, then down to Millennium Force and then finally back to Maverick), I got 12:00, 1:00, and 3:00 times respectively.
Again, as with day one, by the time I was done grabbing passes, people just started lining up for the 12:00 SV entry, so I grabbed my spot in line (3rd) and once again walked right up to the platform. One train later, and I was on, this time in the back row. While it is a better ride in the back than the front (dat airtime), I stand by my original assessment - underwhelming. After having some great rides on Gatekeeper later in the trip, SV is, for me, a solid #6 at Cedar Point and #2 RMC behind Twisted Timbers. Sorry not sorry.
I grabbed a slice of Pizza from Wagon Wheel again, then completed my MF time slot (front row, 40 minutes in line plus 15 before they would let the 1:00s in) and then had some time to kill, so I walked around checking ride times (all too long) and finally went to Melt and had their cheeseburger, which was awesome as expected. Surprised though that the burger was just a regular circular patty and didn't take up the entirety of the bread.
Made it back to Maverick at around 3:15 (my access pass was for 3:00-4:00) and saw most of the outdoor queue filled up, so I decided to find a shady bench to lay down on until 3:50, when I entered the queue and walked right up to the second-from-front line of the out door area. Oh well...57 minutes for the back row, and awesome as always.
From there, my goal was to blitz all of the remaining operating coasters, lines be damned. That went as follows:
-Cedar Creek Mine Ride, 27 minutes for row 3 (didn't have the choice to a non-wheel seat)
-Magnum XL-200, 27 minutes for row 13 (same thing here, was only running two trains)
-Iron Dragon, 27 minutes for last row (I could've sworn there was padding on these seats in the past, but not anymore)
-Gatekeeper, 28 minutes for last row right side (greyed out a little bit on the bottom of the drop loop, which was cool)
-Raptor, 55 minutes for row 7 (largely delayed on the brake run due to a protein spill on the train ahead of me).
No, I did not make up those times...I ran the stopwatch on my phone on each, and all of them except for Raptor were 27 or 28 minutes and some seconds. Freaky. Anyway, this proves that it is possible to ride all operating coasters in a normal COVID-shortened day without Fast Lane. You just need a plan, plenty of stamina, and a little luck.
On a side note, I never noticed this cute sign on CCMR listing out the distances to the other Arrow Mine Trains in the Cedar Fair lineup. Kinda cool.
So, all I had left at this point was Valravn, which had I gotten off of Raptor at a reasonable time, I could have made it in line before 8:00 for. Sadly, I walked out of Raptors exit ramp at 8:06, and then walked against the entire flow of traffic over to Valravn just to confirm that it was closed. Oh well, that's why I have a Day 3.
Got back to the hotel and took a cool shower, and then it was off for my first trip ever to the Thirsty Pony. Wow. Awesome place, reasonable prices, DELICIOUS food - I got a Goopy Burger - a regular hamburger dripping with Cheez-Whiz. For someone who routinely takes his cheesesteaks in Philly as "American and whiz, wit-out," it was glorious. Sat around there shooting the shit with a couple from western New York (about a 3 hour drive from CP) and a guy from Indiana about coasters, COVID, life, all while downing some yummy adult beverages. Ended up closing them out (which was at midnight, reasonable for a Tuesday I supposed), stumbled back to my hotel and off to bed for Day 3....
Cedar Point Day 3 – Wednesday, July 15
Starting this day out, I only had 3 goals:
1. Get on Valravn
2. Get a second ride on Raptor and Gatekeeper
3. Try to get on Dragster, which had been cycling the day before.
So, with this in mind, today was a lot more laid back. I didn't bother with SV or MF access passes, only getting one for Maverick. After I grabbed the pass, I shot down to Valravn and got in line. 52 minutes later, and I was complete with my back row ride. This was more out of completion-ism than anything else, I've never been a fan of B&M dive coasters...the two that I've been on (this and Griffon at BGW) just don't do enough with their layouts.
Back up to Maverick for my access pass usage, which I walked right up to the indoor queue area. This took a total of an hour and 28 minutes for front row start to finish. Probably 30+ minutes of that was a shutdown while I was in the queue (at least in the shade), during which they had to do an evac from the brake run.
But, I stuck it out (what else would I do?) and eventually got on the front row, which is awesome. Not as great as the back row, but I already had two rides there this trip, so I figured I'd sample the other flavor.
Back to Melt for another grilled cheese/mac & cheese combo, then off to Raptor. On and off in 29 minutes in row 3. From there it was onto Gatekeeper, where I walked right up to the platform, but sadly they had just started their cleaning cycle. So, it took 21 minutes, again for the back row right side. Again, greyed out a little at the bottom of the initial drop loop.
All this time, I was watching Dragster like a hawk. I had even saved my Exit Pass that I got on Day 1 just for that ride. Sadly, though it was cycling earlier in the day, now it was quiet. I walked by the station and asked the employees if there was any chance of it opening today, to which they replied no but they were hoping for tomorrow. Bummer. Or maybe that's just a line they're told to say?
Either way, I was hot, and tired, and had accomplished everything I set out to with this Cedar Point trip, so it was time to call it a day. I hoofed it back up to the SV gift shop to buy the shot glass for my collection, then tried to take the train to save my legs some of the walk back, but after waiting 10 minutes and the train arriving, it was full by the time I got to the front of the line. Oh well....made the long walk back to the front of the park, every now and then glancing at Dragster, hoping for some signs of life, to no avail.
Back to my car, and to my hotel, ending my first amusement park trip of 2020. All in all, despite the first day feeling like a disaster at the start, once I tempered my expectations and came to realize that there's no way they would be operating at the same level that Kings Island was, I had a great time. Three rides on Maverick, two on Steel Vengeance, Millennium, Raptor, and Gatekeeper, and at least one lap on every other adult coaster that was operating is nothing to be sad about. Really the only closed coasters I truly missed being able to ride were Dragster, Gemini, and Rougarou (Blue Streak and Wicked Twister are meh and Corkscrew can die in a fire).
Since my trip, more and more rides have been opened, and I’ve managed to swing some more time off from work, so prepare for a shorter re-do of this KI/CP trip the second weekend in August!
Total Coasters: 150
Top 10 Steel: Maverick, Skyrush, Intimidator 305, Fury 325, Banshee, Millennium Force, Raptor, Superman: The Ride (SFNE), Top Thrill Dragster, Big Bad Wolf
Top 10 Wood: The Beast, El Toro, Phoenix (Knoebels), Boulder Dash, Thunderbolt (KW), Mystic Timbers, Comet (Hershey), Hercules, Shivering Timbers, Jack Rabbit (KW)
Top 5 Hybrid: Steel Vengeance, Twisted Timbers, Goliath (SFGAm), Wicked Cyclone, Great White