So, way back in January Cedar Point announced their first ever "Coaster Campout". We entered the lottery for a chance to participate and did not get an immediate response and thought we were out of luck. Apparently, just the grassy area was filled up and other areas on the concrete were opened up and we were given one of those. Initially not thrilled about camping on concrete - we were still ecstatic to be in the park for the event.
Fast forward almost 6 months and it was finally here! My family and I are city slickers so camping is definitely roughing it for us - love the outdoors but prefer to do my sleeping indoors. But this was different - this was about living out that hypothetical question - wouldn't it be awesome to sleep overnight INSIDE the park?!?! Being as there are accommodations so close to the park - it may not seem so special - but was it ever!
We knew it would be a long day / night - so we ended up getting to the park around 2:30 PM. We got our lanyards, Coaster Campout blanket (with free french fry voucher attached!) and of course our general camp location. We were surprised that we got bumped to the grassy area - due to some folks cancelling and/or them tweaking the camp site after the initial setup. However it happened we were grateful!
We rode a few rides and walked through Frontier Town to see all the signs for early closure of many of the rides for our big event! We of course also stuffed our faces with the complimentary dinner at Point Pavilion. Before we knew it it was time to get our gear and line up for camp assignment - we ended up lining up about 8:15 PM (we were too excited) and were first for the grassy area. We got a great spot - and pulling our gear through the crowded Gemini Midway brought a lot of odd looks (well more than usual) and is something we will never forget.
Now the real the fun (or work) began of getting our home base all setup - for us non-seasoned campers this was a bit of a chore - but eventually I pitched a tent at Cedar Point!
The reality that we were actually going to be spending the night INSIDE the park really sank in once we saw that tent there. We helped a fellow coaster enthusiast fill his air mattress and milled about until the 10:30 PM kick-off. I think a good bit of folks went back to the main park as the park was open until midnight - my kids actually wanted to also but we insisted that we stay back in the camp out area - after all this is what we had been waiting for - and a lot of people put in a lot of work for us to be there this night.
I'm the only Skyhawk fan in the group (I know, right?) so I grabbed 2 quick rides - we did one quick ride on Mine Ride - and spent the rest of the time marathoning Maverick - I think we got 7 or so rides in. It was now midnight so ERT had ended. We snacked on some pre-made s'mores the park provided and headed back to our tent. We got situated and tried to get some rest.
Overall the crowd was very well-behaved - a few loud moments here and there plus a crying baby for a bit (yes - a crying baby) but quiet time was not until 2 AM so no big deal. Counselor Clark made an announcement around 12:30ish (his words) that all campers should head back to their tents at this time - and not to feed the animals - or something to that effect. I think I finally started to doze off around 1:30 AM - then around 1:50AM came the obnoxiously loud "spooky" music - this went on what seemed like 5 minutes or so - at the end a creepy female voice told some scary tale that I don't quite recall - and then it went quiet - for about 10 seconds. Next we heard a witch cackling and werewolves howling and the occasional scream... Peeking out of our tent revealed what appeared to be a very aged Little Red Riding Hood and her Big Bad Wolf. They were going tent to tent making noises and brushing against the tents - I found it all quite humorous.
Then we saw a few cowboy like skeleton creatures that were also about causing havoc. People were popping out of their tents with that WTF look on their faces - it was a sight to behold. Though I did overhear some not so happy folks who thought the stunt had gone too far - actually saw one group take down their tent and leave!!! But a majority of the folks ate it up! I mean, we are camping - so there should be a scary story in there somewhere (maybe not at 2 AM) Plus we are in an amusement park - which is all about F-U-N.
My son and I made it out to the midway where the 6 or so monsters were gladly taking pictures with folks - we got ours and soon they were gone - back into the night. It took a little while for camp to settle down again - but around 2:30 or so all was quiet - except the faint sound of a few rain drops - which ended up being a steady rain the rest of the night...
I don't think I every fully fell asleep - just dozed off for a while here and there - partly from the rain / partly from the excitement / partly from being over-tired.
Tony tweeted around 6:30 AM that ERT was still on for MF and GateKeeper at 7 AM (even though it was still a light rain at that time). He also played Reveille over the loud speaker shortly there after - which was no surprise - and told us to wipe the drool off our faces and grab our fanny packs for ERT - and that we needed to have all gear cleared out by 8:30 AM. My son and I headed up to MF - we got there right at 7 AM. (He was thrilled to get to ride MF in his pajamas!) There was only 1 person in front of us. Seems that most folks had enough and proceeded to take down their tents ASAP and most likely headed up to eat breakfast. We got a quick 5 rides in and then headed back to pack up. We then made the long, wet trip back to the Soak City parking lot to drop our gear - then another long, wet trip up to Coaster's for breakfast. We saw Tony on our way and thanked him for the "unforgettable night" - which he replied he had no idea what we were talking about - coolly playing off our surprise visitors last night.
We then headed over to GateKeeper - which was now down - but soon came up right before 9AM - we waited 2 trains for the front row, left wing - and that's how we ended our crazy coaster campout experience - a day / night / morning we will NEVER forget!
tl/dr - Surpassed all expectations - had a wonderful time - hoping this happens again! Thanks so much to Cedar Point for having this event!Listen to our wakeup call!
Edit: Added PDF of flyer sent to overnight campers.
Here's some pics of our great experience...