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Ultimate Rollercoaster > Discussion Forums > Roller Coasters, Parks & Attractions > Cedar Point or Universal Studios?

Cedar Point or Universal Studios?

chuckk chuckk Profile

Posted:
7/18/11 at
9:44:09 AM

Hello all new member here looking for some advice. Looking to plan a trip for sometime in October for myself and my 12 year old son who fortunately is fast becoming a coaster enthusiast like myself. I have narrowed it down to either Cedar Point or Universal in Orlando..keep in mind we would also take a day trip to Busch Gardens in Tampa if i decide on Orlando. I looked at some flight prices to Clevland and Orlando and they are around the same price. We are located in Connecticut so driving to Cedar Point is an option, but would be a 9 hour trip. Right now i am leaning towards Orlando, i have not been to Universal in 15 years so i imagine things are much different, and we would also get to experience Busch Gardens. My main concern with Cedar Point is we just visited Six Flags Great Adventure last week and after going on Kingda Ka, El Toro, Nitro, and Green Lantern i just dont know how much of a "wow" factor the coasters at Cedar Point would be for my son. Any thoughts?

Re: Cedar Point or Universal Studios? by beastmaster beastmaster Profile at 7/18/11 10:20:39 AM

>You didn't indicate whether you'd been to CP before. Yes, it is a long drive from CT (I'm in NJ) but an easy drive, and well worth it. While there's nothing at CP as wonderful as the Toro/Nitro exacta, their overall collection of coasters and flat rides is terrific, and Millennium Force is quite simply a fantastic ride. I haven't been to Universal since the additions of Mummy and Rip-Ride-Rockit, so I can't speak for those rides. Length of time shouldn't be a factor. You need two days at CP, but also need a day at each Universal park.

I think you just need to ask yourself (and your son, of course) this question.

Do we want to visit an AMUSEMENT park with little theming and more rides, or a THEME park with fewer rides?

I'd go with CP as long as you're willing to make the drive and your boy is willing to tolerate it (and 12 year-olds and long car rides aren't exactly bosom buddies, of course)

Oh, and by the way...TTD is better than Kingda Ka. :)

Mike

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Re: Cedar Point or Universal Studios? by chitlins73 chitlins73 Profile at 7/18/11 10:24:47 AM

I agree with your post Mike.I just have to add that Millenium Force is well worth the visit to CP.The only two steels that can compete are bizarro and I-305.

Re: Cedar Point or Universal Studios? by GoYanks34 GoYanks34 Profile at 7/18/11 10:42:45 AM

Wow, that's a difficult decision. If your son loved SF Great Adventure he will love Cedar point. While they are similar in the fact that they both have some great coasters, they are different enough that it won't be like repeating a park. The only ride they both have in common is TTD (top thrill dragster) and KK (Kingda Ka). Other than that, the other coasters are vastly different from one another.

Now, to put Cedar Point (CP) up against both Islands of Adventure (IOA) AND Busch Gardens Tampa (BGT) makes it hard to pick. You get 2 decent parks in Florida against one great park in CP. BGT and IOA are vastly different from both CP and SFGAdv so if that's what you are looking for then Florida may be your best bet. BGT has a couple of great coasters and it has a Sheikra, a Dive coaster, which is an awesome experience (only 2 in the country). I fell in love with her brother Griffon at Busch Gardens Europe in VA. IOA has some great rides but only a few coasters and other than the Hulk, the others are mediocre at best when compared with SFGAdv and CP in my opinion. I haven't been to IOA/Universal since 2006 and haven't been to BGT since 2001 so others that have been there more recently may have a different opinion.

It comes down to your preference and cost. CP will be much cheaper than BGT & IOA/Universal. I don't know how far out you are in CT but I live in NJ (near the GWB) and I've made it to CP in about 7 1/2 hours driving, which would cut costs and be cheaper than 2 plane tickets and 2 parks. If your son wants some great coasters and lots of them CP is the place to go. If he wants a mix of rides and coasters with some that are more unique than what he has already ridden then Florida is the place to go.

While that's a hard decision to make he will definitely enjoy whichever you choose.

Jen

Re: Cedar Point or Universal Studios? by beastmaster beastmaster Profile at 7/18/11 11:25:36 AM

> I agree with your post Mike.I just have to add that
> Millenium Force is well worth the visit to CP.The only two
> steels that can compete are bizarro and I-305.

I just edited my post. You know, it's kinda weird the way the human mind works. I love Cedar Point, and consider it my favorite park. I love MF, and rank it as my #3 steel coaster. But for whatever reason, when I think of Cedar Point, MF is not part of my mental picture. Magnum is, TTD is, Cedar Downs is, Gemini is, the beach and arcade, etc. Hell, even Windseeker is part of it and I haven't even seen that in person. But my favorite ride in the park is not part of my visual. Very strange. But hey, this IS Mike we're talking about after all...:)

Mike

Re: Cedar Point or Universal Studios? by beastmaster beastmaster Profile at 7/18/11 11:28:11 AM

> I don't know how far
> out you are in CT but I live in NJ (near the GWB) and I've
> made it to CP in about 7 1/2 hours driving

I figured it'd take you about 2.

Re: Cedar Point or Universal Studios? by BigShotRoz BigShotRoz Profile at 7/18/11 12:04:08 PM

Two questions:

1- Is your son into Harry Potter? He'd love IOA.

2- I presume you're going on a weekend. CP is only open Friday night and all day Saturday and Sunday, and is NOT open for the Columbus day holiday, which no one has off. And CP on Halloweekends has been insanely crowded, with the Saturdays being as bad or worse (!) than midsummer. You might well be better off at BGT.

Roz

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Re: Cedar Point or Universal Studios? by depotrat at 7/18/11 12:09:23 PM

Can't see CP competing with a trip to FLA for Universal Florida, IOA and Busch Gardens Tampa. Has your son read the Harry Potter books? If so, he will love the Harry Potter attraction at IOA!!

There are many great coasters at CP and their collection will top the coasters at the three parks but the overall attractions at the FLA parks puts CP to shame. There are plenty of coasters at the FLA parks too boot. I would go to Orlando/Tampa.

Re: Cedar Point or Universal Studios? by GoYanks34 GoYanks34 Profile at 7/18/11 1:14:59 PM

> I don't know how far
> out you are in CT but I live in NJ (near the GWB) and I've
> made it to CP in about 7 1/2 hours driving

> I figured it'd take you about 2.

You're SO funny! You're just jealous because it takes you 10 hours to get there (and you're only 20-30 minutes further than I am!) :-P

Jen

Re: Cedar Point or Universal Studios? by GoYanks34 GoYanks34 Profile at 7/18/11 1:20:47 PM

> 2- I presume you're going on a weekend. CP is only open
> Friday night and all day Saturday and Sunday, and is NOT
> open for the Columbus day holiday, which no one has off.
> And CP on Halloweekends has been insanely crowded, with the
> Saturdays being as bad or worse (!) than midsummer. You
> might well be better off at BGT.

> Roz

Good point - I overlooked the part about going in October. I love going to Florida (or any other warm place) when the weather gets cool here - that alone will make the trip more enjoyable. And as Roz mentioned above, Cedar Point is MUCH better to do on weekdays.

You could always go to Florida this year and plan a trip to CP next year. Then he (and you) would have something to look forward to.

Jen

Re: Cedar Point or Universal Studios? by beastmaster beastmaster Profile at 7/18/11 1:23:28 PM

> You're SO funny! You're just jealous because it takes you
> 10 hours to get there (and you're only 20-30 minutes
> further than I am!) :-P

> Jen

Oddly enough, that's pretty much EXACTLY how long it takes me, with breaks for gas, food, and other necessities factored in. I often break it up, though, by staying with my brother, who lives close to the Ohio border, and finishing the drive the next morning..about 2.5 hours.

But I'll still ride with you anytime, Jen..and very soon, I hope!

Mike

Re: Cedar Point or Universal Studios? by chuckk chuckk Profile at 7/18/11 2:29:19 PM

Thanks for all the input. Even though i have never been to CP i think i am going to do the Florida trip this year and CP next year. I didn't realize CP was only opened on weekends in Oct, i dont really want to fight "weekend only" crowds. Also, we did a trip to disney 3 years ago in Oct and the weather was perfect and the lines for rides were very short.

Re: Cedar Point or Universal Studios? by RobLec RobLec Profile at 7/18/11 3:29:28 PM

Take the Florida trip, hands down, no doubt about it. Do it while your son is still young enough to have a little "magic" in him. He'll have plenty of time to visit CP when he's a teenager. Besides, northern Ohio weather is unreliable in October and Florida is wonderful at that time of year.

Re: Cedar Point or Universal Studios? by frontrow frontrow Profile at 7/18/11 6:07:15 PM

Apparently you've made your decision, but I'll put my 2 sense in. When I go to parks and tell people I'm a coaster enthusiast who travels the country riding coasters, they ask about Ceadar Point. The last time I was at the Florida parks, people were asking about Cedar Point. I classify parks into 3 categories; thrill parks, theme parks, and traditional amusement parks. Cedar Point and SF Great Adventure are the creme of crop for thrill parks. They are a must visit for anyone who likes coasters or thrill rides. Busch Gardens Williamsburg is the best theme park. The Florida theme parks are nice. They're also over priced and lack thrill rides, in which makes them very gimmicky. I've been to 40 different parks and only Busch Gardens Tampa is in my top 10. I actually rate Mt. Olympus ahead of the rest of the theme parks in Florida. If small traditional amusement parks are your cup of tea, then Knoebels. Kennywood, and Waldameer are not that far for you. I love all the parks, but Cedar Point is at the top of hill, with all the other parks trying to climb up to the standard which it has set in the industry.

Re: Cedar Point or Universal Studios? by GoYanks34 GoYanks34 Profile at 7/18/11 9:56:07 PM

You bring up a good point with the classifications but I always think the Busch Gardens parks are somewhere in the middle between theme park and thrill park. I really can't decide where to place them. They have the amenities, themes and attractions of a theme park but they also have a few great coasters that puts them with the thrill parks. They really are the best of both worlds when it comes down to it IMO.

Jen

Re: Cedar Point or Universal Studios? by Cyclone_Phil Cyclone_Phil Profile at 7/18/11 10:43:54 PM

I'll add to the part of Florida parks as in it's not really just about the rides, they also have some shows [twister and disaster] and fun, but not too 'extreme' rides [Men In Black at Universal, being a laser tag type ride].
Even for a non-Potter fan, I found that ride pretty enjoyable because of the free movement compared to Spiderman. Mummy is a short ride, nicely themed, but if not for the launching part, it would likely be matched easily by Maverick or such rides.
Rip Ride Rockit, is fun for the music choices, but I would say the coaster itself is soso mainly because of all the breaks that makes the ride insconsistant 'stop and go'.

Busch Gardens tampa got a new coaster cheetah hunt which looks promising on top of gwazi being improved with millenium flyer trains. And then of course their other 3 wonderful coasters: kumba, montu, and sheikra.

Not sure about how long the OP plans to stay in the Florida area, but maybe they might concider adding a stop at Sea world as well? I think online has tickets for all of those parks, but of course a bundle package would be really steep.

So really if the trip is about hitting up all the major thrill rides, then yeah, I'd pick CP [which I'd love to go to some day].

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Re: Cedar Point or Universal Studios? by alyssadiann1219 at 8/10/11 12:43:06 AM

Cedar Point; its sooo much fun you wont regret it

Re: Cedar Point or Universal Studios? by squirrels at 8/10/11 9:15:21 AM

Let's be honest, here...12 years old is 6th-7th grade. Middle-school age. Unless he's a slow-grower, he and his friends are already (behind your back, of course) starting to add dirty words to their vocabulary and sneak peeks at Rated-R movies. "Harry Potter" is "kids' stuff".

If he's getting a kick out of KdK, El Toro, and GL, then Cedar Point will be absolutely awesome for him.

TTD -> KdK minus 30 feet
Mantis -> GL minus a corkscrew
Raptor -> Less intense, but better executed Batman The Ride

Then there's the marquee coasters Millenium Force and Maverick, plus supporting coasters Wicked Twister, Corkscrew, Magnum XL, an assortment of woodies (that are kind of rough...you've been warned), and a bunch of flat thrill rides.

That being said...I understand if you want to dodge the crowds. Being the premier coaster-park in America, let alone the world, is a huge draw. On one hand, all of the kids are back in school, so you don't get the vacation-crowds and nationwide tourists quite so much. On the other hand, the LOCALS will still be pouring in. :/

I don't know enough about Universal to say what it's all about, but I'm guessing based on others' descriptions, it will be overshadowed by 6F-GADV.

Are you DRIVING to Universal or flying? If you're driving, there's always the possibility of hitting any number of parks along the East Coast that will have plenty of coasters to thrill your kids:

6F-GADV you've already been to

HersheyPark (Hershey, PA) - Fahrenheit, StormRunner, Great Bear are all high-thrill, plus some good woodies, a few older coasters, a Vekoma boomerang

Kings Dominion (Doswell, VA) - I305, Dominator, Volcano, FOF, again a couple of good woodies and supporting coasters

Parks I've never been to that I've heard have good rides as well:
- Dorney Park, Allentown, PA
- Busch Gardens, Williamsburg, VA

Some stuff to think about.

Re: Cedar Point or Universal Studios? by Cyclone_Phil Cyclone_Phil Profile at 8/11/11 2:21:04 AM

Ok, first off, you don't have to be a fan of the movies/comic characters etc at IOA to enjoy the rides there. How about actually going to the place first before just dismissing it?

You can't really judge one park as superior over the other because you only care about roller coasters. I haven't been to CP, but I've been to SFGAdv, KD, BGW, BGT, and IOA and I like them all in their own way. Sure a park consisting of mostly coasters is great, but there's more to parks than just coasters imo.

Just keep an open mind is all i'm saying.

Re: Cedar Point or Universal Studios? by squirrels at 8/11/11 9:27:38 AM

> Ok, first off, you don't have to be a fan of the
> movies/comic characters etc at IOA to enjoy the rides
> there. How about actually going to the place first before
> just dismissing it?

> You can't really judge one park as superior over the other
> because you only care about roller coasters. I haven't been
> to CP, but I've been to SFGAdv, KD, BGW, BGT, and IOA and I
> like them all in their own way. Sure a park consisting of
> mostly coasters is great, but there's more to parks than
> just coasters imo.

> Just keep an open mind is all i'm saying.

I'm not dissing ANY parks. I know I seem opinionated at times, and I apologize for that. :p

I had just heard someone say, "If your kid likes Harry Potter..." and I remember that at that age, most of the boys I knew were more into "Dirty" Harry Callahan than Harry Potter.

Boys age 12 and up are a completely different creature than those age 11 and down, and since the OP said his son was "fast becoming a coaster enthusiast" and was "on Kingda Ka, El Toro, Nitro, and Green Lantern", I'd lean more towards thrills than theming.

The decision the OP made is probably the best one...save Cedar for spring and do Universal in Fall. Coupling BGT with that trip is also a great idea. The coasters at BGT should provide the "thrill" his boy is looking for...it sounds like a good variety.

I forgot there even WAS another Busch Gardens, honestly...I usually think Williamsburg when I think BG (which I've been trying to get my group to all year, in combination with KD). Consequence of growing up around here, I guess.

It's like FrontRow said, though...there are amusement parks, theme parks, and thrill parks. The original post suggested that "thrill" was the target. Thus my response was oriented toward a "thrillseeking" mentality. Cedar Point is #1 in that genre. Great Adventure is #2 and is only one Intamin coaster away from being co-#1.

So if the goal is a fun family trip with enough thrills to keep the young man satisfied, then Universal + BGT is a good call. If the goal is maximum thrills for the young man, though, then everyone knows by now which direction I lean. :p

Re: Cedar Point or Universal Studios? by Cyclone_Phil Cyclone_Phil Profile at 8/12/11 12:01:53 PM

Well ok then. Maybe you should've posted that in the first place. :p
IOA has Dueling.. er dragon Challenge which is a pair of inverts that gives you an experience no other park has. Hulk is another very good thrill ride. So if it was an IOA+BGT trip, there's enough thrills and enough of the 'fun' rides to go on.

I would totally enjoy a trip to CP. I would probably try to combine that trip with one to KI. I need to check off some mid-west coasters off the list. :)

Re: Cedar Point or Universal Studios? by GoYanks34 GoYanks34 Profile at 8/12/11 3:05:29 PM

Cedar Point is #1 in that genre. Great Adventure
> is #2 and is only one Intamin coaster away from being
> co-#1.

Finally! 8~)

On another note - Harry potter is actually very popular as a movie franchise for all ages (I know some adults who are worse than kids) and I've also heard from many that do not not follow the movies/books that loved the ride so you don't necessarily have to be a fan to enjoy it. As Phil said, Dueling Dragons and The Hulk are both awesome coasters and some of the other rides, like Spiderman, are great. Not exactly "thrill" but a lot of fun. Both are good trips and great parks, just different.

Jen

Re: Cedar Point or Universal Studios? by Rhalley at 2/27/13 9:21:00 AM
Cedar point is open everyday in the summer its only open on weekends after august until after hallow weekends