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Ultimate Rollercoaster > Discussion Forums > Roller Coasters, Parks & Attractions > Cedar Point and Waldameer TR - overdue and long!

Cedar Point and Waldameer TR - overdue and long!

Schrecken Schrecken Profile

Posted:
7/21/12 at
12:37:03 AM

I was at CP exactly a week ago so I'm a bit late posting this TR but due to its length it took some time to compose. I also have a few pics I took that I will share.

TR: Waldameer and CP - July 11th and 13th

This past week a friend and I took a short trip and visited Waldameer in Erie, PA, and Cedar Point for the annual Coastermania event.
On the 11th we visited Waldameer, arriving right before the official opening time of 12 noon. The weather was beautiful, with brisk breezes off the lake, bright sunshine and (thankfully) low humidity. This was a great relief considering that most of the country had been gripped in an awful heatwave just days before.
Upon arriving at the park we bought our all-day ride bands and headed straight back towards the Ravine Flyer 2. However, to our dismay, the entrance was closed and there was a sign saying the ride would open at 1 pm. So we decided to take in some of the various flat rides in the mean time, but also discovered that several of them were not scheduled to open until 1pm as well, like the Paratrooper. So first up was the Trabant (pardon me if I call flats by their generic names, as I don't often remember what names various parks give to these rides), a flat ride which seems to becoming rarer and rarer by the day, and one that is rapidly dissapearing from many parks. This one was typical - first forward and then backward, though I liked the backwards part best. Then we did the Spider (did remember the name of this one). Despite the breezes the heat of the sun was intensified by the black cars of this ride, and of course these are very slow to load and unload. It was at this unfortunate point that some nasty ride-induced indigestion reared its ugly head for me (even though I had eaten breakfast over three hours ago, more about this later), probably due to some intense spinning action of the car we were in. I was really glad when it was time to get off, and at this point we went back and checked to see if the RF2 was open. This time we were greeted by a park employee who explained that there was a maintenance issue and that the coaster would not be open for another hour or so. So we had to make other plans and we went for some more flats, which this park has an ample supply of.
Closest by was the Paratrooper, which was now open. Which was a big mistake on my part, as my stomach issues hadn't fully recovered from the Spider, and I was downright queasy when this ride finally stopped and had a terrible attack of reflux. So then I knew that I had better head to first aid and get some antacids pronto (which I should have brought in the park with me, but were tucked away in my toiletries back back where we were staying) and take in some easy rides for a little while. I decided I wanted to ride the ferris wheel but my friend doesn't like ferris wheels so we split up temporarily and she went to ride the park's drop tower ride (nothing to do with my indigestion - I just don't like drop rides period and generally avoid them).
While I was on the ferris wheel (note to single riders - this is one of at least a couple of rides at Waldameer that doesn't allow for single riders, but I was able to squeeze into a car with a few other people so I could ride) I noticed some workers on RF 2's track and realized that it might be a while before it would open up for the day. This ferris wheel allows for some beautiful views of the lake and surrounding area, especially since you can't see the lake from the ground in this park like you can at CP.
Then I re-joined my friend and we went on the Wacky Shack, which always seems to have a long line due to slow-loading. I don't know how old this ride is, but it reminds me of what dark rides and funhouses must have been like back in the 60's - primitive by today's standards but still a classic dark ride from a bygone time. By this time I was feeling much better, and again we went to see when RF 2 might open and were told it would be yet another hour or so. So then we headed for the Steel Dragon, but were disappointed that we didn't get a whole lot of spinning action. It seems that for this coaster to do a lot of spinning, a combination of three people per train is best, as years ago there were three of us when we visited Waldamaeer and I remember this mouse spinning like crazy.
At this point it was close to 3:30, and the park employee over at RF 2 had assured us multiple times that the coaster would be open at some point this afternoon. Luckily they had opened the line and there were already quite a few people in line (filling the entrance ramp and ramps up to the station, but not the big cue area in the back), so we decided that we go ahead and get in line and wait before the line got any longer. Finally the line began moving and the coaster was operational, but as we came around the corner and headed up the first station ramp a large group of people began exiting the line in an almost panicked fashion. We just figured that the ride had stopped for some reason and they didn't want to wait, but after just a few minutes the loaded train that had been stopped for some reason in the brake run began moving again. Soon after we learned from the ride ops that there had been a brief park-wide power failure and everything had stopped, which for some odd reason really spooked all those people who cleared out the line - but it was a good thing for us as we had a much shorter line!
Being that the line was a whole lot shorter now, we were able to go for a front seat first ride. I remembered really liking this coaster when I rode it a couple of years ago, and I still do like it, especially the 2nd half after it crosses the road. The only thing I wasn't so fond of is that at the bottom of the first drop and the drop that plunges down to the road crossing was rougher than I remember it being, but not horrible or un-rideable in any way, only that I had to brace for a few seconds in those areas to avoid some uncomfortable jostling. Most woodies that I find to have rough spots always seem to have them towards the end of the ride, or at least after the first or 2nd drop, like in a helix or turn around, but oddly enough RF 2 is just the opposite. The airtime hills after the road crossing are my favorite parts of RF2.
As soon as we got off we headed back for another ride and due to the line thinning out we were able to get at least 4 more rides within an hour or so. But there were also a couple more rides in the park that I wanted to do that my friend had no interest in, so it was at this point that we ran afoul of the park's no single rider policy on this coaster. All along we had seen a few singles come to ride and the ride ops had no problem finding riding partners for them, but my friend and I both have specific seats on woodies that we ride in and those that we avoid (we always ride the front seat or front seat of the 2nd car and never sit in a wheel seat; basically because neither of us are teenagers anymore!), so my friend asked the ride op if, as a single rider, she would be able to ride in the first seat of the 2nd car. Luckily the answer was yes so I didn't have to feel too bad about leaving her for a few rides.
I was feeling rather hot and sweaty at this point and felt that riding a water ride would be refreshing, so I went to see how wet people got on the log flume before I got in line for it. It looked like some people were coming off drenched, and I really didn't want to get that wet, so I went and rode the sky lift. This cooled me off a bit but not as much as I'd have liked so I went ahead and decided to ride the log flume. I had no idea if they had a single rider policy on this ride, but I managed to find someone to ride the back seat and I took the front seat, where I knew my face and upper body would get really wet but my lower half would be shielded by the front of the log. This is one log flume that I found to be surprisingly and painfully rough as each log crests the top of the two hills and slams down into the drop chute. That didn't feel good at all on my back, and neither did my sunscreen as it burned the heck out of my eyes at the bottom of the first drop, but still, getting wet did feel refreshing and it cooled me off as I had hoped. I went back over to RF 2 and the timing was perfect as my friend was just getting off, and we got back on again for another ride. It was at this point that I was really getting hungry, and we decided that it was a good time for us to go across the street (well, down the street a bit, a little past where RF 2 crosses the road) to Sara's and get a burger and fries. We were told by a local that this is THE place to eat if you are at Waldameer and don't mind going outside of the park for a bit). The curly fries were excellent, and the burger was good too - as was the hot fudge milkshake. We weren't sure if we'd come back to the park or not, but after we had eaten we were still hot and tired and decided to go back to were we were staying the night and just hang out. In addition, we had done just about everything in the park that we had wanted to do - so you don't really need to budget a whole lot of time for this park in order to do everything at least once or perhaps more.

The next day basically all we did was drive over to Sandusky (which took just under three hours from Erie, PA, including a bathroom stop) and get settled in for the night, as we had to hit the hay early due to Coastermania's very early start (though not as early as in past years, still we had to be there at 6 am sharp).

The next morning we awoke around 5 am as the sky was just getting light, and luckily we were staying only a few miles from Cedar Point so we made it there in plenty of time to spare. We bought our tickets and once we got inside everyone was making their way to the behind the scenes tour of Top Thrill Dragster and Gemini. They had some donuts, coffee and juice set out by the Starbucks internet cafe at the front of the park, but I only had the chance to grab some juice as my friend was afraid we'd miss the tour as it was close to 6:30 by that point. I really could have used a cup of joe but I didn't want to miss the tour either. I was really hoping that they would allow us to take a look at the mechanics of TTD (by letting us see inside the hydraulics building) along with walking around the grassy area inside that's normally inaccessible to anyone but employees. But sadly that was not to be, though I did get some good pics of TTD as the morning light splashed across the towering structure. We decided to pass on the Gemini tour, as both of us were more interested in getting a jump on ERT on Millennium Force. However, I had one thing that I wanted to do before that - last summer I had my first and only ride on Maverick, and that ride was as a single rider where I was placed somewhere close to the back and that was the only seat I had tried on that ride. I didn't recall it being too bad, and I was able to avoid most of the head-bashing, which is generally worse in back seats than in the front on most coasters. So we split up, and I headed towards the back of the park (boy is that one hell of a long walk, at least from MF!). But when I got there Maverick wasn't running yet so I didn't see much point in hanging around and squandering who knows how long to wait for Maverick to open when I could be riding MF. So I made that marathon back over to MF and by this point it was up and running. I got several rides on my # steel coaster but still I was unable to catch up with my friend and we just kept passing each other because neither of us wanted to just hang out and miss rides while waiting for the other to get off. So when it got to be around 9:30, I decided to quickly run back to Maverick and try to get that one front seat ride (since I had never ridden in the front, I like to ride every coaster in the front seat at least once). The season pass and resort people had begun to filter in along with the Coastermania attendees, but still I only waited a few trains for the front. This would soon become a huge regret if there ever was one! Right after the lift hill I really thought this coaster should have been named "Muhammed Ali the Ride" as it delivered one blow after another to my poor ears, and for some reason, even though I could see and anticipate each and every turn, I was unable to defend myself from the fusillade of ear-bashing (as I normally can with some effort when riding many notorious head-bangers, like looping Arrows and Vekomas). Finally to my relief, just when I thought my ears couldn't take any more, the ride ended and I got off, burning ears and all, and headed back on over to MF to get a final ride or two before the GP arrived. Unfortunately I think Maverick will be added to my "do not ride" list for the time being, coasters that I consider too painful or rough to ever want to ride again, unless of course it gets the much-needed I-305 OTSR treatment.

Finally the ERT was over and my friend and I headed back out to the car for a quick snack and some re-application of sunscreen (or rather first application for her, but even so she did get a mild burn even though the sun was low in the sky during most of ERT). Then we were back in the park and we did some flat rides and attempted to do Disaster Transport, but it was close to noon by then and very hot in the blazing sun and many of the GP had the same idea, and the line was a bit too long for our tastes. We did Max-Air, which was hotter than hell standing there in that un-shaded line, and also the Troika, and then we did Wicked Twister (which surprisingly didn't have a real long line, being the slow loader and low capacity ride that it is). Wicked Twister didn't seem to be quite as much fun as it had been in the past, as it didn't seem like the trains went quite as far up the spikes as I remember years ago. Then we headed for Windseeker, which also had practically no line. If there was ever a perfect place for this type of ride, the shores of lake Erie are it - I know the Windseekers are often derided as boring but in this location it works - very scenic and a refreshing break from the heat. Finally lunch time had arrived and we made our way to the picnic pavilion. We were waiting for one of my friend's friends who was going to catch a ride back home with her the next day, and he wanted to touch base with her in case we didn't see him at the night ERT. We ended up waiting a while, but finally he showed up and there were still attendees filtering in and plenty of food left. They gave everyone a Coastermania 2012 t-shirt and bag to carry it in, + the obligatory lanyard that would gain us entry to the night ERT. The food was decent, consisting of fried chicken, hot dogs, mac-n-cheese, ice cream and cookies, and we ate our fill and hung out a bit afterward. The only thing bad about these picnic pavilions is their proximity to Blue Streak and Raptor, making for a very noisy lunch with people trying to talk over the din. It was at this point that my friend and I had discussed maybe going to the water park for a few hours to cool off, but being that she had a season pass (the only CF park near me is KD, and I only get there once a year at most, so I have no reason to have a CF season pass) and I didn't, it would mean she got in free but I'd have to pay $35, and for me that wasn't worth it for a couple of hours.
So we went back out into the park and decided to see if we could get a few rides on Raptor and one on Blue Streak. Well, first up was Blue Streak. We rode in the front because the lines were almost non-existent (the whole day wasn't bad, most of the coasters had less than a half-hour's wait at most) and we both prefer the front on woodies because, well, to put it bluntly, we aren't teenagers anymore! Blue Streak was a bit rougher than I had remembered it, but then again I'm wary of most woodies due to my having back problems and so I'm very vigilant about noticing roughness in certain coasters. It wasn't awful, it had just some spots I had to brace myself for so I don't get slammed down into the seat and have my back jarred. Not my favorite woodie (that's El Toro, of course!) but not a bad coaster either. Then we went for Raptor. I was leery of Raptor and was really hoping against all odds that I wouldn't have to place it on my "do not ride" list due to the fact that almost every time I have ridden it I've come off with a headache. Well, I'm pleased to say I made a real breakthru this time around - I found a seat, actually a couple of seats, on Raptor that are actually not bad at all and I was able to finally enjoy this coaster after all this time w/o having to regard it as a migraine machine. I have long figured out that the best (meaning least rough) seats on older B&Ms are the inside seats towards the front or in the front. So for the four rides we took on Raptor I sat in these seats and had some good rides. There are a couple of places I got head-banged the first time around but then I figured out where they were and was able to avoid that in the subsequent rides. I'm so glad I can finally enjoy this highly-regarded coaster without the headaches!

After that we were feeling really hot and tired, and we ducked into the internet cafe to have something to drink for a while. Then we went out and did some more flats, and again we got hot and this time went to see the ice show. This made for a good half-hour in a nice cool place and a chance to sit and rest. Then we decided it was time to pay our final respects to Disaster Transport since the lines for all the rides had thinned out pretty well. The wait was only perhaps 10 or 15 minutes, and we enjoyed the A/C in the line area, but once you get to those stairs it gets hot again. But it wasn't long before we got to ride, and on this last ride on DT we got these strange kids behind us who started out singing as we went up the lift hill, and then ever so often (I guess what they thought were the scary parts) they broke into screams, then back to singing - very weird! A rather odd experience to mark our last ride on DT. DT was never a great ride, but it will be sad to see CP without an indoor coaster, or a dark ride for that matter - makes me even more glad that I'm not too far from BGE and I now have Verbolten to satisfy that indoor/dark coaster desire for a long time to come.

Then it was out to the car for one last time and I got a funnel cake and took it out to the car to eat while my friend ate some food she had in her cooler.

It wasn't too long before evening ERT would start, and we spent those last couple of hours catching up on any flats we had missed, like Skyhawk and Witches' Wheel (well, I sat that last one out because if you have low back problems, those continuous g forces tend to exacerbate any aches and pains you might have - a shame because I used to like Enterprises when I was younger). Skyhawk is one of my favorite flats in the park, as I could ride it multiple times in a row and never get tired of it. But it was time to move on, and we wanted to do Magnum at least once that day, and it was starting to get dark so we knew ERT was going to be upon us soon.

Again this coaster was almost a walk-on, and we had no trouble waiting for the 2nd seat in the 2nd train (this being the one my friend had remembered as being the least rough). Well, unfortunately I got another set of unpleasant surprises as soon as the train made its way down the first drop and into the tunnel. I knew Magnum was rough and wild, but again it seemed to be even more so than I had remembered it. I did my best to brace myself, but being in a middle seat (and not the front one of the car) I had only the wheel well on the right side (I was in the right hand seat) to brace my foot against. But despite my best efforts to ride defensively, at some point I got thrashed pretty good and somehow my foot slipped off the wheel well and I felt a sharp pain as my ankle twisted violently. Then it only got worse - as the train headed towards the turn around element it was nearly dark and I didn't anticipate this maneuver in time to avoid having my whole upper body snapped hard to the left and I was literally bent in half sideways and it took some effort for me to right myself and prepare for the exit of the turnaround (which didn't whip me hard to one side like the entry point did). I did the best I could for the remainder of the ride to defend against the very abrupt up and down action of the bunny hills. But as the train hit the brake run I was in pain and I exclaimed to my friend that this ride, should CP ever go the advertising route like Six Flags does with the chewing gum ads on El Toro's trains, the trains on Magnum should surely be used to advertise over the counter pain killers!

Well, as I limped off my one and only ride on Magnum, my friend decided she wanted another go at being battered before the ERT began. So I decided to wait it out as there really wasn't any time for me to ride any of the flats and there was really not much nearby except the aforementioned Enterprise which would have made my aches even worse.
Finally she came off her second ride (which took much longer than the first, as is always the case when the GP rush certain rides just before closing time to get in one last ride of the night) and we made one last bathroom trip and then headed over to TTD to await the start of ERT. By this time there was already a line of attendees, however, even though we were lined up outside the entrance we watched in surprise as more than a few of non-attendees continued to run to and actually be allowed to get in the line, even though by this point it was after 10pm. Finally my friend went down and asked the employee at the gate what the deal was, and he explained that he could not close the line until he got "the call" to do so, which was, oddly enough, always around 10:09 pm - go figure! Not 10:00 on the dot, but 10:09....for a park that officially closes at 10 pm, you'd think they'd close all the rides at that time as well and only let those who were already in line finish their rides. Oh well, it wasn't long before the call came, and into the line we went, as surprisingly there were few GP left in the line to finish out their rides so we were able to get on in very short order. I hadn't ridden TTD all day (and only got to ride it once last year, which wasn't nearly enough), and was saving it for just this time (hoping all along during the course of the day that it wouldn't break down), and for the first ride we decided on the front seat. I know that many people regard this type of single element launched coaster as nothing more than a one trick pony that doesn't do much of anything compared to a "real" coaster like MF. However, there's nothing quite like sitting in the front seat on TTD and waiting with bated breath as the train rolls forward into the launch position. This is always an anxiety ridden time for me, even though I've ridden it many times before and know exactly what happens and how it feels, but still there is the element of suspense and surprise nonetheless. Then I watch and listen with excitement as the break fins drop, the pre-launch lights come on and you hear that final "clunk" as the train is engaged with the launch cable (assuming that's what that sound is). Then, with the help of some other riders I hear a count of "3-2-1" and then it hits - one of the most mind-blowing, explosive launches the average civilian could ever experience on an amusement park ride (sorry but KK was down when I was at SFGreat Adventure, so I cannot compare TTD to its slightly larger and faster cousin). I felt the skin on my face flutter in the gale force wind like a flag flapping in a stiff breeze, and I squinted hard to protect my eyes from anything (like a bug) that might fly into them at such high speeds (I actually did get a corneal abrasion from something getting into my eye on TTD years ago, so I am mindful of that). But I kept them open just enough that I could see the very brief view into the blackness of the night as we crested the top, savored the all too quick pop of airtime and then we were rocketing down the other side, the twisted track coming up at me way, way too fast. Then came the rippling of the skin on my face and finally the hard stop onto the break run. And finally everyone breathes and it's like "wow! that was awesome!"

Well, that night, within the space of about an hour and a half, we got nine glorious rides on TTD. The only bad thing was that one one of them my friend had her lanyard (which like most riders, she had carefully tucked down inside of her shirt) ripped right off her head during the descent, and she had to notify the ride ops so they could let the guys at the gate know to allow her re-entry, because at this point there were still a few GP in the park. At some point during the ERT they got her a replacement lanyard and everything was OK from then on out.
Finally, as it was getting close to midnight, my friend decided that she wanted to get a ride on Gemini (and also because she had met someone she hadn't seen in years at the ERT and I don't think he had ever ridden Gemini and still needed that one credit). I had no interest in Gemini, as the last time I rode it I found it uncomfortably rough (not ankle-twisting rough as with Magnum, but still not really fun), so we agreed to meet up at the exit and I limped back into line for one more ride on TTD. I got that last ride, this time towards the back as ERT was drawing to a close and the ops were trying to fill every seat and this time I was a single rider. There wasn't a whole lot of difference in the back, perhaps a tad more jittery and maybe the pop at the top was less intense, but basically very similar to the front part of the train.

So I bid goodbye to TTD and the rest of CP for another year, and headed on out to the front of the park to await my friend. The only coaster I passed on this trip was Mean Streak and Mantis, even though last time I rode MS when I was at the park, it wasn't that awful but being that I didn't need the credit I just passed on it this time. Mantis I also remember as having become rather rough, that and I also noticed that a trim brake had been placed right on the first drop, which I hadn't noticed last summer. A trim on the first drop really isn't a good sign at all, especially on a B&M (it's rare that there's a trim on the first drop of any coaster, unless of course you have a problem like with I-305). The only other B&M I've seen lately with a trim in an odd place was Raging Bull at SFGA - there was a trim close to the crest of one of the hills and it seemed to be an odd place to put one.
And finally this is the first event I've been to in a long time where I was able to head off ride-induced indigestion which usually strikes during morning ERTs and can ruin at least part of my day. I avoided this with nothing more than a small roll of antacids which I ate one or two periodically during the day, especially right before a ride that I thought might trigger symptoms, like Raptor. I'm looking back to so many past ERTs, both morning and night ones, and lament on how many were ended prematurely due to a reflux attack that could have been easily prevented, and how many multiple rides I missed. Well, at least I now know how to cure that problem very easily and cheaply. And finally, my twisted ankle that resulted from a too-wild ride on Magnum was just fine a couple of days after I got home.

my CP and Waldameer pics

Re: Cedar Point and Waldameer TR - overdue and long! by beastmaster beastmaster Profile at 7/21/12 6:04:29 AM
Well, that crtainly killed some time before I head to Dorney! What a fun read! I've been to CP eight or nine times, but Waldameer only once, two days back in '09. You really captured the feel of both parks. I tought it funny that you wanted to hit Steel Dragon, the spinny mouse, at the height of your stomach ills! El Toro is my #1 ride, but RFII has held the #2 spot since that that lone visit. I am sorry to hear that roughness has reared its ugly head.

When did they establish a singlr rider restriction on RF? I had about 30 rides over those two days, and at least half of them were solo.

Mike

The amusement park rises bold and stark
Kids are huddled on the beach in a mist...
Re: Cedar Point and Waldameer TR - overdue and long! by ray_p ray_p Profile at 7/21/12 9:36:23 AM
I don't think RF2 has a "No Single Riders" rule, however there has been a sign in the station since day 1 that states single riders will be asked to pair up and ride in the center of the train. I can't recall them ever enforcing this policy though as I have ridden solo more times than I can remember in my choice of seat.

And Whacky Shack was built in 1970. It is truly a classic.

Nice TR. Very well done!

Re: Cedar Point and Waldameer TR - overdue and long! by drachen drachen Profile at 7/21/12 12:49:43 PM
Nice write-up of two parks that I like an awful lot.

RFII does have a sign posted about no single riders, or something about sitting in the middle of the train. I asked the attendant if that was a hard and fast rule. She said no, and I that I could sit where I wanted. So, I rode the front and the back a number of times. It is a phenomenal ride.

I suppose it's one of those things that could be different, depending on who is working the ride.

drachen
Coaster to Park Ratio: 4.87 / Steel to Wooden Ratio: 2.57 / Wooden Coaster Percentage: 28%
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Re: Cedar Point and Waldameer TR - overdue and long! by frontrow frontrow Profile at 7/21/12 2:46:38 PM
Great TR. We haven't been to Waldameer this year. Last year Ravine Flyer II was running great. My only complaint about that coaster is that it doesn't carry the speed all the way to the end. The very last part of the ride is a little sluggish. Still in my top 10 of wooden coasters, but the wooden coasters in my top 5 carry their speed to the very end.

Non enthusiast friends of mine went to Cedar Point last year for the first time. They had the same opinion of Magnum that you had. To me it's not rough at all, and I usually ride it in the back seat. I'm a member of ACE, but I rarely go to the events. I'm either unable to make it or I feel the event is over priced. Years ago the events were much cheaper. 9 rides on Dragster during ERT sounds awesome.

It sounds like a good trip. You visited one the best small parks and one of the best large parks on your trip. To bad you couldn't fit another park in on your travel day. Sounds like you had a great time and I enjoyed reading about it.

Re: Cedar Point and Waldameer TR - overdue and long! by Schrecken Schrecken Profile at 7/21/12 4:04:42 PM
Thanks for the compliments everyone!

I also don't remember Waldameer enforcing the single-rider rule when I was there in 09', as there were three of us then and of course one of us would have always ended up riding alone. But I guess we just happened to get a couple of ride ops that were told to enforce it, though they said nothing about making anyone sit in the center of the train (luckily for my friend!).

I would have put Wacky Shack as being built in the mid-60's so I guess I'm not too far off from its actual age.

* This post was modified at 7/21/12 4:05:50 PM *