Cedar Point and Waldameer TR - overdue and long!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Kids are huddled on the beach in a mist...
And Whacky Shack was built in 1970. It is truly a classic.
Nice TR. Very well done!
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.
Coaster to Park Ratio: 4.90 / Steel to Wooden Ratio: 2.55 / Wooden Coaster Percentage: 28.2%
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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.
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 *