Members, Sign In. Not a member? Sign Up

Ultimate Rollercoaster

Ad
Ultimate Rollercoaster > Discussion Forums > Roller Coasters, Parks & Attractions > Great America / Cedar Point Trip Report

Great America / Cedar Point Trip Report

antikythera antikythera Profile

Posted:
5/8/13 at
10:11:38 PM

I'm a month and some days late, but a report is better late than never, right? Hell, if Jen can do it, so can I. Thanks Jen for the inspiration. :)

Our trip to Cedar Point and Six Flags Great America was filled with copious amounts of rain and crowds, but we made the best of it.

We left Maryland around 6am in hopes of getting to the park by 1pm. This was much later than I had anticipated but the Miss wasn’t having it. It had been calling for rain all day en route, so I was hoping to get to the park before it started to downpour. Seeing strands of light rain along the way, I constantly checked my radar as we traveled to make sure the heavy rain would hold out in Sandusky. Running behind schedule and facing the inevitable, I wanted to get in as many rides as I could since we’d only be staying the night and leaving the next morning to head to Six Flags Great America/Milwaukee.

Against my determination, we pulled into Sandusky close to 2pm. The first thing I noticed about this park is the incredible view from across the water. It lives up to its name, in terms of grandeur. Even in the darkening sky above, it looked stunning with Millennium Force, Power Tower, and Dragster waiting patiently in the background.

As we got closer to the gates, I noticed Gatekeeper was running. They did well with this addition, in terms of presentation. I didn’t know what to expect going in, but it definitely gives the front of Cedar Point a nice touch and reminds me of how Dominator tempts you at Kings Dominion.

Nonetheless, knowing that time was short, I had to get on the ride as soon as possible before I missed my chance.



We rounded the peninsula and I took in the sights and sounds of the roller coasters towering above. I like how you get a sneak peak of everything as you drive around to get to the Hotel Breakers. It’s definitely a different feel and something I had not experienced before. Everything from the Marina to Challenge Park is inviting. Kudos to Cedar Point.

Upon getting to the Breakers and checking in, I took note of what wasn’t running: Dragster and Magnum. Bummer. We quickly got our stuff together and made our way to the side entrance on the Beach. Windseeker looks really nice situated on the boardwalk, like you’re somewhere on the eastern shore. Unfortunately, the wind had started to pick up at this point so it was down. By my tally of what I had seen thus far, three rides were down and only one was running. The day wasn’t looking good at this point.

The nice old lady greeted us at the gate and we were in. Immediately, I noticed that Wicked Twister was down. Some people were working on the track. That’s four rides down so far. The Miss was hungry so we stopped by one of the stands and used my Platinum Pass to get two free soft drinks with our two stuffed pretzel purchases. The stuffed pretzels were tasty but nothing memorable. After munching on some food, we made our way on over to Gatekeeper.

This line moves fast. Like superfast. People weren’t joking when they said the ride operators were on top of their game. They were pumping out trains every couple minutes. It was impressive. I decided to try out the left side of the train as people had mentioned it was the better side. At the top of the stairs, they were assigning seats. Accustomed to telling the attendant how many people are in my party, I put one finger up. She mistook this as I wanted lane one so she ushered me on over to that line. I wasn’t complaining.

After a few cycles, I was strapped in. For some unapparent reason, I decided to choose the inner seat. As I was getting strapped in, an older lady came over and asked if she could join me. She got strapped into the outer seat and we were off. At this point, it had started to drizzle so I knew I would probably be one of the last trains. As we’re going up the lift, the light rain started hitting my face and then the ride stopped. Figuring that they stopped it because of the weather, I was stuck staring at the sky and the lake to the left. It’s really quite nice. At this same time, I realized how uncomfortable the ride restraints are. They aren’t as accommodating to the torso area as I had liked. After a few long minutes, the ride started again.

My impression of this ride is that, while nice, I don’t get the thrill. The initial drop was unique but the rest of the ride was very forgettable. It might have been due to the fact that by this point the light rain had started to pick up, but I would love to ride this one more time to see if it was a fluke. As it is, I’m putting this as the most overrated ride of the year.

Once off, I regrouped with the Miss, and we made our way on over to the Ferris Wheel. She wanted to go on it, but due to the light rain, it was closed. Five rides down. :( We kept moving.

I made my way on over to maXair. At this point, the light rain had turned into a hard rain. Amazed that they were not shutting it down for the rain, I skipped ahead to the front as everyone ran to take shelter. Riding this thing in the rain has to be up there on the list of the scariest flat rides I’ve ever been on (Berserker at Kings Dominion being the other). At the same time, the airtime on this thing is incredible. It’s definitely in my top five for flat rides.

Once I got off, the true downpour I had been dreading all day kicked in. Everything started to shut down so we made our way on over to the gift shops. Cedar Point did well with their merchandise. I was able to pick up some nice shot glasses with the statistics of their roller coasters for relatively cheap. After spending some time pursuing, we made our way on over to the arcade.

MY GOD. This arcade was awesome. Never have I seen so many old school arcade and pinball machines. All for 50 cents or less! Like a kid in a candy store, I played a few rounds of everything I could get my hand on including an old school arcade machine where the ride pivots while you play either MechWarrior or some vertical shooter. Very fun.

At this point, the rain had slowed down but most of the rides were still closed. It was also getting progressively colder so we decided to make our way back to the hotel to change. Along the way, I noticed that Wicked Twister was running. I started to feel sorry for the poor folks on WT, as the light rain on the beach felt like small pieces of hail.

On the way back into the park, despite it only being light rain, I notice Gatekeeper was still down, Wicked Twister had accumulated a long line, and everything else seemed closed. Underwhelmed, I made my way on over to whatever coaster I hear making noise. It’s Corkscrew. I jumped in line, waited a few cycles, and chose a seat somewhere in the middle.

This ride is as classic an Arrow as you can get. I have nothing bad to say about it, but I don’t have anything great about it either.

Once off, we made our way on over to Mantis, the only other coaster running at this point. I stopped along the way to marvel at Millennium Force and get bummed out it wasn't running. Already, there were people camping out at the ride, hoping it would open up. True enthusiasts right there.

I got in line for Mantis, waited a few cycles and again chose a seat somewhere in the middle. As far as stand ups go, this is probably the one I have been able to tolerate the most. It’s far from perfect. It still hurts like hell. But compared to Iron Wolf and the TOGO monstrosities I have ridden, this was the best of the worst. I’ll have to see how Green Lantern stands up against it. No pun intended.

Once off, I again checked Millennium Force. They were testing trains but it didn't look like it was opening up. The rain had stopped but it was still cold out. We hopped on the Cedar Point & Lake Erie Railroad as I felt bad the Miss hadn’t had any real luck with any rides she was interested in.

I must say that the train ride gives you a nice view of everything. During the ride, I noticed Maverick was running. The Miss, who at this point, was cold and wanted to head back to the hotel, granted me permission to go explore the rest of the park without her.

I made my way on over to Maverick. It was a walk on. As I get into a lane, the ride broke down. How much luck could I be having, right? I waited about fifteen minutes and it didn't seem to be resolving itself. Frustrated, I made my way on over to Mean Streak. For the life of me, I could not find the damn entrance. Time was growing short and I had ridden a total of three coasters and one ride. I made my way to the front of the park to see if anything else had opened up. Cedar Downs Racing Derby and Blue Streak were running.

Intrigued by this flat, I decided to hop on it first. It’s a very different, if not, relaxing ride. Like a Merry Go Round gone wrong, in a good way. Once off, I hopped on over to Blue Streak.

This coaster is a mighty fine wooden coaster. I sat front row, as I prefer wooden coaster there (I’m odd, yes), and it was very enjoyable.

I hopped off the ride and decided to make my way back to Millennium Force one last time to see if it was open.

Low and behold, it was running. Excited by the fact that it was open and a walk on at this point, I got in line. I strapped myself into a middle seat and we’re off.

This ride lives up to the hype surrounding it. That first drop is a doozy and I appreciate the sheer speed, although I personally like Ride of Steel/Superman’s airtime hills more.

I pulled back into the station and the woman announced that if we would like to ride again, we can. I jumped right back in line and tried the back. The way the train pulls that back over the first hill has to be one of my favorite moments in any type of train on any coaster I’ve ridden. Much better than the back on I305 in my opinion.

Again, back in the station, they announced we can ride again. At this point, it was after park closing and I realized what they were doing. I asked the woman and she confirmed that, in lieu of Gatekeeper not opening up for the scheduled ERT for platinum passholders, they were doing Millennium force instead. That’s great customer appreciation right there. Kudos Cedar Point.

I got an additional ten rides in on Millennium Force, experiencing every side, car, and train on this thing. By the tenth ride, my face was frozen solid and the light rain felt like stings on my face, but I was having a blast. In line, they were doing Cedar Fair trivia and I began chatting it up with other enthusiasts. Overall, it was still a great end to a rather disappointing day.

The next morning, I debated if I should stick around to see if I can get a few more rides in before leaving for Milwaukee, but I regrettably decided to make our way to Great America. We got to the park around 2pm CT.

It was a much better day and the sun was shining. Things I immediately took notice of: Raging Bull looks great from the road leading into Gurnee. The park is very clean and shimmers in the sun.

The Miss dropped me off and headed to a nail salon. She issued me a four hour time limit.

I decided to skip on the flash pass as money needed to be saved for our trip into Chicago. Not really knowing this park all that well, I made some mishaps before finally finding my way to American Eagle. The park was parked and everything had an hour or longer wait. I decided to go ahead and wait for American Eagle. What a waste.

American Eagle, for being Intamin’s first wooden coaster, is rather lackluster.

I get off and made my way on over to Batman: The Ride. It was only a 30 minute wait compared to everything else so I hopped on. Knowing that this is a mass produced clone, I have to say it was pretty fun backwards, but way too short.

At this point, time was running short, so I decided I want to hop on Demon. The coaster seemed to be having some trouble so the line began to back up. Great. After about 20 minutes of waiting, I looked at my watch. Two rides in about 2 and a half hours. Thinking to myself, had I had the money, that flash pass would be great right now.

Overwhelmed, I decided to make my way on over to Whizzer. A total walk on and one of the most unique I’ve been on in a while. Like a bobsled coaster but more enthralling. Easily one of my favorite oldies that I will probably not be able to ride again for years to come.

At this point, I only had an hour left, but everything is packed. Deciding to call it quits, I made my way back to the front of the park. Taking it all in for one last time, I decided to myself that it’s a beautiful looking Six Flags park and I definitely would love to go back, if not to actually get some rides in on Raging Bull and Demon. I’m just grateful I got a chance to at least see the park.

Overall, I’d say my trip to both parks were uneventful and not what I had planned it to be. Had we chosen to go with our original plan of Wednesday/Thursday for Cedar Point/Great America, we might have fared better. But that ERT on Millennium Force was something to remember and something I probably won’t be able to experience again anytime soon, so I feel like we evened out somewhere.

-----------

So, I'll be taking my first road trip with my girlfriend of five years. We're taking a side trip to Chicago en route to Milwaukee for a wedding. We plan on hitting Cedar Point on Wednesday, May 22nd to brake up the driving and then hit Great America on Thursday, May 23rd. It's about a five and a half hour drive from Cedar Point to Great America. We anticipate we'll probably hit rush hour traffic since Google Maps seems to want to take us through the heart of Chicago unless we leave extremely early from Sandusky. I don't expect us to hit Great America until noon. The park closes at 6pm. I'm trying to avoid a Flash Pass if at all possible. I guess I have two questions:

1. What's the experience like on a random Thursday for this area. It'll be the weekend before Memorial Day so I'm kind of iffy about the crowds.

2. Any game plan on what I should hit and avoid if I do only have six hours to experience this park.

Also, while I'm at it, any suggestions on a game plan for Cedar Point would be nice. I had hoped we would be going on that Thursday as they are promising ERT for an hour after dark on Gatekeeper for Platinum Pass holders which would be awesome, but my girlfriend would rather do the two amusement parks before the weekend hits as she's not a big fan of them (she's just nice enough to let me indulge in my hobby).

* This post was modified at 7/17/13 1:14:09 PM *

Re: Great America / Cedar Point by theRock-steel theRock-steel Profile at 5/11/13 6:37:48 AM
I'm not sure about the traffic around Chicago for you. I was last there on a random Thursday and Friday when there was a big event downtown. The roads were fine.
Now SFGAM on the other hand was busy. Six hours is not near enough time for that park. If that is all you got, stay with these rides: American Eagle, Superman - Ultimate Flight, Raging Bull, Viper, and Whizzer. For most people X-Flight would be a sure thing, but you will have just ridden Gatekeeper. I'm not sure that you will have time at Six Flags for a very similar ride with a long line. Batman The Ride could be running backwards. If the line isn't going to kill your day, you might be able to try that too. Otherwise it would be very much like 7 other rides around the country. Vertical Velocity is another good one, but if you rode Wicked Twister at CP you got a better deal for the wait.
If Cedar Point is an all day thing you should be ok for almost every major ride. Blue Streak, Gemini, and Magnum XL-200 don't have long lines. Do them when ever you can. Maverick, Millennium Force, Raptor, Top Thrill Dragster, and Wicked Twister have crazy lines. I would go to the back, catching Maverick, MF, and TTD as early as possible. By then the lines at the front of the park with Raptor and WT may not be so bad. If the place is packed you could skip the Mine Ride, Corkscrew, and the two kiddie coasters. Don't forget to try three of the flat rides. Skyhawk is in the back, Power Tower is in the middle, and maXair is near the front. Try not to walk all over the place. This is a big park with crazy lanes going every which way. Do an area then move on.
Re: Great America / Cedar Point by antikythera antikythera Profile at 5/13/13 9:58:40 AM
theRock-steel said:

I'm not sure about the traffic around Chicago for you. I was last there on a random Thursday and Friday when there was a big event downtown. The roads were fine.
Now SFGAM on the other hand was busy. Six hours is not near enough time for that park. If that is all you got, stay with these rides: American Eagle, Superman - Ultimate Flight, Raging Bull, Viper, and Whizzer. For most people X-Flight would be a sure thing, but you will have just ridden Gatekeeper. I'm not sure that you will have time at Six Flags for a very similar ride with a long line. Batman The Ride could be running backwards. If the line isn't going to kill your day, you might be able to try that too. Otherwise it would be very much like 7 other rides around the country. Vertical Velocity is another good one, but if you rode Wicked Twister at CP you got a better deal for the wait.
If Cedar Point is an all day thing you should be ok for almost every major ride. Blue Streak, Gemini, and Magnum XL-200 don't have long lines. Do them when ever you can. Maverick, Millennium Force, Raptor, Top Thrill Dragster, and Wicked Twister have crazy lines. I would go to the back, catching Maverick, MF, and TTD as early as possible. By then the lines at the front of the park with Raptor and WT may not be so bad. If the place is packed you could skip the Mine Ride, Corkscrew, and the two kiddie coasters. Don't forget to try three of the flat rides. Skyhawk is in the back, Power Tower is in the middle, and maXair is near the front. Try not to walk all over the place. This is a big park with crazy lanes going every which way. Do an area then move on.

I figured that six hours was cutting it tight. I probably won't be heading out to the Chicago area anytime soon so this is kind of a one time shot, although I do fear that Great America might be dull after having just hit Cedar Point with basically upgraded models of everything. That being said, I'll try to hit the ones you mentioned to maximize my time -- I do want to ride B:TR backward as I adore coasters that do this (shuttles don't count in my book).

As for Cedar Point, I think that's a solid game plan. I had figured everyone would be trying to get on Gatekeeper throughout the day that I could hit it later on in the evening.

Has anyone had experience with the beach area? My girlfriend plans on chilling by it while I hit the big boy rides as she loves being near any body of water (it's relaxing for her).

* This post was modified at 5/13/13 10:01:27 AM *

Re: Great America / Cedar Point by Katie Katie Profile at 5/13/13 1:03:50 PM
The beach still may be chilly. The weather up here is ever changing. Be prepared for wind, rain, really hot temps or really cold temps. Seriously it changes minute to minute.

Gatekeeper was clocking 4 hour waits this weekend. Expect it to be busy regardless. If its extremely windy like it was this past weekend a LOT of rides will be down as Millennium Force and Maverick both valleyed.

IF I were you and you are able to get into CP early in the morning for early ride time, get in line for Gatekeeper then. You never know with a ride like that being brand new how finicky it might be.

Have a great trip. A lot of enthusiasts did the CP/SFGAm trip this past weekend and had a great time.

Re: Great America / Cedar Point by antikythera antikythera Profile at 5/13/13 3:14:33 PM
Katie said:

The beach still may be chilly. The weather up here is ever changing. Be prepared for wind, rain, really hot temps or really cold temps. Seriously it changes minute to minute.


Gatekeeper was clocking 4 hour waits this weekend. Expect it to be busy regardless. If its extremely windy like it was this past weekend a LOT of rides will be down as Millennium Force and Maverick both valleyed.

IF I were you and you are able to get into CP early in the morning for early ride time, get in line for Gatekeeper then. You never know with a ride like that being brand new how finicky it might be.

Have a great trip. A lot of enthusiasts did the CP/SFGAm trip this past weekend and had a great time.

Thanks. I look forward to it as all my theme park experiences have unfortunately been confined to the mid-atlantic and/or Florida area so this will be a breath of fresh air.

It looks like there might be a slim chance that I will be going to Cedar Point on Thursday, so I might get the promised extra hour of Gatekeeper they are offering to platinum pass members -- although I'm going to err on the side of caution as I have no idea how well they keep to this promise and/or how many platinum pass members will be visiting Cedar Point on a random Thursday night, meaning less ERT.

On the flip side, it looks like my platinum pass membership will get me all the food deals for the day (i.e. 2 for 1) so I'm happy about that. Now if only Kings Dominion would stop being stingy and offer similar perks...

* This post was modified at 5/13/13 3:22:34 PM *

Re: Great America / Cedar Point by Tomes at 5/14/13 7:16:17 PM
At Great America I would definitely say that V2 is best all the way in the back (IMO) and I actually liked it BETTER than Wicked Twister.
Depending on the lines at CP, I would skip WT and do V2 at GAm

Raging bull I also love in the back row, but front on B&M hypers is always fun too. S:UF really sucks if you've ridden Manta or Tatsu, or another S:UF, otherwise it's pretty cool. Viper is surprisingly awesome, but I'm not as big of a fan of American Eagle. I wish Deja Vu was still there :-/

Anyway have a blast!
I think the game plan for Cedar Point sounds legit, but I want to stress the importance of the flat rides: Skyhawk and MaxAir are a must!!

I'm going to be there on Thursday and here's our game plan: Hit Gate Keeper right as the park opens, and everyone probably runs towards it.. We'll take the small hit and wait half an hour or so for the front left seat (which looks pretty intense from the videos). Then we'll probably do Millennium in the back, maybe another time in the front if the lines aren't too crazy, Maverick, maybe sky hawk, Magnum and then hit TTD. The thing is, after you do TTD nothing else is that exciting so it's a good time to break for lunch.

Have a blast!!

Re: Great America / Cedar Point by antikythera antikythera Profile at 5/14/13 8:47:14 PM
Tomes said:

At Great America I would definitely say that V2 is best all the way in the back (IMO) and I actually liked it BETTER than Wicked Twister.
Depending on the lines at CP, I would skip WT and do V2 at GAm

Raging bull I also love in the back row, but front on B&M hypers is always fun too. S:UF really sucks if you've ridden Manta or Tatsu, or another S:UF, otherwise it's pretty cool. Viper is surprisingly awesome, but I'm not as big of a fan of American Eagle. I wish Deja Vu was still there :-/

Anyway have a blast!
I think the game plan for Cedar Point sounds legit, but I want to stress the importance of the flat rides: Skyhawk and MaxAir are a must!!

I'm going to be there on Thursday and here's our game plan: Hit Gate Keeper right as the park opens, and everyone probably runs towards it.. We'll take the small hit and wait half an hour or so for the front left seat (which looks pretty intense from the videos). Then we'll probably do Millennium in the back, maybe another time in the front if the lines aren't too crazy, Maverick, maybe sky hawk, Magnum and then hit TTD. The thing is, after you do TTD nothing else is that exciting so it's a good time to break for lunch.

Have a blast!!

Thanks. It looks like we may be going on Thursday now and hit Great America on Friday so maybe I'll run into you somewhere.

I'm actually more excited about Cedar Point than Great America right now. The more I look at Great America, the more I realize they have duplicates (S:UF, DKC, etc.) at Great Adventure so I may just hit the ones that are unique to the park since the six hours I'm allotting will probably be even more cramped on a Friday.

That being said, I've ridden Possessed at Dorney and while I appreciated it, it wasn't my top ride. I'll definitely feel out WT's line but am I really missing anything with V2?

Right now, I'm looking at Raging Bull, Viper, and American Eagle along with the flats. I may try to squeeze in X-Flight if the lines aren't too long just because I want the comparison of the two wing coasters.

* This post was modified at 5/14/13 8:48:08 PM *

Re: Great America / Cedar Point by frontrow frontrow Profile at 5/17/13 9:52:52 PM
Those are probably the 2 busiest parks in the US. Be prepared for long waits. I never buy fast lane upgrades, but those 2 parks, fast lane is almost a necessity. Good luck. Hope you find smaller crowds than I've encountered.
Re: Great America / Cedar Point by Tomes at 5/20/13 12:14:21 PM
So how was it?
Cedar Point lines weren't too bad Thursday. We got to ride Gate Keeper 3 times, 2of which were in the front and 1 in the back. Biggest disappointed of the day was skyhawk and max air both closed for the day. I'll write a shirt trip report. How was your experience? We may have run into each other... But we would never know cause I have NO clue what u guys look like.. Lol.
Re: Great America / Cedar Point by antikythera antikythera Profile at 5/20/13 12:31:42 PM
Tomes said:

So how was it?
Cedar Point lines weren't too bad Thursday. We got to ride Gate Keeper 3 times, 2of which were in the front and 1 in the back. Biggest disappointed of the day was skyhawk and max air both closed for the day. I'll write a shirt trip report. How was your experience? We may have run into each other... But we would never know cause I have NO clue what u guys look like.. Lol.

Hi Tomes,

I'm actually going this Thursday. Although it would have been nice to inadvertently run into another coaster enthusiast form this website while there, had I gone this past Thursday. :)

Nonetheless, I'm looking forward to it, although right now it looks like it may be raining that day. I'm hoping that it won't or at least come in, scatter people out and then dry up so I can ride with no lines. :P

Does anyone have a gameplan if we get rained out? Or what normally opens up first when the rain stops?

Re: Great America / Cedar Point Trip Report by antikythera antikythera Profile at 7/17/13 12:50:43 PM
Updated with my trip report.
Re: Great America / Cedar Point Trip Report by HamptonRoadsRider HamptonRoadsRider Profile at 7/17/13 1:48:01 PM
Nice report. I read this outloud to my fiancee while we are driving to cedar point from norfolk va. Well, until she told me to shut up that is. Will post a trip report later. We bought the fast lane passes. How are the waits for the fast lane at cedar point?
Re: Great America / Cedar Point Trip Report by antikythera antikythera Profile at 7/17/13 2:05:20 PM
I couldn't tell you only because we didn't buy them nor did anyone really seem to be using them due to the rain. Jen's (GoYanks34) report has some good insight into where the lines for Fast Lane starts on some of the rides.

http://www.ultimaterollercoaster.com/forums/roller-coasters-theme-parks/227385

* This post was modified at 7/17/13 5:02:57 PM *