Cedar Point 5/16-5/17 Short Trip Report w/ GateKeeper Reivew
I get it! I feel like I finally get it!
But let me start from the beginning:
Closed: Skyhawk, both days; Max Air, the first day; Maverick, Wicked Twister & MF all down for some time Thursday
Next up was Millennium Effing Force. We jogged again to Millennium force, and waited in line for probably 20 minutes or so, and another 10 for the front seat. I've ridden MF several times in my day, but OH-MY-GOD! I can't describe the feeling, if you haven't ridden MF in the front, you MUST. I'm generally a back-seat fan of hypers/gigas, but I recently have been changing my stance on that. There are no words to explain the rush, with only the lap bar on you, allowing all the air to rush though your mid and upper body. I agree that I305 is more intense at times, but the lap bar makes a HUGE difference!! It's like you're riding the track without a train - just your body and the track. It's so smooth and so forceful, I loved every millisecond of the ride. Wow.
Our next ride after a quick bathroom break was Maverick which always has a little longer lines than others.. I guess their capacity isn't that great and the operators aren't very efficient at times. So 45-50 minutes or so we got on the front seat (there isn't much of a longer line for the front seat than any other seat). Now, I remember Maverick being super forceful and intense, kind of like an I305 without the big drop. It's still pretty accurate! I now think the side-to-side "twisties" on I305 are more intense than Maverick's BUT that whole ride is still very forceful and the 95° first drop certainly adds to the overall intensity. The low airtime hills are SUPER powerful and amazing. Maybe B&M should learn something from Intamin - lower hills = more air while cresting them.
We then hit up the Dragster, after being extremely disappointed with Skyhawk being down and not looking like anyone is attempting to fix it or open it. Magnum was also down as we passed by it, so we went straight to Top Thrill. About 30-40 minutes or so and we were on the second row. Another top-class ride! Dragster remains on my top 10, easily beating out Apollo’s Chariot, Nitro and the likes (though Ashleigh doesn't agree about Nitro) and it's always an amazing and unparalleled rush.
Since Magnum was still closed we hit up Gatekeeper again, this time waiting for about 30-35 minutes including the wait for the back seat, this time on the left side. I'd definitely say that the left side is indeed more intense than the right side. Again, full review after the last time I rode it (coming up).
We kept hoping Max Air would open but it didn't, and waited for Wicked Twister which looked like it was about to open but didn't either. So we walked over to Magnum. Here was another epiphany: I have been a vocal opposer of MagnumXL200's eternal placing on the top 20 steel roller coasters.. I mean, yes it's tall (nothing special anymore) and it's 'classic' (meaning OLD) but all of a sudden, after riding it in the 2nd row, I realized that there is actually some quality airtime on this ride! I don't know why I didn't think it was that special all the other times - maybe I didn't sit in the right places, or maybe it's especially smoother this year, but that ride really delivered! 3rd hill had some very good air, as did the bunny hills the 2nd half of the ride! I still wouldn't put it on the top 10, but I now realize being on the top 50 is definitely a must for this ancient roller coaster.
After lunch, Iron Dragon was a nice little coaster to take a break with, especially with no lines, MF in the back was definitely awesome but NOT NEARLY as crazy, intense, "WOW"y as in the front(30-40min lines), and Dragster was actually surprisingly insane and intense in the middle of the train! Before dragster we were also in line for Maverick for about 30 minutes before it had technical difficulties which didn't seem to get solved for another several minutes, so we left and hit up the Dragster (as mentioned above)
Throughout the day we kept wasting time checking up on rides that were closed like Wicked Twister, Max Air and Skyhawk. We also did want to ride Mantis and the Power Tower, but these weren't as important as some of the other stuff in our opinion, since we had a limited time and Cedar Point has SO MUCH stuff to do, and we have both done all the rides there besides Windseeker and Gatekeeper.
I wasn't going to leave Cedar Point without riding Raptor, and after hearing it was a walk-on we made a point to go to it next. The line was about 10 minutes, and would have been another 10 minutes or so for the front row, but luckily they needed 2 riders so we obviously volunteered. Still a great ride! I will put it close to Montu and Alpengeist in the ride experience, with the awesome 0-g roll, forceful cobra roll and of-course the nice first drop which turns you to the left and then gets steeper.
Wicked Twister was about a 15-minute wait for the front, and delivered, though I personally think V2/Vertical Velocity is better in the back than Wicked is in the front. Wicked Twister in the back is not nearly as good because it only goes all the way up the back tower once.
Windseeker was a very nice surprise, and had an extremely nice breeze and views of the park. It doesn't leave you up there for a long time, but just enough to be like "Oh, sh** this is pretty high" and "Wow that's cool, look at all the rides!" while bringing you some breeze. Definitely better than its lower cousins in the Six Flags parks.
Then we waited for Max Air which looked like it was going to open any second, but the line for Gatekeeper was SO SHORT it was a crime not to go back on it and try another seat. The line actually started where you split off into 2 sides! (This was about 6:30-6:50 and the park was closing at 8pm). So we decided to hit up the front left, and again, after like 15 minutes we were right there! Ok, so now after having ridden it 3 times we felt like we can assess the ride:
As we got off Gatekeeper, we waited in line for Max Air which had been running with people for the past 15 minutes, but as we were in line it broke again. So we got out of there and ran to Millennium Force, since it was getting into the last hour of operation. Did you know that you can get in line for rides up until 10 minutes AFTER the official closing time??? Well, Millennium Force was only running 1 train (red) and the line was over 45minutes which would have meant this was the last ride of the evening for us, especially if we wanted to ride it in the front row again. So we ran to Maverick and tried to see if we can get another ride on it, to make up for the wasted time and no ride earlier. We sat soewhere in the middle, and it was really awesome again. Then we went back to MF and waited out the 1 train line and ended up being literally the last ride of the day, not only on Millennium Force but in the entire park! When we got off the ride, there were no more rides running, since this line was so long and with only 1 train. Funny thing is that you can't wait for the front row if there are no longer enough people to fill trains after the park closes. Even if you had been waiting for the front seat, you have to get out of that row and fill in trains until there are no more riders.
Thursday Morning we were there again when the park opened for the General Public and hit up TTD for the front row. Granted this was a Friday and crowds were coming in more densely. But this was early enough for us to wait 20 minutes for the front row. WHAT A WAY TO START THE DAY!!!! TOP THRILL DRAGSTER! We still think it's better than Kingda Ka because of the lap-bars, which make it so much more intense in the front row!! What a rush. It's also generally smoother than Kindga Ka, though in the 2nd row we experienced some noticeable shaking the previous day.
We then hauled over to Magnum which was ok, but not as fun in the middle as in the front. Still a very unique and fun roller coaster. I really just developed a new appreciation for it, after years of thinking it wasn't anything special.
Next was Maverick, which apparently opens later than the rest of the roller coasters in the park. This was maybe 10:40am and the line was like 20 minutes. We rode it in the last seat and really loved it! This ride really delivers, but you really should hold the restraints on either side of your head with your hands to make the ride more comfortable, otherwise the "twisties" kind of throw your head around if you put your hands up the entire ride.
We REALLY wanted to get another world-winning ride on Millennium Force's front row. But even though they were running all 3 trains, the line was almost an hour until you get to the station, and looked like would have been another 40min-1hr for the front row, so we settled for the 2nd row, which was still awesome, but of course not as awesome as front.
At this point we wanted to start driving back to STL cause we still had a long drive and had things to do that night, but we paid a visit to the front of the park to see what was going on with our friends Gatekeeper and MaxAir. Well they were both running. We got in line for Gatekeeper, but realized even though the sign said 45min, it looked like it was going to be over an hour. We decided to just make Max Air our last ride because it really is fun and unique, so we waited the 30 minutes or so and were not let down. The only thing is that it was chilly this morning... I'll jus throw it out there for whatever it's worth.
Overall this was an AWESOME AWESOME time!! We had so much fun and definitely got our adrenaline rush, especially since I now live in Israel, where there are no good coasters... Skyhawk was the biggest disappointment, and we did get frustrated walking for many minutes to rides which turned out being closed. I wish they had HUGE banners and signs throughout the park announcing wait times for rides and any downs or re-openings. They should even have an app that tells you how long for each ride, or when a ride closes or opens. It would be SO convenient and would make your time more efficient.
Anyway, enjoy this really long report ;-)
Awesome TR, you just made me want Saturday to come even faster for me! (first time visit coming up!)
To comment on the restraints on Gatekeeper, that must be a Wingrider thing. I experienced it on Wild Eagle at Dollywood as well. I wasn't expecting it, but the force of the ride during inversions pushes it down. Of course I like to have a bit of space, plus I'm skinny, so it could have come down on me because of that. I wasn't in dire pain or anything, and I've experienced that with other rides, like Nitro, but if you're aware of the inversion it happens on, or maybe have the restraints "snug" from the get go, maybe it won't get slammed down.
So yeah, could be a Wingrider thing.
I agree on the speed of the train during inversions thing. Like how you described Gatekeeper as JUST making it through it's inversions. I'm not a fan of coasters that just get through high points with enough speed to make the decent, unless it's a hyper B&M and I'm on a huge airtime hill! hahaha
Awesome TR again, thanks for sharing. :)
157 Coasters -- Favorite Coaster -- Nitro (SFGAdv)
117 Steel -- 40 Wood -- Home Park: SFGADv