Members, Sign In. Not a member? Sign Up

Ultimate Rollercoaster

Ad
Ultimate Rollercoaster > Discussion Forums > Roller Coasters, Parks & Attractions > Cedar Point and Conneaut Lake Park Review/Photo Trip Report

Cedar Point and Conneaut Lake Park Review/Photo Trip Report

drachen drachen Profile

Posted:
8/5/13 at
12:40:34 PM

Conneaut Lake Park

Conneaut will be the shorter of the two - much shorter than the monster Cedar Point report that I'll be attaching to this post.

I first visited Conneaut Lake Park in 2011, on a trip to Waldameer. CLP's website said they were open, but when I got there I found the park was closed. I wasn't very happy because I had driven a long way, and I wasn't sure if I would make it back before the park possibly closed for good.

Well, things are looking up for Conneaut at the moment, despite the recent fire. The park has a lot of people pulling for it, including many that were willing to help out for the park's clean-up event.

I hope the Travel Channel picks up the show's pilot too. Anything that helps generate interest in this park is a great thing.

When I visited in 2011, the place looked awful. It didn't help that everything was closed, but the park looked like it was hanging by a thread.

When the park is open, there is a completely different feel - one that I really liked. I feel like lakeside parks need to be treasured and preserved, and this park has a beauty of a lake right next door.

The park has "Knoebels Potential". If they can get a few more rides, including one more to draw people to the place, we'll have something very special on our hands.

The park was still a bit run down when I was there. But the following day brought the army of volunteers. From the photos I've seen, the place looks very different with all the new paint. I hope they can keep up the good work!

I guess I'm rambling a bit. I was planning on just sharing my photos here. I guess I'll do that now, and wrap it up at the end with my thoughts on Blue Streak.


Apparently, this whole area got a face lift this past week. They look much better now than then do in this photo.

The Devil's Den got an outside makeover too. This is a neat little ride. It could use a few more stunts, in my opinion. But I love classic dark rides, and this certainly was one.

The fantastic Conneaut Lake front and boardwalk.

I had never ridden a tumble bug before. I'm glad this thing was open. What a fun ride!

Blue Streak - 6 rides

The park was pretty empty when I got there at 1pm. I was in the front row of the first train out for the day.

The tunnels still needs some work, as the sunlight comes in pretty easily in several spots. I'd love to see it become pitch dark in here again.

The back seat is where it's at! I was a little nervous at first, with my sore back, to take a ride in the back seat. I was expecting the bottom of the drops to be brutal.

They were a little rough and tumble, but they are completely manageable. The back seat of this ride is fantastic, especially on the first two drops. The train feels like it's trying to throw you out.

The first drop on Blue Streak is really one of the best back seat experiences you'll find on a wooden coaster.

Here's where the coaster still needs some work. It kina' just crawls over these bunny hills. I'm told that once more track work is completed, Adam's will let this thing rip over the end of the ride. Sounds good to me!

I'd like to share my "To-Do List" for Conneaut Lake Park. I think the park has a ton of potential. Here's what I'd like to see from an attractions standpoint...

1) Get those water slides and lazy river back up and running. Nothing draws people to a park like water park rides. They may even look at adding a new or used slide.

2) Look into a used flume ride. This park could really use one.

3) Look into re-locating the Big Dipper from Geauga Lake. The ride is close, it's wooden (the Adams specialty). It's cheap. And it sports NAD trains like the Blue Streak. I think this makes a lot of sense.

4) There is a triangular shaped, overgrown pond next to Blue Streak. With a little clean-up, it would make a great river boat ride.

5) Attractions aside, get someone in there to grow your group business. It's ripe for the taking.

Like I've said, my opinions of this park have done a 180 since I visited while it's operational. With the recent clean-up that was done, I can only imagine the park would appeal to me more.

Here's to hoping they can continue to rebuild and restore, and of course grow.

Oh, and on a side note. If you're traveling from Conneaut to Cedar Point, might I suggest taking route 285/85 that crosses the Pymatuning Reservoir? What a treat that was!

The state line splits the lake vertically. The road splits the lake horizontally. Also, Andover, OH is a neat little town. I wish I would have had time to stop.

Cedar Point is up next!

* This post was modified at 8/5/13 1:58:34 PM *

drachen
Coaster to Park Ratio: 4.87 / Steel to Wooden Ratio: 2.57 / Wooden Coaster Percentage: 28%
Friend me on Facebook... Search Park Connoisseur
Re: Cedar Point and Conneaut Lake Review/ Trip Report, July 2013 by drachen drachen Profile at 8/5/13 12:42:46 PM
Cedar Point is up next...

I will say that it is very detailed with my thoughts on the rides, as well as some travel tips for anyone going yet this year.

I divided it up into sections - hopefully that makes it easier to read.

Enjoy!

drachen
Coaster to Park Ratio: 4.87 / Steel to Wooden Ratio: 2.57 / Wooden Coaster Percentage: 28%
Friend me on Facebook... Search Park Connoisseur
Re: Cedar Point and Conneaut Lake Review/ Trip Report, July 2013 by ray_p ray_p Profile at 8/5/13 12:56:40 PM
Nice TR on CLP drachen. Glad to hear you enjoyed your time there. I agree 100% with you. The place has potential. The problem is that with so many negative things happening to the park (fires, bad ownership, etc), it's going to take a LONG time to get back to some semblance of normalcy. I saw some pictures of the park from this past weekend and I have to admit that a little paint and some new signs did seem to brighten the place up a bit. That being said, the rubble and debris from the old Ultimate Trip building are still there as are many other eyesores, so there is still a lot of work to be done. Also agree that a new (or used) ride of some sort would help out immensely.

Looking forward to the CP TR. Thanks for posting!

Re: Cedar Point and Conneaut Lake Review/ Trip Report, July 2013 by drachen drachen Profile at 8/5/13 1:38:12 PM
Cedar Point

A Bit of Back Story

It was a bit surreal for me to walk around Cedar Point again last week. I grew to be very familiar with the place from 1997 through 2003, having visited five times over that period, three of which were multi-day excursions.

My last visit was in July 2003, a one-day trip to get on Top Thrill Dragster, which was unable to open during the three days I spent there in June 2003. Fast forward 10 years, and I finally made it back. Because of such a long absence, it honestly felt odd to be walking around the park again – almost like I was dreaming. But after a few hours, I felt like I had never left.

I had been wanting to ride Maverick ever since it opened, but that ride alone wasn’t enough to get me back on its own. Between the long drive and having a young, growing family at home, I simply couldn’t justify making the trip. Since 2010, I figured that the Point would soon be home to a wing rider, and I simply planned on returning to the park when it happened. Well, this year was the year.

When I think about that thought process, I’m a bit conflicted. You would think, since I love the park so much, that I wouldn’t need a new coaster to get me back. After all, Cedar Point is home to my all-time favorite steel coaster, Magnum XL-200, as well as my second favorite, Millennium Force. It’s also home to what I think is the best inverted coaster in Raptor. But, even though it may not seem that way, my long distance park visiting time is very limited. I’m not a big fan of leaving the wife and kids at home, while I go have fun.

Deciding to go this year was facilitated by my decision in the off season to purchase a Cedar Fair Platinum Pass. Aside from Cedar Point, I had originally had plans to visit Canada’s Wonderland this year, along with the yearly visits to Dorney, and possibly Kings Dominion. Because of a recent work trip, I was also able to visit Knott’s, Gilroy Gardens, and Great America. I’ve had such a great experience with the Platinum Pass, I really don’t see myself ever not having one.

The Park

I’m a huge fan of Cedar Point – I think it’s the best amusement park I’ve been to. While I prefer going the small traditional parks, I have no problem saying that Cedar Point is a fantastic place. Between their near-perfect operations and their collection of rides and roller coasters, they are professionals in every sense of the word.

When I say near-perfect operations, I mean it. I’ve never been to a park that operates its rides so efficiently. Cedar Point should be the model by which all parks pattern their ride operations. Every large coaster runs three trains. The lines seemingly never stand still, especially on the brand new GateKeeper. Cedar Point’s goal is to get you through the line and back out on to the midways.

It’s one of many ways that Cedar Point “gets it”. They understand that money isn’t made while guests are standing in line. It’s made where the guests have access to food and games stands. It’s made in souvenir shops. Cedar Point wants to give you every opportunity to empty your wallet, and they are very successful at getting people to do it.

Some people like to give Cedar Point a lot of grief for being such a concrete jungle and being very “corporate”. I can’t disagree more. I see charm almost everywhere I look, mixed with the most modern of rides. Wide paths are a must at Cedar Point, particularly at the front of the park, due the volume of people that walk them.

The main midway is vibrant, lined with rides and some gorgeous old, well-maintained buildings. The Frontiertown area is fantastic – one of the best western themed areas I’ve seen. The Corkscrew/Magnum/Gemini midways seem to feel just as they did back when those rides were new.

The new entrance area, along with GateKeeper, look spectacular. It’s the perfect welcome to a large park. I can’t compliment the job Cedar Point did this off season enough. I couldn’t really stop snapping photos.

You can overlook Lake Erie either. I love waterside parks, and Cedar Point is the ultimate. Lake Erie is absolutely beautiful, and you can see it in the background of every vantage point. The lake adds so much to the visual appeal of each ride, and to your view while riding it.

Cedar Point isn’t just about coasters for me. There are plenty of other rides that add to the overall environment of the park. I was able to ride a number of them, including:

Cedar Point & Lake Erie Railroad – one of the best park trains around. I’m a huge fan of not only the views of the other rides you get and the view of the lake, but of the funny skeleton scenes throughout.

Cedar Downs – a true treasure of the amusement park world. There are only three of these rides left, and I commend Cedar Point for keeping and maintaining theirs so well. I don’t ever go to Cedar Point without riding it.

Power Tower – the best looking drop tower I’ve laid eyes on. I took one ride on each side. The Space Shot side, while very tall, is a bit tame by other ‘shot’ ride standards. The Turbo Drop side is fantastic, as always. I got to face Dragster and Magnum – my preferred view.

WindSeeker – This was my second WindSeeker ride, the first being at Kings Island. Give me Cedar Point’s any day. It’s placed perfectly, right next to Lake Erie. The view is absolutely incredible, not only of the water surrounding area, but of GateKeeper, Raptor, and the other rides throughout the park. I only wish the ride cycle could have been longer. DO NOT MISS THIS RIDE!

On a side note, Shoot the Rapids sits vacant currently – the water drained from the system. I think Texas Giant will be up and running long before this thing is. I wouldn’t be surprised if new boats were in this ride’s future again. It was awful what happened on this ride. I really wanted to ride it, but I knew it wasn’t happening once I heard about the accident.

On another side note, I’ve never seen so many guests blatantly ignore a park’s smoking rules. People were smoking all over the place –in midways, in food lines, in ride lines. I don’t mind the smell of cigarette smoke, but I just felt it was totally rude of these people to break that rule. I was also surprised to see that Cedar Point wasn’t really enforcing it.

A Word About Fast Lane

Since I knew my time in the park would be limited, I purchased my Fast Lane Plus ahead of time. The parks says they only sell a limited number of them, but when you pull in 30,000 people on an average day, 1,000-2,000 Fast Lane passes is limited, I guess. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the park sells more than that in a given day.

It should be noted that Fast Lane is NOT offered on Wicked Twister, Iron Dragon, or Cedar Creek Mine Ride. Factor that into any of your plans.

The park was very busy on Day 2, but Fast Lane Plus was very helpful in getting me on Dragster and GateKeeper in less than 20 minutes each time (much better than the 2 hours everyone else was waiting). It was also very helpful in getting me on Mean Streak, Gemini, Magnum, Raptor, and Blue Streak in very quick time. In that sense, it is well worth it, as I got multiple rides on each.


Maverick's Overflowed Fast Lane Line

I did not wait in the Fast Lane line on Millennium Force, Maverick, or Corkscrew, as each was very long. Millennium Force posted a Fast Lane wait time of 45 minutes. Maverick didn’t have one posted, but the Fast Lane line spilled about 200 people deep into the midway. The line was almost wrapped back to the normal queue entry point.

My thought was that perhaps the park should add Millennium Force and Maverick to the “Plus” category, to take some of the pressure off. Having that many people waiting to “cut” the line can’t be good for operations.

I also thought that maybe Cedar Point sells too many of them for it to be a great value. But then again, maybe I’m just spoiled by how well Kings Island ran their program last year. At Cedar Point, as I walked around the park, it seemed as if every other person had a Fast Lane bracelet on.

Is 2,000+ Fast Lanes in one day a lot? Sure, I think so. But who am I to tell Cedar Point that they sell too many each day? By my math, I would say the park brings in an extra $100,000 per day on average, just on Fast Lane. That’s a lot of money to turn down, once you’ve proven you can get it…

My Trip

This trip consisted of a 5pm arrival to spend the evening at the park. The next day’s plan was to enter the park at 9am with my Platinum Pass and Fast Lane Plus voucher. I would stay until about 5pm and drive home. It all worked out pretty well.

Typically, I’d say you can’t really do Cedar Point in one day, and I still feel that way. But by myself, with the early entry, and armed with my Fast Lane Plus, I did just about everything I wanted to, and more, in what was pretty much one operating day.

While I prefer to visit parks with friends and family, being a single rider at Cedar Point shouldn’t be understated. With the way the park looks to fill every seat on every ride, you really have an opportunity to get more rides, more quickly on your own than if you were with a group. I took advantage of seeing other single riders and groups of 2 or 3 on several occasions.


Closed rides when I arrived

Weather is always touchy in Sandusky, thanks to Lake Erie. Cedar Point is more sensitive than most when it comes to rain and wind. Things seem to shut down awfully quick upon even the lightest of rain showers. Upon driving along the long stretch of Cedar Point Road on Day 1, sure enough, it started to rain. What a kick in the pants…

I entered the park to find most every ride shut down, even though the rain was clearing. I knew that would mean the coasters would start cycling again. I stuck to my plan, which was to head straight for Magnum and then work back toward the front, to end my night on GateKeeper.


Rain, rain, go away!

People were queuing outside Magnum’s entrance, so I joined them, figuring it would open soon. It did, and I had about a 20 minute wait on my hand. Well, Magnum only got two trains of riders out before the skies opened again. This time the rain lasted much longer. People were leaving the line, but I stuck around, since the radar on my phone was showing nothing near the park. Well, the radar was wrong. After about 30 minutes of standing there in the rain, I decided I’d just walk around and check out the park until rides started opening.

The rain eventually did clear, and I was able to get on a number of rides that first day, including Mean Streak, Gemini, Magnum, Iron Dragon, Power Tower, Cedar Downs, Blue Streak, Wicked Twister, and GateKeeper – whose crew had me thoroughly impressed. I actually got three rides that night, including a re-ride on the last train of the day.

I arrived at the park at 8am on Day 2 – one of the first 5 cars in the parking lot. I wanted to go get a front seat ride on GateKeeper first, but I needed to talk to someone at Guest Services, since I couldn’t find my Fast Lane print-out. As I waited, GateKeeper was cycling trains almost continuously. The morning sun was perfect for some photos, albeit without passengers.

Also as I waited, I watched as the line to get in continued to grow. During the summer, if you have a Platinum Pass, don’t think that you’re getting a great head start. By 8:45, there were at least 500 people waiting to get in at the front gate alone. By the time the park played the National Anthem, there were many more.

On a side note, speaking of the National Anthem, Cedar Point has GateKeeper do a “fly-over” at the end of the song. There was no way it was coincidental. It actually gave me chills – a very cool move on the park’s part!

The weather was spectacular for all of Day 2, with only a brief period of clouds showing up around 11am, and again around 4pm or so. It made for mostly good photo-taking. I hope you enjoy the photos I’ve embedded here.

Early Entry Strategy


This line would almost triple in size before 9am

Of those several hundred early entry guests, I would estimate that ¾ of them went straight for GateKeeper. Since I had ridden it the night before, I went straight for Raptor, and got two rides without leaving the station. I then went to Millennium to find a 20 minute wait. After one ride, I went straight for Maverick, whose early entry line was already 30-45 minutes long.

My recommendation to anyone going for early entry would be to skip GateKeeper, skip Raptor, and head straight to Millennium Force or Maverick, especially if you have a Fast Lane Plus.


The Coasters

Cedar Point has the best collection of roller coasters anywhere. They’re week spot used to be their wooden ones, but even those were running exceptionally during my visit.

I’ll rate them here, in the Geauga Dog countdown style that I’ve grown to love. I have to say, there isn’t a coaster at Cedar Point that I don’t like, so ranking one at the bottom isn’t necessarily fair. These are rated in order of my favorites, NOT what I actually think are the best coasters…

15) Woodstock Express – did not ride this trip

I rode this back in 2002 – back when I wanted to ride everything with a train and wheels. It’s a fun family coaster, as are all of the Vekoma ‘Skaters. But I don’t see myself riding this one again, unless I can drag my wife and kids along one of these years.

14) Corkscrew – did not ride this trip

The regular line was 45 minutes, and the Fast Lane line was pushing 30. I just couldn’t devote that much time to a simple Loop & Screw that I’ve ridden so many times, not only here, but at other parks – especially not when I got on its neighbor Dragster in less than 20 minutes. I noticed that Corkscrew only runs the red and blue trains now – the white is nowhere to be found.

This ride gets bonus points for being so very aesthetically pleasing, placed right on top of the midway.

13) Cedar Creek Mine Ride – 1 ride, front seat

I love this old mine train coaster. It’s super-long, built right on top of the water. And while it’s tame, it still gives a very fun ride. In addition, it is very photogenic. I took a ton of photos of it.

12) Wicked Twister – 1 ride

I had actually planned on skipping this ride, as I had ridden it a few times before. But on the way to GateKeeper at night on Day 1, I couldn’t help but notice that Twister’s station was empty. So I walked right on to the second to last row. Wicked Twister is the best of the Intamin Impulse coasters, and the back is the place to ride it.

11) Mantis – 1 ride

This was one of my favorite coasters back when I first rode it in 1997. It was my first stand-up coaster too. The ride still looks amazing after 17 years. The location is perfect, built on the water like it is. I’ve always been stricken by Mantis’s color scheme. I don’t know why red, purple, and yellow go together, but they do.

Mantis still rides pretty well, but I’ve noticed that these B&M stand-ups become head bangers as they get older. Mantis is no exception, but it’s manageable. I still love this ride’s layout, and I love the roar. It seems louder than other B&M coasters, perhaps because you queue up right inside this ride’s belly.

10) Iron Dragon – 1 ride

Sure it’s not Big Bad Wolf, but the longer Cedar Point keeps this ride around, the more I’ll like it. These Arrow suspended coasters are a dying breed. I’ve always been a fan of them, and Iron Dragon is no exception.

It’s another of Cedar Point’s well-placed roller coasters. Building this ride on the water was a stroke of genius on their part. The twisting, pretzel-ish finale is actually pretty fun too.

The ride is still immensely popular. On Day 2, the line spilled out a good 30 people deep, into the midway. Long live Iron Dragon!

9) Top Thrill Dragster – 2 rides

This ride, along with Kindga Ka, is an incredible experience. It just comes down to how long you want to wait for them. I’m ok waiting 30 minutes or so, but not much more than that. I’d rather wait for a longer ride, with better capacity.

That said, I think Dragster does pretty well in that regard, compared to its bigger brother in New Jersey. Dragster seems to be more reliable, and Cedar Point is firing trains off every 30-60 seconds. Operationally, Dragster destroys Ka.

I also prefer the simple lap restraint to the over-the shoulder ones on Ka. The view cresting the top-hat on Dragster is also far superior than the parking lot at Great Adventure. The view from the top of Dragster, albeit brief, is astounding. I mean, you’re looking DOWN on Millennium Force. How crazy is that?

8) Mean Streak – 4 rides

I wasn’t real big fan of this ride in 2003. It was rough as heck, and felt like it was dragging itself along the tracks. I enjoyed the 1997 version much more.

The 2013 version is running very well – so well that I rode it three times consecutively (thank you Fast Lane) in the back seat. You can tell the park has put a lot of effort into the ride in recent years. It shows. I also got a front seat ride, which is a real treat for the eyes.

I’ve always appreciated Mean Streak’s size. To me, it’s one of the most beautiful wooden coasters I’ve ever seen. The big, swooping drops, are a lot of fun. I also like all of the turns within the coaster’s own structure.

There is only one turn, under the lift toward the end of the ride, that feels like it’s still dragging. Other than that, Mean Streak is in good shape. Rocky Mountain treatment? No way. Leave it alone!

7) GateKeeper – 5 rides

I’m having trouble thinking of a more photogenic roller coaster than GateKeeper. There’s a great angle to take a photo from pretty much anywhere you stand. The entire ride is visible from almost anywhere in the front of the park. It looks spectacular, and Cedar Point deserves a lot of credit for getting this one perfect, by way of its impact on the park. From the new park entrance, to the coaster’s entry plaza, GateKeeper feels like it belongs, like it was always there.

The coaster is completely in-your-face, but it works so well. It’s one of those rides that you could sit and watch all day long. It’s really a stunning ride, even more so when the frequent train rolls along the tracks. It’s one of the more graceful coasters you’ll come across.

You can’t overstate GateKeeper’s capacity, which rivals the best out there. Those ride ops, as we’ve come to expect from Cedar Point, are very well trained as they hustle to get you loaded. As soon as one train crests the lift, the next one is sent. That is one well-oiled machine they got there.

Additionally, GateKeeper feels like the perfect addition to the park’s already spectacular roller coaster line up. It complements the other coasters so well, both visually and from a ride standpoint. I don’t really have anything negative to say in that regard.

I really liked GateKeeper’s ride. I can’t really recommend a seat for you. I actually preferred the right side of the train. I think. It’s good anywhere you sit. I will say that the view from the top of the lift in the front left seat is simply breathtaking rivaled only by Ravine Flyer II’s. I like the view from the back of the train as well. On the first drop, you just see the entire train roll into its dive down the first drop. That drop is much better in the back.

I think the whole ride is better in the back. But on these wing riders, what the front lacks in ride experience, it more than makes up in visual appeal. No coaster gives you that free-flying experience like these B&M wing riders.

The actual ride experience is just as graceful as it is watching the ride from the midways. The bottom of the first drop is pretty powerful, inducing a slight gray-out from me at the ends of the train. The camelback offers just a bit of float as you drop down toward the very nice oversized corkscrew.

The keyhole element is quite spectacular, to be honest. I felt the head/leg chopper more in the back than in the front – perhaps the opposite of what you’d expect. The turnaround inversion is quite fun as well, let alone unique. It was almost a throwback to Drachen Fire’s cutback element. The second roll over the entrance is very smooth and is taken very slowly, offering some nice hang time.

You hit the mid-course brake run next, followed by a nice B&M drop into a strong helix. Some people have been hating on this ride’s ending since it opened. Well, they just don’t get three train operations. The ride needs a mid-course brake, and due to GateKeeper’s location, there was really no other place for it. I can’t hold that against the ride, the park, or the designer. The brake is where it needs to be.

Due to the strong G’s in a few spots, the hydraulic vest restraints really clamp down on you throughout the ride. If you’re not careful, or even pushing against them, they can become uncomfortable by the end. They are very tight, and while the vests are soft, they are also unforgiving. I’d like to see B&M come out with a ratcheting version of this restraint on future installations.

I think GateKeeper will always be the largest of the wing riders. I actually think it may be even a bit too big. Sure the size adds some spectacular moments to the ride experience, but it also adds more stress to the trains that carry a lot of weight on the outside. As a result, you get some noticeable “bounce” as you ride, which feels more like a rattle. It’s not unbearable, or really all that uncomfortable, but it is definitely noticeable, especially since you’re expecting a glass-smooth B&M. The rattle is more prominent on the outside seats than the inside ones.

All told, GateKeeper is a big winner in my book. It’s definitely worth checking out – not only to ride it, but to watch it do its thing.

6) Gemini – 3 rides

Gemini is arguably the most underrated ride in all of coaster-dom. It is fantastic – one of the most fun coasters out there. This ride opened in 1978 as the tallest roller coaster in the world – and it was a racing coaster! What a feat that was back then!

Take the racing portion out of it, the rides (both sides) are fun, super smooth, and full of excitement. The drops on these coasters, from the first the last are spectacular. The hills are full of negative G’s. Each drop feels like it’s going to take your head off with all of those head choppers. The rides each end with a nice helix to boot.

And don’t get me started on those trains. I think these, and the Magnum trains (they’re virtually identical) are my favorite coaster trains out there. I don’t know what it is about them, but I love them. They complement their respective rides perfectly.

5) Maverick – 3 rides

I only have one knock on Maverick – the shot to the neck I kept getting on almost every turn. Get this ride some of those Intimidator soft straps, and this coaster is bordering on riding perfection. This was my first Maverick experience, and I liked it a whole lot.

Maverick reminds me of one of those roller coaster toys that has little cars that climb a lift and twist, turn, and roll their way back to the lift again. That’s a pretty neat aspect of this ride by itself. But it goes beyond being a life-sized version of a cute coaster toy. Maverick is fast, intense, and full of so many fun elements. I really liked it – I knew I would.

The magnetic lift is a really novel concept. I would rather see this than those problematic cable lifts Intamin puts out. The first drop is really good – but nothing I didn’t already experience on Fahrenheit.

After the drop, this thing blows Fahrenheit, a ride I actually really like, out of the water. You twist, you turn, you climb, you dive, and you flip, all along a beautiful canyon and water-filled setting. Don’t forget the fabulous lakeside setting as well. The two inversions are perfect on this ride, perhaps one more after the launch would have perfected the close to perfect layout.

Speaking of the launch – Wow! That is a fantastic element on this ride, easily the highlight for me. It’s quite powerful and very fun. The climb out of the darkness is nice as well, diminished a bit by the trims near the top of the hill.

The turn along the water and through the canyon is fantastic, as are the two funky overbanked turns that take you back into the coaster’s infield.

I got to Maverick just before 10am. The ride attendant told me I’d be better off waiting until Fast Lane opened at 10:00. So that’s what I did. I got three “quick” Fast Lane rides before 11am. Instead of taking one more, I went over to Mean Streak. I wish I would have taken one more ride because I didn’t get on it again. There was no way I was waiting in that hour-plus Fast Lane line, or the 2 hour regular line for that matter.

4) Blue Streak – 2 rides

Blue Streak is tucked away all by itself, which makes it an afterthought in a lot of people’s minds, I think. It’s a shame, because the ride is fantastic, and it’s running really well right now. You can’t even tell it was plowed into by a truck this off season…

This peppy John Allen out and back coaster is full of air, especially in the front of the train. More importantly, while it’s surrounded by high-tech steel monsters, Blue Streak manages to give Cedar Point part of a real classic park feel, which I think is very important. And while all of the big boys have 1-2 hour waits, I’d have no problem riding this thing over and over and over again.

3) Raptor – 4 rides

Raptor still rules the sky! Riding it again only re-established it as my favorite inverted coaster, and I’ve ridden all but two in the U.S. My second day started out with a bang, getting on the first train out in the front, left corner seat. The station attendant let me sneak right back on in the back right seat. I rode the two best seats in the house by 9:15.

The front on any inverted coaster is a real treat, but that’s especially the case on Raptor. Not only does it have a fantastic layout, but you get the added bonus of seeing Cedar Point and Lake Erie flip in all sorts of directions.

Raptor is very powerful too, from start to finish. The mid course was completely off, as the train didn’t feel like it was carrying the normal amount of speed into it. At the same time, the rest of the ride felt as fast as always.

I’ve always loved how Raptor lined the main midway. It’s yet another photogenic Cedar Point coaster. Having said that, it needs some paint, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see that happen in the off season. The Raptor greens are very faded right now, even chipping away in several spots.

Raptor’s crew is another that deserves credit for moving people through the lines. The coaster sports three trains, and they are hardly ever stacked. In fact, I’ve never seen them stack all three. As a rider, you are in and out of the station very quickly. I’ve always been impressed with that.

So, Raptor has yet to be topped in my book. Since most parks have an inverted coaster, I wonder if it will always hold that top spot for me. Perhaps, Kings Island’s new ride can top it…

2) Millennium Force – 1 ride

I know, I only got one ride. I’m still in a bit of shock over it… In hindsight, I should have ridden it a second time during Early Entry. But I wanted to get back to Maverick. I had no idea the Fast Lane line would be 45 minutes during the day. As much as I love Millennium Force, I just didn’t want to spend 45 minutes in any line during my limited time in the park.

On that one ride, I realized that Millennium Force is even better than I remembered it, while the lift hill is slower than I remembered. I guess compared to Skyrush and Intimidator, Millennium’s lift is slower.

Anyway, the first drop is still fantastic, second only to Intimidator’s steeper version. But after that, give me Millennium any day. The overbanked turn, the huge second hill, the fantastic island turnaround, the fantastic third hill, the tunnels, the fly-by the station, the fantastic overbanked 180 at the end. This ride deserves every bit of its number one steel coaster ranking.

Despite being over 100 feet shorter than Dragster, Millennium Force still dominates the park’s skyline. It seems like it pops up over the trees everywhere you look. Getting only one ride does leave a sour taste in my mouth. But I know right where I’m heading when I go back to Cedar Point.

1) Magnum XL-200 – 4 rides

It may not be the best steel coaster in the world, but it’s still my favorite. I don’t know what the appeal of Magnum is to me – it’s hard to explain. I’m just drawn to it. Perhaps it’s because I’m a fan of anything I deem ‘classic’, and Magnum certainly is a classic. Perhaps it’s the nostalgia I feel from my first Cedar Point visit, when this ride literally blew my mind.

Maybe it’s the view from the ride along the beach. Maybe it’s the retro-futuristic trains and station. Maybe it’s just because Magnum is the most fun ride in the park. After all, isn’t this hobby of ours all about fun? I can’t ride Magnum without a huge, cheesy grin on my face.

Magnum XL-200 still has a fantastic drop, especially in the back seat. The second hill is no slouch either as you speed into the first tunnel. That third hill is air-time heaven – it doesn’t matter where you sit.

The pretzel turnaround is still one of the best out there. In the back left seat, you’d swear it was going to dump you out. You hit that second tunnel, and you know you’re in for a hilly ride back to the station. The bunny hill that peaks next to the bottom of the first drop is the best bunny hill in existence as it rockets you into your minimal lap restraint. The hill inside the last tunnel is just as good.

I couldn't get enough of this ride, as I rode it three consecutive times. My logic got the better of me, and I moved on, but not without some new memories of my favorite steel coaster – a ride that I hadn't ridden in over a decade.

Well, thanks for reading, if you made it this far. I’ll leave you with one more image of GateKeeper’s morning test runs.

As always, more photos are available on my Facebook page.

Park Connoisseur - Cedar Point Photos

* This post was modified at 9/18/13 7:07:12 PM *

drachen
Coaster to Park Ratio: 4.87 / Steel to Wooden Ratio: 2.57 / Wooden Coaster Percentage: 28%
Friend me on Facebook... Search Park Connoisseur
Re: Cedar Point and Conneaut Lake Park Review/Photo Trip Report by ray_p ray_p Profile at 8/5/13 2:40:43 PM
Drachen said:
After all, isn’t this hobby of ours all about fun?

That’s what I thought about this hobby too, and that’s what I have focused myself on doing each time I visit a park. It seems to me that some forum folks (mostly at other websites) take themselves and the amusement industry WAY too seriously. I’m not thinking about the ROI for new trains on a coaster when I’m on board, nor am I calculating the per cap revenue of guests at eateries and gift shops. I go to escape all of that crap and simply have a fun time.

And it sounds like you had a great time at Cedar Point. That was an outstanding TR with some great pics and well written opinions of the rides. I was hooked from the start.

Again, thanks for sharing these TR’s and I am glad you enjoyed your trip.

Re: Cedar Point and Conneaut Lake Park Review/Photo Trip Report by GoYanks34 GoYanks34 Profile at 8/5/13 5:06:08 PM
Awesome TRs! Great pics too but I saw them already on FB, LOL!

Note to self: NEVER go to CP in the middle of the summer. Those wait times are ridiculous with the FL! I thought waiting 30 min for MF with the FL was bad but that was the worst line we had.

Did you really put Gemini above Gatekeeper? I want what you're smoking. ;-)

One thing I would like to point out is while I agree with you on the ride operations at CP in general, you hit TTD on a good day. It seems to have a lot more down time over the last few years while KK has been running consistently over that same time since they moved it to the one track operation (with the exception of early in the season when it's cold out). The ride ops on KK are some of the best in the park and they move that line like lightning as well. Now if were discussing the Nitro crew this year that's a completely different story. Abysmal.

I love that Magnum is your favorite - mine too. Like you said, I also think it's so much fun! Rear seat ALWAYS and it still baffles me why it doesn't get more love. Like I've said before, I would gladly take it off their hands and move it to SFGadv! :-D

Glad you had a great time!

Jen

Re: Cedar Point and Conneaut Lake Park Review/Photo Trip Report by chitlins73 chitlins73 Profile at 8/5/13 8:31:05 PM
I agree with you about Gemini. So much fun and immensely underrated!!!
Re: Cedar Point and Conneaut Lake Park Review/Photo Trip Report by GoYanks34 GoYanks34 Profile at 8/5/13 9:19:29 PM
chitlins73 said:

I agree with you about Gemini. So much fun and immensely underrated!!!

I like Gemini too but it's not better than Gatekeeper. Not even close IMO.

Jen

Re: Cedar Point and Conneaut Lake Park Review/Photo Trip Report by drachen drachen Profile at 8/5/13 10:11:55 PM
GoYanks34 said:

chitlins73 said:

I agree with you about Gemini. So much fun and immensely underrated!!!

I like Gemini too but it's not better than Gatekeeper. Not even close IMO.

Jen

Gemini isn't a 'better' coaster than GateKeeper. But I like it just a tad better. I guess it's that whole fun factor.

GateKeeper is a fantastic experience, but Gemini is more 'fun'. Does that make sense?

drachen
Coaster to Park Ratio: 4.87 / Steel to Wooden Ratio: 2.57 / Wooden Coaster Percentage: 28%
Friend me on Facebook... Search Park Connoisseur
Re: Cedar Point and Conneaut Lake Park Review/Photo Trip Report by chitlins73 chitlins73 Profile at 8/5/13 11:21:24 PM
That does make sense...lol. For some reason Gemini is just the definition of fun!! Hard to explain why though...lol
Re: Cedar Point and Conneaut Lake Park Review/Photo Trip Report by GoYanks34 GoYanks34 Profile at 8/6/13 1:34:03 AM
drachen said:

GoYanks34 said:

chitlins73 said:

I agree with you about Gemini. So much fun and immensely underrated!!!

I like Gemini too but it's not better than Gatekeeper. Not even close IMO.

Jen

Gemini isn't a 'better' coaster than GateKeeper. But I like it just a tad better. I guess it's that whole fun factor.

GateKeeper is a fantastic experience, but Gemini is more 'fun'. Does that make sense?

That makes perfect sense (my exact reasoning for liking Volcano better than I-305) except I think Gatekeeper is more fun than Gemini, LOL! To each his own... :-)

My last trip I got stuck in a middle row on Gemini so I wasn't happy with that particular ride either and that's the last one in my mind. Although I've had great back seat rides in the past, I don't remember them as vividly as my last crappy ride. :-(

Jen

Re: Cedar Point and Conneaut Lake Park Review/Photo Trip Report by MABrider MABrider Profile at 8/6/13 7:58:29 AM
Excellent reports!
Mike B.
Re: Cedar Point and Conneaut Lake Park Review/Photo Trip Report by Coaster316 at 8/6/13 10:41:31 AM
drachen said:

Gemini isn't a 'better' coaster than GateKeeper. But I like it just a tad better. I guess it's that whole fun factor.

Great trip report and pictures, drachen. Fun stuff.

I love to read quotes like the one above. To me, that's what its all about...the little fun things that just make someone enjoy this hobby. Its not for everybody, for sure, but for me that's the perfect attitude to use when going to parks.

Thanks for posting your thoughts and pics.

Re: Cedar Point and Conneaut Lake Park Review/Photo Trip Report by Geauga_Dog Geauga_Dog Profile at 8/6/13 12:39:14 PM
Awesome TR, drachen. Great commentary for both parks and you got some excellent photos at CP.

I think GateKeeper will always be the largest of the wing riders. I actually think it may be even a bit too big. Sure the size adds some spectacular moments to the ride experience, but it also adds more stress to the trains that carry a lot of weight on the outside.

I find this observation interesting. After taking a few rides on Gatekeeper back in June I tried to compare it to X Flight and while I do love GK I think XF is the better ride for this type of coaster. It's smaller, more compact layout just seemed to have a better flow to it than GK.

If Six Flags doesn't do a Batman with the X Flight model I can see them try to one up CP with their next one just like they did with Kingda Ka after Dragster.

As for Big Dipper being relocated to Conneaut I had the same idea when I was there last Saturday but since it is also a long ride like Blue Streak I'm not sure how they would be able to fit it in. But what a one/two punch that would give the park!

BTW, does anyone know if it was Conneaut got the Erieview Park dark ride when that park closed?

G-Dog

* This post was modified at 8/6/13 12:41:44 PM *

Re: Cedar Point and Conneaut Lake Park Review/Photo Trip Report by HamptonRoadsRider HamptonRoadsRider Profile at 8/8/13 2:07:02 PM
ray_p said:

Drachen said:
After all, isn’t this hobby of ours all about fun?

That’s what I thought about this hobby too, and that’s what I have focused myself on doing each time I visit a park. It seems to me that some forum folks (mostly at other websites) take themselves and the amusement industry WAY too seriously. I’m not thinking about the ROI for new trains on a coaster when I’m on board, nor am I calculating the per cap revenue of guests at eateries and gift shops. I go to escape all of that crap and simply have a fun time.

Well put. For me it's the ultimate in escapism and a time warp back to childhood - which is great when with kids BTW!

Very nice TRP, enjoyed reading it, agreed with alot, not everything (magnum cough cough) but who cares. Glad you had a great time. Gatekeeper is just as you described it. 2013 was my first time at the park and i can't imagine CP without it! Also agree about Cedar Creek Mine Train, i really enjoyed that one and would have rerode if it was just me. Front seat was a bit like a wild mouse in that the turns made you feel as though the train was past the track.

Re: Cedar Point and Conneaut Lake Park Review/Photo Trip Report by NotSo NotSo Profile at 8/11/13 8:03:52 AM
drachen, best trip report i have ever had the pleasure to read, and i'm only half way through.. i'll probably read the whole thing twice when i get time, its that well put together. thanks!!

CLP has a spot in my heart forever as a child, and CedarPoint i take my family there about 20 days a year on average over the last 10 years. it never gets old, its the best park in the world, by far.

Nocho

i wish you would have stayed at LighthousePoint or HotelBreakers and included that experience in your TR. staying there makes the experience 10 times better, believe me..

* This post was modified at 8/11/13 8:10:06 AM *

Re: Cedar Point and Conneaut Lake Park Review/Photo Trip Report by jason_t at 8/16/13 11:10:37 PM
This trip report has made me even MORE excited about my upcoming trip to the Point.

I thought this was impossible since I've anticipated this trip ever since I first heard of Cedar Point in 2000.

13 years later and less than a month until my first trip to Cedar Point, thanks for ratcheting up the excitement level to an unprecedented level.

This hobby is all about fun and I sincerely want to say thank you for providing this to the coastering community.

Re: Cedar Point and Conneaut Lake Park Review/Photo Trip Report by ericthewanderer at 8/17/13 6:06:20 PM
I haven't gotten to Cedar Point yet,but I myself had been to Conneaut in 2011.And I agree with the original poster-the place DOES have "Knoebels potential",it's just had some bad luck over the past decade.
And as for that body of water next to Conneaut's Blue Streak-one of the park's managers told me that the park actually had used it ages ago for a Jungle Cruise-type ride with LIVE ANIMALS!!!
P.S.-although I prefer the front seat of most rides,Conneaut's Blue Streak kicks serious a$$ in the backseat!
Re: Cedar Point and Conneaut Lake Park Review/Photo Trip Report by drachen drachen Profile at 9/19/13 3:28:27 PM
NotSo said:

drachen, best trip report i have ever had the pleasure to read, and i'm only half way through.. i'll probably read the whole thing twice when i get time, its that well put together. thanks!!


CLP has a spot in my heart forever as a child, and CedarPoint i take my family there about 20 days a year on average over the last 10 years. it never gets old, its the best park in the world, by far.

Nocho

i wish you would have stayed at LighthousePoint or HotelBreakers and included that experience in your TR. staying there makes the experience 10 times better, believe me..

Wow! That's quite the compliment. Thanks!

Writing this review was truly a labor of love. I can't get enough of Cedar Point, and hope to make it back more frequently.

I have stayed at both Breakers and Lighthouse Point in the past. It's very nice to stay on property, but Lighthouse Point is just phenomenal, especially right on the water, with Mean Streak directly behind you.

Thanks to all for the kind words. Life's been a little hectic recently, but I hope to be more present on URC after things slow down.

drachen
Coaster to Park Ratio: 4.87 / Steel to Wooden Ratio: 2.57 / Wooden Coaster Percentage: 28%
Friend me on Facebook... Search Park Connoisseur
Re: Cedar Point and Conneaut Lake Park Review/Photo Trip Report by boesball at 9/21/13 1:38:57 PM
I like the love for Gemini. It has my favorite first drop of any coaster. It is top twenty overall in my book. I also agree with your comments on raptor. That ride used be an average invert for me, but it grew on me.
Re: Cedar Point and Conneaut Lake Park Review/Photo Trip Report by mugen828 mugen828 Profile at 9/23/13 2:18:18 PM
That trip report can be described in one word "delight".

Just a delight to read. It wasn't laboring, and it didn't feel long. Probably helped by the fact you take awesome pictures, but I never felt bored and it was great to see you so stoked about where you were.
That's what I convey to peole when I talk about roller coasters, they always say "wow, you're making me want to go there!".

So yeah, you're making me want to go back to CP!

It's cool you get to go alone, although I'm sure you do, or will explore parks with the family. I really like heading to parks alone, and my friends and others think I'm strange when I do. Not only do you go wherever you want, when you want, you get some peace and quiet! haha

Anyways, awesome review once again, and I am SO GLAD someone loves Magnum as much as me! That ride BLEW me away with how fun it was! Only got one ride on it and I really can't wait to ride it again. Hopefully next year.

- mugen828
157 Coasters -- Favorite Coaster -- Nitro (SFGAdv)
117 Steel -- 40 Wood -- Home Park: SFGADv
Re: Cedar Point and Conneaut Lake Park Review/Photo Trip Report by boesball at 9/23/13 11:40:56 PM
Every time I go to the Point I manage 3 rides on Magnum and 4 on Gemini. So reridable.