End of Summer Trip: Days #1 & #2 Cedar Point
Well after 9 months of planning our big coaster trip was finally a reality. Originally we had plans to make this trip in June, but that's when my mother-in-law took the kids to California. So on Monday August 5th at 1:00 pm my 13 year old son Hayden, my 11 year daughter, Haley, and I started to head west to Sandusky Ohio. We stopped at Motel 6 in Milan right off the turnpike and got a room. We unloaded the bags, drove through the McDONALD'S drive through, across the street, and heade for Cedar Point.
I was at Gatekeeper Media earlier in the year. The kids were at Cedar Point on Halloween in 2010 and both were taller than 54 inches back then, so they only added a few credits on this visit. I've been avoiding Cedar Point because I've been too big to ride most of their best coasters. I'm happy to report that after 3 months of diet, exercise, and total dedication, even cut back on the beer, I fit on every single coaster and ride at the 7 parks we visited. I'm not tooting my own horn. It was just really important to me that I share this whole experience with my kids, instead of standing at the exit. Not only is a walk of embarrassing, but you miss out on life lasting memories. These are the times that my kids are going to remember the most from their childhood, and I didn't want my walks of shame to be part of that memory.
We walked into the park and headed for Gatekeeper, that's the primary reason we included Cedar Point into this trip. It had a 1 hour wait posted with only 2 trains running. The kids wanted to wait, so we did. After someone got sick on Gatekeeper and how Cedar Point operates their fast lane, we boarded the front seat, right wing, almost 2 hours later. Another thing I want to add is during this 7 park trip we never purchased a fast lane, flash pass upgrade. We really never needed it. This first ride of the trip on Gatekeeper was the longest wait of the trip and only had one other wait that was more than 30 minutes. Anyway back to Gatekeeper. On Media Day I had to sit in row 4 in the big guy seat, so this front row ride was a new experience to me. Once again I really love Gatekeeper. I don't have as high on my list as I did before. That's because we were able to ride Cedar Point's awesome coasters and I had something to compare it to on this visit. I really liked that front seat ride much more than row 4. My kids weren't all that impressed with Gatekeeper. They thought it was really good, but not great. I was the Gatekeeper fanboy of our group.
We got off Gatekeeper at 7:00 and only had 3 hours left in the park for the evening, so we were looking for short lines. We headed over to Blue Streak and waited about 3 trains for front row. The next day we waited about the same for the back seat. Blue Streak is running exceptional this year. It's full of air time and super smooth. I think this is the best it's ever ran, since I started riding it. The kids agreed with me.
Next up the flat ride next door, Calypso. Me daughter loved Spinovator at Canada's Wonderland earlier this year, so Calypso was a must ride. My home park, Kennywood, used to have one when I was a child. We had to wait one cycle then got our ride. The ride was awesome, and just looks great. You don't see too many of these rides anymore. I would recommend riding Calypso on your next visit.
We then headed towards the back and grabbed a quick ride on Gemini. We only waited about 10 minutes and sat near the back. Gemini is such a fun coaster. I'm sure it was at the cutting edge when it first opened. We rode the red side that first evening, and the blue side the next day; again with a 10 minute wait.
We then headed for Mean Streak. It was closed in 2010, so it was a new credit for the kids. We walked onto rows 5&6. My kids hated it. They said it was way too rough, and didn't want another ride. Dad thought it was running really good, probably the smoothest it has for a long time. Thank God it was closed in 2010, they would have really hated it.
Next we headed over to Mantis. This is another new credit for the kids. They didn't get to ride it in 2010. We only waited 10 minutes and boarded row 3. Mantua was running great. No head banging at all, but still a lot of pressure on your legs. My daughter liked it, but said Green Lantern at SF Great Adventure is much better. My son loved it. He loves all standing coasters.
By this time it was dark. On the way to the park, I was planning on getting a night ride on Magnum, so that's were we went. I don't recall ever having a night ride on Magnum until this trip. We waited about 10 minutes and boarded the 3rd from back seat. The night ride was incredible. The best ride that I have ever had on it. It was smooth, full of air time, and total darkness in the tunnels. This may have been my favorite, not best, ride of the trip. A night ride on Magnum is a must.
As we were headed out we grabbed a back seat, night ride on Raptor. We only waited 10 minutes. We tried to grab another ride, but the line was already closed after we got off. It was 10:02. Raptor is still a great coaster, and very forceful in the back seat. We drove to our hotel and got some rest.
The next morning we were at the gates at 8:40, in time for early entry. It was amazing how many people were there. When they let us in, everyone went to Gatekeeper. Being we rode it the day before, we skipped Gatekeeper and used that to our advantage. We walked onto the front seat of Raptor and had a great ride. The front is my favorite on all B&M inverts.
We hustled back to Millennium Force. We had to wait about 15 minutes. I rode the back seat, red train, and the kids sat directly in front of me. No problem at all with the seat belts. I probably would have fit in any of them. Front seat is my favorite spot for Millennium Force, but the back is pretty good also. Last time we were there we did ride front. Millennium Force is still in my top 5 favorite steel coasters. The first drop in phenomenal, and the rest of the ride is full of speed, air time, and coaster heaven. Both kids consider MF Cedar Point's best coaster.
We hustled up to Maverick. We waited about 10 minutes to get into the station and an additional 5 for front seat. Every time I ride Maverick, I like it more and more. I have no problem with the head banging, due to how I ride it. It beat the kids up pretty bad, dad loved it. It's my 2nd favorite coaster at Cedar Point. I know I'm the minority. To me Maverick is the complete coaster. It has a little bit of everything. A great first drop, some awesome air time hills, a couple of inversions, low to the ground turns, good themeing, and a decent launch in the tunnel. I would not put it in my top 10, but It's barely outside probably around 12 or 13.
Next we headed for Top Thrill Dragster, the other new credit for the kids. It had a 1 hour wait, plus it went down for 30 minutes, so it took 1 1/2 hours to get our 2nd to back seat ride; the kids sat in the back seat. Now I did need help getting my seat belt buckeled and the ride op really gave the necessary effort and I thanked her. My son hasn't ridden Kingda Ka, so this was his first experience on a strata coaster. He loved it. My daughter said that she likes Kingda Ka much more, as I do also.
We then headed over to Planet Snoopy, took some photos, rode the kiddie coaster, and got a couple rides on the Tilt A Wirl. There is a full size Tilt A Wirl back in that section and it's a really good one.
We hit some other flats like Matterhorn and Troika. We rode Cedar Downs, but I couldn't get a photo of my kids on it. While I holding my camera phone, the ride op made me put it away. I just wanted a photo of my kids on that classic ride, before the ride started. She said it was illegal and if I didn't put the phone away before entering through her gates, she would not let me ride. Really? Any way, we got to ride, but no photo.
We jumped on Raptor and rode front seat again, only about a15 minute wait. Jumped on Blue Streak, back seat, then headed over to Gatekeeper. We waited about 30 minutes in order to ride the back right wing. It was 5:00 and time to make some miles. We headed north west to Grand Rapids Michigan and stayed the night.
All in all we had a great time at Cedar Point and rode everything we wanted. The kids didn't want to ride Wicked Twister. I wanted to, just to see if I would fit. I did try the test seat and was only an inch away without any help. So it was a 50/50 chance that I would have fit. Like I said the kids have been to Cedar Point before, so they weren't concerned with coasters like Iron Dragon, Corkscrew, or Wicked Twister. They wanted multiple rides on Raptor and Gatekeeper instead. It's all about having fun and that's what we did. Nextup Michigan's Adventure.
* This post was modified at 8/17/13 3:45:38 PM *
My two rides on Gatekeeper were very enjoyable, so my first wing coaster experience was a good one. I don't know if I'd enjoy it as much in larger doses, though. I had a front right and back left ride, and barely felt the tightening of the restraints.
Kids are huddled on the beach in a mist...
Meanstreak was running great this year!! I loved my ride in the front! Really fast and not that rough at all!!