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Cedar Point, Sat 8/16...TR, sort of

MABrider MABrider Profile

Posted:
8/19/14 at
1:19:49 PM

On Saturday, August 16, I attended ACE Northern Ohio's event "North Coast Con."
Event was bookended by two ERTs:
1. 8 AM - 10 AM (overlapping early opening at 9) on Gatekeeper and Blue Streak.
2. 12:15 AM - 1:30 AM on Magnum and MF.

In between was a long day while we all "enjoyed the park open to the public and you."

It had been 6 years since I was at CP. I expected heavy crowds especially since the weather was NOT hot summer humid (saved my life #1). I don't know when (if?) I will get back there. So in preparation I'd ordered online the Fast Lane Plus, and got the wristband at the Town Hall Museum which acts as the back of park guest relations (never been in there...wow!). FL worked to perfection (saved my life #2), even as I was hanging out with a few other event attendees during various parts of the day who did not have FL.

Arrived at the park at 7:20, left at 1:30. So that's what counts on fingers 18 hours? Never did that, ever, I must be crazy or getting so in my old age.

Long day, and I survived only due to saved my life #1 and #2 above. For #1 I thank the weather gods. For #2, well I knew that would work in my favor.


Some comments on a select few of the coasters ridden...

Gatekeeper was my first B&M Wingrider; ERT was more than perfect with all three trains running and not many people riding (was told later the head count for the event was 110, but it didn't seem like that many early morning).

I liked Gatekeeper a lot. Rode just the 4 corner seats. It's fun, with some decent air and a much different experience between front and back. Front right became my favorite for visuals and because when coming off the lift it was like a faster JoJo roll, taken much slower there than the back rows. Second favorite was left rear. Rode those the most. So for me the fun seats are on opposite corners.

Blue Streak was running excellent, they take good care of this old woodie. No slams at bottom of any hills, not rolling rough. With good air.

Magnum "got" me the first time I rode in mid-day, those thigh crushes on the rush back. Otherwise quite enjoyable, rolled a little rough here and there but not annoyingly so. While boarding the Mine Ride a bit later during an Informal Take Over, I heard the ride op suggest to one of the attendees to "cross legs at ankles, move feet underneath" which I had learned to do on Mine Ride trains years ago. So during ERT on Magnum a light went on in my thick head and I found I could do that little trick. What a thing! For me it made all the difference as I never felt a thigh slam again.

Millennium Force is the same speed freak. Couple of floaty hills, plus that last "jump" next to the station. I had a feeling of melancholy (a bit of anger, too) when I realized the restraints were still the same as day one...like Superman/Bizarro at SFNE used to be.

Maverick, wow! I said I hadn't been to CP in six years, based on the fact I was there last when Maverick was just a year old which was 2008. I know what's been said lately of it being painful. But it was not to me. The caveat is I rode only in the front, which provided an amazing ride, forceful airtime all over the place with those fantastic fast left-right and right-left transitions. I was floored by it, it was as if I'd never ridden it before.

Raptor: excellent, excellent, excellent! 'Nuf said.

Mean Streak: it's name is half right. It is mean, it doesn't streak.


Event attendees were given wristbands for free drinks all day. I don't chug soda at parks much, I keep water on me at all times and really didn't need to drink much on this comfy day, but a cold Coke tasted just fine a couple or three times.


Most extreme example of how Fast Lane Plus "saved" me, which I'd hoped it would: I'd never seen Raptor's queue switchbacks full until at the end of my first ride, on the brake run waiting to return to the station...right side of train, back, looking down to my right, I wasn't even aware there was an additional section of switchbacks there. Chock full it was. My wait had been 15 minutes. I then went right back in, this time I opted to wait longer for the front, which took 25 minutes. Total time 40 minutes for two rides. I wonder what the full queue wait time was...3 hours?

Gatekeeper also had massive waits, but FL got me on in under 10 minutes.

Sidebar #1: Rode the new flyers (another ITO), which are snap-able, even for me in just one ride.
But "please don't snap your Eagle" is broadcast if you do. Only 8 tubs. Huh? And it doesn't have an end of ride brake. Huh?

Sidebar #2: Windseeker did not run all day. Too windy? There was a breeze. Or just not running for other reasons? I don't know. But if flabbergasts me to no end that Cedar Fair spent money on one of these...that after "everyone" already knew they were unreliable! I mean, huh? Put up a fantastic looking yet mostly dormant ride in your signature park, where thousands of people every day can look at it...and look at it...and look at it. Especially while viewing the fireworks on the boardwalk while it towers over you just 15 feet away with those seats looking oh-so-inviting. What a travesty.

Sidebar #3: the op at MF during ERT whooped out: "15,000 riders today!" Don't know how they count heads on it, but gives an indication of the crowds, eh?

Mike B.
Re: Cedar Point, Sat 8/16...TR, sort of by CortexBomb CortexBomb Profile at 8/21/14 9:23:08 AM
Nice TR Mike, glad to hear you're still getting out to some of the parks over our way on occasion. I visited CP a few weeks ago with my gf and we had a similarly good reaction to the Fast Lane program. I'd heard bad things about it on here in the past, but for us it was fantastic; we were able to get walk-to-the-station access to Maverick so I got...4-6(?) rides on it all in very short order and short waits for everything of note even though the park was medium-busy (which for CP still means that almost everything of note is 45 minutes plus).

I actually think if I was being objective that Maverick would be my favourite ride on the park over Magnum by a bit, but I'm still just nostalgic about Magnum. The 25th anniversary is making me feel oooooold though ;-)

I thought Windseeker was still down due to the accident?

Michael W.
242: 66 (22 CCI/GG) / 175
Voyage / Eurosat
R.I.P.: Riverside Cyclone...
Re: Cedar Point, Sat 8/16...TR, sort of by MABrider MABrider Profile at 8/21/14 12:43:17 PM
CortexBomb said:

I thought Windseeker was still down due to the accident?

Oh, you mean Windseeker's in general due to the indicents at Knott's and Carowinds?

That's probably why it was down, but it does go to them being unreliable.

Mike B.
Re: Cedar Point, Sat 8/16...TR, sort of by RobLec RobLec Profile at 8/21/14 3:38:35 PM
CortexBomb said:
I visited CP a few weeks ago with my gf and we had a similarly good reaction to the Fast Lane program. I'd heard bad things about it on here in the past, but for us it was fantastic; we were able to get walk-to-the-station access to Maverick so I got...4-6(?) rides on it all in very short order and short waits for everything of note even though the park was medium-busy (which for CP still means that almost everything of note is 45 minutes plus).

Actually I had just the opposite reaction. It would have cost us hundreds of dollars to buy fast passes for all of us, so we took our chances with the regular standby lines. We were there last week on the Thursday before the event (indeed the weather was beautiful that week) and it was my first visit as GP during normal business hours without ERT.

Lines were easily double what they normally would have been. Maverick was over two hours and MF was 3-4 hours, in lines that would normally have been under an hour. We were fortunate to get to ride most of the big coasters that we wanted, with reasonable waits for Raptor and little to no wait times for a couple others, but losing six hours to just two rides (MF and Mav) really took a chunk out of our day.

Unfortunately Gatekeeper was closed all day, which may have contributed to longer lines for the other big coasters. And as a CF share owner I am glad that they have this additional revenue stream (CF stock has done as well as has DIS), but as a theme park enthusiast I am upset that they make NO attempt whatsoever chain wide to control the fast pass access, as other parks do.

Riders such as yourself can monopolize the queue for main attractions such as Maverick and ride six times or more, preempting hundreds of other riders who must wait in line for hours on end for a single ride. At some other parks you get one ride per pass then it's back to the end of the line of you want more... if you want to be greedy, so to speak. This fast pass scheme essentially divides their customer base (as far as families go) into two classes... those who are willing to pay thousands of dollars for a trip to CP and those who can only pay hundreds.

No one says life is fair, and I am glad that you had a good time at the park. We had a good time as well, but it left me questioning whether I would ever want to return to the park.

Re: Cedar Point, Sat 8/16...TR, sort of by CortexBomb CortexBomb Profile at 8/21/14 4:29:14 PM
I'm mildly sympathetic to the budget-minded guest, but that's the direction that all of the major parks have gone at this point and I'm personally more than happy to pay the premium at large parks where the lines would have traditionally left me not even visiting them. Prior to the advent of the Fast Lane / Flash Pass system I basically only visited parks of any size during a short 2 month window in the Spring and late Fall and only went to small, local parks in the Summer.

I don't think my situation (the enthusiast with a budget who wouldn't have even been present) is the one who is bloating the lines, I just think some of the parks have gotten to be such large draws that lines are inevitably spiraling out of control. The effect of Fast Lane on Maverick for one example was probably close to negligible on the day I was visiting as so few people were using it; I'd hazard about 6 people per pair of trains on average as I was just walking up the steps to the station and heading right in; no Fast Lane queue at all, and it wasn't like they were just letting in mass numbers of us, it was just that fewer people were paying for it since they increased the price. The queue on rides like that is just long for non-Fast Lane guests because the popularity of the ride combined with the number of guests combined with the low capacity for the ride itself.

Personally, I think there are two solutions to the park over-crowding issues at places like CP in the Summer for people who want to ride a lot. They could either have the existing system, or they could jack the gate price to around $100 or so to keep their overall profits in the same range, but to keep some of the people who would otherwise visit away (i.e.: shorter queues through market dissuasion).

I'd rather have the existing system as it means I can visit comfortably in the Summer, but neither would be an option for a more budget-conscious consumer. If they want to further increase the line cutting price, that would also be a fine option with me, as it makes the value better for those of us who can afford it.

Really, the basic thing about this for me is that it's well past the point of being the industry standard in large parks. I'm going to take advantage of it whenever a park is busy because I have the budget. Do I think the old system was more equitable? Of course. But the profits are too high for me to see any chance for them to go back on it now.

Michael W.
242: 66 (22 CCI/GG) / 175
Voyage / Eurosat
R.I.P.: Riverside Cyclone...
Re: Cedar Point, Sat 8/16...TR, sort of by NotSo NotSo Profile at 8/21/14 4:46:42 PM
I was there the last few days, yesterday MF had 15 min wait all day, Raptor walk on all day, I guess It depends when you go. Your wait times floored me, wow.. I haven't bought FL all yr I guess I am lucky.

* This post was modified at 8/21/14 4:47:14 PM *

Re: Cedar Point, Sat 8/16...TR, sort of by RobLec RobLec Profile at 8/21/14 4:57:08 PM
Thursday may have been unusually busy due to the extraordinarily pleasant weather, and it being the last week before many returned to school. But I do indeed know the lines at CP very well. Normally I can judge the line only on its appearance and be accurate within 10 minutes.

But the unlimited fast lane really throws all that out the window. I have no issue with an enthusiast who wants to ride MF or Mavie a couple times, but hordes of riders who return to the line again and again really spoil it for those in the standby line.

Again, my gripe is the unlimited nature of CF's fast lane. At the other large parks (primarily in Florida) you get one ride per ride per fast pass, but you can get another fast pass (it varies by park).

Re: Cedar Point, Sat 8/16...TR, sort of by RobLec RobLec Profile at 8/21/14 5:29:15 PM
NotSo said:

I was there the last few days, yesterday MF had 15 min wait all day, Raptor walk on all day, I guess It depends when you go. Your wait times floored me, wow..

Guess we just went on the wrong day. So a week ago today (Thursday) had 2+ hour waits, but just a few days later, wait times were only fifteen minutes.

Just my luck! Still, bet we had much better weather. If it was anything up there like it's been down here this week, it has been downright tropical.

Re: Cedar Point, Sat 8/16...TR, sort of by frontrow frontrow Profile at 8/21/14 10:19:39 PM
RobLeck, that's why I only now go to Cedar Point every 2-3 years now, instead of every year. The wait times have doubled, because they sell too many of those Fast Lane passes. I just can't warrant spending that kind of extra money on riding coasters that I've already ridden 20-50 times in my life. It's great for people who come a long way, or don't get to Cedar Point that often. Until they put a reasonable limit on the number of passes they sell, Cedar Point will not be a high priority for us.
Re: Cedar Point, Sat 8/16...TR, sort of by NotSo NotSo Profile at 8/21/14 10:35:35 PM
RobLec said:

NotSo said:

I was there the last few days, yesterday MF had 15 min wait all day, Raptor walk on all day, I guess It depends when you go. Your wait times floored me, wow..

Guess we just went on the wrong day. So a week ago today (Thursday) had 2+ hour waits, but just a few days later, wait times were only fifteen minutes.

Just my luck! Still, bet we had much better weather. If it was anything up there like it's been down here this week, it has been downright tropical.

Well, school started this week so that is one reason the crowds were low. The other reason was the forecast, which called for heavy rain. It rained for maybe 2 hours total, like I said I think I got lucky though..

And guys, quite honestly the crowds have not been bad all year. I have spent 16 days in the park this year and have not gotten FastLane, it hasn't been that bad (although I have avoided Aug until this week).

-and I rode Windseeker 7 times yesterday, love that big ride (kind of scares me like a kid when it gets to the top, feels like its going to fall over)

* This post was modified at 8/21/14 11:20:06 PM *

Re: Cedar Point, Sat 8/16...TR, sort of by MABrider MABrider Profile at 8/23/14 2:56:02 PM
NotSo said:

-and I rode Windseeker 7 times yesterday, love that big ride (kind of scares me like a kid when it gets to the top, feels like its going to fall over)

Ah, so for you they took it out of "lawn ornament" mode.
Lucky you!
And for the minimal wait times all over the park, too!
Mike B.
Re: Cedar Point, Sat 8/16...TR, sort of by ray_p ray_p Profile at 8/27/14 3:53:04 PM
Sorry I didn't see this sooner Mike. Glad you had a nice return visit to CP. Also glad you enjoyed GateKeeper. It's sort of the John Cena of roller coasters- some people love it, others think it sucks. I am in the love it group as the ride (to me anyways) is smooth, visually awesome in just about any seat, and has a great flowing feeling to the inversions. The return twist that passes by the keyhole towers is my favorite one as it is taken rather slowly.

Anyhow, thanks for a great TR and I wish I would have known you were going to be in my neck of the woods. You probably mentioned it and I probably missed it like I always do!