One year, while on a typical Amusement Park extravaganza, four of us we made our way up to Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio. We had seen numerous folks wearing Cedar Point T-shirts while stinging in line at various rides at Busch Gardens, so we got curious and decided to drive on up there. It was a good decision. I rank Cedar Point in the Top Two of all American amusement Parks… (Magic Mountain in Valencia, California ties it for 1st place) but I do have a few gripes…
As always, I start with the parking lot. Very clean and well organized. The parking staff was fabulous and friendly, making parking a breeze… we even got to park near the gate on a Sunday. The rows are numbered, which is harder to remember than a name (such as Italy, etc..) but this did not pose a problem being so close. Exiting at closing time was also a breeze… no jams what so ever… but then we left later than most of the park.. a storm came up, knocking out half the park’s power about 9 pm so most folks skedaddled before us, the die hards, who waited to see if the storm would pass…
Over all, the park was pretty clean. There was trash evident in the coaster bays (under the rides, and in lines) mainly due to Cedar Point not having a place on the platforms to leave your drinks, etc.. you have to take them on the coasters (except one, which I’ll get to).. I think a lot of folks toss their drinks and crap off the coaster during the ride…. grrrrr. Bathrooms were normal… meaning women are pigs. Yeah, I said that. This is not against Cedar Point, this phenomenon occurs at every public venue in the US… urine on the toilet seats. Why? How??? Good grief! If you insist on peeing on the damn seat, at least have the common decency to clean up after yourself! Trust me, I have begun waiting until someone comes out then go into their stall… if there is pee on the seat I call em out on it loudly and publicly to come back and clean it. We travel a lot so do yourself a favor and avoid me embarrassing you in public… clean it up!!! Now, back to Cedar Point… they should have restroom attendants like Busch Gardens. BUT, the bathrooms were in really good shape aside from that one thing.
Cedar Point is a concrete park with very little theming. The exception is in the back, a frontier-type theme complete with Mine Car Coaster, which is better than most even given it’s age. However, this park doesn’t really need a theme, being placed right on Lake Erie. It is surrounded by beach, which is ambiance in and of itself… and also provides a very nice refreshing breeze.
Way better than most, with the exception of Busch Gardens. There are numerous shops with a great selection of Cedar Point branded items.. but that’s not all.. they also have dragons, wizards, light houses, neon 60-ish stuff… gads, you name it! Reasonable pricing on this stuff too. They also have a myriad of craft shops, mainly in the Frontier area… candles, wood, leather, glass, yarn, iron ..even a place to build your own teddy bear. Shopping gets a big 5 stars!
There are a couple of arcades which are fun, but the Midway games are a big blow it. Sorry Cedar Point, You’re getting slammed here. Most parks realize that the more you win, or perceive being able to win, the more you will play (ka-ching!).. this basic idea is lost on the Cedar Point management. The games are difficult to downright irritating. For example, the Ring Toss. They place extremely wide spaces between the bottles, making this one way more difficult than it needs to be… thus much less fun. To make up for folks giving up on it, they charge way more than other parks to play it. National avg is $5/bucket of rings.. Cedar Point charges $7 in one location… $10 in another. Now, to be perfectly fair, the $10 location is actually a cap of rings, and you do get to keep the cap (last year’s CP caps). Still. Ya know? Very disappointed in this area as we usually play a ton of games.
Another blow it. Little variety and outrageous pricing. The selection is pretty much burgers and hot dogs, with one place serving BBQ, one serving chicken, and a little stand near the entrance with pizza & a small selection of German food. We paid almost $24 for 3 chili dogs, chips, and small drinks…. then got sick from them. Having the runs at an amusement park is not my idea of fun. It was not a fluke, we ALL suffered this after those hot dogs. My suggestion is to go out one of the beach exits and eat at TGIF’s or any number of nice restaurants then come back in when you’re finished. While out there you can also rent a Jet Ski or Para-sail… no idea on the cost of that, we were too busy with the coasters. A 64oz souvenir cup will run ya 10 bucks, with $4.50 for refills. To me, this is worth the price as these cups are very well insulated so your ice doesn’t melt… nothing worse than a watered down soda 10 minutes after you buy it.
Cedar Point has a total of 17 roller coasters! YES!! This is where they sorta make up for the flaws in other areas. This park has the ‘Fearsome Five’, we rode them all, and then some. Oh where to start! Iron Dragon is a metal coaster with suspended cars with a 76′ lift and runs about 35-40 mph. Not thrilling, but OK for those not into the ‘big boys’.
Gemini is an older wooden coaster with two tracks which run mostly parallel to each other, thus giving you the feeling of racing the other car. It has a 118 feet drop at about 60mph, which by itself is relatively nothing, but put your friends in the opposing car and it adds a bit of excitement to the ride. Fun for sure. Now to the Fearsome Five…
Mantis is the worst of their best… a steel stand-up coaster with 3,900 feet of twisting, turning track and a loop. The problem with this one is the jarring.. this is not a smooth ride. My head was banged against the head rest from side to side so much I came off with a head ache.
Magnum XL-200 is listed as the 3rd most popular coaster in the country last year… I find this VERY hard to swallow! Although it is a 195′ drop at 73mph, it is a very jerky ride..not at all smooth like Apollo’s Chariot at Busch Gardens with similar stats. The only difference, and perhaps saving grace, is the 3 tunnels Magnum flies through. Still.. I personally prefer smooth coasters, I’m too old for all that jerking around.
Next up is the awesome Raptor, a suspended seats steel coaster which is extremely smooth! This one has a 118′ drop at 57mph, but also has a 180-degree roll and repeats the twisting movement in the reverse order. I’d vote this above Magnum hands down. Doesn’t sound as good on paper, but the experience is much better.
And now, the daddy of em all! I present to you Millennium Force! This coaster was the sole reason for this trip, and worth it. This is a 2-year old Steel coaster with 300′ drop (310′ total height) at 93mph! Yeah Baby!!! It doesn’t end there… this puppy boasts “6,595 feet of track that winds its way through the center of the park, crosses a lagoon and dives onto an island.” An awesome coaster that is worth the trip and all the crap. The crap, you ask? Well.. I’m about to tell ya about it… First off, you are forced to go put your souvenir cup in a locker because they have no place on the platform for you to leave it while you ride… then they have vending machines and live vendors selling 20oz disposable drinks in the queue for $2.50 a pop. This is just greed flat out. After spending $4.50 to refill your cup, you then have to set it aside and buy the others? *scoff*… I’m sorry, this is just BS.. and we had 2 folks actually pass out from the heat because of it while in our line.. one of which really slammed his head hard on the concrete. Cedar Point is just asking for a law suit here. We bought the water, but were pretty ticked about it.
OK.. enough of that.. you probably want to hear about Wicked Twister. It’s.. OK. *shrug* My friend loved it, I thought it was a glorified swinging ship type of thang. It looks awesome from the ground, and it is the only coaster that could be considered an acceleration coaster here at 72-mph in 2.5 seconds… not bad, but not the best. The line was only 15 minutes. This is a steel coaster shaped in a big vertical U, with the arms on each end twisting straight up 215 feet. It’s fun, but Millennium Force is still the reigning king if you survive it’s line for an hour and a half.
Top Thrill Dragster was added just after my visit and I haven’t had the chance to return and test it out… but I have heard it gets pretty high marks.
Cedar Point also has a few we didn’t get to ride due to the power going down… Blue Streak, Built in 1964 and the oldest operating scream machine at this amusement park, is a 74′ drop at 40mph, we didn’t miss much here.
Corkscrew was built in 1976. It’s a steel tubular, and the first ride with a 360-degree vertical loop and two helical curves. You can stand on the midway and look down the ‘barrel’ of this ride.. I really wish we had made this one, it looked real fun!
Mean Streak is a monster of a wooden coaster with a 155′ drop at 63mph.. not bad for a wooden coaster.
OH! while not a coaster, we did ride Power Tower, “The massive 300-foot-tall Power Tower consists of four 240-foot-tall towers topped with connecting arches. Two of the towers blast riders UP its structure, while two will thrust riders DOWN — all in 3 seconds at more than 50 mph”.. I couldn’t have said that better myself! The wait was only about 15 minutes, and was worth it for sure. Great ‘air time’!
One of the ones we missed that I really wanted to check out was Disaster Transport which is totally enclosed and runs on a 1,932′ steel trough instead of a rail. I saw the building, but had no clue what was inside until we returned to Virginia and read about it.. we had assumed it was a show…. *wail*.. ahh well.. reason enough to go back up next year!
Then there’s Demon Drop, which we didn’t ride here, but have at other parks. This one takes you up 131′ then drops straight down 60 feet in less than two seconds..
The big release this year, May 2007, is Maverick, which is a Launched full-circuit roller coaster. That’s a bit of a new combined twist on two favorite coaster themes. It is slated to have only a top speed of 70mph, but that isn’t bad at all considering everything else it has to offer:
- Linear synchronous motor launching system
- 95-degree first drop
- Two launch areas
- Two 360-degree corkscrew rolls
- One 360-degree heartline roll
- Eight airtime-filled hills
- One 400-foot-long tunnel
- 10 banked turns, from 62 to 92 degrees
Maverick also boasts a First of its Kind “Twisted Horseshoe Roll”, making this coaster reason in itself to visit Cedar Point this summer.
There is an entire area devoted to children’s rides with a Snoopy kinda theme. Very cute area! Adjacent to the games midway. Plenty for the little ones! And of course, interspersed throughout the park are the typical county fair type rides. Something for everyone!
There are plenty of shows here, from Snoopy for the kids, to an aquatic high-dive, to wild west, to a big laser show on the midway at night. Would have liked to have seen that laser show actually, but again, the lightning had other ideas…
Now, in conclusion… I know this sounds quite a bit like I slammed Cedar Point, yet I give them 4 stars and rank them in the Top Two amusement parks in the US… contradictory? Nope. This is a great park, and I will go back. There were just many areas that they could easily improve upon and I hope the management keeps up with reviews for that reason. This could become a 5 star park with a few changes.