The last time I visited CP was August 12th-15th, 2003 at the age of 12. It was my first major "roller coaster" trip as an enthusiast, which took over a year to convince my mom to take me on. That trip, which also included the now-defunct SFWoA and a stay at Hotel Breakers, is what sparked us to do similar annual trips every year over the next 5 years. This stretch is where probably 80% of my 150+ coaster count came from. So many amazing memories were sparked from that CP trip.
Let's flash back to those days for a moment. The rookie TTD was a phenomenon in the coaster community, shattering height and speed records. MF was just 3 years old and was in the midst of headlining Discovery Channel shows and winning Golden Tickets. Raptor was still less than 10 years old and Magnum less than 15. The excitement was sky-high to visit America's Roller Coast.
Oh, one more notable thing about that trip- August 14th is when the massive blackout of 2003 happened, which wiped out seemingly half the USA's electricity. At CP, most of the coasters were stuck on the lifts or brakeruns. Breakers was out of power and we had bagels for dinner. It was a shit-show, but definitely a very unique experience in retrospect.
I won't go into many details about that trip, but MF claimed my #1 spot and held it for a year until I got on S:RoS at SFNE. I got 3 rides on TTD, the first of which included a 4hr line and about 10 combined breakdowns/rollbacks. My 1 full day at the park was PACKED, including a 45min wait for CCMR and 1 hour for Raptor. Despite the crowds, I had a blast and have been planning to go back now for 15 years.
July 31st/August 1st, 2018:
This current trip has been a couple years in the making. In late 2015 I started to plan a CP trip, but that was haulted by a job change in early 2016. By late 2016, it was basically confirmed RMC Mean Streak would be a thing, so I planned other trips to SFNE/KD in 2017 as filler to bridge the gap until Steel Vengeance would be operational.
Still, this trip was almost postponed anorther year as I recently received a promotion which makes planning trips logistically difficult. Then about 2 weeks ago I found an opportunity to barely make it work and took it. We decided to budget our $ and stay at Breakers Express, which offered 2 nights + 2 tickets each for my girlfriend and I for $500 total. Considering this included free parking, early entry and an easy 2min drive to the park, it was a no-brainer. It also gave us the chance to keep FL+ in the budget, which we figured would be key.
Instead of going beat by beat of how the trip went, I'll just give an overview of the rides and some random notes:
Steel Vengeance- 7x: This was the first time since El Toro in 2006 where I came off my first ride of a coaster and said, "This is undoubtedly the best coaster I've ever ridden." WOW. The best adjective I can use to describe this coaster is "powerful." I had seen the POV's many times, read all the reviews, and still I could not prepare myself for how amazing this thing is.
A quick review of the elemenths- The first drop was killer as expected, although it honestly gets lost in relation to everything that follows. The 2 hills that follow provide the sustained ejector of El Toro, but also throw in some crazy laterals as well. After that we have a pop of air and go through a rather whippy and disorienting zero g. A fast turnaround leads into what I believe is called a snake dive, which provides a great sensation of floater and ends with a strong snap in the pullout. Another quick pop of air and then into probably the strongest ejector on the ride, which is the hill right before the MCBR.
Now, 2 of my 7 rides were untrimmed, and the other 5 were trimmed at varying degrees. If trimmed, the rest of the ride is still very intense and with strong pacing. When it's untrimmed, the rest of the ride is completely insane. When untrimmed, the drop off the MCBR provides strong ejector, the next 2 hills provide ejector, and then the curved drop thru the structure provides ejector and laterals. Inside the structure is incredible and you are completely engulfed by the structure. The first inversion is taken at a very fast speed, the following 2 hills provide strong ejector, and then you hit the wave turn which provide sideways airtime. Immediately following is a zero g with a strange pullout transition, which feels like a dip and then quick turn. From the wave turn to that pullout is incredibly disorienting, especially surrounded by a tunnel of wood. The last 5 bunny hops all provide stronger ejector than I anticipated and are taken at rapid succession.
Overall, this thing is stunning. There is just so much packed into the layout, and every little bit of it is intense and with fast pace. The variety is unmatched. From the appearance to the ride experience, CP created what I would call roller coaster perfection. Also, one of my untrimmed rides was a night ride, which was the single greatest lap on a coaster I've ever had. With the structure lit up, the 2nd half of this ride is a total mindf*ck.
Maverick- 2x: Honestly, even though Maverick is easily a top 15, possibly top 10 coaster for me, I came off ever-so slightly disappointed. In technical terms it hits every mark, but I just wasn't blown away. It has the great first drop, ejector, inversions and a launch, so I still don't quite understand why I wasn't blown away. I do think that riding SV right before it effected the "wow" factor for me. Either way, great ride.
Magnum- 3x: The only foggy memory I had of my 2003 trip was my fondness of Magnum. I remember having a blast on it, but after 15 years of hearing people knock it made me feel that maybe my 12 year old self was irrational with an abnormally high pain tolerance. Well, I can now safely say with confidence that Magnum has become underrated in recent years. Row 2 provides a relatively smooth ride with some awesome, laugh-inducing ejector on the return trianglular hills. Row 3, aka the ejector seat, is borderline too rough, but the ejector is that much more intense as well. A very hard coaster for me to rank, but I had a ton of fun on this thing.
Top Thrill Dragster- 2x: Most definitely smoother than KK, with a better location and far better trains. Also, no noticable "pulses" in the launch like KK. I do feel that KK's speed-hill is far better than TTD's straight brakerun, and for some reason I feel that KK's launch has a tiny bit more punch to it despite the pulsing. In the front row I'd say they are about even, and every other row TTD is far more enjoyable.
Raptor- 2x: Still a middle of the pack invert like I remembered. The back row is starting to get a bit shaky, and the cobra roll and turn into the brakerun are a little too violent for comfort. In the front row I had a far better ride. I love the corkscrew to downward helix finale. Even though I call it middle of the pack, I find most B&M inverts very comparable to one another, and all are fantastic rides.
Gatekeeper- 2x: My first Wingrider and I was quite impressed. My ride in the back was quite rattly, but my 2nd row ride was buttery smooth. The first half of the ride is super fun and the keyhole elements are actually amazing. It is too bad the ride completely dies after the MCBR. Still, a great addition and it looks absolutely beautiful.
Valravn- 1x: My first Dive Machine, and I quite liked it. The first drop actually gave me that stomach-dropping feeling which I very rarely ever get nowadays. Most of the ride is generally mediocre, with the exception of the zero-g into downward helix element which rode better than I anticipated. Another fun, quality addition that looks great.
Blue Streak- 1x: Madevthe mistake of riding in the back row. Ouch. Took a nasty shot to my kidney area and vowed to avoid it the rest of the trip.
Gemini- 1x: Very unique racing coaster that I had a great time on. Perfectly smooth with some solid airtime and fun interactions with the opposite train. Hopefully they keep investing into its upkeep as it is a perfect coaster for that sub-54" group.
Rougaru- 1x: Big improvement over Mantis. It was mostly smooth and now that it is classified as a floorless, it offers a layout intensity that is unlike any other floorless. I pray that GAdv will cough up the $ to coonvert Green Lantern's standup trains.
Skyride- 2x: Provided a relaxing ride with some incredible views of the front of the park. I do think I am spoiled by the length of the one at GAdv, but the views made up for the shorter duration.
Cedar Point Railroad- 3x: Awesome steam-train that cuts out a huge amount of walking from MF too SV. The little touches of theming on the trip from the back to middle of the park were a nice touch as well.
-The Express Hotel is quite large and exceeded my expectations. Nice lobby and clean rooms with a touch of CP charm. If Breakers is out of your budget, this is a great affordable, fall-back option.
-I forgot just how massive this park is. It didn't effect me much in 2003 as back then, pre-Maverick/SV, there was little reason to go beyond around TTD more than once a day. Considering I am nursing a leg injury from lifting weights, this was quite a chore. The steam train and skyride were huge helps this trip.
-Obviously, MF was down both days. On the 2nd day it was testing, but then the red train got stuck at the base of the lift around noon and never moved again. I am hearing rumors the lift motor crapped out. Hopefully they can get it operational soon. It sucks I couldn't ride what was once my #1 coaster, but as someone said I beelieve in the CP thread- CP is the one park where a giga can be down all day and you will still have an amazing time.
-We did get FL+ the second day. Skipping the 2 hour lines for SV were worth the $ by itself, however I also saved myself from hour waits on Maverick, TTD and Valravn.
-As mentioned, my leg is really messed up, so I traded a bunch of re-rides for shows. We saw "Lights, Cameras, Action", "Vertical" something or another, "Lusty Lil's", and the rock show across from MF's station whose name I cannot remember. All were highly enjoyable. It is great to see CP invest in these shows as they offer fun, AC-filled breaks from the crowds, rides and heat.
-They did an awesome job of rennovating and adding to the Breakers/beach area since my last visit. It was really lively all night over there. I love the fire pits and beach activities they added.
-Famous Dave's and the new Melt restaurant were awesome. Highly reccomend both to those who want quality food for basically the same price as your usual, garbage park food.
-The SV crew is super strict with the new phone policy. I really enjoyed the $10, all-day moveable locker, however CP really should invest in installing lockers at a lot more of the coasters. Maverick, Raptor and a few others do not have any lockers, so you must walk back and forth to use lockers at other coasters to store your items. Not a hige issue, but it got annoying at times.
-I heard about the bugs at CP at night, but thought they just hung around lights. Nope. The entire place is completely covered in a blanket of these little bastards.
-Overall, had an amazing time at the park. It is such an enormous, well-rounded experience and an absolute must-visit for every enthusiast out there. And MF being down gives me even more incentive to run up the credit card next year for another visit.
Hope ya'll enjoyed the TR. Below are pics from the 2 days.
Quick shot of Maverick from the nearby designated smoking area.
It's impossible to capture how massive this thing truly is via pictures.
One of the best airtime moments on any coaster.
Cedar Creek Mine Ride. Got the credit last time so it wasn't a priority. Regardless it is quite photogenic.
MF from the distance. Suck it was down both days, but still had an amazing time. The lift hill/drop is still my favorite element to just look and marvel at. Timeless.
Midwest Kingda Ka.
Like it's East Coast cousin, it provides a rush unlike anything else.
Another credit I got last time that I skipped.
Another pass. Beautiful to look at, though.
The Skyride provides some stunning views of Valravn.
Raptor from the Skyride.
Gatekeeper in the distance.
My girlfriend enjoyed the break from the endless walking we did over the 2 days.
Raptor from the midway. Classic B&M invert.
Gatekeeper exceeded my expectations, especially towards the front of the train.
The beach was very lively on a mostly overcast Tuesday night.
Breakers from the boardwalk.
Magnum is a blast. Underrated nowadays.
Steel Vengeance looks amazing lit up at night.
If you can stay at the park after nightfall, a night ride on SV is one of the greatest experiences ever.
This area was redone after my last trip and looks awesome at night.
Unreliable p.o.s from the boardwalk.
Another credit I passed on this go-around. I love impulses, though.
Gatekeeper at night.
Marking the end of my first night.
My room at the Express. Love sleeping under the framed MF pic, lol.
CP skyline before early entry.
The line for lockers at SV during early entry.
From the steam train.
Some of the prop theming for the steam train. Nice touch.
One of the few MF trains that saw action the 2 days I was there.
Huge step up from Mantis.
Valravn dominates the main midway.
Girlfriend posing with Snoopy.
The train stayed here for at least 6 hours, possibly longer.
Maverick from the train.
Arguably the best 1-2 punch in the world.
Obligatory MF shot.
The midway at sunset.
Valravn at sunset.
CP is completely infested EVERYWHERE at night with these things.
Fireworks over SV from the train.
MF's awesome lighting package.
Rougaru at night.
One of my favorite shots ever. Valravn looking trippy.