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  1. Thanks - that was me. Also, I followed ALL rules that we were given to us about photo taking on the tour. A long zoom and a bit of cropping are what got this done - taken from the same spot pretty much everyone else was taking pics from... Anyway - I am soooooo excited to see this transformation and I find all this speculation fun!
  2. Tony tweeted a teaser video of some Valravn testing! (Starts about 45 seconds in)
  3. Just wanted to share my experience at one of the coolest events around - pun intended - Winter Chill Out hosted by Cedar Point. A 6 hour long, off-season tour of the park! Weather was unseasonably warm (and welcome) with that familiar wind whipping off the lake. This was our 3rd Chill Out and once again the park went above and beyond to provide an amazing, one of a kind experience for enthusiasts. Hats off to the Cedar Point staff that planned, coordinated and volunteered their time for this event. As every penny of the $40k raised went to Give Kids the World. Plus the delicious lunch and cool bag of merchandise was much appreciated. My personal highlights were getting to see Valravn in person (of course) but I was surprised to see active construction going on! My brain is still getting used to Valravn jutting out into the midway - but I think I’ll adjust - especially when everything is complete. Touring the train house was AMAZING! The staff was so friendly and there were so many interesting things to see. Touring the mechanics shop is always a treat - and loved their sense of humor…. Going into the ball room was a huge surprise - I could not believe how gigantic it was up there! And of course Jason McClure and Tony Clark’s presentation was informative and funny. Being in the last group of the day I think they were a little loopy and were really loose and fun! I’ll let my pictures show you all the cool / neat things that you don’t get to see every day. I’m not good at documenting every little detail - there are others here that do a much better job of that. I just gravitate towards things that grab my eye and try to make them look a little different / interesting... Thanks for looking! Waiting to check in at the Season Pass center so checked out Gatekeeper for a few. Hanging out by one of the supports. As the sign says - Tour Start. Raptor looked unbelievable - really striking - though we know the white caps will be back soon. Hey, what's going on over here? Oh yes - the worlds tallest spiral staircase and fresh looking Top Thrill Dragster. Couldn't of done this if I tried. Peeking up through Cedar Downs to a couple of B&M's. There's that Immelmann jutting out into the midway. This area is going to be a-buzz with folks watching riders take that first drop. So fresh and so clean. That Immelmann seems more of a signature to Valravn then the 90 degree first drop. More Immelmann. Who wants to have to walk down the MCBR staircase? I do. Another look at that first drop. Coaster to be continued. About 80% done they told us. Looks like a Rollercoaster Tycoon creation. Last one - see you in early May! The train shop tour was definitely unique. Just incredible machines to see up close. I think this work shop has been here since 1870 - so many tools - old and new. That's a lot of iron and steel. You can tell the price that Cedar Point takes in the care for their trains. Even the office was as you would expect. Those hats have seen some soot. This guy escape from Boneville? One's mans trash is another mans, uh shelf? They don't make them like this anymore. Now that's old school. Trains and coasters - amusement park staples. Remain seated until the train comes to a complete and final stop. I got a kick out of how they huddled and stored the trash cans throughout the park. This a view you'd only want in the off-season. Guess those wheels are fully cured. Banana boat all ready to be put back into service. Red train ready to go. Couple of airtime hills. Trail Tavern all boarded up for the winter. This seemed appropriate. Maybe they can move the water cannons to Valravn to give everyone their splashdown. Is this the future how of Rip Cord or something else? Pond is drained and the barn is empty. I'd like to think those things which will not be named are suffering under all that wrap. I've been in that building exactly one time. Family dryer looking more like a shack of horrors. Rest up Maverick - it's going to be another long season. Everyone was quite alarmed by the state of the off-season look of the swings. Seems like a good place to park this. Mine Ride getting some new wood. Some more Mine Ride. Think this will get the Virtual Reality treatment soon? No carp eating dog food today. Seems like an abandoned town. I pick can number 3. Coasters are just laying everywhere. Are they building a bon fire for Meanstreak? BEST DAY and some carousel horses. I wanted to press that button... so bad. Now he's awake! I think they sell a latex mask of this. Yes, yes indeed. Yes there was a red fat person belt. Snoopy watch Boneville is behind you! The star of the show today. Step right up and go straight down. Another sign in the sign shop. Hello there sunshine. Walking back to one of the mechanics shops. I was surprised to see such a new vehicle - most are from the late 80's. So that's where the Chick-fil-a mailbox went. More fresh wheels! Certified fresh. It is such a cool experience to be able to walk around parts of the shop. I needed bigger pockets... They look so strange just sitting around off the track. At least they didn't write Wash Me. Some more Maverick cars in the LakeSide Pavilion. Maverick glamour shot. Dragster in pieces. Neat to see what's underneath all that fiberglass. I box of fresh Dragster seats! We got a history lesson on Hotel Breakers. It was a little creepy with just natural lighting in the lobby. Kinda had that Shining vibe going. The Giant Wheel lost some weight! Now this was cool - though it was a old and creepy as you would expect. My tour guide hated me - I was always the last to leave. Taking a look out the other side. It has charm and the ugliest paint I've ever seen. And that concludes our tour. It was nice - so head over to Battery Park - just the moon light and misc lighting of the park. Here's a shot of the whole peninsula. Went over in the AM too - though lots of gray skies this morning. It's a lot nicer in the summer time. Bonus shot for the seagull fans. Another look at the new skyline. See you in the spring! The sun finally made it above the cloud cover.
  4. This is my kinda thread! A few of my favorites from CP... Sunset from the marina Raptor kicking the sky at sunset Different view of Maverick at sunset Some great sunsets behind Maverick late summer / early fall. Caught these great hues on the flip side of the sunset near Gatekeeper This is why you request a park view room at Breakers!
  5. Thanks for sharing - I agree the sword swallower steals the show! There are some other great acts as well - the contortionist and aerial silk acts were great too I thought. We went the weekend before and even with not-so-great weather you can still find plenty to do around the park! I find it interesting that the Pumpkin Blaze has been re-themed to the Great Pumpkin Spectacular - I wonder if for copyright / trademark reasons or the fact that blaze has another meaning in the urban dictionary...
  6. DoinItForTheFame, Nrthwnd, Password121, coasterbill, dippindotsguy8, cfc, ppleboy007, Midgetman82, thefreak Thanks all for the kind words. I know these aren't typical trip report photos - but I try to capture aspects of the park that may go unnoticed. Plus being up early to see the park "wake up" is quite a peaceful experience with or without the camera. That's also when you realize the park never sleeps - because there are crews all over the park all night getting things ready for the next day. There really is more to do there than just the coasters and Hotel Breakers has really become a destination resort - they really did a wonderful job. From my opening day trip to the last trip I'm still taken aback when I walk into Breakers - mainly because it was just that bad before. I really hope they maintain it over the years - so far this year it has been in top notch condition every time I've visited. You can tell that the park has really taken great pride in the renovations of Hotel Breakers.
  7. Decided to take one more full trip to the Point for the year. Went with the kiddos and my sister came along for her first trip. We arrived at the park around 8:30 Friday evening - it was chilly and a little windy so a few rides were down like Dragster and Raptor. We checked out a few shows, got a ride on Gatekeeper, Wicked Twister and Millennium Force then left about 11:30. We stayed at Breakers Express the first night so I went over to Battery Park to get some sunrise photos - then we head into the park for early entry. Again it was a chilly day but not as windy - everything but Maverick seemed to be running. I splurged for FastLane Plus (actually not a bad deal for Platinum Pass holders $100 vs. $150) so we were able to get a decent amount of riding in and go at a leisurely pace. I had to explain to my sister who Tony Clark was and what a tweetup was and let her know that on a crowded day it would be tough to win unless we got lucky - which we did! We had rode Dragster and head up to the restrooms near Matterhorn. As I was leaving I saw a fellow carrying a handful of Fright Lane passes - it was "Intern" Jordan!!! Not 10 seconds later Tony tweeted out that he was at the Valravn center!!! Woo Hoo! We quickly WALKED over and there was already a few folks in line. We tried to do the math as he handed out the Fright Lanes and my sister and myself were lucky to score Fright Lane passes - and she got a coin! It was pretty exciting! My kids opted for the line skippies as no matter how hard I try they won't do the haunts. So FINALLY I got to do the haunts - and on this insanely crowded night we were able to walk right in to all the haunts - the only waits were 20 minutes for Eerie Estates and about 15 minutes for Cornstalkers - everything else we went right in. We also got to experience the Skeleton Key rooms. Here's how I ranked the haunts... 1. Eerie Estates - Best theming and best Skeleton Key room - loved it. 2. Zombie High - Great theming and great cast that made the Skeleton Key room a hoot. 3. Cornstalkers - Lots of good jump-scare moments 4. Slaughter House - It was ok and Skeleton Key room was different 5. Eden Musee - Again it was ok and Skeleton key room was different - but really only 1 guest can truly experience. 6. Eternity Infirmary - Liked the "spinning room" walkway part - Worst Skeleton Key Room - just stupid. 7. Hexed - OK - no Skeleton Key room - but props to Goat Man who was entertaining the queue. Everything was pretty much PG-13. I was hoping for a little more intensity from the screamsters in the houses. I'm glad we got to do them all and not really wait - plus with the colder weather it was nice to warm up a bit. I would do the top 3 again - they were really very well done - the rest I personally wouldn't do again. Next morning I spent some time at the beach at Hotel Breakers to try and get some photos - I was able to get a a few keepers for sure. After that we head in for early entry and unfortunately Maverick was still down while Millennium Force and Rougarou were still cycling with water dummies. We head up and walked on Gatekeeper then came back to find Millennium Force and Rougarou up. Maverick would not come up before we had to leave so that was a bummer. That's OK because we are already planning our trip next year to get that credit and Valravn! Here's some photos I took - not a lot of ride photos as we were too busy riding / doing haunts ourselves but had time to see a few shows and take some morning / night shots... Enjoy! Stopped in the Red "Slaugher" Saloon to check out the Edge of Madness show Jazz hands! Lots of 80's rock was heard Jammin' Nice details with all the costumes. Stopped to watch the Skeleton Crew show Looks concerned - must have lost his big metal hoop. Dramatic climb with dramatic lens flare. Even with a safety line - that's pretty crazy. No safety lines for the silk aerial act She was very, very good - great performance. But this guy - stole the show. I don't know what was more impressive - his hair or the sword swallowing. He had swords of all shapes and sizes. Lubing one up. This got a lovely reaction of "yuck!" from everyone. Then the namesake of the act came out and bounced around for us. Stars were still out as I arrived. A closer look at the front gate. Longer exposer to soften the waves. This view never gets old. I look from further back. Pumping up the saturation for a more dramatic look. Brought the camera back out at sunset. Trying to get that nice bokeh. The Frontier Trail was lit up nicely. Snuck up the Thunder Canyon queue to get this shot. Loved the lasers along the trail. Crazy colors everywhere. The huge crowds made their way through the darkness and lasers. Nice mood lighting. This sign would fire up every few minutes or so. This guy was hanging out near celebration plaza. Up by Coaster Drive In. Loved the fall colors everywhere. I still love the Giant Wheel's LED package. Looks like a lightbulb needs changed. Even power tower gets lots of orange, green and purple hues. Pumpkins were everywhere near the Dragster midway. See - lots of them. Like, everywhere. Time to head back to Breakers for the night. Got lucky as I waited for sunrise as they fired up the Giant Wheel lights for like 5 minutes. This is when I don't feel so crazy standing on a 30 something degree beach at 7 AM. Sunrises over Lake Erie never get old. Tried to incorporate the fail foliage. A little wider shot. Sun came up and bathed everything in gold. Breakers taking in the morning sun. Loved the glare off the windows. Being creative with a Gator that just rode by. One last beach shot. Morning Breakers! A look out from the fire pits. The rotunda even had a little bat light show.
  8. I used a trash can and my camera bag as a tripod and shot in shutter priority. I played with a bunch of different times during the ride cycle. This one ended up being 1.6 seconds. Auto ISO which was 125. I wish I had the know-how to just calculate this on the first shot - but it is trial and error sometimes - I'm pretty comfortable with these type of shots now and can usually get what I have in my mind now. Just shoot a bunch and look at the settings on the good shots - then start with those settings next time. I was curious and checked - I took 13 shots during the ride cycle with various shutter speeds and the ride at various heights. Most were good - but this one just stood out a little more. The fact that the person was so still in that shot is what made me pick that one! Glad you noticed!
  9. Password121, Superbatboy, DoinItForTheFame, Hilltopper39, Philrad71, RaceBoarder, John Peck - Thank you all for the kind words. I love trying to discover new / interesting views in the park - but some are too classic to pass up. Having all the decorations out made for a nice change of pace and led to some fun shots. I really like the second set - the lighting in the morning just lit everything up so beautifully! Glad to share this wonderful park to everyone here!
  10. Part II Taking a closer look a a couple of Intamin giants. A peak at the front gate from across the bay. A couple of B&M lift hills. Love the silhouette of Wicked Twister and the Giant Wheel. Let's look at them all together. These guys decided to show up. Taking in the view. Loved the little puffs of clouds this morning. Valravn sighting! Headed to its new home perhaps... Then a cyclists scared the geese away. Things were brightening up. A coaster enthusiast's dream. I spooked the seagulls. It was the morning of birds. They started to reclaim their space. Probably thinking of all those elephant ear crumbs over there. All in a row. This big guy giving me the evil eye. Looked like they were deciding which to crap on first. To the park! Always arrive nice and early! Just an amazing morning on the peninsula. Some interesting sights in the employee lot. Let's take a look at this beauty. I guess if you do a kick-ass job you get a close parking spot. To protect and serve Cedar Point. A look at that first drop. Camelback looking large. MCBR A view back to the starting point. Only real coaster nerds would love to walk down these stairs. First train of the day! Here she comes. Over the camelback. I like this little drop after the MCBR. Next train - back, outside left is the best sport for this. Headed towards the front gate. Coming back - next to the keyholes. About to go keyholing Giant pumpkins greet you at the main gate. Turning around. Raptor through the fall landscaping. No tears were shed. Giant pumpkin over the fountain is new. This guy was still out cold. Quite the contrast on this beautiful morning. The throne is pretty epic. Great little show - check it out! Millennium Force rising from the trees. Peek-a-boo! Headed up the first airtime hill. Coming back on the smaller airtime hill. Some remains of White Water Landing Launched lift - yes please. Such an awesome sight - it never gets old. Skyhawk walk on - sure! For the Arrow mine train lover - I know you're out there. Time to check out this beast. Back down they come. Crossing the finish. 120MPH water ride? Dinosaurs Alive is good for something - these views. Always trains full of smiles and hands up! T-Rex vs. Millennium Force... who will win? Carnivorous dino's and Millennium Force - quite the combo. More hands up and smiles! Catching some air! Whee! Bye Millennium Force! Looking down on Millennium Force's lift hill! This gord-o-saurus was hanging out. Best 17 seconds in the park! Trying to be creative. Don't eat the train! Cool pumpkin-snake. Someone raided the farmer's market. Another nice addition for HalloWeekends. Some CorkScrew love. The Corkscrew's iconic midway presence.
  11. Con't Now that is creepy. Still love the rotunda remodeling. No Surf Bar this time. Breakers - looking grand. The lone outdoor pool. Down for high winds - ha! It's his fault. This turned out better than expected. I found pacman on the Giant Wheel. This is over here now. Troika Troika Troika - was out of control. Eerie Raptor shot. The buckets were running now! It was a perfect fall-like night. Sideways jack-o-lantern from the SkyRide. A look from the station. Led's with designs were all over the main midway. Even Power Tower gets a special color package this time of year. Blaze - is that that the old Mantis sign? So this is what I saw when I arrived at the Skeleton Crew show... I guess she's elasti-girl. Ouch. This guy spun around on his iron hula-hoop. These guys just hung out and looked creepy. Ta-da! She came in for a swing. She did a great job. She's OK - I promise. This act got the best response - too bad she moved so fast I could not get a clear shot of her. This was the best I could do. At least she stood still at the end. I guess this would be the Skeleton Crew. They were fun. Thank you and good night. More nice theming. Get it? Just hanging out. This was new - some little booth with projected faces - I guess they sing or something. Ok - time to ride - then time for rest.
  12. Wanted to head out to Cedar Point this past Sunday - but hate doing the 3 hour drive there and back in the same day. So decided at the last minute to just go up Saturday and since I figured that it would be crowded (which it was) that I'd take pictures to pass the time. Ended up getting to the park around 3:00 and soon realized that it was also the PointFest concert - so the Soak City lot was mostly blocked off. I headed into the park and put my Platinum dining plan to use first. The forecast was 100% chance of rain when I checked Friday and there were dark clouds when I arrived but a few hours later all cleared up and it was a perfect night. I think it did rain earlier in the day. I was lucky enough to win a TweetUp and won a front of the line pass - which I intended to use on Millennium Force but it was down when I went to use it - so I used it on Dragter instead. That was my only ride of the night. I instead checked out the Valravn area (won a poster in the social media vending machine), watched the parade, checked out the Skeleton Crew show, took a ton of pics and wrapped up about 10:00 for the night... Another reason I called l it a night early was so that I could wake up early and head back over to Battery Park for some sunrise pics - sky wasn't as colorful as last time but ran into all types of birds which was neat. After that I wanted to get some better shots of GateKeeper - so I head over that way outside the park before going in Sunday morning. Sunday was slow the first 2 hours but picked up after that. I left about 1:00 but still got my rides on Millennium Force, Maverick and SkyHawk. Could of rode more but took more pics instead... Part II tomorrow... Here's the second set The smell of Kettle Corn is in the air - that means one thing - Halloweekends has begun! Skeletons and tombstones of employees past and present are throughout the park. This demonic skull was at the entrance to Frontier Town. They survived the demon! So the little path around the tunnel was open - which made for a nice view. Always so many hands up on Millennium Force! Another Intamin giant lurking in the background. As you can see the crowds were thick today - as they are most Saturday's of HalloWeekends. Lots of Valravn love throughout the park. Hay maze and Max Air! This guy was hanging out near Kiddy Kingdom. O H I O These pumpkin-headed skeletons are all around the main Midway. What will become of this statue after the marina entrance facelift? Footers! Big footers! Angry pumpkins were hanging near the Dragter entrance. Corkscrew - back before coasters had to have names of fictitious creatures. Rougaroo - still some head-banging. New Pumpkine Blaze displays around the TTD midway. Still paying homage to their ex-GM. Seagulls and Raptor - just kinda go together. The guy in charge of big coasters has a big tombstone. Then the tuba's arrived. Their may be a coaster in the reflection somewhere. Who doesn't love a parade. Insert tasteless Raptor joke *here* Tony doing a Periscope broadcast. Awww. Stoned Frankenstein? This guy rocked! (I know, I know) Artsy time. Bye. The newest Peanut. Juggling and human Starbursts - this parade has it all. That's what it's called. See ya' Snoopy. Clouds moving out and sun moving in. Ride tombstones. Find your favorite old ride here. These may need a little grease. Great lighting - a photographer's best friend. Kiddie maze at the BlueStreak midway. Rusty rails. That B&M pre-drop. Loop the loop. Kick the sky. What's this? Here's BlueStreak. Old B&M, New B&M Something is missing... That's better - minus the cell phone holding moron. The park has decorations everywhere. Sneaking a peak of Millennium Force. More tiny skeletons. Yes you can touch it - just no climbing. It's a big piece of tarnished copper colored steel. Can't wait for 2016! Amazing fit and finish. The buckets were still parked. Another look back. Corkscrew through the corkscrew. A peak from the top of the bleachers. Yay! Seems like every time I go to Millennium Force I have to wait for the train. Sitting is better than standing. Tiny pumpkin is back. Weee! or something. Nice puff of smoke. Whizzing past the jawless demon skull. It's really that fast. Be a man and raise both hands. There are still trees - mostly in the back of the park. See trees can co-exist with steel. This was new for this year. This was new for 2000. More giant, jawless skulls. Between the waterbombs. After the waterbombs. That drop, front row is amazing! Sun is setting back by Maverick. Airtime in the sunset. Can you spot both trains? Sun almost below the horizon. Leaving some HalloWeekends like clouds. One more. Camp Snoopy turns into this after dark. Scary impaled clowns added to Gemini midway. They must of had a sale on these skulls. This was new. Kinda cool. Gourd dino and Dragster. Time to stroll to Breakers for some Starbucks. Hallway photos have been replaced with creepy photos. In fact the whole lobby has been transformed. These were all around the railings. A few from above. Creepy photo's were even added upstairs. From the other side. Here's a peak...
  13. Thanks for the info on the tower! I meant to look up info on it but never did. Also, I might have been a little harsh on Thunderbolt - I've been on worse - and it wasn't all bad but there were a few transitions where we all had a collective "ouch!" come out of our mouths. We rode in the second row if that matters - they would not let us wait next train for front - even after spending $10 a pop. Restraints were fine - that wasn't the problem. We just did not enjoy it and even if it was free probably wouldn't have rode again. Cyclone we did splurge for a few rides - again more for the nostalgia than the ride - but it was a collective one-and-done on Thunderbolt.
  14. Canon SL1 - Pretty much their entry level crop sensor DSLR. I love it because of its light weight. I used a combo of the EF-S 10-18 for wide angle shots and EF-S 55-250 II for zooming in. I usually use the EF-S 18-55 STM also (the lens that came with the camera kit) but opted to rent a higher end 24-70 f/4L lens for this trip. It is a little heavier but produces a slightly better picture. I also use lensrental.com to try out the higher end lenses once in a while. Keep an eye on Canon's refurbished site - especially around the holidays - they offer like new kits for a great price - that's how I got mine a few years back. It looks like it is $379 right now - you can add a refurbed 55-250 lens for under $100 and have a nice beginner setup. It was tough on this trip because the primary objective was to ride and enjoy the parks - but also try to find the time to get some photos. That's why I did not cover every square inch of the parks - just gravitated to the popular rides and whatever captured my attention. They range from snapshot quality to pretty damn good on a few - figured I share even the just alright ones as well - I know I love seeing parks through other folks eyes so glad a lot of you enjoyed!
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