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Photo TR: Cedar Point - from a Brit's point of view!


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I'm just back from a week in northern Ohio, USA, hitting Cedar Point for 5 days, Geauga Lake and Cleveland… so here's a trip report! Living in the UK, I'm writing this from a Brit's point of view remember - so I'll often compare Cedar Point and its attractions to the parks and rides I'm used to back home.

 

Just a note on the photos - I'd already uploaded them on Webshots, so rather than reuploading them here, I've just linked to the photos; hope that's ok...

 

Warning : Long Trip Report - if you want to read and don't like staring at computer screens for a while, I'd suggest printing it off!

 

Cedar Point

 

Cedar Point is widely regarded as the best amusement park in the world, and I'd 100% agree. For sheer quality and quantity of thrilling attractions, no other park I've been to can match it.

 

Cedar Point's impressive skyline

 

In the UK at the mo, there's a lot of discussion about 'theming' - Alton Towers for example used to be very much a 'theme park', but recently, its efforts have slid downhill... so I thought I'd just get the topic of theming out of the way.

For me, it's all about the rides themselves – sure, theming can make a good ride a little better, but it can't make a crap ride good. To set things straight; Cedar Point is not a theme park – although it does have a few rides and areas with 'loose' themes (Top Thrill Dragster, a speedway and Maverick, the Old West). However, I'd like to point out that its 'loose theming' is still, in most cases, on a par with, or better than some of Alton Towers' recent efforts (Air, Rita) – which I guess shows how much AT has declined with regards to it being a 'theme park'. Basically, Cedar Point is not Islands Of Adventure or Disney – it's an amusement park packed with amazing rides.

 

Cedar Point doesn't need theming anyway! Not only do the rides speak for themselves, but you'd be hard pushed to find a park with a better setting. It's located on a peninsula on Lake Erie – but it may as well be an island in the sea (Lake Erie is massive) – with trees, water and beaches aplenty.

 

This section of the park is really beautiful, it's got a great setting.

 

We flew into Cleveland, and drove the sub-hour drive to Cedar Point, where we began 5 days on the park. '5 days!?' you ask – seems a long time, huh? Let me put it into context – Cedar Point has 17 coasters, of which only 2 are 'kiddie' ones. Discounting the Beastie, Alton Towers has just 7 coasters. So Cedar Point has over twice as many rideable coasters. Now consider going to AT in July, the busiest time of the year… you'd be hard pushed to ride all 7 coasters in a day, let alone get any re-rides in. Given that Cedar Point has so much to do, we wanted to get lots of re-rides, the weather was ridiculously hot / sunny / humid and that we were going at the busiest time of year, we decided that 5 days was just right. We would get everything done that we wanted, as much as we wanted, and most crucially, all at a leisurely pace. This turned out to be the case.

 

We stayed at Hotel Breakers, one of Cedar Point's hotels, located on the peninsula itself, meaning the park entrance is just a short stroll away. You also get early entry into the park. For these two things alone, the hotel is well worth the money. Otherwise, it's not a great hotel – it's very old, the restaurant choice is poor and the rooms need renovation really. But you are paying for the location – and being able to go to and from the park so freely is really recommended.

 

The view from our room... didn't get a lake view, but hey, this'll do!

 

Over the five days, I was very impressed with Cedar Point itself. The staff were all great, the park had a pretty good atmosphere, ride reliability was very good (Top Thrill Dragster had one 15min breakdown over the 5 days I was there – Maverick had a few minor niggles) and all the rides ran at pretty much maximum capacity. In fact, on most rides, if you hit them at the right time, you could get on them within 15mins. The top four rides though (Raptor, Millennium Force, Maverick and Top Thrill Dragster) all had a wait of about 45-60min, sometimes a little more.

 

Before I go singing Cedar Point's praises anymore, I should point out a few negatives. The park almost suffers from having too much – you cannot do it all in 1 day, or even 2. Also, the Big 3 rides (Top Thrill Dragster, Millennium Force and Maverick) are so much better than everything else (in my opinion) that they overshadow everything else. For example, Raptor is clearly a great B&M Inverted coaster… but compared to the Big 3, it's nothing special. Basically, rides like Raptor and Magnum XL-200 could be put into any other park and be the star attraction… but not here. There's also perhaps an over-emphasis on coasters; though they've been trying to correct this recently, I'd say Thorpe Park is a 'more-balanced' park with regard to coasters, flat rides, water rides etc.

 

One final negative is that during Early Entry, there's a list of rides meant to be opening at 9am… but they don't always open on time. Also, it must be very frustrating for non-resort guests to get into the park at normal opening at 10am, but still be faced by a one-hour wait for the Big 3…

 

Overall though, there are very few negatives, and if you just want lots of great thrilling rides in a great setting, nothing can come close to Cedar Point. It's my favourite park. Anyway, that's the general points out of the way… now onto the rides themselves.

 

 

Top Thrill Dragster

So this is just a bigger version of Stealth, right? Wrong.

I admit to being a Stealth fan – it provides 2 seconds of brilliance which cannot be experienced on any other UK ride – but I understand how, like with many other rides, this 'brilliance' can wear off over time. Maybe it too would wear off after several goes on Top Thrill Dragster (TTD) but after six laps on it, it's my #1 coaster in the world.

 

 

It may be a one trick pony, but what a trick – for the first time in a while on a coaster, I got nervous before riding this. The launch (0-120mph) in less than 4 seconds is just mind-blowing. Lasting for twice as long as Stealth's, it feels twice as powerful and that 4 seconds seems to go on forever… you just go faster and faster and faster… It provides the ultimate, unparalleled adrenaline rush. Before long you're 420ft high, floating over the top, and then, unlike Stealth, you dive downwards, through a 270 degree spiral, hitting 120mph again, before coming to a quick stop.

 

 

And the biggest difference between this and pretty much every other ride of this type is that there are no shoulder restraints. I don't mind Stealth's restraints, but cresting over TTD's top hat, 420ft high, feeling so exposed with just a lap bar is, quite frankly, ridiculously amazing. And there's nothing quite like the front seats on this thing. They're well worth the extra wait. So TTD is my #1 coaster, because though it's short, it provides the ultimate, unparalleled adrenaline rush… there's nothing else that I've been on quite like it; it's the best 17 seconds of a coaster you'll find anywhere.

 

 

Maverick

This is totally the opposite to TTD, but so nearly as good… it's my #2 favourite coaster in the world. New for 2007, this coaster breaks no records but instead takes the best bits of every steel coaster out there and merges them all into one long, action-packed ride of sustained brilliance. It's got elements of hypercoasters, inverting coasters, rocket coasters etc.

 

The 95-degree drop dives straight into a ground-hugging turn.

 

Overall, I found the front seats to be better for the whole ride, except for the 95 degree first drop, which is quite like Speed's (at Oakwood) but more compact - in the back row, the drop is ridiculous. Then you absolutely fly through some ground-hugging turns, with crazy transitions. You're banked at 60 degrees in one direction, then milliseconds later, you're banked at 60 degrees going the opposite direction. You then fly over a hill providing the most ejector airtime I've ever felt on a coaster. Then to two zero-g roll style inversions… but these are so well paced… you just float through them. A quick turn… then you enter a tunnel and hit the brakes.

 

The turn in between the two inversions.

 

Exiting the second inversion of 'the horseshoe roll'.

 

If the ride was over, you'd be fairly satisfied. But suddenly, you're blasted out of the tunnel at 70mph – a launch on a par with most Intamin Accelerator/Rocket Coasters. You fly out over a lake, where you are slowed by brake fins to 50mph – but the deceleration is felt for only a second, as you then head towards the water, the g-force building up. And then the most insane coaster finale ever: you fly into a Stengel dive, twisting through a ridiculously banked dive, which could class as an inversion, then a quick turn, before another insane Stengel dive in the other direction, and then another ejector-airtime-filled hill into the final brakes. The ride is quite intense, but isn't rough… you know you've been taken on a wild ride, but despite the over-the-shoulder restraints, crucially, the ride isn't painful.

 

The turn and dive over the lake, with Millennium Force in the background.

 

Maverick takes all the best bits of the best coasters out there, and mashes them into one ride. Furthermore, the trains take all these elements at what surely is too great a speed… yet it works. The ride is wild, fast-paced, action-packed, fun and just a little insane, and offers sustained brilliance. So why does it not top Top Thrill Dragster? Whilst it is no doubt a more 'consistent' coaster, no part of it can come close to TTD's 4-second launch, which as I said, offers unparalleled, ultimate adrenaline. Still, Maverick exceeds expectations and is one of the most incredible coasters in the world, and goes in at #2 for me.

 

 

Millennium Force

The last of the Big 3, this is the third best… but still makes my Top 5 of all-time favourite coasters, probably at #4 (Superman Ride Of Steel at Six Flags New England is certainly #3).

 

 

Millennium Force (MF) stands at 310ft tall, and hits 93mph, and like TTD, it only has a lap bar. The first drop is the best first drop of any coaster I know, particularly in the front seats – it's high, steep, fast and you feel exposed.

 

The huge lift hill and first drop...

 

...lead straight into this fast-paced overbanked turn.

 

The rest of the circuit lasts for about a minute, but if I had one word to describe it, it would be 'fast'. The train absolutely flies through overbanked turns, bunnyhops and low-to-the-ground turns. For raw speed, nothing else comes close to MF. The ride is all about sustained raw speed – it hits the final brakes at almost 60mph. My only complaint about Millennium Force is somewhat ironic – for a ride with 'Force' in its name, it kind of lacks any real force. It's fast, yes, but it's controlled high speed… it doesn't feel wild like Maverick does. For example, on Maverick, you experience ejector airtime, whereas on Millennium Force, its airtime is more 'floater'. Nonetheless, MF is a stunning attraction, and makes my Top 5.

 

To sum up:

1. Top Thrill Dragster (#1 in world) – ultimate, unparalleled exhilaration

2. Maverick (#2 in world) – wild, sustained brilliance

3. Millennium Force (#4 in world) – raw speed

 

As I mentioned earlier, Cedar Point slightly suffers in that all its other coasters are no match for their Big 3.

Raptor is a solid B&M Inverter, maybe one of their best.

It has a great first drop, a standard flurry of inversions and a very intense finish with a high g-force helix. But unlike other Cedar Point rides, it just seems more standard, or off-the-shelf.

Mantis, a B&M Stand-Up is about 10 times better than Shockwave at Drayton Manor, yet at Cedar Point, it's a major disappointment. It's quite rough and doesn't offer anything else that Raptor doesn't, except if you like standing up in pain. The whole stand-up thing is an unnecessary gimmick.

Magnum XL-200 is my fourth favourite coaster at Cedar Point. The out-&-back layout is pretty good – a solid first drop, with good speed, but it's the finale which is brilliant - four hills full of ejector air, not quite in Maverick's league, but still great fun. You fly up into your lap bar – you'll be left with thigh bruising! Great, but somewhat painful fun!

I quite liked Mean Streak, in an entirely sarcastic way – it's a big, rough woodie, which shakes like you wouldn't believe. In the back seats though, you get pulled quickly though the shuddery bits, so the pain doesn't last so long… it's kind of funny how rough it is, and is an endurance challenge!

Wicked Twister is an Intamin Impulse coaster – the tallest and fastest inverted coaster in the world.

The launch isn't that great, and it takes a while to get going (on your first circuit, you don't travel very far up the spikes), but by the end it's quite fun. It does tread a little close to nauseating and rough mind you…

All other coasters (see rcdb.com for pics) are fairly standard, and nothing really to write home about. Blue Streak, a fairly decent old woodie … Disaster Transport, a weird indoor coaster, which doesn't do enough to warrant the space it occupies … Corkscrew, rough and sickening … Cedar Creek Mine Ride & Iron Dragon, boring … Gemini pretty good, but doesn't race very well.

 

To mention other rides:

Skyhawk is a big version of Rush at Thorpe Park.

It's really great fun, but unfortunately, due to the queue getting big quickly, it runs a short program - you only get two of the amazing maximum height swings (only one when you're facing the ground). It needs a couple more of these really… And it takes ages to load, which is a shame.

MaXair has similar problems with regards to loading, taking ages between cycles, but it offers a decent ride.

It's similar to Maelstrom at Drayton, but bigger, and actually less intense.

Power Tower is only 'ok' and ironically lacks power. The blast-up tower sucks, it feels like a glorified elevator. The drop-down tower is better, but not by much.

Demon Drop is a crazy 1st generation Intamin freefall, which is the scariest thing I've been on… feels like you're going to die as the whole thing falls apart. There's a standard splash-boats water ride, and a standard rapids, except for the crazy waterfall finale, where you get soaked to the bone – there's no escape! There's also a few nice transport rides (big wheel, train) to chill out on.

 

Finally, with regards to Cedar Point, here's two sunset photos - the second one (of Magnum XL-200) is probably the best of the trip:

 

 

 

So there you go, that's the Cedar Point review done with. Overall, it's got 17 coasters, of which several are all better than 'pretty good', some decent 'other rides' and a great setting. For sheer quantity and quality of thrilling attractions, I could not recommend a better park than Cedar Point. At the end of the day, I can say that three of their coasters are in my all-time Top 4… and that speaks for itself.

 

 

One problem though – there's not that much else to do in the region besides Cedar Point. There's an on-site water park, mini golf etc, and there's your standard beach-holiday stuff (pool, beach, lake = sea), but when you venture off Cedar Point itself, there's not much around. Sandusky has a couple of indoor water parks, a mall and a few restaurants (Outback Steakhouses are SO good), but that's it. This wasn't a problem for us – we were more than happy to spend the sheer majority of our time at Cedar Point – but if you're up for other stuff, there's a lack of it.

 

Even an hour away, at Cleveland, there's not much to do. Cleveland itself felt a bit dead… we went to the Downtown section, and besides one shopping centre, it felt really lifeless, despite us being there on a Saturday. I guess it's more of a 'working' city. However, we didn't go to the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame, which is on the waterfront, and I guess is the city's main attraction. We did visit Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, which is a fairly standard, nothing-to-write-home-about zoo, and a few suburban malls, of which one was very good (the pound is very strong at the mo – everything over there is basically half price).

 

The only other really noteworthy attraction in the area is Geauga Lake (pronounced Gee-ah-guh Lake). This amusement park was recently owned by Six Flags, which also had control of the Sea World-style section of the park. However, despite much investment in thrill rides, it still could not compete with Cedar Point. Cedar Fair (who own Cedar Point) recently bought the park, but attendance is still quite low. They seem to have family-ised the park (presumably because nothing can compete with Cedar Point for thrill rides) – a lot of the big Six Flags-era coasters have gone, and the Sea World area has been removed and rebuilt as a water park. The park has now been branded as 2 parks in 1 – the water park included in the admission price for the amusement park.

 

I wasn't impressed with Geauga Lake. I suppose, as a family park, it's just about ok, but for me, it didn't cut it. Dominator (a B&M Floorless) is pretty good, with a weird custom layout, but doesn't compete with other similar rides (e.g. Kraken). The Villain is an imposing wooden coaster, which is down at the bottom of my coaster rankings – it's one of the most painful, roughest coasters I've ever been on. The rest of the coasters all scream 'average-to-bad': a Vekoma Suspended Looping Coaster (standard model), an Arrow Double Loop, a kiddie coaster and a Vekoma Boomerang. Raging Wolf Bobs (woodie) was closed, and we did Big Dipper, an old woodie, but this didn't even compete with Blue Streak at Cedar Point. There aren't any noteworthy other non-coaster rides.

 

The water park is pretty good, but kind of similar to others. It's got a popular Proslide Tornado which is fun, and a cool complex of seven water slides, including three insane body speed slides, which are more intense with more g's than most coasters out there. Then there's the standard tipping bucket complex, wave pool, lazy river etc. It's pretty decent, but overall, I could tell what Geauga Lake's main problem was during my short week's trip : if you lived in the Cleveland area (the most populated region of north Ohio) you would always pay that little bit extra and drive that little bit extra to go to Cedar Point rather than go to Geauga Lake.

 

Ride Count for the Week:

Cedar Point (5 days):

Top Thrill Dragster x6 / Maverick x6 / Skyhawk x3 / Millennium Force x6 / Skyride x2 / Blue Streak x 1 / Disaster Transport x1 / MaXair x2 / Wicked Twister x4 / Wildcat x1 / Iron Dragon x1 / Power Tower x3 / Corkscrew x1 / Magnum XL-200 x4 / Thunder Canyon x1 / Snake River Falls x1 / Mean Streak x4 / Gemini x3 / Woodstock Express x1 / Demon Drop x 1 / Mantis x1 / Raptor x2 / Cedar Creek Mine Ride x1 / Paddlewheel Excursions x1 / Lake Erie Railroad x3 / Giant Wheel x1 / Space Spiral x1 = x62

 

Geauga Lake (1/2 a day):

Dominator x2 / Thunderhawk x1 / Villain x1 / Beaver Creek Mine Ride x2 / Liquid Lightning x1 / Thunder Falls x7 / Big Dipper x1 / Head Spin x1 / Double Loop x1 = x17

 

= x79

 

Right, I think that's all I have to say… sorry for the immense length… thanks for taking the time to read - I hope it was vaguely enjoyable / interesting! Any comments / questions etc. whatsoever would be most welcome! – please go ahead and post below!

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Who doesn't love a good CP photo tr?

 

But your pictures are a little small. (I know they are thumbs)

 

I agree stand up coasters is such a dumb gimmick that adds nothing to the ride experience.

 

I like the fact that MF, TTD, Maverick over shadow other rides.

 

Magnum and Raptor are great rides that often have much shorter lines.

 

And yes, there is no escaping the water on their rapids ride, both times I rode it I was absolutely drenched, wettest ride I have ridden

 

(I hit EVERY single water fall)

 

HOLY Crap, if there was a collection of coaster porn, that last Magnum shot would be in it.

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Wow. Awesome TR! I completely agree about Mantis. It occupies such a nice location and yet is such a mediocre ride at best. It is just really painful (especially with the lack of padding on the restraints).

 

And the loading time for Skyhawk is rediculous. One more swing facing the ground would make it incredible. It is already great, but another swing would make a difference. Hopefully this can happen after the line dies down in a few years. I see two issues with this ride.

 

1.) The employees actually need to hurry like they did on opening year. They move at a slow pace, and frankly, that is what can make the line pretty long.

 

2.) They really need two more employees checking restraints. They don't need them all day, but only during the peak of the day when the line is the longest.

 

If they could crank up capacity a bit, they could add a few more swings.

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Yeah, no other park compares to CP. Far and away the best park in the world. There are a few over seas that I have not been to, so I cant speak for those, but I have been to every major park in the United States and not one gets close. BGE is the closest. It is such a clean park as well. Wouldn't you agree?

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One problem though – there's not that much else to do in the region besides Cedar Point. There's an on-site water park, mini golf etc, and there's your standard beach-holiday stuff (pool, beach, lake = sea), but when you venture off Cedar Point itself, there's not much around. Sandusky has a couple of indoor water parks, a mall and a few restaurants (Outback Steakhouses are SO good), but that's it.

 

Actually there are a few things to do in that area, there are speed boats that leave from the mainland about every hour, and go to the small islands north of cedar point. One of the islands is called Put-In-Bay , and there are a couple of caves there to see.

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No kidding! I didn't see that quote where he said there was nothing to do in that area. There is all kinds of things to do around CP. Put-in-bay for one. There are plenty of bars for adults. Many indoor water parks. Fishing, camping, drinking, putt putt, fishing, boating, jet skiing,etc... LOL

How is there nothing to do around there?

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Great TR! I second the opinions that it is great to see a different viewpoint of a park we are all pretty familiar with. It is also interesting to see the "taking time" version of things. I can't even imagine taking that much time at one park ... but then again americans probably could learn to relax and enjoy a bit more! Then again I did all of Cedar Point in an 8 hour day and felt burned out and crappy afterwards..

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I spent 1 day at CP in 2000 (8th or 9th July) when I visited the park, After flying over 4,000 miles from the UK just to go to CP and KI, I managed to ride everything a couple of times.

 

MF was the 1st coaster at 10.20am. Since TTD was not built at the time I remember saying after riding MF "every coaster we go on after MF will feel like a kiddies ride".

 

The Q's were not 2 bad from what I can remember and the temp at the start of July was around 30c.

 

I need to go back in a few years to CP and KI, along with visit Timber Falls and SFGA. My holiday was about £2,000 for 3 weeks.

 

The last 2 days I had $700 to spend and went "shopping crazy" in Chicago's Old Navy store, had loads of "triple" Wendy burger and some river cruises around Chicago.

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