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TR: Cedar Point July 17-19, 2005

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Leaving the Twin Cities area around 5:30 AM it was a full 13 hours to Sandusky easily breaking the record for the worst drive time ever. Taking I-90 straight through looked like as good a route as any but we wound up stuck in a traffic jam where I-90/94 split off in downtown Chicago. The Dan Ryan appeared to be wide open but we stayed with the herd and the Skyway (moo!). The trip back through a week later at the same time of day was exactly the opposite where again we stayed with I-90 and never dropped below 55 MPH. I suppose it's all about luck or something I can't figure out, all I know is Chicagoans sure like to drive! It's just plain bizarre being stuck in a hour-plus traffic jam on a Sunday.


Regardless we made it through and with obligatory stops to kiss the ground on the IN/OH tollways were pulling into the Hotel Breakers parking lot around 8:00 PM. Breakers is certainly an interesting place with many wonderful features. The bellhops are very friendly, especially Hank from the Travel Channel special on CP from a few years ago. We chatted with him for a bit and he's going as strong as ever, still working there to help put his daughter through college, and he said to watch for him on an upcoming episode/series of Survivor. TGIFridays turned out to have great food and their $9 margaritas are might tasty (better be!). And of course you absolutely can't beat the location, it was very convenient to be able to take a break whenever we wanted to, plus our room had a great view of the beach.


But Breakers is also a strange and quirky place. Again initial impressions are very positive - a beautiful lobby with a nice selection of restaurants and shops, hardwood floors, wicker furniture - everything needed to convince you're staying in a very cool and historic hotel/resort. But all of that completely falls apart when you make the turn to where the rooms are located, it really is hard to understand what they're shooting for. If you want a room with a king-size bed the only option is to stay in the main or oldest section of the hotel, and to put it bluntly these wings/rooms are butt-ugly. I can understand wanting to preserve the historic aspect of the hotel but that's not what is going on here, these rooms look like they haven't been renovated since the 1960's. Hopefully updating the older sections of the hotel are at the top of park management's to-do list.


Once we were unloaded/unpacked it was time to hit the park. First stop was Raptor which as usual by late in the day was a walk-on, two-train wait for the front row which is where we started out. Love the view from the first drop, it truly announces you've arrived somewhere magical and wonderful. Raptor ran better than ever with absolutely no mid-course brakes, it's one of my all-time favorites.


Next stop was Wicked Twister which provided a great ride in the second to last row, again a near walk-on. WT is good for a cheap thrill but it wears off rather quickly, minimal desire to ride again. I feel the same way about all shuttle LIM/impulse coasters now, there really is no need for building any more of these as far I'm concerned. My favorite part of WT is the location on the beach with the seagulls and cool breeze blowing in off the lake.


Then it was off to Millennium Force where the posted half-hour wait ended up being closer to an hour. I first rode MF in 2002 and can't detect any difference in the seatbelts or ability to fit in the seats this year, and I'm definitely heavier now. The attendants checking the restraints were as efficient as ever so it's hard to know what was causing the long wait. My guess is there is now a much higher percentage of guests who find out they’re not going to fit until they're in the station. The ride attendant who sits outside the queue near the test seat sure has a fun job. Apparently they are trained to look for guests who appear likely not to fit and ask them to try the test seat. They must have a do's and don'ts list on how to approach likely candidates ("Say, I couldn't help notice your amazing beer belly..."). While the wait was inexplicably too long, MF ran great and the trip was already off to an amazing and breathtaking start.


Final stop of the evening was Dragster and while I have mixed feelings towards this beast she was running like clockwork. TTD is all about anticipation and psyching you out and riding at night is not to be missed, the view from the top seems like several hundred feet higher than MF. Combined with the lights and fog it provides a surreal experience like none other. The park was closed by the time our TTD ride was over so we headed over to Fridays for margaritas and their new double-stack quesadillas (yum!).


The next morning we were up early and as a result were one of the first guests in the park. Dragster was down so we headed over to MF for a front row ride on the first train of the day - absolutely awesome. Got back in line and 15 minutes later took another ride in the back row, by far the best seat on the train. Next up was Mantis, good lord what an awful ride! They really should change the theme to something boxing related, just one blow to the head after another - ouch. Our on-ride picture looked like there was an invisible glove/fist smacking us in the sides of our heads. If they are planning to remove any coasters in the future hopefully it will be Mantis.


Needing some time for our brains to stop rattling in our skulls we walked back over to TTD where a small line had formed. Then suddenly it made signs of life, the brake fins dropped and a train flew down the launch track. There were a couple of rollbacks and after a dozen or so launches they opened the queue and we took a second row ride about 15 minutes later. Another great start to the day, will never tire of that amazing launch. Next up was a short wait for a MF Freeway stamp which they start giving out at 11:00 each morning. We ended up with a 1:00-2:00 stamp and began to think about lunch.


There are so many great choices for food in the park. Nice to see Famous Dave's there but we have those on every street corner back home. Instead we went with the Midway Market which in the past has been really good but at other times really trashed and dirty. Since it wasn't even noon yet the restaurant was in great shape and all of the food was pretty good. They did raise the price to $11.95 per person, I suppose dinner is now $13.95 but imho it's completely worth it. The only issue is what to do afterwards, way too easy to eat too much! We decided for a quick break back at the hotel before heading back over to MF for another back row ride courtesy of the Freeway lane.


The rest of the day was a blur of rides including maXair which oddly made us both quite dizzy and a little nauseous. Delirium at PKI did not produce that effect and I can only assume it was the hot sun/day and lack of a shaded queue. Speaking of, when will they ever add some canopies or some sort of shade to the queue for Blue Streak? That is just a killer wait during the day and the coaster is still quite popular. It's amazing the difference shade can make to a park experience and it's so easily accomplished, can't imagine it's all that expensive either.


Monday evening a storm rolled in and it was cool to watch it from Fridays where we had a great dinner. The storm lasted quite a while and it was pushing 10:00 before things started to let up. I headed into the park for a no-wait ride on Magnum, seat 1.3 of course. I have to say that was one of the absolute highlights of the trip for me, that seat at night is nothing short of incredible. Shortly after Dragster started testing so I hopped in line and managed to nail two rides before they closed the queue (they kept it open until 11:15!). First was front row and of course it was literally breathtaking and then again in the back - what a great way to end the evening.


Next morning it was another round of MF and Dragster before leaving the park around 11:30. The Breakers staff were great and allowed us to check out at noon. Hank ended up carrying our bags and initially I felt guilty but quickly realized he's in 100x better shape than I am! We gave him what was hopefully a pretty good tip although I have no idea what is standard in that line of business. You would think it would be pretty easy to earn $30/hour on busy days - no matter what they get they earn every penny.


We hit Steak 'N Shake on our way out of town which was of course excellent. Word of advice though if you ask for their mustard/radish sauce make sure they give it to you on the side - a little goes a long way. After lunch we jumped on OH-2 east heading for our next stop in West Mifflin, PA.



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Nice report! The reason Millennium Force may have seemed slower in the station isn't so much riders being too heavy to get in the seats, but rather a new dispatch program they have been running now for two seasons. If they are running three trains, they do not dispatch a train until the one on the track has fully completed the circuit. In the past, a train would dispatch as another flew by the station. It isn't a fault of any employee or ACE member who has put on a few pounds, but rather a new operating policy. I don't know if it had anything to do with the accident on RoS a few years ago, but the dispatch intervals did seem to change around this time.


As for Mantis? I went to CP a few weeks ago, and Mantis seemed to be running fine. The only reason I don't ride it more is because the line moves slower than any other major ride there. Very little trim and head banging made for an excellent ride! It isn't as smooth as some other B&Ms, but it is still pretty smooth while packing a wallop at the same time. When it is untrimmed, no B&M I've ridden to date has so many packed positive g's. The ride isn't everybody's cup of Joe, but luckily you were at one of the few parks where you can be picky about the coaster styles and still have a great time. I'll be looking forward to your KW TR .

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Great TR! I'm too lazy to post one about yesterday, but Mantis broke down and the whole line left (I was the first one to be stopped at the entrance yesterday morning, so I waited). About 10 minutes later, I got a front seat ride. As for the roughness... I've never known it to be different.

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Great TR! It's weird how you can't get enough of Dragster, huh? It is by far my favorite ride.


Mantis, when I went, was just as bad as you explained. It was like you were in a boxing arena during a match! Totally sucked.


Wicked Twister was actually my 3rd favorite in that park. I sit towards the front usually, and I like the weird feeling you get when you are falling backwards and twisting at the same time.


Raptor was another of my favorites in the park. It is a nice B&M inverted coaster (something else could be said for Batman)


Millennium Force seems to run slow all the time. The sign says something like a 1/4 hr wait, and you end up waiting a full hour. They should not overestimate the wait on it.


Top Thril Dragster is by far the best at night! The way the tower is lit up is really cool. The christmas tree lights are really cool, too. If you wait for the front row at night, you are in heaven. The front row is amazing anyway, though. It is the only seat that actually feels different compared to the others. There's a lot of wind up there. It's refreshing and intense! At night, it is also fun to see the speedometer as you rocket by. Lucky me, though, I got to ride it at night in heavy rain! It's like getting shot at! It is painful, but quite an experience! While you drop, you are falling faster than the rain. It's really cool!

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