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Photo TR: Chuck Finally Visits Cedar Point


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Glad you guys had fun at CLP & Waldameer!

 

I really hope that CLP can survive, but each year I go, I walk away with many doubts. It is definitely encouraging to see the revamped signage and some painting going on in the park though.

 

I don't think that I'll ever forget them running BS in snow flurries at night last year when we went to Ghost Lake...I can honestly say that it was one of the most terrifying coaster rides I have ever had!

 

Did anyone check out what brews they had at the Meatloaf bike rally? The bar on the lake is pretty ghetto, but you can usually get a decent drink there. The one year they did an Oktoberfest, they had Southern Tier Pumpking as well as some PA micro-beers in bottles.

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  • 3 weeks later...

OK, I'm back from Japan (which was excellent), and I have an annoying case of jet lag; therefore, I may as well start wrapping up the Cedar Point portion of this report. I think this is the longest I've ever let a TR sit unfinished.

 

So, what did I think of Cedar Point after finally getting around to visiting this Mecca for coaster enthusiasts on the Lake Erie? I liked it--a lot. While I don't think I would trudge up to Sandusky, Ohio every season, Cedar Fair's flagship property is an excellent amusement park with standout operations, and a bit more "personality" (that is, quirkiness) than I expected. I enjoyed myself there quite a bit.

 

That being said, the park's hotels do seem to be stuck in the 1970s. We stayed at the Breakers, which features adequate rooms (think old "Best Western" level) and its own early entry into the park through a side gate. (We were able to get in quite a few rides on Maverick before picking up our Fast Lane Plus wristbands the first day, thanks to this perk. ) Food options at the Breakers, such as TGI Fridays and Perkins, are only adequate, at best, but still a better alternative to what you find in the park. (We ate at Pink's Hot Dogs, which was pretty good--probably the best lunch option inside Cedar Point.) So, as a resort, I think it could stand quite a few upgrades (especially based on the prices it charges), but maybe that's not a high priority for Cedar Fair. What you're paying for at the Breakers is the convenience of being so close to the park, and it was nice to be able to head back in the afternoon for nice rest. And, hey, they had some good beer at TGI Fridays.

 

Cedar Point really does set the template for many of the chain's other parks--a lot of rides plunked down, with a little theming here and there. The Cedar Creek area was particularly inviting and offered lots of shade and pleasant landscaping, while the Midway (where Gatekeeper is located) is the usual vast expanse of concrete. This reminded me a bit of Kings Dominion, with it's pleasant Old Virginia section and hot-as-blazes Grove.

 

But what about Cedar Point's big claim to fame as "America's Rock-and-Roller Coast"? How does its huge selection of coasters stack up? Here's what I think from best to worst.

 

Maverick--Yes, Gatekeeper may be the "new hotness," and Millennium Force is a lot bigger, but Maverick is the star at Cedar Point. I think this is the best of Intamin's launched rides (but, to be fair, I have yet to ride iSpeed in Italy). The layout is excellent, with plenty of airtime to be found, and the second launch from under the station is particularly intense. Any park would be hard pressed to top Maverick.

 

Millennium Force--Although I prefer KD's I305, I like MF a lot, and it's a great ride. It's as smooth as glass, with some nice airtime to go with those high-speed curves. It's not as good as Expedition GeForce, but it'll probably crack my top ten.

 

Top Thrill Dragster--This is the best of the "one-trick pony" high-hat coasters. Just intense enough to be fun, yet still comfortable. It's especially good after dark.

 

Raptor--After riding a series of disappointing B&M inverts (such as Silver Bullet and Patriot), it was so refreshing to ride an older model that still "gets it." Raptor achieves a good balance of smoothness and intensity, and while it isn't quite at good as the Six Flags Batman clones, it's a better ride than, say, Alpengeist. Odd color scheme, though, for a vicious bird of prey.

 

Blue Streak--For me, this was the biggest surprise of the park. Blue Streak is a good, old-school woodie that still delivers plenty of airtime as it bounds over its hills at a surprisingly high speed. It's a cut above Rebel Yell at Kings Dominion.

 

Magnum XL-2000--Yes, this old, 200-foot-tall Arrow ride is a bit clunky. But it still delivers some crazy airtime (more so than the Morgan Hypers). And you have to like the "1970s Tomorrowland" feel of the trains and station.

 

Wicked Twister--I think this is the best of the Intamin impulses. It goes pretty damn high up both spikes.

 

Gatekeeper--I really wanted to like this ride more than I did, but I think Wild Eagle tops it. GK starts out well with its slow, twisting drop, and the keyhole element is fun. But the second half isn't very interesting. (A helix into a long brake run was the best they could do?) Plus, unlike Wild Eagle, the restraints really put the squeeze on me--very uncomfortable. It does look great, though.

 

Gemini--OK, this bizarre, racing Arrow Mine Train is easily the weirdest ride at Cedar Point. It looks sort of like a woodie, but is actually a steel coaster that sort of acts like a woodie. Not great, but interesting.

 

Iron Dragon--This old Arrow suspended has a great first drop, but I now understand while everyone calls it "Draggin' Iron." The late Big Bad Wolf was a much better ride (as are Flight Deck and Ninja).

 

Cedar Creek Mine Ride--Yet another grouchy old Arrow Mine Train that seems designed to crack the maximum number of kneecaps possible during a cycle. Definitely no Thunderation.

 

Woodstock Express--Cute little family coaster, complete with a "train engine," a ringing bell, and Woodstock. OK for what it is.

 

Corkscrew--Yet another old Arrow (this time a loop screw). Most of these rides are more like endurance tests than coasters, and Corkscrew is no exception. Looks pretty when it careens over the midway, though.

 

Mean Streak--I actually had some hope after the first drop that this ride would be OK. But it got progressively worse from drop to drop and curve to curve. Not quite as bad as Son of Beast or Bandit, but definitely bad enough.

 

Mantis--It was really tough deciding which was worse: this steaming pile of B&M or Mean Streak. I decided on Mantis because 1) it's a stand-up coaster and 2) you get plenty of headbanging from the OTSRs (at least Mean Streak doesn't have those). To be clear, there are plenty of B&M rides that I think are great, such as Nemesis, Montu, and Griffon. But those stand-up coasters . . . ugh (for the most part).

 

We hit all the park's car rides, too, which were OK, if not particularly interesting. Cedar Downs, the old old Derby Racing ride, was a fun blast from the past (haven't rode one of these since I visited Blackpool with TPR back in 2006). We spent some time in the park's museums, too, which offer a nice respite from a busy day. I wasn't too impressed with Shoot the Rapids, though--yes, you get fairly well drenched on the drops, but there's a decided lack of "white water." (Escape from Pompeii is a much better water ride.)

 

One other thing to note: Fast Lane Plus is your friend. We bought this for our first day at the park, and were very glad we did, as we got in all the coasters easily. There were pretty hefty lines throughout the day, particularly for Maverick, Millennium Force, Raptor, and Gatekeeper (this one was slammed pretty much from opening). A word to the wise.

 

Here's a look at a great pair of days at Cedar Point.

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Good morning, Top Thrill Dragster and Millennium Force. Did you sleep well after having people ride you all day?

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At this moment, a strange tremor was felt in the Force--or maybe it was just gas.

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Hmm--I think I saw this sign on a dispenser in a truck stop men's room.

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Now here's how Derek and Daron like to start the day.

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I see "the good" and "the bad," but where's "the ugly"?

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There's definitely nothing "bad" about this . . .

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. . . unless by "bad" you mean "great."

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Just ask these happy people.

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Or just ask Erik and Derek--they'll tell you.

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The "gunshot" water cannons are a nice touch.

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Let's see . . . pet farm . . .

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. . . or Millennium Force? Tis quite a quandary.

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Looks like Erik has cast the deciding vote--sorry, pet farm.

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Is there no love for the pet farm?

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Hell no, there ain't! (At least not at the moment.)

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Damn, I wish all these people had gone to the pet farm. I would've got on Millennium Force a little quicker.

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Even water-filled dummies choose MF!

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Yep--these guys know what they're doing.

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And speaking of the company that knows what it's doing . . . Top Thrill Dragster time!

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Behold the power of Fast Lane Plus.

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I think this ride and Xcelerator are the best of the Intamin launched, high-hat coasters (although I prefer the Maverick/Speed Monster-type rides).

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Blue Streak--a pleasant surprise.

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Yes, all it does is go up and down, out and back--but it does it very well.

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Ah, back when B&M still knew what it was doing when it came to inverts. Raptor is a very good ride.

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It even dares to be pink.

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Again, Fast Lane Plus is your ______ (fill in the blank).

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It appears that Daron comes from a long line of master thespians.

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We were heading for Gatekeeper, but were distracted by hot dogs. One must keep one's priorities straight. Long line for Pink's, too, but Fast Lane did us no good there.

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Fast Lane Plus was essential here, though.

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Yes, Gatekeeper is now in 3D! Be careful, lest the pictures that follow poke your eyes out!

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Yes, I would've been even more disappointed if I'd been stuck in this line.

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GK starts putting the squeeze on you here.

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Sigh! I wanted to like this ride more than I did. Wild Eagle was better.

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But GK was rougher and less comfortable (at least for me) than its cousin in Tennessee.

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The first half is better than the second . . .

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. . . but once you reach the climatic keyhole, it's rather disappointing.

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Well, best get moving. Them other credits ain't gonna ride themselves . . . or will they?

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It's good to know that Cedar Point has water.

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Oh, good lord--time for the oh so cleverly named Corkscrew. (Well, Cedar Point is the Nagashima Spa Land of Ohio.)

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Looks right purty when it screws over the people, though. (Hmm--that doesn't quite sound right.) More is yet to come!

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And the fun continues at Cedar Point.

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Welcome to Magnum, the ride that is about 95% guaranteed to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

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"Fleeing from the Cylon tyranny, the last battlestar, Galactica, leads a rag-tag fugitive fleet on a lonely quest . . .

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. . . a shining planet, with plaques by ACE."

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Oh, Lord, for what are about to receive . . .

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. . . may we be truly thankful.

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Yes, as weird as it is, Gemini is a better ride than Mean Streak.

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Gemini is a decent racing "mine train" . . .

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. . . that is just bizarre enough to rate its own plaque.

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Because the group was so kind as to share the pain of Mean Streak with me, despite having the credit already, I bought them elephant ears.

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"Jehosaphat, young feller, if y'all had given me a dollar, I'da told ya to skip Mean Streak . . .

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. . . and just ride that there Maverick agin."

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"One silver dollar is a lot cheaper than a bunch 'o' elephant ears, but y'all spend yer hard-earned pay as ya please."

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"At least you had brains enough to buy that there Fast Lane."

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This is the only picture I took of the Cedar Creek Mine Ride. Some of you may be bitterly disappointed by this, which is unfortunate.

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Yes, we rode Woodstock Express, and we're not the least bit ashamed! We have gone past mere shame.

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Another helpful hint: Do not stick your hand in any body of water adjoining Cedar Point.

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We decided to relax in the museum for a bit.

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The next time a hurricane hits Williamsburg, I'm heading for Cedar Point--they have shelters!

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They must've bought a lot of Wonka bars to score all those Golden Tickets.

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I think they call this one the "Neck Snapper."

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This is for all those who miss the old log ride, which I believe was replaced with Maverick. I certainly have no complaints.

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Evil has come to this museum!

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Interesting. It seems that the park's brief flirtation with Gay '90s French porn didn't test well with audiences.

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Er, this just looks so wrong.

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Note to self: Do not mess with this horse.

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Hey now . . .

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. . . oh, darn--now I'll never know.

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Millennium Force. It makes a man feel good to know that it's up there doing its job.

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That's the biggest freakin' bee I've ever seen! Run for your lives!

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My shoes were full of water after riding Shoot the Rapids.

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Bad Mantis sign.

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Good Mantis sign.

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Yes, this ride definitely lives down to the reputation of B&M stand ups.

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O mighty Sun God, please burn this scourge from the face of the Earth with Holy Fire!

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Fixed.

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As sundown approaches . . .

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. . . let's have another look ar the park's best B&M.

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This park's Windseeker offers good views--and, yes, it has one of those "evac cages."

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TTD is at its best after dark. Then again, most coasters are, except for Space Mountain.

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"The bad" is more enticing after dark, . . .

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. . . as is "the good."

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What? How did we miss this? (Quite deliberately.) There is more to come.

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^They're better-than-average dogs, if a bit pricey.

 

So, would you like to see more? I can't hear you! OK, here we go.

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Day two at Cedar Point.

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I know that you're all shocked that we started with Maverick again.

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Dadburn that Maverick! He done got away agin!

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Why can't our wagons go that fast? Maverick don't even have a horse!

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This here's what we call "theming." We can do it with barrels and rocks, too.

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I'm right proud to run this here establishment.

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My . . . that's a big one.

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"By your command . . .

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. . . the Galatica has been sighted. We almost mistook it for Maverick."

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Always happy to visit a park with a Sky Ride.

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But what if we want to drop them on people . . . oops! I've said too much! Never mind.

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Concrete grows well in this part of Cedar Point.

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Whew! That was close! Just missed getting trampled by all those green-shirted people.

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Hello, again, good B&M.

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Gatekeeper's big anti-climax.

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I do like this slow, diving turn, though--nice hang time.

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Who knew that bananas led such interesting, varied lives?

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OK, now where is Wicked Twister? It's running now, and I need the credit.

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Seriously--Where is it?

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That's it? Really? You'd think there would be a sign or some sort of entrance plaza.

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Hi, Cameron.

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Aw, isn't that cute and retro? An old pinball machine with plenty of gore.

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I haven't ridden one of these in years.

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And I've never ridden a Derby Racer with a giant lizard before.

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It's nice to see that the horses still go back and forth, like they're supposed to.

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May as well take the train.

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MF is just a bit faster than the train . . .

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. . . as is Maverick.

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Skeletons by the train. Unexpected!

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Hmm--I guess those folks never heard that the train doesn't stop here anymore.

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You see, it's unoffensive because they're hillbilly SKELETONS, not actual hillbillies.

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"Crap! Fire! Good thing I drank all that beer at lunch! Let me at it!"

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Directly across from one another: The Agony . . .

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. . . and the Ecstasy.

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I pity poor Mantis for being so close to Millennium Force.

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I mean, the poor bug has to feel a little inadequate.

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Aw, who cares? Squash that bug!

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OK, I'm sorry, I had no idea that it was against park rules to make both a condom joke and a Battlestar Galactica joke about Magnum in the same TR. It will never happen again.

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And now, a boatload of REAL MEN on Shoot the Rapids.

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Eh? Why not?

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Yep. Looks pretty "farmy," that's for sure.

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You know, some episodes of the "Maverick" TV series took place on farms.

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Pretty sly transition for sneaking in some more Maverick photos, wouldn't you say?

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Angus McNasty approved.

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Looks like lunch is served, Angus!

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I think we rode every car ride the park had that day.

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I was a human being once . . .

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Damn you, Mean Streak! You shook out and swallowed my soul yesterday!

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Maybe some Top Thrill Dragster will help.

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Ah-h-h-h . . . that's better.

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Dusk descends on Raptor, disguising its pinkness.

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I like the lighting scheme for Millennium Force.

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But even Snoopy says it's time to say "good night."

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No, Cedar Point--thank you! We had a great time.

 

And thank you for reading!

Edited by cfc
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Awesome trip report Chuck! I too braved the shame of riding the Woodstock Express, despite my group refusing to participate. Gemini is definitely a pleasant surprise, especially when it's running both sides. I may have been fortunate enough to experience the one good ride Mean Streak has ever given, because it was nowhere near as bad as I was expecting.

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Great photo TR Chuck! Always a great read. I think X Flight was more comfortable than Wild Eagle, but honestly I'm not sure which I enjoyed more. They are both so different- the layout and the location.

 

I love Raptor, and I really don't mind the big bad bug that I won't dare to mention around you I have had a couple bad rides on it though haha. I haven't been up there for 3 years or so, I need to get my ass back up there for some Maverick!

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Great report, Chuck, and nice photos. Glad the weather held out when you were there.

 

When I rode Gatekeeper I waited in a line about as long as in the photo you posted and the wait wasn't bad, about 40 to 45 minutes. As for the two wing coasters I've been on my pick would be X Flight over GK as I think XF has better pacing. As much as I love GK I feel the airtime hill sort of throws off the pacing a bit IMO.

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Chuck, thanks for posting this stellar trip report chalked full of many fantastic photos! Glad you enjoyed your first trip to Cedar Point! I know it's not the "best amusement park in the world" that they proudly claim it is, but I still love it there. No matter how many times I've been there, I still get totally pumped and excited when we drive up the causeway and that skyline first appears. Good stuff!

 

Also, I have to say that it's awesome to hear well-traveled enthusiasts like yourself give a thumbs up to my home park of Kennywood. I've always thought it's one of the coolest parks to visit, but I often would wonder if my thoughts were swayed a bit by it being my home park. I really couldn't have been happier when they finally introduced their season pass a few years back, because I absolutely love going there!

 

Great to see you guys loved Phantom. That ride, IMHO, kicks all sorts of a$$, and is sometimes under the radar when it comes to discussions of great hypercoasters. The airtime on that thing is phenomenal! And I too am a huge fan of Sky Rocket. The more and more I ride it, the more and more I love it! Premier and Kennywood did a marvelous job packing that much of a coaster into a relatively small footprint. Plus, it's nice to have a coaster back in the park with inversions.....and unlike the Steel Phantom, these ones don't try to kill you.

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^What's great about Phantom's Revenge is that it looks like it couldn't possibly be any good, but it's actually an excellent ride--I was shocked at how good it was when I first visited Kennywood a few years ago. (Amazing how Morgan improved what, from all reports, was a very bad Arrow coaster.) Kennywood is a great park.

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Apparently the new CP head honcho is going to spend a ton of money to renovate the hotels at the park:

 

http://www.toledoblade.com/State/2012/12/02/Firm-to-invest-60M-to-restore-old-hotels-and-beach-properties.html

 

Finally! I HATE the new Breakers wing that looks like a hospital. I don't know what Kinzel was thinking when they built that!

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^My guess is that Mr. Kinzel wasn't all that interested in running a "resort"; he was focused on running a chain of regonal amusement parks. So, upgrading hotels wasn't on his radar screen.

 

But things change, and I'm glad to see that Cedar Fair realizes that their flagaship park needs to be served by a better-quality resort.

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As usual a very entertaining TR, Chuck. Glad you enjoyed your visit. Your top 5 coasters just happen to be my top 5 in the same exact order. While I try and ride all the coasters when I visit, those 5 are the only ones I really go out of my way to re-ride as much as possible.

 

Also on Phantom's Revenge, I agree it's a very deceptive coaster. ...In a good way.

Actually, it's my #1 favorite steel coaster since Superman up at SFNE changed over to Bizarro.

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Great TR, Chuck. I'm finally going to Kennywood for the first time in August, so I'm pretty excited about that. I really need to get up to Waldameer sometime and try out RF3. Glad you enjoyed your time at CP, I'll be getting back there with the Texas/Midwest tour for the first time since 2001. It's been too long!

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You should have ridden Gemini in the front of red. The airtime on the top of the first horse shoe and the final bunny hills are fantastic! On a hot day when the trains are running really well, it can have airtime comparable to Magnum. I remember seeing you when you visited, thinking "That guy looks familiar. Have I seen him on TPR?" Haha.

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I'm really looking forward to getting back to Cedar Point in a few weeks. Maverick alone is worth a visit.

 

Phantom's Revenge at Kennywood is such a good ride too. It's short, but it's damn sweet.

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I remember seeing you when you visited, thinking "That guy looks familiar. Have I seen him on TPR?" Haha.

 

You never know when we will strike! Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!

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