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Prelude:

A short backstory of how this trip came to be.

 

In June of 2014 I had a day planned with my sister to go to our home park Great Adventure and spend a day running around like kids again and riding all the awesome rides we are so lucky to have so close to us. The morning of, I woke up bright eyed and bushy tailed, and jumped online to find an email from her stating my nephew had been sick and she'd been up all night with him and wasn't feeling too great herself. Bummed, I replied I understood and went on to checking the remainder of my inbox.

 

The next email was from her husband Tom saying that if I still wanted to go he had nothing planned and would stand in for her. Game on. We met up and off we went to enjoy the hell out of the park and for the first time really bonded over our shared love of thrill rides. It was on that day that we first talked about how much we would both love to go to Cedar Point. We discussed the logistics of getting to Sandusky, OH (flying vs. driving, what time of year do we go?), the potential cost of such a trip (do we stay on site?), and of course how soon we would be able to make it happen.

 

Throughout last summer, Tom and I shared more than a few coaster days - taking multiple trips to our home park, and a couple of "test" road trips, first down to Six Flags America, and then out to Dorney Park during Haunt. On each of these trips, we talked more and more about how and when we would make it to the roller coaster capital of the world.

 

Shortly after New Years 2015, I got an email from Tom asking if I was still seriously interested in making the pilgrimage to the Point, because we would need to get serious about planning. He and my sister would get a sitter for my nephew, we could board our pets, and could each bring our other halfs, making it a couples weekend. He offered to drive us there and back so we could save airfare money and splurge on the park and hotel. I was in. The planning began.

 

We eventually settled in on the idea of going on or around Memorial Day weekend, knowing it would be easy to get off from work, and since it would likely be very busy we decided the best way to do this would be to really splurge and stay on site. We tossed around the idea of staying at Hotel Breakers or somewhere close by. We discussed stopping at Hershey, Kennywood on Knoebels on the way. I even started a thread about it here that quickly turned into a somewhat of a helpful "Cedar Point trip planning tips thread" so I'm happy our planning is helping other folks make it to this one-of-a-kind park.

 

Eventually we decided on doing Saturday and Sunday of Memorial Day weekend at Cedar Point, with a stop at Kennywood along the way on Friday afternoon. It's literally right off the route we would need to travel so it seemed a perfect place to stretch our legs on the 8 hour drive to Sandusky.

 

* * * * * * * *

 

Day One (Friday):

Departure, Driving, Coasters at Kennywood, and a Dive in Pittsburgh

 

The alarm clock went off abruptly and even though it was 4:30am and still dark as night, like a kid on Christmas morning I shot up and out of bed without a moment of hesitation. I had hardly slept anyway. Coaster dreams and all. The missus and I had mostly packed the night before so after some coffee and showers, with the sun peaking out from the horizon, we were on 95north out of downtown Philadelphia heading to Levittown, PA where we would join my sister Al and her husband Tom, aka our captain for the trip.

 

We arrived just before 7am, quickly threw our bags into the back of their very new and very comfy SUV and off we went on the first leg of our journey. After grabbing some breakfast on the road we headed for the PA Turnpike to begin our pilgrimage to the Point. First stop: Kennywood Park.

 

The trip from Levittown (just north of Philly) to West Mifflin PA (just southeast of Pittsburgh) is about a 5.5 hour drive right through the center of Pennsylvania. With tunes on the stereo and food in our bellies we turned what could have been a long, boring car ride into a fun, rowdy road trip with lots of jokes and jamming to our favorite songs. I haven't done this route too many times but I did get a taste of it on my road trip out to Hersheypark last fall, which is probably the best time to drive through here due to the vibrant colors of the dying leaves. Both of these treks have made me appreciate just how beautiful of a state we live in. Driving over and through the Appalachian Mountains is completely awe inspiring and at times almost surreal. There is just nothing like coming over a mountain range and looking down into an unending valley of tree-topped rolling hills and tiny houses dotting the landscape. I took literally hundreds of pictures but I won't bore you guys with a ton of them. I highly recommend taking this route if you are traveling through this fine state.

 

Just before noon we began seeing signs for Pittsburgh, and then Kennywood Park. We made it! Following advice I was given in our "CP or Bust" trip planning thread, we spotted a Giant Eagle supermarket and quickly ducked inside to purchase discounted tickets. We saved $40 total doing this, getting us into the park for only $30 per person. Score! After hopping back on the road, and navigating our way around and over the Monongahela River, we found ourselves on Kennywood Boulevard and spotted the first of many Kennywood "arrows" pointing us in the right direction. Next thing you know, Phantom's Revenge, one of my major 'bucketlist' coasters, was peaking out over the hills at us, guiding our way.

 

We pulled into the lot and decided to splurge the $7 on the preferred parking. If you don't want to pay, you can park in the free lot. (Screw you and your $25 parking, Six Flags!!!) The free lot is not much further away, but since all of our luggage for the weekend was in the car we figured we'd rather park where our car might in a "safer" place. Not to mention our walk to the gate was 2 minutes, tops.

 

It was after noon at this point and since the park had been open for an hour or two, we had zero wait at the main gate and in we went. Knowing we would only be in this park for 5 or so hours and were not going to do any type of skip-the-line pass, the planner in me had a strict itinerary for this park. We'd go to Phantom, then Exterminator, etc etc. However, once we got through the tunnel after the entrance, that all went out the window as we discovered the crowds were low and lines were minimal for the most part.

 

We spotted Sky Rocket with a station wait directly to our right upon exiting the entrance tunnel and we hopped right on. Our first coaster of the trip, we joked we were "having a launch for lunch". This modest little Premier launcher is a good ride. I was very happy I didn't listen to the naysayers who told me this was skippable. Hardly. The launch is nice and zippy but nothing crazy. Yes, the top hat is trimmed, but we sat in the back and we got great ejector airtime over the drop. I can see what people mean about the tricktrack and airtime hills toward the end, and how it just meanders around but the first half of this ride is great! The zero-G roll provides a nice floating feeling and the drop off the mid-course in the back seat is another highlight. Mucho airtime. My only complaint is the shin restraints are a bit uncomfortable for a taller rider (I'm 6'2), but I'll take it if it means being able to do inversions without shoulder restraints. Overall I liked this ride a lot. It had potential to be GREAT if the 2nd half didn't fall so flat. It was good enough to hop back on as we were heading out later in the day when it was a complete walk-on.

 

From here we headed towards Phantoms Revenge, but we suddenly spotted the Bayern Curve, which was one of my favorite flats as a kid, and since they are so rare anymore, I had to get on. There was literally 3 people in line and they were just starting to load so our group of four jumped right on. This thing is a little wild! Rougher than I remembered but to be fair its a really old ride, though obviously maintained well. I would love to have been here at night to check out the lighting package. Gotta love the insanely loud horn when it reaches top speed! I felt like a kid again on this.

 

At this point Phantom's Revenge was just across the midway, and this is a big deal coaster to me. I've watched the POV a hundred times, and something about that giant 2nd drop into the ravine intimidates yet calls to me. This was the longest wait of the day, probably about 20 minutes. The missus sat this one out as she doesn't like giant steel coasters without OTSRs (don't even get me started). Once in the station we bee-lined for the back seats - Tom and Al sat in the rear with me just in front of them. All I can say about this is WOW. Not only did the first drop surprise me - I expected it to be this slow, sweeping drop but instead it absolutely ripped us down that curve - then the 2nd drop into the ravine is just breathtaking. You are totally hauling ass down that thing, and it feels like it goes on forever. But it ain't over yet! Now for a side of airtime. Sweet, glorious, violent, ejector airtime! I can't imagine this being a better coaster with its inversions before its conversion, the finale is incredible. I don't want to spoil the rest of my report so I'll just say this is easily one of the best rides I took all weekend.

 

After the wait and then riding we all decided it was time for lunch, since none of us had really eaten anything substantial all day, save for some rest stop munchies. It was suggested here and elsewhere that we HAD to try the Potato Patch fries, and since we were headed to Thunderbolt next, we gave them a shot. Between the reviews online and then the moderately long line for these would have you believe eating these things is akin to a religious experience. The missus got the gravy fries, while Tom, Al and I tried the bacon and cheddar. I don't know if we are just spoiled living in Philly and having great french fries here, but these fries, while not bad, were so very average. Yes, bacon and cheddar is delicious but the fries themselves were a huge letdown. Greasy, soft, the insides barely cooked. IMO french fries should be crispy. All four of us were very underwhelmed. Even the gravy fries were almost tasteless, the gravy a greasy watery film that really just covered the bottom of the paper container they came in. Again, they weren't terrible, but beyond overhyped.

 

Lucky for us, Thunderbolt was next and seemed to want to remind us that despite its overhyped park food, Kennywood is a great park with great rides. We did this and then Jack Rabbit and Racer (the parks other two classic woodies) back to back. All were a 10 minute wait or less. Thunderbolt quickly became a favorite. As we were queueing we noticed lots of signs all over the place warning no single riders, and when we boarded we were instructed to have the smaller rider sit on the right side. Confused, we boarded as instructed, then once out on the course we figured out why. The double helix in the middle of the ride is INSANE! Combined with the single position buzz bars and shared seatbelt we quickly understood the 'no single riders'/'smaller riders on the right' policies. Laterals like a Music Express at full speed. So bonkers, so fun. The drops into the ravine and around Phantom were awesome, and we got some mild yet great pops of airtime throughout the ride. The missus loved this one. So far 3 for 3 in the great coasters department.

 

Racer was probably the biggest dud of the day as far as coasters go. We split into groups of two and sat on either train in the same seat, somewhere in the middle/back of each of our trains. Any racing coaster is fun just because you are racing, especially with friends on the other train, and this was no exception. For such an old ride its very well maintained. And that the queue and entrance are exactly as they were when it was built was pretty awesome. The ride itself was not rough at all, it just didn't really wow any of us. A few sudden turns and nice laterals but little to no airtime. I did not get all whorish and ride both sides for the credits. This was one and done.

 

Jack Rabbit is basically right next to it and I'll say right now there isn't much to this coaster other than THAT UNBELIEVABLE DOUBLE DROP. It's a very short ride, it doesn't really do much save for a handful of other small yet fun drops and a turn through a tunnel but THAT DOUBLE DROP. When boarding we were all kind of shocked when we realized the only restraints on this thing were a single, shared seatbelt and nothing else but a grab bar. Not something you see at all anywhere, especially on a coaster with THAT DOUBLE DROP. We were all practically standing up coming down that. Easily one of my most favorite moments on any ride we did all weekend at both parks. I'd even go as far as to say that element right there is worth a trip to this park alone. We rode once and walked right around for a second ride and Tom and I sat in the back seat. Did I mention THAT DOUBLE DROP?? Just wow. They don't make em like this anymore.

 

We took a little bench break and watched the Skycoaster and Aero360, as well as some of the other flats in that area for a bit. We popped into a random store and grabbed some great fridge magnets for Phantom and Jack Rabbit, and of course a Kennywood arrow. This park has lots of little nooks that lead to random areas so its easy to get lost in random fun stuff.

 

One of the missus' favorite childhood rides was when the Paratrooper would come to her local fair and she had been stoked leading up to the trip to try the installation at Kennywood. Since it was in the area we were in, we hopped on. One cycle wait. This was fun but I'm not a huge fan of spinning things. I was OK, but if the cycle was any longer I might have hurled. Again, their flats are very well maintained, and this, as well as the huge, gorgeous carousel next to it really made me wish we could spend some time here after dark. You know a park has great lighting packages when you notice them in the bright sunlight.

 

Well, time flies when you are having fun and we had to get on the road soon for the main course of our trip. We had an hour left and still many flats we wanted to try. But on the other hand we could go to Phantom and get another ride in since it's amazing, so that's what we did. Another 20 minute wait, not too bad for the longest of the day. The missus decided to join us this time and insisted I ride with her closer to the front of the train, but was quickly reminded of why she hates giant steel coasters with lapbars, promptly bugging out on the way down the enormous 2nd drop into the ravine. I, on the other hand, was thankful we sat toward the front as the ejector air over the bunnyhills at the end of the ride is flat out ludicrous, and definitely more forceful than our earlier ride in the back of the train. Not sustained airtime, but violently tossed like rag dolls up and out of our seats. So. Much. Fun.

 

The clock was ticking and stomachs were again rumbling as it was approaching dinnertime so we headed towards the front of the park skipping Exterminator (I hate spinning mice), Swing Shot (my favorite flat, but a decent sized line we just didn't have time for) and Black Widow (we knew we could do MaxAir at Cedar Point so we felt we weren't missing anything).

 

We did spot Garfield's Nightmare on our way out and having read about this historic yet very weirdly themed ride, we all agreed we should give it a quick shot. On one hand it felt like a total waste of time, on the other, how could you pass up such a completely random ride? The themeing is SO WEIRD it made this a completely hilarious and surreal experience. Upon exiting it was bathroom break and out to the tunnel to get on the road... but WAIT! Sky Rocket is a complete walk-on! So Tom and I jumped into the back seat for one last quick ride at this awesome park.

 

What a blast Kennywood was! We loved it and I would totally go back in a heartbeat. Very non-corporate, quirky, folksy, mom & pop type of place with loads of charm and some incredibly well maintained, classic rides and coasters. The abundance of trees and shade goes a long way. Ops were pretty good and employees friendly and pleasant for the most part.

 

Next time I will certainly plan to spend more time here. If you find yourself in the area do not pass up a chance to pop in here (just make sure to stop at the Giant Eagle around the corner for $30 tickets!)

 

Ride totals/ratings:

 

Phantoms Revenge 2x (10/10)

Jack Rabbit 2x (9/10)

Skyrocket 2x (8/10)

Thunderbolt 1x (8/10)

Bayern Curve 1x (7/10)

Paratrooper 1x (6/10)

Racer 1x (5/10)

Garfields Nightmare 1x (5/10) <-- 5 points for being weird/random

 

Our captain was deadset on eating dinner before the second leg of our pilgrimage at this place called Nadine's in downtown Pittsburgh that was featured on the television show 'Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives'. I had checked out the menu online when he had suggested this a few weeks before our trip, and while it looked like basic bar food it was cheap! And if Guy Fieri co-signs on it, I was game. Dude knows his food.

 

When we arrived, the exterior definitely fell into the "dive" category, and when we stepped inside, the locals all gave us the old up and down and you could almost hear them all thinking "they came because of the TV show". That was OK because they were right. This place is the very definition of a dive bar: a dark, grimey, long and skinny room, with a few tables scattered on one side and a long bar on the other, which happened to have 4 seats wide open for the coaster crew. The entire establishment was run by one woman behind the bar - serving up all drinks and cooking each and every food order right in front of you.

 

Since "Nadine" was operating this entire machine alone, it took a while for our food to be ready but we were able to sit and enjoy some Iron City lager, relax for a bit and watch her prepare our (and everyone elses) dinner right in front of us. Pretty cool to watch her juggle all of this at once while barely breaking a sweat. Tom tried the fried bologna sandwich (featured on the show), Al tried the burger and said it was very dry, while the missus had a BLT w/ fries and said the sandwich was not bad, but just average, and the fries were more mushy nonsense. I got a grilled cheese w/ tomatoes and bacon w/ a side of tots. Because you can never have too many tots. Overall it was a good hearty meal for a very cheap price. Since we were there at Friday happy hour - with all the food and two beers a piece our bill only came out to $40 for the four of us. Not bad at all!

 

With that we paid our check and hopped back on the road following the setting sun into Ohio for our final and shortest leg of the journey. Next stop: America's Rockin' Roller Coast!

 

Now enjoy a crapton of photos (*photos were taken by myself, Tom and my other half):

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On the road bright and early

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Go west

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3/4 of our crew

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Ooo! Ooo! Can we stop for a lap on Skyrush!?

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We'll be comin round the mountains...

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Just gorgeous

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We all love some rolling hills don't we?

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Take the tunnel!

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Coaster nerd in me is trying to fathom how many feet up that is

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Overlooking valleys

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Of course we had a chuckle with this one

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We're getting closer

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Kennywood arrow?

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Kennywood arrow!

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I spy a Phantom!

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View from our parking spot

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We made it!

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The first of many horses we would encounter this weekend

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Very Alice in Wonderland

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I spy a Sky Rocket!

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First ride of the trip

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Is that a rocket in your pants or are just happy to see me?

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Zippy little bugger

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Killer airtime on the drops

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I spy a Jack Rabbit

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Everything feels classic here

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Light crowds

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Well Hello there Phantom

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Super exciting moment

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Holding up the line for Phantom selfies

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This pic is cool because the missus took this while she sat this one out. She took a bunch. We didn't realize it until looking back through the photos, but she caught the other 3 of us going down the drop. I'm in 2nd from last seat, Tom and Al in the back.

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Going up...

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The usual park prices

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Bad photo as these are half eaten already (there was a lot more bacon and cheddar) but in any case, overrated!

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Old wood

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Great view from the station

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Love that their storage track is built right into the operator booth

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Aero360. Fun to watch, but we didn't ride.

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It does what it says on the tin

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Minimal lines all day

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Jack Rabbit!

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Hard to get pics of the insane double drop but there it is.

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Waiting for our 2nd spin.

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Just a single/shared seatbelt and a grabbar. WTF.

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Paratrooper

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Lots of classic/quirky signage around the park

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We actually never really ventured all the way into this area

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Deserted midways

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Goofing around

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This cover band played across from Thunderbolt/Potato Patch. The singer thought he was a total rockstar and it made us uncomfortable. Just the shoes made us uncomfortable.

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Back onto Phantom

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The ravine!

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So weird

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No cameras out on the (very slow boat) ride!

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Did you know George was here?

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I didn't

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But I do know about swappin yarns w/ Cowboy Joe

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One more lap on the Sky Rocket

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Before we bid this awesome little park adieu

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But not before acting like idiots

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I have no idea what we're doing here

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But we loved this park

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Bye Kennywood!

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Here we are at Nadines

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So cheap, so rude

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Hello Downtown Pittsburgh

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Back on the road again. Pittsburgh has a lot of hills and a lot of bridges

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Getting closer to the mecca

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Cracked out rest stop versions of my two fave chocolates for dessert

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Navigatin' us

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We caught some beautiful sunset skies driving through Ohio. Stay tuned for our weekend in Cedar Point!

Edited by boldikus
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great report (thus far) and glad you had fun at Kennywood.

 

yep, I still would have skipped Skyrocket to get rides in on the Whip (lost Kennywood), the Turtle, and Kangaroo -- the last two a real shame you skipped, since they are so rare. Not to mention the beautiful Logjammer (flume)

 

Ghostwood Estates is fun too, if you thought Garfield was weird!

 

as you said tho, you'll have to go back, as all that signage around the lake?. . GORGEOUS at night with the lighting on Racer in particular.

 

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yep, I still would have skipped Skyrocket to get rides in on the Whip (lost Kennywood), the Turtle, and Kangaroo -- the last two a real shame you skipped, since they are so rare. Not to mention the beautiful Logjammer (flume)

Ghostwood Estates is fun too, if you thought Garfield was weird!

]

 

We almost did Ghostwood Estates and the Turtle but for whatever reason our attention was drawn elsewhere.

 

We all took so many photos, it's taking me forever to sort through them all while I'm simultaneously getting caught up @ work. I hope to have the rest of the weekend up by early next week. Thanks for reading, here is a taste of what's to come!

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We share the same opinion on pretty much everything. The potato patch was so overrated. You've got to go back for Black Widow. It's the best Frisbee ever created! Also the Noahs Ark attraction is unreal.

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The great thing about Kennywood is my other half has a ton of family in Pittsburgh. She was the only one out of the group who had been to the park previously - was years ago when she was a kid, but she remembered a few things while we were there. So next family reunion or whatever, and I'll be back!

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Great pictures so far, damn you make my trip reports look terrible. lol

I need to get to Kennywood soon.

 

here is a taste of what's to come!

 

Screw Corkscrew... check out the Sky Ride in the background, and it's animated no less!. lol

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Great trip report! I do agree Garfield's Nightmare was kinda weird, and they should probably retheme it to The Old Mill just for nostalgia.

 

I went in 2011 when Pitt Fall was there and not Black Widow, so I can't say if Black Widow is worth going back for, but definitely go back for the Whip, Kangaroo, and Turtle as they were great and rare rides, and also the Bayern Kurve which was phenomenal and a surprise hit in the park for me. I also really liked Aero 360 too, although there are others in existence. I didn't like Ghostwood Estates, it was kind of weird too. But yeah definitely go back as it was a great park. Great photo report though!

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Enjoying the report so far. You had me laughing in the way you emphasized THAT DOUBLE DROP on Jack Rabbit. I absolutely love that ride even if it doesn't do much. You'll definitely have to go back for Black Widow and Ghostwood Estate.

 

Just like you riding the Bayern Kurve immediately takes me back to when I was kid riding it at Cedar Point.

 

Looking forward to reading your visit to America's Roller Coast.

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Day One (Friday - Part 2):

Check In and Check It All Out

 

We were booked to spend Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night at the new (read: refurbished) Hotel Breakers, and with our two-day admission to the park we also had early entry on Friday night, anytime after 4pm. Our plans to stop at Kennywood Friday afternoon likely wouldn't allow us to utilize those tickets, but Tom and I joked the whole way that as long as arrived a half hour or more before closing, we were going to run down into the park to jump on something - anything. By the time we made the two and a half hour drive from Pittsburgh though the guts of Ohio and up to the coast of Lake Erie, it was just about 10pm. No dice.

 

We were all completely exhausted from all the driving and riding all day, so we took our time checking in (ballin' in a lake view suite, yo!), finding our room and settling in. The hotel itself was great. Everything felt brand new. The lobby is beautiful with carousel horses as centerpieces, artsy photos of the coasters around the balcony, and behind the check-in counter is a really cool black and white panoramic shot of Breakers when it was first built. Keep in mind this was our first time here so I can't compare to what the hotel used to be, but in my research leading up to this trip I read quite a few horror stories. In fact the renovations had a huge hand in why we chose to stay here.

 

Check-in was a cakewalk, and the girl who waited on us was awesome, providing our room keys, whipping out a park map, and map of the hotel/grounds to show us where everything was. She sorted us with our park tickets, showed us where to enter the park, gave us the rundown on the BBQ/Craftbeer fest that was happening all weekend in the Lakeside Pavilion, and even insisted we had to ride "The Gatekeeper", which she said was her favorite. When she asked if we preferred a lower or higher floor, before we could answer she noticed we splurged on the lake view suite and told us she'd put us way up - on the 8th floor, then promptly informed us they had no elevators (she was kidding). I'm probably wrong but I think her name was Marissa. Later on in the weekend we got her again when we needed something from the desk and she was just as pleasant as the night before. She was the first of many CP employees we would encounter that went out of their way to make sure we enjoyed our stay. A smile and positive attitude really goes a long way.

 

We found our room, cracked open some beers, yanked out the munchies we brought, kicked off our shoes, and relaxed for a bit. Our room was a little smaller than it looks in the photos on the website, but knowing we wouldn't be spending much time there, it was more than adequate for the four of us. It was clean, though we did see a couple spiders, which we'd rather have than any other bugs (more on this later). The vibrant bedding and coaster themed headboards are a really nice touch. It had a small kitchen with a dorm-sized fridge, sink, and microwave. We brought a huge cooler on wheels packed with beers so we were able to use the small fridge for the snack foods we packed. We had a screened-in balcony looking right out on the beach and lake, and we'd find out once the sun was up we could look to the left to see Soak City and Magnums' 2nd camelback. Very cool.

 

The ladies hung back in the room while Tom and I ventured downstairs and out to the boardwalk/beach to check out the scene. We passed the indoor and then outdoor pools, the hot tubs, and the nice new firepits. On the beach we spotted a sand replica of the hotel that Tom was dying to go Godzilla on (we caught some kids taking care of that the next day). We found the TGIFridays that is part of the resort, and was actually on the boardwalk, right beneath our room. Side note: the boardwalk is not actually made of wood here. Just sayin'.

 

We popped inside TGIFridays for a few beers and celebratory shots in honor of actually having our feet on the Cedar Point peninsula. It was here we encountered Cedar Point's lame but not all the surprising 'no serving two drinks at once' policy. When we ordered the shots the bartender testily snatched our beers off the bar and put down our shots, telling us "You can have your beers back after the shots, I can't let you have both at once". What was lame about this is that he disappeared for a minute and once we took our shots, our beers (to chase the shots with) were sitting behind the bar and we were pretty sure it was illegal to reach back there and grab them lol. No matter, he reappeared and gave them back to us. This guy was totally cool, he seemed more bothered by the policy than we were - we pressed him about it and with a few giant eyerolls he began to give us the low-down on why working at Cedar Point sucks so much. I won't go into details or name names, as he was a totally cool guy and he didn't put a damper on our experience at all.

 

The bar closes at midnight so we settled up, and took a slow stroll down the boardwalk toward the "beach" entrance of the park where you can get all up close to Windseeker, Wicked Twister and the Ferris Wheel. Even late at night the park has the lighting packages going so we got a couple of photos and decided to head back up to the room as we didn't want to sleep in on Saturday. We had a full day planned, starting with early entry on what would turn out to be a very special roller coaster!

 

Here are a few photos from Friday night. Stay tuned...

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Driving over the causeway for the first time at night was a good idea.

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Good night Cedar Point! We'll see you bright and early tomorrow!

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The view when stepping out of our hotel. We are in Intamin paradise.

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I spy Intamin deliciousness

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We made it!

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Hotel replica on the beach outside the hotel

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Get yer learn on

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We could wander down the "boardwalk" and get some close looks at WT and Windseeker

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The park was closed and quiet at midnight. Very cool to take a look.

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More pretty Ohio skies

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Great TR so far, can't wait for the rest. It kills me I haven't been to Kennywood or any of the Ohio parks yet. Hopefully next year I'll get to visit at least one of them.

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Great report so far! Love the night pictures of CP, must have been a magical experience to arrive to that view.

 

Oh, and Phantoms Revenge has been very high on my bucket list for many years now, great to hear its still kicking ass!

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LMAO. ^ Everybody welcome Tom to the forum.

 

I was gonna get to it, but "Holy Toledo" was a running inside joke all weekend starting in the car in Ohio with our captain SCREAMING "HOLY TOLEDO" anytime we passed a road sign for Toledo. It went from funny to annoying to funny again throughout the weekend as it became a response to just about everything.

 

Good times.

Edited by boldikus
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Great report so far...looking forward to the rest.

 

I never knew that law about the alcohol either - very bizarre. As far as the employees, they do have some of the best in the business. Other than the food stalls that can be quite uninviting, their employees really do a fantastic job!

 

Edit - I agree about the Kennywood fries being overrated. The one's at Cedar Point are comparable, but I think much tastier.

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Thanks everyone. We had such a great time, and going back through the photos I'm realizing just how much activity we crammed into these two days.

 

Day Two (Saturday):

The First of Two Days In Paradise

 

The alarm was set for 7:30am on Saturday so we could be up, showered, out of our room and at the resort gate, just a 5 minute walk from our room, in time for 9am early entry. Tom and I were up and awake before the alarm went off. Why? Because we are waking up inside of the Roller Coaster Capitol of the World!

 

The park doesn't open to the general public until 10am so we had an hour of (hopefully) little-to-no lines and wanted to take advantage of that to try out some of the heavy hitters this park has to offer. We still hadn't committed to purchasing Fast Lane, but it was in the budget for the weekend and with the predicted GORGEOUS weather on Saturday (high of 70 degrees and sunny), combined with free entry for military personnel all weekend, we had a feeling the park would be packed.

 

Tom was ready to roll before the rest of us and was kind enough to run down to the hotel's fancy new Starbucks and grab some coffee for the group. I popped out onto our balcony early in the morning and discovered the outside of our screen was covered in spider webs and dead mayflies/muffleheads/whatever those bugs are that are everywhere. We had a great view as mentioned - the lake, beach, and Soak City and Magnum to our left. We just had to look at it through insect carnage lol. Gross.

 

By the time we were all ready to go, it was few minutes before 9. The early entry rides for this year are: Rougarou, Millennium Force, Maverick, Gatekeeper, Iron Dragon, Raptor, Planet Snoopy, Ocean Motion and the Midway Carousel. Maverick and Millennium are without a doubt my top two 'must rides' for this weekend and knowing how temperamental Intamin hotness can be, we needed to head in the direction of one of those two and get them out of the way.

 

We decided today would be Maverick day, and Millennium would be Sunday (that would change but I'll get to that). From the Marina entrance it was closer to get to Maverick anyway. As we approached the gate we were greeted by a substantial line of other hotel guests and season pass holders eager to get in and get on some great rides. The employees at the gate chewed through the line in just a few minutes, and finally, at long last, I was inside paradise!

 

We hoofed it over to Maverick and were greeted by the bright eyed crew cycling some empty trains. Seeing that it was running, I breathed a huge sigh of relief. Through the queue we hustled and up into an almost empty station. Let's do this! The missus sat this one out as she afraid of hurting her neck, as I warned her it was known as very intense and twisty. Just looking at the POVs you can get a sense of that.

 

Of course we went right for the back row of the next train to pull into the station and we were off. This coaster is absolute bliss. After the first ride I was sitting on the break run in completely heaven, wondering if this is my new #1. Save for a giant first drop, this machine has everything I could possibly want in a roller coaster. The slow launch up the lift, the beyond vertical first drop (insane air in the back seat), the ludicrously tight turns right after the drop, glorious airtime hills, a few perfectly executed inversions. And if that wasn't enough - the launch out of the tunnel! OMFG. The second half of the ride just doesn't let up. It is just amazing element after amazing element, glass smooth throughout, and not once did I even get banged around, thanks to those cushy new shoulder restraints they recently installed. Like I said in the Cedar Point thread, they are great. I'd love to see them installed on Kingda Ka (holler if ya hear me SGFAdv!!!) or even Storm Runner/Fahrenheit/other Intamins w/ these restraints. They made me stoked to do I305. Hands up all the way. Total freedom but totally secure.

 

Of course upon exiting the ride and quickly checking out our on-ride photos we ran around to the entrance for a second lap. By now we had a station wait but that's nothing compared to the lines we'd see for this throughout the weekend. The missus had watched a few cycles while waiting for us to take the first ride and upon seeing us re-entering the queue said she was going to join us. I stopped her as I did not want the tight twists to hurt her and leave her unable to ride anything else. After all, we had two full days of riding. This bummed her out, but the last thing I wanted was for her to spend the weekend nursing an injury on the sidelines, and I assured her later in the day after we'd all gotten loosened up from some day drinking, she could take a shot at this amazing steel beast. Our second ride was even better than the first. It was after that I thought to myself "that is the greatest roller coaster I have ever ridden, no question". Perfection. Why aren't there more of these!?!?

 

By this point the queue had started filling up and since we had not yet pulled the trigger on Fast Lane passes, we decided to walk toward the parks "new" hotness, Rougarou, and see how crowds were toward the middle of the park. As I mentioned earlier, the missus is usually more comfortable on coasters with OTSRs so this was something she could ride, and we figured being "new" and all, this ride would get long lines all weekend, so we wanted to get it out of the way.

 

It was just before 10am park opening, and we hopped in line. Honestly, it made me happy there were no stand-up coasters to be ridden this weekend. I hate every one of them that I've ridden. Obviously I had not ridden this when it was Mantis, and I'm not the biggest fan of floorless coaster. I don't mind them, Bizarro at my home park is my fave I've ridden so far, and after this it still is. But they did a great job with this. It was butter smooth and hauls through the course. Nice first drop and incredible speed through the dive and inclined loops. The only moment all of us experienced any headbanging from the hard OTSRs was one quick shot when snapping into the MCBR. Even without FL, we only waited about 15 minutes for this. And who did we spot in line? None other than Coasterbill! It's always very cool to meet with someone from TPR, and we chatted for a sec, and agreed to meet up later in the day to share a ride on something.

 

By now it was past 10am, and it was clear the general public had invaded the park. The midways were quickly starting to fill up and the park had marching bands parading through with celebratory tunes. We decided it was time to find somewhere to purchase Fast Lane bracelets. Who knows when we will be back to this park, so we wanted to make the most out of our day. This was one of the best decisions we made all weekend. Since Dragster, Gatekeeper, Rougarou and most notably Maverick are only on the Fast Lane Plus, we went ahead and spent the extra money. Once the park filled up we realized this was worth every freaking penny.

 

We were all very much interested in trying out Gatekeeper as none of us have ridden a wing coaster, unless you count Skyrush, so after grabbing a little breakfast (read: corndogs and soda) we headed in that direction. The FL line for this merges right at the bottom of the station stairs so even though the park was open and the regular line was already healthy, we got on in less than 15 minutes. I know a lot of people complain this ride is forceless and I can see that but we all loved it, and walked around to try the other side. We all agreed its better on the left. The first drop is pretty great, and the rest of the ride is smooth and offers some great floaty hang time in spots. The ladies of our group loved this ride in particular. On our second lap on this I popped our Cedar Point cherry by eating a mayfly/mufflehead whatever those bugs are that are everywhere.

 

From here we spotted MaXair with an empty FL line so we jumped in. I've never done one of these giant frisbees and I'm not a fan of spinning things so I was reluctant but since we skipped Black Widow I knew I wanted to try this at least once, and I'm glad I did. This ride surprised the hell out of me, I really enjoyed it and can't wait to do another one of these. The spinning is barely noticeable, if anything it just made it feel like we were going to hit the supports which was kind of cool lol. Nice hangtime and incredible speed on the full swings. We didn't ride this again at all over the weekend but overall it was one of my favorite flats of the trip.

 

After this we made our first mistake by trying to get on Raptor, where the FL line was out of the queue and along the gate. We waited easily the longest we waited for anything all weekend, almost 30 minutes when it broke down as we were halfway up the steps. Once that happened we jumped right out of line so we didn't waste any more time. We headed towards Dragster to see if that was running but they were testing. We asked one of the ops in the station if he had any idea of when it would be up but he said they had to test it a bunch and were trying to get it up ASAP.

 

We all wanted to try Power Tower, and the FL line was again empty so we did the drop side. My 2nd favorite drop tower so far is Dominator @ Dorney and this was similar, just taller. We got a great view of the front of the park, and as expected, the drop is very forceful. Gave us all a good jolt. I love the lighting package they have on this ride, it looks so good at night. We were getting hungry so we decided to head back to the hotel (did I mention it is a quick 5 minute walk from the resort entrance by Magnum?) and have snacks.

 

On the way back into the park we decided to hop on Gemini and this was one of the surprises of the entire trip. This thing is awesome! We all loved it much more than we expected. Nice little bits of airtime and some great drops. The FL line allowed us to walk right onto this, just a one cycle wait, and like we did with Racer @ Kennywood we split up on opposite trains in the same row so we could race. We wound up going back to this later because we liked it so much.

 

Throughout all of this riding I had been thinking of somehow convincing the group to head back towards Maverick to see what the line situation would look like middle of the day on Saturday. By this time the regular lines for pretty much everything were looooong, the park was packed. This had a little over a 25 minute wait for us, one of the longer waits of the weekend. The missus was ready to ride, so we rehearsed the ride while waiting so it wouldn't really take her by surprise: "OK after the drop its a right turn, then hard left, then hard right", "out of the tunnel its a hard turn to the left", etc. Not much I can say that I haven't already about this ride. And it turned out she loved it. We all did. Perfection. We bought the on-ride for this since it turned out so great. We also ran into Coasterbill once again in the Maverick gift shop.

 

Since the wait for Maverick wasn't so bad we decided it was time to head towards Millennium Force. On our way we stopped by the Barnyard and checked out some of the animals. I don't think I mentioned that we unsuccessfully tried to get Rougabrew @ TGIFri's last night (our hotel bar had it but they were closed at that time), but after we passed the barnyard we saw that the Trail Tavern had sign outside saying they had it so we ducked in. It's pretty good, tastes like Blue Moon. Here we learned Cedar Point's alcohol policy is pretty relaxed. At Great Adventure I'm used to not being able to leave the establishment we bought it in. Here we were able to get our beers to go and continue walking to Millennium. They also don't seem to mind you bringing beers into lines with you (we did this after we saw many others doing it), and numerous times we walked out of the park with beer when going back to the hotel.

 

Alright so... Millennium Force. Ahhh where do I begin. Well, we didn't wait long at all for this first ride, maybe 15 minutes with only a few people ahead of us in the FL line. I loved this ride, but it didn't blow me away. The drop was great, the speed of the ride is heartstopping, the ride felt very long but so much of it is spent on high speed turns. I also felt like a lot of energy is wasted at the end as it hauls right into the breaks. But I can totally see why some people say its forceless or doesn't have a ton of airtime. It definitely does have a few moments of decent airtime, but its generally all about the height and the speed. I had a lot of expectations for this and I'm not sure it completely lived up to them, at least on this first lap. Not to say its a bad ride - if Maverick didn't exist, Millennium would definitely be my favorite at this park.

 

Upon exiting Millennium we stopped in the Red Garter Saloon and while grab another beer, this band started playing country tunes out of nowhere, with this whole dance routine. I'm personally not a fan of country music but the performers here were pretty great and kept our attention for a good 20-30 minutes. We had no plans to see any shows we just happened upon this and I'm glad we did because it was something different, we had a good laugh and it was a nice break from the sun.

 

Heading back toward the front of the park the missus and I noticed Cedar Downs Racing Derby with basically no wait and had to give this unique classic 'fast carousel' a shot. Not much to say other than this was a fun break from the thrill rides and we were surprised there is no kind of belt or restraint on this ride. Not that we needed it but lots of small kids on this thing, we were waiting for one of them to go flying off lol. Lots of laughing on this one.

 

To keep the partytrain going we stopped at our hometown staple Chickie & Pete's. I love that these are at Cedar Fair parks because the chain started in Philly and the four of us all know and love their food - especially those crab fries (finally some REAL fries!). Of course we all grabbed a bucket of them and had another round or two of beers. Our bartender (Ryan?) was totally awesome and when he found out where are from asked us a million questions about the original location. It was weird to sit in a C&Ps with no Philadelphia or Philly sports team related memorabilia on the walls. And I know I keep mentioning that we were drinking so I want to make it clear we were all doing enough walking around and also eating that none of us ever got anywhere near "drunk" all weekend.

 

I will say we were feeling pretty great at this point, and what's right next to C&P's? Blue Streak!!! We had zero wait for this and jumped in the back car, and we all loved it so much that we immediately agreed on the break run we would run right around and do it again toward the front of the train. Great coaster, definitely one of the best here. A solid old school woodie with a classic out and back layout. Rough but it a good way. I'm thankful they have this because that other woodie I don't even think is worth mentioning (we'll get to that). So far we are having a great day of quality riding.

 

We decided to give Raptor another shot and discovered the FL line was only halfway down the steps. With about a 5 minute wait we were on the 2nd row, which made up for a our long-wait-for-nothin' earlier in the day. I haven't ridden a B&M invert I don't like and this coaster is no exception. Really smooth, appropriately snappy (great zero-g roll) and felt long. The helix at the end is very forceful. This is easily my 2nd favorite invert (I still love you the most, Talon!).

 

At this point we got text from Coasterbill to let us know he was at Wicked Twister and it had no line, so we headed that way. We shared an awesome ride near the back of the train, but I don't think I like this as much as Possessed, the only other Intamin impulse coaster I've ridden. I like the straight back spike with the holding break. Without it, even though this is taller, I feel its missing something. Still not a bad ride. We hyped this up since Tom and I both like Possessed but the missus was nonplussed. By this point it was starting to get dark, and since we were in the area we figured we would give Gatekeeper another spin, since we all liked it so much. This time we all went for the left (our preferred side) and had a great evening ride. Smooth, floaty. You feel like a bird on this thing. I want to ride more of these B&M wing riders as it seems like so many people think this is the worst/most boring of its kind.

 

Upon exiting Tom and I noticed Dragster was running so we decided to check the line. It was almost dark now and we were all getting tired. The missus sat this one out, hanging out on the bleachers, and the other three of us wound up waiting about 20 minutes, and made this our last ride of the day. As we got to the top of the ramp and entered the station we noticed folks in front of us stepping over something, when we had our first encounter with a protein spill - an obvious attempt at making it to the trashcan, apparently not in time. We sat toward the front, and I have to say I liked this a lot better than Kingda Ka. It was a noticeably smoother launch and the lapbars provide a much freer, comfortable ride. Other than that, its kind of the same thing (read: one trick pony). But these rides are crazytown. My eyes watered, and somehow while I kept my mouth closed (bugs!), I drooled on myself. But I enjoyed it as a bonkers way to end an amazing day. Race for the sky!

 

We headed back to the hotel to relax for a while before we turned in. We did pop out to the firepits and a late night stroll along the boardwalk again. We also checked out the hotels' arcade where we tackled the crane games (my personal expertise) and found a Dippin Dots vending machine. Score! All in all we spent our first day tackling the "must dos" of the park and basically had a perfect first day, even though we still had quite a bit to get to on day 2. We got a ton in, especially when considering just how packed the park got today.

 

Ride totals/ratings:

Maverick 3x (11/10)

Millennium Force 1x (9/10)

Gemini 1x (9/10)

Blue Streak 2x (9/10)

Gatekeeper 3x (9/10)

Raptor 1x (9/10)

MaXair 1x (8/10)

Power Tower - drop side 1x (8/10)

Rougarou 1x (8/10)

Top Thrill Dragster 1x (7/10)

Wicked Twister 1x (7/10)

Cedar Downs Derby (7/10)

 

A now for a crapload of photos

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Up for early morning fun

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Our view of Lake Erie and the Cedar Point beach

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And Soak City and some of Magnum to our left

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Our balcony

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Carnage on the other side of the screen lol

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Stepping outside our hotel

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Looking at the hotel from the boardwalk

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The sand replica of the hotel (it wouldn't last the day)

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Good mornin' Wicked Twister and Windseeker

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Healthy line for early entry

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Mornin' Magnum!

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We got through that line in 5 minutes

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Mornin' Dragster

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And hellooooooo beautiful!

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This thing exceeded any expectation I had

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No wait for our first rides

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On our 2nd ride Tom went for the front while my sister and I went for the back car

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Since his train went first he got a snap of us on the break run (2nd from back)

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We'll get to Mean Streak later this weekend, at this point I'll say it looks nice

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The smiles say it all

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Strollin' through Frontier Town

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Barnyard!

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The trees and shade back here were much appreciated

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Rougarou is a good floorless coaster

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Didn't blow me away but was as good if not better than anticipated

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We snagged our FL+ bracelets and headed for Gatekeeper

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The park just opened but we had little to no wait

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The ride looks awesome, and rides really well.

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Time to fly

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We witnessed some light stacking here

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First attempt at Raptor

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These birds were straight chillin' in the grass next to the FP line the entire time we waited, totally non-bothered by all the people

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The wait was hot and long

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so much so that the Phantom made an appearance again! lmao

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Getting some sun

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I am that jerk that intentionally wears a SF shirt to a Cedar Fair park

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Corkscrew selfie

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Not just any old coaster gear... EXTREME COASTER GEAR!!!

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Time for some Power

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Love these S&S towers

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Heading back to the hotel we spot Magnum doin its thing!

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Not sure if I should be excited or frightened to try you out!

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This grass next to our hotel had these birds chillin' here all weekend. After Tom had to act like a 10 year old right here we realized there were eggs they were all keeping an eye so of course we never bothered them again. Made a great gif tho!

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We returned after maid service had been by. Cool headboards!

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Getting our grub on

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Saturdays' FL+ bracelet and re-entry stamp

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Back in to the park and right to a walk-on at Gemini.

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This ride is awesome!

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Waiting to race each other

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Cool station

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I don't know if its the racing aspect or what but everyone else seemed to love this as much as we did.

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Back at Maverick. Didn't get any pics during this visit...

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Except for this awesome on-ride of the four of us! ;)

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Barnyard again

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Hello, stinky!

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Rougabrew?

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Don't mind if we do!

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It's good, tastes like Blue Moon.

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And now its time for...

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This thing hauls so much ass all the way to the breaks. All about the speed.

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Comfy trains

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neat station (I love the music)

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These folks were workin up a sweat @ The Red Garter Saloon

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Hey, that's what we're doin!

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Cedar Downs Derby, so silly and fun

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And old

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Chickies!

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Yum! Real french fries! (finally!)

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Making friends...

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Raptor finally decided we were worthy

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Great invert, I love these rides

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Time to get Twisted!

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with Coasterbill!

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I love that this ride is basically right on the beach

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Since we're right here looks like its another lap on Gatekeeper

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G-Keeper sweatshirts

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Saturday Night Dragster

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Last ride of the day

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This guy was stoked!

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Back at the hotel, checking out the arcade. Tom won a Minion. The missus played DDR.

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I found a Dippin Dots vending machine!

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Late night stop at the firepits. Horses everywhere!

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Thanks for a great day CP, looking forward to tomorrow!

Edited by boldikus
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