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Photo TR: Andy's 2015 Trip to Cedar Point


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Hello!

 

I went to Cedar Point on Tuesday -- my first visit since the TPR tour in 2013. I also went to Battery Park to take some pictures on Monday night (inspired by Jantzen), so I'll post some of those as well. Thanks to Mark for sharing the day with me -- hope you can share some of your photos too! Also thanks to awesome Millennium Force crew member Josh, who makes an appearance in this report!

 

This is not meant to be a comprehensive photo set. My 2013 report (parts 1/2/3/4/5) is more along those lines, but was shot entirely with my standard lens -- it seems somebody left his telephoto lens on the roof of the City Museum in St. Louis a few days earlier. This time, I shot almost exclusively with the telephoto, which was a lot of fun.

 

I also came into this visit through the lens of having been to Dollywood just a few days prior. Cedar Point is my original home park, but I've been to many new parks in the past few years, including some that outshine Cedar Point in certain ways. I was very happy to see that Cedar Point's two biggest strengths remain right on par with some of the best parks I've visited -- the quality of the rides, and the quality of the ride crews. Cedar Point's three Intamin coasters all crack my top 10 steel. A couple others probably make the top 25. As for the crews, they're the most efficient, energetic, and fun ride crews of any park I've visited. How awesome? Just 25 minutes before close, they put the red train back on Millennium Force after it had been briefly out of operation -- here's a Twitter video of the transfer.

 

The biggest negative issue, in my opinion, is the cost to visit. Fast Lane is a necessary (and expensive) evil, and is pretty much required in the summer just to make a productive day out of it. Concession prices were really tough to fathom -- for the same price, would you like a high-quality all-you-can-eat at Dollywood, or a lousy cheeseburger combo at Cedar Point? My option: two scoops at Toft's for dinner.

 

A few random thoughts before I get to the pictures:

 

1) It's surprising how little construction work has been done on the 2016 project. Read on to see my awesome pictures of a mound of dirt and a trailer with some plywood!

2) This was the first time I've ever felt a rattle on TTD, but it was definitely there, especially when coming down off the tower.

3) I've now been on all four US wing coasters, and three of them in just the past month. My opinion of Gatekeeper has not changed -- decent first half, abysmal second half. I'd rank them as follows: Thunderbird, Wild Eagle, Gatekeeper, X-Flight.

4) Rougarou is a greatly improved experience. It's gone from a painful once in a while standup to a mid-tier floorless that I think is going to be worth a ride on every visit.

5) Thunderhead is rougher than Mean Streak. Thunderhead is also a much better coaster, but I digress.

6) Love the new Maverick restraints. I'm one of the few who doesn't like the similar restraints on I305, but they work great here.

7) I've never had to look at this before, as I've always done day trips, but holy smokes -- the hotel scene in Sandusky is lousy. Tons of hotels, but the majority are old properties in rough shape, and the few decent mid-tier (2.5*) options are very expensive.

8) I've traveled a lot over the past three years, and been on a ton of very good coasters. Yet all it takes is one night ride in the front row on Millennium Force to know it's still my #1 overall. Nothing beats the complete package -- setting, speed, an awesome first drop, comfortable restraints, and a party atmosphere in the station at night. Coming off the first overbank with the entire lift structure lit up in colors right next to you is as close to a religious experience as you're going to find on a roller coaster. Only a few other rides at night -- Outlaw Run, El Toro, TTD -- have provided anything close to that kind of feeling.

 

Scorecard:

 

Maverick

Magnum XL-200

Sky Ride (to front)

Raptor

Blue Streak

Gatekeeper

Wicked Twister

Giant Wheel

Rougarou

Millennium Force

Gemini (Red)

Top Thrill Dragster

Top Thrill Dragster

Windseeker

Cedar Point and Lake Erie Railroad (to back)

Mean Streak

Maverick

Millennium Force

Millennium Force

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This picture is actually from a little further west on the Sandusky waterfront. The Jet Express boat was just coming into the city.

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A distant view of the front end of the park. Cedar Point is so busy that any picture like this is bound to catch a couple rides running.

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The north end of the park, with Maverick heading over the lift.

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A wider shot from Battery Park, showing the rather interesting sky I'd be shooting against. Storms had just rolled through in the hour or two prior, and low clouds (plus a few brief rain showers) still persisted around the area.

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The colors were wild in the other direction -- bright orange under the thick clouds.

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Fishermen are easy to find on the shoreline in Sandusky...

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...as are people playing on the rocks, like these kids in front of the Edison Bridge on OH-2.

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It was a nice, if broken sunset.

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Clouds and an orange sky, with a few puffs of steam from the cooling tower at the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station.

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The sun found a tiny opening in the clouds just as it was setting, leading to this bizarre "eye" of a picture.

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The colors over the bay are awesome. Let's turn the camera around and see how the park's looking.

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Things are starting to light up!

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It was definitely a dramatic scene with the low-hanging clouds over the park.

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As things got darker, the photography became much more difficult. There was a stiff breeze coming off the water, making it hard to stabilize the camera.

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I'd have to take 20 shots to get one or two that were usable, but the ones that came out OK -- like this one of the park's tallest coasters -- were worth the effort.

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The Millennium Force lift hill is one of the best-looking structures in any amusement park.

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The park casts a glow on the clouds above.

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Battery Park was fairly empty after 9PM.

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The angry waters might have had something to do with it. Waves were crashing and spilling over the pavement.

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Want another view of Cedar Point?

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How about a view with Luminosity now underway?

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The lights and pyrotechnics from Luminosity absolutely added to the experience. When the wind quieted down for a split second, the music could be heard as well.

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I had to stick around until the end of the show to see the best of the fireworks, but it was worth it.

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Last shot of the night! Now somebody explain this to me -- why does just about every restaurant on US-250 close down before the rush leaving the park?

Edited by The Great Zo
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Here are pictures from the park on Tuesday, August 11.

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First time here in two years!

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Blue Streak speeds around the turnaround.

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Side view of Gatekeeper keyholing.

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Here's the full set of coaster signs on the 2016 project construction walls, starting with the intro sign and Blue Streak.

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Cedar Creek Mine Ride and Corkscrew.

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Gemini and Wilderness Run (Junior Gemini).

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Iron Dragon and Magnum XL-200.

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Mean Streak and Raptor.

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Woodstock Express and Millennium Force.

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Wicked Twister and Top Thrill Dragster.

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Maverick and Gatekeeper.

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Pipe Scream (yeah) and Rougarou. So, Wilderness Run gets its original position, but Rougarou gets moved to the front.

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Maverick on the lift hill!

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Twisted horseshoe rolling, part one.

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Twisted horseshoe rolling, part two.

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Flying into the brake run.

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Hairtime on the final bunny hill.

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Over the hill.

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Slingshot: the split second after launch.

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Hi Elissa.

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Magnum up the lift. Still fun, except for the lap bars.

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TTD gets to the top a little quicker.

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Corkscrew -- fun to watch on the midway, but a skippable ride for a Cedar Point veteran.

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Now, the pictures you've all been waiting for -- the 2016 construction update! Look at that incredible mound of dirt! The two traffic cones! The stakes in the ground near the small tree!

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The entire set of coaster signs on the construction wall. Unlike at Dollywood, this wall is built too tall to see over, even with an extended arm and a camera. Thus, the sky ride is the best place to see what little is going on.

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A truck trailer full of plywood! RMC? GCI? Dinn Corp?

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Raptor curves around.

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An elevated view of the vertical loop.

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Gatekeeper rolls through the maybe-tallest-inversion in the world.

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Some great views of the Blue Streak drop from the Raptor exit stairs.

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Cresting the lift and heading down.

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We went in the front row on Blue Streak and had a really good ride, with lots of airtime.

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First time I've noticed that the front-of-train logos have train numbers on them.

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Threading the needle -- Raptor, Sky Ride, and Windseeker.

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Yup, this is the kind of day it was -- 60-90 minute waits for Raptor and Millennium Force, a solid hour for TTD, and 90 minutes (or worse) for Maverick. Fast Lane was pretty much a necessity.

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Twisted sideways hairtime.

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A view from the Giant Wheel of the best coaster skyline on the planet.

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Yes, it's very orange.

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Millennium Force and the million dollar midway -- does anybody still call it that?

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Do not adjust your monitor -- there may be a greenish tint to the Lake Erie waters.

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Gatekeeper spirals through the first drop.

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In other news, it was really busy, as the parking lot indicated.

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I'm always hoping I'll be able to get a two-train shot of Raptor and Blue Streak lined up like this...

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...but I'll have to settle for one of each.

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Blue Streak was named after the team names at Sandusky High School, but you probably already knew that.

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Lauching in 3...2...1...

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Lord of the Point: the Two Towers

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TOP SECRET! Bedazzled golden shiny pony thing to be part of 2016 attraction!

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It feeds on screams.

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This was my first visit to Cedar Point with Shoot the Rapids actually running.

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The big question of the day: is Shoot the Rapids a flume ride?

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The boats aren't traditional logs, but the overall course of the ride might be enough for it to qualify -- definitely more so than its older brother next door.

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Nevertheless, I was not in the mood to get soaked like these people, so I did not ride.

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It's a pretty big splash -- unfortunately, the other drop is not easily visible.

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The water level just rose about four feet.

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This river runs wild! Sometimes really wild.

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Thunder Canyon is another near-guaranteed soaker, but I've been on that many years ago. It's just a question of who gets the waterfalls.

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Heading back to Maverick, and finding a good photo spot on the far side of the bridge.

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This is the turn over the water. I wish that the water cannons went off just a little earlier, so that it would be possible to line them up with a train.

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I've been on Snake River Falls before as well. That makes three water rides at Cedar Point that virtually guarantee a soaking. Is it OK to admit that I miss White Water Canyon, while also acknowledging that what replaced it is a million times better?

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A big splash...

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...and an extremely soaked group of riders.

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Anybody want a fire truck?

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Blue Gemini exits the station...

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...and Red Gemini heads down the drop.

Edited by The Great Zo
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Here's the last batch of pictures from the day.

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Waiting to ride Top Thrill Dragster. Never got in the front row -- the line was easily an extra 45 minutes.

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Spiraling down the tower.

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It's tough to get the lighting right for these kinds of pictures...

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...but even if it's not quite perfect, the way the riders look is what makes the shot.

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Our first ride on TTD was ejector air all the way over the top hat. The second ride was much slower.

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This may be the most awesome train in TTD history.

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Crossing the finish line after a very interesting 17 seconds.

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Hi Snoopy.

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Lots of red and green on the sky ride.

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Wicked Twister and the Giant Wheel, looking nice against a deep blue sky.

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Didn't get inside of Hotel Breakers to check out the renovations, but could see the improvements to the outside!

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The best part about Magnum is its location -- a fun ride along the beach.

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Speaking of the beach, it was actually a little cool for swimming, but there were a few people out.

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The Sandusky Harbor Breakwater Light is at the end of the long breakwater that juts off the northern end of the Cedar Point peninsula.

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Time for a ride on the Myron H.

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Making an appearance on the Millennium Force platform is TPR's JRice92. Hi Josh!

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Accidental artsy shot of Maverick.

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Wanted: riders to tame the wildest ride this side of the Pecos (and wait an hour and a half to do it).

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The front of the Myron H matches the western theme.

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A nice view of downtown Sandusky from the Mean Streak platform.

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Honestly, Mean Streak isn't that bad. For the people who think it's the roughest coaster ever, I strongly suspect they haven't been to too many amusement parks.

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With that said, it's not a particularly good ride, and the infield is the single biggest waste of space on the entire peninsula.

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Not that it'll stop these guys from having fun.

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A backdrop of growing clouds.

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The current rate for parking is suspiciously missing from this sign.

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Maveshark?

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Airtime!

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Zooming past the bay.

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More airtime and hairtime.

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A tight corner on twisted track.

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Millennium Force photobombing my Snake River Falls picture.

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Formerly sponsored by Pepsi.

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Here's a series of a big splash, well-colored by the yellow sunlight.

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Somewhere in that wall of water is a boat.

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Somewhere on that boat is a bunch of very, very wet people.

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Oh, there they are.

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A strong thunderstorm developed over the open waters of Lake Erie, but remained offshore until it got well east of Sandusky.

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Weather nerd shot.

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Maverick blasts out of the sun.

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A odd combo shot -- CCMR and the slingshot.

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Millennium Force looks good in yellow.

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Yes, the front row riders are wearing shirts that say "Bride" and "Groom" respectively.

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Red train heads to the island.

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Blue train follows right behind.

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To paraphrase Mark: find me another coaster, at any park, where absolutely everybody just has their hands up through the whole thing, every single time.

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Heading into the tunnel.

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The clouds looked interesting, and the wind kicked up for a few minutes, but the weather remained fantastic.

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Launching out of the Red Garter Saloon.

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I wasn't aware that Millennium Force picked up an orange train!

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TTD through the trees.

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Rougarou is a much better experience than Mantis. Wait, am I allowed to say the word Mantis?

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With the floorless trains, a front-row ride would be fun. Maybe next time!

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As the sun began to set, the colors grew even more dramatic.

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These pictures were not edited for color at all -- like the others, only cropping/rotation and some minor contrast or lighting adjustments. No HDR, no oversaturation.

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For about 15 minutes, things just looked weird.

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It definitely makes for an interesting backdrop.

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Kick the orangeish-pinkish sky.

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Hot dogs at the end of the rainbow. A mediocre B&M beside it.

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Gatekeeper: it feeds on ... gates?

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No better way to end the night than two epic rides on Millennium Force. The regular queue was still well over an hour long, and the fast lane queue was about 30 minutes.

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Waiting for the front row after closing time!

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There it is. Front row tickets for our last ride of the night, at about 1030 PM. There were still probably another 5-10 trains behind us.

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Closing it out with a picture from a little earlier in the evening. Fun day at Cedar Point! A little busier than expected, but still easily one of my favorite parks. Thanks for reading! Now I guess I have to get back to work on my 2014 trip reports. ;)

Edited by The Great Zo
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Love this! For the first time since my visit in May has a TR on here REEEEAALLLY made me want to go back. Kudos.

 

Fantastic photos, I love Cedar Point!

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Phenomenal pictures! You must have one heck of a camera! (Or one heck of a phone!)

 

I love that I never have very long lines, or obscene crowds at CP, given when I typically go (weekday, very early in the season), but one thing I DO really miss about Summertime visits, are those mind-blowing night rides in the front row of MF! Have you ridden Fury yet? It's the only thing I've ridden that's been able to top my beloved Millie!

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Andy hasn't ridden Fury yet, but I have ridden both and I'm sorry I just don't see Fury topping Millie.

 

As Andy stated in the trip report and the pictures to prove it. Look at the trains on Millennium, everybody with their hands up, smiles from ear to ear, I haven't seen anything close to that in my two days at Carowinds earlier this year.

 

Don't get me wrong Fury is a great ride, but as Andy stated all it takes is one night ride on the shores of Lake Erie to convince you that Millennium is still the most fun ride on the planet. Yeah technically there's a few better coasters out there, but the setting and the enthusiasm that everyone has 15 years after opening make it the complete package.

 

I'll end with this, on one of our rides during the day. One of the guys behind me said as we rocketed into the brakes "That's a badass ride!" Couldn't be more true.

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^To each their own I guess. I've been the biggest advocate for MF for 15 years, but Fury knocked it off its pedestal earlier this year by doing everything MF did, and then going beyond that and doing a number of things it didn't! Night rides on Fury can't be shrugged at either. I think the ride ops, and station environment of MF is much better than Fury's, which contributes to the hyped-up crowd (and is a credit to CP's better operations.) Still, we're splitting hairs here when we talk about one of these coasters being better than the other, as they are both amazing coasters, and tremendous crowd pleasers!

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Amazing photos and TR, thanks for taking the time to get these shots and for sharing!

As a newbie coaster enthusiast who just got back to a real theme park after many years, I am now really wanting to go to somewhere bigger and more exciting, and I think this report has cemented CP as my next destination. Great job and thank you!

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Thank you everyone!

 

May I ask what camera you use? I'm looking into investing in one and your pictures were outstanding.

 

I use a Canon T2i with the basic 18-55 lens and the cheap telephoto 55-250 lens. Not really high-end equipment, but good enough for what I need it for. I think it's a great starter kit for a serious hobbyist, but not quite professional level, and certainly the prices reflect that.

 

I love that I never have very long lines, or obscene crowds at CP, given when I typically go (weekday, very early in the season), but one thing I DO really miss about Summertime visits, are those mind-blowing night rides in the front row of MF! Have you ridden Fury yet? It's the only thing I've ridden that's been able to top my beloved Millie!

 

I usually don't go to Cedar Point in the heart of the summer either, but the longer hours are definitely a tradeoff to consider! As Mark mentioned, I haven't been to Carowinds yet, but I'm hoping to do so in the next year or two.

 

Don't get me wrong Fury is a great ride, but as Andy stated all it takes is one night ride on the shores of Lake Erie to convince you that Millennium is still the most fun ride on the planet. Yeah technically there's a few better coasters out there, but the setting and the enthusiasm that everyone has 15 years after opening make it the complete package.

 

Yes!

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Andy,

 

Glad I helped inspire your little trip to Battery Park - I just love being over there for a while - nice and relaxing...

 

Great shots! (as usual!) and hope you don't mind me borrowing some of your ideas! - I love the Maverick shot with the water and buildings in the background - you have a great eye! Just wish I was as thorough as you. I tend to gravitate to a couple areas / ideas to get the shots I want. I mean, I think I have 1 picture of MeanStreak (somewhere, possibly, maybe )

 

Thanks for taking some time out of your park visit to keep us coaster-nerds happy!

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Awesome trip report, as always! There are so many stunning photos!

 

Thank you for sharing!

 

Thanks for reading!

 

Glad I helped inspire your little trip to Battery Park - I just love being over there for a while - nice and relaxing...

 

Totally agree, usually. This time, the wind made it hard to relax! Definitely had to work for a handful of decent pictures out of a couple hundred that were garbage.

 

...hope you don't mind me borrowing some of your ideas!

 

Credit to Mark for this also, but one idea that's always good for some interesting angles is the exit platform / ramp of rides. As long as you're out of the station, you can stick around for a few minutes and get some views that most people just walk right past on their way to the next coaster. Maverick's is among the best.

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Finally got a chance to read your TR... really nice work! I am seriously jonesing for some more MF and Maverick. Agree wholeheartedly about the MF station, ride ops, and general pumped up atmosphere during the night rides making it an unparalleled experience. I rode twice in a row for my last late night ride in July and the entire train was like your pics. Every single person had their hands up and we were all hooting and hollering the entire time. It was like a sports game but without all the profanity and spilled beer! Can't wait to go back next year.

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One of the best parts of TPR are the amazing Trip Reports. It doesn't matter what park it is, I can always enjoy a good TR.

With this being said, I have never enjoyed the pics and commentary as much as yours! So many pics to comment on! Of course the TTD one is awesome! The pics from across the lake. The Ferris Wheel through Raptor's loop. The sunset looking like an eye. The consecutive pics of Snake River Falls on its splashdown. I can go on and on!

 

Thanks for sharing and I look forward to future reports from you.

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