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Great report! Perfect description of Six Flags Discovery Kingdom; it really is one part SeaWorld on a budget and then you turn the corner and see your usual Six Flags atmosphere.

 

I need to make it back there to try Joker, but Medusa really is awesome. I love that long, straight drop in the back. I wish more B&Ms had them.

 

Thanks! Yeah, I agree, Medusa's drop is great. Everything about Medusa is great.

 

Excellent report, as usual. I'm glad you enjoyed our humble little park. Yep, it's flawed and unique, and a great way to spend your day. I agree that Medusa is fantastic, my favorite of the B&M floorless models. I'm amazed at how smooth it has remained after nearly two decades. The Joker is also an underrated gem. It's certainly the weakest of the RMC's, but the worst RMC is typically the best coaster in its respective park. Kong and Boomerang, not so much. I have only ridden Boomerang once. I rarely ride Kong. I typically only ride it when I visit the park with Rawkin_coaster, and it's because she's a masochist and doesn't want to wallow in her masochism on her own.

Again, excellent TR. I always enjoy seeing my home park through different eyes. Looking forward to the final installment. I can't imagine what else you crammed into your whirlwind, sleep-deprived weekend.

 

Thanks! Yeah, it's definitely one of the most unique parks we've been to. We really enjoyed the place but it's very quirky.

 

Enjoyed the last few reports as usual Bill. My aunt lives about 15 minutes from Great America. She's not a coaster person so she's never been and especially doesn't want to go now because she's afraid of the cluster f*** that the area might be since they put the new football stadium in.

 

That being said, I'm in the middle of planning a trip to stay with her and do CGA, SFDK, and maybe catch a San Jose Sharks game if I plan in the trip in the spring or fall.

Thanks for great looks at these parks to give me an idea of what I'm in for! Can't wait for the next updates!

 

Thanks. Enjoy your trip!

 

All is forgiven. They have penguins.

 

Exactly

 

Lol @ "SeaWorld on Meth"

 

Glad you guys got to do V2, there wasn't even a train on the track and they had a wall in front of the entrance when we were there. And yeah...also front half of the park still not open an hour past opening.

 

Thanks! Yeah, I was shocked that we actually managed to ride V2. I never expected that opportunity going in.

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Alright... now for the trip report to end all trip reports. On our trip to the west coast we had ridden some awesome coasters and seen some awesome things but on our final day we wanted to end with an amazing thrilling bang. We're talking 379 foot tall awesomeness here. Get ready, it's about to be poppin'

 

We had a really short weekend in Northern California and we had managed to cram in some San Francisco fun, a baseball game and two major theme parks. On our final day I considered doing Santa Cruz but honestly, we were in San Francisco and we wanted to do some San Francisco area things. This one is going to be brief-ish since I sort of feel like I'm going to lose some people here.

 

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Morning... lol

When I visited Northern California back in 2002 as a kid I remember stopping at Muir Woods. Brit didn't even know it was a thing, but since she's quite the tree-hugger I quietly reserved a parking spot (parking reservations are absolutely required now) and figured I had to take her there on our last day.

 

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Damn, those are some big f*cking trees

Muir Woods is a serene and amazing forest that feels like it's in the middle of nowhere but in reality is located just a short drive from the Golden Gate and downtown San Francisco. We had actually stayed in Vallejo the night before so we had about an hour and a half drive in the morning in rush hour traffic on the way to the woods which was sort of odd. A few minutes before you arrive you're convinced that your GPS is playing a trick on you, but you make a quick turn up a small mountain road, down into a quiet valley, entirely lose all cell service and feel as if (in the course of 10 minutes or so) you've entered a different world.

 

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Brit would have been super impressed with this chart, but she probably stopped reading at #3

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This place is gorgeous

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Pictures don't really do these trees justice. They're enormous.

Muir Woods has a pretty well traveled boardwalk, as well as a few hiking trails that shoot off from it. You can really spend anywhere between 2 hours and a full day depending on how much you're into hiking. We ended up spending about 2 to 2 1/2 hours which is probably sufficient for most people.

 

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Is anyone still awake?

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Brit was totally in her element...

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Even their root systems are cool

Muir Woods is a pretty amazing place. The unique climate of the area makes for a really unique ecosystem where the trees reach amazing heights to take advantage of the water provided by the frequent fog cover. Most of America's redwoods forests have been lost due to logging and Muir Woods almost suffered a similar fate with the valley being dammed and flooded by a land and water company. Thankfully Theodore Roosevelt and a few wealthy environmentalists prevented that from happening around the turn of the last century by buying up the land and donating it to the federal government to circumvent their sh*tty a** plans. For that we can all be thankful.

 

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... except you guys, because it means you had to sit through this tree trip report

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Okay, let's wrap this up before everyone falls asleep. Bye Muir Woods!

The drive to and from Muir Woods is incredibly scenic, so even the drive from the park to our next destination felt like a bit of an adventure. Northern California in general is one of the most scenic parts of America. I never grew tired of the awesome mountains with perfectly formed rows of trees. Every mountain looked like a ski resort in the summer with clumps of trees and empty trails between them from top to bottom but everything was created naturally for reasons that seem totally nonsensical.

 

We did it a few times on this trip but there's nothing cooler than driving towards San Francisco on 101 on a winding road on the base of those mountains and hills and then rounding a curve to reveal the towers of the Golden Gate Bridge. Each time we took that drive it felt like the first. It's a really cool visual, and when you approach from the north it's really an awesome welcome to the city.

 

Our final stop in San Francisco was more of the tourist trap type, but it's still a place that I really enjoy. Pier 39 has all of the usual tourist trap suspects and tons of souvenir shopping and restaurants but we didn't mind since we needed to load up on souvenirs anyway. There is one thing that really sets the pier apart from similar places in other cities though. I give you, the Piece de resistance...

 

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Sea lions!!!!

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So many sea lions!

Anyone who's been reading through this thread for awhile knows that I absolutely LOVE sea lions so Pier 39 is right up my alley. Despite the fact that the marina was pretty much overtaken by sea lions around 1989 and most of the boaters were pissed, the city decided to embrace it as a tourist destination and that decision seems to have been a good one. They've become a San Francisco icon, and people flock to the pier to see them. I can't say I blame them, Sea Lions are the greatest.

 

We shot a live video from the pier for anyone that needs their sea lion fix...

[fbvideonew]https://www.facebook.com/william.mahony.92/videos/10214832197232860/[/fbvideonew]

We stood around watching sea lions for awhile, but unfortunately our time in California started to run short so we walked around grabbing some last minute souvenirs and then decided to grab lunch at a Japanese place on the end of the pier before heading back to the airport.

 

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Lunch with a Golden Gate view. Cheers!

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Alcatraz can be spotted right off of the pier. Rumor has it this is where people go who take their phone out on Steel Vengeance.

While it was a really short trip, we had an absolute blast. With our late night Denver connection and overnight flight to Newark we were certainly feeling it at 5am when we had to make a 2 hour drive home on no sleep and then an almost immediate 30 minute drive to our 9-5 jobs after a quick "night's sleep" of an hour or so. It was borderline insane, but more than worth it. It was also good practice for our upcoming Texas trip where we'd have absolutely no sleep and a much further drive from the airport. That report is on the way, and don't worry... there won't be any tree reports from that weekend. There will be more sea lions though...

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Forests in the West are so damn amazing. Right up to the Washington/BC border.

 

Glad you and Brit got to enjoy this green part of the USofA, Bill. It's a breathtaking area, truth.

 

And yes, you are both insane for how you got back, slept little, and went back to work in very few hours!

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^ I actually consider theme parks a great "excuse" to check out cool places around the US.

 

Great reports Bill the Northern California parks look great. Shame you missed out on Railblazer but I'm sure we will see more of those soon.

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Aw man, I miss the heck out of those sea lions. That was one of my zen places to go and just chill when I lived out in the Bay Area in the late 90's/early 2000's. Sadly I never had the chance to visit Muir Woods, but if I ever return (maybe when I take the big kiddo out to the West Coast), I'll have to make it a stop for sure!

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As everyone knows, the coaster season started with a bang this year when Steel Vengeance crashed onto the scene and became an immediate smash hit. From the time it was announced to the time it opened, the ride was the talk of the enthusiast community and when it finally opened in May, everyone agreed that the ride lived up the hype and that it easily bumped their previous #1 coaster down a notch and became everyone's new favorite ride.

 

Fine, I'll stop...

 

Anyway, given the massive hype for this ride we couldn't really hold off until our usual Labor Day trip. We really couldn't help ourselves... after months and months of awesome looking updates from the coaster community we totally broke from tradition and planned a Memorial Day weekend trip to Sandusky to visit one of our favorite parks and to tackle this beast of a ride.

 

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Road tripping again! We've done a lot of flying lately, but when you fly you miss out on things like this weird a** dragon at a Pennsylvania truck stop that could be yours for the low, low price of 0.

Hotels near the park are absurdly expensive lately and generally pretty sh*tty unless you shell out the money for Breakers or Kalahari so we opted to crash for the night near Cleveland and finish the drive in the morning with about an hour or so to go. Thankfully traffic was light and we got there in plenty of time so while we initially considered parking at the shores lot, but we decided instead to park up front and check out the new boardwalk on our way to the Magnum gate.

 

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I really like what they did here...

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The new boardwalk solves a logistical problem when the shores lot hits capacity and it's also a really, really nice. We saw a lot of hotel guests using it for a morning jog or stroll along the lake.

As soon as we got to the gate we encountered our first major change for 2018 and it was a good one. In the past, the park never scanned anyone in until 9:00 but it they've changed their Early Entry system for the better and decided to open the gates early to get everyone through the entrance and the metal detectors and then keep them in a holding area near Dinosaurs Alive. The park is extremely efficient in getting everyone through anyway but this was still a great improvement and I really appreciate the fact that they did it.

 

Because of the incident on opening day, Steel Vengeance was only running one train with no option for Fastlane Plus so we opted against buying wristbands and decided that we were content with a single Steel Vengeance ride during Early Entry. We knew the ride would be epic, but we knew the line would be too and since we're fortunate enough that we get to visit the park a few times a year we didn't feel the need to waste our entire weekend standing in line for one ride. In a strange way I feel like the fact that we knew it might be a one and done actually helped to build our anticipation level for that first ride even more (and it was already through the roof).

 

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Please honor America by removing your caps for the national anthem. This will be a great moment of unity. As soon as that ends, begin trampling eachother with no regard your fellow Americans. Oh... and in lieu of a flag because there isn't one at this gate please turn and face the velociraptor.

When the gates opened I felt like I was getting a sneak preview of the stampede scene from that stupid new live action Lion King movie that we're totally not seeing so we hung back with the slightly less insane crowd. A brisk walk was fine with us. We didn't want to die that day and honestly if the trampling didn't do it, trying to run from the Magnum gate to the back of the park might have. I'm in decent-ish shape but I was never the running type.

 

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The walkers have arrived at Steel Vengeance! The runners were already riding, and honestly... they earned it. F*ck that.

I guess I should offer a quick disclaimer here. I said this earlier but some people don't read so here goes because otherwise there would totally be that one a**hole...

 

===================================================

Disclaimer: This was memorial day weekend. This was almost a full month before the new loose article policy was a thing. At the time they were taken, these pictures from the station and queue were 100% allowed. Please put your sh*t in a locker and follow the rules. The accounts and descriptions of this ride may not be disseminated without expressed written consent of Cedar Fair and Major League Baseball.

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We good? Good...

 

Anyway, when we entered the queue we basically lined up right at the start of the straight shot to the station inside the structure. The queue area itself was MASSIVE and we were more than happy with our decision to start our Early Entry with Steel Vengeance and not try to save it for later. We didn't really have a concept of exactly what the wait time was but I assumed that it was still a straight shot based on what I remembered from riding Mean Streak way more than any sane person would have.

 

As it turned out, I was correct and after about 45 minutes we were entering the station. The ride had been suffering a decent amount of downtime and had been having it's fair share of issues since opening day so I was more than happy to let the greeter put us wherever he wanted to. We just felt fortunate to be riding. Beggars can't be choosers. Please just get us on this thing before it breaks again or crashes or explodes or falls into the lake. Whatever...

 

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There was a serious water dummy training session in progress. Alright class, what do you do in the event that you blow through the brake run without stopping and you're about to railroad the train in front of you?

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OMG we're next, we're next, were next

It almost felt surreal when we finally stepped into the Steel Vengeance train and locked our restraints. We had been hearing about this ride for a year and even while driving to the park that morning I was preparing myself for disappointment given it's mechanical issues. When they gave the all clear and we started moving, I'll admit that I don't think my excitement level could have been any higher.

 

After the two fun little humps that are way more fun than they have any right to be we hit the lift and began our ascent to crazy town. The view from this thing is amazing and since it's on the end of the peninsula you can see the whole park from the right side of the train. On that note, on the way up I saw Sky Ride running and the flag pointed straight down so I knew that we were in for a good day (not that I was checking or anything).

 

After a few seconds of taking in the sights we started to crest over the lift and I immediately forgot about that brief few seconds of sightseeing. Oh my god, this was really happening.

 

The first drop absolutely catapults you out of your seat but it's nothing compared to the rest of the ride. On any other ride a drop like that would be the absolute highlight but on Steel Vengeance it's basically just a warmup. After the drop it positively launches you out of your seat again over a tiny, unassuming hill and then heads into back-to-back wonky outward bank hills. I had no idea what these things would ride like, but basically it's just sustained, ejector airtime that feels like it goes on for days. Those hills are ridiculous.

 

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Steel Vengeance has one of the best first drops of any coaster in the world, and it might not even crack my top 10 of "favorite things this monkey f*ck ridiculous ride does".

After the second of those awesome hills the ride heads up another hill into a super-f*cked barrel roll thing before whipping through a tight curve into an even more insane weird, half barrel roll thing. That was always my favorite part of Mean Streak (mostly because of the view once you got to the other side of the lift) and this element offers that same cool visual only while performing way crazier sh*t which was pretty awesome in my book. Without giving you any time to try to process the f*ckery that you just went through, the ride then performs a crazy double up before whipping into the midcourse. At that point my mind was already blown, but it was about to crank things up to 11.

 

One of my favorite parts of any coaster is when Phoenix dives off of that second turnaround above the station. The first half of the ride is super fun and the first drop and the drop off of that first turnaround are fun but that drop off of the second one is different. The ride yanks through the turn and dives down like it has rockets strapped to the train which totally sets the tone for the insane second of half of the ride. Steel Vengeance sort of does the same thing. You leave the midcourse, barely bank at all and then plunge into the second half of the ride with ridiculous ferocity which really sets the tone for what's to come. Everything up to that point was great, but that hill just feels different. At that point you sort of know that the ride has taken a turn and that you're in for some nonstop craziness.

 

I attempted to give a play by play of the first half and I won't do that for the second half. It's not because I'm lazy or anything, it's just because I just legitimately have no f*cking idea what happened after that midcourse. The ride dives inside itself and proceeds to deliver an insane, non-stop series of barrel rolls, airtime hills and overbanks. It's probably the most disorienting series of elements on any outdoor coaster in the world and it's an absolute blast and a total mindf*ck. Finally after what seems like ages, the ride escapes from the structure and rips through a ridiculous series of small, violent ejector airtime hills before finally hitting the brakes. It's the perfect exclamation point on a totally amazing coaster.

 

When we exited the ride, we were speechless. After all the hype and that amazing ride we were both almost unable to process what had just happened. Steel Vengeance is an amazing, amazing ride and no matter how much you hype it up it's going to live up to and possibly exceed that hype.

 

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This ride is so good it should be illegal.

One thing that took us by surprise with Steel Vengeance is how fluid it is in everything that it does. This isn't the "Storm Chaser" or "Lightning Rod" style RMC with violent, unnecessary bucking. I love that stuff, but despite the fact that the individual elements are all totally nuts the ride is way more graceful than it has any right to be and I feel like the masses are going to love this thing because of it. It has insane elements but it goes through them very smoothly. There's nothing on this ride that feels as "out of control" as the final segment of Maverick where you need to ride the ride a certain way because it feels like it's trying to kill you (that's not a knock by the way, that part of Maverick is awesome). It feels like a contradiction, but this ride feels like ridiculous but semi-controlled chaos. It's brilliant. Just brilliant. RMC knocked it out of the park with this one.

 

After Steel Vengeance we ended up making a right on the way out of Frontiertown. We weren't even sure where we were going, we were just so blown away that neither of us were thinking clearly. Did we just ride the best coaster ever? I'm not one of those "compare everything immediately" guys, but with a ride like that it's only natural. I was 99% sure that I had just ridden the best coaster on the planet, but as we walked over the bridge by Snake River Falls and saw Millennium Force front and center I sort of got it in my head that I should give it a ride just to make sure.

 

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The first time I rode this thing I was convinced that nothing could ever top it. It was pretty weird walking up to it knowing that it may have finally happened.

We arrived at the ride to find it closed and quickly realized it still hadn't opened for the day. We had seen it cycling as we walked up so we figured it wouldn't be long and sure enough right as we got there the greeter grabbed for the phone and opened the ride. It was pretty weird to see such a small crowd gathered for Millennium Force but there was no Fastlane queue built up and only a handful of people behind us. We walked straight into the station and straight onto the front row. I felt like we had just hit the lottery.

 

When we lowered our restraints and I looked behind me I realized that the train was mostly empty. For years I'd heard people talking about the ride being forceless and overrated and I always worry when I ride it for the first time in awhile that I might finally agree with them. So far it had never happened but a half-empty train on the first ride of the day when it didn't have a chance to warm up at all after a mind-blowing Steel Vengeance ride? It was the perfect storm. This was it.

 

We got the all clear and started our ascent with the familiar clanging noise from the lift that I never ever grow tired of. At that point I told myself that...favorite coaster or not, we were in for a damn fun ride. We threw our hands to the sky as we approached the top and crested the lift to reveal an absolutely stunning view. After a few seconds that felt like an eternity we dove 300 feet down to earth and rocketed through the overbank.

 

Honestly, forget it... by the time I hit the tunnel I knew. It was like I was in this weird fog for a good 20 minutes or so and all it needed was a nice 90 mph breeze to blow it away. Objectively I understand the complaints and everybody likes different things but god damn if this isn't the most "fun" roller coaster I've ever ridden in my life. I'm a bad enthusiast but for me, Millennium Force is just the perfect coaster. It's not that intense (minus the pullout of the first drop) and the airtime isn't the craziest but throwing your hands up in the air and flying at absurd speeds through tunnels, trees and dinosaurs on a super smooth, super long ride with speed that never lets up is just the best. It's the best.

 

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This ride is just something else...

We exited the ride and immediately went back around since the line was only on the ramp. This time we took the back and once again the ride absolutely delivered. I love the ride in the front, but sitting in the back and feeling it whip through the overbanks is pretty awesome too. I honestly don't even know what my favorite seat is on this ride, they're all perfect.

 

God I love Millennium Force.

 

As we exited the ride we watched a Rougarou train roar down the drop with (at most) 10 people in it so we decided to head over. I like this thing. Brit's never been the biggest fan but she seems to like it better in the front so I decided to wait an extra train or two for that row to try to convert her and make her an honorary member of the Rouga-crew (which is probably just me... we're not a very big crew).

 

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I'll never understand why everyone seems to hate this thing so much...

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I mean, you hit your head once or twice but is it really that big of a deal? For the most part it's a perfectly smooth and fun ride.

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Personally I love this thing. It's not the biggest or the best, but it's a fun ride (and it was a dumpster fire before) and a great way to take a break from the long lines and ride something fun without waiting 2 hours.

After Rougarou we sort of looped around a little more without much of a plan. I had it in my head that (after attempting to ride it three times last year with a grand total of zero rides to show for it), I was getting my Dragster ride this year so we eventually decided to head that way. I sort of wanted to ride my favorite big green bird in the front of the park but it was still WAY too early to even consider anything up front so Dragster seemed like a solid alternative.

 

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I hope they never remove this horrific pile of shit. It's just so pretty. Anyway, we're not riding that... carry on

We considered riding Power Tower but I was on a mission. I just want to say that I'm absolutely thrilled that JRice works Dragster this year because now I can use that as an excuse to drag Brit into the queue even though she'd rather die because she knows that it's going to be a 2 hour process between the 1 hour line for the front and the 1 hour breakdown that's guaranteed to occur. Luckily, she would be spared this time...

 

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Maintenance must love the job security that this thing provides.

Since we were in the area I asked Brit if she'd mind if I go and ride Magnum real quick while we waited for Dragster to show some signs of life. She hates the ride with a fiery passion but I love it and it's obnoxiously aggressive triangular hills and square wheels so I always ride it once a visit. Much to my shock, she decided she might give it another chance and before she had time to come to her senses we hopped in line and made our way up.

 

The ride was still a station wait and I noticed that the kill seat's line was pretty much the same as the others which is always a treat. Brit never remembered where the kill seat was so I asked again "so... there's like... noooooo chance you're riding again this year or that you might start liking this thing, right? She replied "no" and I figured at that point you might as well go hard or go home so we got in line for it. In my defense, she was going to hate it anyway. What was the harm?

 

We crammed into the train, got locked and checked and were told to "enjoy our race to space on Magnum". Oh... is that what we're supposed to be doing? Is this park still working on commandeering a spaceship to Alaska? They know Delta flies there for like 500 bucks right?

 

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We better find Alaska finally...

Once she was strapped down and couldn't leave I figured it was time to deliver the bad news about our seat to Brit. She proceeded to tell me about how much she hated me all the way up the lift, which I suppose is fair.

 

As for the ride, I loved it. Brit... not so much. I feel like Magnum is the roughest coaster that I actually enjoy. It positively beats the f*ck out of you for the entire ride but it's just so much fun and it delivers ejector airtime that makes the last few hills on Steel Vengeance look like they belong on a Wacky Worm. No ride delivers airtime that abrupt and that violent. I mean... probably because it's painful and terribly engineered but for one ride a visit I just sort of choose to embrace it and enjoy the ride.

 

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This does not look anything like Alaska... this looks like Brit's own personal Arrow hell (kidding, she likes Gemini)

 

As we exited the ride, we found that Alaska seemed to be home to a parallel universe Top Thrill Dragster style ride only this one actually moved! Curious, we made our way over to investigate this amazing phenomenon.

 

Okay so this is all making sense now. Cedar Point is obsessed with building a rocket to Alaska so they can learn from the native Alaskan mechanics how they can make their rocket coaster work because apparently mechanics in Alaska are miracle workers with magical snow powers.

 

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We approached the entrance and saw that the ride had not opened yet but a crowd had started to form. Brit and I joked that they had better stop cycling empties since every launch just brought it closer and closer to the next catastrophic mechanical failure and gave us less and less of a chance of actually getting on the thing but after what seemed like an eternity they opened the gates and let us through. We immediately made our way to the back station and were greeted with a short 3 train wait for the front row. Oh my god, this might actually happen!

 

With each and every launch we braced for the inevitable "everyone standing in line for Top Thrill Dragster take 2 steps back" announcement but it never came. A few minutes later we got in the train, sat down and lowered our restraints. I was cautiously optimistic but I knew that just being in the train didn't mean sh*t. We were at this point last year. We've seen this movie before.

 

To our amazement though, the 2 trains ahead of us managed to clear the tower without the ride exploding, the brake fins vaporizing or the catch car launching itself to Ontario (which is pretty far from Alaska so that would have been super impressive) and we rolled out. The train ahead of us cleared the tower and for the first time in years we rolled out to the launch track. Pulled back and (after a pause that seemed like an eternity) rocketed down the track.

 

I'm clearly a speed guy because I love these things. I feel like that really explains my love of Millennium Force too. While it could be considered a gimmick, I'm happy as hell to be blasting down a perfectly straight launch track at well over 100 MPH. Honestly, for an enthusiast I really don't have overly refined tastes in rides. I love slower, well engineered rides too but all I need in life is a perfectly straight piece of track where literally nothing special happens aside from the fact that you're achieving ludicrous speeds and you feel like your face is about to be ripped off of your skull.

 

That said I absolutely love that top hat too. The view from the top is insane (though brief) and that divebombing drop never gets old. Despite how ridiculously aggravating this thing is I can't help but love it.

 

We were tempted to ride Maverick next and keep the intensity party going but Steel Vengeance was drawing a huge crowd to the back of the park and Maverick's massive posted wait time just wasn't budging. I did notice on the app that Valravn had just come up from a breakdown though so we decided to use a bit of strategy and dare to dive.

 

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Valravn is no longer the new hotness, but it still draws quite a crowd

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This picture is pretty similar to that last one but for some reason I just find it way better. No idea why... probably something to do with that left side

The line was only in that last set of switchbacks, so within 20 minutes we were on the front row and ready to fly. Valravn is really an excellent coaster. It's probably overlooked in enthusiast circles but it's a super re-rideable, offers an amazing view, looks awesome from the midway and most people seem to love it to death. There's really nothing not to like here.

 

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Who wouldn't love this ride?

We considered re-riding but the wait was easily over an hour by the time we got off so we were feeling pretty pleased with our decision to catch it right after a breakdown. By that point most of the lines were about as long as they were going to get as it was a little past midday but it did seem like Steel Vengeance and Maverick were bearing the brunt of it. It was still a but early but we were sort of ready for a swoopy divebomb and the front gate looked like it could use some keeping so we figured we should stop depriving ourselves and ride Gatekeeper.

 

We exited Valravn and (after snapping a few pictures) we walked up the main midway and over to Gatekeeper....

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kidding of course. I just wanted to see if you were paying attention right there.

 

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Who's trip report do you think this is?

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WALKING to Gatekeeper... could you imagine? What asshole does that?

While most lines were shortened by the existence of Steel Vengeance, Raptor was posting up an impressive 120 minute wait and we totally weren't buying it. Unfortunately as we approached the other side of the midway it became clear from Sky Ride that the posted wait was 100% legitimate so my plan to ride Gatekeeper and Raptor would have to wait until later. That said, we cautiously made our way over to Gatekeeper knowing that it's an insane capacity whore and even if it had a line it would chew through it in no time flat.

 

Due in part to it's insane capacity we only waited about 30 minutes and it felt like we never stopped moving. Gatekeeper has a great crew this year, and since the ride is designed to be such a capacity whore anyway it's a ton of fun to watch them roll trains.

 

At one time, Gatekeeper was Brit's absolute favorite ride. I think she's since moved on to Maverick but she still loves the hell out of it and I totally agree with her. Maybe some of her enthusiasm rubbed off on me, but I'm a big Gatekeeper fan. It's not forceful in any way but it has one of the coolest first drops of any coaster I've ridden and the barrel rolls over the gate never stop being awesome. It really does make you feel like you're flying and I don't see how anyone could dislike this ride. PS: This is a "front seat or bust" ride for us.

 

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Keyholing like a boss

When our bird landed safely back to earth we exited the ride and noticed that the sky was looking pretty ominous. The wind was starting to whip a bit and there were some nasty looking clouds near the back of the park.

 

There was only a slight chance of storms but it looked like we might end up with one. It didn't look like we had much time, but unfortunately we were in a position where we needed to get all the way across the park before the storm hit. Rides were still running for the moment but we didn't want to get caught dicking around so we decided to get started and we immediately started walking down the main midway.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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... really? Do you ever learn?

They had pulled a bunch of cabins off, probably so they could perform an immediate shutdown a bit easier if need be when that death cloud rolled in. Still, the line was only 5 minutes or so. We spent most of it hoping that the phone wouldn't ring because we were sort of surprised it was still running but thankfully, we got on just in the nick of time. PS: The picture doesn't do those clouds justice.

 

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Raptor roaring under threatening skies... since you like kicking the sky so much can you do something about these dark clouds? They're jacking with my vibe.

Once we got off the ride I checked the weather and saw that a severe thunderstorm was definitely on the way and it meant business. Our plan was simple. We planned on Steel Vengeance being a one and done but if it was going to storm then we were going to take advantage. Most of the queue is outdoors and people weren't going to ride out a severe thunderstorm in that queue. We decided to make a b-line for Frontiertown and ride it out as close to the ride entrance as we could so we could go stand at the queue entrance the second the rain let up.

 

We debated standing in the Steel Vengeance gift shop for the duration of the storm but we noticed that the train station had a huge roof with tons of benches so Brit went to go snag one while I grabbed some storm beers. It was still really close to the ride, and sitting on benches seemed way nicer than standing in a tiny gift shop with the sea of humanity that was bound to leave the Steel Vengeance line and look for the closest possible building.

 

While there, the skies darkened even further and the rain started to pour down. We laughed as a train pulled in and absolutely zero people got on or off of it because they would have drowned. A minute or two later they gave the all clear, the train moved MAYBE 5 feet until it slammed to a stop and the ride op came over the PA and said that the train was closed for inclement weather and that the nearest tornado shelter was near the first aid station.

 

... say what now?

 

We had no idea where that was but decided that the Steel Vengeance gift shop was a more substantial structure than the one we were currently standing in so we ran through the rain and over to the store (not spilling any beer of course, I'm a pro). Almost on cue, a wind gust blew a pile of merchandise out the door of the shop, knocked some nearby branches down and scared the hell out of everyone. While in the store, I pulled up the weather app and saw that (while the storm was severe) it said nothing about a tornado watch or warning so we opted to spend the rest of the storm in the gift shop and not worry about trying to find the shelter. Thanks for scaring the hell out of everyone train lady. You almost made me spill my beer.

 

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Tons of rain, but no tornadoes here. We're good. Nobody's going to die today. I should have expected this, Alaska rarely gets tornadoes.

Eventually the wind died down so we made our way to the front of the store and claimed a few rocking chairs where we sat and I finished my beer while watching people try to figure out how to get through the flooded midway. After 30 or 40 minutes, the rain lightened up to a small drizzle and we made our move... first to the beer guy, then to Steel Vengeance.

 

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Clearing skies

Slowly the park started to come back to life, but Steel Vengeance was a bit of a holdout. Occasionally it would send a train, then wait 20 minutes and then send another one. It was being finicky after the rain.

 

All and all, we probably waited 45 minutes or so after the other rides started to open, but eventually a loaded train made it's way up the lift and they opened the line to thunderous applause from us and the thousands of people behind us who (at that point) stretched back almost to Maverick. Thanks to our planning, we were only 3 or 4 people back from the ride entrance.

 

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By the time the ride opened it was beautiful blue skies all around

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They came prepared...

As we made our way towards the station we were shocked to see that the line was half way through the tunnel filled with soaked-to-the-bone people who had waited 3 hours and had no issue standing in a severe thunderstorm with 60 mph winds to ensure that they didn't lose their place in line. I couldn't be mad about being stuck behind them in line. They earned their rides.

 

We were playing with house money (we never expected a second ride, we were grateful to get one) so we figured this time we would go for broke and try for the front seat. The greeter happily honored our request and 30 or so minutes later we were in our seats and ready to roll.

 

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Front row, here we come!

We didn't realize it but this was really the ideal time to try out that front seat. The ride was absolutely nuts already, but the water pooled under the ride acted like a mirror and reflected the track and structure to make it feel like you were racing through an even more convoluted clusterf*ck of wood and steel than you already were. The visuals from the front row were awesome. This ride is totally bonkers. Just like the first ride, we got off totally speechless.

 

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Cheers to Steel Vengeance!

By that point the sun was starting to get low in the sky and we knew we only had a few hours left in the day. The place by Steel Vengeance was happy to keep the Rougabrew flowing so I grabbed another beer and we decided that we had waited long enough and it was time to saddle up and ride Brit's favorite coaster.

 

The only unfortunate thing about Steel Vengeance is that there's no longer any good time to ride Maverick. From 9:20 until park close, the line is going to be huge. Everyone exits Steel Vengeance and hops right on the Maverick line so unless you rope drop Maverick (which nobody will do), you're going to wait. The line was posting at about 90 minutes, but we had made out great with lines all day and the best things in life are worth waiting for so I mean... whatever. I had a Rougabrew. I was happy.

 

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The Maverick queue offers great views of the new hotness

I knew the drill, so by the time we reached the station I had already quietly found out where our noble steed was parking and we made our way to the back of the station. Everything lined up nicely, and (as usual) Brit was ecstatic when Beau came rolling through the door.

 

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Accept no substitutes...

God, what a f*cking masterpiece. I was sort of worried that Steel Vengeance would steal Maverick's thunder but Maverick just flat out doesn't play that sh*t. They're pretty different rides with Steel Vengeance (at least to me) feeling like an awesome but semi controlled chaos with fluid, smooth motions (especially for an RMC) and Maverick feeling like it's hell bent on killing you.

 

I don't really know why I feel that way, and I know it sort of goes against the consensus. Obviously both coasters are smooth, but RMCs are just so well engineered and so smooth that no matter what kind of crazy crap they do, they don't feel like these crazy Intamin's feel. You don't have to ride Steel Vengeance defensively. With Maverick, you really have to fight that thing the entire way through the course and it just makes for such an insane coaster. The final sequence of Maverick is really the craziest bit of any coaster I've ever ridden.

 

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This may be the best coaster picture I've ever taken (which isn't saying much)

It was getting late so after pulling up the app and checking the wait times it seemed like it was time to begin our customary nighttime main midway party. Regardless of crowds the front of the park clears out in crazy fashion the last few hours of the night and allows you the opportunity to ride Raptor and Gatekeeper with absolutely no lines which was music to our ears. The app still showed a line for Raptor but we knew better. We made our way back to the train to begin our trek to the front of the park (taking a scenic ride through boneville in the process).

 

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On the way, I snapped a few more sunset photos. The sky was absolutely insane.

Honestly if you go to Cedar Point and you don't hit the main midway at night... like... what are you even doing? The main midway has a great atmosphere at night with the cheesy lights everywhere, the Sky Ride overhead and the awesome light packages on rides like Windseeker, Giant Wheel, Gatekeeper and even Raptor with it's snazzy new lightsaber thing.

 

There were lots of great things to hit, but I had my eye on one thing and one thing only. I had been deprived way too long...

 

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Behold: The most underrated coaster at Cedar Point

Raptor is one of those rides that just makes me happy. From the moment I step into the queue I'm instantly in a great mood. I just love the thing. It stands in stark contrast to the park's other B&M's with its absurdly intense layout that's designed to absolutely rip your face off and it's old school roar that can be heard half way across the park. The best part was that since it was night time we walked right into the station and only had a quick 2 or 3 train wait for the front row.

 

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I love this ride's new lights...

Initially we had planned to hit Gatekeeper but Raptor was absolutely flying so we opted to spend our time re-riding the hell out of that instead. Brit never used to be on the Raptor bandwagon but for whatever reason she's really come around this year to the point where she flat out loves the thing. Personally I couldn't be happier with this development. Raptor night rides are a ridiculous experience that I couldn't recommend enough (but keep this on the DL, we don't want too many people finding out about the main midway at night).

 

As the night drew to a close we decided to finally pry ourselves away from Raptor and make our way back for our final ride of the night. Another awesome thing about the main midway at night is that (while the same can't be said for the other station which is always packed), Sky Ride is always a 100% walk-on late at night from the Raptor station. Naturally we took a ride and took in some of that awesome Cedar Point nighttime atmosphere...

 

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I love this park at night

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Windseeker and Giant Wheel putting on a light show

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From a photography standpoint this photo isn't anything special (none of my photos are), but I like it. It just screams "Cedar Point" to me.

We touched back down to earth with about 20 minutes to park close and throwing in that grace period we knew we had plenty of time to get in line for one last ride and really end our night with a bang. Steel Vengeance was still posting a 180 minute wait (which meant it would be running until about 1:30 in the morning) and we knew that the line wouldn't move any faster after close since there was no Fastlane anyway and they only had one train. That said, we saw on the app that the park wasn't cutting the line early which was really great of them considering the circumstances. Sure the 3 hour wait time was probably accurate, but you only live once right? Super hyped up for the awesomess that was sure to follow, we left the Sky Ride station on a mission for that amazing, amazing night ride.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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... F*CK THAT. You really thought we were doing that sh*t?

We were tempted to stand in a 3 hour line until 1:30 in the morning and get back to the hotel with like 5 hours to sleep before we had to be up for Early Entry again... really we were. It sounded like a spectacular evening, really it did. That said, on the flip side we could ride a better coaster and leave the park with plenty of time to get a burger and some beers and then actually sleep. Honestly, this whole dilemma never existed. Even if both rides had the exact same wait time there was no debate about where we were headed.

 

The reason we gave ourselves so much time was to ensure that we got that front seat night ride and for awhile there it was getting close. Thanks to the amazing crew pumping out trains and the fact that everyone in the state was in Frontiertown the line before us never built up all that much and the front row line was huge. We thought we were totally screwed but thankfully the crew started rolling trains so fast right before closing that they popped open the magic gate and the station really started to flood with people. In the end we made it just in time and we managed to get on the second to last train of the night (and the last full train of the night which meant we were about to fly).

 

For me at least, Millennium Force at night is just coaster perfection. The relentless speed, great airtime (because yes, it has plenty) and great atmosphere always make it feel like a party and as great as Steel Vengeance is I couldn't think of any other way to end a night at Cedar Point.

 

The train returned to thunderous applause and after picking off the bugs (or as many as we could) we made our way up to the front of the park. What a great day! Steel Vengeance was fantastic and it lived up to all the hype. We felt really lucky to get 2 rides in when would have been thrilled with one, and we had an absolutely amazing day in general. The best part was that we knew we got to get up and do it all again the next morning...

 

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Taken on the way out of the park. Good night Cedar Point!

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So many plotlines packed into one episode! I don't get why they would be announcing tornado shelters when there clearly isn't a tornado. Those are no joke. I mean, 50mph winds can sink duck boats, so an actual tornado...CP wouldn't be reopening for a while. It's important to give clear instructions; sounds like they dropped the ball on that one.

 

The rest of the day looks great! Midwest thunderstorms are often fierce and short like that, so having a good plan can go a long way.

 

And yeah, Gatekeeper, Valravn, and Millennium Force are all fun. That's the entire point of the hobby. Keep doing it right.

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Ahhh this has me so excited for my trip there in a couple of weeks!

 

I never understood the Rougarou hate, either. I think once they made it a floorless, it instantly became one of the better floorless coasters. I didn't hate it as a stand-up, either.

 

Great pictures, I'm totally going to try the "midway at night" strategy. I love Raptor and it's probably my favorite B&M Invert.

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Awesome update. -- Fun fact: I've only been to this park after-dark twice in my life, once as a kid, and once by my lonesome on a super crowded day and ended up leaving after riding Magnum and Rougarou at night since it was so busy (my fiancee got sick and stayed at the hotel that night). Since it's a 4 hour drive back home, unless we get a hotel (which I don't really do because it's only a four hour drive), we don't stay too late as we always go on low crowd days, get on everything we want to, and then get home before 10p because we have to go to work the next day (and because we probably woke up at 5am to make it for early entry)

 

HOWEVER! I'm going to the park this weekend, and I'm staying in a hotel for 2 nights, and I might get an hour or two in Friday night in addition to all day/night Saturday (with FL+ and a midnight close!), and half day Sunday. So basically, I'm really psyched to get on some rides at night, finally. Especially after hearing your experiences and seeing your photos. 8)

 

I can only imagine how bats*it crazy Steel Vengeance is going to be. *drool*

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Ugh, I hate this update because I need to get back there so bad.

 

You know what I'm going to tell you.

 

Awesome as always, Bill!

 

Thanks!

 

CP reports are always fun, especially Bill's involving that "walk down the main midway "

 

I love a good walk.

 

Great report! If Steel Vengeance couldn't overtake Millennium Force, I don't anything will.

 

I don't even really know why I love that thing so much, I just do. It's just sooooooo fast.

 

So many plotlines packed into one episode! I don't get why they would be announcing tornado shelters when there clearly isn't a tornado. Those are no joke. I mean, 50mph winds can sink duck boats, so an actual tornado...CP wouldn't be reopening for a while. It's important to give clear instructions; sounds like they dropped the ball on that one.

 

The rest of the day looks great! Midwest thunderstorms are often fierce and short like that, so having a good plan can go a long way.

 

And yeah, Gatekeeper, Valravn, and Millennium Force are all fun. That's the entire point of the hobby. Keep doing it right.

 

Thanks! Yeah, I still have no clue where the shelter is. I sort of feel like it's just a bathroom that would probably be completely destroyed by any respectable tornado anyway.

 

Fantastic trip report. I was there for 3 days last week and echo many of your sentiments. Its been less than a week...and im already anxiously awaiting next years trip!!

 

Thanks! And yeah, I know the feeling.

 

Ahhh this has me so excited for my trip there in a couple of weeks!

 

I never understood the Rougarou hate, either. I think once they made it a floorless, it instantly became one of the better floorless coasters. I didn't hate it as a stand-up, either.

 

Great pictures, I'm totally going to try the "midway at night" strategy. I love Raptor and it's probably my favorite B&M Invert.

 

Thanks! Raptor is just so great. I'm glad I'm not the only one that loves that thing.

 

Awesome update. -- Fun fact: I've only been to this park after-dark twice in my life, once as a kid, and once by my lonesome on a super crowded day and ended up leaving after riding Magnum and Rougarou at night since it was so busy (my fiancee got sick and stayed at the hotel that night). Since it's a 4 hour drive back home, unless we get a hotel (which I don't really do because it's only a four hour drive), we don't stay too late as we always go on low crowd days, get on everything we want to, and then get home before 10p because we have to go to work the next day (and because we probably woke up at 5am to make it for early entry)

 

HOWEVER! I'm going to the park this weekend, and I'm staying in a hotel for 2 nights, and I might get an hour or two in Friday night in addition to all day/night Saturday (with FL+ and a midnight close!), and half day Sunday. So basically, I'm really psyched to get on some rides at night, finally. Especially after hearing your experiences and seeing your photos. 8)

 

I can only imagine how bats*it crazy Steel Vengeance is going to be. *drool*

 

Sounds awesome. Since you have Fastlane Plus you can pretty much ignore the "main midway at night" strategy because you can do whatever the hell you want but I still strongly suggest a Raptor night ride. That thing just tears through the course after it's been running all day.

 

Have fun!

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Thanks! Raptor is just so great. I'm glad I'm not the only one that loves that thing.

 

You are not alone......there are still a few of us out there.

 

Yeah I love Raptor, for my trip in September I'm thinking about getting regular Fastlane for our shorter day at the park just to marathon Raptor, Magnum and Millenium Force like it's 2001 all over again.

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Great report.

 

I agree with you on everything you said about Steel Vengeance.

 

We are the Opposite on Gatekeeper. Back left or bust for us.

 

Uou should have made the trip two weeks later when Brews and BBQ was going on.

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