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Photo TR: Password's Trek to the Midwest


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Loving this report. I don't have much of a desire to visit K.I. but they have a couple rides that look fun, nice to hear a fresh take on the park. I meant to ask did you only ride Phantom in the back? We did the back first and while that was awesome on our 2nd ride I sat close to the front (3rd or 4th row?) and the airtime was even crazier. Didnt have that yank that the back does down the two big drops but the 2nd half of the ride is far superior up front.

 

I'll buy you a datdamn blue ice cream cone.

 

 

 

 

Oh wait, KI isn't my home park anymore... guess you're on your own

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Love The TR of KI. It was sort of my home park when I lived in Columbus O. Nowadays My Husbot and I go to Kings Dominion at least 2x a year because that's where he is from. It is always a mind trip because everything is in the wrong place for me. Just as it is for my BF. We both feel like we entered some weird time warp between the two. Everything is in the wrong place for both of us, sort of like a lsd trip in a way. ( disclaimer, not from experience, just how I would imagine it to be) very confusing yet fun.

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Another great review. Out of my 20+ visited parks, KI is still one of our favorites, especially considering it's within about a four hour reach from home. I'm of the rare opinion that Banshee's overall package, including it's size, speed, and aesthetic value, makes it probably my favorite inverted coaster. Although I don't rank my coasters, I'm interested to see how it will stack up against Montu, when I return to Busch in a few weeks. I remember Montu being awesome, but it's hard to compare Banshee with a coaster I rode fifteen years ago. My most recent old school comparisons to Banshee are Afterburn and Raptor. Raptor didn't do much for me, but Afterburn is very close competition for Banshee in my book. Had Afterburn been longer, it would be tough to choose a favorite.
I'm a huge fan of B&M inverts and they're some of my favorite coaster types. I haven't ridden nearly as many as most have around here, but I'm excited to try out Talon in a couple weeks here. That said, what I should be clear about is that while I said I may not have absolutely fallen in love with Banshee, that's in terms of coasters in general, not just in terms of inverts--it's towards the top of that "second tier" of rides in my book (I don't rank every coaster I've ridden), if the "top tier" are rides like Maverick and El Toro (the only rides I've "fallen in love with").

 

I think Banshee is a better invert than Diamondback is a hyper, if that makes any sense. And that's not a knock on Diamondback.

Banshee is, IMO, actually an underrated ride. The lack of a block brake and the fact that it keeps up speed so well during the ride puts it over almost all the more vaunted rides in the US. It's been years since I've been on Nemesis to compare fairly, and that is what I've ridden which I see as its closest competition. Afterburn, Montu, Alpengeist, Raptor, Katun, Black Mamba....I'd put Banshee over any of those.
I'd be interested to see an updated Mitch Hawker poll to see how Banshee compares to other inverts in most enthusiasts' eyes (though of course any poll can be biased, it's still an indication). It seems the general consensus around here is "good but not great," and I would agree at least in saying it's better than "good."

 

Thanks for all the the kind words everyone!

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I found Banshee to be very overrated as many people are praising it as the best invert while for me it was only slightly better than a Batman clone. The vest restraints suck and it's sort of a headache machine sometimes. I rode Raptor the next day and it totally demolished Banshee in every way.

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Great report! I look forward to seeing more.
Thanks coasterbill! I should have the next day up hopefully tomorrow.

 

^^I'll get to my thoughts on Raptor soon enough, but I'm not sure I would agree that Banshee can induce headaches. Maybe if you ride exclusively in the last row in a 2-hour ert session without drinking water in July I could see it getting uncomfortable, but I didn't have any complaints about Banshee's smoothness. Maybe it varies person to person.

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^^I'll get to my thoughts on Raptor soon enough, but I'm not sure I would agree that Banshee can induce headaches. Maybe if you ride exclusively in the last row in a 2-hour ert session without drinking water in July I could see it getting uncomfortable, but I didn't have any complaints about Banshee's smoothness. Maybe it varies person to person.

Nah it was smooth, it just had an awkward flow of elements that led to me getting a g-force headache every time I rode. What's even weirder is, I was probably more hydrated at Kings Island than I've been on any other day of my life. I probably drank two gallons of water that day. I also rode in the front row 2 out of the three times and in the 5th row the third time. Definitely not rough at all, just not really that rerideable. The vest restraints also kicked it down a notch for me as well.

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^^I'll get to my thoughts on Raptor soon enough, but I'm not sure I would agree that Banshee can induce headaches. Maybe if you ride exclusively in the last row in a 2-hour ert session without drinking water in July I could see it getting uncomfortable, but I didn't have any complaints about Banshee's smoothness. Maybe it varies person to person.

Nah it was smooth, it just had an awkward flow of elements that led to me getting a g-force headache every time I rode. What's even weirder is, I was probably more hydrated at Kings Island than I've been on any other day of my life. I probably drank two gallons of water that day. I also rode in the front row 2 out of the three times and in the 5th row the third time. Definitely not rough at all, just not really that rerideable. The vest restraints also kicked it down a notch for me as well.

Interesting. The vests and the vibrations in the back were really the only issues I had with the comfort of riding Banshee at all, but in general I'd consider it one of the most re-rideable major coasters out there. I guess everyone manages forces differently because I had no problem with the flow of elements or intensity of any part of Banshee, at least in terms of comfort.

 

I had about half of day three typed out but my laptop pooped on me and reloaded the page so it's gone and I don't have the patience for that right now... it'll be up at some point this weekend.

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Day Three: Kings Island and Cedar Point

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

 

Trip Report

Kings Island

 

After more than 10 hours spent in the park the previous day and taking advantage of the light crowds to get on all the must-rides and multiple laps on the favorites, it wouldn't seem like a bad idea at all to sleep in a little, grab a decent breakfast, and have a leisurely morning before heading out on the road to "America's Roller Coast."

 

So, what did we do? We set the alarm bright and early because we slept .8 miles from two of the best B&M's in the country.

 

Up and out of the room by 9:15, we packed up the car before checking out and attempting to ingest the Microtel Inn's "continental breakfast." Oh boy.

 

This isn't a trip report about a free breakfast at a motel, so I won't drag this on at all but I imagine this is the kind of food prescribed to elderly people with shockingly low levels of fiber in their diet with severe constipation that really need to flush their system before a colonoscopy. Our breakfast ended up being the cup of skim milk from the bowl. I should say that other than the free breakfast which doesn't even need to be included, the Microtel Inn was clean, had two beds and is less than a mile from Kings Island.

 

Into the park a little before 10, we headed first towards Diamondback. We grabbed three rides this morning, all in the back. If you haven't read the previous updates from this trip report, my thoughts on this ride are found on page two. I'd like to reiterate how much I enjoyed this coaster, though--several moments of well sustained, respectably strong floater airtime, along with a great location in the woods. I'm still having a hard time deciding between this and Nitro (leaning towards the latter for the stronger helix and more airtime hills), though I may have been spoiled by Phantom's Revenge which I thought was far superior to both rides and is criminally underrated.

 

At this point it was around 10:30, so we made our way towards Action Zone. I don't recall the exact order as I was more focused on just enjoying the park than keeping track of anything other than my phone and wallet, but we rode Banshee twice (1x front, 1x back), The Bat again up front, and Drop Tower. We then checked out Festhaus for the dining plan lunch, but didn't really feel like pizza or Chinese so we meandered around the park a bit looking for somewhere a little more appealing before settling on nuggets from Chick-fil-a. This also served an additional purpose--to just walk around the park, enjoy the atmosphere of the type of place I just feel completely relaxed, and take it all in one last time. We were wrapping up our time at Kings Island, and it was beginning to set in that in less than half a day, we'll have reached our ultimate destination.

 

Just a few minutes after noon, we looked back at the famous fountains and Eiffel Tower one last time and began the 3.5 hour drive from Mason to Sandusky.

 

Trip Report

Cedar Point

 

We checked into our Motel 6 sometime around 4pm and decided to take an hour in our room to refuel, grab some snacks, and just take a short break from everything before beginning the first night of four straight days at Cedar Point. It felt a little surreal. It was almost a little sentimental to me, being a graduation trip, thinking back at how the last four years have played out, as I laid on the bed outside the park three years earlier almost to the day.

 

Wiping those imaginary tears away, it was time to get down to business. We grabbed the keys and made our way towards the causeway.

 

No matter how old or young you are, whether you're a local passholder or an international first-timer, driving down the causeway is just one of those striking moments that you can't easily forget. The combination of the beautiful location along with the colorful skyline makes for one of the most grand, "you are there" kind of moments. Cue back the imaginary tears.

 

Getting down to business, I opened up the Cedar Point app to save our parking location which would actually come in incredibly handy, but I'll get to that in a bit. As it was already well after 5pm we had no plan of attack and frankly that didn't matter to us. We walked through the gates and began our evening.

 

We first headed towards Raptor and were pleasantly surprised to see a short (10 minute) wait. We then continued across the midway to GateKeeper, followed up by Millennium Force, Maverick, Dragster, Magnum and the Cedar Downs Racing Derby (in some order that I do not precisely recall). We grabbed dinner at Johnny Rockets, and at some point around 9pm before considering our last ride before queuing for a night ride on Millennium Force it started to sprinkle. And then rain, and then a torrential thunderstorm. We found shelter in the snoopy gift shop and waited for some of the rain to subside before taking cover as we exited the park. Just after we passed under the gates again, the rain picked back up limiting visibility to around 30 feet. There's something about Cedar Point's parking lot that does not allow proper drainage as we were wading in four inches of water at point after just 20 minutes of rain. This is where the parking reminder came in handy as we would've been meandering for more than a few uncomfortable minutes in the middle of that flooded lot.

 

Despite the wash out at night keeping us away from the first round of night rides, we took advantage of minimal crowds this time at Cedar Point, which probably would've been a massive help to getting everything done we wanted to had the park reached anywhere near normal crowds the remainder of our visit.

 

Review

 

I'll leave my full review of Cedar Point for the conclusion of the trip report at the end of day six. My review of Kings Island can be found on page two.

 

It was kind of cool to have done the whole "ride Diamondback and Millennium Force in the same day" thing. It's become kind of a thing at home to do the same with Intimidator 305 and Fury 325, though I've yet to make it down to Carowinds.

 

Attractions

Kings Island

 

Drop Tower (1x): It makes sense to compare this model to Kings Dominion's, with the only notable differences being the rotation on Kings Island's on the ascent (which I thought was a good idea) as well as this model being just slightly shorter, though it's hardly noticeable. The drop feels about equivalent in intensity and duration to the KD version, to be honest. The reduced capacity is noticeable, however, as Kings Dominion's is almost always a walk-on with 64 (?) seats.

 

Cedar Point

I'll leave the coasters for the first full day of our visit, though there was one attraction we rode this day, and this day only...

 

Cedar Downs Racing Derby (1x): We probably wouldn't have ridden this had the crowds not been so minimal as it really wasn't a priority going in, but I'm really glad we decided to make the stop to digest after dinner. This followed up nicely to Kennywood's "wtf?" restraint situation on the wood coasters and Kangaroo. It's been said before but I'll echo again... why does this ride not have any restraints? It's seriously worth a ride if you're not strapped for time and it had us just laughing the entire ride.

 

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed!

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Back at Kings Island for the morning, though it's much less of an island than where we would be later in the day. Again, really a beautiful entrance plaza that sets the tone for the park nicely.

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There's something surreal about being somewhere you've seen countless times in pictures. Well, now we're seeing it in pictures again. So I guess back to where we started.

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I'm not really sure why I felt compelled to take this picture, but this is the front of Diamondback's ride photo/gift shop

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Speaking of Diamondback... I love the way the supports really sprawl around, like a tripod grasping its footing. Very graceful in both appearance and ride experience.

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The Festhaus really does look like a nice place to sit down and eat, but that's not exactly what we were looking for so we opted to try elsewhere before hitting the road

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The drive from Mason to Sandusky really embodies the Midwest. I think we passed a gas station so I think it's safe to say that industry is booming.

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This is a familiar sight leading towards Raptor (formerly Craptor, but it's been freshly painted so I'll spare it the nickname for at least a few years.

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...with a massive B&M wing coaster flying overhead. Seriously this ride is beautiful and they did a stellar job reimagining the entrance plaza.

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Then suddenly, a small town called Sandusky appears out of nowhere, home to a small crappy park on a pier...

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GateKeeper may be beautiful, but this is just sexy. Not the helix, the empty queue, silly.

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And this isn't so bad looking either.

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During my last visit (2014) I thought there was no way they could fit a full-scale coaster anywhere in the front half of the park. I've been proven wrong.

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Screw Valravn though, horsies! Crazy fast, whipping horsies!

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A quick look back heading out of the park in a short break from the downpour...

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It may be a little hard to see, but this is looking out the back entrance of the snoopy gift shop near the Ballroom on the main midway. Ominous.

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Cedar Downs Racing Derby (1x): We probably wouldn't have ridden this had the crowds not been so minimal as it really wasn't a priority going in, but I'm really glad we decided to make the stop to digest after dinner. This followed up nicely to Kennywood's "wtf?" restraint situation on the wood coasters and Kangaroo. It's been said before but I'll echo again... why does this ride not have any restraints? It's seriously worth a ride if you're not strapped for time and it had us just laughing the entire ride.

I can't say I've seen a restraint on a carousal-like ride, I'm not even sure how they would do that. And I agree, that ride is awesome and a you can't help but laugh the whole time.

 

Great report, once again! Looking forward to more from Cedar Point!

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Cedar Downs Racing Derby (1x): We probably wouldn't have ridden this had the crowds not been so minimal as it really wasn't a priority going in, but I'm really glad we decided to make the stop to digest after dinner. This followed up nicely to Kennywood's "wtf?" restraint situation on the wood coasters and Kangaroo. It's been said before but I'll echo again... why does this ride not have any restraints? It's seriously worth a ride if you're not strapped for time and it had us just laughing the entire ride.

I can't say I've seen a restraint on a carousal-like ride, I'm not even sure how they would do that. And I agree, that ride is awesome and a you can't help but laugh the whole time.

 

Great report, once again! Looking forward to more from Cedar Point!

 

the Sea Carousel at SeaWorld would NOT operate until *everyone* put on the little seat belts.

 

(and the operator walked around to make sure, and handed out extenders to the larger adults).

 

1st time I've ever seen that. . .

 

 

and great report so far Password. . been enjoying it.

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Cedar Downs Racing Derby (1x): We probably wouldn't have ridden this had the crowds not been so minimal as it really wasn't a priority going in, but I'm really glad we decided to make the stop to digest after dinner. This followed up nicely to Kennywood's "wtf?" restraint situation on the wood coasters and Kangaroo. It's been said before but I'll echo again... why does this ride not have any restraints? It's seriously worth a ride if you're not strapped for time and it had us just laughing the entire ride.

I can't say I've seen a restraint on a carousal-like ride, I'm not even sure how they would do that. And I agree, that ride is awesome and a you can't help but laugh the whole time.

 

Great report, once again! Looking forward to more from Cedar Point!

 

the Sea Carousel at SeaWorld would NOT operate until *everyone* put on the little seat belts.

 

(and the operator walked around to make sure, and handed out extenders to the larger adults).

 

1st time I've ever seen that. . .

 

 

and great report so far Password. . been enjoying it.

For any normal carousel I would totally agree, any restraints are entirely unnecessary and if you can't sit on a fake horse for three minutes without falling off you shouldn't be riding.

 

But Cedar Downs Racing Derby isn't a normal carousel, and the added speed actually required a decent amount of body control to hold yourself firmly on the horse. I was actually really surprised how fast this old ride spins (nothing disorienting at all though, just fun).

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Another great chapter! Can't wait for the next.

-Zach

You would've been reading it this very moment as I had the trip report and half the attraction reviews typed out ready to go, but I went for a quick run before finishing and I got back with my laptop in sleep mode and when I reopened my tabs all the text was gone. Yay.

 

I'll have day four up most likely tomorrow at some point. Thanks for reading.

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Day Four: Cedar Point

Thursday, July 14, 2016

 

Trip Report

 

I'm hoping this is one of those things that kind of whittles away with age or more experience travelling, but for any park I've been looking forward to visiting for any reasonable amount of time I have the utmost difficulty sleeping the night before. This night was no exception, and I wasn't snoozing until sometime around 3am. I had my phone's alarm set to wake us up just a few hours later at 7:45, and before I knew it, that obnoxious buzzing that would be cruel to wake up prisoners with is ringing just inches from my face. I slowly reach over and tap the screen to shut off the alarm and put my head down just for a minute.

 

A moment later, I pull my feet out from under the covers and... f*ck.

 

It's 10:15.

 

Understanding we're on vacation, I make the best of it and quickly change clothes, grab the keys and head out. We're in the park by 10:45, but we've just lost 1.5 hours of the best riding time of the day. At this point we can pretty much abandon any plan of attack we would've had for the morning as the park has to be filling up by this point. So, we make our way in the park and decide to start the day with Blue Streak, a 20 minute wait. Not a great start so far, but we budgeted the trip for two days of Fast Lane passes, and as we didn't need them at all at Kings Island we could be totally fine with them both full days at Cedar Point. Keeping that in mind, we decide to push off making a call on that until noon at the latest. Until then, we'd just ride whatever we see with shorter lines as Fast Lane would take care of the rest.

 

We then headed to Rougarou and were surprised to see just a 10 minute wait for the back. Followed up by Millennium Force, at just 15 minutes. Hmm...

 

I'll be honest again, I don't remember the order of rides we did after this, but we went to Chickie's and Pete's after Millennium for lunch (highly recommended, despite only a couple items on the dining plan) followed up by walking onto Raptor which had been down all morning. At this point it was already well after 1pm and we still had yet to see any lines beyond 20 minutes other than Valravn which we were fine waiting until the afternoon to ride anyway. So, we continued on after lunch with lines that thinned out to the extreme. It was almost surreal being at Cedar Point on what became a beautiful day in the middle of July with such minimal lines (I assume the clouds early in the morning kept most people away). Not getting Fast Lane early on, and especially not preordering was one of the best decision we made all week. I'm definitely a strong believer now that unless there's a chance of it selling out, it's always best to wait on any type of line skipping pass, no matter how big the trip.

 

The remainder of the afternoon is a bit of a blur in terms of the order we rode everything, but Dragster was 5 minutes for everywhere but the front, MIllennium was a two train wait, Maverick and Valravn were between 20 and 30 minutes all afternoon. All the non-headliners, including Raptor, Rougarou, GateKeeper, Wicked Twister and Magnum were between a walk-on and a few trains. We made sure to not only take advantage of the nonexistent lines all day, but to take in the atmosphere and do things we wouldn't have normally done with longer lines, like riding the train and Sky Ride when it was convenient. This was essentially the perfect day to be at Cedar Point, and with how much riding we got in combined with how tired we'd end up by the end of the week, I'm actually glad we overslept two hours. We would need that extra sleep and we got in more riding than we thought we could handle.

 

Being that the park closed at 10pm that night, we knew we had to plan out the night carefully to ensure we got out Millennium night ride. We rode Maverick at sunset around 9pm and planned on heading to Dragster as the lines were still short, but then the world decided to hate us again. Drip... drip... drip...

 

The rain came steadily down for about 15 minutes while we waited patiently under the Coasters Drive-In overhang. The forecast for the immediate future looked a lot better then the previous night, so we were determined to wait it out. We did just that, and it paid off. When the rain slowed to a light drizzle and soon after just a few clouds moving in the distance we booked it to Rougarou around 9:30 thinking we could get a quick ride before queuing for Millennium. Even with blue skies overhead Rougarou never began testing, so after 10 minutes we joined a growing crowd of around 30 people across the track at the Millennium plaza. Just moments later, the line was opened. Game on.

 

Even being my third visit to Cedar Point, I had never ridden Millennium Force in the front seat. I've always been more of a back seat rider (with a few exceptions), but I was determined to ride at night up front. Running just two trains after the rain delay (which with the separate load/unload stations means a lot of dead time in the station for Millennium Force) we were about the 10th train going out, but with less than 100 other people in the station and queue total, we were getting nervous if we'd get cut off.

 

A few minutes later, the queue for the front was informed they'd only be sending out enough trains for everyone to ride with only the last train having any empty rows, and that we'd have to find a new row. With the crowd thinning out after official closing, it wasn't looking good.

 

What happened next is why I love Cedar Point and think they have the best operations of any regional corporate amusement park. The moment we were the sixth train out, they opened up the gates from the unload platform to the queue allowing any riders to get back in the toaster load station, even though it was beyond 10:10pm at this point. A few dispatches later, we were informed that we would be the last train of riders for the night, and the two guys behind us would have to find an open row. Game on.

 

We slammed into the brakes and into the unload station, completely swamped in bugs on our shirts and arms but with huge grins across our faces.

 

I know there are a lot of people that disagree, but Millennium Force isn't just a tall, fast, long ride filled with overbanks for good measure that used to be considered the best of the best. There's something more to it, and I'm not sure it's fair to just dismiss that as nostalgia. Before you even ride Millennium Force, it feels like you're not just about to ride a ride, but about to ride *the* ride. It feels like it represents something more than just a set of once-broken world records, or just a well-engineered sprawling roller coaster in a well-designed amusement park. There's something greater about it, something really difficult to describe. Those two minutes spent on the ride at night feel like the final destination of something a long time coming, and it just brings out this inner sense of adventure, excitement and disregard for the harsh realities of the world that everyone on that last train has to return to once the ride hits the brakes. It's completely awesome in the textbook sense of the word (not the overused by young people sense of the word used to describe most things).

 

You know how they say that if someone tells you something is a fact enough times, whether or not it's true or you know it not to be, you're eventually going to start to believe it? They do an incredible job of selling to you that Millennium Force is the best steel coaster on earth. I'll leave it at that.

 

Review

 

As I said previously, I'll leave the review for the conclusion of the trip report after day six as even with such minimal lines and being able to ride whatever we like, Cedar Point is a park that can't be taken in with just one day in its entirety and we still had another full day ahead of us.

 

Attractions

 

Blue Streak (1x): This was our first ride of the day and we rode in the front after reading some people's reports of "crazy ejector airtime in the front." Anyone that says such a thing isn't even off their rocker, but dropped their spectacles trying to find it after hitting their head on the armrest. I was probably spoiled with Thunderbolt and Jack Rabbit earlier in the week.

That said, it seems to be fairly well taken care of as the front was rather smooth and had several good moments of sustained floater airtime. It's a good classic wood coaster that fits well in the park considering the majority of the lineup is record breaking steel coasters. I hope they continue to take care of it and keep it around as long as possible but it's a shame this doesn't still run with buzz bars. It would be worth a re-ride in the back the following day, but I wouldn't go out of my way for it if I were strapped for time.

 

Rougarou (2x): I last rode this as Mantis back in 2013, although I did visit in 2014. That should tell you all you need to know about how I liked it as a stand up (similar layout to Green Lantern but much, much worse... like an upscaled Apocalypse that's actually intense). That said, I was really excited to try it as a floorless as I think B&M floorless coasters are pretty solid. We rode once up front and once in the back, and I'm not sure if this is an unpopular opinion but I actually found it a little smoother in the back, as well as more forceful. The first half of the layout was on par with other B&M floorless coasters, though I'm not sure I really get the hype of the twists at the end. The corkscrew is okay... I didn't really find the back end anything to write home about though. Certainly not a bad ending to a coaster, and I'd love to try it with the mid-course turned off as I found it just a little slow moving and as though it was only there to kill off a little speed and add some length to the track.

 

That said, it's still an above average ride in my book and would be well received almost anywhere else. I never saw it above a 10 minute wait the entire week. Out of the three floorless coasters I've ridden, I'd put it at the bottom but not by much--I like Dominator the best with Bizarro not far behind. I'm interested to ride Hydra in a couple weeks to compare.

 

Top Thrill Dragster (2x): Remember that thread that's bounced around here and there about the "most fun" coaster to ride that somehow isn't necessarily the "best" coaster you've ridden? I never thought that made any sense because the "best" coaster should be the "most fun." After thinking about it for a little while though, I think I kind of understand what's happening here. Dragster definitely isn't the "best" coaster I've ridden. There's just not enough to it, and although the launch and height is really fun (and absolutely a must-do in the front row... like holy crap) it's over too quickly and a list of elements that goes, in order, "hill" just doesn't cut it for the "best" coaster I've ridden.

 

With that, however, comes probably the best adrenaline rush imaginable in such a short amount of time. I have a bigger smile on Dragster's brake run than any other coaster I've ever ridden (not Kingda Ka because I'm usually wincing in pain due to the vibrations, OTSR's digging into my thigh, or both) and if there's any single 17 second period of time that's the "most fun" of my life it's Dragster hands down. So I think that kind of explains where I'm coming from but I may be way out in left field.

 

Other than that, we all pretty much know what Dragster is about at this point. Interestingly, I'm not sure if Dragster really "gets me" anymore. I'm not in the least bit nervous getting buckled in and my palms don't sweat anymore. Even when the cable attaches and the train rolls back a few inches before counting down my heart is sitting around 55bpm and I'm just patiently waiting for the launch to throw my hands up. It's definitely not a bad thing at all as I really do enjoy the ride, but I think that Zumanjaro might be the only ride I've ridden that still "gets me" just a little bit (and even then not much). I've yet to do a skycoaster however.

 

Now that I've gotten way off topic from Dragster I'll finish it off by saying the station looks intimidating and very well presented. The capacity, even though it's still not incredible, is probably at least four times that of Kingda Ka, the ride is infinitely smoother and rideable in every seat (though best in the front), and the presentation of the ride tops it off (queue location, station music, trains, etc). I love the idea of Kingda Ka's theming (Rainforest Café used to be my favorite restaurant) but now it's poorly executed compared to Dragster's more fitting theme.

 

Raptor (4x): Now that I've ridden Banshee to fairly compare (as well as Great Adventure's Batman and soon enough Talon), here goes...

 

I think that Raptor is a really nice medium between the tight, compact all-out intensity of Batman and the flowy, long, graceful, sense-of-travel and massive scale that is Banshee. As far as smoothness, Raptor is *almost* perfect in every seat (abrupt transitions are not rough spots... like seriously are you kidding?) with only one or two trouble spots in and out of the cobra roll, while Banshee is just as good, if not better than Raptor in the front seat but nowhere near as good in the back in terms of smoothness. Raptor's inversions themselves, especially the zero-g roll and corkscrews, are more intense and probably better overall than Banshee's, but Banshee's massive batwing (?), even though it may not be quite as intense in any single moment as Raptor, is intense in the sense of sustained speed throughout and really puts an impression with the massive scale of the ride with its clever use of the terrain.

 

Back to Raptor, the mid-course and curves leading in and out of it take away from the fast pacing of the majority of the ride, though Raptor's ending is much stronger than Banshee's "decent" helix and unique in-line twist. Banshee has consistent pacing throughout that although doesn't have the quick intensity at any point that Raptor exhibits in the end or in the zero-g, makes up for with the lack of a mid-course and consistent speed. The sense of scale really plays into Banshee's effectiveness that makes up for a mediocre first half (excluding the drop in the back) after the drop off from the zero-g roll. If it weren't for the massive scale of Banshee's second half and sustained speed this would be an easy call for Raptor.

 

In the end, I think I might give the *miniscule* edge to Raptor. Like seriously threading the needle with this one. I'm a big fan of intense rides, and Batman is one of my favorites. That said, I think I actually prefer both Raptor and Banshee to Batman. I think Raptor still has just enough in sheer size to put up an argument with Banshee, but blows it away with fast paced inversions and overall intensity that Banshee definitely has *some* of, but more in the form of sustained speed and g-forces due to just monstrous elements on the back end. Both are excellent inverts though, and I think Banshee was a huge success for both the park and B&M.

 

GateKeeper (2x): We rode this in the back on both wings on the Thursday and to be quite honest I was slightly let down after leaving the park two years ago with very good (though not excellent) thoughts on the ride. I didn't have nearly as much of an issue with the vests on this ride than with Banshee, and the ride is still very smooth (almost glass smooth). My issues with the ride this time around came with the second half after the first flyover the gate. The dive loop, from the back, felt very small for the wing trains and I barely felt like we ever really inverted, and the in-line twist over the gate the second time gave some *slightly* uncomfortable hang time (though I enjoyed Valravn's hang time on the 270 roll) that pulls out in the back just a little strangely. The helix was uneventful and the ride just felt a little incomplete... like a little too "Cedar Fair-ish," if that makes sense. A little "cold and calculated," with nothing to provide any sense of speed and only the one head/footchopper that didn't do anything for me. Sure, the first half was fun, but with everything else that was better in the park I didn't feel the need to wait in the short line again.

 

...but then we rode it again the following day in the front seat on both wings multiple times and it was almost an entirely different ride. This was the GateKeeper I remembered riding my last two visits. The views at the top of the lift are phenomenal, the drop is incredibly unique and I was laughing the entire way down the drop, and the inversions all felt well paced and comfortable. No, it was never really intense, but it doesn't need to be. There seemed be less of the "push-pull" compared to the back that I usually love on airtime focused coasters but detracted a lot from the experience of GateKeeper and made parts of the ride a little uncomfortable. The sense of speed and travel felt much more focused than in the back the previous day and every element seemed to have its purpose and place in the layout. This version of GateKeeper felt very "Cedar Fair-ish," but this time in the sense of carefully planned, exciting, and visually stunning--but nothing over the top. It made me want to jump back in line again and this it the GateKeeper I love.

 

I also want to mention that GateKeeper's crew is the most efficient ride operations crew I've ever seen... by far. They were yelling to oncoming trains before they stopped to unbuckle and to hurry out the exit in the back, and to oncoming riders to rush to their seats and that airgates are closing five seconds after opening. More than 80% of the dispatches we saw were enabled before the previous train cleared the large airtime hill, with a few trains sent to the lift before the previous train even reached the bottom of the first drop. I read on Twitter recently that GateKeeper had 63 dispatches in an hour at one point this month. I don't have a way of verifying this but I wouldn't be in the least bit surprised and that translates to 2016pph with perfect grouping. That's incredibly impressive and I wish more parks trained like this. Along with Millennium Force's closing policies this is why Cedar Point has the best operations of any park anywhere.

 

Wicked Twister (1x): We rode in the front row on the Thursday with a one cycle wait. I'll keep this review shorter as there's less to this ride, but I'm a big fan of these coasters. The twists might be just a *tad* tight on the fastest launch towards the bottom of the spike for the very front and very back, but overall, especially on the ends, this is a lot more exciting than it looks and looking straight down nearly 200 feet and stopping momentarily is almost scary.

 

Maverick (2x): We rode this both times on Thursday in the last row and I think that's probably the best seat. I've had this as my favorite steel coaster for a few years now since I first rode it in 2013 and it's really only improved since then with the soft harnesses. Matt summed it up nicely on the brake run after out last ride on Saturday, saying "I think it might be perfect... just everything about it." He might be right. The drop is second only to El Toro's for me with a forceful moment of ejector airtime, the twists are tight and intense (Intimidator 305's might be slightly more intense but I think this is a better ride overall), and the first airtime hill might be the best airtime hill I've experienced. That, El Toro's RT crossover, or Jack Rabbit's double down are the three that come to mind and I can't decide which.

 

Following this, the inversions are fun and pretty tight, the launch is very quick and intense (especially at night), and the Stengel dives are two standout elements. During the daytime, Maverick is no question my favorite steel coaster and *maybe* my favorite overall along with El Toro. I'm not sure. It's damn near perfect, though I haven't ridden Fury 325. We would ride Maverick a lot more the following two days.

 

Valravn (1x): Our first ride of the trip came in the back row as we were assigned by the grouper (though if you ask politely at any ride they'll let you choose). I've ridden Griffon, though it's been at least a few years so my memory isn't spot on and I was less into coasters then.

 

First off, the views on top of the lift are awesome, especially up front. The holding brake actually might be less than four seconds (seemed like two that it was almost stopped). The drop has the most airtime in the back, and seems to last for a good amount of time. The first Immelmann is astounding in how massive it is, though there's really no intensity to be had. The second drop is actually probably better than the first in the back concerning airtime (still just strong floater in back, mild floating up front), and the dive loop is more of the same though kind of fun towards the outside as you swivel around a little quicker than the first inversion. The 270 degree roll is probably the standout moment of the ride outside of the first drop as there's a very comfortable amount of hangtime that creates a really cool effect. The final airtime hill does have airtime, though I found it weaker than either of the drops in the back.

 

Overall, Valravn is a solid, fun, floaty ride that you might expect from B&M. Do I wish it were 300 feet tall or had two more inversions, a splashdown, tunnel, and was mind-numbingly intense? Yeah of course I do. But not every ride has to be like that, and Cedar Point has its fair share of intense rides at least for now. Valravn was obviously immensely popular holding a longer line than any other ride in the park the entire time, and it looks beautiful and intimidating. It probably is better than Griffon because realistically a splashdown doesn't actually add to the on-ride experience and the 270 degree inversion was a really fun element. The final brakes were a little overkill and had to continuously re-engage and grab the train over and over again because the brake run is so steep. We laughed about that a few times.

 

Corkscew (1x): We rode this because it had no line and we didn't want any regrets leaving the park. Unfortunately, we now have regrets leaving the park because we rode Corkscrew. It's a piece of crap that is only operating for its historical and aesthetic value, and for that I don't think it should be removed as nothing really good could take its space but if I never ride Corkscrew again I wouldn't shed a tear.

 

Cedar Creek Mine Ride (1x): This was pretty much the same deal as Corkscrew as I have no intentions of ever riding again. The setting is really nice however but the transitions were uncomfortable and there really weren't any exciting moments whatsoever.

 

Gemini (1x): We rode this once and thought it was fun... but nothing mind blowing. That's actually just how it should be though because in this day in age it's a family coaster in the truest sense of the word. The racing aspect was fun and there may have been one or two mild airtime moments. I don't have anything against the ride at all, we just didn't feel compelled to ride again. I'm glad we did once though.

 

Magnum XL-200 (1x): Well, I tried the seatbelt trick and rode in 1-3 this time and I'm happy to say it was almost painless (though it was never the reason I wasn't in love with the ride in the first place). The first half of the ride through the pretzel turnaround is really, really mediocre in my book. Some mild floater airtime on the shallow hill before the turnaround, but less than that of a B&M hyper for sure.

 

After the turnaround, however... it's still mildly uncomfortable and lacks airtime until after the curved bunnyhop. Strangely, those first two hops didn't do anything for me, but the remaining three (I think three?) were a different story. The ejector airtime was somewhat violent, though I don't know I can say it was as strong as Maverick's first airtime hill, and certainly was more awkward. These three hills definitely put the rode above my mediocre-at-best reaction of the ride from years past, though I think I might be the rare case that neither loves nor hates the ride. I guess I can see why some might love it, but I didn't think it was as "OMFG INSANE" as some make it out to be. It definitely isn't a bad ride at all, though, and still wouldn't be if there was no airtime on those last three triangle bunnyhops. I think I'd rather ride any of the three B&M hypers I've ridden and definitely Phantom's Revenge over Magnum, but I at least enjoyed the ride more than I had in previous years and think it's in the better half of rides I've been on. Maybe on par with SFA's Superman.

 

Millennium Force (4x): For our first ride of the trip, I was straight up disappointed. I had no idea what happened, the ride seemed exactly as I remembered it being, just the hype was gone. There was still just light floater airtime on the island crossover hills, the overbanks weren't very intense, and the ride just seemed to meander a good amount until it reached the brakes. I had thought of this as one of the best rides on earth--what happened?

 

I have no idea what happened because we rode it again later in the day and it was back to "good." Not the near-perfect, all-encompassing roller coaster I wanted to remember it being, but very good. It felt a little bit faster, the airtime a little bit stronger, and a little more exciting. We rode throughout the day, all in the back, and each time we rode I liked it just a little more, each and every time, though still nowhere near as amazing as Maverick was all the time. I was still not quite feeling it, not quite getting what I was missing as I had this ride almost at the top after leaving in 2014.

 

That all went down the toilet as we boarded the last train of the night in the front row. It's like Millennium said to everyone, "f*ck you Maverick and why does Fury even exist?" because this was the "OMFG insane" ride I had been hoping for. Not insane in terms of any particular element, just the ride as a whole felt very complete and embodied that "all-encompassing" coaster I had wanted it to up to this point. I gave my best description of that night ride on Millennium Force in the last couple of paragraphs of the trip report, so I'm better off not repeating the same sentiment. I'll just say that the chilling music they play in that badass toaster they call a station basically sums it up for me. Millennium doesn't have time for the haters because as far as I'm concerned, the future is still riding on it. Except during the day. Then it's okay.

 

Iron Dragon (1x): After riding The Bat the previous two days down at Kings Island we were both pretty "meh" about this ride. It's a fine family coaster and I hope it stays around because people love it and it has excellent capacity but you're not going to see me riding more than once each visit. I feel like Millennium Force haters are actually mistakenly describing Iron Dragon when they talk about Millennium Force. Think about it because it's actually accurate.

We did ride with VR on the following day so I'll give my thoughts on that for the next section of the trip report.

 

Mean Streak (1x): I want to give a shout out to coasterbill because we were the only ones on the train that weren't complaining about the ride when we rolled back into the station. Especially the kid that threw up in his shirt right before dispatch and had to make the train evacuate and the attendants try to clean it unsuccessfully because all the vomit was contained in his shirt. It was actually disgusting--he held it cupped in his shirt, then just changed shirts with someone that had two and went right back on.

 

As for the ride itself, the trims on the first drop are laughable and the ride is really uneventful, but it's really not rough in the front seat leaning forward in any part. Smoothness can't help a bad layout though so I'd be surprised if Mean Streak's days aren't numbered. Everyone else hated it far more than we did though so we scratched that off as a win and never returned.

 

MaXair (1x): This is my second favorite of the four Giant Frisbees (behind Black Widow better than Kings Island's and Kings Dominion's). The swinging was noticeably higher than Kings Dominion's and maybe slightly that Kings Island's, but what made it better was the location and long cycle. Black Widow is my favorite flat ride ever now and is superior in every way except load/unload time.

 

Skyhawk (1x): Some really similar sensations to a Giant Frisbee, just linear. The only downside is the really short cycle with only about two full height swings.

 

Thunder Canyon (1x): We rode this on Friday but I'm getting the reviews out of the way now, so this was fun and an appropriate amount of wet. I would've rather they still had a log flume or something similar but this got the job done as it approached 95 on Friday.

 

Sky Ride (1x): It is a little short (especially compared to Great Adventure) but it really is a nice break with some fantastic views. We rode it a few more times the following day and I'm glad we did. I may have taken some pictures from the Sky Ride but I'm checking back now and seeing as it's against park policy I won't post them.

 

Train (1x): We rode Millennium to Mean Streak Thursday and the opposite on Friday. This was a huge break with walking so much and the scenery is nicely done. Not a whole lot else to say but I'm glad it's still around.

 

 

Thanks for reading!

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First stop of the day is Blue Streak

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I really dig the fresh new orange paint. Looks a lot less like a 90's mistake than Mantis. Or wait no that's the ride itself too...

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A quick peek at the new hotness and it's queue after Blue Streak... no thanks (90 minutes)

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Valravn completely changes and enhances the feel of the kind of "crossroads" between the front and back of the park

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The silver stipe is really nice looking, as is the entire ride

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The station has a unique look on the outside, though the inside is rather generic

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The revamped Marina gate is quite an improvement, though it seems more have caught on that trick for early entry unfortunately

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THAT is a long drop

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You also get some naughty views of Raptor with the new Valravn plaza like this one

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No stupid people here today

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The midways didn't seem all too empty, but the queues told a different story

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Some Chickie's and Pete's for lunch. Highly recommended, and I imagine I would've liked it even more if I were of age (just a couple more years...)

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This is never really mentioned at all but I love the placement of Raptor's helix. Right by the entrance and a portion of the queue, a mess of steel and screaming riders and a loud B&M roar is great to pump people up before riding.

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Blue Streak tries to steal Raptor's thunder each dispatch

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I don't know how this picture ended up here exactly but Rougarou's sign is kind of cool

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And yes, I know you were asking for more Valravn, so here you go!

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The landscaping is really nicely done here. It may be a "roller coaster in a grass field," but I'd rather that than a roller coasters on a concrete slab. It breaks up the midway nicely.

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I won't post the pics from the Sky Ride, but it's not illegal to post pics *of* the Sky Ride

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A little later on pondering our Magnum ride

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I wonder why nobody likes Corkscrew? The ride ops are perfectly decent people

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Valravn's line died down to around 30 minutes by mid-afternoon, so I grabbed a quick shot of Raptor before loading because Raptor is cool

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The back end of the Gemini Midway, taken for no apparent reason

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Millennium Force looks like the lift hill is in italics. The ride is actually beautiful and I love the support structure.

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We never rode this, but it looks like you might get a spritz of water on you

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The Frontier Trail is really nicely done. There's some good theming and a lot of shade--it's fantastic for a Cedar Fair park.

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And we both loved the petting zoo. I have a thing for goats so chilling with some animals with Millennium Force in the background was pretty sweet.

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As I was saying--nice and shady

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Maverick is also a stunning ride, especially at night. They used the pond here to its advantage but the real highlight here is that OMFG first drop that somehow even had ejector airtime in the front row, not to mention the back.

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I think this also got out of order somehow, but it's pretty self explanatory

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Mean Streak looks visually stunning too. Really the front and back of the park each have their own unique vibes, but I'm a fan of both.

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For some reason we felt the urge to ride this. Not as bad as Corkscrew, but just not good. Pretty scenery though.

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Taken from the train, it's easy to see where I'm coming from in saying that Cedar Point really is a very scenic park

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Especially with new paint, Dragster shines and looks nice next to Millennium. Like this is how coasters are supposed to be.

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Now this--this is maybe the most beautiful setting for a ride plaza anywhere, and the aesthetics of the ride don't let it down

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Out of order again, but Rougarou is also a nice looking coaster with its new paint. The dirt actually fits the colors of the ride well.

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This is one of my favorite shots from the trip. Millennium Force is a beautiful coaster in a great setting.

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GateKeeper only ran two trains on Thursday with light crowds, but with three on Friday had the most impressive operations I've ever seen. They put the Banshee crew to shame, and that's a really solid crew.

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A spin on Wicked Twister, because why not?

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This isn't something you usually see at an amusement park

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Just an idea of how short the lines were mid/late afternoon on Thursday. Walk-ons at Raptor.

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Maverick and Mean Streak at sunset

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I think I'm at the happiest place on earth. Yes, I know, and I don't care.

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Two train wait at Millennium--my kind of crowds

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Maverick riders contemplating moving to Sandusky after what they just experienced

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The Gemini midway looks nice at dusk

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Passing by Dragster before the rains came...

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I'm a huge fan of this station, gets you pumped (sorry no MF night pics this day)

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On the way out, back in 10 hours!

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Thanks for an unforgettable day, Cedar Point!

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Great report. I'm glad the seatbelt trick and the Mean Streak trick worked.

 

Also this...

 

I know there are a lot of people that disagree, but Millennium Force isn't just a tall, fast, long ride filled with overbanks for good measure that used to be considered the best of the best. There's something more to it, and I'm not sure it's fair to just dismiss that as nostalgia. Before you even ride Millennium Force, it feels like you're not just about to ride a ride, but about to ride *the* ride. It feels like it represents something more than just a set of once-broken world records, or just a well-engineered sprawling roller coaster in a well-designed amusement park. There's something greater about it, something really difficult to describe. Those two minutes spent on the ride at night feel like the final destination of something a long time coming, and it just brings out this inner sense of adventure, excitement and disregard for the harsh realities of the world that everyone on that last train has to return to once the ride hits the brakes. It's completely awesome in the textbook sense of the word (not the overused by young people sense of the word used to describe most things).

 

... it's a little corny but I also feel exactly the same way. By the time you get on Millennium Force Cedar Point absolutely has you convinced that you're about to ride the single greatest coaster on planet earth. And honestly, I can't argue with them. I love the hell out of that ride.

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^Thanks coasterbill!

 

You know, I had that typed out and was really close to deleting it and just giving some generic "it's just amazing at night trust me" explanation but it was 2am and it's honestly how I feel about the ride. It is really corny, but so is the ride, this hobby, and that's the best I could do to describe it.

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really have enjoyed reading your report.

 

CP is on my bucket list, and looks like I'll make it to Coastermania next year to check it out

Glad you're enjoying the report! Coastermania sounds like a great time to be at the park, you'll have a great time.
Great update and photos!
Thanks, it's *almost* as fun to look back and write the report/reviews at it was to visit these excellent parks themselves
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Coming to the hotel after a day of SFOT and getting to read more of this great TR? Hell yeah.

 

 

I agree about Millennium and wish I had gotten a front row night ride, but had a very similar experience with a ride after and during the rain. It went from "very good" to "................ yes." As in, practically lost for words.

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Awesome TR. My friends and I are going to next Monday to Cedar Point. Since it will be our first time and we will only be there for a day, we were going to purchase the Fastlane Plus online. But, after your report, I think we might just wait to see what the crowds at the park before we buy them! Thanks for the tip!

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Fantastic, thorough report! I loved reading through it & agree with just about everything you wrote. There's a pattern to your writing that suggests something that I've been talking about for a while, which is how the same coasters can give a different impression depending on so many factors. From how I'm feeling and the time of day, to what train I'm riding in or what seat, coasters can and do show different personalities.

 

- There have been whole trips where I have all OK, but never great rides on Millennium Force. At other times, it's my clear #1.

 

- On Magnum, I've had so-so rides, flat-out painful rides, and rides that were so enjoyable and smooth that I marvel how Arrow did it --- all in the same day!

 

- I've thought, "Boy, Raptor sure is getting rough," only to come back later and it's one of my favorite B&M inverts.

 

- I've had fun, glass-smooth rides on Gatekeeper, and at other times it's frustratingly bumpy with that lumbering push/pull feeling that was described in the TR.

 

The legacy feel to those night rides on Millennium Force is real & unmistakable! I usually try to knock out the other coasters during the day, do lots of TTD for big thrills when the sun's out, and then really focus on Millennium and Maverick at night. I've never seen another coaster create quite the aura that MF does near close. For the duration of the ride, every train of strangers go out together as friends. It's just remarkable.

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