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Schrecken's Coastermania trip report

My first trip to Cedar Point in many years plus a most unique non-coaster related stop on the way home

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It's been about 15 years since I've been to Cedar Point, so I decided I wanted to attend Coaster Mania this year. Naturally, I was (like everyone else) hoping to be able to ride Top Thrill 2, but, as we all know, it will be down for a while. Even so, I knew I'd be able to add at least a few credits to my count (which is probably around 265 coasters as of now).

Luckily the weather was good, though it was a bit windy, so much so that there were whitecaps in the lake. I got there around 7 am, right before the start of the morning ERT. They had Gate Keeper, Magnum XL, Millennium Force, Valraven and Raptor up and running. Having not ridden my favorite coaster in the park in years, I headed for Millennium Force first. I got in two awesome rides on it and then I headed over to Valraven. I got one ride on it but I wasn't particularly impressed. I was expecting something like Griffon or Sheikra, but I was rather disappointed. I am not sure why, perhaps it was the lack a scenic location like the two aforementioned dive coasters. It also didn't seem to have as much “hang time” at the first drop as the other two. I don't know, for me it is the weakest of the three dive coasters I've ridden.

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I passed on Magnum, not wanting to start my day with a possible aching back since I recall my last ride on it being a bit rough. So I took a ride on Blue Streak, for old time's sake. Then I headed over to Raptor. It was every bit as intense and disorienting as I remembered it to be, and is a coaster I can only ride once or maybe twice in a row due to the intensity. I headed back to Millennium Force but by this time it was down, and ERT was about over. I thought about going back to get a ride on Gate Keeper but being it is at the front of the park I figured I'd wait to catch up with it later when the crowds died down. I went over and picked up the Top Thrill 2 poster and pin they had for us (appreciated, but it kind of sucked that I had to either carry it around with me or stow it in a locker – might have been better had they handed that out at the end of night ERT). By then the park was getting busy and I decided to take a break, leave the park and have lunch with my husband (who isn't a coaster fan and was out doing other things outside the park). When he brought me back to the park a little later on, we took a drive around the perimeter road and I got some nice pics of some of the other coasters. 

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I came back in around 2:30 pm, and I noticed that the line for Gate Keeper wasn't bad, so I went to ride it. I wasn't expecting much out of this one, despite the fact that it is very visually interesting, especially with its position at the main entrance of the park. But I was pleasantly surprised – it was a fun ride and the keyhole effect was neat to see as the train passed thru and around the towers. I rode the right side first, and then the left, and the left was by had the best view, being on the lake side and the rotation of the first drop. I rode the outer seats both times. Then I rode Max Air (another one of my favorite flat rides at the park) and couple of other flats. Then I got on the ferris wheel to get some good photos. It took forever and a day to load and unload (as is usually the case for ferris wheels) but the pics I got were worth the wait. By then it was dinner time.

After the meal and the Q&A session, I decided to spend my time between then and the night ERT riding any rides or coasters I hadn't yet done. I rode Gemini (red side) and Fire Hawk, and a couple other flats, and by that time it was starting to get dark. I passed by Millennium Force, thinking I might get another ride, but the wait was over an hour, so I headed back towards the front of the park for another ride on Gate Keeper. This time I waited briefly for the front seat, and the keyhole effect was even better from the very front. I really liked that coaster – it's very re-rideable and the visuals are really cool.  IMO it's rather underrated. But if you are looking for intensity you can always go ride Raptor or Maverick.

It was getting close to ERT time but it was before 10pm, so I was wondering if I might not give Magnum another chance....if I got a back ache at least it would be at the end of the night rather than in the morning. Besides, the line was short and I knew the ERT would not start right at 10. I was trying to figure out what seat might be best as I entered the station (meaning best as in not too rough). So I chose the 4th seat from the front and hoped I had picked the right one. As it was the front of that car I was able to brace my feet against the floor board for stability. And that actually worked (that and maybe I got the “right” seat) and it was a reasonably enjoyable ride. Not what I'd call smooth, but not painful. Magnum is IMO a steel coaster that rides like a wooden coaster. I don't remember the lighting effects in the last tunnel when I was there years ago, not sure if that is a new thing or I just didn't notice it before.

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After Magnum the ERT for Gemini was beginning, and this time I rode the blue side once. Then I headed back for Maverick and Steel Vengeance. I had ridden Maverick before, and had a decidedly unpleasant experience with the old hard restraints. But I thought I'd give it another chance to impress me (instead of beat me up). Afterwards, I was planning on saving what might be the best for last (Steel Vengeance). Unfortunately it was at this point that I made the wrong choice, in hind sight. I got in line for Maverick, figuring I'd get a ride on it and then head for its next door neighbor. It seemed like everyone else wanted to ride Maverick, so the wait was longer than I expected. Anyway, the ride was much better with the new restraints. It's still not my favorite coaster at the park, but at least I could get a sense of it without the head banging. I'd vote it as the second most intense coaster at CP after Raptor. Not super re-rideable (at least for me) but a very potent experience all the same.

Then I headed over to Steel Vengeance and was told I'd have to stow my fanny pack in a locker before I could ride. So I rented a locker and did that. Then I went for what was to be my first ride on what would be my third RMC coaster. But it seemed a third RMC wasn't in the cards for me that night... as I got about halfway thru the cue it broke down, with the train stuck on the lift hill. There was only about 20 minutes left of ERT at this point. Suffice to say I did not even get to ride it at all. Sometimes saving the best for last might mean that the best is no longer available.  Sadly I had to leave without that credit for another year. It was unfortunately a disappointing end to an otherwise great day.

The only other coasters I didn't ride this time was Corkscrew (ridden it before and not interested in headbanging), Iron Dragon (ridden before) and Rougarou (rode when it was Mantis, and it just wasn't high on my list of things to do).

But either way I was glad to get back to Cedar Point after such a long time. I am definitely hoping to come back again for Coaster Mania next year to take care of this unfinished business (TT2 and Steel Vengeance).

Finally, I had another stop on my vacation before I headed back home. This was not an amusement park but rather something totally unique and possibly of interest to anyone who likes coasters. I took an extra day and a two hour detour on the way home from Cedar Point to my home near Baltimore to stop at the New River Gorge national park in Fayetteville, West Virginia.

This is a really beautiful place to visit and its easy see why it was made into a national park several years ago. If one of its main attractions was a coaster, it would be a really hard credit to get as it is more or less out in the middle of nowhere. Said attraction is the New River Gorge Bridge, and you can take a guided tour where you walk along the maintenance catwalk just under the road deck.  And yes, you do wear a safety harness attached to a cable that runs the length of the walkway. The New River Gorge Bridge is the longest steel arch bridge in the Western Hemisphere and the third highest bridge in North America.  This bridge is also the site of a yearly base jumping festival held on the third weekend of October. It is absolutely huge and tops out at 876 feet above the bottom of the gorge and the New River below. The three thousand foot long catwalk is 851 feet above ground and the views are spectacular. This is probably one of the coolest things I've done in my lifetime....but naturally I wouldn't recommend it to anyone with a fear of heights. Another freaky thing is that due to the wind and the constant traffic above you, the entire bridge really moves and shakes. Walking along the catwalk is kind of like walking on one of those vibrating floors in a fun house! Not enough to knock you off balance, but you do know you are moving. That and the whistling of the wind thru the structure and the whine of the traffic make for a very surreal experience. If you want to have a truly unique experience you can't go wrong here.

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We used to stop at that bridge/park all the time back driving back and forth from West Virginia to go skiing, long before it was turned into a national park. It really is a pretty incredible thing to see in person, just absolutely massive, when you drive over it you don't realize how high up it is. Nice report!

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I had no idea that bridge had a skywalk attraction. I did the one at CN Tower about 10 years ago and loved it (after my knees stopped shaking when I first stepped out onto the ledge!), and I think this one might be just as scary since that catwalk looks extremely narrow. Thanks for posting this, and glad you enjoyed your time at Cedar Point. It may be having a bit of a rough year, but there's still plenty to do there that makes it worth the trip.  

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I stopped at the bridge  last year its pretty awesome to see. I didn't know about the tour that sounds amazing. 

 

Good trip report thanks for sharing 

 

Do you find a good lunch spot in Sandusky? 

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Great report and photos! Thanks for sharing

We are planning a trip to a new adventure park ourselves and are already discussing details with surge adventure park customer service. I'm hopeful that everything goes well and we'll have a fantastic time there. Planning ahead and communicating with the park's customer service ensures that our trip will be smooth and enjoyable, filled with exciting activities and memorable moments for everyone.

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