First theme park visit of 2019 in the books! Cedar Point at possibly the worst time to visit - HalloWeekends on a Friday and Saturday. If you haven't read through the CP thread in a while, I'm here to tell you that nearly everyone in Michigan, Ohio, and the close reaches of Indiana and Pennsylvania have gold passes which get them into the park for the remainder of 2019 and all of 2020 and everyone is taking advantage of the 2019 free days.
I'm happy to report that you can still have a good time at CP even during this insane time of year! Friday and Saturday were beautiful warm summer like days. Saturday was actually pretty darn hot! Here's how the weekend went down.
My friend Grace had never been to CP and coming off of some recent visits to Grona Lund and Liseberg, she was ready to see what all the hype at CP was about. Renting a car to drive from Chicago and back on Turo was easy and the Breakers Express with my platinum pass rate was very reasonable. Fast Lane + on Saturday was a must, and there was no way we were going to pay for it on Friday with the limited hours and limited ride options.
Beautiful weather, early entry started at 5pm. A late lunch at the Thirsty Pony was the perfect way to start the weekend and there was no issue getting into the Breakers/Shores parking lot at 4:45pm. We made our way back to Maverick and Steel Vengeance right away and noticed Maverick down so we went to Steel Vengeance first and waited maybe 20 minutes for the back row.
Last year, CP was the last stop on the TPR USA tour and we had an incredible 2 hours of ERT on it. Every detail of the ride was still fresh in my mind from who knows how many laps I took on it and somehow my expectations were exceeded this year. I'm a Maverick > Steel Vengeance guy, but with Maverick down the entire visit Steel Vengeance might have stolen my heart. It's such a long ride it makes Millennium Force feel short. I don't think any part of it is uncomfortable, which is crazy because the elements on this ride are so wild and taken at such extreme speed you'd think this ride will leave you with a sore neck. It's stunning and the rides in the front seat and back seat offer some different forces that will make you question which you like better.
Steel Vengeance became Grace's favorite ride due to how smooth it is and the ride's duration. Two big points there!
Cedar Creek Mine ride was the coaster to follow Steel Vengeance
Hey! Lack of rides on Friday! This mine train will make you feel like a giant. I'm 5'8" at best and it's so cramped in those old trains. This ride is not a great mine train.
After a pause to see the llamas and a beer at the frontier trail, there was still a lot of time to kill before our goal of getting in line for a haunted house before it opened at 8pm.
Millennium Force was next and we had a very reasonable 45 minute wait just a few switchbacks before the ramp but it was clear that people were quickly filling up CP. It would have probably only been a 30 minute wait but they added the Yellow train. Hooray 3 train ops!
We got a ride in the back row and it was another great ride on the classic giga coaster! It just didn't seem as ...lengthy as I remembered it. For sure it keeps up that speed all the way around the course, but it wasn't my best ride. Grace liked it, but was a little freaked out because she got tunnel vision on the first drop.
The sun was setting and the Cornstalkers 2.0 'scare zone' was nearby and the 2019 Haunt new hotness, so we decided to arrive early and check it out when it opened. Wow this attraction is popular - it nearly had a full queue 20 minutes before it opened! I was also confused as to why there was a queue for a 'scare zone'. All of my experience with scare zones at parks = it's just an area with actors and some theme. Surprisingly, this was a full fledged outdoor haunt. We probably waited about 45 minutes (arrived early + time to get in) and it was totally worth it. You're put right into a narrow path of corn stalks where monsters are really able to take advantage of the darkness, fog, close proximity to guests, and blend in with the corn. It was a good length, too. If you pick 1 maze/haunt to do at CP I'd say do this one.
Since we weren’t interested in waiting hours for SV, the other haunts in the back of the park, or Millennium, we headed to the front of the park where there were rides that were open!
You know that craft beer spot on the frontier trail between the MF tunnel and the petting zoo? Huge pours of wine. Easily the best deal in the park! There’s also a huge food truck alley with some great options for food including empanadas, wings, sandwiches, tacos, etc. It’s right next to the Mad Max-ish rock show that’s going on in front of Iron Dragon. I didn’t see any strippers but there was some awkward dancing and hip swaying.
Gatekeeper was our next ride and we didn’t have to wait more than 20 minutes since they do a great job with operations on this coaster. We waited for the front seat since it’s such a cool view and you’re guaranteed a smooth ride. Unlike Valravn, the vests on this coaster are still really tight. The first drop and massive inversion always seems to surprise me with its intense positive g’s. Gatekeeper makes me see more spots than Millennium!
Choosing to start in the back of the park and move to the front was the right call as we bumped into Eerie Estate, a ‘classic’ haunted house with only a 10 minute wait. This was the most tame of all the haunts and there isn’t much to say other than it was about as scary as the Haunted Mansion.
Zombie High School was close so we figured we’d find similar results and we were right. It was another 10 minute wait. Nothing too special or memorable here and a quick walk through. So far CornStalkers is miles ahead of any other haunt.
Conveniently dumped out next to Raptor, it was another reasonable 15-20 minute wait and a kickass ride. I love everything about Raptor and it’s one of my favorite inverts still. Cedar Downs is a must and there was hardly a wait, so we checked that one off.
There was about an hour left of park time and we had done pretty much every open attraction but Magnum, so we headed that way and noticed no wait for Blood on the Bayou, another ‘scare zone’ that turned out to be an outdoor haunt that walked you under Iron Dragon. This one was really weak and you could tell the scare actors were getting tired because a lot of them were just standing around. Oh well, you got some cool views and it was on our way to Magnum.
The seat belt trick is a myth! I guess it works if you’re able to get the lap bar in a position to where it has enough room to move between clicks so that the seatbelt works as the primary tool to keep you into the ride. You guys keep doin’ your thing. We enjoyed some middle train rides and front row rides since there was no one in the station and we found those to be tolerable. I secretly really like everything about this ride, but when it’s running crazy fast in the summer heat those old Arrow restraints piss me off. I love all of the tunnel effects brought back to life!
It was an easy drive out of the park back to Breakers Express with no waiting.
Despite my concerns, there were waits to get into the parking lot at 9:45am. Early entry started at 10am and Maverick was still down and there was a much larger group of early entry guests today so we decided to head to Valravn since we hadn’t gotten on that the night before and Fast Lane redemption was right around the corner. Man, the back row on Valravn was so good. Those vests were loosey goosey and there was so much air to be found on each drop, and this was first thing in the morning, too! We had some issues getting our Fast Lane due to staff with 0 experience working with the POS systems, so we had to bounce around a bit, but we got them eventually.
Wicked Twister in the front row was a walk on and never fails to provide an epic ride. We hopped over to Windseeker, both sides of Power Tower, and while on down shot we saw Dragster come to life. Power Tower also gave a view of how insanely crowded the park was getting. It was also a hot one – 85-90* degrees! We hustled over to Dragster, waited 15 minutes up the ramp and just picked the quickest row to get on the ride. Yeah, that was incredible. I love the energy, crowd interaction, and freedom the lap bars give you. Dragster never opened the back car all day, but they never had a roll back so they know what they’re doing.
A quick break to get some AC and some BBQ at Famous Dave’s was just what we wanted. A little after noon there were maybe 5 other tables there. It’s a hidden gem, I guess.
Millennium was our first stop after lunch and we started to see the effects of the heat getting to people in line and the medics were very busy. We noticed Cedar Point needs to add more share …everywhere outside of Frontier Town/Trail. Nearly every ride with a wait had long stretches of the queue without shade.
Millennium in the front row is simply a different experience. You still get lifted out of your seat a bit on the drop, but you really feel where the ride has airtime as you’re pushed up and over the hills into 0 g floats. The overbanks have some whip to them, too! And yeah, watching that blue track being eaten by the front of the train along with the wind in your face is an incredible sense of speed.
Rougarou was next and we picked the front row for the full floorless effect. It’s a fine ride, just forgettable among CP’s stack of coasters.
Skyhawk was the attraction we went on the most. FL puts you right on and this ride is just pure fun. It’s a giant anti gravity machine. We did break the ride on our 3rd go around. We got 3 swings up and the ride was stopped. We thought it was a cell phone issue (many times operations were paused around the park to have people put phones away), but there was no scolding and the ride restarted. Then we got maybe one more swing and the ride stopped again. It’s okay, we came back later in the night for more rides, haha.
Continuing to break rides, we got on Gemini next and got stuck on the brake run for a while. Gemini is another gem. Smooth, surprisingly good airtime, handslapping fun. We rode the Monster next which has some great whip to it!
After that long time frame of little shade, lots of sun and sweat, we kicked it at Back Beat Que for some water. From there we re-rode favorites and planned to get in line for Hexed: Lights Out before it opened at 6pm. Plan worked, but there was some incident (we never found out if it was something with the building, actor, guest/illness/etc) but we spent about an hour total waiting in line since the incident happened when we were 20ft from the entrance. Everyone is given a blacklight to explore the witches’ lair and it was b l a c k o u t. Those actors must go in early to get adjusted to the dark because man I was bumping into so many props, haha. It was genuinely spooky to me and it definitely got to other guests, too as we saw a number of people enter for 30 seconds and immediately run out, haha.
We got a reservation for Melt, rode some rides while we waited, and split a delicious sando. They had pumpkin beer specials (along with cider) so yeah Melt is the shit. Re-rides on Dragster, Power Tower, Millennium, and Skyhawk were in order as we planned to save Steel Vengeance for last.
Arriving at Steel Vengeance at 11:40pm, I was beyond shocked to find the Fast Lane queue wasn’t full. We debated doing a nearby empty Haunt and then getting in line right before midnight be we didn’t want to risk it. Amazingly, shockingly, against all odds, we were on an off Steel Vengeance in 15 minutes and we got right back in line at 11:58pm for another ride on Steel Vengeance! FL+ coming through! We started the trip with the best and ended it with the best.
We gave Maverick our respects on and spotted the train stuck in the tunnel that apparently was the issue and then headed out.
I was really nervous about this trip initially. Cedar Point visits always give you anxiety around closed rides and weather, but this trip added the craZaniTy of HalloWeekends crowds. For each ride we waited 20-30 minutes after noon (Millennium, Dragster, Maverick, Gatekeeper) and 15 or less for Gemini, Rougarou, the flats, etc. You can still have a great time with FL+ even when the park is overflowing. Honestly, it wasn’t too tough to get around the park either. I’ll definitely do it again next year given the opportunity! I hope Cedar Point can step up their haunt attractions. Outside of CornStalkers, none of the haunts (indoor/outdoor) were innovative, none had above average set design or make up, or seemed to have the level or pride or enthusiasm I’ve seen in other parks. I hope to see more trip reports from CP HalloWeekends in the next month!
See you all in my next trip report, which will feature some more spooks, RMCs, and a good amount of Disney