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Cedar Point, America’s roller coaster kingdom, Sandusky Ohio

Cedar Point, the name synonymous with almost any theme park goer or thriller seeker around the world. With more than 17 major roller coasters located in the theme park, it is literally America’s roller coaster capital, spotting the world record for the most number of roller coasters in one park itself. Notable high profile coasters here will include Millennium force, Top thrill Dragster, Raptor and Maverick just to name afew. Moreover, the amusement park located in Sandusky was named the “Best Amusement Park in the World” for the 14th consecutive year by The Golden Ticket Awards, which is an independent amusement park body who rates all theme parks in the region and presents the award annually too in the Amusement Today newspaper.

Cedar Point!
Cedar Point!
America's Coaster Nation!
America’s Coaster Nation!
an Awsum B&M inverted coaster
Awesome B&M goodness

Our journey begins there with about an hour’s drive from Cleveland Ohio, taking the interstate and exiting the I-80 on the Ohio Turnpike right into Sandusky and to Cleveland road. The area is rather isolated to begin with, but is otherwise largely habited by homes and small business along the road to the park. The road passes through several shrub areas before shortly coming back into civilization again. Here, several small diners, hotels and eating places can be found here, presumably riding on the visitorship of the major theme park. It’s a short turn thereafter past the Castaway Bay Indoor Resort and Quality Inn & Suites Water Park into the Cedar Point causeway park.

It’s not long where you will be greeted by the Snoppy themed Cedar Point gateway and the park’s huge outdoor parking area. Cedar point first opened it’s doors as a theme park in 1870 and is located on a beach island, shaped like a narrow peninsula jutting into Lake Erie. It currently operates annually 10am to 10pm from mid May to end October, usually ending the operating season with the Halloween spook fest parties just before it starts to get cold in winter. The park entrance fees will set you back $50 for an adult and half price for children and seniors, which is very affordable and one of the lowest I’ve seen too for a world class theme park. Greeting you at the entrance as you enter the park past the gantries is the oldest existing ride in the park, the Midway Carousel.

and many inversions!
many inversions!
the air time this coaster rocks
air time rocks
looks rather RCT :3
looks rather RCT

Main Midway
The entrance follows up to a long Main Midway with game stores and restaurants lined by the sides. The center of the pavilion sits a large flower bed, which looks like a scene off the roller coaster tycoon. To your left is a rather awesome B&M inverted roller coaster- Raptor which is widely known worldwide for it’s myriad of inversions and ride smoothness. It’s an extended inverted coaster with several inversion elements such as loops, barrel rolls and boomerangs. The helix at the end does pull out some great lateral G-forces too. Just off and behind Raptor is Blue Streak, a woodie out-and-back wooden roller coaster spotting some rather excellent airtime on the bunny hills. It opened to the public on May 23, 1964 and is the oldest operating roller coaster at Cedar Point.

with spires on both ends!
Wicked Twister!
But Disaster Transport's operating!
Disaster Transport
It's a dark bobsled ride
a dark bobsled!

Moving on east near the front of the park is the Ocean themed area and home to the resident pirate ship Ocean Motion as well as several great midway and carnival games stalls, basketball hoop shooters and the park’s main games Arcade building. Cedar point is somewhat the mascot theme park for the comic Peanuts, which I previously thought was Knotts Berry Farm, until I recalled they are now also operating under Cedar Fair. The kiddie ride section of the park here is extensively themed to Peanuts in general with several snoopy and friends rides including a mini safari trail and river rapids, it’s like a self contained miniaturized version of all the bigger rides you see in the park, tamed for kids!

Twister Midway
Moving on past the Peanuts Playground towards the beach line area on the east will bring you to another coaster by the bay and the park’s recording breaking impulse coaster, the Wicked Twister. Wicked twister is a 2nd Generation steel inverted impulse roller, manufactured by Intamin. The difference this coaster has among all other impulse coaster is the presence of 2 twisted spikes on both ends (with the tallest and fastest reverse spike), allowing riders on both ends of the coaster train to experience the wicked twists as you are propelled up the towers at 116kmph courtesy of a station trackload of linear induction motors.

Still on coasters here, Disaster Transport (Dispatch Master Transport) is an indoor dark bobsled ride, which is totally awesome in it’s own unpredictable way as the coaster trains does not actually go on rails. It makes you feel pretty much like a bobsled rider in the winter Olympics, only that the ride speed along the turns here are all much slower for safety. Having said that,, the simple ride’s queue line theming may need abit of work too.

WindSeeker is new in the park
WindSeeker’s new
all board the  Sky Ride
Sky Ride

The eastern beachline area here at the Twister Midway also offers you views of the Sandusky Bay, which can be made even more awesome by a slow ride on the Giant ferris wheel. Topping up the line of observation type rides here includes the generic Gyro Tower, which was not operational on my visit. But who needs that with the Windseeker tower in operation, which is new to the park. In a nutshell, Windseeker is a roundabout flat ride and gyro tower all rolled into one and is essentially a free hanging suspended skyride, providing a whole unique viewing experience of a scenic tower ride. It’s location by the beach side just beside the Wicked Twister offers the same scenic views of the windy eastern bay and Lake Erie.

Right in front of the Giant Wheel sits one of my favorite flat rides in the park, the MaXair, it’s an upsized Huss giant Frisbee with an extended swing angle over 300 degrees, all while having it’s main gondola rotating in a continuous 360 degrees fashion, it simply just makes most pirate ship rides look tame in comparison. And just when you though you had seen much of the park, that’s is not even half of it, let be even half the number of rides here in Cedar point. Taking the Sky Ride just off the a short walk from the entrance brings you right into the heart of the park and the start of the “coaster circle”, which I would like to call it given it’s looping circle layout passing through all of the park’s northern attractions.

the cable car brings you into the heart of the park
into the heart of the park
Corkscrew, a classic!
Corkscrew, a classic!
Mmm Arrow Dynamics goodness!
Arrow Dynamics goodness!

The Skyride, in my opinion is another scenic ride moving along the Midway Trail overlooking Raptor and can be substituted with a short 10 minute walk into the coaster circle, where the remaining 14 coasters of the park reside. The Skyride travel from the entrance brings you right into the circle’s fork in front of the Iron Dragon and the classic Corkscrew coaster. Here you can start your loop on the western or eastern side, and this is where your adventure here really begins. Cedar point prides itself as a coaster enthusiast park and for down and dirty thrill seekers who want their adrenaline raws without the fat offered by most tourist parks, such as Disneyland. It is surprisingly not very touristy and often mostly frequented by the locals, which is rather good. Everyone you see here is a thrill seeker or sort and not having to put up with ugly rowdy tourists and the tourist traps which comes with it is a bonus.

Gemini Midway
The Arrow Corkscrew here is an all time classic, complete with it’s trademarked full vertical loop after the first drop and the double corkscrews which follows. It is notable that all variants of the corkscrew coasters I’ve ridden around the world by Arrow Dynamics and Vekoma all somewhat follow a rather similar track layout.

But nothing tops this...
prepare for launch
Up the tower and back down again
Top Thrill Dragster tower
The ride's first hill climb
Magnum XL

Here at the Gemini Midway, Top Thrill Dragster is one of my favorite launched continuous circuit coasters. It accelerates from 0 to 190 kmph in under four seconds, throwing riders up into a vertical tower cresting at the top and spiraling vertically down the tower thereafter for the brake run back into the station. It broke coaster speed records on it’s opening day as well as being the first “Strata Coaster” topping over 120m in height. Trains here are themed after a Top fuel dragster and are catapult launched via a hydraulic cable pulley system which anchors underneath each train prior to be launched. The ride computer here then calculates the amount of force required by the catapult to launch each train over the crest of the hill with the minimal speed required. This is so reduce any dangerous airtime while clearing the top of the tower and prolonging the life of the trains.

Before each ride, riders will be treated with the simulated deep rumble of Top Fuel Dragster ready for launch with the starting christmas tree lights slowly turning green for the eventual launch. Occasionally, due to an uneven weight distribution and bad weather, trains may not make the crest of the 61m vertical tower, with hilarious rollbacks which always send everybody screaming backwards onto the launch strip. That’s where the brake fins (which automatically pop up after every launch) comes into play in stopping these rollbacks into the station.

Magnum XL-200 is Cedar Point’s first mega coaster. The non-inverting speed coaster opened in 1989 and was the first to exceed 200 feet in height and speeds over 110 kmph breaking several world height and speed records again in the process. The ride was rather bumpy and rough for a steel coaster which was surprising. Most of the ride is actually situated out of the main park boundaries and overlooks the Soak City and Challenge City areas of the park. It is listed as an American Coaster Enthusiast landmark.

add in the dueling element and it rocks!
dueling woodie!
and man it is huge!

Gemini is a favorite old-time wooden coaster here. At it’s opening in 1978, the Arrow dynamics coaster was the highest, fastest and steepest roller coaster in the world. The ride itself does not qualify as a full wooden (or we riders call woodie in coaster slang) given it’s composition as hybrid wooden-steel roller coaster, offering the best of a woodie roller with the speeds and ease of maintenance of employing tubular steel rails for tracks, thus the term “semi-woodie”. Gemini, like in astrology comprises of 2 identical coasters which departs together in a dual station and duels with each other throughout the most of the ride’s course, including the hill-lift (rider high-five) portions of the ride. Both coasters will snake together through various bunny hops and turns together at times overtaking each other on the insides. These adds to the cheer and the “racing factor” of the ride between riders which is only unique between dueling coasters.

The nearby Jr Gemini is a small kiddy coaster named after it’s big brother Gemini. Built in 1979, it features several short dips and helixes. It is the first roller coaster manufacturer by Intamin.

Tucked in the northern corner of the park just before Frontier land and the yummy Sagebrush Sue’s Frontier Food Company hotdog stand is the park’s giant woodie. So just when you thought the Blue Streak is a big woodie, meet it’s much bigger southern yellow pine brother, The Mean Streak. The coaster itself rides just under 3 minutes long and is one of the fastest, longest and tallest woodie coasters in the world on it’s opening in 1991. Manufactured by Dinn corporation costing 7.7 million USD, the huge wooden behemoth coaster adopts a twister track layout which snakes it’s way all around the northern areas of the park. The coaster itself is so large, it’s super wooden structure itself can be seen from miles away. Cedar point even have their own dedicated carpentry staff just to maintain the attraction.

The Meanest Streak in the park!
Meanest Streak in the park!
served by authentic steam engines! (as the staff told us!)
authentic steam engines
Antique cars!
Antique cars!

Frontiertown is everything all old school and old western, a Camper Village resides here as well as old wild wild west rides which fits the theme, such as the Intamin AG Antique Cars family ride. It’s a slow car driving ride which goes with the old wild west theme here and is suitable for all ages. The start of the entrance into Frontier Town is the second station of the Cedar Point & Lake Erie Railroad (CP&LE Railroad). These are authentic old school steam engined transportation locomotive trains. Boarding the train at this station will take you back to the Wildcat Midway Funway Station.

This part of the park resides the wet sector also themed after a wild west atmosphere and decked out lots of water rides which WILL get you really wet. The Snake River Falls ride just behind the S&S Swing Skyhawk is literally an automated park guest soaking device. It’s a looping river boat flume ride made by Arrow Dynamics and on it’s opening in 1993 was the tallest and steepest water ride in the world. And just when you thought the underwear-soaking first drop of the ride is enough, even the exit area of the ride requires you to cross over a bridge right above the ride’s splash zone.

and are all designed to completely get you WET!
completely WET!
Shoot The Rapids!
Various wet rides
one way of another...
Log Flumes

But you are most probably wet anyway so getting wet another time on the crossing doesn’t seem make too much of a difference, much to many guests delight who have nothing else to do but catching the impending splashes from each plunging boat. Shoot the Rapids is an Intamin 4-in-line log flume ride new for the 2010 season with 2 drop splashes complete with waterfalls and several water bomb elements. Classic rides here includes the Wave Swinger Swing Carousel.

Despite having their own wild west Town Hall, the Frontier trail is home to various food stores themed to the old western look, such as the Toot Sweets Candy Factory. You can get delicious ice cream, wonderful cookies, and fresh fudge at the Grist Mill Refreshments Trail. The last and definitely wettest water ride here have to be the Thunder Canyon. It is an Intamin wild river rapids ride, with lots of water elements guaranteed to get you soaking wet. It will be a feat trying to be dry even before getting onto the ride. If you are still dry after making through the queue lines (with several signs warning you get of the impending wetness), then the ride loading will more of less guarantee wet underwear when you go splotch on the already water filled bowl seats in the rapids boat. Ponchos are available for sale on the queue lines, if you think they are of any help, which may keep the dampess out by alittle, but not much.

That's a Shaun!
The ride's like a wheel of death!
Wet wet wet!
Now for Maverick!

You get strapped in and before you know it, be sent splashing through the water canyon through various water elements along the ride. The wetness of ride is kinda based purely on luck as the boat rotates randomly through various wet elements, soaking each part of the boat as you pass through them. You get an occasional large waterfall here and there, laughing at the people on the boat who eventually get soaked by it, but the finale of the ride will be sure to get everyone on board totally wet as it passes through 4 consecutive waterfalls on both ends of the boat, and you will have nowhere to run!

As a consolation to your newly acquired “wetness”, several coin-operated air dryer points outside the ride are open for multiple park guests to use at a go, as well as lockers to stash you belongings. Frontiertown is the only portion of the park where you are allowed to go in bikinis or bare chested for guys to dry off in the sun from the various water rides here. So it’s not surprisingly that this area is the “bare all” part of the park. Personally, drying off is best done with high speed winds and what other better way to do so yourself than go on a high speed roller coaster?

Marverick is an awesome Intamin high speed roller coater set in the western theme here and is easily one of the greater favorite coasters in the park itself. made by Intamin too, you can almost call it the little rebellious juvenile brother of the Millennium force, as shown on the ride POV’s and showcase I’ve compiled as follows:

Maverick itself is an awesome western style roller featuring a dual ride launch system with the first phase propelling you up the chain-less hill lift incline right into the first greater than vertical (95 degrees) drop sending you flying through various high speed banks, corners, bunny hops and corkscrew-like heartline rolls. You pause into an enclosed shed to catch your breath before being shot right out of it into the ride’s high speed lagoon section with several more twists and turns before eventually hitting the brake run back into the station. The ride has a good mix of excitement and intense elements making it surprisingly enjoyable, not to mention offering a good feel of speed as the coaster hugs very closely to the ground and just barely sweeping past the various rock faces at a blurring 110 kmph.

Skyhawk, an S&S Screamin' Swing
S&S Swing Skyhawk
A nicely themed minetrain
nicely themed minetrain

Frontier trail
The queues for Maverick will set you back roughly an hour or so too. Topping up the Frontier town area just be the entrance of the Snake river falls will be another flat ride by S&S Power called the Skyhawk, it’s essentially a Screamin’ Swing tower.

Tucked in the Frontier trail Cedar creek area is the park’s resident mine train coaster. Just like Gemini, the ride is an Arrow Dynamics hybrid steel and wooden runaway mine train built with steel tubular tracks on wooden supports. The ride is seemingly mostly made out of wood including the whole queue and ride station, not to mention all the supports of the ride itself which twines around through various forest and water elements in the Cedar creek portion of the park where the ride reside. This portion of the creek is also home to the duck and fish feeding sections of the park too. The 4 decade old mine ride spots a rather nice worn out look and wood theming, which seems to go very well with the old mine setting. The coaster track element spots 2 hill lifts, which provides enough potential for the mine trains to reach a top speed of 68kmph together with many short drops and several twists and helixes native to a typical wild mine train coaster.

do I need to explain more?
Best steel coaster evar!
2 coasters one shot!
2 coasters one shot!

Moving along Frontier Trail will bring to the last but definitely the most major attraction in here in Cedar Point, the Millennium force coaster. Millennium force is personally one of the best roller coasters I’ve rode here in the park and let be globally. The Intamin coaster easily ranks high up as the top 5 roller coasters I’ve been on in the world. It is an excellent high speed giga coaster topping over 150 kmph with over 2km of ride length. It broke thirteen world records, including that for highest and fastest roller coaster on it’s opening day. The giga roller coaster is also the first in the world to utilize a cable lift system, rather than a traditional looping chain lift, given the weight issues the hill lift tower will have to endure having to deal with over 10 tons of chain just to pull the train up if chains were used. In place, a 800-horsepower cable lift driven by 600 kW motor pulls the train up quickly up the 310 ft tower by an efficient pulley and weight system, just like a lift-hook system found on an elevator.

Have a go on board the last row seats of Millennium force with this video I’ve recorded off it.

The coaster employs and out and back circuit layout which starts off the bay side marina section of the western part of the park, looping into the center of the Cedar Creek and back out crossing over the Frontier trail at two points of the ride. The coaster is an extremely smooth one, native to most Intamin high-speed coasters with very minimal rolling resistance through the deployment of very large nlyon/polyurethane wheels found on Intamin’s line of modern high speed giga coasters. These allows for extremely fast speeds through the course comprising of three trademarked overbanked turns, two tunnels and four bunny (airtime) hills

Wildcat Midway and other park sections
It’s not long where we are back out on the Wildcat Midway. The Wildcat in question here is the carnival style wild mouse roller coaster which resides here as well as the all smackingly-fun old school Dogdems. Wildcat is a tame coaster in comparison to the larger brothers all around it. No cat and mouse games here, but the wild mouse here is manufactured by the German company Anton schwarzkopf (Schwarzkopf Industries). Topping up the remainder of the tamer coasters here also includes the Woodstock express, which is a junior steel coaster made by Vekoma located back in camp snoopy.

The Cedar Point point island is also home to various other mini parks situated on the north east park of the main park which are also open on Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. The ones in question is the Soak City Waterpark and Challenge City. Soak City positions itself as a getaway waterpark comprising of 18 acres of wet and wild family fun and segmented into sectors namely the Splash Zone (areas for the toddlers and the massive Eerie Falls slide complex) and Breakers Bay allowing guests to take a break from the main park’s 75 rides and coasters. Soak City itself is home to more than a dozen water slides, two inner tube rivers, a 500,000-gallon wave pool, the giant Zoom Flume family raft ride makes up some of the wettest fun around.

Challenge City is a pay-to-ride portion of the park, accessible via a tunnel near Magnum XL. It comprises of Challenge Racing (go kart track setting you back $5 a trip through the Grand Prix kart circuit) and Challenge Golf at about $6 for 18 regular holes. Other thrill rides here includes the SkyScraper- a rotating propeller tower ride and RipCord- a gliding Skycoaster attraction allowing you to soar through through the sky suspended at speeds over 80 kmph.

Iron Dragon!
Iron Dragon!
and bumping some cars!
bumping some Dodgem cars

Back on the Midway, Iron Dragon is one of the few tamer coasters without any inversions despite the coaster itself spotting over shoulder restrains. Iron Dragon is an Arrow Dynamics suspended roller coaster which sits off the mid portion of the coaster circle just off the exit of the Sky ride in the Wildcat Midway sector of the park. Just when you thought the ride was a bore on the first stage, the ride goes up on a second stage hill lift and plunges you right into sudden steep drops and rapid corners which will send you swinging like crazy. The ride gets bit more intense from here, moving really fast and swingy on the end with a helix rush through the park creek lake complete with ultra cool smoke effects, just before hitting the arupt exit to the brake run back towards the station.

Mantis was down for most of the day...
side up down!
Stand-up coaster!

The last of the coasters here on my Cedar Point coaster tour will be Mantis. Mantis is a Bolliger & Mabillard stand-up roller coaster featuring 6 inversions comprising of a vertical loop, diving loop, inclined loop and corkscrews over the park’s lagoon section right beside Iron Dragon, topping max speeds of 97kmph. Stand up coasters, like flying coasters are notorious for their downtimes given their more complex operating nature- Mantis was down earlier in the day with a technical problem, it’s not long after where the engineers got the ride problem fixed just before closing. They needed some test dummies after their trail runs we all dummies there naturally stepped up for it without a doubt.

Behold the Standup POV on Mantis, rear row seats for the win!

And man was the ride awesome, that and without the need of having to go on a ride queue. As said, it is a standup coaster, so the whole ride is done in an upright position. Prior to loading on the ride, you have to prop yourself onto spring loaded saddle seats which are like bouncy bicycle seats. These goes between your legs so you don’t go all over the place on the corkscrews. The over-shoulder restraints are much longer too, going over your shoulders and covering much of your front torso as compared to the seated B&M coaster trains. Though you ride the coaster through all the inversions in this standing position, much of your weight can actually be placed on the saddle itself, so you can call it a saddle coaster or sort, just avoid sitting on it while hitting a brake run, as it is not exact very guy friendly.

No trip to a theme park is complete without with sky shot up into oblivion. The Power Tower here is no exception either with 4 full towers which makes up the skyshot thrill ride here. The queue line to the world’s only 4 tower skyshot ride was pretty good under 20 minutes in my opinion. You get a choice of 2 different ride styles including being shot up into the air from the bottom of the tower or climb up and get shot down faster than the acceleration of free fall from the tower top, both modes are unique in each way, bringing a whole degree of re-ridability for the tower attraction itself.

back in Max Air
back on Max Air”
Look, fireworks!
Look fireworks!
Farewell Cedar Point, it was a blast!
Farewell Cedar Point, it was a blast!

It was more rides back out to the Midway Trail with MaXair as night falls towards the park’s 10pm closing time. It’s here at night where you can catch most of the rides all properly lit up in their colourful neon glory at night. Even the Top Thrill Dragster tower has the starting lights extended throughout the tower itself. Compared to various flat rides, other rides, such as Raptor and Blue Streak (mainly coasters) are dark in comparison due to the lack of on-ride lighting. The Midway section of the park here is decently decorated for the night too, with several larger than normal stuffed toys available for the win. Even the Midway carousel here is nicely all decked out in golden lights for the night portions. And what other better way to signal the park’s closing time, than with a continuous lineup of fireworks all over the park.

Compilation of my time in Cedar point:

To sum it all up, Cedar point was awesome, the park is truly a world class theme park. One full day (12noon to 10pm) is just barely enough to cover a park so huge and all it’s 17 major coasters as part of the Cedar Point coaster world tour, and the 17 coasters here does not even include the smaller family coasters. And what other better way to end the night with a late night dinner at Lugi’s in Ohio for a late night pub dine-in with caesar cheese salads, and a large cheese and mushroom pizza to top it all up with their trademarked triple flavoured pistachio ice cream.

Visiting Cedar Point is largely a no brainier if you happen to be in the Eastern Ohio region of the US, you won’t regret the visit there as a roller coaster thrill seeker or just simply being young at heart. There is no single Disneyland or Universal theme park around the world which even come close to half the number of coasters here, let be even spotting extremely reasonable priced tickets at half the entry fee to the said Disney and Universal parks. The quality of thrill rides and roller coasters here too also far exceeds my expectation and the park gets my high recommendation as a coaster freak paradise.

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