DATES: 6/24/2000 - 6/26/2000
WEATHER: Comfortable, mid-80s, mostly cloudy. Sort of.
ABOUT ME: Male, age 37. Coaster rider since 1977 and fanatic since 1986. I have more than 330 adult coasters on my "track record". I generally prefer wooden coasters to steel because airtime is one of my big criteria. Also, I don't mind a little headbanging on coasters.
RATING SYSTEM: I subscribe to the ubiquitous Griswold scale, which rates coasters and parks on a scale from -3 to +5. Zero indicates a mildly positive rating.
Blue Streak (1964 PTC single out and back) +2
Even with the disgraceful treatment Cedar Fair inflicted on this coaster a few years ago in the form of ratcheting lap bars, Blue Streak still delivers a great ride with lots of air time on its many bunny hills. A short ride, but the line is always short too.
Cedar Creek Mine Ride (1969 Arrow Dynamics Mine Train) N/A
I did not ride this during my visit.
Corkscrew (1976 Arrow Dynamics loop/screw) +1
A standard Arrow vertical loop followed by a quick corkscrew. Its only distinguishing characteristic is an evil speed hill immediately after the first drop (before the vertical loop). Great ejector air!
Gemini (1978 Arrow Dynamics racing steel double out and back) +2
Always a walk-on, Gemini provides good air time, views and a few good moments of fine del capo. The ride was heavily braked on the turns during my rides and the crowd was not into hand-slapping on the turnarounds, so not the ride's finest moment. This ride's rating owes a lot to its legacy from my many previous visits.
Wildcat (1978 Anton Schwarzkopf steel twister/mad mouse) N/A
I did not ride this during my visit. It's a good ride, but Millennium Force beckoned.
Demon Drop (1984 Intamin freefall) +2
It may not be as big as the newer Giant Drops, but it's still a great ride. Quick queue lines.
Iron Dragon (1987 Arrow Dynamics suspended coaster) +1
Not the finest moment in Arrow's suspended coaster development, but a good starter ride for the younger thrillseekers. Not nearly the "swing" action or sheer speed that, say, PKI Top Gun provides.
Magnum XL-200 (1989 Arrow Dynamics hypercoaster) +4
Ahhh, behold the venerable Magnum. The first, the best. None of the Morgan hypercoasters have even come close. It's all about the pretzel turnaround! Magnum was flying; the transitions were smooth and the pretzel offered all the positive G's I expected. Three big drops, some speed hills, the turnaround, and the mad dash back to the station with all the accompanying bunny hills. Nothing beats a night ride on Magnum, with the lighthouse beacon flashing in the distance at the end of the jetty in Lake Erie. The ride offers great airtime everywhere, especially in 1.3 (the ejector seat, which was actually pretty painful this time). I prefer the back car, though. I managed to bump in to r.r-c's own Dave Althoff in the Magnum queue, easily recognizable in his Lakemont Park Skyliner t-shirt.
Disaster Transport (1985 Intamin bobsled ride with 1990 enclosed theming) N/A
I didn't ride this during my visit. It's pretty lame for advanced thrillseekers and should be avoided unless it's raining.
Mean Streak (1991 Summers/Dinn twister) -2
Quite possibly the worst coaster ever built, ranking right up there with PGA Grizzly and Outer Limits: Flight of Fear. This wooden disgrace rattles the teeth right out of your head and causes terrible headaches like no other ride can. I only rode this once to verify the ride was still as bad as ever, and it did not disappoint. It has NO redeeming features whatsoever. Its first drop is heavily braked and the entire ride features lots of dead track with no airtime at all. What's so sad is the ridiculous amount of lumber tied up in this monstrosity. Tear it down and built something worthwhile!
Raptor (1994 B & M inverted) +4
Raptor is quite possibly the perfect ride. Its pacing and choice of elements leave nothing to be desired. Its six inversions include a vertical loop, two zero-g rolls, a cobra roll, and some other elements. The ending helix and snap-twist into the station brake run caps it all off. It really could use a paint job, though. The last six years of sun beating on it have faded it appreciably.
Mantis (1996 B & M standup) +3
Despite the trim brakes added since its inaugural season, Mantis still offers a pretty darn good ride, even if it doesn't cause leg cramps anymore! The ride's five inversions include a vertical loop, a diving loop, an inclined loop, and two half-corkscrews. There were even a couple pops of airtime during the ride.
Power Tower (1998 S & S freefall/space shot tower) +2
I don't like these as much as Intamin freefalls because of the changes of direction. It's still getting the +2 because the novelty hasn't worn off yet.
Millennium Force (2000 Intamin hypercoaster) +4
On arrival for our first night at the park (a starlight admission), we discovered the new "Ticket To Ride" system was in force, and we couldn't even hope to ride the Force that night because all the tickets for 5-8 pm were given out and the queue for post-8pm rides went all the way down the Frontier Trail. What a terrible way to greet Starlight visitors! I had no intention of spending an entire evening in line for just one ride. So, I went elsewhere at that point. Fortunately, a surprise storm blew in around 9:30pm and when its one lone bolt of lightning crackled across the sky east of Power Tower, three-quarters of the GP ran for the park's exits as the entire park quickly shut down. Though the deluge never stopped (fortunately, I had my poncho with me) enough of the park's patrons had disappeared that I decided to capitalize on the suddenly-short Millennium Force line when the rides reopened around 10pm. The line now only reached to a little past the DJ booth near the pop machines. Each time a train flew by the queue, a sheet of rainwater sprayed through the crowd as the gust propelled the rain forward. A little after 11pm, we reached the loading platform. We ended up with middle-of-the-train seats due to their enforced seating policy (lame). Still wearing our ponchos, we proceeded up the lift hill. Wow, is that hill steep and FAST! As the animated floodlights shone beams of white and multicolored light through the lift hill structure, we rapidly ascended the elevator lift. The lights emphasized the size of the water drops coming down directly into our eyes! You could not see the bottom of the first drop in the rain, and when we did reach the bottom we did all we could to keep our eyes even partially open as we took a 92-mph rainstorm in the face! The ride offered phenomenal airtime in at least four places (first drop, third hill, speed hill after the island turnaround, and the station flyby) and was as thrilling as I could possibly have hoped forÉat night, in the pouring rain. I feel spoiled for having my first ride on the Force be at night in the rain, because I doubt I'll ever be able to match that experience ever again. My rides the next day on Millennium Force were mostly daytime rides, and the Ticket To Ride system made the lines reasonable (even more so since all three trains were running, unlike the first night when only two were). I enjoy the speed of the ride, and the few moments of ejector air time are all enjoyable. I don't think this ride is intended to compete with the S:ROS's of the world, so I won't even suggest any comparisons. Personally, I think Magnum is a better night ride. Giant kudos go to Cedar Point for installing the oscillating misting fans in the Millennium Force queue lines. They made a long wait just bearable enough.
THE PARK: +4
Cedar Point never fails to deliver. Everything works, the rides are phenomenal, the food is quite good, the queue lines move at an acceptable pace, the ride ops do a good job of loading the trains and matching up single riders, and the pricing is reasonable (few parks I've been to actually merit the POP they charge; Cedar Point is the exception). Cedar Point is still the king of thrill parks. For the first time ever, we ate at the marina restaurant. The half-rack of ribs I ate was tasty, even if the sauce was more sweet than spicy (my personal preference). The park's hot dogs, pizza and funnel cakes were all quite good too. The park has done a pretty good job of preserving the integrity of the Frontier Trail despite the Big Blue Behemoth now crossing the road. I was understandably concerned when I heard about all the trees getting yanked out. Only fifteen years ago, Cedar Point was far more forested than today, and I think they've lost a little ambience as a result of the Mantis, Power Tower and Millennium Force projects. The Soak City waterpark was quite good, and that's where I spent Day Three at the Point. I would like to see some tall speed slides added, but the lazy rivers and other slides currently in place are a great way to relax for an entire day. Also: What happened to all the DJ's in the Magnum and Raptor queues? At least they varied the music beyond endless repeats of Smash Mouth hits! If only the park had a couple of world-class woodies...