Thursday, August 13, 2009
Cedar Point -- It's worth the trip
After several amusement parks which I've already covered, we arrived at the mecca of the roller coaster world--Cedar Point. 17 coasters. Despite having gone to 6 other parks before this, there were some completely new roller coasters. The ones that stood out as truly special are Millenium Force, Magnum XL200 and Maverick.
Millenium Force was aptly named. We leveraged the "stay in our park, enter 1 hour early" card and only had to stand in line for 20 minutes. That was 20 minutes well spent. 310 feet tall, speeds over 90 miles/hour. When I got off the ride, my arms from the elbows forward were completely numb. I can't decide if it was just the velocity of the ride, or the grip with which I held on to the lap bar (no shoulder harness!). It was a real force of nature.
Magnum XL200 was a new coaster 20 years ago. Today, it was still great. While waiting for the ride, they played 80's music which was a total hoot. It was 200 ft tall and still far more extreme than anything at SCGA, and apart from Accelerator at KBF, more extreme than that. What I most loved is that it would set up an expectation of motion, throw you in a tunnel and then jig that expectation. It was full of surprises. Excellent ride, probably my favorite until...
Maverick. Wow. I have been on nothing like it. I waited in line 45 minutes, it broke down, we bailed. 6 hours later I waited in line another 50 minutes. Totally worth it. I can't describe the number of new motions that I went through. I had no hope of getting my hands in the air. It was absolutely brilliant. It was voted the best roller coaster of 2007 in an amusement park trade magazine. I understand why.
About the park. It is huge. And it is the first non-Disney park which felt like it could compete with Disney for customer service, albeit for an older crowd. Every single ride was run by operators who were psyched to be there. They would describe the ride in detail, rile up the crowd and get you pumped. We went on a sky ride where the line was probably 50 yards long and 3 ft wide. A similar line at SCGA would take 45 minutes. We know, we've waited. We were on in 8 minutes. Even the "jungle boat ride" was run by operators telling the inevitable lame jokes but with spirit and a sense of timing. Clearly, working here is a priviledge, not an obligation.
For the non-coaster goers, the park was very good. There were too many non-coaster rides for me to count, and most rides could be boarded immediately or after one round. There were 4 kiddie areas which meant that the parent on duty was not thoroughly bored after 1 hour. There also was a water park which James said was the best yet, though Martha is baffled how/why he could say that. Half of the park had a great big beach where one could hang out on Lake Erie.
As Martha put it, we're coming back when Sarah is bigger. The other two places about which she has said that are Disneyland and the Grand Hotel in Mackinac Island. It is an rarefied list which Cedar Point richly deserves inclusion.