June 6, 2013
Coaster Mania 2013
I’d never been to Coastermania. Every year I thought about going but it often conflicts with Holiwood Nights, which I usually went to every other year or so, and then in the ‘off’ years for that, I’d usually been busy around that time doing other things. In 2013 I planned for Coastermania though, because I really like Cedar Point, and I wanted to ride Gatekeeper.
Because of things that couldn’t be helped I left work 2 hours later than I’d wanted to on Thursday evening, leaving the Charlotte area around 6 PM. The drive to Huron, where I had a room, was long. Really long. And it just felt like it was never ending. Getting stuck in roadwork and traffic at different times didn’t help at all. Eventually, though, I made my way up to northern Ohio and got to the motel around 2:30 in the morning. I usually use Hotwire to reserve a room and always get a decent deal, but rooms for Sandusky were quite a bit higher than I wanted to pay for, especially for the star ratings available. I ended up booking $49 at Motel 6 only because I’d heard it was clean and close. It was. In fact, it seems Motel 6 was renovating its rooms and going for a more post-modern, minimalistic approach. Wood floor laminate, white and orange walls, IKEA looking furniture, and it was all very clean.
Having only been able to sleep for about 4 hours before waking up and checking out, I sleepily stopping by McDonald’s for breakfast on the way to the park. The forecast kept calling for sunny skies and 80 degree weather. Well we were in deep fog and it was maybe in the 50s.
I always get that ‘Griswold’ feeling pulling up to Cedar Point. Its one of the only really exaggerated skylines at an amusement park out there, and far more exaggerated than the real Wally World, Six Flags Magic Mountain. After parking near the front gate I headed in. I should have at least grabbed the thin rain jacket I had because it was cold and I had dressed so that I was in a very thin shirt and shorts, as the forecast was calling for warmer weather. When I got to the registration tables they gave me a lanyard but they’d ran out of schedule cards and I headed into the park.
The new entrance was phenomenal. I loved it. Even if Gatekeeper didn’t roll over the entrance twice, it looked so much better. And of course, there were a multitude of muffleheads. I headed straight to Gatekeeper. That was probably a mistake. The line swelled as several people were in line, and many more were just arriving. I ended up waiting for almost an hour. As I was nearing the top of the steps to the station, I noticed the people I was looking for getting off and heading back thru the park, so I texted them and got in line for the second row on the left hand side.
Gatekeeper–I had low expectations for Wild Eagle at Dollywoo, and it was really good, so I would have been happy if this was just as good. While it was apparently running a bit slow, I thought it was fantastic. The first twist and dive was really great, and the next inversion was disorienting. I can imagine there would be more airtime on the hill if it weren’t running slow in the colder weather. The corkscrew was large and disorienting as well. Going over the entrance was nice and there was airtime in the zero G roll. The rest of the ride, while not intense, was a lot of fun. The MCBR doesn’t slow the ride down at all from what I could tell. Then you have a couple hops and hit the brake run. Cedar Point had another winner on their hands, but one that will leave a larger legacy as the park’s banner coaster at the front gate for many years to come.
Bryan, Craig, Casey, and Gage were heading back to Millennium Force, so that was where I headed to next for ERT. I got there and the line was just past the ramp going into the station. It was maybe a 20 minute wait, and I saw the guys waiting for the back seat. I got on the train near the middle and ended up on their train, so that was great timing.
Millennium Force–Many people complain about this ride, but I still liked it. It’s not the best ever, but it was a lot of fun. Plus, I really like speed. The first drop was amazing, and the 2 hills on and off the island have some decent airtime. The overbanked turns are quite good as well. This was the first time, however, that I actually got airtime on the small hill near the station. I was surprised. After we got off, we got right back on for seconds. I saw a Coasterbuzzer running the ride in the exit area, Danthecoasterman. Granted, by this point, I had seen several other Buzzers and people I hadn’t seen in a while.
Bryan was going in to work, but we talked him into a quick Blue Streak ride. There was barely any line to speak of. ERT was nearing its end, so it was good that we were close to the front. After a quick wait, we were on near the back of the train.
Blue Streak–I’ve always loved this ride, but today it was giving killer airtime on every hill. Almost Phoenix like. We had an axel seat, but it was still running well. There wasn’t much to say other than I was up out of my seat on every single hill on the ride. I wish I’d rode more during the day, but never got back around to it.
By this point the park was open and Bryan had to head to work. Craig, the kids, and I headed over to Raptor for a quick spin before the line for it got too long.
Raptor–I’d never ridden in the back of this before. I usually hit new invert credits or ones that I don’t ride much in the front, but the back seat ride was really good. I couldn’t see anything, and because I’m not familiar with the ride, didn’t know what was coming next. We breezed thru the MCBR on this one as well. Raptor is still fast and fun. Intense, but not Batman crazy.
Craig wanted to try another round on Gatekeeper. The line was about a 20 minute wait, so we got in line. Little did we know they would be adding the third train (which they should have done during ERT), so our 20 minutes ended up being an hour. And nearly the entire queue filled up behind us. We rode on the right hand side, near the back this time. And the ride was still really good.
Thankfully Windseeker was up so I hopped on that with Craig, for a total of 4/5 going for Windseeker rides vs. spottings (Darn you Knott’s!). And boy was it COLD! After that we headed over to Cedar Downs, something I’d never ridden but always wanted to. I’m not sure how I missed it. It was really a lot of fun! After that we headed over to another ride I’d not ridden at the Point, Dodgems. And when someone yells out as the ride is starting for everyone to go after the guy in the grey shirt (me), you know it’s going to be a fun time. I did hurt my knee in a double head-on collision, but it was worth it.
We headed back towards Gemini next, stopping for a ride on the Monster on the way. I’m not into really spinny rides as it tends to make me sick. Casey and I got the most spins on the ride in our tub. It wasn’t bad, and I was just a tad nauseous, but that went away quickly. So we headed over to Gemini.
Gemini–Casey and I rode in the left train first and lost. Not much hand slapping going on. I love Gemini, though. It has lots of airtime and a fun atmosphere while riding. Arrow should have cloned this more than their standard corkscrew. For our second ride, Casey and I got in the right train and we won by a mile, but there was no hand slapping on this go round, as the other train never had a chance to catch up.
So after Gemini we headed back to the front for lunch. The line to get the really awesome jackets they gave us was long, but oh well. The jacket was a welcome gift, especially with how cool it was. And lunch was good. I had 2 pulled pork BBQ sandwiches, a bratwurst, some type of red sauce pasta that was good, potato salad, green beans, pasta salad, and a cookie. It was nice seeing some more people I don’t often get to see as well. After lunch we walked out to the cars for a quick trip to pick up and drop off stuff. Thankfully Craig and I were parked close to each other. I got my camera while I was out there. Once we were back in the park we headed back to Magnum which had very little wait.
Magnum XL 200–This ride still has great airtime after all this time. On my last trip Magnum caused a bruised kidney and a kidney stone to become dislodged. This trip was far more enjoyable. I just pulled the seatbelt as tight as I could and rode in the hopes that the trim wouldn’t yank me down in my seat like last time. The first drop and few hills are still chock full of airtime, and the last run back to the station barely gave you a chance to breathe. I love Magnum.
We walked over to Maverick but the line was too long. Mean Streak had a 45 minute wait and there was no way we were doing that. So we rode the Mine Train next.
Cedar Creek Mine Ride–I usually don’t like mine rides outside of Disney and Georgia, but CCMR was running well. I really enjoyed it. We rode in the middle of the train, and I actually got some airtime and decent laterals during the ride.
Unfortunately Skyhawk was down, and it was too cold to ride Shoot the Rapids or any other water ride. So instead we rode the train for a full circle around the park, but not before a bathroom break and a chance for me to go in to Town Hall. I love trains in parks. I love trains period. We rode back up to the front and decided it was time for a break from the park. Craig and the kids went to their hotel room, and I went to my car for a nap. I woke up after an hour to look at the clock and realized I still had 30 minutes so I napped some more. Then Bryan texted me as he had arrived back at the park. I headed back in to meet him and we went over to look at the line for Gatekeeper, which was too long. So we got in line for MaxAir instead.
MaxAir-This was the best cycle I’d ever gotten on any frisbee type ride. We hit the apex of every swing. It was amazing. I think we had a 2 cycle wait, but the cycles run kind of longer than you’d expect. I’m not sure why these don’t make me sick, but I love them. They scare the beejeezuz out of me, but I love them.
Wicked Twister had no real wait so we went over and got in line for the back seat, only for me to get denied. Weird. Last time I was at the Point, I was about 20-30 pounds heavier and I had no issues on anything else, but the guy came over without really trying and told me I couldn’t ride. Okay. Some other guy there for Mania was kicked off too and he said the same thing, that he’d never been kicked off the ride. I’m just glad I hadn’t actually waited in line. Oh well.
So after Bryan got off we went to the Ferris wheel. I got some decent views, but no really decent pictures since the sun and sky didn’t cooperate all day. As we were getting off Josh texted me and he and Heather were at the park. They got their jackets and met us at the Ferris Wheel. We ended up going to get food first (Mmm…cheese on a stick). We did get a Dragster ride and met back up with Craig and the kids.
Top Thrill Dragster–I’ve always said that Dragster is a great thrill ride and a terrible coaster. You launch. 120mph. Go up, come down, you’re done. That’s that.
Josh, Bryan, Heather, and I decided to go get seats for Luminosity and have a drink while everyone else was riding. We hung around the stage for a bit. The small selection of beer and wine they had was actually pretty decent, and the prices weren’t bad either for a park. I expected getting a Bud Lite Lime for like $9. Instead I got a Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Stout for $6.25.
So, Luminosity. It was really great. They came out and pumped the crowd up before the show. And the show was fantastic with live percussion, decent to good vocals and the though the choreography wasn’t as tight or as on point as a Janet or Madonna concert, but still good. The music selection was mostly current pop and very well done. The light show (including pyro!) was really good. The ending, with the DJ rising up out of the stage to transition to the dance party was nice, and the dance party with the DJ above the stage was great.
Since the park was closing we headed back to Maverick for some nite rides. When the ERT line opened, we waited maybe 20 minutes a piece for 2 rides.
Maverick–The first drop was great, but better in the back. I loved the ride, even if it beats my ears a little. The hills all had airtime, the inversions were butter smooth, the Stengle Dives are great, and that launch in the tunnel was fantastic. Why aren’t other parks building similar rides?!
We toyed with a Mean Streak ride, but nobody wanted to so we rode Mine Ride in the dark, and it was fun. Sadly, though, we missed nite time Gemini rides. So we headed over to Magnum for a couple rides and then Dragster for a couple rides before calling it a nite. Overall, Coastermania was fun. Obviously, don’t go in to it expecting a ton of ERT as there can be 2000+ in attendance. But Cedar Point put on a good show for those there. Besides, I go to most events to see people and get some rides in, and that’s what I did. I left the park a little before 12:30 AM and headed to my next stop, an overniter in Cleveland.