We woke up and were out just before nine on Sunday morning. Breakfast was had from Duncan Donuts, and because we were in an AirBnB south of Cedar Point, our drive to Kings Island was only around 3 hours. After getting close to the park we stopped at Burger King for Blake and Isaac to get some food. We were all hungry, but I had a meal plan so was planning on getting lunch in the park. I did cheat a bit and get a small hamburger though.
Pulling up to the park I immediately noticed that the parking lot wasn’t really full. This would be my first visit to Kings Island on a holiday weekend and I didn’t know how it would be. This was a good sign. We arrived just around 1pm and headed to the front gate. After getting thru the front gate I suggested we head straight back to Mystic Timbers in case the line was long, so we went straight back. To my delight and surprise, the line was short, maybe about 15 minutes, so after putting our stuff in a locker we got in line.
Mystic Timbers–I have to admit, when it was being built, I wasn’t impressed with the ride, but as people started to ride it last year it became clear that Mystic Timbers was a hit. I started to get excited about finding out for myself. And it definitely is a hit. The first drop reminds me of Thunderhead. There is airtime on the hill over the lift. Then the ride really hits its stride as you head out in to the woods with massive amounts of GCI airtime. It isn’t severe ejector air, but it is really good. Then you have the turnaround and tunnel which is also a lot of fun. The return trip is just as insane, and then of course you hit the shed. Now, I knew what was in the shed, obviously, and had heard mostly negative comments about how it just wasn’t what people expected. I honestly thought it was a clever trick for stopping on the brakes at the end of the ride, and wish more rides would do something like that. Overall, though Mystic Timbers is an amazing creation by GCI.
If you can’t find a way to go to Cedar Point during dead week, Memorial Day Weekend has proven to be a great time to head to Cedar Point and find moderate attendance and lighter lines. In the past four years I’ve spent 3 Memorial Day weekends at the park, and have had a great time on each visit. Even with the long drive from North Carolina to Sandusky, the trip is worth it to visit America’s Roller Coast, and having followed the transformation of Mean Streak into Steel Vengeance over the last 2 years, I was determined to get to the park this year to ride. My friends Isaac and Blake joined in, and on Friday morning we headed north.
Isaac found a nice AirBnB about 30 minutes south of the park and, after stopping off there to drop off our stuff and freshen up, we made our way onto the peninsula. We parked in the Cedar Point Shores parking lot since the Magnum lot was closed, and headed in to meet up with Bryan Bird. After introductions and salutations, we walked towards Dragster, which was testing after being closed. The line opened as we walked by, so we quickly got into the queue as the wait wouldn’t be this short all weekend most likely.
Dragster is always a great experience, even if it isn’t a great coaster. We waited about 35 minutes or so to ride near the back of the train. Dragster always makes me anxious because of that launch. This was Blake’s first time at the park and first time on anything like this. As always, the launch was super fast and intense and I really still like Dragster as a ride. This was our only ride all weekend because it was being cranky both days.
Sunday morning was gloomy, with rain and clouds. I checked the forecast, realized that the rain that was being called for in Cincy was likely to come and stay for a bit, then drifted off back to sleep as Isaac went down for breakfast, a shower, and a bunch of other stuff before I finally woke up to discuss what we were going to do. The original plan was go to Kings Island and stay in the Cincy area and then do Coney Island and Strickers Grove on Monday before coming home. But this weather was not cooperating.
I don’t really remember what time I finally woke up, but it was still morning. We got ready, I headed down and did the breakfast thing as well, we checked out, and after having discussed options, we headed to Kings Island after all. I figured that a light rain would keep people away and as long as there was no thunder storms, which weren’t on the forecast until maybe one around 1pm, or 4pm, or 6pm we should be fine for a couple of hours.
We did stop at a Kmart that just happened to be going out of business because although both of us had considered bringing a hoody, neither of us did. Thank goodness for 60% off at the closing Kmart. I even got a decent pair of new work shoes for cheap. Score!
We arrived at Kings Island around 1 PM. Isaac had forgot to bring his Platinum Pass, so we headed to guest services, then to the nearly empty season pass office for him to get a pass for the day. The parking lot was not far from empty, the clouds and a light rain would come in and out for most of the day. We headed in to the park hoping for a light attendance day.
Hungry for lunch, we ate at Skyline Chili on Main Street. It was my first time. Meh. I don’t get it. My Icee was good, though! Our first ride of the day? Banshee!
Banshee–I hadn’t seen it run, but finally we saw a train on the course as we headed over. Would it live up to the hype? We got in line for the front with only a 3 train wait and they were running, and stacking, all three. I figure they planned on a busy day, but for the rain. I love the new trains. The restraints are great. That lift is steep and fast. And that drop! Inversion! Loop! Zero G! Inversions! Sloooowwwww Inversion! Snappy snap up to the brakes! Oh! My! Gawsh! I loved it! Banshee is a winner from drop to brakes, and my new favorite inverted coaster. The lack of midcourse brakes really made a difference, and even though I could ride it all day, it was intense, but not draining. We ran around and got a back seat ride. Another thing I like about the new trains is that if you’re on the outside seat, you have a barely obstructed view. And, surprisingly, the best seat on Banshee was not the front as is the case for most inverts, but the back! We rode once more later in the day in the front, but several more in the back. I loved it. The slowdown in the back during elements was great. Amazing. Fantastic. Five Stars!
Whew. So we walked over and saw that Invertigo was closed. I figured it would be down all day, actually. Isaac ran out to the car to change shoes and I sat near the entrance. Next we went back and rode Diamondback. I love Diamondback. We rode in the front of the train and, as usual, it was a great ride. However, as we were on the brake run we were informed by the people behind us that Isaac’s keys had come unclipped from his shorts and went flying. This was a bit of a problem as he’d just got a new car, and his other key was back in NC…
We rode the ride again to see if we could see the keys around the 2nd hill which was where we we’re told they came out. Then we walked over and looked, then rode the train under the ride to look. While we didn’t see his keys, what I did see was clearing out for the new ride for 2017. We spent most of the rest of the train ride seeing what our options for getting a key were on a holiday weekend in Ohio. Unfortunately, and I’ll keep the boring parts short, everything was a dead end until Tuesday when every dealer’s parts department opened back up. Bummer. Isaac did what he could to report it and all, but they never found his keys. It was a damper for sure, but we went on about our day for the time being as we weren’t going to be able to leave the park anyway.
With no leads on getting a new key we went to back to the Beast. I always get lost going to the entrance the first time on every single visit. The ride was running well, but the trims were hitting pretty hard. What I love about Beast is the speed thru the woods and the out of control feeling. We rode in the front. Not the best Beast ride ever, but not a bad ride at all.
I think we rode Diamondback again after that, and then headed back up for more Banshee rides. We also hit up Delirium which seemed to have been running a very short cycle, but it was still great. We got more Banshee rides in as well. Then we went to The Bat. It looked much better with the new paint and name, and the logo was much better. The ride was still the same. Fun, but nothing amazing.
For the 2016 season Carowinds had debuted Cirque Imagine. I’d yet to catch the show at Carowinds but I knew it came from Kings Island, and this year they’d debuted Cirque Origin. I wanted to see it while we were here so we went to the 5 PM showing. It was a really good show. It was the perfect non-corny show for a large regional theme park. I was even more excited to see the show at Carowinds.
After the show we rode one side of Racer. It was running okay. We came back to the other side later, but not before heading to Flight of Fear and some other rides first. I have to say, after having been to Kings Dominion earlier in the year and riding both Flight of Fear & Stunt Track there, Kings Island keeps both in much better condition with most, if not all of the effects in working order. Also, Kings Dominion turned most of Flight of Fear’s queue into a haunt space, which is fine, but now it looks terrible, dusty, and old in the ride’s indoor queue and station. Kings Islands looked very nice.
Flight of Fear was running well. Sadly the MCBR was on full force. Last time I’d ridden it it was not. But still, the ride was a lot of fun. We were going to ride Firehawk, but the line was too long, so we skipped it.
I think this was when we hit up Stunt Track. It’s a fun coaster, but I kind of wish, because of the placement of it in Kings Island, that they’d removed the theming and re-theme it. Nothing spectacular, just remove all of those shipping containers and add in some rock work and landscaping maybe. It was still a fun family coaster. Its just that its so out of place now that the parks aren’t movie themed parks.
Next up was Vortex. I’d not ridden it in a few years, but was hopeful, as Anaconda was running really, really well earlier in the year. Vortex, though, was painful. Maybe new trains with better restraints would be a nice fit, but neither Isaac nor myself enjoyed the ride. Up next was Windseeker. After that, we sat around and rested for a bit. I didn’t realize the pad for Flight Commander was still there. I wish they had that ride still, but I understand why it is gone.
Evening was setting in. I think this was around the time we hit Racer’s other side before more Diamondback rides, where Isaac had been instructed to see if they’d found his keys during the 5 PM walk of the track. They didn’t, and we weren’t counting on it. At this point, it was starting to get dark so we headed over to The Beast for a really great night ride. I love the ride but, MAN! Those night rides are not to be missed!
I think we may have ridden Diamondback once more but I don’t remember. I do know we went and caught nite rides on Banshee, and that was as amazing as expected. Every ride, it cemented Banshee’s position as my new favorite invert, and a high place in my personal ranking.
We headed back up front and spoke to Lost and Found and Guest Services again. Previously, a girl at guest services said that they didn’t offer any services to break in to locked cars, but when we went back the first thing we were told was that security could break right in. It took a few attempts, but the girl in security did a great job and we got in the car to get our stuff.
We packed up and went to the pickup area to Uber over to the Marriott down the way from Kings Island. We woke up and had breakfast the next morning, then Ubered to the airport for Isaac to rent a car so that we could head home and he could pick up his extra car key, drive back to Ohio, get a few more rides in since, hey, his car was already at Kings Island, and then drive home.
We didn’t make it to Strickers or Coney, but I’ll get there one day.
Another year, another Memorial Day trip to Cedar Point. I’m not quite sure how this became an annual thing, and I hadn’t planned on going in 2017, but here it was. My friend Isaac and I left North Carolina on Friday and headed Sandusky, OH. He hadn’t been in many years, but used to work at the park and was excited to return. We arrived in Huron and checked into our room around 7:30 PM, then headed over to the park. Our first stop was Magnum.
Magnum is still one of my favorite coasters. On my previous visit the year before, at the end of the nite I finally got Magnum rides in the dark with the trims off. I’d never experienced that before. But…our first ride of this trip was fairly dark and trimless in the infamous seat 1-3. The ride is brutal, but so much fun. I don’t expect trimless rides, but I’m glad when I get them. We met up with Josh Wozny at the exit and made our way over towards Valravn. After a really great ride on Blue Streak near the back we met up with his girls and got in line for Valravn.
Valravn–This ended up being our only ride on the coaster for the whole weekend, and it was only a 30 minute wait. I was somewhat vocal on how ‘meh’ I felt about this addition. Honestly, I was more excited about the fact that the park was revamping the entrance and area around the ride. I’d ridden Griffon a few weeks prior. So how was Valravn? It was fun. We sat in the second row and I can say that it is probably the most forceful of the 3 US dive coasters I’d ridden. The zero G roll was really good, and you get great views of the park from the top of the lift. Its the best layout for a dive coaster I’d ridden, and its obviously a great addition to the park. But for me, I’m still ‘meh’ about the coaster. I think the renovation of the area around it looks great.
After Valravn we headed back to the hotel. The next morning we woke up and headed to the park, arriving as they were letting in Season Pass holders. After the National Anthem we headed in to Gatekeeper first. I’m not sure why people don’t care for that ride. I think it’s a fun coaster. It was a one train wait for the front on the right side. Isaac really liked it. So then we went and rode towards the middle of the left side. We actually stopped about half way up the lift on our first ride.
Next up we walked back to see what else had opened and rode Millennium Force, which was Isaac’s 3rd giga coaster in about a month. We got the second row with minimal wait. The ride was running slightly rougher than I’d seen in the past, but still very fun.
Cedar Point was really fairly dead. We wanted to ride Gemini but it hadn’t open yet. Actually, most of the rides in the park were up and down all day. I will say, I loved the new app with waiting times. Very useful. We ended up riding Maverick instead. I always like Maverick. The ride is almost perfect.
Up next we rode Mean Streak, then Sky Hawk which I had not ridden in a few years as it was down every time I was there. Then we headed to a short wait for Dragster. I’d never seen such a short wait for this ride outside of ERT before, but TTD never had more than about a 30 minute wait all day. Next we rode the shot side of Power tower, then over to Rougaru. It is actually one of the better floorless coasters, which is funny since it was such a terrible stand-up coaster. Isaac was excited about this one because he hadn’t liked Mantis very much.
Heading out of the park for lunch, we walked over to Breakers to search for a place to eat which we readily found at TGIFridays. My burger and drink were good and it was nice to take a break and hang out for a bit outside of the park. I really do need to head up to CP for a weekend at the Breakers in the next couple of years, as what they’ve done with it is just amazing.
We walked along the beach and went over to the shore for a bit before heading in to ride Windseeker. Next up was Wicked Twister, which, while I was able to ride this time last year, I was denied on this year. Hey, that’s what happens when you sit around post surgery and eat. Following Isaac’s ride we headed to MaxAir which, up until this trip, had been my favorite swinging pendulum ride. It is still amazing, and placed wonderfully in the park. We headed back out of the park for a while again for some downtime which was a nice chance to chill, and before long a storm rolled in off the lake. After the storm passed we headed back into the park for more riding.
Raptor was up next but then the rain came back. We headed to my car and drove back around to Breakers again where we went and had some drinks until the downpour finally stopped and we went back into the park. We found out that the Brews & BBQ event was cancelled, which was a bummer because that was going to be our dinner. Oh well. We did eventually get to ride Raptor, and had dinner at Famous Daves before going back in and hitting up Gemini, Iron Dragon, and then TTD again.
It was getting late, so we were trying to decide on a last ride. But every time we chose something, it seemed to close. Valravn had another short wait, but the ride went down just as we got in line. We opted for a night ride on Millennium Force instead. Once the park was closed we headed back out and left Sandusky for Isaac’s parent’s house for the night.
On Saturday we got up early and after some motel issues we were off to the park. After stopping for some breakfast at McDonalds we headed down the causeway. After parking back by Gemini we headed into the park which wasn’t actually open yet except to Platinum Passholders and hotel guests. Walking down a mostly empty Gemini Midway in the early morning was nice. And we had a great day ahead of us with Fast Lane. We headed over to Maverick to see about getting in line once the park opened, but because I had a Platinum Pass, they let us both get in line for the ride.
Maverick–The wait was maybe 15 minutes. I’d never had a front seat ride on Maverick that I could remember, so we got in line for the front. First the obvious, the new restrains were really comfy. My love for Maverick never waivers. That first drop really was great and the airtime was amazing. I felt the ride was running a bit slow on this trip, but that’s okay. I missed the lights in the tunnel launch. But it was still such a well rounded ride and I wish there were more rides like this in the states. It seems like if parks aren’t interested in Intamin that Mack can make something just as good.
Next we were going to keep the magic going by heading to Millennium Force, but it was stuck on the lift for quite a while. We had Fast Lane, so we knew we could come back later so we headed front entrance so that Doug could see the rest of the massive park by way of the Sky Ride. There were tons of school bands in the park performing, which was also nice. We took pictures and then headed out the front gate for more pictures. There was such a shift in people flow now that the front gate had been renovated and it was so much better, and way more photogenic. We headed back in and used Fast Lane for Gatekeeper.
I was just at Cedar Point in 2013 for my first ever Coastermania event. I didn’t expect I’d be going back again so soon as I rarely get to visit one of my favorite parks being that it is such a long drive. When they announced the conversion of Mantis to Rougarou I knew I wanted to get back, because I really hated Mantis. And with Maverick’s new restraints it was just too tempting. Then the stars aligned, I asked another coaster geek if he wanted to go, and since this would be his first visit and I tacked a few other parks on to sweeten the deal, and viola, we had a trip planned. Doug got to my house just before 6 AM on Friday, May 22, and off we were on our 9 hour drive to Sandusky.
This was the first time I’d actually made the drive with someone else, which was nice because I had someone to talk to. Somewhere in West Virginia I stopped and introduced Doug to the amazingness that is Tudor’s Biscuit World. It was so worth it. Then, around 4 PM we finally arrived in Sandusky. We had to make a few stops as I needed a new battery for my camera. I’d planned on getting a newer, better camera, but for now, this was what I had so we stopped and I picked up one of Kodak’s stupid proprietary camera batteries for $40 (and they wonder why they went bankrupt).
Then I realized that I forgot to grab a memory card, so we went from the battery store (yes, we went to a battery store) to Target where I picked up a $10 8GB card. Afterwards, we checked in to our motel for the next two nights. Disclaimer: Never stay at the Roadway Inn in Sandusky. Never book below a 3 star room on Hotwire. Even if the reviews are good. Anyway. We headed over to the park. It was a little chilly and honestly I wish I’d packed a hoodie, but I didn’t. Doug, on the other hand, brought his brand new warm hoodie with him. I knew the breeze on the lake would be cold. Oh well. We got to Cedar Point just before 5 PM.
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.
My first visit to Kings Island was in 1994 on a disastrous school trip that caused me to miss riding both The Beast and Vortex. My 2nd visit was a decade later. While it was much better, I walked away that evening in pain because I’d walked and stood so much. I’d tried to get back to Kings Island a couple of times, once on a trip in which I ended up in the hospital in Columbus due to kidney stones and a bruised kidney (thanks Magnum). Since I was going to Holiwood Nights I figured this would be the closest I’d be to the park for a while, so why not?
Sunday morning I woke up after everyone else and got ready. Since we all drove separately I left 2nd and was about 30 minutes behind Rob. Thankfully Rob called and texted me and the others about parts of I71 North being closed off for construction. I was able to tell him the detour and a couple of hours later we met up at a park and ride near the park, since Rob didn’t have a Platinum Pass and I did, so that no one had to pay for parking.
The parking lot was quite full and people were pouring in by the minute. I asked the gate attendant where season pass parking was and she told me to go left and I would see it. Eventually I saw the preferred parking lot, so I pulled in and asked if my pass covered that and the gentleman at the gate let me in. We were just a few steps from the entrance. I love Platinum Passes, especially the last 2 weeks with Kings Dominion and Kings Island letting me park so close.
John decided to go in to work late Tuesday morning. After I woke up I got ready and headed out, thanking him for putting me up for the nite. It was about a 50 minute drive to Cedar Point and I needed to stop by a store to get some ginger pills and more disposable cameras, since I didn’t have a digital camera on this trip. I arrived at Cedar Point around 11 AM and headed back to the Gemini parking lot and thru the Magnum gate. Upon getting into Sandusky, though, it had started to sprinkle a bit, and there were calls for a 70% chance of thunder storms all day.
I looked at the Dragster line and decided to skip since it was just a bit longer than I’d wanted to wait. I instead went to Power Tower to ride the Power Drop side. As I’d said previously, I wasn’t overly impressed the nite before with the Power Shot side, so how would this one be?
Power Tower-Wow! The drop side had a longer line because its better! I wasn’t expecting much. I don’t know why the S&S Towers don’t scare me like the Intamin towers. And that drop was really good. Not better than an Intamin, but just as good as Supreme Scream at Knott’s. I liked it. Plus there is some decent airtime on the bouncing after the drop.
My drive from Geauga Lake to Cedar Point was much easier than 2004. I didn’t get lost and was more familiar with the route. Cedar Point came in to view in the distance when I wasn’t expecting it, and I got excited. I passed by my turn not realizing it, turned around, and and headed to the causeway. Driving down the causeway, I always have a National Lampoons moment seeing the exaggerated skyline. Oh, and that hump on the causeway over the water still provides some great air. I missed that.
I made sure to get a park map, unlike on my previous visit. I skipped parking in the main parking lot and went around to the Gemini lot. I wish I’d known about on my previous visit as it is close to a back entrance. I parked, got my stuff, and headed for the Magnum Gate. I’d heard recently that having another park pass causes issues at this gate, but I didn’t have any problems. I just went inside at the ticket booth, they looked at the pass, typed in the number, had me sign and mark which park it was from, and then let me in. No worries & no wait.
After I made it inside I decided to check the line for Top Thrill Dragster. This was my first ride on my last trip, and I know how lines for it can be, so I wanted to ride it early if I got the chance. I stopped by the gift shop and purchased a $2 strap for my glasses as I couldn’t find the one I’d purchased on my last visit. Dragster was launching consistently and the line looked to be an hour or less, so I got in line.