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.
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.
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.