Amusement parks, theme parks, ride photography

Cedar Point Trip report, 2007

I’ve been visiting amusement parks/theme parks and fairgrounds for a number of years now and like the majority of coaster/park fans in the UK the American shores have always been a place to look forward to visiting.

Putting aside the obvious Disney and Universal parks second on the list for me has always been Cedar Point, they claim its the “Best amusement park in the world”. Boasting 17 coasters and a wealth of other rides plus of course the sun shine and with the pound/dollar rates in our favour at the moment there has never been a better time to visit.

I’ll do this trip report by covering the rides and park first and then the travel details like Flights, Hotel, Car hire etc later. Most of the details will be aimed at UK visitors planning to take a trip to Cedar Point. All the information listed in the travel options are genuine questions that I had before visiting the park. Hopefully any questions any future visitors have will be answered below, if not register a comment or send me an email and I will update it.

Cedar Point the park.

The first thing you notice about this park is the sheer size of it, the park is huge and is very flat.

The park isnt themed as such, they have tried in a few areas for example Maverick is themed on the wild west and top thrill dragster is themed on a drag racing track complete with Grandstand. The rest of the park is just rides, rides and more rides.

Food/drinks in the park.

Theres pretty much everything you could think of available in the park from sit down diners to hotdogs, burgers. You definately wont go hungry visiting Cedar Point.

Merchandise.

Cedar Point seem to have the right idea when it comes to merchandising. Almost every ride has a t-shirt shop next to it. Most rides are available on t-shirts, fleeces, hoodies, ash trays, cups and basically anything you can stamp an image on. Most standard t-shirts are about $10 a little over £5, hoodies are $30 and Jackets about $30-$40 its extremely good value for money. The park clothes we brought back havent faded and all seem to be decent quality. I also brought back some teddys for the kids, these were about £4 each compared to £12-£13 you would pay at places Alton Towers for a similar size.

Smoking.

Smoking at Cedar Point is allowed in designated smoking areas only, although most of the locals seem to ignore this and it was quite common to see people smoking in queue lines. The park has a handful of designated smoking areas and you can normally smell them before you reach them. They are all covered on the park map and shouldnt be a problem to find.

Park Tickets.

If you book a package through one of the on site hotels two one 2 day tickets and 2 night tickets are included, you can also buy tickets from hotel receptions which are $32 each a saving of about $10 on the gate price. Night tickets allow admission after 5pm.

Early Park Admission.

As a hotel guest you are allowed to enter the park at 9am, the nearest entrance from breakers is about 200 metres, just follow the crowds. Guests typically queue from about 8:30/8:40, once it hits 9am the national anthem plays and the gates are open. During our visit there was a bit of a rush to get over to Maverick, usually dads and kids the mums lag behind carrying the days essentials. For our visit in June about 4 or 5 rides are availalbe for early riding before the parks main entrance opens. If you stay at Breakers a sandwich board displaying the rides open early is located in reception. Even though you get into the park early be prepared for some queues.

Ok lets look at the rides.

Ill start with the coasters, i wont go into any depth anyone who is interested in visiting the park will probably know about these anyway.

Maverick.

The newest of the 17 coasters at Cedar Point. At a cost of 21m USD Maverick was opened in 2007. Built by Intamin Maverick is 4450ft in length, has a 105ft first drop with a 95 degree angle and travels at speeds upto 70mph.

This is a fantastic coaster the launch up the the lift hill isnt as fast as it looks but once at the top the fun really starts.

Dropping down a 95 degree drop into a fast and speedy compact track, hugging the ground. Just when you think the fun is over your enter the tunnel for the second of the launches, its fantastic I dont know what else to say.

Some people complained they were getting battered about in the restraints but I felt fine. Im a short 5ft 4 large built bloke and didn’t have any discomfort.

I cant rave enough about this ride the amount of airtime on the hills and the ground hugging track really go to show you dont have to build the biggest to have a fantastic coaster.

Loading and unloading of trains is done in a really efficient way (2 at a time).

They also have a single rider queue but this doesnt become apparent until you are 20ft from the ride platform.

Top Thrill Dragster.

Built in 2003 by Intamin and costing 25m USD Top Thrill Dragster boasts an impressive 120mph (in 4 seconds) launch speed and a height of 420ft.

it cant fail to impresses. Its quite a comfortable ride and the view from the top of the tower over the park is amazing, the ride literally lasts about 20 seconds from start until finish.

As you go over the top and start down the 400ft drop you really come out of your seat and the ground seems to rush towards you. We rode on most seats and found them all equally as impressive.

Launching.

Over the top.

400ft Drop down.

Back into the station.

When we visited the park they seemed to be running about 5 trains and loading/unloading is done really quickly. Its worth remembering they dont have any bins for storage on this ride as you get off in a different part of the station, the staff encourage people to put hats etc down their tops.

A shot at dusk.

Millennium force.

Built by Intamin at a cost of 25m USD and opened in the year 2000 Millennium force is classed as a Giga coaster as it reaches over 300ft high. The lift hill is 310ft high and the first drop is 300ft at an 80 degree angle, follow this up with a 182ft hill and 169ft hill plus a couple of tunnels and you have one hell of a coaster. The lift itself travels fairly quickly and feels like its getting faster as you approach the crest.

coming back into the station

Ride Car

One for the coaster guys

I found this a fantastic coaster, the amount of airtime over the hills is fabulous and the speed going into tunnels is equally as good. The track is almost 6,660ft in length. The only downside is that during our stay we found the queues quite big and we waited an hour or more on all but one occasion.

Side of the station.

For me this was my favourite coaster at Cedar Point and I cant wait to ride it again. I’m not sure how many times we rode it but we did try allot of seat combinations.

Did I mention the crowds.

Magnum XL-200.

Built by Arrow at a cost of 8m USD and opened in 1989 Magnum is 205ft in height and has a top speed of 72mph. The first drop is 194ft and you get a great view of the lake when your riding, It has a few tunnels and some great bunny hills when going back into the station. I heard allot of stories about this coaster been rough but personally me and the guy I was riding with found it to be a great comfortable ride.

The queues werent too bad either. Loading is a bit of a free for all as people rush into the station but thats the only negative point about the ride I could find.

Raptor.

Built by B&M in 1994 at a cost of 11.5m USD Raptor is a inverted coaster.

I found this similar to Nemesis Inferno at Thorpe minus a couple of elements (Coaster guys please dont email about this :-)). The ride itself is comfortable and the back seats can become a bit intense on the final elements before coming back into the station. Track length is 3790ft, with a 137ft height and 119ft drop. The rides top speed is 57mph.

This ride offers an on ride video experience via some small cameras bolted in between the seats in front of you. The video quality is pretty good but I didnt stop to buy a video unfortunately.

Mantis.

The parks only standup coaster. Built by B&M in 1996 at a cost of 12m USD.

Mantis is 3900ft in length and has a top speed of 60mph. Mantis has a huge 119ft loop that you enter just after the first drop which is 137ft.

119ft loop

I got knocked about on this a fair bit and had a terribly sore ear that evening from been banged into the restraints.

Diving loop

A shot at dusk

I rode it again a couple more times during our visit and still cant rave about it, the diving loop at 103ft is great though ;-).

Wicked Twister.

Built by Intamin in 2002 Wicked twister is classed by as a twisted impulse coaster. It has a height of 205ft and a top speed of 72mph.

Inside the station.

Close up of the wheels :-)

I found this a great ride and really looked forward to riding it, going backwards at 70mph and up a 200ft hill vertically is pretty cool.

Disaster Transport.

This is a coaster that was once in the open air, but changed to been enclosed into a huge building in 1990. The theme is supposed to me a city in disaster, i found this an awful ride with hardly nothing to see and just spent the 2 minutes looking into the darkness. From what I had read about it I expected lasers, huge screens with projected images and got nothing of that. I was very disappointed with this ride im just glad I didnt have to queue for it. The queue line is the strangest I have ever seen, most of it is dark with luminous writing on walls im sure you could get a headache if you had to queue for any length of time.

Blue Streak.

Blue streak is the parks oldest coaster built in 1964 by PTC. The coaster is a traditional woodie and it over 2500ft in length with a top speed of 40mph. For its age and having ridden other woodies I found this really smooth. It runs along the perimeter of the park and each time we went passed it never had much of a queue.

Mean Streak.

Another of the parks woodies. Mean streak was built in 1991 by the Dinn corporation its 5427ft in length and has a 161ft height.

The coaster boasts a 65mph top speed and a 52 degree first drop. From the outside and in the queue lines this looks one impressive coaster and it was one I was really looking forward to riding.

Its a great ride but really does knock you about a bit.

Gemini.

The parks racing coaster. This is a wooden framed steel roller coaster and one of the smoothest coasters ive ever had the pleasure of riding on, its almost silent as it hurries round the 3935ft of track.

The park has operated Gemini since 1978. Top speed is 60mph and the height is 125ft. Although Gemini will struggle to impress customers as much as Milennium force or top thrill dragster is certainly worth the few minutes queue time. The added element of racing makes this a great ride.

Corkscrew.

Corkscrew has been operating at Cedar point since 1976. Its 2050ft in length has a top speed of 48mph a height of 85ft with two corkscrews and a loop. One suprising element of this coaster is the duel corkscrews.

They go right over the top of peoples heads as they walk underneath. If you stay at Breakers Corkscrew is just across the car park and its quite common to see the trains half full.

Iron Dragon.

Iron Dragon buit in 1987 is one of a few suspended coasters in existance today. length is 2800ft and its top speed is 40mph.

Although this is a coaster Ive seen them referred to as monorails before, this doesn’t go fast, doesn’t have any airtime or fancy elements and well wasn’t that comfortable. It does offer a nice view of the park and this is enhanced by part of the ride been over water.

As you approach the water you go through clouds of mist, this wasn’t a bad and if you have a spare ten minutes to wait in line its worth riding.

Wild Cat.

Located just across from Iron Dragon is Wildcat a Schwarzkopf coaster thats been operating since 1978. I didn’t ride this so cant really comment. The ride trains are themed to look like cars. Wildcat is 50ft high and has a 1837ft length of track.

Cedar Creek mine ride.

The mine ride has been operating since 1969, Built by Arrow with a top speed of 42mph, its more a kiddie coaster than anything else. We rode this one evening when the park was about ready to close and found it pretty smooth without many thrills.

Additionally there are a couple of other coasters aimed mainly at children the Woodstock express and Jnr Gemini. I dont count ride credits and couldnt be bothered with them.

Ok, now for a look at some of the flat rides.

Power Tower.

Power tower is a drop tower built by S&S, the tower is split into 4 colums with each having a ride car on. Two ride cars go up slowly and drop you, the other 2 shoot you up. You decide on the car you want as you enter the ride. Im not a fan of these rides so we didnt ride it. The queues never seemed very large.

Demon Drop.
Text taken from Cedar Point website
Built in 1983, the Demon Drop at Cedar Point simulates a freefall from the top of a 10-story-tall building.

Passengers board four-person cars that move horizontally to the base of the 131-foot-tall tower. The car then ascends to the top of the tower in only six seconds. Once at the top, the car slowly inches forward into the drop area. Riders are suspended there for what seems like an eternity.

Then without warning, they plummet 60 feet in less than two seconds before entering a pull-out curve where a computerized braking system slowly stops the car. If you go around this area its fascinating to watch the trains unload after the drop. I cant explain it go see for yourself.

Maxair.

Max air located near wicked twister is a very impressive frisbee ride manufactured by huss.

it was introduced to the park in 2005

Skyhawk.

Located near Maverick Skyhawk is a swing ride from S&S power, similar to what we have over in the UK with Rush at Thorpe Park.

Chaos.

Introduced in 1997 Chaos manufactured by chance.

Cedar Downs.

Most people just walk past the Derby Racers. Anyone who has visited Blackpool with have no doubt rode these in the past.

The main difference is the Cedar Point ones have the racing element so the horses moved forwards and back as you are riding. I dont ever remember this happening at Blackpool although i have been assured it did.

Carousel.

The Cedar Point midway carousel is a traditional Carousel ride. Built in 1912, the Midway Carousel is one of the few Daniel Muller carousels in existence today. Its long history also makes it the oldest operating ride at Cedar Point.

Sky ride.

The sky ride is located on the midway towards the parks main entrance. This is Cedar Points very own cable car. Its not high or long but does give some impressive views of the park and midway.

Cedar Point and Lake Erie railroad.

The train operates from Mean Streak and does a stop near Milennium force before returning back to Mean Streak.

Dont forget to wave to the driver as he goes past ;-). The track is 2 miles in length and the ride/trip lasts 15 minutes.

Thunder Canyon.

This is the wettest rapids ride I have ever been on (Anyone from the UK think Valhalla but wetter), the ride starts of like any other rapids ride, the occasional bump as one of the riders gets a splash. Then you suddenly enter some cliffs and come up against this waterfall which literally soaks the boats and riders, if your lucky enough to miss the first one a second guarentee’s to cover you. When the boat come back into the station I looked down and the water in the bottom of the boat was already above my ankles. It was a welcome soaking to cool down from the 90 degree heat.

Snake River Falls

Made by Arrow this is a 80+ ft water flume ride. Unfortunately we planned to ride this straight after the rapids one afternoon and due to a technical fault the ride wasnt operating.

Other Rides

Loads of them, I havent included half of whats available at Cedar Point and I havent really covered anything for the younger children either. Regardless of age Cedar Point has something for everyone. For a complete list of attractions check out the Cedar Point website.

How to get to Cedar Point, a Guide for Brits.

Cedar Point is located in Sandusky, Ohio. From the UK there are a number of flight options. I checked out most of these and eventually settled on flying BMI (from Manchester) to Chicago with a change to United Airlines for the short 45 minute flight onto Cleveland (Hopkins) international Airport.

Flying times from the UK are about 8hrs 30minutes but these can be as much as 13 hours depending on how and who you fly with. Our flight was 8 1/2 hours with a 1 hour wait at Chicago for the connecting flight. Flights were booked through expedia and the whole process very straight forward.

These days you are issued with e-tickets. This is basically an email from expedia with your booking reference. Take this and your passport to the check in desk on arrival at the airport.

Flight costs.

Return flights for 2 with a convertible (it was upgraded) car was just under £1300. This was economy seating, which wasnt too bad you can upgrade at the time of booking. To be honest when I go again I probably will. Im only small 5′ 4″ and although I had enough legroom I couldnt really get comfortable in the seats. This was made worse by some inconsiderate passengers in front of us who were determined to get their seats so far back they would staple us in. Food/drink on the flight was as you would expect. Soft drinks were free for the duration although they only come round twice.

Car hire.

We hired a car through Hertz and booked via Expedia back in the UK.

We hired a convertible which was £28 per day on top of the normal car hire charge. To add an additional driver is $10 a day and you are allowed to go to different states. I couldn’t get an answer from Hertz customer services in the UK about driving through different states as some rental companies have this rule. I just mentioned it to Hertz when we arrived and they were happy with this.

All the car rental companies are in the same location at Cleveland, you get a shuttle bus from just outside the airport to the car hire area. Buses run all the time so dont expect to wait more than 5 minutes for one. The waiting areas for buses are clearly sign posted. Once they drop you off you go into a concourse style area and every car hire company has a desk, its quite painless.

From Cleveland its about 1hr in a car to Cedar Point and is quite straight forward to find as its all freeway. We took a sat nav device with us and didnt have a single problem. I’ve heard you can book these as part of a hire car package – it will save you allot of time if you do. If you are bringing your own sat nav from the UK check it covers the US before travelling. I used a tom tom 910 and as like the UK its advisable to remove this from the car when your leaving it for some time.

Visa or not to Visa.

This is a common question when visiting the United States, basically if you have a machine readable password (mine is and was renewed in 2005) then you dont need to get a visa before you travel. Once on the plane you are given two small forms to fill in.

The questions on these forms are typically what you would expect. Have you ever been refused entry to the US before?, do you have any links to terrorist organisations? that type of thing. It takes literally 5 minutes to fill in. Once you land you have to queue to see an immigration officer, this is a very formal chat, reason for entering the US, duration etc.

At this point your finger prints are taken and youre allowed in. One of the forms you fill in has a detachable bottom which is removed and stapled into your passport. This is removed once you go through security on your return flights. Remember to take a pen with you and have details of the hotel name and zip code youre staying at. We stayed in two hotels but they only wanted the details of the first one.

Please check with US immigration before travelling as this is only accurate in June/July 2007.

Hotels.

Theres a number of options outside the resort, most of them offer shuttle buses and discounted park tickets to get into Cedar Point. There’s also a number of options at the resort from Camping to the Hotel Breakers. We stayed in Hotel breakers which is right in the heart of the action and is only a 2 minutes walk to the park entrance. We choose breakers over all the other hotels purely based on location. There is a cheaper Hotel “Breakers express” which is located about 1/2 mile from the park entrance. To see a complete list of hotels in Cedar Point checkout the resort link at the bottom of this post.

Hotel Breakers.

The oldest hotel in the resort. Hotel Breakers is a very comfortable hotel located 2 minutes from the park entrance and 20 seconds from the beach. The hotel has Pizza Hut express, an Italian restaurant and TGI Fridays on site, as well as the usual amenities like pools, spa, general store and clothes shop. Its a very nice hotel with large rooms and a bonus for me was a park view. My room was classed as non view which basically means I dont get to see the lake. Coasters or water hmm let me think :-)

They also have people dressed up as Snoopy in the hotel; they visit at various times during the day. In the evening snoopy comes out in his dressing gown ready for bed which is a nice touch, they also have a TV and some kiddie size chairs in reception playing Snoopy cartons all day long.

If you book a package through the hotel you also get a voucher booklet with 2 fundays admission tickets for the park, 2 starlight (after 5pm) admission tickets, a soak city ticket, a free game of Golf, $30 dollars of food vouchers and a couple of other offers, 2 for 1 etc. The food vouchers can be combined and all used at the same time; we took advantage of this in TGI Fridays and spent the full $60 worth.

As with most hotels coffee making facilities are in the rooms along with air conditioning, bath/shower, all towels and shampoo, soap etc. Both our rooms had 2 double beds. I think they will also supply an additional bed as each room can sleep 5.

Vending and ice machines are available on every floor selling bottles of carbonated drinks, water, crisps and chocolate etc.

Food.

As I mentioned earlier TGI-Fridays an Italian restaurant and pizza hut express are all located inside Breakers. Typical cost for a steak with fries or mash is about $17, approx £8 ish, don’t expect a huge portion though. Steaks are typical 8oz and come with 2 standard size dollops of mash potato flavoured with garlic. Pizza hut express do pizzas up to 16″ and all are available on room service for a small additional charge.

Food doesnt just have to be at the hotel; along the Marina (entrance near Raptor) is Famous Dave’s restaurant. Famous Daveís offer some amazing ribs and meat dishes all freshly cooked in a BBQ pit (I dont know what a bbq pit is). All tables come equipped with 6 different types of sauces and the server will go through each of these and advise which is best with chips (fries) etc. Typical cost for a decent meal for 2 with a couple of drinks is about $50. It really is good value and probably the best meal we had for the duration of the holiday. If you are celebrating whilst on holiday the staff come over and sing you a song – it must be very embarrassing but if this is your thing then go for it. TGI’s do the same.

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Breakfast.

Breakfast is served from about 7:30-10:30 and is buffet style it works out at $8.99 for adults and that includes drinks and refills. If you like tea bring your own tea bags as the US ones arent the best.

You can choose not to have the buffet and instead settle for coffee/muffins etc. Most people have the buffet. The buffet is what you would expect but US style. The sausages are very thin and spicy; the bacon is usually crispy and very, very thin. They also do a scrambled egg with peppers/mushrooms which was very nice. Dont expect baked beans though. Heinz tomato ketchup is available everywhere you go.

Resort Passes.

All resort guests are issued with a pass that your supposed to carry with you all the time you are at the resort, this is never checked though and we were never approached or asked for passes. I think mine spent its life on the table in my room.

Parking.

Parking at Cedar Point is $10, if you are a hotel breakers guest you get a voucher that you show security who wave you in. When you first arrive you need to pay the $10 charge, but if you show the ticket to reception they will reimburse you when you check in.

Cost.

Five nights at Breakers with a park package as described above was just over £500 per room. A $244 deposit was taken at the time of booking and the remainder is cleared when you check out. The online booking system Cedar Point resorts use is a bit poor, I actually phoned them in the end and did everything this way. Check out is 11am.

Finally web access.

For anyone who cant bear to be away from work or wants to send greetings back home, they have wifi access in the hotel lobby, I dont think there is a charge for this as people just turn up with notebooks and login.

Credit/Debit cards, chip and pin.

During our stay (June 2007) nobody had chip and pin, they all seem to operate a machine with a screen that you sign. We didnt have any problems using UK cards at point of purchase or ATM machines.

Staff.

Very helpful, courteous polite and friendly. The ride ops have a great way of jeering up the crowds by talking to the queue lines and people boarding trains. Cries of “how was your ride” and “enjoy the rest of your day at Cedar Point, America’s rockin roller coast” can be heard all over the park. Even though it can get a tad annoying I found this a great touch. Manners and a smile cost nothing but can go a long way in giving you a better visitor experience.

Little things like telling you what bins to put your carry on baggage in are communicated well in advance of you boarding the trains. Before you enter the car you are given clear instructions about how to fasten yourself in. All little things but combined they add up to good customer service. Of course most of the customers dont listen. But thats not the point.

Hotel/Bar Staff
We had no problems with any of the staff, all very courteous and polite. The staff in TGI’s are a credit to the resort, nothing was too much for them.

Conclusion.

Well after spending a few days at Cedar point, does it live it up to their claim “the worlds best amusement park”, personally im struggling to find many faults. Its a fantastic huge park with a brilliant collection of coasters.

On the whole the resort offers the ideal family holiday with Soak city and the lake plus watersports you have everything you could ask for.

One thing which is lacking is a decent dark ride, disaster transport just wasnt up to much. You could do so much more with a building that size. I found the size of queues for some rides annoying but they can quite easily be compared to Alton towers/Thorpe Park on an average day.

The advantage of queues on bigger attractions like Top Thrill Dragster and Millennium force means the queues on smaller coasters are shorter. Fun coasters like Gemini never had a large queue during our visit, even Magnum XL never had a considerable queue.

The park has a mixture of everything for young, old and especially thrillseekers. Camp Snoopy and the attractions for the younger kids will keep them quite happy. Food and drink wise you cant go wrong almost every taste is catered for. The hotel Breakers makes an excellent base and in my mind worth paying that bit extra for. Lets face it if your travelling from the UK your already looking at spending about £1500pp why not pay the bit extra and enjoy breakers.

I’ll definately make a point of visiting Cedar Point again. Any regular readers will know my family usually visit parks with me, but on this occasion the flight times would have been to much for them as well as removing the kids from school for a week. Once the kids are older ill revisit, hopefully by then they may have coaster number 18 or 19.

I did 2 parks during this visit. We made the 3 hour trip to Pittsburgh and spent an additional 2 days at Kennywood. A report on Kennywood will follow in the next few weeks.

Credits.

Photographs – Paul Beesley and Andrew Holmes.

Header Postcard – Cedar Point.

Coaster stats – http://www.rcdb.com

Useful websites.

http://www.cedarpoint.com/ – The offical Cedar Point Website.

http://www.flybmi.com/ – BMI website

http://www.expeida.co.uk/ – Holiday company

http://www.hertz.com/ – Car hire

http://resorts.cedarpoint.com/public/resorts/index.cfm?resort_id=2 – Cedar Point resorts

http://resorts.cedarpoint.com/public/packages.cfm – Package holidays

http://www.famousdaves.com – Famous Daves.

http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis – US immigration

http://astore.amazon.co.uk/cedarpoint-21 – Amazon books on Cedar point.

http://www.thepointol.com/board/ – Cedar Point Enthusiasts forum. Very helpful with some great posts.

Cedar Point related items on Amazon.

If you want to use any photographs on this blog please get in touch paul@ridemad.com im quite happy to share and have high resolution copies of everything used, to see the complete gallery visit the Ridemad Gallery

Thanks for Reading.

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  1. […] We arrived at the park just after opening, the weather was a bit overcast and was welcome after spending 5 days at Cedar Point in scorching heat previously. […]

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