Sunday, July 20, 2014

Dave's Cedar Point Report 2014

We woke up at the crack of dawn to make the drive to Sandusky. The reward now sits directly across the water! There is nothing quite like the anticipation of seeing the Cedar Point skyline. You know you are in for a good time. Cedar Point's Coaster Campout event was wonderful and the park was so generous. You can also read Brit's Report here.
Almost there!
The rides are testing to start off the morning
Happy 50th Blue Streak! I think that Gatekeeper is signaling that we can continue.
Mean Streak was greatly improved last year, I will tell you more about the night and day improvements for this year!
The sun is starting to burn through the morning fog and clouds. No matter what your thoughts have been on Mean Streak, you have to admit that the coaster is pretty beautiful. I think that you need to throw any thoughts you had about Mean Streak out the window because it rides like a completely different ride these days!
We have arrived! We needed to enter through the Soak City gates, thus we got this different view of one of my all time favorite steel coasters, the 25 years young Magnum XL 200.
Several other rides that offer a fun time, the twin tracked, Arrow created, Gemini, the 420 foot giant, Top Thrill Dragster, and the roughly 300 foot tall Power Tower drop tower.
Ahhhhh getting closer to riding!
Baby I'm ready to go!
I did not notice this relatively new game stand over by Millennium and Mantis. I love the Art Deco style that they incorporated into the new gate area and newer buildings.
Millennium time!
It was a fun ride this time around. I think I actually enjoyed Gatekeeper and Raptor more, along with my perennial favorite, Magnum. Still an awesome ride though.
Over for a Dragster ride! The lines were extremely short and the ride operators were sending the trains out almost immediately. The ride operators were especially phenomenal on Magnum and Raptor, sending the trains out with plenty of time to spare, almost no stacking. We rode everything with multiple rides in the same day, a pretty amazing feat considering that the park has 14 adult sized coasters (16 overall) and lots of thrill rides, flats, and more. We rode a ton of stuff throughout the day.
Raptor was especially great this trip. It amazes me how much different the same ride can be on each ride, from day to day, and from year to year. Magnum was my absolute favorite coaster of the day, with Raptor and Gatekeeper both vying for second and third. They were really phenomenal. 
I really love inverts.
The park was also looking pretty beautiful, with gardens like these planted all over the place. The old Ballroom also adds a ton of character to the main midway.
Gatekeeper was superb! There is nothing quite like flipping 170 some feet on a beach. The inversions are fun and the pacing is pretty fun as well. 
This area of the park is really nice with it opened up to the beach. I hope to see the park expand along the coastlines occupied by the parking lots now. 
Ferris Wheel view! Stunning views.
Millennium Force and Mantis going at the same time!
As I said, beautiful placement on the beach!
Lots of smoke in the background across the bay from the coaster tied for my all time favorite steel, Magnum XL 200!
I love the dedication Cedar Point has towards preserving their remaining classics. The Cedar Downs is one of only two remaining racing carousels. It was produced by Prior and Church and dates back to 1920. It was originally located at Euclid Beach, a former amusement park that was located on the East Side of Cleveland.
Raptor love!
Now onto the biggest surprise of the day, MEAN STREAK! This coaster bears no resemblance to the coaster that once beat you into a pulp, just a mere few years ago. 
As you can see, the ride has significant retracking. The entire first giant turn was retracked and two boards have been added to the ties, running parallel to the track, keeping the track in line. Mean Streak is now a fun ride with very large drops and giant turns, with the coaster running almost as smooth as any wooden coaster I have ever ridden. It is a fun ride these days. Blue Streak is also running the best it ever has since I started riding it. The ejector airtime was as good as almost any coaster. Neither coaster bore much resemblance to their forms only a few years ago. 
A cool band was playing in Frontier Town. The area felt like it had a legitimate theme for the first time in a while. 
Now for the very fun Gemini! Ron Toomer of Arrow was a great designer whose many designs still thrill riders decades after they were created. Cedar Point is the recipient of many of his designs, including two of my favorite designs of his, Gemini and the phenomenal Magnum XL 200.
The new midway in front of the coaster is a great improvement. When walking through the park last year, I felt the park could improve this section of the park. The formerly cracked pavement is now replaced with patterned concrete and several great new rides. The classic Eyerly Spider (Monster) has also seen stunning lights added along with a fresh paint scheme. It looks like a brand new ride.
The park also added a huge Zamperla Disk'o ride. It was a huge hit throughout the day. Above you can also see the lighting the park added that crosses over the midway and creates a cool look in the evening.
Now onto my perennial park and overall favorite steel coaster (tied with the Kennywood Phantom) the Magnum XL 200! No time to take photos, too busy riding! The ride operator crew was really flying and awesome.
Often overlooked is the park's great selection of flat rides. Not many large parks have the selection of flats that this park does. The Huss Enterprise (Witch's Wheel) is a blast.
The overall view of the revamped Gemini Midway. In the background you can see the giant and brand new Slingshot extra cost thrill ride.
It is very large. 
Time for some more Gemini!
And a ride on the park's awesome Cedar Point and Lake Erie Railroad. It is amazing how most of the classic narrow gauge, steam locomotives that the park saved from the scrap heap have a connection to Pennsylvania either through production or usage in industry.
The beach is beautiful
Along with the park's two non-racing carousels. This one is the carousel in the park's original kids area. This Dentzel dates back to 1921 and did not stray far from the Dentzel Carousel works in Philadelphia. It was at a place called Hunting Park from the Germantown section of Philadelphia, until 1968, when it was moved to the Point. I would love to see the carousel organ on this and the Midway Carousel become operational again. Two machines of this grandeur deserve to have blaring organs providing a soundtrack to not only the carousel riders, but the entire midways surrounding the carousels.
Stunning Dentzel beauty.
Back to Gatekeeper!
Lots of goodness in this photo!
Sunset on a beautiful day!
Now for Blue Streak! I realize I did not take a photo of the ride when I rode it. You will have to check  for Brit's report to see that. The ride was phenomenal and the ejector airtime it offered was only second in the park to Magnum. Last year it was greatly improved, this year it was absolutely perfect! The layout never let up and the ejector airtime was fantastic. The trains were new from Rebbie at PTC a few years ago, and they were once again rehabilitated at the PTC plant last offseason. Between this and the vast amount of track work done over the last few years, the coaster is running the best it has since I started riding it. It this coaster's 50th season, it is running better than it has in a very long time. 
It was a beautiful day
The classic Von Roll Sky Ride down the main midway is awesome.
These Plinko games are our new favorite thing. We won three front of the line passes in two games. 

Overall we had a wonderful day at the park. Cedar Point was very gracious to us for the Coaster Campout event. While we did not camp, they let us partake in the activities, which was great. I am loving the improvements the park has made over the last few years. The park is looking wonderful, with the midways fresh, lots of new buildings and rides, and two completely transformed wooden roller coasters. It is encouraging to see the care the chain has taken with their park's recently. Our trip to Kings Dominion at the beginning of the season showed a transformed park as well. I hope to continue to see this reinvestment into the parks because at this rate of improvement, I cannot wait to see what the parks will look like in the next few years!

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