Coasterville Commentary

Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

Sunday, July 08, 2007

TR:Kings Island - 7/1/07

Trip Report:Kings Island
Mason, OH
July 1, 2007

Today is a different kind of day at the park. Now that Kings Island has a competent live show schedule, including an ice show, and I wanted to show Mom how the park is improving under Cedar Fair, this was a family day at the park.

Since the shows don't get started till the afternoon, we didn't arrive to the park until shortly before 1pm. We use my parking pass to dodge the $10 parking fee, then using Mom's special blue pass, we park in the non-premium close in parking lot. Mom does not have a season pass, and upon researching my options, the best deal I found was a coupon for $22.95 Jr/Sr admission. I was kind of hoping to dodge the ticket windows by using the print at home tickets, but this was an even better deal. We first headed to the Ticket building which now sells both tickets and passes. We walked right up to a window and soon had a ticket.

We next headed to the security checkpoint where they didn't seem to concerned about the metal detectors, but any bag, like Mom's purse drew their intense scrutiny. I think it is becoming more obvious this is a food detection checkpoint and not a weapon detection checkpoint. I grabbed a park guide off the tables in the security checkpoint and then we headed to the gate. We could not enter the first lane we chose as they were still waiting for their ticketing computer to boot up. We chose another lane and were soon inside the park, and submitting to the Keyhole Photo ambush, though we did strike a pose that said "There is no way we are actually buying this"

Before watching the shows, I took Mom on a little tour of the park. We first headed to Action Zone, which was in No Action Zone mode. Son of Beast, Drop Zone, and Delirum were all closed. I didn't feel like subjecting Mom to the 3 mile hike required to see Top Gun, and suspected Face/Off would have a long line, I did point out how the movie posters had changed to attraction posters, how the Paramount logo has been removed from the water tower, and Mom watched a group fly on Extreme Skyflyer.

We walked through Oktoberfest, and Mom was fascinated by watching Slingshot. While she watched Slingshot,I grabbed a walk on back seat ride on Adventure Express. I have to wonder what the park has against the temple god guy at the top of the second lift. Recall he is supposed to spill a vat of hot molten lava on you. Lately, the drummers are still drumming as you climb the lift, but the dude at the top is turned off, not even any lights on him. Other than that, the ride is performing as usual.

We head into Coney Mall, and I point out the Roller Coaster Landmark plaque that was just added, and I take a quick 1 cycle wait ride in the front seat of forwards Racers red train. The past few seasons I have said there is a good coaster in Racer just begging to be let out. I think Cedar Fair is making progress, as I experienced some nice floater air on the outbound leg. We aren't going to have life on the return leg until they kill that turnaround trim brake.

I next showMom the new X-Base area. I get her situated on a nice shaded bench where she could watch Firehawk while I went to take a ride. I head to the ride entrance, which isnowapparently closed. The hostess is suggesting coming back in about an hour, yet the ride is still clearly operating. I spent a few minutes listening to the hostess explain to people why they couldn't ride an operating ride. I know this sounds worse when I amalgamate this, but here was how it was going:

Hostess: Sorry,Firehawk is not operating at this time.
(Guest looks behind hostess to watch ride operating>
Guest: What do you mean, I can see it running.
Hostess: They are emptying the people in the station, then they ae going to close the ride.
Guest: So if it isn't safe, why are you letting them ride?
Hostess: That train is okay, we are taking the ride down to work on the other train
(guest gestures towards queue area)
Guest: Well, can we at least get in line?
Hostess: No, Firehawk is closed, you can't get in line.
Guest: So, why are they allowed to stand in line.
Hostess: Because they are stupid. (Yes, she actually said that)
(Guest storms off upset)

Yes, that was an amalgamation of her interactions with several guests during the 5 or so minutes I stood watching. I admit I was feeling a bit bad for her, having to try to explain to guests why an operating ride was closed. Then a lead type person came out and explained to her that they had only closed the red station, they were still operating single train with the yellow station, and to let people in. Hostess flashed a look like "Don't make me look stupid in front of the guests" I suspect a little miscommunication took place here. Anyway, she was a bit flustered, gave the loose articles speech, and tried to tell us that it would take 2 hours in line. I looked over at the queue maze which was now only about 1/3 full, and knowing it took just over two hours last time when I started clear out at the archway, decided to risk it.

It took about 45 minutes until I was in the front seat of the yellow train. They did get red side reopened just before I got to the greeter who holds the line back at the split point and sends people to the station in small groups. One of the benefits on the bad station design is that people entr the station and all congregate at the gate for rows 5 and 6, so seeing only a few people at the other rows I kept on walking till I got to row 1, which only had 2 people in line. So not only that, I scored a window seat, and soon had the safety vest on and the attendant dropped the lap bar. I learned some things about Firehawk, once they announce the train is locked, you can't adjust the lap bar, not even tighter. The other item is apparently once the lap bar is locked, it locks the retractors on the safety vest. I still don't get the use of the yellow strap handles on the front of the vest, as it seems like the way to tighten it is to push down on the bottom of the vest after the retractors lock,

The rows are far enough a part where the view really isn't that much diferent up front, but you might get more wind in your face feeling. I noted they have put the lift hill so you are staring right into the sun. Time to close your eyes going up the lift. Upat the top we flip over and its time for that awesome flying coaster goodness. I love this ride and think its a great addition to the park. As a bonus the vest released the first time I pushed the red button at the end of the ride.

I exited the ride, regrouped with Mom, and decided to pay $10 for an on-ride photo:

At this time, I checked my watch and realized it was after 3pm. My plan for catching all the shows was based on seeing the first show at 3pm. I consulted the park guide and determined we can still see all 5 shows starting at 4pm.

We continue through Coney and I catch a minimal wait back seat ride on Vortex, which continues to run great this year. All while we are touring I point out stuff that has changed in the park since Mom's last visit. I point out the Three Point Challenge (aka License to Print Money), where even I am shocked that it has gone from $5 to $10. Well at least that's what the signs say, the$10 price may not be going over so well, as they had another sign advertising a special today, only $5. I point out Italian Job, and note the line is back in the queue house, so I skip this one for later.

I point out the Roller Coaster Landmark plaque for Beast, then we trudge up the hill into Rivertown. Once in Rivetown, we pause for a few moments at a table by Potato Works, before continuing on, I point out that Wings is now a buffet, and the new Phanton Flyer ride. Momtakes devious delight in watching people get soaked by the elephant on Wild Thornberries.

We enter Nick Universe and head to the Nick Theater, just in time to see Dora's Sing-a-Long Adventure. I know its the kids character show, but it's a start. To be fair, I hadn't ever seen Dora, much less know anything about the show. But, from watching the rest of the audience from the back row, it looked like today's youth were really into the show, and the show looked to be pretty well done. The show offered several opportunities for audience participation as it followed the adventure of Dora and friends in their quest to find Big Red Chicken to do the Silly Chicken Dance. I wonder if they incorporated the chicken dance into this show in the other parks, or if that was just for Cincinnati where we learn the chicken dance at an early age. I noted that they have bright new benches, recall that this was the Slime Bowl, then when the green slime era was over, the outdoor theater was converted from a show venue to a character meet and greet area. Now the theater seems to have been shrunk to a more intimate setting.

From Doras show we took a walk through Nick Universe, and I show off the unusual Avatar ride by riding it. Luck was not good to me as I got a middle row, in the middle of the row. As we were walking around Nick Universe, Mom announced that she needed dinner, like now. Knowing this is not something to mess around with, we grab some sandwiches at Central Grill. I have said food prices at Cedar Fair parks are out of control, as evidenced by the fact that dinner for two, including two sandwiches, two side items, and two cokes came up to $24. Yes, this is the same meal you can get at almost any fast food restaurant outside the park for about $9. And the fast food joint usually offers the fries while they are hot, and gives free refills.

The side effect of needing to grab a quick dinner is that we decided to skip Nicktoons Live at Five, despite the fact it got good reviews. That show, held at the bandstand seems to be the replacement for the parade. Seems the Nick characters are supposed to do a few song and dance numbers followed by meet and greet opportunities. This show was just wrapping up as we were walking down International Street towards the Paramount Theater.

We arrived at the Paramount Theater (and I wonder how long that name is going to last) with about 5 minutes to spare. The show in the Paramount Theater is "Endless Summer on Ice", the headliner of the parks live entertainment program. It looks like they placed a synthetic surface on the stage. The show offers a series of scenes hat depict the typical summer. Last day of school, camping trip to Jellystone complete with Yogi Bear, a day at the bech, a trip to a NASCAR race complete with Scooby Doo, 4th of July celebration, return to school, and the return to school dance. Lots of song and dance numbers complete with figure skating moves complete with some spins, flips and jumps, even some trick moves. All in all I thought it was a very good show, and I do think the parks live entertainment department is back in good hands, and unlike Paramount, Cedar Fair seems willing to fund it.

We continued on our tour of the live park shows. We next headed to the International Showplace for Twisting to the Sixties. We arrived at the venue just as the ropes were dropped. I also noticed all the benches just got a fresh coat of yellow paint. The show has some performers milling around the audience as people took their seats. The most interesting was the guy who was clearly playing the part of the nerdiest nerd you have ever seen. The show itself, like the others was pretty good. A revue of all your favorite sixites music, and scenes based around a dance competition, a surf competition, a humurours visit to the hair salon, and more. Thats three well done shows so far today.

By this time.Mom was getting tired of walking around, so I found her a space to sit by Eiffel Tower within view of the Bandstand, and I went off to ride some rides. I starte off heading into Rivertown. I was headed towards Beast, but saw no line hangng out the Tomb Raider cave. I had heard some bad things about Tomb Raider recently, but you know how you don't want to watch the train wreck, yet you feel compelled to? Well, for similar reasons I entered the Tomb Raider cave. The line was backed up into the excavation tunnel where its really dark. Some time later a greeter let us into the ante-chamber. As it has been for a couple seasons now, we walked right through the monkey room directly into the pre show chamber. Fromwhat I had heard I was a bit surprised that they still play at least the pre show movie, but without any other special effects in the room. We entered the ride chamber, and yes some of the seats on the end, have been replaced by a railing. Seats taken, bars down, the ride started.

Well, the ride still runs the same program it always did,but now there was no fog, and while the load and unload drum loop played, there was no audio during the ride, and the lava bit merely bubbles instead of streaming up and hitting the gondola. The end result is the pauses the ride takes where they used to be show scenes just look absurd, and the ride looks even stupider than it did before. The group I was with seemed to be pretty unsatisfied when they were exiting the show building. I also noted that the electronic lockers have been replaced with the usual mechanical lockers.

I next headed to Beast, and was surprised to find the wait clear back to the start of the vending machines. Normally this would be a long wait for this ride, but since one of the two lanes for the ride was reserved for the Gold Pass Speed Lane, and none of the optional switchbacks were open, the line actually moved pretty swiftly, maybe 15-20 minutes. When I was halfway up the ramp, I noted they were going to close the Speed Lane down, and I must write to say they did it right way. They held the entire line back at the bottom of the ramp until the station was clear, then they reopened the ramp with both lanes open. I must have lost my common sense as I headed to the back seat. You may recall that on prior trips this year I commented the ride seemed tobe running better, well its still brutal in the back.

I exited Beast, and passed by Italian Job, where the line was still back into the queue maze. I headed to Firehawk. This time the queue area was about 2/3 full, but both trains/stations were open. It took just around 45 minutes again, until I found myself on the yellow train in the back row this time. Ah, did I mention that I really like this ride?

From Firehawk, I headed to Flight of Fear. I was a bit concerned when I saw people coming out the entrance, and yes the line was almost out the door into the outdoor queue area. However, once I entered the hangar, the line was taking the short route through the hangar. Good thing too, since the pre-show video was turned off. At least the station audio track was working "The collector becomes the specimen". I snagged a seat in row 8, dropped the lap bar, and this time even though the buckle can go clean over the metal tip it refused to lactch. It took two thawckings of the buckle against a hard surface before it latched. They need to get more reliable buckles on this ride. Flight of Fear still delivers a nice smooth ride,owing in pat to the unfortunate situation of a really hard near stop on the mid course brake. Upon exiting the ride, I noted the "On ride video" booth is STILL under construction.

From Flight Of Fear, I made a mad dash to Delirium, and arrived just after the ride reopened from some down time. So I walked right into the queue and right onto the ride, they weren't even assigning seats, just "Go find a seat". Delirium is good, especially at night, but its not as good as MaXair.

From Delirium, I went to the funnel cake stand to get us a funnel cake ($6), then I rejoined Mom in time for the 9:30 showing of Hot Island Rythms. It's their night show on the bandstand. No band, but some dancers doing some song and dance numbers in front of a backdrop of palm trees and the like. It's an okay show.

After the show ended, I grabbed some free ice water from Starbucks, then we made our way to the front gate plaza area to watch the fireworks. There is a neat effect of the fireworks reflecting off the International Restaurant windows, and the Eiffel Tower decided to get in on the act with a red/white/blue light scheme.

After the fireworks we ducked into a front gate gift shop to kill some time. I found some attractive looking t-shirts, but none of those in XXL. But I did find what I think was the Sale of The Century. Yes, I know any Paramount stuff is 50% off, and WinterFest stuff is 75% off, but I found a Cedar Fair ere Kings Island logo-ed full size double canopy golf umbrella in a an attractive hunter green/dark blue color scheme for only $12.99. At least I thought it was a great deal, a good enough deal that I bought one, While waiting to check out, I found it humurous that the cash register could not scan any of the barcodes, so the attendant was on the phoe to the office with almost every transaction, which made the line move painfuly slow. Not what you want when you are trying to entice people to pay you money.

We then headed out to the car where we got to play a fun game of "Watch the family with a sub compact car try to find room for all the passengers and the giant prizes they have won".

Next trip: ???
Watch for it!

TR: Stricker's Grove - 6/17/07

Trip Report: Stricker's Grove
Ross, OH
June 17, 2007

I had not planned on going to Stricker's Grove today. After all I had just spent two days at major theme parks up north, and the day's schedule called for a family party. As luck would have it the family party is located off of the same exit as Stricker's Grove, but it wasn't a public day, so you just can't show up at Strickers. Well, the stars were aligned, and it looks like my church was having their annual picnic at Strickers Grove that day. Well, it wouldn't hurt to drop in for a little bit on the way to the family party, now would it?

As such at about 3pm we pulled into Stricker's parking lot, where we enjoyed free parking, then walked up to the unattended front gate where we enjoyed free admission. Then for the trifecta, I walked up to the beer booth and enjoyed a free beer. My, I like this kind of hospitality. Well I got Mom and Evelyn settled in the big picnic shelter and pointed out some important park features, then I headed to the rides area.

The rides area was due to close at 4pm for dinner break, but I knew I would have enough time. But first, there have been some changes to the midway. The area that used to hold the Crazy Daisy (half a Cuddle Up), is occupied, but it is not the spin ride we were expecting, but a Jumping Jumbo's ride that looks quite similar to the famous ride at those world famous theme parks. Further down the midway, the kiddie helicopter ride has been replaced by an uncommon 6-tub Sellner spin ride, in this case it's a Spin the Apple. Neither of those two new rides were open yet. But the Jumbos are a good replacement for the helicopters, and the Spin the Apple is a good replacement for the Crazy Daisy in that both exchanges were for similar rides.

The other midway change is a ride addition. The Electric Rainbow (Super Round Up) has been relocated from LeSourdsville Lake to Stricker's Grove. The ride now sits between the two wood coasters, next to the Tilt-A-Whirl. A fountain completes the relatively new midway addition.

For those unfamiliar, that means the left side of the midway now contains: Carousel, Jumping Jumbos, Train Ride, Eli Ferris Wheel, Tip Top, Scrambler, Spin the Apple, Flying Skooters, and ending up at the Tornado coaster. The right hand side contains the barn with the kiddie cars, kiddie boats, and kiddie planes, further down are the kiddie turtle, the kiddie whip, the Teddy Bear coaster, Electric Rainbow, Tilt-A-Whirl, and ending at the Tornado coaster.

So I arrived at the Tornado coaster, which is usually priced at $2, but all the rides are free today. (In fact I have never seen the ticket booth staffed). It was a walk on, and the first groups all headed to the back car, so I dashed to the front seat. Ah, a PTC train with the traditional double bars. Sure the seats are harder than concrete, and they now have the standard PTC belt installation, except that they made the outboard 'short' ends a little bit longer.

The front seat gives a good ride, but it was time to exit, get back in line, and make a dash for that back seat. On the Tornado the back seat is where its at. While the ride does offer some good floater air, the back car and the back seat in particular encounter two dips towards the end of the ride that ride like mistakes. Good mistakes in this case, as they both propel you up into the lap bar with authority. I took a couple more rides on this classic profile coaster before heading down the midway.

I had to get a ride in on the Flying Skooters, especially since Kings Island removed theirs. Towards the end of my Flying Skooters ride I actually got a couple small snaps. Stricker's seems harder than most to snap, partially owing to the fact they have the portable version.

From the Flying Skooters I crossed over to the Electric Rainbow to pay tribute to LeSourdsville Lake *sniff*. Stricker's has way overbuilt the operator's booth with a brick operators booth, with two wooden ramps leading from the midway up to a nice sized wooden deck that is flush with the loading gate on the ride itself. A rather attractive install, I think. The ride itself looks to be freshly painted all over, the berths all seem to have new blue back pads, and the individual chains for each berth have returned in place of the long wire ropes that the Pugh's had put on the ride. The ride is operating though not complete yet. The rainbow colored scenery panels that belong in the center of the ride between the spokes are all lying on the ground underneath the ride, though they too look freshly repainted. As for the ride itself, it seems to be running well, with a reasonable length ride cycle.

After the Electric Rainbow I returned to the Tornado for another back seat ride, and was delighted to find out they were now giving double riders, with two circuits per ride. Upon exiting my double ride, I saw my Mom on the midway worried. Seems that she remembered the fact we had a covered dish in the car for the family party, a cold appetizer heavy woth cream cheese, and today wasn't exactly cool. Have to rush off to the family party before it gets ruined.

I grab a ride on the Teddy Bear on my way out of the park for completeness sake. It is noteworthy in that they have not yet installed seatbelts in their junior PTC train, which is noteworthy in itself as the train only has openings on one side.

So I grab another ice cold courtesy beverage, ahhhh!, gather the rest of the group that was talking in the picni shelter, and make our way to the family party. No harm was done to the appetizer.

Next up: Kings Island
Watch for it!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

TR: Geauga Lake - 6/16/07 - CoasterEXT

Trip Report: Geauga Lake
June 16, 2007
Aurora, OH

Day 2 of the trip. We started out by sleeping in at a nameless hotel, and having breakfast at Speedway. Did you know you can get a 44oz. frozen Coke for only 79 cents? We were soon on the road to Geauga Lake. So we managed to miss the turnpike exit, and we did take a bit of a scenic ride around Aurora, but we did eventually arrive at the park in plenty of time. Again, using Rideman's All-Ohio Parking pass we dodged the $9 parking fee to park on the rides side of the park, where parking attendants showed us to a space in section B1. As someone else commented section B1 is just a bit closer than section BFE. it was a lengthy walk to the front gate. I noticed the six flag poles that Six Flags had installed in a planter up at the park entrance are all now American flags, and not assorted international flags. Cedar Fair has managed to get the road that separates the parking lot from the park closed during the season, eliminating the need for the crossing guards.

I must hand it to Geauga Lake, most parks that just yanked out three rides would try to be as low key about it as possible. "maybe if we don't mention it, they won't notice" Not Geauga, they put a sign up right at the front gate plaza. "As a reminder: Steel Venom, X-Flight, and Bel Air Express have been removed from Geauga Lake"

Since I had preregistered, by taking 30 seconds to visit the Coastermania site, I qualified for FREE event registration, and so I stood in line at a stick joint located before the ticketing plaza to check in with the host, recieve a lanyard just like the one I recieved yesterday, and a lunch ticket. Note, there were three people manning the table, but only one print out of the guest list. They didn't even try to split the print out up between them, so effectively you had one person checking people in. Okay, I checked in and was told to take my Maxx Pass directly to the admission gate to enter. Rideman, had to go to a designated lane in the ticket plaza, where he stood in a much shorter line to hand over $12 and showed his Maxx Pass, and was handed a lanyard, lunch ticket and a park ADMISSION ticket. Yep, per usual the people manning the registration table for the event failed to talk to the people manning the admission gate.

I proceeded directly to the turnstiles as indicated. Rideman entered using his ticket, and I was told "You have to go to the season pass lane" Okay, I go to the season pass lane to get into a mess the park could have avoided. As you may have guessed, the season pass lane person was referring us back to the guest relations booth to sign in with our MAxx Passes. The line for the guest relations booth stretched back past the ticket plaza. There was a large group of us at the season pass lane with similar situations. I think when we were blocking access to the season pass lane, a manager finally came over to figure out what was going on. Said manager tried to direct us to the LONG guest relations line. Assembled large group made it clear that the event person told us we did not have to wait in that line. Its fun pitting two departments against each other. How it eventually resolved, was said manager went to the guest relations office himself, and came back with a stack of comp tickets. All in all the whole thing took way longer than it needed to, particularly since the park knew who had preregistered and could have given that table a stack of comp tickets and saved everybody aggravation. This is one area where Six Flags kicks Cedar Fair's butt. At a Six Flags park you take any Six Flags season pass to any turnstile at any Six Flags admission gate, and it scans. You take any Six Flag parking pass to and Six Flags park that controls their parking lot, and you get free parking.

Okay, I'm finally inside the park, let's see what Cedar Fair has managed to do with the place. We head towards the Rockville area. Since my last visit (admittedly 2002), Mr. Hydes Nasty Fall, X-Flight, Steel Venom, Bel Air Express, and the Musik Express have all been removed. YEs, there is a Wipeout there now that wasn't there before but it hardly makes up for the way this area has been almost stripped of its rides. Mind Eraser ( a boomerang) has been renamed Head Spin. I noted that Cedar Fair has not fixed the queue area for it either. It still has a queue maze that feeds into a large open area, then it narrows again for the ramp up to the station. Rideman quipped "Have you ever seen the line past the bottom of the ramp?" Head Spin remains quite a forgettable Boomerang, not a particularly smooth ride, and they brake you hard on the return through the station, then stop you on a dime when you roll forwards back into the station brakes. It is quite humorous that the parks First Aid Office is found next to the Head Spin exit. I also noted the park had not added the crotch straps Cedar Fair seems to like to put on their multi element trains these days.

We proceeded towards but did not ride Big Dipper as we had met up with everybody else. It was about 15-20 minutes before lunch and we were not going to make the same mistake we did last night. I noted the waterpark that was on this side of the park has been closed off, the Skyscraper observation tower was closed, as was the Shipwreck Falls water ride. I don't know yet, my first reaction to seeing the park was "BRING BACK SIX FLAGS!" So far the park looks worse off than it was under the prior administration.

But now its time to see on of those Six Flags improvements. It seems they turned part of the water park area into a lakeside picnic grove. The picnic grove area does look really nice, and its well laid out, with a cook house and buffet tables in the center, 2 shelters on each end, and a Pepsi Oasis building complete with free Pepsi products during your catered meal on each end. We helped ourselves to some free drinks and waited for the buffet to open. Not too surprisingly the buffet was quite similar to the one at Cedar Point. They do stamp your hand here when they take your ticket to allow you to get seconds, and the buffet was fried chicken, hot dogs (in place of the brats), pasta, potato salad, baked beans, ice cream, and soft drinks. We enjoyed our lunch and the Q&A followed right after lunch in the grove, so we stuck around for it.

Some points from the Q&A:
- Skyscraper waiting parts, not known if the ride will even reopen
- Park pushing the fact that it isn't closing, it is merely right sizing the park to the attendance it pulls. Not having the operational costs of X-Flight and Steel Venom though to make up for the predicted lower revenue. Had to address a doom and gloom article that recently appeared in a local paper.
- As usual at these kind of things, people try to get them to spill the beans on upcoming new rides, and the speaker continues to stonewall them.
- Redirecting advertising dollars from billboards, TV, radio to other avenues.
- Goal the past few seasons was getting the waterpark side up and running. (On the old Sea World grounds), current goal is to restore park profitability. Sounds like lean times ahead to me. - noted he thinks the midway rides that are on the water park side really belong on the rides side. Noted those rides, as well as the motion simulator and 4D movie get underutilized, particularly when the water park is closed. (Why do I fear they will relocate those rides (Scrambler, Yo-Yo, Sea Dragon, Spider, Thriller Bees and more) to the Rockville area, and promote that as a new rides midway. I think they can't really play the shell game anymore, merely moving rides and slides around the park and calling it new each year)
- Ferry boats while Disney-esque, had too low capacity and too high an operating cost to operate.
- Noted that people are not responding to the non-discounted "Everyday Low Price" admission model.

All that said, Bill Spehn was a gracious host and stayed around in the Grove answering questions long after the scheduled time had ended.

Eventually we made our way out of the Picnic Grove and headed towards the Big Dipper. We were concerned when we noted it was sending empty trains through much of the Q&A. Big Dipper was a walk on, and we took several rides in between talking with fellow coaster nuts. Big Dipper is a living tribute to the parks of yesteryear, it keeps its classic looking profile and station, the two stop loading, the skid brakes, and it does have (albeit non functional) Big Ol Brake Levers in the station. It is also running a genuine replica NAD train, with loads of padding. Its a bit of a tight fit for two adults, so its not uncommon to see lots of single riders on Big Dipper. We tried riding in pairs once, it wasn't comfortable. The layout on this 1925 John Miller masterpiece is mainly out and back. It does have a folded lift, wherre you go out of the station, turn around, go up the lift, turnaround, down the drop and into the dogleg outbound leg. After the turnaround, and several speed hills, you do the final turnaround before hitting the brakes. I beleive the ride runs best up front, and possibly only in seat 3. Seat 3 seems to deliver the goods the best, also the back seat of each car seems to be have just a bit more legroom than the other two seats. It's an airtime feast!

Again after several rides on Big Dipper, we made our way back eventually coming to the parks other wood coaster. April's time in the park was short, so we hit the rides that were high on her wish list. I noted the haybaler ride was unfortunately closed. We then took a ride on Villain. Villain is not running smooth by any stretch of the imagination, and I was shocked to hear the way it was running is an improvement over the last few seasons. The ride has Gerstlauer trains which is the first strike against it. The ride still has great airtime, and some wicked laterals, but its also running pretty rough.

From Villain we headed to Double Loop. Double Loop is an early Arrow looper that does just what the name implies, oh along with a speed hill and a helix. Oddly enough Double Loop recieved the crotch straps while Head Spin did not. We also watched a two train operation that honestly would have been improved upon by taking a train off.

From Double Loop, April and Dave wanted to ride the Pepsi Plunge log flume, so I took the time to grab rides on Texas Tornado (the first HUSS Top Spin in the United States), the ride I received had a nice flip count and was a great Top Spin ride. At the end of the ride, the ride did not want to let go of me, it liked me so much.

I next headed to Dominator, but it was down mechanical, so I headed to the other demented carnival ride, Time Warp. Time Warp is a Chance Inverter which is an example of how not to build a looping ship ride. Way to complex and way to many moving parts to give essentially the same ride. This ride was no exception as it took a great deal of time moving riders around in the gondola to satisfy the ride computer to actually start the ride. This was a Double Inverter and not surprisingly one side of it was closed, oddly enough they kept the lakeside open and closed the midway side.

After Time Warp, I ran to catch up to the others who had signaled they were headed to Big Dipper. I took a couple Big Dipper rides but they had left the scene. I made an educated guess that Rideman was going to head to his car next, so first I stopped in the Emporium and picked up an event shirt for $15 or so. Event shirt is a rare XXL shirt, not often seen in a Cedar Fair gift shop. The shirt proclaims the 2007 Ohio Coaster Odyssey and the back of the shirt lists all the Cedar Fair owned coasters in Ohio. I note they put Avatar at Kings Island on the list. Anyway, shirt purchased I got my FUN handstamp and did in fact run into Rideman in the parking lot, quite near his car. I stowed shirt, we upgraded to a much closer parking space, and re-entered the park. We proceeded to cross the big floating bridge over to Whitewater Kingdom just in time for the water park to close. What little I got to see of the water park does look like they did a nice job with the area. We got there by going through what used to be the Looney Tunes Area, but now with some generic kids area theme. The giant carrots remain! Looking around that area there aren't many kids rides left in the park, but a niece water spreyground and climbing structure type area for the kids remains.

We noted the disused major show stadium. During the Q&A it was noted they tried putting shows there the last couple seasons, but the cost of operating the stadium plus mounting the show makes the stadium attractive but too pricey to actually use. In other words the park has been putting on the poor mouth all day, and when I loook around at the small crowd on a gorgeous Saturday, its easy to see why the park may be on hard times. It also seems that whatever Cedar Fair is doing, hasn't made any statistical inroads. It's quite easy to buy into the rumours about the park slowly dying. We passed the old Shamu's Happy Harbor area where Rideman noted that Sea World and Six Flags didn't care who romped around in the massive climbing structure back there, but Cedar Fair has restricted it to children. Shame, as it looked quite fun too.

We observed a cycle of the Thriller Bees. When this ride was at Kentucky Kingdom the cars would alternate going up and down as the ride went around, now all the cars swing up and stay up the entire ride. In other words the one thing that made that ride pieece unique has been disabled. We did take rides on the Yo-Yo and the Sea Dragon. Sea Dragon seems to be hitting something it shouldn't as it passes through the station which is scrubbing off speed, which is preventing the boat from going as high as other similar rides.

We then took the long walk around Raging Wolf Bobs to get back to the main ride park. The courtesy golf cart shuttle service along this long pathway had already closed for the night, if it operated at all, as I noted the attraction closed signs up. Raging Wolf Bobs was closed today, as it probably will be for quite some time owing to an incident on the ride earlier today that left a train on the tracks in one of the dips covered with tarps, and some broken structural members and tension cables. We chatted here for a bit before heading on towards the Carousel.

Geauga Lake runs a fairly rare carousel, a Mangles mechanism with Illions horses. What makes it interesting is that it has the fly-out horses where the carousel poles go down from the horse and instead of going to a fixed spot on the floor, the pole is set into a slot that runs from the inboard edge to the outboard edge. When the carousel speeds up, and this one does speed up quite nicely, the horses 'fly out' along this track to better manage the rides forces. Instead of being pushed out to the side the force is redirected pushing you down into the saddle. Quite a clever idea.

We then engage in more conversation, quite lenghty in fact, until we realize there is one coaster that will not be open for ERT. We head to the Beaver Land Mine Ride. Its a Zierrer family coaster and you get two circuits per ride. It runs a really long 20 car train, but don't let it full you, its actually quite a peppy ride. I note that neither Six Flags nor Cedar Fair preload the queue gates, keeping everybody back in the queue area, and doesn't admit you to the station until after the ride has stopped and the queue gates are open. Odd.

We then head to Dominator. I had been worried about B&M seats since I sometimes have trouble with those. Dominator was a tight but doable fit in a standard size seat. Dominator is a floorless coaster, but we went to the back row instead, both to get the most intense ride, and the airtime coming off the mid course brakes. Dominator exits through a gift shop, but they did leave a nice clear path through so you can bolt through it pretty easily. I had to laugh though, the first t-shirt you see after riding Dominator is one praising wood coasters.

We then tried to snag a last minute ride on Thunderhawk but it was down technical. We returned to the picnic grove as directed to wait until the park was clear. We then had 90 minutes of darn near whole park ERT: We had Villain, Dominator, Thunderhawk, and Big Dipper to keep us company.

We headed to Thunderhawk, and scored that Thunderhawk ride, in fact we scored three or four Thunderhawk rides without leaving the station. ERT rules on everything except the Big Dipper (owing to two stop loading) was that rerides were okay, and vulturing empty seats was okay. I must say, this is still the world's smoothest Vekoma SLC (Hang and Bang) It received the on ride DVD movie sales system this year.

We next headed to Dominator where there was more of a crowd. We did score a two train wait front seat ride. The front seat on a Floorless coaster really is the best in terms of view and visuals. After that we had to walk around. Rideman had to go run an errand so while he did that, I managed 6 Dominator rides in the second row from the back, left side, without leaving my seat. Eventually some others wanted that seat so I moved into Row 5 for two more rides, the last one with Rideman.

From Dominator we headed over to Villain for 3 or 4 rides on Villain, one in the back car, and the others in the middle of the train. The side bars on Gerstlauer trains help you brace yourself,. and the ride in the middle was a bit more tolerable than in the back.

Lastly we made a mad dash to end the night on Big Dipper. I managed to get 2 or 3 rides on the Dipper, with my final ride of the day being in Big Dipper's front seat. I had worn the Belmont Park Giant Dipper T-shirt that day. While I had to downgrade in name from the Giant Dipper to the Big Dipper, in terms of ride, the Big Dipper kicks butt.

After that, ERT had ended, and we made our way out to our car, and started the long ride back to Columbus, and then I had a ride back to Cincinnati the next day. We did make a late night stop at 2AM to make sure the folks at Denny's "We may doze but we never close" were actually awake.

Next up: Stricker's Grove
Watch for it!

TR: Cedar Point 6/15/07 - *Coastermania*

Trip Report: Cedar Point Coastermania
June 15, 2007
Sandusky, OH


It's a long ride up to Cedar Point, so I started the night before the event, traveling from Coasterville to Coaster Central to spend the night in Columbus. Rideman and I had reviewed the event schedule, and came to the mutual decision to skip the morning ERT session. After all, the evening ERT runs till 12:30AM, and morning ERT would require a 4AM departure from Columbus. We had planned on leaving Columbus such that we could arrive at the park around the normal opening time. That was before the trains, slow moving trucks, slower moving farm implements and whatever else had conspired to delay our arrival in Sandusky.

As it turns out, rather than arriving at the park around 10AM, we actually arrived shortly after 11AM. We arrived at the park and using Rideman's All-Ohio parking pass, we dodged the $10 parking fee, and proceeded to drive most of the way around the perimeter of the park to park in the super secret lot behind Gemini. Cedar Point has multiple admission gates, including one that is really meant for Cedar Point patrons to be able to access Soak City and Challenge Park. Fortunately they also allow admission through this small back gate. Admission with Kings Island passes was easy, we were directed by the gatekeeper to go through a door marked "Employees Only" into the ticket cage for this gate, at which point we we were aksed to sign in on a clipboard, while the attendant in the office scanned our passes on a computer to verify our photos. Recall that Kings Island passes do not have photos directly on the pass. Rideman indicated the computer is a relatively new addition to the process. We walked through another "Employee Only" door into the park, and through a tunnel under the perimeter road.

We entered the park and headed towards Magnum to find a 30 minute wait. We decided to skip it for now, besides its on the ERT schedule for tonight. Since we had entered in the back gate, we still needed to pick up Coastermania credentials at the front gate, also Rideman had an interest in the Q&A session which meant we had to head to the front gate soon. We made our way to the center of the park, then got in line for the Sky Ride to the main gate. Who should come up the Sky Ride entrance ramp behind us, but none other than Paul Drabek. Hi, Paul, haven't seen you around much this season. We chatted while waiting to ride the Sky Ride, a wait that was delayed as they decided to add on all the extra cars. The Sky Ride is a nice peaceful ride over the main midway. We also learned that Raptor had its usual long morning line, and that Blue Streak which had been closed when we drove around the park had just reopened.

We headed to the Guest Relations office hoping to avoid exiting the park, but nope off to Group Sales we go. Get our arms stamped, and head out to the Group Sales building where we have one of the most efficient coaster event check in's possible. Since we had season passes, the event was FREE, and upon checking in, we received lunch tickets and credentials. This year credentials came in the form of a lanyard upon which hung credentials only slightly smaller than those seen in the Olympics. The lanyard was also useful in that it had the full event schedule, and we noted the reverse side had the credentials and schedule for tomorrow's event at Geauga Lake. There was one other thing, I had taken the 30 seconds to go out to the Coastermania website a month prior and pre-register. Rideman did not, despite numerous reminders from assorted people. What this meant was, I was qualified for complimentary all day beverage service. I was hoping this would come in the form of a wristband, but instead it came in the form of a small white plastic cup that had a stylized drawing of Cedar Point on one side and "Coastermania 6/15/07" printed on the other. Yep, I have to haul this cup around with me all day.

We re-entered the park, and Rideman headed to the Convention Center for the Q&A, and since I don't get to Cedar Point that often, I decided to use the time to ride some rides. I first stopped at Ben & Jerry's to claim the first of several free drinks, then headed to the rides. I knew from past trips to save Raptor till the evening as the lines are much shorter then. Blue Streak had just opened up, so I entered the Blue Streak queue and about 15 minutes later I was getting into the third seat. I was a bit concerned getting into the train as I had struggled with the standard PTC seat belt at SFKK the month before, but not to worry, no troubles getting into the Blue Streak train. Blue Streak was running two trains, and soon I was up and through the lift hill cupola, then out onto the course. It may be a John Allen coaster, but it is packed with airtime in the third seat on almost every hill. A great coaster to start the day with.

I next headed to what some refer to as the million dollar midway which is a name it was given a long time ago. It is now that area in the center of the park that has Milinneum Force, Wildcat, Iron Dragon, and Mantis. I know Wildcat is more fun in a group so I skipped that one, and I looked over to Iron Dragon and saw a queue way longer than I have ever waited for Iron Dragon. Mantis was posting its usual agonizingly slow 45 minute wait. I did go over to Force. Even though it was posting a 45 minute wait as well, I wanted to try out the test seat. Now I could ride Force on my last trip to Cedar Point, but I had also heard bad things since then. I sat down in the test seat, tried the belt, and "Not even a chance!" Not that I wasn't expecting it. The one good thing about being at Cedar Point at an enthusiast event is you can commiserate with other riders who used to be able to ride Force. It was at this point, that I could not hold off any longer, time to see f I can ride Maverick.

I made the long hike down the Frontier Trail to Maverick. I sat down in the test seat for Maverick, lowered the shoulder bar, reached down for the seatbelt, directed the belt towards the buckle and I am eligible to ride Maverick. The wait was posted at 75 minutes, and looking at my watch, I figured oh well, I'll be late for lunch, too bad. New coaster or lunch, I'll pick the new coaster. I have learned with new rides to ride them the first chance you get, you never know when a ride is going to decide to go belly up for the rest of the day on you. Carpe Diem!

The line was back to the vending machines in what used to be White Water Landing's queue area. It was a formidable queue maze, but I was shocked when I managed to make it through the maze in only 45 minutes. Yes, that is without cheating. Maverick may be new and only seat 12 per train, but it moves trains through like a well oiled machine. First you wait out in the sun in the old White Water Landing queue where every other queue rail has been removed to use the wider queues. You then cross a wooden bridge that takes you from the queue area over to where the boat ride station was. Look carefully at the old trough under the main queue house floor to see how they cleverly hid the ponds filtration system. The bridge extends alongside the old boat ride station to the far midway side. Now the turntable and trough have been removed and replaced with a solid concrete floor upon which a queue maze has been setup. At the other end, you go up the old stairs from the White Water Landing days. At the top of those stairs, you have a landing then you go up a new set of stairs up to the Maverick Station. Maverick offers a single rider queue, but the entrance to the single rider queue isn't until halfway up the station stairs, where apparently it isn't an option. The sign is quite clear, "Single Riders use Right Stairway ONLY!" For the very little queue area you skip, I think looking back on it I'd rather just stay in the main queue and be guaranteed a seat. However, since I was a single rider, I did follow direction and go up the right stairway, where I did proceed to watch those who were behind me on the left stairs get on the ride faster. I knew I was right, that this is just about the stupidest installation of a single rider queue. Guys, look at Universal Studios and Disney to see how this is supposed to be done! You see they here single riders are purely stand by, so you may wait longer than if you just stayed in the normal queue, thats not how single rider is supposed to work. Remember you gave up your choice of seat and ride partner. At least other parks that have single rider, they will put a couple singles on each train needed or not so you aren't unduly delayed. But hey, in the end I did win the jackpot, "Next single rider - go to row 1"

So I join the queue for row 1, and two trains later I am getting into a Maverick train. The Maverick trains are very roomy before you put the bars down, with plenty of room between riders, and the front row is very open in the front, leaving you feeling very vulnerable. I proceed to lower the massively overbuillt shoulder bar. It contains both a lap bar that wraps completly around three sides of your body to join another fixed bar which means the lap bar effectively circles your body, mounted to the lap bar is the shoulder bar. which prevents you from leaning forward or moving too far either way laterally. A crotch strap comes up from between your legs, goes over the lap bar and connects to the bottom of the shoulder bar. Okay now that everybody is well restrained, two trains leave the station at once. The front train proceeds past two brakes and onto the lift hill, the back train parks on the first brake area, leaving one set of brakes in between trains in case of a rollback. This isn't your father's chain lift, the train is launched up the lift hill, initially at a high rate of speed, then they slow it down a bit as it crests the top. The first drop is at an impressive 95 degrees, so in effect you roll around past vertical to where you are actually going down the first drop somewhat inverted. Its a real unusual feeling. You then go around a curve and proceed into a course that has a few pure air hills on it, and a lot of overbanked turns. I think all in all it says you get inverted 5 times along the ride. Halfway through the ride you enter a long dark tunnel where you slow down to a bear stop, then the strobes come on and temporarily blind you just in time for the second launch to fire you at high speed right into one of those overbanked turns when you can't see it. Oh and watch out for the high pressure water spray along the second half of the ride, not enough to drench you, but you will know its there as it seems aimed right at your face. All told, I really like Maverick as it seems so different from anything else out there. Taken alone, the stats for the ride aren't that impressive, but its what you do with it that counts. I quickly exit Maverick, an affair that involves going UP even more stairs to a trestle built above the loading station, then down three flights of stairs to the ground level, and suggested exit through retail as I note there is a bypass.

My, its not even 2pm yet. But it is time for lunch, so I walk over to the nearby train station, and proceed to probably wait longer for the train than it would have taken me to walk down the Frontier Trail. Well, I can see there may be hope for Kings Islands train ride yet, as Cedar Points train ride has a lot of animated sets along their train ride, with fake gun fire and all, and it's in working order here. Then again the animation on Kings Islands train ride may be too far gone to save. From the train ride, I forget exactly where on the Main Midway the picnic grove is, so I high tail it down the midway. I thought the entrance was by Raptor. Nope, thats not it. Ah, here it is where this lone queue stretching from the grove almost all the way back to the main gate is. It took me darn near 45-60 minutes to get through the serving line. There was one line back to the picnic grove entrance, then that line split into three, and each of those lines split onto two. The lines just kept getting slower and slower the longer I waited.

After an eternity I get to the serving line, and what a nice spread it is: Fried chicken, brats, mostacholli, potato salad, baked beans, cookies, ice cream, soft drinks, and cotton candy. I play balance your food, its a game I have become well versed in from going to other picnics where they keep giving you more and more food without a tray or suitable carriers. I quickly find a table and am finshing up lunch right as the presentations start. Wow, 1,700 here today, thanks for the foods crew, reminder to go to Geauga Lake tomorrow, will the people that found the scavenger hunt plaques, please turn them in for your $100 gift shop shopping spree. After lunch I scour the picnic grove to meet back up with Rideman, and I find him in the cotton candy line. "I may have to come back here, I like your cotton candy" Rideman is touring with I think Mike Shutte(?) and after lunch we proceed to wash the sticky cotton candy residue off our hands, the head towards the rides.

We first head to MaXair. It was only a 3 to 4 cycle wait for MaXair, but they were loading it funny. They had totally closed off the entrance leading people to line up on the midway, then when the entire queue maze emptied out, they would let another group in from the midway to fill the queue maze. Apparently, this was because they were short a person, so they didn't have a greeter to monitor the queue entrance. Strange. MaXair may look similar to Delirium, but there have been some changes made. One of the more important changes is that MaXair has TWO exit ramps, greatly easing congestion at the end of the ride, it also has a smooth floor instead of the cheese grater floor Kings Island has. Those who ride barefoot must appreciate that. Also the lose item storage is a cleverly designed round shaped cabinet (4 total) with round cubbyholes. As if the asthetics aren't enough, it also seems to run a longer, better program than Delirium. Oh, also to ease congestion, the holding area after you are given your seat number has queue rails that keep you in order all the way till you enter the ride area.

From MaXair, we head to Disaster Transport but do a hasty retreat when we read the 45 minute wait sign. I look at Troika, the Troika here has a much better paint job than the one at Kings Island, and wait a minute this one did not get seatbelts like the one at Kings Island did this year.

Ah, now to go check out another Intamin coaster I can't ride. I could not ride this one on my last visit, and after some quick research with Mr. Test Seat I still can't ride it. We did go over and take a quick 1 cycle wait ride on Ocean Motion.

We started to head back towards the back of the park. We skipped Power Tower and headed to Corkscrew. There was hardly anybody riding Corkscrew, and as we were waiting to ride, the ride went down, and it looked like it wasn't going to be resolved quickly, as evidenced by the fact they didn't cycle the trains to clear the ride of passenegers. We bailed when it became apparent this was going to take awhile.

Oh well, for the formality sake, I knew I could not ride Top Thrill Dragster last visit, and guess what, I still can't. We again skipped Magnum saving it for the nighttime ERT, as looking at the ERT schedule, Magnum is my only option. We headed around to Gemini and took an almost no wait ride in the third seat of Gemini. Gemini is stil a very fun coaster, the classic looks of a wood coaster, the smoothness of steel track, and the ride has airtime. What's not to like, except maybe stacking with two trains when they used to run smoothly with three on each side. I noted they have given up on three train operation, they have removed the second turnstile, and the second station entrance.

We continue back into Fronteir Trail, where we cram ourselves, quite literally into the back seat of Cedar Creek Mine Ride, cross my ankles, and dang this lap bar's one setting is TIGHT. It's hard to believe they used to run 5 trains on this ride. The rides antique turnstile was replaced with a newer version. Still a solid performer.

Next I visited the Frontier Lift restrooms, I mention it because Cedar Point is renovating a lot of their restrooms, and a nice touch for this restroom is since it is the nearest restroom to both of the parks water rides, the front half of the restroom has been outfitted with changing stalls, which means that people are no longer having to use the toilet stalls as changing rooms, and I suspect it helps keep the floor in the main part of the restroom drier. Nice touch.

We next headed to the "Unlicensed Chiropractor", yep Mean Streak. To no one's surprise there was almost no wait to ride Mean Streak, and soon we were climbing into the back seat. The belts do seem a bit longer on Mean Steak as it was even easier to get into this train than Blue Streak. We rode in the green train, and proceeded to have a Mean Streak ride which was actually a halfway decent ride. Imagine that.

From Mean Streak, we went and took another ride on Maverick, same 45 minute wait, and this time we got sent to Row 4. I still like the ride, but must admit it is more of a headbanger in row 4 than it was in Row 1. Rideman did not appreciate getting stapled into the ride, particularly when he discovered the 4 exposed bolts on the bottom side of where the shoulder bar and lap bar connect. As he said the exposed bolts were pushing through his shirt into his gut. Thats a minor issue the park should address. Put a little padding or something there.

From Maverick, we went over to Skyhawk, and after waiting about 10 minutes had wonderful Skyhawk ride, I really like the S&S swing rides. Cedar Point added a short belt and carabeaner that connects to an eyebolt between the seats. I am told the bar is the more limiting factor, and they ask you to lower the bar, and fasten the beaner, then the ride op comes and adjusts the bar by pushing straight down on it. I was actually allowed to ride witht he bar sort of loose, so enjoyed the most delightful odd feeling airtime on the tops of the arcs when your body still wants to go up, and the swing is suddenly going back down

From Skyhawk, we hike back down the Fronteir Trail and take a ride on Wildcat, the line was a bit longer than we would have liked, and we also found out that Rideman and I cannot sit in the same seat due to the lengths of the belts. So they sent us out with only 2 in the car, one in each seat. Shame, I remember being able to load 4 heavy coaster crazies into one car and watching that thing FLY around the course. Its still a very fun ride, in some ways more intense than the biggeer coasters, and watch out for those stop-on-a-dime-and-leave-nine-cents-change brakes.

At this point we were going to ride a near walk on Iron Dragon, but it was tile to meet April over by Magnum. We went over to Magnum, we waited, we waited, we waited some more. We took a ride on Magnum in the third seat. Magnum still has it all, amazing airtime, and a great layout. Looking down at the waterpark and challenge park going up the lift hill almost looks like a carnival with a grid like layout of attractions below you. We exited Magnum, we waited some more. We headed back to Corkscrew, we finally scored our front seat ride on Corkscrew.

Cedar Point's Corkscrew also has the crotch straps that Cedar Fair has been adding to the Arrow multi-element trains, but being the original installation , it was done cheaper and different than the rest. Instead of tucking a restractor under the seat, and putting the buckle on the bottom of the shoulder bar, like most shoulder harness crotch straps, they put a fixed length of belt on the shoulder bar, and mounted the buckle to the front of the seat, between your legs. Not only that, its a lift latch buckle, and to lift up you have to be able to reach the bottom of it. A nice little challenge since you can't lean forward with the shoulder bar strapped down. Even when its unlocked. Still though a loop and corskscrew ride that runs three trains, has an air hill, and has those two photogenic twists right over the midway. I understand it was quite the ride in its day.

We had also received a phone call that April was by Wildcat. We proceeded to Wildcat, we looked around Wildcat, no April. We tried to ride Iron Dragon but it was closed for the nighttime spectacular.

So lets see - coasters I didn't ride:
Can't Ride:
Jr. Gemini
Milenneum Force
Top Thrill Dragster
Wicked Twister

Coasters I skipped
Disaster Transport

It is a sign of an amazing park, when you can fail to ride NINE of its coasters, and still have a great day, getting in EIGHT coasters and other rides as well.

We knew we had time for one more ride, and Rideman thought April was wanting to rde Maverick at night, and of the choices another Maverick ride sounded right up my alley as well. We headed back to Maverick where Rideman proceeded to attempt to contact April. I enjoyed some free drinks and we waited just outside the Maverick queue as long as we dared before darting inside before they could cut if off. As it turns out, they were lenient about cutting the Maverick queue, and the ride actually closed 10 minutes after the park did. We also soon learned that April was at Blue Streak anyway. This time it only took about 30 minutes to wait to ride Maverick, and I noted a good portion of the crowd waiting were event attendees. We were assigned row 2. Row 2, while an improvement over Row 4, is not quite as good as Row 1 in therms of smoothness. By the end of the ride, Rideman was expressing his distaste for Maverick while I was still raving about it. He also pointed out a shirt in the gift shop where it compares Magnum to Maverick in states, Magnum beats Maverick in every category except steepness of first drop.

We next make our way over to Magnum for Magnum ERT. Ack, Magnum decided it didn't want to participate, and there was a train stopped on the lift getting a pep talk by the mechanics. They didn't get Magnum open till shortly after 11:30, but they did keep it open till 12:30 instead of the advertised 12:00. As a make good, they opened Wicked Twister, which did me a lot of good, not. Since Magnum is the only thing any of us could comfortably ride, if ride at all, we hung out at Magnum talking till they got it open. We then proceeded to cram in several Magnum rides. I must have gotten in 6 or 7 rides in that hour, mostly in the third seat, but I did a middle seat and a back car ride. For the last ride, we noted the mid course trims did not hit, prepare for the most intense airtime laden return run imaginable.

We met back up with April at the end of ERT. We then proceeded to head out to Sandusky to haved a particularly slow meal at Steak and Shake, followed by trying to find a hotel. Oh, there were lots of No Vacancy signs up, but Sandusky hotels are as a rule older run down joints. The first one we stopped at was so bad we checked out 10 minutes after checking in.

We did find a place that would give us a noon check out time, which was nice since we wound up checking in at 2:30am, and we noted that thy had purposely scheduled no morning events at Geauga Lake. The event flyer even said "SLEEP IN!", we're just following there directions!

Stay tuned, next up: Geauga Lake for CoasterEXT.