Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio opens this Saturday, May 15th! If you know terms like airtime, inversion, posive G’s, speed bumps or giga coaster…you might be a roller coaster enthusiast.
I love roller coasters. As an adult I kind of stick out when I line up for the front seat with the “kids”, but hey, the front seat or sometimes the last are the best. Front seats mean nobody is in front of you when you go screaming (literally) down those steep hills. Their down side is sometimes hanging while the rest of the coaster comes over the first hill. Back seats provide an extra flip on hills and corners, but the whole train is in front of you.
Cedar Point is the best place to go for roller coasters. They are currently tied with California’s Six Flags Magic Mountain for the most coasters in the WORLD at 17! Don’t get me wrong, many parks have fabulous coasters, like The Beast at King’s Island, but they don’t have as many. The Beast is the still the longest in the US and the longest wooden coaster in the world and it was built in 1979…still a great ride! Cedar Point’s coasters are not all for the crazy roller coaster lover…some are for children and also what I call “chickens”. Come on, the Gemini is almost go to sleep boring. It is only 125 feet tall…although it has dueling coasters which is fun and you can usually walk right on. And I still love the rickety-rackety Blue Streak coaster built in 1964.
Let’s get to the good stuff…my two favorites…Millennium Force and Top Thrill Dragster…WOW!
Let’s start with Mellennium Force…Cedar Point calls it a Giga coaster (they define as a coaster over 300 feet tall)…opened in 2000 it is 310 feet tall…reaches 93 miles per hour (I claim more at night with a thin coating of dew on the rails)! The first hill is 80 degrees. When you are loading into the cars all you can see is track…looks like it goes straight up. The part I usually hate is the slow clank, clank, clank up to the top. I was thinking this would take forever. Surprisingly it was fast, with a smooth pulley like system. Then it drops you…BEFORE you can see the bottom…yeeeooowww! I love the ride…nice airtime…smooth…blur-the-view-fast…but it only lasts 2 minutes…darn.
Now, the trick is to POSE for the cameras. Yes, there have been cameras on the coasters for years. The first few times you ride…and you go to see your photo…you look crazy…hair is straight back…mouth and eyes are wide open and you are screaming. But, after you ride a few times, watch where the camera is located…have someone yell, “Camera!” and turn towards it and smile calmly. You can’t control your hair, but compared to the other riders…you will look fabulous. People will say, “Look, they posed, wow!”
OK, now Top Thrill Dragster. This ride is crazy. It even scares me. I have the utmost respect for it. Here are the stats…420 feet tall…speeds up to 120 mph…17 SECOND ride…built in 2003. The positve G’s keep you plastered to your seat, which is good…because you sit ON TOP OF the car…not inside it! The ride has you sit idling with a race car sound, while the lights (like a dragster) flash to green. Then you shoot off (no other way to describe it) at 120 mph…you turn upward…spiral up…sort of pause at the top at about 70 mph…then free fall spiral back to earth…holey moley! If you like the feel of speed…this is IT!
Height and size (girth) are strickly enforced on these rides…I would NOT want to fall out.
Tips for riding coasters…don’t wear flip-flops or anything loose…leave them with someone (AKA chicken)…even barettes and things that shouldn’t come off…will. Don’t fight the G’s or it is a fast way to a headache. Women, large earrings can dig into your head on twisting, corkscrew type rides when your head moves between the headrests. Wear sports straps for glasses and wear the most comfortable shoes you own…the place is huge!
Finally, make sure your party is connected with pagers or cell phones. Should bad weather come up quickly it is difficult to locate everyone. All coasters close if it rains. Speaking of bad weather…Cedar Point can flood. I was there when a quick, hard rain brought almost three feet of water in just a few minutes! Yup, we were separated for about an hour. Trash cans and people were floating by. And I was standing on a metal table as the water lapped at the edges! The good news is the water goes down just as quick as it floods.
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As Speedy Gonzales used to say…Undale, undale, arriba, arriba! Not proper Spanish, but hey, he was a cartoon character…