Cedar Point is the roller coaster capital of the world with a record 16 roller coasters of all kinds – stand up, wooden, steel, suspended, inverted and racing. It is truly the park of choice for the aggressive roller coaster ride.
This was my first visit to this world renowned amusement park, and was I excited about riding some of the top roller coasters in the world. As I drove out on the causeway, the horizon became filled with wood and steel gleaming in the morning sky. There stood Raptor perched at the front of the park seeming to lure me in. As my adrenaline began to pump, I could hardly wait to get my car parked and I rushed to the front gate to begin my adventure at America’s Roller Coast.
The skies were partly cloudy and the temperature reached only 75 with low humidity making for a beautiful day. Crowds were fairly light early, picking up a little later in the afternoon as more school groups arrived on buses.
I began my roller coaster experience at Cedar Point with the Corkscrew.
This Arrow triple-looping roller coaster takes you upside down and all around. When it was constructed in 1976, the Corkscrew was the first ride with a 360-degree vertical loop and two helical curves.
From its 85 foot lift hill you race around this track with its two helical curves and 360-degree loop over the heads of onlookers at up to 48 mph.
It only took 5 minutes to get onto the Corkscrew and I got two consecutive rides. This short 2 minute ride was a little smoother than some other Arrow multi-element coasters but there was still some headbanging.
Gemini (1978) – Arrow Steel Racing Coaster built on a wooden structure with twin parallel tracks in a figure-eight configuration.
This coaster is a favorite for many folks. I waited only 15 minutes for a front seat and found it to be rather enjoyable, but hardly a favorite. Was it the 125 foot high first drop at 55 degrees or maybe the heightened excitement of racing the red and blue cars at up to 60 mph that attracts many? It was a smooth ride with lots of air time. I rode again in the back seat and found the air time about the same, however I experienced much more lateral G forces.
Mean Streak (1991) – This Summers Twister is one of the tallest (160 feet) and fastest wooden roller coasters in the world.
Built in 1991, this wooden forest of hills and thrills features a stunning 161-foot-tall first hill, a blazing top speed of 65 mph and more than 5,400 feet of hair-raising excitement.
Built from 1.7 million board feet of treated Southern yellow pine and standing a monumental 161 feet tall, the Mean Streak is one of the two wooden roller coasters that grace the skyline of “America’s Roller Coast.”
I waited only 15 minutes for a front seat on this fun, fast and exciting coaster. It has fast turns, good dips, and a lot of laterals G’s. The first half of the ride is definately the better half.
I experienced very little air time and thought it was a little jarring, especially the first drop. I also found the narrow seat divider a little more than uncomfortable. Hey, why do they have those things anyway?
Iron Dragon (1987)
I had to wait only 5 minutes for this Arrow Suspended coaster with individual four-passenger cars skimming above treetop and swooping over a misty lagoon ending with a giant pretzel-knot loop over water. The suspended design of this coaster makes it rather interesting as you sway side to side. The first part of this ride was boring but after the second lift hill there were some good S curves and it finally picks up a little speed in the curve over the water. I certainly didn’t see any need for shoulder harnesses – seat belts would have been sufficient.
Wildcat (1970) – The Schwarzkopf Wildcat was not running in the morning and by afternoon when it was running, after riding other coasters, this little carnival style coaster had no appeal to me. The compact four-passenger cars maneuver swiftly through sharp turns and frequent dips, but had no big drops and looked rather slow. It closed at the end of the 2011 season.
The Disaster Transport (1985) is an Enclosed Intamin Bobsled. It’s a roller coaster space adventure with a queue area themed like a battered suborbital launching facility complete with rocket recovery and mission control rooms. Riders supposedly encounter attacking space pirates, exploding asteroids and a laser-beaming satellite along the ride, although I don’t remember seeing any of that. What you do have is a twisting, turning maze of track in the dark with no inversions, not nearly as intense as some of the newer enclosed launched coasters such as Outer Limits at King’s Island.
Disaster Transport closed on July 29, 2012.
There was no waiting for the Cedar Creek Mine Ride, built in 1969 by Arrow. The ride takes you through a rustic-themed ride hurling you toward a lagoon and twisting you through sharp spiral turns. It is a very smooth ride with no big drops and a couple sudden dips. The tight lap bars seemed totally unnecessary. This is not a very intense coaster, as far as coasters go, but would be enjoyable to those who won’t ride the larger coasters.
Certainly, the highlight of my visit to Cedar Point was Coaster Mania, sponsored by ACE (American Coaster Enthusiasts). I’ve never seen so many Coastermanics at one place at the same time, being the first time I’ve attended a Coaster Club activity. They sure know how to enjoy their coasters. The employees of the park are generally very friendly and helpful. You can sense the excitement of the ride operators as they build your anticipation of the ride as they prepare you for departure from the loading stations.
What a way to start the day of coastering …on Raptor (1994). Beginning at 7 a.m. (before the park opened), Raptor began to rule the sky!
This B&M Inverted coaster is an incredibly fun ride where your feet dangle above ground from ski lift-like seats as you drop 119 ft. at speeds of up to 57 mph, scream through a 100 ft. vertical loop, a heartline spin, a cobra roll and then into the mid-course brake. Next you fly through a spiraling drop followed by a corkscrew, a straightaway, a dip, another corkscrew, a helix and back to the loading station.
I can understand why this 2-minute, 16-second-long ride along its 3,790 feet of bright green track was recently voted No. 8 in the “Best Steel Roller Coaster in the World” category in a survey conducted by Amusement Today.
My first inverted coaster ride was on Top Gun at Paramount’s Great America in Santa Clara, Calif., but I liked Raptor more.
The smooth front seat ride is the most fun as you get to see everything coming up. But, that doesn’t take anything away from riding other seats … they are fun too.
All in all, your feet kiss the sky no fewer than 6 incredible times!
Later, that evening after it got dark, I rode Raptor again, and what can I say … it gets even better. There was something about riding in the dark that made the elements even more intense. This ride takes you so fast upside down, sideways, looping and everything that you get disoriented quite frequently.
Following an incredible laser light and fireworks show as the park patrons were leaving the park, hundreds of Coastermaniacs lined up for a night-time ERT on Magnum XL-200 (1989) – Arrow Hyper-Coaster.
What a ride! That first drop… wow!
To top off the night, under a clear sky and twinkling stars, we boarded the B&M stand-up coaster, Mantis (1996), for the last hour and a half of ERT.
It was great to just walk up to this mega-ride and get right on with no wait. Earlier in the day, it took at least 1 hour to get on. One disappointment I had was that the ride operator would not allow us to stay on for consecutive rides even when there was no one else waiting for a seat. It was a little crazy to have to get off and walk around through the non-existent queue to re-board.
Compared to Chang, Mantis was shorter and rougher ride. I experienced some uncomfortable headbanging on the later rides that I didn’t notice earlier in the day.
After climbing the 145-foot lift hill there is a swooping banked turn to the right and you drop at 52-degrees 137-feet at 60 mph into a 119 foot tall vertical loop. That’s followed by a 103 foot tall dive loop and a 360-degree banked turn as you rush into an 83 foot tall inclined loop, a series of rock-and-roll turns, a 360-degree flat spin and through a figure eight before resting back at the loading station.
All in all, a really cool ride.
In September 2014, Cedar Point announced the pending closure of Mantis scheduled the following month. The park later revealed that Mantis wouldn’t be removed but would be transformed into a floorless roller coaster design for the 2015 season. It reopened as Rougarou on May 9, 2015.
The folks at Cedar Point should be thanked for their hospitality in hosting CoasterMania ’97. Besides providing ERT (Exclusive Ride Time) on four of their more popular coasters, they also provided a great evening dinner of fried chicken, hot dogs, ice cream and soft drinks.
Roller Coasters added at Cedar Point since my visit in 1997:
Millennium Force (2000) stands 310 feet into the air taking riders on a 93-mph journey along its 6,595 feet of track.
Wicked Twister (2002) is a “double-twisting” impulse roller coaster.
Top Thrill Dragster (2003) debuted as the tallest and fastest roller coaster in the universe.
Maverick (2007) a 2-minute, 30-second ride that featuring plenty of speed, changes in direction and “airtime!”
GateKeeper (2013) is a steel wing coaster that travels from the beach through the main gate. It is the highest and longest Wing Coaster as well as having the highest inversion on any roller coaster in the world.