America! It’s somewhere I have wanted to go and visit since I can remember.
I had always dreamt of visiting here, since seeing it in films, television and more. The style and the culture.
Recently that dream became a reality, thanks to a great opportunity with some great mates. Bringing not only a chance to visit the states but one of it’s most iconic parks Cedar Point.
Now you’ve probably already read Mark9’s informative trips from here, so a different scope should be required. In my reviews I will not only mention of Cedar Point, but my full experience of the States, being my first trip outside of Europe as of 2018.
Day 0/ Sunday- Going West
Wise and I parked up at Gatwick’s long stay before joining the transfer to the terminal. After uniting with Doyle, we were good to go beginning our long descent to America!
After devouring a Spoons brunch, we hopped onboard our first of two flights with Icelandic air, who despite being relatively unknown proved to be better than expected; the engines were loud though. Like very loud!
This would be my first long haul flight (having previously flown 2 HR 40 max on short haul). I expected a long, boring and tiring flight, but it wasn’t as bad, thanks to some on flight entertainment. Dead pool and Isle Of Dogs were amongst my choices with the odd Fawlty Towers episode.
Three hours later we arrived at Reykjavik Iceland, where we literally changed to our connecting flight immediately. This plane was even better than the first apart from one of our screens being broken, which was unacceptable.
Another five and a bit hours later , we finally landed at Cleveland Ohio. This was it, I was finally in America! Not after customs though.
The American custom process is much stricter and complex than the European one ( pre-Brexit at least). You are asked a number of questions upon arrival. Although the staff seemed friendly enough all instructions must be obeyed! This did take longer than first hoped.
Another security check took place before we were finally out. A quick bus to our hire car company commenced before we were finally on the way once we chose our vehicle.
It was interesting to note the differences on American roads. From yellow traffic lights and lack of roundabouts. Even the cars were different in many respects. Red indicators? No front number plates? All here in America.
We finally arrived at our hotel for the trip, Cedar Point’s Express Hotel. Although simple it was clean, tidy and welcoming.
Ride pictures above the beds is such a nice touch!
McDonald’s was our first stateside meal (conveniently located across the road from the hotel). The burger was certainly more tasty amongst a bigger portion and unlimited refills (a common measure in US eateries).
Day 1/ Monday- The Magnificent Seven-teen
Despite the long flight, I managed to wake up bright and early. Then again, I was still running on UK time so, 6am Cleveland time would equate to 11am in London.
Monday would be the first of three full days to visit Cedar Point.
Home of seventeen coasters (eighteen including both of Gemini’s track), the park boasts the second highest coaster count in the world. Least until a few years time when Energylandia will probably top it all.
The park features it’s own road/highway which may be the only major access route to the park. The views of the ride skyline make it what is arguably one of the most beautiful and impressive theme park views around!
They didn’t lie about it being a roller coast.
We parked up and arrived promptly. One of the advantages of staying at Cedar Point property is being allowed to enter for early ride time, one hour before main opening.
After playing the Star Spangled Banner, we made our way to our first attraction of the day, Steel Vengeance (the patriotism there is impressive).
New for 2018, this RMC replaced the ageing Mean Streak coaster, taking it’s layout and making it better.
The hype for this ride was unreal. I know I shouldn’t judge an attraction before riding, but I was unbelievably excited to experience this!
Such a beauty! Watching this ride going around it’s circuit!
So, how was Steel Vengeance you ask?
Absolutely Incredible! The ride is impressively tall, fast and packed with airtime (both floater and ejector) and hangtime amongst a lengthy ride duration.
I came off this ride immediately knowing it to be my number one coaster, and that was just from a middle row ride!
Cedar Point may not be specialists when it comes to turning, but SV definitely had some (if you look hard enough). From it’s styled lighting and story boards. They even feature different dispatch announcements for each train (Chess, Blackjack and Digger).
This was my first RMC, so fingers crossed I haven’t set the bar too high already and don’t appreciate others as a result.
My only criticism is naturally their ‘no phone in queue line’ policy, where phones must be put in a locker prior to riding. They even had undercover staff in the queue looking for anyone who snuck their phone in! There was also a security/police personnel at the entrance in case of abusive guests.
Things aside, Steel Vengeance is an incredible ride and worth tracking out for alone (amongst Cedar Point’s other amazing rides).
Maverick was the second ride of our trip. This intamin blitz coaster opened in 2007 replacing the former flume ride. I really like how they have preserved the old station and reused it as Maverick’s queue even if it is just your average cattle-pen.
Maverick really surprised me. Whilst I’d heard great things about this coaster, this thing literally wowed me! From it’s tight intense transitions, landscaping down to it’s hidden launch which was just amazing.
This ride for me narrowly beats Taron due to it’s variety of elements. And turnsurprise launch. There is also a back story to this attraction too.
We had a bite to eat next at this Smokehouse place. We all had spicy sausage, chips and a muffin.
It looked a lot more delicious than this photo suggests,
I like the details on these presumably old posters and signs.
Millennium Force was number three. The hype this coaster gets is absolutely insane, so I was concerned it would be overrated (given it’s mixed reception from enthusiasts).
I queued (ages) with an open mind trying not to think of how much I might like the ride.
Millennium Force surprised me! Often ranked very highly on coaster polls I was greatly satisfied this ride turned out to be just as good (if not better) from what I was expecting.
From it’s 300 ft plus cable lift hill, the ride delivers in plenty ways. There is definitely plenty of force as this coaster flies around it’s circuit. There is also plenty of interaction a lot more airtime than I was expecting too. Who said it was forceless?
I honestly came off shaken, in a good way which is why Millennium Force gets fifth place in my top 10 (speaking in September 2018).
N.B the gap between the 2-7 on my coaster ratings is pretty minuscule.
Having done what are arguably the three biggest (and best) rides at the park it was time for something comparatively smaller, Iron Dragon.
Opening in 1987, this Arrow suspended coaster is one of just five that remain operating (once 10). It’s also the oldest to remain operating (fourth one made).
The ride wasn’t anything remarkable, although I suppose it is one of the older ones of it’s type. Least I’ve now managed to one with the old Cars I guess.
Rougarou was next. This B&M coaster used to be a stand up but was converted to a floorless a few years ago.
I was pleasantly surprised with this ride. Like really surprised! The pacing and momentum through those inversions and helixes was superb. Truly an underrated coaster here and everything Dragon Khan should’ve been.
We headed east next to Gate Keeper, however it was down so we did Wicked Twister instead. This was a pleasant surprise and definitely a lot better than expected. The feeling of those launches and seeing the track top above was one crazy feeling!
Blue Streak followed, which was first and last wooden cred of the trip. This ride was pleasantly fun and reminded me of Big Dipper and Nick Streak at Blackpool. At 54 it is also one of the oldest coasters too.
We headed back to Gate Keeper which was now running which would by my second B&M Wing Rider.
Apart from the view onto the car park, I thoroughly enjoyed this one, from it’s selection of elements to the interactions near the entrance and theming elements! A better ride than Swarm in some areas but not in others.
We took the Sky Ride down to the entrance to experience Raptor. Not the Towers one. This version is an absolute classic and similar to the ones the first Magic Kingdom park’s used to have. They offered pleasant views of the park and peninsula. A shame Drayton spited theirs!
Raptor opened in 1994 (the same year as Nemesis) which is also a B&M invert.
It was hear we also experienced our first ‘in line shutdown’. No P.A announcement but they managed to get the ride up again pretty quickly in around 10 minutes. The amount of people leaving the line without appearing disgruntled was remarkable. They certainly seem more relaxed out here!
We managed front row on Raptor which turned out to be an impressive invert. It was a bit like Inferno but bigger and better. Some of those inversions really pull force and put you off guard, especially that reverse inline.
Currently my second favourite of four inverts (just four?) and favourite B&M in this park!
We grabbed another of many soft drink refills from the Coadter’s Diner before making a move to the further North Coasters in this park. The amount of free style refill and drinks choices out here is remarkable and offers considerably better choices than back home. Jamie Oliver is one of many reasons why the UK doesn’t get nice things anymore!
We did Corkscrew, another of several Arrow coasters at the park. Despite its age I found it surprisingly enjoyable.
Magnum XL was our next ride. In 1988 This beast was the tallest coaster in the world at 205ft tall, until it’s slightly taller sister the Big One stole it!
I found my first ride on the Magnum noticeably jerky and uncomfortable almost to the point I proffered The Big One. It’s a good job I didn’t just do it once! It’s still popular too.
Gemini followed. This is an interesting attraction in that it’s a racing coaster that looks like a woodie in places but is actually a steel coaster. It’s height implies it’s a thrill coaster, but it mostly rides as a thrilling family ride.
Whilst Gemini may not have the frills and excitement as other coasters at the park, it perfectly serves it’s purpose as a fun and exciting ride. The racing element here likely helps enhance this factor.
After Gemini we raced over (pun intended) to Cedar Creek Mine Ride, the final of C’s Arrow quintet. This is the second oldest coaster operating at the park, which you can tell from old fashioned restraints style which are manually functioned by ride staff. It also occupies one of the larger footprints too.
Aside from it’s historical significance, there isn’t anything remarkable about this ride as nothing really sticks out for it. Least the location is nice though. Still beats El Diablo.
We took a quick break from our coaster and soft drink hoarding by going on Sky Hawk, the park’s S&S Sky Swing. This was honestly tonnes of fun and swings much higher and longer than Rush indefinitely.
Valravn would serve as our final ride and Cred of day one. We joined the queue just before it closed and spent most of the time chatting an American family who seemed quite friendly; I found most people during my trip out there friendly.
Timing it right (when staff asked for a three), we finally boarded what would be our final B&M we hadn’t done at the park.
Although Wise and Martin seemed to like it, I came off feeling like something was missing. Like key wow factor moment. It probably didn’t help being asked to randomly swap seats with another rider.
Despite it’s height, the drop felt empty and I think the reason for this is largely down to the lack interaction. Whilst CP isn’t a park that specialise in theming, they could have at least added a tunnel or something as that alone would already be a noticeable improvement both to the ride in appearance and experience.
Don’t get me wrong it’s not a terrible coaster (far from it). But I just feel I csme off it feeling a little disappointed and wanting more and preferring Oblivion to it despite being a longer ride. I think the second half is generally better on this one! Least Yukon Striker actually has an impressive first drop!
Now your probably thinking I’m missing out on an important ride here. Something that you can’t help but notice really impacts the park’s ride selection and skyline. The answer Unfortunate is No. we didn’t go on Woodstock Express on day one!
Oh, and Top Thrill Dragster was down due to some cable replacing work, so looks like we’ve been spited a Cred here. Or have we?
End Of Part One