We left Kennywood in high spirits and made the three-hour drive to Cedar Point, the most anticipated park of the trip and one that I’ve been waiting to visit for years.
Since I started enjoying coasters, Cedar Point has always stood out to me as the ultimate “bucket list” park and one that I never envisaged I’d actually get the chance to visit. Yet here I was, in a car on the way to Cedar Point? It just felt so surreal.
Driving into the park at night was an incredible experience as all the coasters were lit up despite the fact the park had closed hours ago, there were coloured chaser lights on the lift-hills and the skyline was just incredible. I really have never seen anything like it and I was giddily excited despite having been on the road for 3 hours and being tired from the previous days.
We stayed at the Express hotel and whilst it was very nice with excellent rooms, we would book earlier and stay in Hotel Breakers if we visited again for the convenience.
(One thing to mention is we spent three days at Cedar Point with a visit to Kings Island after the first day, this review will cover the general park and I will write a separate review in due course for Coaster Mania).
Onto the park itself;
Cedar Point is unlike anything I’ve ever seen, it’s difficult to describe but I was in a state of amazement walking around taking in all the huge coasters around us. Everything feels like it’s placed perfectly, the rides all look spotless and the park atmosphere is great with the parkwide music playlist and some rides having their own audio. Of course, there isn’t a lot in the way of theming, but as it’s an amusement park we weren’t expecting this. I was surprised by how well themed some areas were, actually!
The roller coasters are what Cedar Point are famous for, but to me they aren’t what makes it (IMO) the best amusement park in the world. The thing that stood out to me, and that makes Cedar Point the best, is that despite having some of the world’s biggest coasters, they still take care of their older attractions. There’s a steam train, numerous vintage flat rides and an old-style cableway, all in perfect condition. In all the reviews of the park I’ve read nobody seems to talk about this, but I found it incredible that a park with so many huge rides and coasters still cares enough to look after their old-style rides like this. UK parks would do very well to take a leaf out of their book with regards to this, in my opinion. Much like Kennywood, they were happy to tell you how old the rides were with signage outside many of them.
Another thing I loved was the collection of Arrow Dynamics coasters. With Arrow being my favourite manufacturer, it was fantastic to see five operational coasters and other rides throughout the park and again, they all looked in near-perfect condition. For Magnum to run the way it does when it’s 30 years old is just amazing.
Operations were fantastic for the most part and you feel as though the staff all have genuine enthusiasm for the job they’re doing. Even towards the end of long days they were still talking enthusiastically through the microphones, checking restraints as fast as they could and it was just incredible to see a park that puts so much effort into guest experience. Magnum’s operations were particularly fantastic, it ran three trains on the Friday and they were dispatching one after the second had reached the bottom of the first drop. No faffing in the station, no Speedy Pass slowing things down, it was fantastic and highlighted to me how an Arrow hyper-coaster should be run.
Onto the ride reviews;
Magnum XL 200
After years of holding The Big One in high regard I was incredibly excited to ride Magnum. It holds a sentimental spot for me for being the ride that inspired Geoffrey Thompson to build a hyper-coaster at Blackpool, but I also think the importance of Magnum in the industry is often overlooked. It was the world’s first hyper-coaster, kickstarted the “height-wars” across parks and inspired so many parks to build bigger rides.
Onto the ride experience itself, I absolutely loved it. The first drop has an amazing “floaty” feeling in that it keeps getting gradually steeper, meaning you float further and further out of your seat as you descend. It’s very effective and much better than it looks on pictures/videos. After a forceful dip the crest of the second hill provides a moment’s pause before you dive into the tunnel, into the third hill which provides another incredible floaty sensation as you’re “not quite” in the seat throughout the entire hill.
The turnaround was very forceful (especially in the morning and night rides with no trims!) and felt very smooth for a 30-year-old Arrow coaster, following which you enter the airtime hills. These hills are MENTAL.
The first few provide moderate airtime, as you would expect, but after you’ve turned to face the station you hit hill after hill with the airtime getting more intense and prolonged with each one. By the last three we were literally standing up in our seats, which is then combined with a “special effects tunnel” for the last hill. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever ridden before and the restraints allow for such unrestricted airtime, it beats any modern coaster IMO.
Magnum is my favourite roller coaster and I think it’ll be very difficult for anything to top it now for me. It’s just perfect for what I enjoy in coasters, it has a lot of character, isn’t glass smooth (yet I never found it uncomfortable), has varied styles of airtime, force and Arrow-ness. From the float-y hills at the start to the insane airtime at the end it never fizzles out and just feels like a perfect, well-rounded coaster. A special ride.
I thoroughly enjoyed Millennium force and think it’s a fantastic coaster as long as you don’t expect too much.
The cable lift-hill is cool and it certainly felt strange to ascend the first hill so fast, cresting the hill is also amazing as it feels as if you’re never going to level out with the change in angle (to a steeper drop) being so gradual. There isn’t much time to prepare for the drop but instead you get a surreal feeling of it being a continuation of the speed you already have, before getting faster and faster as you continue to drop.
The ride is essentially 2 minutes of travelling at 90 miles per hour, and it’s one of the biggest rushes I’ve ever experienced. There isn’t lots of airtime but it didn’t feel like it was missing anything, the ride is about height and speed and it achieves this perfectly.
The force on some of the turnarounds was fantastic and I found there to be an amazing floaty sensation over the hills if you sat towards the front of the train. I did prefer the first drop in the back, however.
The last small hill (alongside the station) gives an unexpected pop of airtime before you enter the final turnaround and then hit the brake run.
I really liked the futuristic feel of the ride and it has such a huge presence in the park. The station audio is great and it’s probably my third favourite ride at Cedar Point.
This ride is insane. I was unsure after my first ride but after a fair few rides after three days, it’s my second favourite coaster at CP.
It’s difficult to describe every element but the first drop and hills that follow provide some incredible prolonged airtime, following which you reach some inversions, some quick moments of intense airtime and then the second half which is just pure insanity.
Diving through the structure you get intense airtime, overbank, inversion, overbank with airtime, inversion, and then the last few airtime hills which are just crazy. It’s such a brilliant sequence of elements and seems to just go on-and-on, truly a magnificent ride and I can see why it gets so much praise.
There was however unfortunately a downside to the ride, which was that I absolutely hated the restraints. I tend to get achy legs anyway, so having my lower legs forced into an awkward position with clunky clamps and the lap-bar forced heavily onto me felt very uncomfortable; especially on a ride with so much intense airtime. It’s a shame as I was very aware of the discomfort when going around the layout, it took away from the ride so much for me and ruined what might have otherwise been my favourite ride. I can’t accept a brand-new coaster having such terrible restraints when a 30-year-old Arrow hyper-coaster has far superior and more comfortable trains. A shame.
Operations were also very slow on this, who’s idea was it to have the phone and wallet holder on the trains?!
This ride puts any modern multi-launch coaster to shame, the fast pace of the turns, the force, the airtime and everything else is far superior. Some of the highlights were the first few turns after the first drop, the two inversions which are taken very quickly and don’t feel drawn out or sickly, the second launch and the two Stengel dives.
It’s just such a ridiculous ride and the restraints make it very comfortable despite throwing you around like mad. So, so good. In any other park I’ve visited this would be the best ride without a doubt.
Top Thrill Dragster
A fantastic coaster and the best of the three of these style rides that I’ve been on (this, Kingda Ka and Stealth).
The launch feels so much more forceful than the others with it being an instant acceleration rather than phased, ascending the tower is unnerving with the lap-bar restraints as I found you felt as though you were falling backwards, then you just float down the twisted drop before landing in your seat.
I actually found the sensation of being slowed down by brakes on a straight piece of track was better than having an airtime hill, it really highlights the sheer power of the speed you’re travelling at when you gradually slow down rather than it being over an airtime hill (without any airtime because you’re being slowed down).
The ride ran 5 trains which was crazy, I really like the lap-bar restraints and the “ready to go” song was amusing. If you’re going to make a coaster short, this is how to do it. Brilliant ride.
I enjoyed this but I much preferred Batman at Six Flags Great Adventure.
Raptor felt like it had some very good elements such as the corkscrews, the final helix was also incredible with so much force.
I found however that there were some awkward moments where not much happened throughout the layout, there was also a horrible jolt as you turned into the final brake run where the entire train seemed to shake. Almost felt as though B&M had taken the last day off construction so Arrow or Vekoma had stepped in to finish the last turn.
Not a bad coaster, but one of my least favourites at CP.
This was one of the rides I was least excited for because the pacing looked fairly slow off-ride, but I really enjoyed it.
The ride is more about prolonged force than anything else, however the views from the top are incredible with you getting to see the skyline from a unique viewpoint. The drop is incredible, the force on the dips is great and the overall ride was much better than I expected.
My only criticism is that it didn’t feel right having a dive coaster without a tunnel!
A fantastic classic wooden coaster with airtime, speed and it felt very well maintained. The layout was great with some of the hills being much lower than others and therefore full of airtime, it had the right amount of bumpiness without feeling painful and the trains are good.
It’s one of the best rides at the park IMO and it’s great that they have kept it operating alongside their newer coasters.
The ride had a fantastic lighting package with the chaser lights across the beams, it’s almost as though the parks over here are actually proud of their classic woodies rather than stripping them of their charm and “modernising” them like we do back home?
Much better than I expected, very forceful and the keyhole element was great. It wasn’t one of my favourites at the park but that’s more telling of how good everything else is rather than Gatekeeper not being a good ride.
I did find that the last helix felt a bit slow, though.
Quite good with some very different elements, it definitely felt bumpier that most B&M’s but I didn’t find it uncomfortable.
I think with this it’s a case of it being overshadowed by much better rides at Cedar Point, if you put it in a UK park it’d be one of the best rides.
Plus; it’s an arrow. Minus; it’s not a very good Arrow. Still keep it though because the mist is cool.
Gemini is brilliant and an extremely underrated coaster, IMO. I absolutely loved this ride.
The ride is incredibly smooth for an Arrow and the retro style of the trains/station is brilliant. There is a lot of unexpected airtime depending on which row you sit in; the racing element is fun and it’s just an all-round great coaster.
The last helix made me chuckle, after a perfectly smooth ride they couldn’t resist adding in an Arrow-style square corner at the end!
A fun ride, not my favourite Arrow coaster but it’s visually impressive with the corkscrews taking place over paths and looked really well lit up at night.
The paint job on the trains was fantastic and like everything else at Cedar Point, it looked perfectly maintained.
I had been intrigued by this type of ride for years and it was good fun, not a stand-out ride but there wasn’t anything negative to say about it either. Just fun.
Terrifying, a “get me off this now” type of ride. Not even the views of Magnum made up for the sheer terror of this.
I enjoyed hearing the Harry Potter and ET film scores though.
Cedar Creek Mine Ride
This ride had hilariously square corners, awkward hills and it’s strange that the lap-bars run on the same mechanism per carriage (meaning it has to be in the same position across three rows).
But, it’s an Arrow, so that makes it great. Keep it.
Similar to Rush at Thorpe but much better.
Snake River Falls
Wet. Fun though.
Possibly the most ridiculous rapids I’ve been on, rivalled only by Kings Island’s. You essentially either come off dry, or end up completely engulfed by one of the waterfalls meaning you come off looking like you’ve had 10 rides on Valhalla.
Then they had this weird exit path with water running down it (that looked intentional) meaning you had to walk through a puddle and get wet shoes (or step on the sides and avoid it)? Why would anyone want that? Weird.
Cedar Downs Racing Derby was good, it was nice to see that the racing feature of the horses still worked. I prefer having an organ to the commentary, though.
The park had many classic rides such as the Antique Cars, Cableway and the Scrambler alongside many others. We enjoyed these however there were others we didn’t have time to do, unfortunately.
Overall, it’s difficult into words how much I loved Cedar Point. Driving into the park is breath-taking with the skyline coming into view, it’s an amazing enough experience in itself. The big coasters are incredible and that combined with the park’s respect for their older rides is what makes the place, for me, the best park I’ve ever visited. It feels as though there’s depth to the place and it’s definitely about more than just coasters.