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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
Right, so quite a few years ago I made posts for a trip that seemed in the clouds. However hopefully now, I am more in a position of a trip finally happening.I'm planning an Orlando trip for 2018. Would September be a good time to visit? Hoping for a 15 day trip out there, and knocking the first and last day for packing, travel and jet lag I'm hoping for the following:2 days at Magic Kingdom 1 day at each other park (total 3)3 days at Universal 2 days Busch Gardens1 day Sea World2 relax days, one for Volcsno Bay and something else and another for Disney Springs and one of the water parks.What's anyone's thoughts on this and is there anything else I should do/plan amongst this?Wondering where the best place to stay is?Disney Onsite, I-Drive, Villa or Kissimmee? The latter sounds interesting.Is a package holiday best for first timers In Orlando? I've booked and organised trips in Europe, but not America.
Surprised after yesterday's announcement of the new coaster (replacing Son of Beast, which I'll forever hate the park for closing for good shortly before my visit back in 2009)... Banshee is an Inverted B&M and will apparently be the longest in the world... And it looks like they've taken inspiration from the excellent OzIris at Asterix with the layout... Here's a few videos to tide you over... HYPE! Especially over the colour scheme
So was in the park from around mid day. The event started at half 7, and the park closed for normal quests at 6. People for Howl O scream were aloud in at 5 and were given wristbands, so from 6 only people with wristbands were given access to all the rides. This was nice as it meant we didn't have to sit doing nothing for an hour like we did at Universal. Was really looking forward to this event, open until 1am with 7 houses with all the main rides open. There was a also a show, live music and nightclubs for those interested. There were no specific scare zones listed on the map like universal but there quite a few around the park, and groups of actors walking round the park similar to Fright Nights. There were people dressed up in ghille suits hiding in bush's and trees all around the park who just randomly just out at people or make a loud bang every so often. I found out the hard way when at 6 (still daylight) I shat my pants when one jumped out a bush and made a loud bang. Didn't expect any actors to be out at all, especially at 6. The event hadn't even started and I had already had a much bigger scare than I got the whole time I was at Universal. Such a great idea, and scared so many people. No one expected it. There was a group of clowns roaming the park as well, and one of them made me jump again as well. At a corner there was a clown just standing there making strange noises distracting me, then another clown jumps out from behind a bin with a horn and scares you. Very well done. Anyway onto the houses... The Basement So first up was the Basement. Turned up here about 15 minutes before it opened not knowing how busy/quiet it was going to be, but thought it was strange there being like 5 people in front of me when there was only 15 minutes until it opened. As soon it was time, we were led down into the main queue and we were straight in. No talks like all the events in the UK, just signs at the entrance. So at Busch gardens all the mazes were free flow meaning you didn't have to hold on the person in front of you, and they put you in the maze in around groups of 20, not as small as what they do in the UK but not as big as Universal (which is just a 1 massive conga line.) Themed around mamas kitchen and how she is gonna cook you up and eat you. A brilliant house, better than all of the ones I did at Universal! Theming was excellent, water sprayed at you (as vomit) for example. All actors were great and stayed in roll the whole time, chainsaw ending on this one as well. 9/10 So next up located in Gwazi park (now closed during the day)... Circus of superstition 3D So being a 3D maze, you wear 3D glasses and everything in the maze is painted really bright UV colours, and all the glasses do is make the colours strike out a lot more. After doing a dreadful 3D maze at Universal Halloween horror night I really wan't expecting much from this one. I walked up to the maze to see a completely empty queue, and got asked if I wanted to wait for a group or just go in alone (Didn't meet my family until after this house). So for the whole first half of the maze I was completely alone until I caught up with another group. It was one of the most intense experiences of my life. Full of scares, including actors on swings/bungees who come out of no where and swing of the wall right up to you (you can't see them on a wall before they swing at you, they just come at you out of nowherere and swing back again. ) Clown costumes were excellent, music was excellent, acting quality again was amazing and overall just an amazing house. Defiantly one of the best I've ever done. 9/10 Facade looked amazing. And there was a giant clown running around outside as well. Next up was the new house for this year, Unearthed scarlets revenge. Waited around 15 minutes for this one, was a bit stupid of us going in the house at the entrance of the park just as the event started as it had no queue later on Gwazis queue was used as the queue for this house, and even went right up to the station... So annoying having a beautiful woodie lit up next to us SBNO which closed months before we went All the trains are still there sitting in the maintenance sheds. Anyway back to the house, it was alright. Theming was good once again and was creepy, but lacked scares, which wasn't helped by the fact too many people were let in meaning it was very slow moving inside there. The main character in there Scarlett was just weird, a sexy girl with horns? Don't know how she was meant to be scary, or how she linked in with the rest of the monsters in there and rest of the house. Was just all a bit weird. Was a good house but just no where near as strong as the first 2 I did. 7/10 Death Water Bayou Didn't really know what to expect for this one. Walked up a long path to find a nice facade, looked like an abounded house. This house was seriously amazing. Probably the best house/maze I've ever done. Seemed to have so many parts of the houses all combined into one, for example the swings/bungees from the clown maze were in here. A ridiculous amount of scares, a spinning tunnel, actors were amazing, theming was amazing, was just a really strong house throughout, loved every second. Very intense, most amount of scares in a maze. 10/10!! Zombie Mortuary Wasn't expecting to be scared a lot from this one, had never been through a zombie maze but once again a very good house. Soundtrack was great with a strong organ sound playing throughout, made a creepy atmosphere. Zombie costumes were really good, theming was good surprisingly a lot of scares. Another really strong house. 8/10 Deadfull Again a pretty strong house, not a lot to say about this one. Theming was great, remember seeing a Merry go round, a playground, a graveyard. Was more creepy than scary. 8/10 Zombie Containment unit 15 Unfortunately I didn't get to experience this one. It had over a 45 minute queue the whole night when everything else was pretty much walk on, so we really couldn't be bothered. Guessing the reason for this is low throughput, all I know is that you have a gun and have to shoot the zombies. My advice to anyone that goes would be to do this first before it builds up a queue, the queue did not go down the whole time we were there. Rides open at night were: Cheetah Hunt in the dark was very good with a lot of it being dark. Dodgems were great with smoke, lazers and loud music. Kumba :wub: :wub: :wub: Sheikra Falcons Fury, which the Americans seemed to love. and Montu. Overall this was by far the best Halloween event I've ever done. The park atmosphere was fantastic, actors all round the park were fantastic and obviously all the main rides are open for night rides. There was really good music throughout the park, lighting and smoke machines everywhere. It's crazy how much a huge place can all have such a good atmosphere. All the houses were very good, all had excellent theming, nice facades, great soundtracks and full of actors. Obviously some were better than others, but all the houses were very strong and there was none that I thought were terrible. Walking around the park in the day is completely different to walking around it at night, it just all comes out of no where. There are loads of really nice photo opportunities dotted around the park as well, with actors standing there and staff to take a photo for you. Have one of me and my Dad. We left the park a few hours early, we got we wanted to do done multiple times as there was literally no queues. Busch are good with re-rides on the coasters as well which is nice. Lots of actors at the exit when we left Apologies all the photos are terrible but they were all taken on my phone and all turned out very bad at night. Thanks for reading. Happy to do a trip report of Busch Gardens in the day, Universal halloween horror night, Islands of adventure, Studios, Sea World, Fun Spot if people are interested