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6/16 Cedar Point, Sunrise Tour


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A few weeks ago my wife and I signed up for the Sunrise Tour at Cedar Point to take place on Thursday, June 16.  We arrived the day before and enjoyed the park and an overnight stay at The Breakers so we would be sure to make our show time of 6:30am on the 16th.  Crowds were minimal on the 15th with Valravn down for most of the day. (yet all the Intamins were up and running...)

 

We awoke on the 16th to the sound of heavy rain.   Not good.  But checking the radar it seemed to by one isolated cell and it was moving to the southeast.  We checked out of The Breakers at 6:15 and drove out of the park and immediately U Turned back into the park for the first perk of the day, preferred parking.  Want to be in the first spot?  Arrive at 6:20 in the morning!

 

Dustin, a supervisor in customer service, greeted us at 6:30 and scanned our tickets and our passes (to allow our season meal plan to activate).   We would be the only people on the tour today!  About 30 seconds later the phone rang from the rides department... might be to wet to do the Valravn climb.  I told Dustin that we would be OK with just an elevator ride to the top (my wife wasn't going to get out, anyways).  They did offer to reschedule the tour but I figured things were drying out and I didn't know when we would be back.

 

We were assigned Allissa (I know i'm missed the spelling, sorry!) as a tour guide.  She was in her first year of customer service, her second at the park, having previously been on the Dragster crew.  She said most of the customer service folks (at CP) were on internships from the various universities represented.  Hopefully people will remember that when they complain !

 

Time for the money shot.  We headed to the Valravn for the signature event.  We were met by Kayla (i'm screwing that up, sorry) and W. They said we would go up the elevator and they would check to see if it was too slippery to walk around.  I told them I had completed my OSHA fall prevention training at work in April.  (It didn't matter to them!)  We belted up and entered the elevator.  Reaching the top, W secured himself and Kayla using the belt using a 2 tie off method to the one tie off method.  From what I remember from the OSHA training, very proper.  Kayla went up, walked to the end and came back and said the outside tour was ON!   They attached my fall harness and I left the elevator.  The platform is sheet steel with wingwalk compound (sand in paint for texture) and not slippery at all.  (I very much appeciate their caution, however!!)  I stepped out on the platform and was amazed by the view, almost forgetting I was 223' in the air!  Kayla showed me the do not cross red line and pointed out the workings at the top.  I found out the holding brake is not a brake at all, its simply a chain drive that moves very slowly.  You never actually come to a complete stop, unless the ride goes down.  I took a ton of pictures and could have stayed up there all day. It was almost a religious experience and I never got scared (I have a mild fear of heights)   I guess I was out on the platform 7 minutes or so.  My wife in the elevator said it was a few lifetimes.  The elevator ride down was quiet as I was trying to remember everything I saw.

 

 

Now time for the Valravn "ground" tour.  We saw the underside of the station (1st level,strangely empty) and the second level with various computers, proximity sensors and all the workings of the fold away floor.  Very complex!  On a table they had a summer wheel, winter wheel (bigger diameter and softer) , a chain dog and the hydraulics of the seat restraint. (released by a selaniod, no way it can open without electrical power, either in the station or by a battery pack).

 

We then moved over to the storage shed/maintenance shed.  The water dummies were down below and upstairs all three Valravn trains were parked in the shed. (I didn't realize they could all fit at the same time).  Got some cool pics of the underside of the trains and wheel assemblies.

 

At that point we headed over to the employee cafe for breakfast, which was included.  I laughed at the prices. Egg sandwich, $1.  Omlet, $2.  The girl working the cafeteria line asked for our CP identification , to which Allissa said we were the Sunrise Tour so everything was "free". The omlet was very good and the fruit fresh.  The food may be better in the cafe than in the park. 

 

We then headed back to Valravn for the test runs.  We watched a few empty runs, then runs with a single ride attendant. (Who wants to ride now?  Me! Me!   I guess it pays to be good to the boss.) Apparently they run all the trains empty, then with a ride attendant, assuming everything is trouble free.  At 8:45 we took our first ride of the day.  We choose the front right, Allissa rode in the back right.  I had riden it once before in row 2, middle and was disappointed.  Row 1 was a MUCH better experience!

 

After our ride, the floodgates opened and we headed to Dragster for an infield tour.  We walked on the infield, past the power shed to under the tower itself.  As we stood in awe under the tower the first test train of the day shot up the tower. SWEET.  Allissa pointed out why they are so strict on loose objects, especially on Dragster.  She showed us a tower light where they had recovered a cellphone.  She said losing phones is one of the biggest complaints.

 

We cut through Dinasours Alive to get to MF.  They put stuff everywhere, especially for Haunt, just outside of a normal field of vision.  It paid to look around!

 

MF was having issues getting going so we did the full walk around underneath while the ride was locked out and maintenance at the top.  By the time we reached the middle of the lift hill the ride began test runs.  Its fast, especially by the tracks coming off the lift hill!

 

We cut behind the petting zoo, and by the not so nice camel (Allissa warned us to walk on the far side of the path) to Maverick.  We went behind the Frontier Inn to get into the infield but the gate was locked.  Maintenance came by to let us in but not before a group of angry patrons showed up... Looking for a phone dropped on Maverick.  Allissa gave them the standard answer about it may be retrieved at the end of the night, file a report on the website, etc..  They got a little rude and Allissa shrugged her shoulders.  I felt very bad for her.  She didn't drop the phone and had no power to help them immediately.  She recovered quickly and gave us the infield tour of Maverick. She then walked us up the back steps and asked us where we would like to sit.  Front row, please.  As the train left the station I saw the missing phone on the roof of the tunnel.  They dropped it before the ride even started. Idiots!  As usual, Maverick was an awesome ride!!

 

Allissa walked us out of Maverick through the normal exit and gave us 2 one time Fast Pass Plus and 2 Fast Pass tickets.  The tour ended at that point (about 10:45am)  Allisse and everyone we encountered from CP was very friendly and very accomodating.   Loved the tour and would do it again. 

 

 

 

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Valravn shakes big time, but only when running and is designed to do exactly that.    I have a video of the supports shaking as the train moves through the course.  When we were at the top (obviously the ride was not running)  it didn't move at all. 

 

They said if it didn't shake, it would break.  I get that.  Airplane wings do the exact same thing. 

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I absolutely loved reading this and I hope to be able to do a Sunrise Tour sometime!

 

As someone who wants to pursue engineering, getting to see the very mechanisms that make those rides work is practically a dream!! :lol:

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  • 4 weeks later...

 I find it interesting that CP uses a harness for their dive coaster tours. I watched a youtube video on the Griffon tour at Busch Gardens and they were wearing no harness up there. I found that surprising to say the least and left a comment for the ride worker but he has yet to respond. Even maintenance workers wear tethers. Are there in spaces up there that somebody could fall through if they were to trip or have a medical issue or fainting spell? Even the guardrails are not that tall so I can't see a park wanting guests to be up there without a harness on. Seems like it would be an OSHA violation or something. Please let me know if I don't know what I'm talking about.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I was very surprised that there was no waiver to be signed or anything like that.  OHSA requirements are very strict, for the very reasons you speak of.  If you were determined/crazy/ill  you could fall on (and through) the track or overtop the railing. 

 

The tether prevents any movement like I just mentioned (you have to drag it with you).  If you fainted or fell you would end up on the platform with your midsection off the ground as the tether was only about 18" long. 

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