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Cedar Point 7/20


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Left the kids with my mom and the wife and I headed up early in the AM for my 1st CP visit in 9 years. Rain and t-storms were horrific and cast doubt on the whole day. Stopped for a proper breakfast in Lima and rain subsided after that. Loved taking all the back roads up there. Stopped at Wal-Mart for ponchos and before you knew it we were crossing the causeway with the sun shining. The employee passes we got from a KI associate worked and we were in (albeit a little late).

Pleasantly surprised by the walk-on at GateKeeper so we went for the front. First winged experience for me and did not disappoint. Seeing the oncoming track at the top, it was hard to discern where we were headed-really odd feeling for sure. So smooth and floaty with the unique sensation of nothing below you. the forecast looked like more rain, so we headed to Valravn next.

After waiting for ~15-20 min. the rain started and they shut it down while we were on the steps (doh!). Knowing it would be down for a bit, we sought some dryness-very glad that we had brought our ponchos. Made our way to Frontier Town and the Last Chance Saloon. While the BBQ place was packed, we had no trouble grabbing a few beers and a bag of peanuts to ride out the storm. So happy to have a dry, comfortable bar room to chill and sip our lagers. Peeked into the show room to see the stage setup. Looked pretty quaint and cozy. I've always felt CP to be high on rides, and lower on ambiance and 'chill' spots, but this trip reminded me of their great use of space and ability to create a comfortable feel.

As the rain slowed, we figured we may as well queue up for Steel Vengeance. The structure is amazing to behold and everyone cheered as they started sending through the empty trains. Once there were full trains, it was nuts to see how the structure gives-great illustration of what wood can do. The wait would have been less if my fanny pack (I'm here to NOT lose my stuff, NOT to look cool) wasn't prohibited, but oh well. After I got a locker it was roughly 1.5 hrs. Chatted up a guy from KY there with his younger siblings-Guy was very nice and a hardcore coaster junkie. Finally got on and was put in the 2nd last car. The whole sensation of a massive lap bar/leg harness made me feel totally secure but also free to move. Hard to put into words the ride itself. The 1st drop is as intense as any and whatever you call that reversed bank out of the 1st hill made me feel like a cartoon character where my upper body is being pulled up and left while the car (and my lower body) is being hurled down and to the right. The sections in the structure were insane. The smoothness, speed, air time and general ridiculousness made me laugh like a maniac the entire ride. There is nothing that compares in my coaster experience-next level stuff. My wife claims it to be her new all time favorite. 

After that we figured we'd hit Maverick since we were there. Slight delay as they added 2 trains, but still worth it. Once again, such a unique coaster and just as intense as I remember it from 9 years ago. Extra wait on Maverick made for a late meal but we found the BBQ at the smokehouse to be pretty good. Also amazed that they had Brew Dog's Elvis Juice on tap-did not expect a quality Ohio brew, but that was nice. Of course that stuff is radically overpriced, but it we knew that going in. Made our way through the woods of Frontier Town towards Millennium Force. Once again it struck me how nice that area is-trees grow a lot in nearly a decade. Nearly to the station in Millie and they had to close for unknown mechanical reasons. Since the line was short to begin with, I didn't feel bad bailing-but it was weird walking through the exit without that awesome post-ride buzz. Luckily we were able to basically walk on Valravn. It was everything I'd hoped for and freaked my wife out big time when it stopped at the top. I assumed she knew, but wasn't going to mention it. She was massively scared and though it was broken. She lived-but didn't ride it again!

Took a break and I ran out to the car for some Advil reinforcements (knew I was forgetting something). By this time Millie was running and we got on pretty quick. I've thought this for years, but this may be my favorite coaster ever. The setting, the speed, the smoothness. It's incredibly intense without any of the negatives. It is just so good and never gets old. I REALLY hope KI get's an Intamin giga soon--there is really nothing like it. 

After that, Top Thrill Dragster was finally running so I wanted to get one in on that. My wife declined as that thing freaks her out (she did the eagles). Had to wait about 45 min. but once again, there is nothing like TTD. Just sheer insanity. It occurred to me then that of all the great coasters I've ridden, TTD, Maverick, Millennium Force, and Steel Vengeance are the 4 that really take you to another dimension of speed and space. They are of a higher order. (And why KI needs an Intamin Giga!)

After meeting back up with my wife, we decided to head back towards Steel Vengeance but not before the Magnum. Once again, a slight wait to take a train off, but it was not bad at all. Made my mind wander to back when they put this in (long before I ever visited CP) and what a big deal it was. The thing looks tiny by today's standards, and is pretty rough these days. But the way it swings out towards the lake is still awesome. We then hopped on Cedar Creek Mine Ride just for kicks and I realized that there is a lot to be said for a long, sprawling mine ride even without any big drops. We got back in line for SV and this time I took more note of the mythology/theming of the story-pretty cool and intricate. I love theming and it's awesome when they can work in a coherent narrative. Much better than that Squeelers coaster they're putting in at Kennywood lol. Along those same lines, I liked the 'Battle for CP' game/ap that they are promoting. While I didn't do the actual ap, I loved the depictions of all the major rides as characters of some sort with their own personas and emblems. Each one really personified that coaster IMO-Very cool.

It was basically dark for our 2nd SV ride and what can I say-It was still amazing. Hands up the whole time, ended up in the same car-The mist memorable rides of our trip. After that go-round, my wife was pretty much done, but I still wanted to check out the Iron Dragon VR. The idea seemed cool, and I'd never done anything like it. Initially decided to wait 45 minutes (sans wife) but once in line I decided against it. If it sucked, I'd feel like I wasted time that could have been spent on known quantities. So instead I busted out another night run on Millie (amazing) and also got on the front of Rougorou. I liked the Mantis when I 1st rode it in '97, but it had been bumpy and rough since. The new seats were much better and the ride was much improved with a few minor headbangers. 

Met back up with my wife and she indulged me in one last ride on Valravn. This time I got the center of the front row which really was amazing. Just hanging there staring straight down a wall of track-Very unique and thrilling. As we headed out, I remembered back how this was one of my wife and I's 1st trips as a couple so many years ago and how we'll love bringing our kids up there once they're big enough (our 6 year old would ride everything now if he could). In less than an hour, we were at a free hotel (points) in Avon, OH watching the British Open. Very blessed that the rain held off for most of the day and gave us a refreshing adult day at a truly amazing park. 



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