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TR: Cedar Point & Skyhawk


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Yesterday, we finally made our first visit of the season to Cedar Point. This time, we had a newbie with us. Our dear friend from the Candy store on International Street. Also in tow, James and Robb. Bonnie's reaction to the skyline of Cedar Point was priceless. Even after countless visits, I still love approaching the park. Hands down the best skyline there is. With all the coasters dotting the sky, its almost cartoonish in appearance....especially the profile of Millennium Force. We got a really late start, arriving at the Park around 1230. They were BUSY, not what we had hoped for. Despite the fact that there were A LOT of people there, the lines weren't horribly long......they were pretty evenly spread through out the Park.

Our first stop was Dragster. Only waited 35 minutes for the ride, not bad at all! It ran smoothly and VERY reliable all day long. Super fun ride as always, you just gotta love that view from the top! Bonnie's screams all during the ride made it that more enjoyable :-) Feeling confident after her ride, the rest of the day was a piece of cake for her.

We headed over to Magnum next. About a 10 minute wait for the back seat. Maggie never gets old for me. She is running beautifully this year. Smooth and filled with air as always, plus the setting out by the lake is always so gorgeous to take in during the run out. Heading back towards Frontierland, we hopped aboard Gemini for a quick spin. Again, still running smooth and just a ton of fun!

We decided to grab a quick bite to eat. Corndogs and sodas in hand, it was a satisfying snack to tide us over until Johnny Rockets later in the day. I bought 4 corn dogs and two large sodas....the price was $13. NOT bad, considering at Rivertown Potato Works they raped me out of $12 for an order of fries, large soda and a cup of cheese sauce. Take a hint PKI, lower the prices.

Next up was Mean Streak. Wha what?! 45 minute wait the sign says. Haven't seen a line for that baby, much less waited in one, in a LONG time. We skipped, thinking we'd make it back later. Cedar Creek Mine ride, again 30 minute wait, we skipped. At this point, it was definitely warm, so we rented a locker and got our drenchings on Snake River Falls and Thunder Canyon. I forget just how SOAKING THunder Canyon is with its waterfalls, it made for my second shower of the day :-) Of course, a stop to check out the new coaster under construction. The area of land is MUCH larger than I realized. They've got a nice portion of track in place already and I'm intrigued. Low to the ground, lots of directional changes, then the footers out in the Swan Lake. Can't wait to get the rest of the scoop on this one, looks like it'll be a fun one.

We were in the area of the New-for-2006 Skyhawk. I wanted to check this out, just because so many of these things have sprung up this year. I really didn't know what to expect. First off, the restraints. HOLY ****! Lack of restraints, I guess I should say. A simple lap bar that fits over the contours of your legs. No handles to hold, really. Very exposed, very open. I heard a lot of people question this addition when they announced it. People were concerned with its similarities to maXair. Two completely different sensations. This thing freaked me out, loved it! The final two swings were superb. The first with us dangling face first 125 feet in the air with just that little lap bar. The second sending us skyward and nearly upside down (similiar to Delirium). We loved this thing. It wasn't so much intense, just darn scary with the openess of the car. We headed back for a night ride later on!

We decided to head towards the front of the Park. By passing the hour + wait on Millennium Force, we took at spin on Wildcat and Iron Dragon. Wildcat was fun as always, though I don't care so much for Iron Dragon. I remember loving it as a kid, though now its just over shadowed by all the other big guys in the Park. We strolled down the main midway, taking in all the sights and sounds. Every where you look a coaster train whizzes by. The Sky Ride travels over head. The landscaping in the middle of the midway looked great this year. Why does this park always get flack for being ugly? I never have understood that. Raptor was promising a half hour wait, though it ended up being around 45 minutes. As usual, the line never stops moving here and is a testiment as to why they always win best capacity. The ride was running great as always. Can't believe that its 12 years old now, I remember riding it when it was brand new. Kinda makes me feel a tad old :-) None the less, it always delivers and yesterday was no different.

Dinner at Johnny Rockets was nice. Again, why doesn't PKI have some type of sit-down table service restaurant? The place was packed. We sat outside, enjoying a nice view of Raptor. Of course no visit to Johnny's is complete without the servers coming out to dance on the midway for a song or two. Its the little things like such as this that sets an atmosphere and makes the visit just a tad bit more special.

Next up Wicked Twister. Still love this thing and I would KILL to have one of these at PKI. The crew was flying. The train would stop in the station for no more than 30 seconds before its next dispatch. None of the queues were opened, but the line backed out to the entrance. 10 minute wait. Fantastic. I STILL haven't ridden maXair. Had planned to yesterday, but due to time constraints we opted to go back and ride Magnum again.

At this point it was dark. Haven't ridden Maggie at night in a long time. Such a fantastic ride! This time, we all took turns riding the ejector seat 1.3. Definitely rougher here, but the air is incredible and always makes for a great ride! We quickly walked back to Skyhawk. Still freaky. The final swing skyward was a trip, as it was pitch black until you were angled back enough to see the lights of the other rides.

Lastly, we hopped in line for Millennium Force a few minutes before the Park closed. 45 minutes later, we were climbing silently in the darkness to the top. This ride may not be a Superman, in terms of intensity and air time, but its just a fun ride all around. The first drop is simply stunning, even more so in the dark. It was running fast tonight though, so the airtime was more pronounced over the two hills leading to and from the island. It was a terrific way to end our way!

The lines were longer than we had hoped, but we did a lot and had a blast doing it. Its easy to see why they have positioned themselves as a resort. I could easily spend two days there. There is just that much that can be done. The Park really is a beautiful park, I'm not sure why it always gets bashed on here for that? Its stunning at night, much more than PKI can even dare to think about. Little things like the lighting packages on the rides. Skyhawk and maXair both have this nice package on the vehicles themselves that just looks too cool. I love being on Magnum's lift and watching maXair swing up over the trees at night! Skyhawk had sets of red and white lights that would flash in sequence underneath each individual seat.

As I said, this was Bonnie's first trip to the Point. She was blown away. The first thing she mentioned was how fast they were at getting people on and off rides. I'm always impressed every time I go. I'm not sure why they are able to do it, but it takes 5 minutes for the crew to dispatch a Face/Off train? Better yet, why the Italian Job crew often takes so long to load a 12 passenger train? Hopefully the influenes of Cedar Fair will rub off in that department. Hopefully the very conservative blocking methods implemented by Paramount will go away also. That alone would help things along. As we all were, she was also impressed with the shear number of rides. Contrary to what some may say on here, PKI doesn't even come close to offering the number of rides that the Point does. As we were walking by Wicked Twister, I was watching the Giant Wheel, Troika and Chaos. All rides that were relocated to this area when Millennium and Dragster came to be. I kept thinking that if they were at PKI, they wouldn't even be around anymore. Simply scrapped. Sad.

I also find it amusing. PKI raised prices all across the board. The merchandise a bit more expensive. Admission prices increased. Food prices hiked up much like a Six Flags park. Then you have Cedar Point. Only $39.95 for a single day admission. They lowered their food prices this year. .25 cent cotton candy. Geez, which one is the better value? Three of us own Cedar Fair passes. Between the three of us yesterday, we spent less than $40 for the entire day at the Park. That included our lunch AND dinner at Johnny Rockets. Again, $12 at Potato Works. Hurts my head.

I, personally, can't wait to see what Cedar Fair does with PKI. I definitely come down HARD on PKI, but I think it most certainly deserves every bit of it. Anyone who knows me well at all, knows how much love I used to have for the Park. It angers me horribly to see it running the way it has the past few seasons. While a lot of the beauty of the Park has been lost, I hope it at least becomes a somewhat fun place for me to visit again. I hope Cedar Fair eventually will invest in some quality attractions that PKI is so lacking in.

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Great trip report! Glad y'all had a good time.

Know, though, that the conservative blocking methods at Kings Island predate Paramount. Kings Island has always had an additional block between coaster trains compared to almost any other park in the USA.

And as for food prices, I have found Paramount Parks this year to have the highest overall food prices of any parks in the country, including Six Flags. Except for Papa John's at Six Flags. Seven dollars for a slice of pan pizza that is ridiculously small is an incredible ripoff.

Again, great trip report! (I note you all apparently wisely skipped out on what Cedar Fair calls 'entertainment')

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Thank-you for such a great detailed trip report. I have never been to Cedar Point so reading your report really helps to get a good feel for the park. I know taking the time to write in such detail is very time consuming, but it is very appreciated by all of us who are really interested in all the different parks and the atmosphere of each park. Thanks again I enjoyed the read.

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Since 2003 CP has lost several rides. Schwabinchin, Dodgem 2 (now at Michigans Adventure), and White Water Landing. sad.gif

Yes, CP is a Beautiful park, and one of the best at night. Viacom/CBS has totally trashed PKI's landscaping.

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Since 2003 CP has lost several rides. Schwabinchin, Dodgem 2 (now at Michigans Adventure), and White Water Landing. sad.gif

Yes, CP is a Beautiful park, and one of the best at night. Viacom/CBS has totally trashed PKI's landscaping.

Yeah, they have lost a couple rides. Lets compare though.....

Since the Paramount take over, PKI has lost:

Flight Commander, Sunshine Turnpike, Scrappy Slide, I believe Witches Cauldron, Antique Cars, Flying Eagles, King Cobra, KCKC, Skylab. Meanwhile, the Park has yet to expand.

I actually didn't think I'd be sad to see White Water Landing go. I was wrong. I kinda missed riding it this trip! The new coaster, at least so far, appears to mostly be hugging the ground at all points. I'm wondering why it couldn't have been intertwined with WWL? Unless the new coaster will, in fact, interact with water at some point during its course.

I think I will definitely agree with you on one thing though, CP is perhaps my favorite park to just hang out in after dark. I absolutely LOVE the light show that takes place on the lift structure of Millennium Force. I remember the first season we drove over to Battery Park across the Bay and just watched it for a bit. Again, its the little things that truly add up and make or break my experience in a park. They don't necessarily have to have the best rides out there, but if the fun and atmosphere are there I'm set. Unfortunately I don't get that from PKI anymore.......

And to Avatar, I enjoy writing these trip reports. The experiences I have during the summer traveling with my friends to all these other parks are things that I hold very dear to me. I enjoy sharing them. Its also nice to show some on here that there are other parks that are just as nice if not BETTER than PKI. As I said in my TR, PKI used to be *the* park. It had so many Disney-esq qualities back in the day. Now, its just a cluster ****. Half theme park / half amusement park. It doesn't really have a true indentity anymore. That probably couldn't have been helped though, as many times as the Park has changed hands. Each one with their own vision of what the Park should be.

- Todd

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I love Skyhawk... What makes the ride imo are the lack of restraints. If it had over the shoulder ones I prob. wouldn't think the same about it.

Agreed! Adding shoulder restraints would greatly detract from the experience. For real, I dont think I've been on anything as exposed as that. As Interpreter said though, its definitely a well designed system. Its easy for people to get in an out of, helping out with capacity. Its very comfortable and very very secure. I would be QUITE happy if Cedar Fair were to drop one of these babies into Kings Island.

Oh Snapper, we miss you too! You better join us on our Knoebels trip in October, we won't take NO for an answer!!!!!

- Todd

P.S -- Yes, only 35 minutes for Dragster.....they were cranking the trains out!

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And as for food prices, I have found Paramount Parks this year to have the highest overall food prices of any parks in the country, including Six Flags.

Busch Gardens Europe has some high food prices, but the quality of the food is the best of any park I have been to with the excecption of Epcot (comparing Disney to another park is unfair).

Nice trip report. I have also complained numerous times about the lack of a true sit-down restaurant at PKI.

That will probably change in the next couple years.

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From what I understand, the lower gate coasts has not helped their attendance.

I really need to go to Cedar Point. Geauga Lake put a really bad impression of Cedar Fair on me.

They aren't really down though that much, at least from the Cedar Fair conference call and press releases. I think it was somewhere in the neighbor hood of 2%......but in park spending was up. In general, its a bad time for parks. PKI's season is far from spectacular, at least from what I've been told. It started out strong, but has turned dramatically. At least Cedar Fair was proactive in TRYING to find ways to get people in the gate. Sorry you had a bad visit to Geauga. I've been countless times in the past 8 years.....including when it was just Geauga, then Six Flags, and now under the Cedar Fair umbrella. I have to say that operations have been pretty consistent during all visits. Not the the best of the best, but still a nice park with a great collection of rides. Go to Cedar Point. I know you haven't been, GO! :-) You'll enjoy it.

- Todd

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And as for food prices, I have found Paramount Parks this year to have the highest overall food prices of any parks in the country, including Six Flags.

Busch Gardens Europe has some high food prices, but the quality of the food is the best of any park I have been to with the excecption of Epcot (comparing Disney to another park is unfair).

Nice trip report. I have also complained numerous times about the lack of a true sit-down restaurant at PKI.

That will probably change in the next couple years.

Agree that the food prices at Busch are higher than normal, but it is GOOD food and you get A LOT of it. I agree with Interpreter, the food experience at Paramount Parks this year leaves a lot to be desired. I'm still absolutely outraged at my experience at Potato Works.......$12 for a soda, fry and cup of cheese sauce. Way to go PKI!

- Todd

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