Having visited Cedar Point twice in May, I admit that there wasnt anything particularly outstanding about the Matt Ouimet-era that stood out in my mind. Slight differences existed, but with things still being installed for the season, you couldnt get the full effect of what it was exactly that Ouimet was shooting for. With that in mind, we booked for another visit squarely in the middle of summer. Often times thats a rarity for us, but to get the full sense of what we should expect at Cedar Point, it seemed a necessity.
We attempted to park in Breakers lot around 930AM Saturday, and found no empty spaces whatsoever. Some people were leaving, but in general, more were looking to park and get going with their day like ourselves than looking to get a move on. I decided not to push my luck too much in this respect, and we made the call after going down a few aisles to head over to Magnum lot and at least get into the park. With not much time left in early entry mode, we cranked out a Raptor ride and beat the crowds in the direction of Magnum to pound out a ride on that as well. Good start given that we expected huge crowds that day. And then, we made the wisest move possible on such a hot day we sat back and relaxed.
In fact, for the next 11 hours, we didnt ride a single coaster in the park. We spent time in the back of the park looking at Gemini but not actually riding, preferring instead to people watch and eat fries. We rounded the back of the park and made a stop for fruit smoothies in Frontier Town before wandering by an epic Millennium Force line and past the fully complete Luminosity stage. A ride on the Skyride brought us by the entrance to the park, where we waited for the third part of our party, Bob, to arrive. Traffic had caused him delays with backups all the way down the causeway to First Street. To begin our day, we visited the arcade for some hot Skeeball action, only to find it disgustingly hot and swampy. We all managed to win plush novelty nails-through-the-head prank things that we thought hilarious for a couple of minutes until we realized we would have to carry the stupid things.
The next ride for our day was Space Spiral: This was almost certain to be our last on the old Von Roll tower. Like had been the case earlier in the year, the auto spiel was rapid fire, the windows a bit dirty, and the air stifling inside. The best aspect of our visit was handing off our novelty plush to a woman who thought they were cute. We soon after hunted for shade while attempting to snack on corn dogs and pretzels from the likely soon to disappear Transport Refreshments, admiring a line for Disaster Transport that likely exceeded 45 minutes. Not today.
Choosing to eschew options for riding at that point citing that every ride in the park had a full queue line, we instead chose to exit and go in search of photo ops. I briefly investigated the watercraft rental options before we chose to instead start walking down the beach towards Disaster Transport. Something I noted later on in case someone is wondering there is a small sign located on the beach further towards Breakers that no one should walk any further, which we noticed after our journey. Interestingly, there are no signs indicating this from the area directly by the Jet Ski rental facility and the big public ramp right down to the beach. Nor is there any security present who will care about you doing much of anything in that area. You will find random beach walkers well, walking. Also, you may find Cedar Point employees making cell phone calls. Aside from that, theres no resistance, and unless you plan on taking a round about way to get to the beach from the Beach Gate, youd never know it is supposedly verboten.
That introduction brings me to my talk of walking along the beach and getting great shots of the park and the coasters, as well as walking right up to Disaster Transport, bereft of any fences for the most part. The fence that exists asks you to not go inside of it, so we didnt. However, you get plenty close enough to basically see the backstage of the ride. The fence behind Disaster Transport has had a huge accumulation of sand over the years, creating a berm that nearly covers the entire 6 foot fence & barbed wire top. Theres clearly a trailer that has been encased in sand as well as a number of bricks and other trash left out by the park. Inside the fence, Halloweekends vehicles have been shrink wrapped for freshness, and an array of go karts are piled under the coaster. Disaster Transport itself and its generally shoddy construction are on full display, with seedlings growing on top of the tube covering the track, especially in the joints where it was added. For almost two decades, its blocked view of the beach and provided substandard rides. Its time.
We walked down clear to the other end of the beach and found ourselves sitting back, relaxing in the shade of an empty Breakwater Cafe patio table, looking out at boats and birds. One thing about Cedar Point that I find frustrating in the criticism of it is when people are doing it wrong; The Point isnt a park you sprint though in 6 hours to get a proper idea of what its like. Theres so, so much to the place, which is why it markets itself as a resort to begin with. Even doing nothing at the park seems to have its charms. The three of us walked back along the beach from Sandcastle towards Breakers before stopping in at the Perkins location inside Breakers for lunch and then breaking off for a couple hours.
One thing Ill definitely put as a negative is the condition of the beach outside the official swimming areas. Theres a lot of trash and big dead fish out there. I know theres a tendency from a lot of guests to discount swimming in the lake, and the boundaries given prevent really substantial water treading anyways, but it would seem to me like Cedar Point really needs to invest a little more time and money into that whole beach aspect to people who arent even going to Cedar Point. Maybe it might even be wise to publicize the beach more? $12-15 parking for the beach area isnt all that far off from a lot of public beaches, and you have the on property FEC (Challenge Park) to make some money off those folks. I seem to remember some chatter about cabanas out on the beach, but those dont seem to be present. There are some clamshell beach chairs set out though. Cedar Point could charge for them and offer a bartender to get drinks thats a popular money maker in the private beach areas cruise ships and resorts own in the Caribbean. It seems like it could certainly work at Cedar Point as well, so Im not sure why they dont go that direction.
Our room at Breakers was essentially identical to the room we had in May a newly renovated Bon Aire room featuring double beds and new furnishings. The beds are still extremely hard and still rate as perhaps some of the worst mattresses Ive ever had the displeasure of laying on, though one of the two mattresses in the room seemed to have a few springs blown out on one side (rough sex? enormous body?) that made it somewhat more comfortable. Still, its nice to enter a room at Breakers and not immediately shake your head about how garbage it is. While the food situation is improving, the accommodations are slower in their advancement towards good. Theyre really the weak link here in the Cedar Point resort arsenal now, much more so than anything else.
The return to the park was timed for a viewing of All Wheels Extreme, a show we hadnt seen at the park in a couple years. Every year a new set goes up in the old Aquatic Stadium, making it ever so slightly different, and this years was actually really, really good. As someone who watched a lot of the X-Games competitions back in the 90s with the old format (before everything took place in a single arena), I actually remembered two of the names Jaren Grob was a big name in in-line skating back in the hey-day, and Trevor Meyer was probably the most important flatlander in the history of that sport. And here they were, working at Cedar Point, doing tricks. Technologically it might not be a great show, but you have guys that are legends out there putting on a show and doing some boss stuff. If I wasnt stoked out of my mind before, I was afterwards.
To chase something that exciting, we went completely sedate. Out in the rarely visited Marina area is the Winnebago, a completely restored boat from the long deceased Cedar Point Western Cruise. The boat has been made seaworthy to operate around Cedar Point, and it provides scenic cruises for $10 ($8 as a discounted rate for pass holders, veterans, et al). The 40 minute ride seems like a bargain; it is calming, cooling, and wonderfully picturesque. Very few parks have anything similar to this.
Once on shore, we re-entered the park and made our way to the Luminosity area to find a place to sit and watch the show. While we were a half an hour early for the performance, all the seats in the bleacher section by Wildcat were taken, forcing us to stand upright during the performance. I visited the new bar setup that was located directly behind us and the control booth and we waited it out. There was a pre-show of sorts with teams of guests doing choreographed dances taught to them in short order by one of the professional dancers. A short delay then occurred, and the show began.
Luminosity is the new star attraction for 2012, and it effectively replaces the Wildcat coaster on the midway. As far as shows go, technologically it is very impressive and quite involved. Theres video screens, lasers, gymnasts, pyrotechnics, a large team of dancers, some complex costumes, live percussionists, camera people live feeding video to the screens around the area, and an amazing sound system. The heart of the show is not very different from the ...
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