Brief trip report from opening weekend on some of the changes over at
the Cedar Fair flagship:
-Dinosaurs Alive is the new for 2012 attraction. I've never done the
Kings Island version, so I can't speak for the quality thereof or for
any of the other variants out there. I get that it makes money and
kids love it. We saw quite a few that were really geeked about the
animatronic dinos. Personally, I think it sucks. As one not beholden
to a corporate master and without commercial connection to the
industry, this peon thinks the attraction is a colossal waste of time
that has done little to enhance the overall experience of the park,
but does plenty to create plenty of WTF moments. Case in point;
hurtling around a giant T-Rex animatronic like a brokeass Jurassic
Park. I get the value, I get why it is at Cedar Point, I get why Cedar
Fair bought an armada of dinosaurs. The appeal is entirely lost on me,
which I suppose is why I never rushed to any local museum to see
similar touring exhibitions of robot creatures. But I had to see it at
least once in my life, right? I sound like a negative old man who
hates fun and perhaps I do.
-The food is still hit and miss. The new burgers are delicious, though
oddly Cedar Point considers it unnecessary to put on tomatoes,
lettuce, pickles, onions, or actually any fixings other than cheese.
Hooray for the complex palates of the Cedar Point local. Perhaps it
was just the location we bought the burger at (next to Dinosaurs Alive
in Snoopy's somethingsomethingland). That place also served the single
most ghetto meal I've ever seen at a theme park - macaroni and cheese
slapped in half of a styrofoam take out container. The new hand cut
fries were quite tasty as well. I can't give everything a bad mark
here. Some steps forwards finally in this respect.
-Luminosity is still obviously under construction. Matter of fact, a
lot of venues are. The ex-Aquatic Theater/Extreme Wheels whatever show
was getting put together too. I won't make a call on Luminosity until
I see it run. Obviously its a ripoff of ElecTRONica, but since I like
ElecTRONica, I'm not horribly offended that they would do such a
thing. Wildcat's departure feels generally meaningless in the grand
scheme of things. Ridding the world of the laser show screen also
means that the midway now terminates (somewhat) at the train station,
which makes quite the focal point. It looks grand.
-Rides were up and down on opening day. Can't really speak much for
today (Sunday) because we left early. At one point when we were in the
back of the park, Mean Streak, Maverick, Skyhawk, Shoot The Rapids,
and Wave *** were all down (in addition to Thunder Canyon and
Snake River, which aren't slated to open until later anyhow). Probably
just opening weekend jitters. On the upside, Blue Streak and Gemini's
stations areas look a lot better. Gemini's queues have been widened to
better accommodate wheel chairs and can actually fit real live
-From what we heard, the Fast Lane system was working very well, with
attendants helping people join the line right at the station or in a
similar position generally, and with heavily reduced wait times. On a
day like Saturday where wait times for some of the primary attractions
like Millennium Force and Maverick generally stayed around the 2 hour
mark, that's especially valuable.
-Main arcade has been cleaned up a little - the classic games are
mostly working (more than I can remember in the past) and have been
pushed into a more compact space. There's enough room now in the
arcade to allow for a counter service restaurant or an expansion of
some other higher cost type things (like the lazer maze or bowling).
The arcade in the back of the park by Maverick has been reduced in
size (I think?) for a new First Aid facility. The skeeball was
entirely removed. Also greatly reduced in size: Snoopy Boutique. The
whole little themed playground-like area in there with The Great
Pumpkin? Gone. New drywall. Sad, but then again, that building has
been used for a thousand things, including a dark ride. I'd prefer
-New LED light packages were something else. Its years late to talk
about it being the future, I know this, but man the Giant Wheel was
gorgeous. We stared at it for about 30-45 minutes. Just looked at it.
I was plenty content with doing just that. New paint on MF and Blue
Streak is nice too.
-We planned on staying at the park on some ironman shit till late in
the day Sunday. Then we got drunk Saturday night and encountered the
new beds. The Bon Aire section has been completely redone - there's
new furniture in the room, new toilets, new tubs, new beds, new flat
screen TVs. We paid $79 a night and I shit you not - from the
perspective of room cleanliness and amenities, it was the best
standard hotel room we've ever had in Sandusky. The problem was the
new mattresses, which were rock hard. I'd have been better off
sleeping on the floor, probably. I mean, you switch those out or give
some eggcrate toppers on the beds, and you'd be in good ass shape. We
got about 5 hours of shut-eye before giving up. Again, its an
improvement. At least the room now looks and smells appetizing.
Back in the day when people bought software and video games, they were
generally finished products. You plunk down $50, that's it. Somewhere
along the line, the complexity of the games meant that PC software
buyers (and even console gamers now) who bought opening weekend became
glorified beta testers. When this became a business practice in the
early part of the 2000s, people hated it. It was commonly derided. Now
we just accept it as part of the deal. There's a complexity level
involved as the technology has grown to where it has become an
accepted reality that you will buy shit and then download a million
fixes before the software is simply abandoned for the next version.
We've been at that point now with seasonal parks for about the same
amount of time. They operate longer than ever (well, some of them)
with more rides than ever that are bigger than ever, and so the first
few weekends are hardly a well oiled machine out there. Lots of
nervous energy being burned off by the new kids, and maintenance
trying to get things to consistently run the way they're supposed to.
There's a part of it that sucks, yeah. But after a long winter, you're
willing to forgive that to go enjoy great rides again. Its easier to
talk about the imperfections than the constant good - Millennium
Force, Magnum, Gemini, Raptor, and so on are all still great rides.
Ultimately, if all the rides I like are still running along with all
the stupid little stuff I enjoy about Cedar Point (the beach, the
petting zoo/farm museum, Mill, Frontier Trail, etc), then how angry
can I really get about Dinosaurs Alive? Its not a doomed charmless
hellhole yet and in fact is very far from it. I guess what I'm saying
is that while all the cap-ex hasn't wow'ed me, I still like going.