Aug. 22, 2010

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    I bought a ticket (saved $7 with a coupon) and walked through the gates at the front entrance. It was before 9 a.m., and the gates were open, which was new to me. Before, they hadn't opened the gates until 9. But the passholders and resort guests were able to enter on the left and get some rides, while I and the others went to the right and waited at the temporary gates. For the first time since my numerous visits in 2007 and 2008, I had to wait with everyone else. As we waited, a bunch of managers stood out and watched. I saw two of my friends waiting for their passholder side to open. We said hi, then at 9, their gates opened and they went to ride.

    When it was 10, they moved the railing out of the way, and we got to enter the rest of the park. I wandered around looking for my friends. First I tried Millennium Force and didn't find them, so I visited with Paul, the woodcarver, for a while. Then I went to Top Thrill Dragster. No friends. So I walked back toward the front and Raptor and then ran into my friend Darryl. We called the rest of the gang (Kathy, Jess and Paul in photo) and agreed to meet at Magnum. We hopped in line and walked up to the station. Kathy and I waited one train before boarding in the middle row of the third or fourth train. From the lift hill, I saw a coal freighter leaving the Sandusky dock. Cool. I like those boats. Magnum's loaded with airtime, and the only real negative thing about my ride was the trims, but those are normally on.

    Then we walked into Camp Snoopy and rode Tilt-A-Whirl. Kathy and I rode together, and her husband, Jess, rode by himself. That was fun. We got a couple of really good spins on the upslope.

    We got in line for Gemini and were on in about five minutes. We went on the blue train, and I got the inside seat. During the ride, I slapped hands with several people, though it doesn't seem like anyone knows about slapping hands anymore. Too bad. Gemini's a great ride, and slapping hands is a blast.

    For some reason, we walked to the back of the park and got in line for Mean Streak. Meh. It's not too good, though some parts of it were retracked and running a little better. The fifth drop, the best drop on the ride, might have had some airtime in the back seat because of the retracking, but the trims on the first drop still grab hard, so it might be thwarted. Mean Streak's a pretty dull ride, and too much of it is high off the ground. Not sure why we rode this.

    We got on the train, the Cedar Point and Lake Erie Railroad, and took it to the station by Iron Dragon and Wildcat. We were on our way to lunch, but we stopped and rode Cedar Downs. I really enjoy this classic ride, though I wasn't able to ride my favorite horse, Butt the Enforcer. I named him a few years ago. Someone else was riding him.

    We went to Game Day Grille, and I got a perch sandwich. Jess paid in honor of my visit, he said. What a great friend.

    We were full, but not too full to skip rides, so we went next door to Blue Streak. There was a line about 10 minutes long. I went to the back car in the middle seat. This ride felt like it had been retracked too. I think Cedar Fair spent some money on its wooden coasters in the offseason. That's good. Blue Streak's running well, and it's enjoyable. The hills have good airtime, and the return run is fun. My favorite part is passing Raptor and waving at the people in the station.

    Right next to Blue Streak is Calypso, which Kathy and I rode. As she put it, this ride is fun because it spins and plays Caribbean music. I like it. Then I rode Bench: The Ride.

    We went in the arcade, and Jess and Kathy played air hockey. Jess won. Then Kathy and I played. I won. Garry and Twig left, and the rest of us went out the Oceana gate and walked on the sidewalk along the beach. This is my favorite place to be at Cedar Point. The beach and lake are so beautiful, and there are some good views of coasters there. We walked all the way along the sidewalk past Magnum and to the Lighthouse Point cabins.

    We headed back toward the park and took a break in the Subway near the resort entrance and Soak City. We got huge cups of free ice water. After resting a bit, we walked back along the beach and entered the park. Jess and Kathy were ready to head home, so we said our goodbyes, and Paul and I went to Millennium Force. Two of the queue sections were full, and we waited about 45 minutes. The park was pretty crowded for a Sunday. We sat in the back row. Millennium Force is running well. Happy 10th birthday.

    Paul and I walked toward Maverick, his favorite ride. Along the way, I shot a few pictures of Shoot the Rapids. I think it's a good addition to the park, but I don't like that so many trees had to be cleared out in that area. Parts of Frontier Trail used to be shrouded in trees.

    We got to Maverick and waited through most of the queues. One of the outside queues was full, and the other was half-full. The line was moving pretty quickly, as it usually does on Maverick, but we were stopped about 10 minutes while they added a sixth train. We got in line for the back seat, my favorite seat. The ride back there is amazing. The first drop still tries to get a slight tickle in my stomach, and the airtime's great. The twists are fast and fun, and the camelback is loaded with ejector air. The launch is fast, and we didn't wait in the tunnel at all. The second half is incredibly fast paced with its two Stengel dives and bunny hop. I love Maverick so much. It's in my top 10. The pacing is fantastic, and it's got plenty of airtime, speed and direction changes, and the first drop is the best.

    We walked back toward Raptor, where Darryl was busy trying to get his 8,000th ride. He was about 300 away. We met him at the entrance and got in line. The wait was about 45 minutes, which really surprised me. Raptor's line emptied in the afternoon and typically stayed low the rest of the day. But this day was pretty busy, so Raptor's line never dropped.

    Raptor's my favorite coaster there, and I got to sit in my favorite seat: 8-4. That's the back row on the right side. Raptor's running really well. It's intense and has really high G's in places, especially the loop, cobra roll and exit of the block brake into the corkscrew. The helix finale is a great way to end this spectacular B&M coaster. Raptor's my favorite B&M and my favorite inverted coaster. I was happy to ride it again. My ride was No. 1,147.

    After that, Darryl and Paul went home, and I stuck around to take a few more photos and take in the atmosphere of one of my favorite parks. I went to Iron Dragon and waited about five minutes. I got in the back row. Iron Dragon's OK, but it suffers from the same problem as Mean Streak with its track too high off the ground for too long. But it's fun anyway.

    I was tired after a few days of traveling, so I decided it was time to leave. I went out the Oceana gate and stared at Lake Erie and the beach. I took a few pictures to for nostalgia's sake. I walked back in the gate and back out the main gate. I had a great day at the park, even though it was a little crowded. It was great seeing my friends again, and I had a blast riding my favorite coasters.

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