Thursday, July 26, 2012

Cedar Point - Trip Report

Cedar Point is a mecca for roller coaster enthusiasts. We were on a road trip partly to celebrate my older son's passing of 54 inches tall, so there's nothing he can't ride. What better time to take a young man on a roller coaster tour in general, and to Cedar Point in particular? 

There are more than a dozen coasters here, and almost all of them are notable (or at least should be attempted once). Some of them were more impressive in the past than they are in the present, and I'm sorry to say that my beloved Magnum XL200, the first hyper coaster and a lofty king in my imagination, has become one of them. It was bumpy and painful on this trip.

Millennium Force, though, the other hyper coaster (technically a giga coaster, I think, being taller), made up for it. It was great. Definitely in the top tier of such smooth, fast, airtime coasters. Though oddly, not as great as my favorites Goliath and Apollo's Chariot. Maybe I like a good view with my coaster?

Many of the coasters are historically significant, but I dwelt more on the ones that were fun to ride today. Gemini, a steel coaster that looks like a woodie (but is also a racer) is still a lot of fun. Maverick, a new coaster that leaps from side to side and up-down quickly in short sprints, was surprisingly agile and fun.

I could go on and on about each coaster. Most were worthwhile. But if I did that, I wouldn't be talking about Top Thrill Dragster, and that's not going to happen. TTD is not so much a coaster as it is a launch platform into outer space on rails. You are magnetically launched, go up vertically (very fast - 120 MPH), crest the single hill, and come back down vertically. The down part includes a twist so you're actually spiralling around a pole essentially.

Oh, and did I mention you are 420 feet in the air? It's terrifying, but also perhaps the most exhilarating thing you'll do on any vacation. And the view cannot be described. It's more hang gliding than roller coaster riding at those heights, though of course it's over so fast.

I'll remember Top Thrill Dragster forever. The same can't be said in the same tone of voice with the other coasters, though they are good to great individually. Cedar Point did not disappoint.

Today I'm including a panorama image as well. Don't forget you can always click images to enlarge.

Kevin Yee is the author of numerous independent Disney books, including the popular Walt Disney World Earbook series and Walt Disney World Hidden History.