If you cornered a Cedar Fair or Cedar Point executive and asked him or her what the most important thing is in park operations, I’d be willing to bet the rest of my life’s rides on Millennium Force he or she would say “the safety of our guests.”
Outside of the moral side, even from a financial perspective this makes good business sense, considering unhappy, injured, dead, etc., guests tend to not be people who will return to your park and spend money.
With this in mind, here are a few safety tips now that the hot and crowded summer season is here in full force.
Beat the heat
Stay hydrated! I saw several people pass out last season from what appeared to be a lack of fluids in the heat. (I'm not a medical doctor.)
A lot of people don’t know this, but concession stands and vendors will give you a free cup of water if you ask for it. (Not bottled water, but a cup.) These courtesy cups might vary in size from location to location, but it’s free water. Yes, the park wants to make big money on its concessions, but it also doesn’t want or need guests to suffer heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion or heatstroke — or worse.
There are a number of water fountains around the park, usually right outside restrooms. A couple that aren’t next to restrooms are on the south side of the Sky Ride building closest to the Main Gate and outside of Town Hall Museum. Water is also available in the two Family Care Centers, mentioned below.
There are also three water rides — Snake River Falls, Shoot the Rapids and Thunder Canyon — that can help keep you cool. And, of course, don’t forget about Soak City.
If you’re really desperate for a break from the heat, the park has many air-conditioned buildings. Pretty much everything enclosed is cooled, but a few that jump to mind just from the cold blast you can feel while walking past their doors are Town Hall Museum in Frontiertown, Red Garter Saloon near Millennium Force and Pagoda Gift Ship and Snoopy Boutique on the main midway.
Don’t be careless
The leading cause of amusement park injuries is rider misconduct. And the usual stupidity elixir— alcohol — is a major reason for this. Don’t be stupid; be safe. If you want to get wasted, do it at home. (It’s a lot cheaper to do it there, too.)
Follow the park and ride rules given by park employees, especially ride hosts, and posted on signs throughout the park. This is such a no-brainer that almost no one does it. It’s kind of like no one paying attention to the flight attendant during the safety announcements on a plane, then not knowing what to do during an in-flight emergency. Some people just check their brains — or at least their common sense — at the gate.
Wear shirts and especially footwear at all times. Not only is it safer, but it’s a park rule.
If you lose an item, don’t go into an unauthorized area to try to retrieve it. Tell a park employee. The park’s lost and found is next to Snoopy Boutique on the main midway.
Guests are prohibited from carrying firearms at Cedar Point.
Watch where you’re going. I’m amazed by the number of people who trip over things and run into other guests simply because they don’t watch what they’re doing. Didn’t we learn this at about age 3?
Know where to get help
The park’s police dispatch phone number is 419-627-2197. Also, there are Cedar Point policemen patrolling all over the park. If there’s an issue, talk to them. It’s their job, not yours, to deal with problem guests. (One thing I hope the park eventually implements is a texting program that allows guests to report illegal or rule-breaking activities, similar to what many professional sports venues utilize on game days. This would allow guests to quickly turn in line-jumpers, physically rowdy guests, etc., without drawing attention that could lead to physical confrontations.)
In an emergency, contact the nearest park employee, who can get appropriate help faster than a guest can.
The park has two first-aid stations. One is in Planet Snoopy near the front of the park, behind the Main Arcade and Park Operations Office. The other is near Palace Theatre in Frontiertown, close to the very back of the park. These facilities are inside Family Care Centers.
Treat them with kid gloves
For those with children, the park offers a couple free programs to help keep your young ones safe.
KidTrack helps reunite separated children with parents who have cell phones. A parent’s cell phone number is written on a wristband the child wears. If lost, the child can tell a park employee, who will call the cell phone number and tell the parent where the child is.
Parent Swap allows one parent to wait in line for a height-restricted ride. After they’ve ridden, their Parent Swap pass is passed to a ride host so the second parent, who has been with a child who could not ride, can walk up the exit to ride. This way no children are left unsupervised.
Parents can sign up for the KidTrack and Parent Swap programs at Guest Services (Main Gate), Resort Gate, Park Operations Office and Town Hall Museum.
Tom Sherer is an award-winning graphic designer with the Sandusky Register and a Cedar Point enthusiast who visited the park 53 times in 2011. He chronicles his adventures in coasterland here at "Belaboring the Point."