Hot dog! Cedar Point opens Saturday.
So much to do, see, hear, eat and, of course, ride: Millennium Force, Top Thrill Dragster, Maverick, WildCa...oh.
While visiting Cleveland for a few days a couple weeks ago, I picked up one of Cedar Point's tourism brochures and quickly found the following blurb: "Cedar Point's 17 coasters, including the legendary Top Thrill Dragster, Millennium Force and Maverick, will blow you away!"
Make that 16.
But the fact the season’s brochure went to print with “17” seems to indicate the putting down of WildCat might have been a longer-discussed-but-shorter-executed move. Then again, so much in this world is about marketing, so who knows.
WildCat certainly was different than any other roller coaster at the park, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. But its age, safety concerns and maintenance costs signaled its time had come.
Anytime a ride heads to the graveyard there's a wave of nostalgia that deluges a lot of people. I understand that, and I likewise have been victim to it. But WildCat being clawed out of the park is a good move. And I’m typically not one for rides to be taken out in favor of attractions.
WildCat seemed more like a traveling ride that would be at one fair, taken down, then moved to the next fair on the circuit, not part of the lineup at the “Roller Coaster Capital of the World.” At the same time, I understand that was its appeal to many people.
The bottom line is Cedar Point is a business, and being a coaster giving only 415,000 rides in a season basically doomed WildCat to the scrap heap, especially when amusement park companies are pushing for as much bang for the buck as they can generate.
I was at Cedar Point 53 days last year and rode almost 500 rides but hit WildCat only twice, including once when I had to because I wanted to see how much time it would take to ride every coaster in the park on one of the busiest days — July 3.
For those of you who loved WildCat, my condolences. But that’s what memories are for. I loved my 20s, but those are gone, too. (As soon will be my 30s.) Life goes on.
Even though Cedar Point might not agree that Six Flags Magic Mountain is now the "Roller Coaster Capital of the World" — with 17 — here's hoping the removal of WildCat means at least some of the $25 million that's been mentioned as being committed to Cedar Point for 2013 will be put toward something that will push the Point back to the top of the coaster hill.
In the meantime, I’m sure I’ll get more use out of watching “Luminosity: Ignite the Night” on my way to Millennium Force than I did out of WildCat.
As you prepare for the 2012 season, feel free to take note of some tips I compiled during my 2011 summer of fun at the Point. Just follow this link: http://www.sanduskyregister.com/sandusky/news/2011/oct/11/belaboring-point-45-days-385-rides
Tom Sherer is a page designer with the Sandusky Register and a Cedar Point enthusiast who surpassed his goal of 100 single-season rides on the Millenium last summer. He chronicles his adventures in coaster-land here at "Belaboring the Point."