(Exclusive video of first ride) Cedar Point finally launched WindSeeker, giving thrill seekers the ride 301 feet above Lake Erie they've been waiting for.
The first batch of riders rode up into the sky at 8:10 p.m. Tuesday.
Two season pass holders from the Toledo area were the first in line. Jordan Jacobsen, 21, and Sarah Pietras, 19, rode side by side in one of the 32 pairs of seats that swing around the ride's tower.
"Exciting. Great view. Amazing view of this park," Jacobsen said. "Pretty windy up there. Definitely if you're seeking wind, you're getting it. Not much of a thrill. Much more of a view. Still exciting."
"It was amazing," Pietras said.
It appeared to spectators below that as the riders neared the top, the seats swung farther out.
"The farther up you get, you go sideways more," Pietras confirmed. "I was a little scared."
Cedar Point had hoped to launch the ride on opening day, May 14. Bad weather delayed construction, and mechanical bugs that park officials didn't discuss also slowed the launch.
"Start the season," Cedar Fair president and CEO Dick Kinzel said after he and Cedar Point general manager John Hildebrandt cut a ribbon to officially open the ride, shortly after park employees rode it to give it a final test.
"Better late than never. We're ready to go," said Kinzel, who is retiring at the end of the year and who drew cheers when he spoke at the park's Coastermania event earlier this month. "It's been a long grind. We appreciate the patience the public has had with it."
Watch interviews with Kinzel and Cedar Point general manager John Hildebrandt by clicking on the player belowregistermedia on livestream.com. Broadcast Live Free
WindSeeker is launching this year at four Cedar Fair parks. It began regularly running at Canada's Wonderland near Toronto on June 2.
Cedar Point officials had been tight-lipped about the ride's launch in recent days.
But on Monday night, park employees tested the ride after the park closed, and on Tuesday, inspectors from the Ohio Department of Agriculture arrived to certify it.