BLOG: Cedar Point back from its long winter extinction

Tom Sherer
May 13, 2012

 

WildCat is extinct, and animals extinct for 65 million years are back walking the Earth. Just another opening day at Cedar Point.

Dinosaurs Alive! on Adventure Island features about 50 life-size animatronic dinosaurs and is the park’s new signature attraction. (Think “Jurassic Park,” including having to buy a ticket specifically to see it, but without high-voltage fences. And there even are goats back at the Early Petting Farm, in case the T. rex gets hungry.)

Like in the movie, these dinosaurs’ visions are based on movement, because they roar to life when guests approach. (Their sensors can be covered at night when the park closes.)

I know a lot of people are up in arms — not those stubby T. rex arms, but some really big Hulk Hogan arms — about having to pay an extra $5 to partake in this attraction.

Oh, well.

Would it be better if it were free? Probably. But considering most people probably will view it only once or twice during the season, I don’t have a major problem with it. (Ask me again, though, if taking out rides in favor of extra-fee attractions becomes an annual occurence.)

Plus, with any luck, the small extra fee will “adjust” the attraction’s attendance a little bit so it’s actually enjoyable by not being overcrowded. With that in mind, I’m staying away from the newest members of Cedar Point's family for the first couple days, similar to me being one of the few people who still hasn't seen “The Avengers.”

In the meantime, I’ll continue to let Millennium Force give me a 90-mph flyby of Adventure Island and be bemused by the dinosaur just standing at the edge of the main parking lot in front of the park.

"QUICK POINTS" FROM OPENING DAY

Overheard at the Park

“I’m not paying 50 bucks.” (And other very similar variants of this quote.) From several guests, about the new Fast Lane program. (More on this in an upcoming blog, but it seemed to be reasonably popular on opening day.) “I’m so excited, I might just pee my pants.” Younger-teens girl, walking toward Millennium Force. “How long are they going to be stuck up there?” “It’s usually only three or four days.” Exchange between a young girl and a grown man, while we were sitting in Millennium Force’s yellow train, unable to unload as the red train was stuck near the top of the lift hill at about 9:30 a.m. “Is it down?” Woman, probably in her 20s, about 20 minutes after no Top Thrill Dragster trains had been launched while we were waiting in line. Apparently, sometimes it’s easy to become lost in your own world while waiting in line. 

The Good

The weather. Mid-70s. Perfect! I still fit in the Millennium Force trains. Always a plus. Ended up on the second Millennium Force train of the year and the first Power Tower ride of the year. Riding with no hair is an interestingly different way to experience a ride. (Shaved my head since closing day of 2011.) The girls sitting behind me on Millennium Force had way too much caffeine or way too much adrenaline. Or both. Funny, though. The Ohio State University Marching Band. Dinosaur sounds from Dinosaurs Alive! can be heard from the Top Thrill Dragster queue. It took me a few moments to realize what the sounds were, because I knew they couldn’t really be from a dying cow, as I first thought they sounded like. The Luminosity stage reminds me of something out of “This is Spinal Tap.” Please tell me there’s going to be a miniature Stonehenge dropping sometime this season. Looking forward to seeing Luminosity for myself. Granted, I was in the park only about four-and-a-half hours, but I never once heard, “Please stay off the silver handrails.” Not that there weren’t many opportunities for this to have been said. 

The Bad

Got in line at the marina entrance at about 8:30 a.m. Didn’t get in the park until 9:06. Six minutes wasted. Upon reaching Millennium Force at around 9:10 a.m. the “This Ride Is Currently Closed” sign was out. Right off the bat? D'oh! Just from my observations, being in the park from 9:06 a.m. until about 1:30 p.m., the following rides were not running at some point: After an initial delay, Millennium Force went down after the first two trains of the day; the third stopped near the top of the lift hill. Millennium also had its “ride closed” board up later, a few minutes after noon. The shot side of Power Tower wasn’t operating when the ride opened at 10 a.m. A man I was in line next to for Millennium and a man I sat next to on Power Tower said Raptor also had been not operating at the beginning of early-entry hour. Top Thrill Dragster was down for a while at around 10:30 a.m., while I was in line. Cedar Creek Mine Ride’s “ride closed” board was out when I walked past at 11:45 a.m., Skyhawk’s was out at about 11:50 a.m. and I saw Corkscrew’s out at 12:34 p.m. That’s life working at or patronizing an amusement park. It took less than an hour in the new season before I saw someone cut in line for the first time. It also took less than an hour before I was stuck behind a group of overly loud teenage girls for the first time. Coincidence? No. (I’m not saying ALL teenage girls cut or are bad to be stuck behind in line.) 

The Indifferent (just observations — not good or bad — about the day)

The “single riders” were out in force. FYI: Power Tower’s entrance has been moved next to Super Himalaya, facing Top Thrill Dragster. My Cedar Point dream is to be on a train that stalls at the apex of Top Thrill Dragster. I wasn’t on this particular train, but one came oh, so close to stalling a few minutes before 11 a.m., after the ride was restarted after being down. 

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."