BLOG: Cedar Point ride nights offer unique opportunities

Tom Sherer
Jun 3, 2012

There's something very right or very wrong about living less than 10 minutes from Cedar Point but still not arriving home until 1:10 a.m. Of course, some of that was being stopped at all three stoplights on Cedar Point Drive in the middle of the night with no other traffic around, being delayed by <sarcasm>four very nice people</sarcasm> taking photos in the middle of the street at 1 a.m. and having to wait for a train to pass my crossing.

Nonetheless, Friday provided one of the more surreal experiences you don’t typically get at amusement parks, as I left the park at about 12:45 a.m., almost three hours after it closed to the public, thanks to Millennium Force Ride Night and a mechanical delay with only two trains left in the night.

The performers for Luminosity were rehearsing, some of the rides were lit up with hardly a soul around and park vehicles were driving on the midways, which normally are packed with people.

A few of the rides that have new lighting this season are Giant Wheel, Millennium Force and Power Tower, which I’m convinced is the best place in the park to HEAR guest reactions.

There are better places to SEE reactions — Top Thrill Dragster’s launch area — but the fact Power Tower keeps riders’ minds focused on the height, because there are no other movements or distractions on the ride, freaks out a lot of people. And there’s almost always at least one person who screams for a second or two when the “catch” happens when the car reaches the top of the drop side.

But then riders usually seem content to float down through the park — like a mayfly, mufflehead or some cottonwood fluff.

“QUICK POINTS” FROM FRIDAY, MAY 25

Overheard at the Park

“You don’t want to walk away like LeBron did, man.” Half-Court Hoops game host, trying his best to convince me to throw away my money play. “Hi, classmates. I think I’m going to puke.” High school girl, after regrouping with her classmates. She certainly looked like she wasn’t lying. “How do I get out?! Press it!” High school boy, wanting pretty badly to get out of the restraint and off the drop side of Power Tower after the ride ended. “Stop already! I can’t do this!” A different high school boy, also unsure about Power Tower, only about halfway up the drop side.

Auto‘not-so-corrects’ of the Day (from posting my adventures on Facebook)

“Raptor” is now “Rapture.” “Iron Dragon” is now “Iron Drain.” “Power Tower shot” is now “Power Tower (expletive).”

The Good

One of the new pieces of music used on WindSeeker this year is “Ride of the Valkyries.” So, in addition to the uplifting scores from “Apollo 13” and “E.T.,” you now can feel like you’re assaulting a Vietnamese village during the Vietnam War, a la “Apocalypse Now.” Not a huge fan of candles, but the smell of them while walking past The Candle Shoppe is a smell I forgot to mention in my list of park smells in the large piece that was in the Register’s print edition toward the end of last season. Top Thrill Dragster was down again. How is that “good?” Because I just rode Power Tower’s drop side several times while waiting for Dragster, kept an eye on it from high on Power Tower, then walked over when it reopened with very little line. “Layla,” by Derek and the Dominos (Eric Clapton), was playing somewhere around Top Thrill Dragster as I headed to the resort entrance to leave for the day at about 12:45 a.m.

The Bad

Not even in my many trips to Cleveland Browns games in my four decades on this planet have I smelled the stench of alcohol on a person more than I could on the man sitting in front of me on Cedar Creek Mine Ride. I’d be willing to bet a vast majority of injuries at amusement parks have alcohol as a factor. But whatever, dude. The amount of time I spent at the park, coupled with the humidity of the day, led to my socks being practically grafted to my skin when I went to take them off at 1:10 a.m. I’m guessing that was a fairly common occurrence for guests that day. To the woman who was yelling at her son to make sure he understood he’d be soaked after riding Snake River Falls, after they watched the ride for about 10-15 minutes: Did the fact not a single person was in any of the boats on such a hot day tell you anything? (The ride was being tested; it wasn’t open to guests.)

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

Good or bad, with the return of the water rides comes the return of another one of the park’s defining smells: chlorinated lake water. Forgot to mention in an earlier blog that the entrance for Iron Dragon has moved to right next to its exit, down farther toward Millennium Force.

Pick up Wednesday’s Register for big news about Cedar Point’s ride future.

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."