BLOG: Cedar Point rides racing against time

Tom Sherer
Jul 14, 2012

It’s been a busy week racing around at Cedar Point.

NHRA drivers, in the area for the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk, burned rubber over to the park Monday, July 9, for a pit stop, including at Top Thrill Dragster. (You think 120 mph in four seconds is impressive? Try more than 300 mph in about the same time.)

Then, on the same day Cedar Point held its 2012 CoasterMania event, the park officially announced the final clock is ticking on two of its rides.

Disaster Transport and Space Spiral are being removed to make room for a new wing coaster for 2013. The coaster has not been officially announced yet, nor has the date of Space Spiral’s final departure. But Disaster Transport — after 28 years, the first five as Avalanche Run — will be transported to the park’s ride graveyard after July 29.

In sending Disaster Transport on its final mission, the park plans to host Disaster Transport Final Dispatch: A Mission for the Kids. Keeping with its generous charity efforts, the park will donate money from the event to Give Kids The World, the same benefactor of the park’s Coasting for Kids event earlier this summer.

With a $20 registration fee and a minimum $50 donation, guests can attend a private party that begins at 9 p.m. July 29 and have exclusive ride time on Disaster Transport from 10:30-11:30 p.m., after it closes to the public.

Registration, which runs through noon July 27, includes park admission all that day, a Disaster Transport T-shirt and a special souvenir. The three highest fundraisers will receive prizes from Cedar Point and Give Kids The World.

Participants can register by clicking on the links at Cedar Point's website or Give Kids The World's website.

Guests who raise the most funds earn the right to choose their seats on the final train, which will run with the lights on.

I’m not a big fan of Disaster Transport, but I’ve always been curious to ride it while it’s illuminated. Unfortunately, I’ll be out of commission myself during the event.

I’ve mentioned before I think the removal of WildCat earlier this season and that of Disaster Transport and Space Spiral coming up are good long-term moves for the park. At the same time, however, I understand some people’s concerns.

A lot of enthusiasts like to have a variety of coasters at their disposal. But the disposal of two in one year at Cedar Point will take away an enclosed and bobsled type (Disaster Transport) and a Wild Mouse type (Wild Cat).

Oddly, what I’ll personally miss most about both were their sounds: the rickety clanking of the cars on WildCat’s track and the muffled bowling-like sound of the sleds rolling through Disaster Transport’s trough, heard from outside the building.

Unsure of when the rides were going to go, I made sure to take my final rides on Disaster Transport and Space Spiral earlier this season. For those of you who haven’t gotten in your farewells, I hope you don’t have to wait too long with the probable rush of people wanting one final ride.

ANDY TO TAKE SOME TUMBLES

Does anyone remember those crossover episodes that TV shows would do in the 1980s and ’90s? Like when characters from other NBC shows would show up on “Friends,” or the connections between “Diff’rent Strokes” and “Facts of Life,” if you’re more old school?

This is the Register’s version.

At about 1 p.m. — or soon after — Sunday, July 15, Andy Ouriel, of “Five Points with Emil and Andy," will scream and/or cry like a little girl while riding Skyscraper with me at Cedar Point’s Challenge Park. It's all for a good cause: my entertainment.

Be there, if you want a potential laugh. I’m sure it will be a "very special episode."

“QUICK POINTS” FROM THURSDAY, JULY 12

Overheard at the Park

“I don’t want to do this anymore!” Heard, verbatim, from two different women in their 30s or 40s — the first while riding up to the top of a Power Tower drop tower and the second after the first couple swings on Skyhawk. “It’s got electrolytes.” From a late teens or early 20s girl, talking about her Gatorade being better than water, while waiting in a line. It was funny to me only because of this scene from “Idiocracy.” “It was so intense.” From a teenage girl, about Disaster Transport. A lot of people would disagree, but to each his — or her — own.

The Good

I’m much more into rides than shows, but I’m trying to take in as many shows as I can this summer just for something different. “Happiness is … Snoopy,” at Good Time Theatre, was pretty good. While I’m not interested in figure skating, I dabble in ice hockey, so I can appreciate the talents of people who can perform on ice skates. Obviously, parts of the show are kid-oriented, but if you like figure skating, you’d probably enjoy the show.

The Bad

Snake River Falls was still missing in action. Apparently a boy was injured on the ride a little more than a week ago, according to the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s amusement ride safety division, which approves rides for operation. While waiting in line Thursday for Skyhawk, I could see a crew working on the underside of Snake River Falls’ drop hill, about halfway up. People who take up two parking spots, even on days when the lot is nowhere near full, should be ticketed for twice the price to park (an extra $12). I can appreciate wanting to protect your vehicle, but believe it or not, you’re not more important than the rest of us. Mark my words: If it hasn’t already happened, the “Preferred Parking” sign at the front of the parking lot next to Perimeter Road is going to lead to a crash, if not worse. As you’re turning onto the road from the parking lot, the wooden fence partially obstructs your view to the left, and now the sign does the same thing to the right.

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."