16th Jul, 2010

Half a day at Cedar Point

I’ve long been a fan of the “twilight hours” special at Cedar Point. This gets you in generally at 5 p.m. for about half price … actually it’s $29.99 this year, though that seems a little higher than in the past.

But the thought of being at the park for 12-13 hours doesn’t hold the allure for me that it once did, so a five-hour run on the coasters with Josh seems like a pretty reasonable compromise. We went to Cedar Point a couple of Thursday evenings ago and we had a good time, save for the rain that fell from about 8:30-9:30.

Josh is finally tall enough for the Top Thrill Dragster, and has talked about riding it for years. He’s quite the little daredevil and isn’t scared of any of the coasters. This year, he surprised me a bit when, after our first couple of rides, he said, “Maybe I’ll ride the Top Thrill Dragster when I’m 10 (next year).” We’d come all this way and he was going to back out? I told him that we’d do whatever he wanted, but he didn’t have to decide right away, he could always change his mind.

And change it he did. It only took the act of walking past the hulking, 400-ft+ tall coaster for Josh to say that he really did want to ride it. The ride, which reaches 120 mph, is over in about 25 seconds, but it’s a pretty intense 25 seconds. Someone at school told Josh that there’s a similar roller coaster in New Jersey that reaches 128 mph, but he finally agreed with me after riding Top Thrill Dragster that when you’re at 120 mph, there isn’t a bone in our body that’s saying, “If only we were going just a little bit faster.”

Top Thrill Dragster was the longest line we waited in that night, but even then, we’re only talking 30-35 minutes. The fact that Cedar Point has so many roller coasters—17, to be exact—means that there’s always something (or multiple things!) with a short line. To ride Gemini, for example, (still a great coaster) rarely takes longer than 10 or 15 minutes in line. And Magnum XL200 can easily be ridden on many days with a 15 or 20 minute wait, tops. I can recall waiting hours to ride Magnum as a teenager. How times have changed for the better.

The other thing that’s improved since my childhood is the fact that there’s a Famous Dave’s at the park. Actually, the restaurant is just outside the park at the marina on the Sandusky-facing (southwestern) side of the peninsula. It’s about a 90-second walk from the gate, where you just get your hand stamped for re-entry. It’s just such a nice change to eat in a sit-down restaurant with air conditioning and get away from the park craziness for 30 or 45 minutes.

Hopefully we’ll get back at least one more time this season. I’ve always wanted to check out the whole HalloWeekends promotion they run each Fall. I wonder what 120 mph feels like when it’s 59 degrees outside?

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