Share thoughts, photos, and reviews from visits to Carowinds or any other amusement park
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By gabed
#109413
Not even a global pandemic can stop me from making these.

2016: http://carowindsconnection.com/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=4596

2017: http://carowindsconnection.com/viewtopi ... d5271808ac

2018: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=4832

2019: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=4906



If I’m being completely honest, this is not a trip review I planned on writing. Like most of us I’m sure, I had big hopes for the summer but due to circumstances I’m sure you’re unaware of, those hopes were dashed rather quickly. It’s August now and Carowinds is still closed, so the prospect of traveling to other parks sounds ridiculous. Depending on who you ask, it still is given this little virus going around that you may or may not have heard of.

Back in late may, two of my coworkers, both of whom are roller coaster enthusiasts coincidentally, tossed around the idea of a coaster trip. This of course was assuming we could even find a way to all get off of work for an entire week at the same time. I immediately laughed it off and said no. Who would want to walk around a hot park in a mask all day, wait in lines twice as long as normal, and risk being denied entry? My coworkers however were equally serious and persistent. It is worth mentioning that the two of them had hardly been anywhere aside from Carowinds and Orlando, so they were quick to jump at the chance to go somewhere new. All this considered, it still seemed ridiculous to give it a shot. Yet, after a time off request that I half-heartedly submitted was approved, I figured why not.

We had six days to do whatever we wanted, but creating a path through ‘open’ states proved more difficult than we originally thought. After some extremely hasty planning, our itinerary became:

Monday, 7/27: Dollywood
Tuesday, 7/28: Kentucky Kingdom
Wednesday, 7/29: Kings Island
Thursday, 7/30: Cedar Point (Day 1)
Friday, 7/31: Cedar Point (Day 2)

Aight. Let’s do this.

Day 1, Part 1

Up bright and early at 5:00 in the morning, we hit the road en route to Sevierville, Tennessee. After several hours of driving through the mountains, we arrived at our first park.



Entering the park was relatively easy given the mess I was expecting to face at the security check. As you get close to the metal detectors, you line up on stickers which have all been spaced out six feet apart and wait to have your temperature taken. The line moved pretty quickly and after confirming that we had had no symptoms in the past fourteen days, we were cleared for entry. This was my seventh time visiting Dollywood but the first visit for my two friends, so one can imagine how excited they were to be here. Combine this excitement with the fact that neither of them had ever ridden a Rocky Mountain Construction coaster before and you can quickly assume where we headed to first.



Hopping in line a good twenty minutes before the park was set to open, all we could do was sit and watch as empty trains cycled up the lift and through the final turnaround. At 10:00 the doors to the queue opened and even I was starting to feel butterflies in my stomach.



I have already been on this masterpiece several times and I am happy to report it is still running just as phenomenally as I remembered. My friends however had no clue what to expect and the reactions they had were priceless. The ride is just a blur of airtime and insane speed, it takes several rides before you can really begin to take it all in. Unfortunately we were only able to snag one ride, but given the downtime it is known for, I’ll happily take what I’m given.



Moving out to the rest of the park, crowds finally began to dissipate as most were still waiting for their turn on Lightning Rod. Unbeknownst to them, it would end up going down later in the day. For us, we had a Screamin’ Swing waiting to be ridden just a few minutes away at Owen’s Farm. I’ve ridden Barnstormer a good thousand times or so and it’s still one of my favorite flat rides even after all my travels. I was super happy to see SeaWorld buy one last year for Williamsburg and would love to see more go up around the world. Just imagine how good one would look in the Carowinds skyline. Maybe some day…

After a lap on Blazing Fury and Wild Eagle, both of which were walk-ons, we headed to the true hidden gem of this park.



Neither of my friends were too crazy about the ride but in my opinion it still holds its own as a great thrill coaster. The ride is still butter smooth and rips through the course just as its always has. A little more disorienting than I remember, but I also went a little too long without water before I hopped in line so who’s to say who’s at fault for that.

After getting off we walked to the back of the park towards Mystery Mine only to find it broken down. Not to be discouraged, we kept walking and made the trek to Dollywood’s newest coaster.



If there is anything that surprised me about Dollywood this time, it was how much more I enjoyed Dragonflier. I came last May shortly after Wildwood Grove opened and found Dragonflier to be okay at best. Now after giving it another chance, this time in the back of the train, I’m very pleased to say I had a great time on it. Firechaser may still be the park’s best family coaster by a landslide, but Dragonflier is not one to miss for first timers coming to the park. Its amazing how a ride so smooth can be so whippy and crazy, though I’m sure the minimal restraints help greatly with that. Now don’t expect to grey out, otherwise you will be disappointed. When I first rode the ride last year I had heard early reviews of a “super-intense” roller coaster when I should have gone in expecting a family coaster, which is all its is. Just strap in and enjoy the ride.

While Dragonflier is a great addition to Dollywood, the jury’s still out on Wildwood Grove as a whole. I get that it is super new and it will take some time for it to have the overgrown feel possessed by the rest of the park, but everything feels so barren and exposed. Part of Dollywood’s charm for me is how hidden and secluded everything feels, but Wildwood Grove just sits out in the open in plain view of everything. Obviously the park is better with it than without, but I do hope it begins to assimilate into the park more as the years go by.
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By gabed
#109414
Day 1, Part 2

With Dragonflier done, Mystery Mine was back up and running. My first eurofighter when I rode it back in 2011 and now the first eurofighter of my two friends in 2020. Every time I go back this coaster shows its age more and more, but it’s just too much fun to skip. Yeah it beats you a bit here and there, but at this point it’s a Dollywood classic. Props to Dollywood for keeping most of the effects working after thirteen years (except the buzzard, rest in peace my prince). The fire is still blazing at the top of the second lift and is still just as hot in the summer Tennessee heat. The dark ride portion at the start of the coaster is still good as new, minus the bell that kicks off the ride. With the exception of the rougher ride, it’s hard for me to tell much of a difference from the ride experience nine years ago to now. I’d say to do it if you visit, but I have the feeling most of you already have.



After a quick flat ride break on Drop Line and a run on the best GCI I have ridden thus far, it was time for a bite to eat. Once a few cheeseburgers were inhaled, we journeyed to the back of the park one last time to get the one credit we had missed.



It’s so weird to me that this is Firechaser Express’ seventh season in operation. I still remember the hype leading up to its announcement and now the park has added three coasters since. Like its fellow Gerstlauer nextdoor, Firechaser is beginning to show its age a bit. Although not to the point of taking away from how much fun this coaster is. After all my travels I still have a hard time with coming up with many family coasters I would rank above Firechaser. Frankly, Hagrid is the only one I’ve done that immediately comes to my mind.

After getting off the ride, rain clouds had begun to move in and bless us with downpours and thunder, which gave us our cue to head out. I cannot complain, given that we did everything we had wanted to do and more. We chilled at our hotel for an hour before driving out to Gatlinburg for dinner at Mellow Mushroom. After pizza, we had one last coaster to ride.



I got this credit last spring when I came up to Dollywood, but neither of my friends had ever ridden an alpine coaster so this was a must for us. From the five alpine coasters to choose from in the Pigeon Forge-Gatlinburg area, Rocky Top Mountain Coaster is easily the one to do if you’re strapped for time. Very lengthy ride and the only alpine coaster I have seen which makes use of block sections. It’s definitely a little pricey but you get what you pay for in terms of ride experience. Proud to say I finally made it through one of these without using the breaks once and I didn’t even pee myself! As for my friends? Who can tell.

With nightfall arriving, we drove back to our hotel and got some rest in preparation for the long drive we had ahead of us.

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By gabed
#109415
Day 2, Part 1

Up early once again, the three of us loaded into my Civic, grabbed a coffee, and began the four hour drive to Kentucky. I hate Louisville, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t have two of the best coasters that I have ever ridden. Since my first visit in 2017 a good bit has changed with a new flat ride and a Gravity Group coaster to add to my credit count. Fast forward through a torrential downpour on the interstate and a couple pee breaks and we made it to park number two.



Of the four parks we paid a visit to this week, Kentucky Kingdom was by far the most relaxed on measures to prevent COVID-19 spread. Granted, by entering a theme park during these times you automatically assume all risks involved, but aside from a temperature check at the entrance and social distancing on rides, you wouldn’t know anything was wrong in the world. The only people I saw wearing masks were the employees and six feet in the queue lines was merely a suggestion. Fortunately for us, most patrons had chosen Hurricane Bay for the day (yes, the water park was open), so most coasters were a walk on. Speaking of coasters…





After three years I figured Lightning Run wouldn’t be exactly as good as I had remembered it. Surely the airtime wasn’t as good as memory said and after all those years the ride had to have gotten a little rough, right? Thankfully, wrong, wrong, and wrong. Still a world class coaster that feels like it opened a month ago. The airtime is still great and is especially nuts on the final three bunny hops leading into the brake run. Rode in the front, back, and all over the middle of the train throughout the day and got nothing less than a stellar ride. It’s a real shame that after six years no more of these have been built anywhere else. With a footprint that small it seems too good to be true to for the coaster to be that good. If nothing else, Lightning Run’s uniqueness is more of a reason to get out to Kentucky Kingdom.



Finally! A new credit for me! Back in 2018 when this was announced, I have to admit I ignored it with all that was happening not just at Carowinds for the 2019 season but all around the coaster world. Gravity Group coasters are very hit or miss for me, and given the very unimpressive stature of the ride I wrote it off and paid very little attention to its construction and opening. Having now ridden it for myself, I really wish I had given this thing more attention.



Talk about a little ball of fire! I got a front and back row ride on the coaster and each provided great experiences. Back row shocked be with solid floater airtime on each hill and front row gave the best sensation of speed. Speaking of which, for a coaster which does not even top fifty feet, Kentucky Flyer does a fantastic job at maintaining a good speed and great pacing throughout the entire course. I was afraid we would be crawling into the brake run, but these fears were quickly quelled when our (nearly empty!) train came roaring into it. The ride itself fits in very well with the park’s lineup with a family friendly ride experience that still delivers a few thrills. For younger riders working themselves up to Storm Chaser and Lightning Run, it’s the perfect mid-way coaster. You could almost call it their Copperhead Strike in what it does for the park.

Alright enough of the praise, time for some complaining. Well… sort of.



I chickened out at the last minute. I got the credit in 2017 and T3 is still one of the worst coasters I have ever subjected myself to. My friends, who are pictured in the front row above, thought I was overreacting when I made the decision to sit out, but quickly came to understand when they walked down the exit ramp, their legs somehow still attached. With that out of the way, it was time for the park’s star attraction.
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By gabed
#109416
Day 2, Part 2



Forget Twisted Cyclone being the underrated RMC, where’s the love for Storm Chaser? From the barrel roll to the helix, the ride is nonstop with plenty of elements to keep you happy. The trick-track-double-up especially caught me off guard as it was far more wild than I had remembered it being. With it being a miserably hot day, the train absolutely flew through the course and gave an insanely smooth ride. If I had any complaints about Storm Chaser, it was the soreness in my thighs from all of the ejector airtime I got. But if we are being perfectly honest here, that’s not a bad problem to have.



Wrapping up the park’s major roller coasters, the three of us found ourselves at Thunder Run, a ride that most of you have ridden whether you realize it or not. Take Hurler, mirror it, and now you have Thunder Run. If Carowinds is going to stay closed until next spring, at least I got to have a small taste of home, albeit two states away.

After a lap on roller skater and a quick bite to eat, it was time to knock out some of the park’s flat rides.



With how prevalent these are becoming, it’s strange that I haver not ridden one until now. Given I’m not a fan of the original Huss Enterprises, I wasn’t very surprised when I found this Zamperla second generation model to be just as uncomfortable. I imagine fans of the original Huss rides won’t be too crazy for these either since a major appeal of those is the total lack of restraints. The shoulder restraints on the second generation enterprises take that away, leaving you with a vomit machine. They look pretty nice so I’ll give them that much and the paint job that Kentucky Kingdom put on it is pretty eye catching.



I couldn’t come here and pass this thing up. To my knowledge, this one and Knoebels’ drop tower are the only Larson ARM Towers in the states. Easily the best drop tower model out there with nothing but sustained ejector all the way down.

The rest of our day was spent with a brief visit to the water park and a few final rides on Storm Chaser. Kentucky Kingdom is definitely a nicer park than I remembered and with Kentucky Flyer, they have a solid top three to build their lineup around. Though if the single-rail coaster rumor comes true I doubt Kentucky Flyer will stay in that top three for much longer. There is a lot of potential for this park to become a major destination, time will just have to tell if it fulfills this. For now, it’s a solid regional park that is crushing its competition. If their goal was to beat Holiday World, they won that battle a long time ago.

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By gabed
#109417
Day 3, Part 1

Oh yes.

Pretty wild how of what few Cedar Fair parks I will likely visit in 2020, Carowinds is not one of them. At the very least, the two that I went to are arguably the best in the entire chain. Leaving Louisville and starting off the second half of the trip in Cincinnati, we have Kings Island.



A big day and lots of new credits for my friends to add to their count, the first of which was the only one which was new for all of us.



Like most people, I was fairly disappointed when this ride was announced last August. Combined with that, a giga just seemed like such an odd addition to Kings Island in my eyes. It’s very hard to argue that any park truly needs a giga coaster to make its lineup worth going on about. After all, there’s a reason why there’s only six of them in the world. When word started getting around that 2020 was looking like the year for Kings Island’s next coaster, I was crossing my fingers for a Mack launch or even an amped up version of Hangtime. When we finally got the renderings for Orion on the night of the announcement, I was definitely left with a very ‘meh’ impression of the ride. Much like Kentucky Flyer the year before, I wrote its off and like most of us, kept my eyes and ears glued to Iron Gwazi and Pantheon progress. Ironic given that we still have no idea when those will open up to the public.

Now almost a year later, I was back at the park and walking up to my fifth giga coaster. Geez.

Before you even get to the ride’s entrance, you’re greeted with an entirely renovated “Area 72” section of the park and it looks fantastic. New radio towers, a freshening up of the Flight of Fear queue line, and my personal favorite, a conspiracy car, are just a few of the new things you’ll find decorating this area of the park.



Visually, Orion is extremely impressive and its lift hill dominates Area 72. I am in love with the coaster’s color scheme as the blue track really pops, especially in contrast with the grey supports. This blue and grey color scheme is tastefully repeated all throughout Area 72 and truly sets it apart from the rest of Kings Island. Back to Orion, the ride itself is incredibly well themed. Not quite to the level of Copperhead Strike, but pretty darn close. There is plenty of shade all throughout the queue and even an entire building filled with a pre show and loads of intricate theming. The experience leading up to the station is on point, but how does the ride itself hold up?



Obviously, the coaster is quite short, but for the time it lasts it’s a very, very solid ride. I was extremely surprised by just how much I enjoyed the coaster and ended up hopping on three more times later in the day. The best way I can think to describe Orion is a perfect blend of Leviathan and Fury 325. The first drop is identical to both of them, despite the height difference. If we’re being real, you honestly can’t tell the difference between a 300 foot drop and a 320 foot drop. It has the intensity of Fury in its latter half and the massive, high up elements of Leviathan in its first half. Unfortunately, much like Leviathan, the ride just ends way too soon. You exit the ride’s inclined helix which is by far the most intense portion of the layout, feeling stoked and ready for more, just to bank into the brake run.

I know it may sound like I’m dissing Orion, but I really did love the coaster. While I definitely think there were other options which would have suited the park better, Orion works very well in Kings Island. Even though it has only been open for two months, it’s hard for me to imagine the park without it. What it lacks in intensity, it more than makes up for in rerideability. I don’t know if I would call it the park’s best roller coaster, but it for sure ranks up there in their top tier rides.

Exiting Orion’s station and grabbing our things from our locker, we headed out of Area 72 and over to Backlot for a quick ride.



I’ve talked about these clones time and time again. If you wanna know how I feel about them, check out my other trip reports.

After Backlot, it was time for The Beast. Still rickety and jittery as ever, The Beast is still incredible. It’s definitely a different experience with Orion cutting so close to it and Vortex gone, but majority of the ride feels the same. Speaking of Vortex…



It’s always weird seeing an empty plot where a roller coaster used to be, but Vortex is an extraordinary example. I was never a fan of the ride and could admittedly care less that it is gone forever. I admire and respect what Arrow did, but 95% of their rides have aged like milk and have met their lifespan in my opinion. Even still, I can’t deny just how important the ride was for the park and just how much history was held within it. I imagine the Kings Island fanboys feel similarly to this as we did when Thunder Road met its demise five years ago. Hopefully despite the mess in the world right now Vortex’s replacement comes sooner than later. Maybe I’ll get my wish of a Mack launch when the time comes.
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By gabed
#109418
Day 3, Part 2



Mystic Timbers, aka the hardest coaster in the world to photograph, still holds up as one of GCI’s finest creations. Each small hill is filled with sustained floater airtime over and over again. The shed is definitely weird, but I’ve always liked it. It gets made fun of a lot but as a form of entertainment while you wait on the brake run, it’s a really great idea.





Diamondback may not be getting any younger, but it still stands its own as an above average hyper which is now complimented nicely by Orion just a few minutes away.

Following Diamondback was a pitstop at the Festhaus for Panda Express, followed by a reride on Orion and a ride on the world’s greatest inverted roller coaster.



It’s hard for me to believe that this coaster is already six years old. I can still remember making an absolute moron of myself on these forums arguing about how Kings Island’s 2014 project was totally going to be a giga coaster because why on Earth would they build an inverted coaster when they had Invertigo and Flying Ace Aerial Chase? I was in the seventh grade when that announcement happened. Now I’m nineteen going on twenty and about to start my second year of college. I’m old.

Nostalgia trip aside, Banshee remains my favorite B&M invert. You really have to appreciate how unique of a ride it is. So many B&M inverted roller coasters follow similar patterns in their layouts in size. Where most of them are incredibly compact and whippy, Banshee takes a risk with massive, drawn out elements. It shouldn’t work, but the ride is an absolute masterpiece of engineering that somehow delivers a ride so intense, other inverts simply don’t compare.



I unfortunately missed this one when I came in 2018, making it over five years since my last ride on The Bat. While I did ride its clone at Canada’s Wonderland in 2018, The Bat’s forest setting provides an entirely different experience. While I may not be too crazy about most Arrow coasters these days, their suspended coasters are an absolute blast to ride and The Bat is no different. My front row ride gave me a great view as we swung around the trees on the ride’s tight turns. Where Iron Dragon is more tame, The Bat is absolutely nuts and a borderline thrill coaster. After The Bat, our day consisted of rerides on Orion and a go on Windseeker.

Before signing off, I want to comment on just how well Kings Island handled COVID. Not only in safety precautions, but in operations in the face of slashed capacity. Even on Orion, the line never got long enough to warrant the use of access passes. Dispatches on most coasters rarely, if ever, exceeded sixty seconds. The ride ops were firing on all cylinders and their efforts really showed. Unfortunately, their sister park did not perform as well initially...

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By gabed
#109419
Day 4, Part 1

Ugh. This is not a review I ever wanted nor expected to write.

When planning this trip, I pushed hard for two days at Cedar Point. I have been three times prior and each time I never found one day to be near enough time to enjoy the park in its fullest. Nowhere on Earth is there a place with a coaster collection that even compares to that of Cedar Point’s. That’s without even going into the flat rides, museum, Cedar Point Shores, and now Forbidden Frontier. Given that this would be my friends’ first visit to the park, I knew we would need two full days to take it all in. Little did I know just how much of a good call this would be.

We rolled up to the causeway at 10:30, a good half hour before the park opened. I flashed my platinum pass and parked near the front of the park, hoping we had arrived early enough. We had not, though this had not yet become apparent to us. We sprayed on some sunscreen and walked into Cedar Point’s version of a FEMA tent to get our temperatures taken.



Before I dive into a lot of negatives, I do want to give Cedar Point credit for how well they executed this aspect of prevention measures. The temperature check was incredibly fast and easy. Rather than stopping every single person one at a time to take their temperature, you walk past a thermal camera which keeps the line moving at a steady pace. In no time at all we were done and heading into the park.



I had already briefed my friends that even though Steel Vengeance was a literal mile away from the front gate, it would be our first ride of the day and we would need to move fast. Not only is it the greatest coaster on Earth, it is one of four coasters at Cedar Point which required an access pass to ride. The access pass confused me a lot when they were first announced and it wasn’t until I got to Cedar Point that I finally figured out how they worked. For Steel Vengeance, Maverick, Millennium Force, and Top Thrill Dragster, you must wait in line for a slip of paper which gives you a time to come back and hop in the actual line for the ride itself. This is all to make sure queue lines do not become overcrowded and to encourage social distancing. Unfortunately, this would almost always be a mess.

After all passes have been handed out for the morning, no more are given out until 3:30 in the afternoon. When you hop in line for an access pass there is no promise that you’ll get one and while this never happened to us, it quickly became apparent later in the day that Cedar Point did not anticipate as many people to show up to the park that did. All this said, there is one way to avoid having to get an access pass, get to the park very, very early. The first 250 people who arrive to any of the four rides mentioned earlier can hop right on and ride as much as they please for the first hour after opening.

Switching between light jogging and full sprints, we hurried to Frontier Town in hopes of being one of the lucky 250 or even just make the access pass line. Prior to our visit, Cedar Point had abandoned the reservation system required for park entry, a decision that was clearly made with very little foresight. More on that later. For the time being, we knew there would be more people in the park than we anticipated so we had to be fast. We closed in on the coaster’s entrance and… it was down. No access passes. No idea when or if the coaster would reopen that day. Nothing. It did not open at all for the entire day.

Very disappointed, we hopped in line for an access pass for Maverick, the back of which was not easy to find. Stretching far back past Maverick’s entrance, past the six foot markers on the ground, we waited for the park to open. Somehow, we were lucky enough to score a pass on the ride which would be valid at noon. Until then, we walked around looking for a coaster to ride.

Not long after opening it became clear why cancelling reservations was not a good idea. I understand from a financial standpoint why this decision was made, but from a guest experience standpoint, it was a recipe for disaster. The crowd at the park on this day would have been considered busy on a normal day during any other year. So when you take this, bar most of them from riding the most popular coasters and only operate rides at half capacity, you end up with massive wait times. 30 minutes for Cedar Creek Mine Ride. 30 Minutes for Gemini. 75 Minutes for Valravn. 120 Minutes for Raptor. You get the point. Unless you bought a fast lane months in advance before COVID-19 came to the states, you’re not getting your hands on one, so buckle up and choose your rides wisely. Social distancing at a theme park can only work if you reduce capacity. You cannot have your cake and eat it too. Like I said earlier, you assume all risks when entering a park, but if said park truly cares about preventing the spread, you keep your capacity down. The walkways were so busy with people the only way to keep six feet between yourself and others was to jump into the lake. Rant over, ride time.



One of the few coasters without a ridiculous wait time, we hopped on so my friends could snatch the credit. Not too bad, though nothing to brag about. I rode with a small grasshopper chilling on the restraint next to me so that was neat I suppose. After getting off we grabbed an access pass for Dragster and gave Gemini a ride before heading back to Maverick to use our first access pass of the day.



A one of a kind coaster that still delivers an incredible ride. I know it’s been four years but I’m so happy they gave the trains new restraints because it’s an infinitely better ride with them. My friends were blown away by the raw power and intensity of the ride and I still felt the same gleeful excitement that I did when I first rode it many years ago.



With 45 minutes left until we could use our access passes for Dragster, we saw that Rougarou only had a 30 minute wait and decided to go ahead and knock it out. Well, that 30 minute wait turned into a 75 minute one due to some of the worst operations I have ever seen. You would think that having to check half the amount of riders would cut dispatch times in half, but in Rougarou’s case, it doubled them. Average dispatch was around two minutes for a train of sixteen people and that’s without having to wait for the crew to clean the trains every half hour.



Eventually we made it up the stairs and into the station, only to find out that the bins (which had always been available for loose articles every other year that I have been) were now only for shoes. What if you didn’t know this? Well then it sucks to be you I guess. I know that I love Rougarou, but it was hard for me to enjoy this ride in particular as I was too concerned about my car keys from falling out of my pocket.
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By gabed
#109420
Day 4, Part 2

Growing more and more frustrated with how the day was going, we hopped in Dragster’s line, just barely making our time window due to Rougarou’s absolutely appalling operations.



After only standing in line for ten minutes, the ride went down for half an hour. Shocking I know. At this point I was nearly done and was very upset for the sake of my friends. Both of them had dreamed of visiting Cedar Point for over a decade and now that they were finally here, it was a dumpster fire. Fortunately our patience would be rewarded as we ended up in rows one and three. As much as I wanted that front row ride on Dragster, I had to give it to my friends since it was their first time riding a strata coaster. The joy on their faces when we exited the ride was priceless and was easily the highlight of the entire day.

3:30 was quickly approaching and we made our way to Millennium Force so we could even hope for an access pass. Arriving at 3:15, the line already stretched to the coaster’s first overbank turn. How we managed to score a pass is anyone’s guess.

With an hour until we could ride, we moved to the front of the park to knock out Wicked Twister. That was until of course, it too broke down. Frustrated yet again, we didn’t want to miss our chance on Millennium Force so we opted to leave Wicked Twister’s queue and come back later.



While operations on Millennium Force were just as bad, if not worse than Rougarou, we managed to avoid any mechanical issues and finally got our ride close to 5:30. Two and a half hours remained of park operation for the day and we had only done six rides. After a quick bite to eat, we gave Wicked Twister one more chance.



Fortunately, we were successful. Even at 18 years old, Wicked Twister is loads of fun. At this point I think it’s safe to assume that the relocation rumors which have haunted this ride for years are lies and that is perfectly fine by me. I can’t imagine the park without Wicked Twister and hope to see it going strong here for another two decades.



Wicked Twister’s next-door neighbor was next on the to do list and with very little time left in the day, we hastily hopped in line. Unfortunately we were unable to score a ride of the left side, but given how the day had gone up to then, I was grateful for any ride at all.



With ninety minutes remaining, we knew we needed to get in line for Valravn since it had consistently been posting 75 minute wait times all day. Since the ride could only carry a maximum of 15 passengers at a time, this was unsurprising. Still my favorite dive coaster and a roller coaster that I believe deserves way more attention than it receives.

After leaving, we lucked out and were able to ride Blue Streak before the park wrapped up for the night. Once that was over, the park was closed and we made the walk out to the parking lot. Slightly frustrated and disappointed, we crossed our fingers and hoped the second day would go much smoother.
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By gabed
#109421
Day 5, Part 1

It did.

Our hotel was only a two minute drive from the park, but this did not stop us from leaving at 8:50 to make sure we were first in line to enter the park.



The three of us sprayed on our sunscreen and headed back to the tent for take two. We waited around for an hour or so before security showed up to take our temperature. Once we were cleared, we moved back to the front gate where we found our new view for the next fifteen minutes.



The chains lifted at 10:00 and we made the familiar journey back to Steel Vengeance, fingers crossed we would have better luck today. As we got to the entrance, a beautiful sight was found before us.



If that wasn’t good enough, the line for the first 250 lucky riders was yet to be filled and we apply hopped into it. From there on out, its was a matter of waiting as the trains ripped through the course during their test cycles. We passed the time by talking to an employee and another enthusiast who was in line next to us. Once 11:00 came, the lines opened up and we began walking back. The line moved incredibly fast as the ride ops were chewing through people at an insane rate. Dispatches almost never exceeded thirty seconds and the happiness of the workers was infectious. So far so good, but it was about to get much, much better. As we got to the station, it became obvious that we would be the first to board the next train. Being able to request rows, I took the front and my friends took the back.



Oh. My.

In just forty five minutes, we ended up getting three rides on Steel Vengeance, each better than the last. Steel Vengeance has been my number one coaster ever since I rode it two years ago and I am happy to report those standings remain unchanged. The coaster feels like it is never going to end as it keeps going, and going, and going, and going. Floater airtime? Never heard of her. This thing only does ejector and that’s final. After our third ride, the line closed off for us and opened up to access pass holders. While we may have missed the AM passes, we got more rides on the coaster than any of them would. Besides, we still had the PM slots to grab if we wanted.
On our way to our next coaster, we happened to grab some of the last AM passes for Maverick. So far things were going one million times better than the previous day, a trend that would continue.



Cedar Creek Mine Ride was next. Not an outstanding arrow min train like Thunderation or anything, but it’s alright for what it’s worth.



Great flat ride, even though the line moved at a snail’s pace.
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By gabed
#109422
Day 5, Part 2

At this point it was well past noon and the three of us were starving. Since my last visit, the park has rapidly expanded and improved their food lineup, a move which was desperate needed. With the exception of Pink’s (which should not have been closed by the way), the food that could be bought with a meal plan was mediocre at best. The new food locations all look great on the outside and the one we chose to dine at tasted just as good as it looked.



Back Beat Que’s building and scent is what drew me in. It has a very nice contemporary look and each time we walked past it the smell was undeniably incredible. The food was just as good as it smelled and the pulled pork I had was incredible.



If you’ve ever had the BBQ at Harmony Hall, that’s a good measure for what to expect from here. Not just good for park food, but good food in general.



Magnum XL-200, a roller coaster I have always been highly critical of. I never liked this coaster and you can bet I was not looking forward to giving it another chance. To my complete surprise, I really enjoyed myself while riding it. Sure it’s pretty rough in some spots, but overall I have to admit I did like the coaster for the first time in… well… ever. It still ranks in the bottom half of Cedar Point’s lineup for me, but it's a much better ride than memory had catalogued.



While the Huss frisbees may be the weaker ones of the bunch, I’ve always had a soft spot for MaXair and make it a point to give it at least one ride while I’m here.
After a quick break at Starbucks, the time was approaching for access passes to be handed out for the last time of the day. We started walking at 3:00 and made it to Steel Vengeance’s access pass line ten minutes later, expecting to be among the first ones there. This is what we were greeted with.



Once the lines opened up, this is how far it stretched behind us.



And this is why I stand by my belief that the reservation system should not have been discontinued. For those who have not been to Cedar Point before and are not familiar with the park’s layout, this line ended up stretching a good quarter mile from the ride’s front entrance where access passes were being handed out. We were lucky enough to get one, but from that alone it is clear that the park did not anticipate so many people to show up this season.
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By gabed
#109423
Day 5, Part 3

We had a couple hours before we could get our fourth and final ride on Steel Vengeance, so we spent that time using our morning access pass on Maverick and getting what little credits remained for my friends.



Nowhere near the level of insanity as The Bat, but truthfully I doubt that’s what Cedar Point was going for when they built this ride over 30 years ago. Unfortunately my friends were expecting a similar ride experience and were greatly disappointed when we arrived at the brake run.

Fast forward through a final ride on Millennium Force and our last ride on Steel Vengeance, we began the sad walk back to the entrance as the park was only an hour away from closing. But not before riding one final coaster.



Much like Magnum, I have been highly critical of this coaster ever since my first ride. Also like Magnum, I skipped Raptor on my last visit, making it over four years since I last gave it a chance. It was the last coaster my friends needed to round out the park and we had time, so why not? Just as I was surprised by Magnum, I was surprised by Raptor even more so! A much smoother experience than I had recalled and a much more forceful one as well. I don’t think I’ve ever felt airtime on an invert before, but getting whipped over the first drop managed to change that for me.

A great end to a great trip. Our first day at Cedar Point may have been a hot mess, but day two more than made up for it. Hopefully next time I come back this virus mess will all be a distant memory. Until then, after 4 parks, 5 days, 36 coasters, and over 1,000 miles driven, that’s a wrap.





In comparison to the last four trip reports I’ve made over the years, this is definitely the shortest road trip I’ve covered. Given this little pandemic thing that’s been going around, you have to take what you can get. Hard to believe this is the fifth year I’ve made one of these posts and even harder to believe people still read them. I may be the only one left from the original 2016 crew who is still traveling, but Carowinds Connection will always have a special place in my heart. I’ve been posting here since 2012 and do not plan on going anywhere, As long as I’m moving around and as long as Jonathan keeps the servers running, I’ll be here. Thanks you guys for reading the ramblings of a madman. Stay strong, wash your mask, and wear your hands. Here’s to the 2021 season. See you then.
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By gabed
#109425
Didn't have time, also I've never found the S&S towers to be all that.
By Edwardo
#109447
Same, especially since I won’t be visiting parks this year.

Having said that...Magic Mountain has a better coaster collection even if it is the lesser park ;-P

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