Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Cedar Point: From Blue Streak to Maverick

Cedar Point has 17 roller coasters, totally an amazing 53,963 feet of track spread over, around and through the park. Listed below are my personal critiques of each one, in the order that I think of them.

Blue Streak

The Blue Streak is Cedar Point’s oldest roller coaster. It is located to the left of the entrance and is tucked away behind the Raptor. This is a great coaster, despite it’s age, and very rarely has much of a wait. The Blue Streak is a wooden roller coaster with a first hill of 78 feet. It reaches speeds of 40 miles per hour with a series of small hills and hairpin turns. Although it may sound tame, the slower speeds give you time to feel the drops. If roller coasters typically make you feel sick, do not think that small and old means gentle. I recommend sitting in the front seat especially if you have any lower back issues as the ride is a little rough. Also, the seatbelt isn’t just for appearances, the drops will lift you right out of your seat and the lap bar does not snug down as well as you might wish.


Absolutely a great ride. Built in 1978, the Gemini qualifies as a classic. As the name indicates, this coaster has twin trains that race each other around the track. As far as I can tell, neither train is ‘faster’ than the other so take your pick. Located in the center of the park and toward the back, the Gemini usually has a wait of less than an hour. The first hill is 124 feet and this wooden roller coaster reaches speeds of 60 miles per hour. At various points in the track you can reach out and touch the people in the other train, an action that is not sanctioned by Cedar Point but is nevertheless part of the Gemini experience. My favorite part of this ride is trying to keep my arms at full length throughout the ride. It’s harder than it sounds; in one place there is a beam that looks like it will hit you across the forehead if you don’t duck! Don’t worry though, even with arms up, the beam is well out of reach. For the same reasons as with the Blue Streak, I recommend sitting in the front car to save your back from the heinous vibration.

Mean Streak

Once the record holder for tallest and fastest wooden roller coaster (a record it snagged from The Beast at King’s Island) the Mean Streak is really an incredibly boring ride. Traveling at 65 miles per hour, this 2 minute, 45 second ride is a series of uninteresting banked curves. The Mean Streak was added over 16 years ago and when I think back to the year that it was new and I waited over four hours to get on this ride, I cringe. Thanks to its distant location at the very back of the park, the wait is rarely that long any more. Personally, I would never wait more than half an hour for this ride and unless you want whiplash, I recommend sitting near the front with one hand bracing your neck.

Disaster Transport

This roller coaster is a piece of crap. The Disaster Transport was completed in an effort to revamp an already crappy ride previously known as the Alpine Slide. The Disaster Transport is a non-traditional roller coaster that does not run on a track but in a U-shaped slide something like a bobsled run. Originally, the Alpine Slide was an open air coaster located close to the entrance behind the Demon Drop. While the location was not changed, the Alpine Slide was moved indoors and renamed as the Disaster Transport. Despite black lights and air conditioning, this ride really is the same as it was 20 years ago. Traveling at 40 miles per hour, it still holds the record for the fastest bobsled type roller coaster in the world. One of biggest complaints I have with this ride is that the wait time they post at the door is never accurate and because of the way the line goes in and out of several different rooms, you can never see how long you have left to wait. If you are dying of heat exhaustion and happen to be in the area, by all means, go spend some time waiting in an air conditioned line; however, don’t expect much.


Hands down one of the top three rides in the park. The Raptor is located close to the entrance on the left hand side. This was Cedar Point’s first unenclosed hanging roller coaster. At the time of its opening, the Raptor held the record for the tallest fastest inverted roller coaster in the world. With an initial drop of 137 feet and top speeds of 57 miles per hour, it may look tame in comparison with the Millennium Force and Top Thrill Dragster but the loops and rolls make it an extremely thrilling ride. Depending on when you hit this ride, the line wait is extremely variable but generally less than two hours. I recommend riding the Raptor later in the day as the lines are generally shorter in the afternoon.

Magnum XL-200

When the Magnum debuted in 1989 it was the tallest fastest roller coaster ever built, records it maintained until 1991 and 1994. Oddly enough, the Magnum, which once dominated the Cedar Point skyline, is now dwarfed by its two record breaking neighbors.

Located on the right hand side, just past Soak City, the Magnum boasts a first drop of 205 feet and travels at speeds of 72 miles per hour. The front and back design gives a great view of Lake Erie as you jump over bunny hills and through blackout tunnels. This is a great ride that generally has short lines. It was the first roller coaster at Cedar Point to have misting fans and a DJ booth in the queue line. That may not seem that significant but if you go there in August you will be relieved at this innovation! I recommend the third seat of the first car. I know it sounds weird, but I swear the air time is better there and it’s generally one of the shortest lines.

Cedar Creek Mine Ride

My opinion on this one may be tainted my nostalgia. I love this ride. It’s tamer than most of the roller coasters in Cedar Point but it has some life in it yet. Never a long line and quaint scenery, this ride is perfect for any park goers who don’t want to lose their lunch. When I used to go to Cedar Point as a kid, this was the only ride besides the Ferris Wheel that my motion sick mother would ride. With an initial hill of 55 feet and variable speed, the most exciting part of the ride is a corkscrewing turn that makes you feel like you are in danger of losing your extending limbs. A little disconcerting, especially as a child, is that the lap bar is shared with your neighbor. If your neighbor is, say, your 300 pound father and you are a 70 pound ten year old, you get to ride with a foot of clearance between your lap and the bar.

Iron Dragon

The Iron Dragon is a great little ride though to get the maximum effect it is imperative that you sit in the very front seat. The Iron dragon is an enclosed, hanging roller coaster with fun drops and banking turns, located in the shadow of the Mantis. With a max speed of 40 miles per hour and an initial drop of 76 feet, it is an easy ride for less adventurous riders. Since the cars are connected, the front car gets the most swing out of the lake skimming turns. At 20 years old, it is still a great ride to take in between longer lines.


The Corkscrew is typical of its type, though when it was built in 1976 it was the first of its kind to span a midway and take riders through three inversions. At 85 feet tall and 48 miles per hour, it is still a fun ride. As a child, the Corkscrew was one of my favorite but as an adult I have found the ride painful and I try not to ride it until just before I leave. The Corkscrew is located in the center of the park and is impossible to miss as you have to walk under it to get to the Top Thrill Dragster and other rides.

Millennium Force

Best freaking ride in the park! Even with a three hour wait, this roller coaster is completely worth it. At 310 feet tall and 93 miles per hour this roller coaster shattered a slew of records when it debuted in 2000. After nearly 8 years, it still ranks number 6 worldwide for height and speed. One of the best things about this innovative design is its lack of a chain for the ride to the top of its monster first hill. The Millennium Force has a nifty gadget that comes down the hill to collect the train and brings you to the top with a smooth fast ride. It’s location on the far left side of the park offers a great view over the lake and it’s even more spectacular at night. I cannot stress enough how incredible this ride is. With its central location, this is a great ride to hit again and again throughout the day and a great option for you fast lane stamp.

Wicked Twister

My advice on this ride is to hit it whenever you see it running. Just like the Top Thrill Dragster, the Wicked Twister will shut down with even the slightest bit of rain or high winds. That being said, it’s a fun little ride. Once again, I recommend sitting in the front seat for maximum effect. The Wicked Twister is a unique roller coaster with an inverted style and a double ended track. Riders are launched at 50 miles per hour toward one of two towers which the train scales and then returns through the boarding deck in reverse to scale the second tower backwards. On the return trip, riders are launched again, this time at 63 miles per hour and then for a third time at 72 miles per hour. Each launch results in a higher climb up the towers. Since the ride is located right on the beach, waiting in line can be a bit chilly after the sun goes down or if there is a healthy breeze off the lake. Generally the line for this ride is about an hour give or take thirty minutes depending on the time of day. Once again, if you notice that this ride is only running on occasion, get on it when you get the chance. Its location close to the MaXair is convenient since you can ride this non-roller coaster yet extremely fun ride, while keeping an eye on the line and operational status of the Wicked Twister.

Top Thrill Dragster

Great freaking ride! Although the line wait can be somewhat excessive for a ride that lasts less than a minute and a half, anything less than four hours is still worth it. Unfortunately, the Top Thrill Dragster is very prone to being shut down. With even the slightest rain, high winds or lightning, your ride could be cancelled regardless of how long you’ve been waiting. The Top Thrill Dragster broke the world record for tallest and fastest roller coaster with its 420 foot peak and a breathless 120 miles per hour, reached in under 4 seconds. Riders board the train and are brought out to a randomized starting line complete with red, yellow, green count down light. When the light reaches green, the car is launched out with surprising velocity, regardless of how many times you have watched it happen to others. You spiral up to the top and barely have time to take a breath before shooting back down at 90 degrees. Make sure to take the opportunity to look around when you are at the top as you will not get another view to match without getting on a plane.


The Mantis is Cedar Point’s only stand up roller coaster. Despite its impressive appearance, I feel that this ride falls a little short of the mark. The rig that you ride in is incredibly uncomfortable, especially to men, and the ride is blasé despite its 145 foot drop and 60 miles per hour speeds. The first time I rode this ride it got stuck and let me tell you, standing on a platform with a ridged, spring loaded crotch-piece jamming you into the shoulder harness for ten minutes was enough for me that day. The Mantis is still one of the fastest tallest standing roller coasters in the world, even after 11 years of operation. It boasts 4 inversions and a figure eight finale.


This roller coaster barely counts as a roller coaster. It is the typical carnival design that you can find in most older amusement parks and is basically just an over grown kiddy ride. Since its addition in 1970, the Wildcat has been moved twice which may give you an idea of its construction. I haven’t ridden it since I was a small child and if you can’t impress a seven year old, you probably aren’t worth mentioning as a roller coaster. The one redeeming factor of this 50 foot tall ride is the g-forced created by its variable speeds as riders race around the track in individual four-seater carts.

Gemini Jr.

This is a kiddy ride that is, or was, a ton of fun. Riders must be 36-54 inches tall or accompanied by a child. The best thing that I remember about this ride from when I was a child, was that I was able to ride it over and over while I waited for my dad to get off the Gemini, located directly across the midway. It runs an astounding 6 miles per hour with a drop of 19 feet.

Woodstock Express

This is the only roller coaster in Cedar Point that I have never ridden (with the exception of the Maverick which was not yet built the last time I was there).


Since I did not have the opportunity to visit Cedar Point last year when the Maverick opened, I have not had the opportunity to ride this new roller coaster. The Cedar Point website does have a fun virtual ride that I have viewed many times and, roller coaster gods willing, I will be riding it in about 6 months and will review it at that time.

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