First off, let me preface this by saying that I had only intended on going on Sunday, but my doubleheader got cancelled, so I decided to go out on Saturday as well. My full intention was to take pictures and check things out on Saturday, then meet up with friends and ride on Sunday. I stuck to that for the most part, although I took some pictures on Sunday as well.
The weather Saturday ended up being much nicer than I had anticipated and I even left my jacket in the car, opting for just a hoodie with an under armour underneath, which still ended up being too warm. Only near the lake by Gatekeeper did I ever feel cold all day.
The first thing I noticed after arriving were the new entrance areas. While the entrances are blocked by the new metal detectors and tables for bag checks, the personnel worked people through extremely fast both days. It did not in any way affect my experiences either day and I hope they can continue to cycle people through this quickly.
I went to enter and my platinum pass was scanning but would not pop up my picture. If you read my Carowinds trip report, you might remember that they re-took my picture when my drink plan wasn’t working. Well after calling over a supervisor, I was told that I would be “allowed to enter today but that you need to go to the season pass center later and take care of this”. I probably should have done it right then so my drink plan wouldn’t be affected, but the season pass line was about a hundred people deep and I didn’t feel like waiting at the time.
As I began my first lap around the park for 2017, the one thing I noticed was that everything looked great. It seemed like they had done some painting in areas that needed it and touched up some other areas. The seagulls had not had their way with Raptor just yet either.
The first thing on my mind is that I really wanted to get a Top Thrill Cubster shirt. I’m a big Indians fan but I figured it would be a collectors’ item so I wanted to grab one. Now, Tony had said in a tweet that they would be available at the shop by Dragster, the Pagoda and somewhere else whose name slips my mind. I checked the Pagoda first and there was nothing in there. By the time I walked to Dragster, the shop was shoulder to shoulder already and they only had small and medium shirts left (I’m a large) and only a couple hats. I was pretty miffed they went with such a low production number. I know it was only for the weekend, but I heard people griping about it later as I made my way around the park. They dropped the ball a bit on that one.
After I left the shop area, I immediately walked back to see the work on RMC Mean Streak. As you walk by Gemini, you can walk up next to the bathrooms and get a look at some of the side of it. I think the first impression for most people, even those of us that saw it at Winter Chill Out is that in person, it is absolutely monstrous. It is really hard to see what kind of work is going on in the interior, but this thing is going to be absolutely incredible. After taking some pictures, I crossed the train tracks and walked to the former entrance area for MS. As you approach it, you can see the inversion over the rooftops and where it dives under the lift hill. Also, if you move further right, you can see supports for what appears to be another inversion cutting through the track itself. I should also mention that I took the train twice during the day to see if I could see anything else, and the only thing I saw that interested me were a flat section of supports that could be an MCBR and a second set of supports next to the track that appear to be running the other way towards the possible MCBR. Nothing else was really visible. The next time I head back there will likely be for Coastermania! and I think I’m going to spend some time outside the gates either in or out of Cedar Point Shores to see what is visible from the back side. I’m sure more track work will be done and more pictures will surface by then.
I spent a lot of time walking around the park taking pictures on Saturday. In fact, I have four lenses that I like to use and I walked at least one lap around the park with each of them to get the shots I wanted. Now, early on in the day, a large portion of rides were down – Magnum and Gemini never opened on Saturday and the Mine Ride was down for most of the day. Maverick was open early on but then went down and remained down for several hours. Dragster also went down several times. I guess rides going down on opening day is to be somewhat expected, but had the crowds been heavier, I think there would have been a lot of upset people.
This was my first opening day at a park ever (mostly due to coaching baseball every year and not being able to make it). One thing I noticed were that there was a lot of training going on (which is to be expected) but it seemed like there were a lot of unprepared and flustered employees.
After making my second lap, I wanted a drink but I remembered that my platinum pass was messed up, meaning my drink plan wouldn’t work. Instead of going to the season pass center, I decided to try my luck at Guest Services. I had joked with Alex Gillman on Instagram that I was going to come in there and give him crap if my pass still didn’t work. I did see Alex in there (we haven’t met personally yet), but they were swamped with people. Luckily, one of the employees saw me standing there and asked me what I needed and proceeded to personally walk me over to the Season Pass center, take my new picture and make sure my pass worked, all in the span of about three minutes. He also told me that Cedar Point finally changed their Platinum Pass so it could be re-scanned and not have get stamped every time you want to leave and come back. That was good to hear, although he also told me he worked at Kings Island the last four years and they’ve been doing that forever.
So I went back in and decided to go to Auntie Anne’s for my drink and because I was having a pregnant woman-esque craving for a cinnamon pretzel with icing. I got up to the window fairly quickly, but it took the trainee over six minutes to punch everything in and figure out how to run it. I was patient with him however, but as you looked around the whole park, lines for food were typically 7+ people deep at each window. It was almost as if none of the food service personnel returned from past years and every single worker was a new hire. More on the food situation on Sunday.
By the time I walked back around to Frontiertown, Maverick was down and remained down for about two hours. Gatekeeper had finally opened up after testing but Magnum, Gemini and the Mine Ride remained down all day (at least until 5pm when I left for the evening). Valravn was unusually reliable as it got briefly stuck for about 5 minutes and I only saw them re-test it once or twice before reopening.
I made a couple more rounds and took some good shots while trying to wait for Tony to do a tweet-up. At about 5pm though, I decided to call it a day, knowing I would be back Sunday morning for more. After walking out the gate, I took a pretty cool picture of Gatekeeper entering the keyhole from underneath and some shots from the other side before walking to my car. Low and behold, as soon as I went to pull out of the parking lot, Tony tweeted for his tweet-up… just my typical luck.
I arrived around 8:30am, quickly went through security and got in line to enter. I entertained myself by taking some side shots of Gatekeeper testing and making fun of joe_coaster (IG) for his sunglasses. Listening to GP comments in line is also great. My favorite of the weekend was standing by RMC Mean Streak, I heard some girl say to (presumably) her mother “why are they putting that brown track on it if they’re just tearing it down anyways?”.
After entering and waiting near Raptor like usual, I walked around the back way past Magnum and down the Gemini midway to Maverick, which was still walk-on for the first half hour or so of the day. I got a back seat ride, which I love. We actually stopped at the front of the tunnel for about thirty seconds before being launched. That was an experience I never had because usually you roll into there at 20-30mph and then launch, but launching the entire length of the tunnel from 0-70mph was really fun.
At this point, I was still waiting for some friends of mine to wake up and show up, so I walked back towards Millennium Force at around 10:30am. It was still closed (it would open around 11am). I walked over towards Wicked Twister because I wanted to take some wide-angle shots of WT, GK and that whole area. Everything in that area was already open despite it being semi-windy near the lakeshore, and the sun was out so the warming had begun. It was still chilly, but definitely getting warmer. My friends arrived shortly afterwards and wanted to ride WT, so I sat down to wait for them. What should’ve been a station wait turned into 6-7 minute dispatches. joe_coaster sent me a message later in the day while he was in line with the exact same observation.
After they finally got on and off WT, we walked over to Gatekeeper. The app said it was a 15 minute wait but it turned into a 3-train wait and that was it. The Gatekeeper crew wasn’t as polished yet as last year’s dynamic group, but they still were pretty quick with their dispatches, still by-far the best in the park. For reference, at this time Valravn’s queue was half-full and it was running 60-minute waits with all three trains going.
After Gatekeeper, we grabbed a quick bite to eat and then walked towards the back of the park, past Dragster, errr Cubster, which was down. Magnum was still down and not testing. Gemini was down. When we got back by Maverick, it was also down and so was Millennium Force. So four of your top coasters plus a family favorite coaster were all down at the same time with no timetable for coming back up. This was probably the low point of the weekend for me, even though I wasn’t marathoning any coaster and was ok with riding whatever. I’m not a fan of Corkscrew or most arrows, so we skipped that despite it having no wait.
The good news all weekend was that the crowds were manageable. Maverick (when not down) was running 30-40 minute waits all weekend. Millennium was a ramp or a station wait most times. Valravn even was usually 30 minutes with the except of that hour or so on Sunday. Magnum only briefly tested and never opened.
Speaking of Magnum, my friend had a conspiracy theory which I believe is crap, but made me think for a few minutes. What if they didn’t want anyone to see the construction at Cedar Point Shores or inside of Mean Streak and that’s why it was still closed down? My argument is that you can see the CPS construction anyways if you just walk over by the Magnum entrance or if you are a Hotel Breakers guest. The Mean Streak idea is a viable idea, but I highly doubt they would close a popular ride for something like that.
After this, I left that group of friends when my other group of friends arrived from Parma. At this point, I had circled back around and was back by Millennium Force. Nick texted me “we’re at Frontier Inn” and I told him I would meet them there in about five minutes. I delayed myself a little taking some pictures and arrived ten minutes after I talked to him. I told Nick I would get him a table outside for the four of us. About fifteen minutes later, they came out with their food, during which time I received a text from Nick that “this place is a nightmare”. Below is Nick’s description of what happened:
“As I love Cedar Point, this critique is merely a grouping of suggestions aimed at increasing the productivity of Frontier Inn, not as a bash of my experience.
First and foremost, it was opening weekend and I understand that from a training standpoint. It takes weeks, sometimes months, for someone to get into a rhythm at a new job and master a role successfully. But the right tools to succeed have to be present, and I have a couple suggestions on how to provide some of those new tools. My main impression of Frontier Inn was that it needs to drop the former restaurant's style completely. Maybe it's not in the budget yet, but the layout of the restaurant worked for Chick-Fil-A; it doesn't work for Frontier Inn. When you order at CFA, they take your name for the order; at FI, there is a myriad of steps to complete your order (more on that in a bit). When your food is done at CFA, your name is called and you grab your order (usually supplemented with a 'my pleasure'). When my food was done (or what I think was my food), simply the name of the meal I ordered was shouted. And with a restaurant full of hungry customers, the correct order might not go into the appropriate hands.
Ordering was a bit tedious, as there was no signage as to what I should do. Being a new season meal plan holder, it was a bit confusing. There was plenty of space for a sign between the menus (much like the signage I saw in Panda Express later that evening). Also, it wasn't clear what meals were on the meal plan and which weren't. Luckily I follow a blog that outlined each of the restaurants and their offerings. It would be easy to place that on the screen or simply limit the options (maybe it already did that). There definitely weren't pictures next to the selections and that was surprising to me. More on the layout of the restaurant... in its current layout, waiting on your order when a name isn't taken is tough, as the area to wait is extremely bottlenecked. Maybe knocking out the row of tables adjacent to the line/metal poles and pushing that back a bit would clear things up. Moving the drink machine somewhere might do the same.
LUCKILY the quality of my buffalo chicken tenders and fries was EXCELLENT, otherwise I wouldn't have been satisfied. The meal was tasty and filling and it was a great bang for the buck if not on the meal plan. I would definitely recommend to a friend looking for food at Cedar Point. I will say that outside of Frontier Inn, the lines at the food stands seemed to be much shorter and moving much quicker throughout the day. Maybe the first day jitters were done and all of the new workers felt more comfortable.”
After Frontier Inn, I took them over to RMC Mean Streak to show them some things I had seen and make some predictions with Nick, given his background as an engineer. We decided to go wait for Maverick, which had a 40-minute posted wait time. We maybe waited 30 at the most, which was great. After Maverick, we walked back up the Gemini midway and since I wanted to take more pics and wasn’t feeling all that well, they rode a few rides without me.
When we got back to the front, I did my first Instagram live feed ever, with the sole purpose of showing Nick failing miserably at the 3-point shootout. In his defense, he did almost clear the last rack to get 4 points and to fittingly win a foam brick. At that point I was going to shut it down, but I actually had followers on there that wanted me to walk around the park, so we walked around all the way past Dragster, over to the new Magnum entrance and then back to Mean Streak. I always thought it was funny seeing people hold up their phone and look like fools while going live and then I did the exact same thing.
I was still holding out for a Tony tweet-up but by this point it was around 5:30PM. We walked up to the front where I had another pregnant woman-esque craving for fudge from Sweet Spot, so we did that and then I watched Joey beat Time Crisis on his first quarters and finish with the 2nd highest score saved on the game. Come to find out that he owns the top 8 scores on the game, beating almost all of them without having to pay more than his first two quarters. I watched Nick and Maggie fail miserably at the lazer maze and then I decided to head out. This time however, Tony did not do a tweet-up after I left. On the way out, I made sure to grab a bunch of maps for trade and to re-take the keyhole pics of Gatekeeper with a much-nicer blue sky.
It was a good opening weekend. There are some issues that need to be ironed out with training across all platforms, but I’m sure that will come in time. Hopefully by next weekend and then math and science week the following week, they have everything up to speed.