Let me preface this trip report by saying that I got back home from Connecticut at about 12:45am on June 2 and with ERT starting at 7am, I got about 4 hours of sleep and for someone with a sleeping disorder already (narcolepsy), I figured I'd be dragging a large portion of the day.
I left my house about 5:45 for the 75-or-so minute drive to the park. I didn't encounter much morning commuter traffic or anything, so I made it to the park right about the time the rides started opening for ERT. After quickly getting through security (the CP security people are fantastic at getting people through quickly even when they have multiple bags to check and whatnot), I walked up to the gate and only had to wait about 5-10 minutes for them to check my ticket, scan my platinum pass and let me in. I walked up to the two tents to grab my t-shirt, lanyard and other goodies and after putting on my t-shirt and sorting myself out, took my camera and walked towards Raptor and Valravn. Now, I'm only a fan of Valravn in the third row and I wasn't really intent on riding it. The line was walk-on, as it usually is during ERT, but I will say that I was impressed with the Valravn crew this year, even when it got busy later in the day. They did a much better job than last year at cycling people through, checking restraints, etc. Gatekeeper's crew on the other hand, who were incredible the last two years, were terrible at the same things. After a few minutes taking pictures of Raptor and Valravn, I decided to walk over to Millennium Force and get a ride in. I bought a $5 locker, thinking I would use it more during the day (I didn't) and I jumped in an open row and got my ride in. I always enjoyed early morning and then evening MF rides - midday not so much. After I got off, I retrieved my camera and walked back up the exit to take a couple pictures of the train passing by. Some of them actually came out pretty good. I always felt like the end of the ride before the final overbank was a great place for pictures because the track is straight and you can photograph the train coming right at you.
I walked back to Maverick at this point because its the one ride I absolutely will always take advantage of during ERT or early entry at CP. Between the load times and breakdowns, you know the line will always be long on any day of moderate crowds or above. I pretty much walked right on, only waiting two trains and rode in the back car. Just like MF, I like morning and night rides on Maverick better than any during the middle of the day. I also pulled out my camera at the exit and grabbed a couple shots that I always wanted to try to take, but never did.
By the time I got off Maverick, I wanted to take some more pictures, but I was pretty upset that Mean Streak had been blocked off from the railroad track areas. I walked towards the Gemini midway and grabbed a couple pictures all around of various rides. It stinks that without leaving the park out back towards the water park, its hard to get any really good pictures of Gemini or Magnum. I had planned to do this at some point during the day, but never really got around to it.
By the time I got by Dragster, it was about to open and the line was back all the way to the station from the entrance. I decided to go on IG live for awhile while I waited for Zander (joe_coaster) to get his ride on TTD. Now one thing I found odd was that they weren't regulating how many people were in the station itself like usual, so everyone up there was on top of one another. I entertained myself talking to people on IG live while waiting for Zander and his dad to get on, which took about 20 minutes or so. Got him to wave to the people in the feed, snapped a picture of him and his dad and then I took off towards the pavilion for lunch.
Lunch wasn't too bad. I arrived just before my ticket time of noon and they let me in. I got right up to the buffet area and stacked my plate with hot dogs, macaroni and cheese, seasoned potato wedge fries, boneless chicken wings, salad and cookies. Everything was fantastic except the chicken. The chicken was sort of hard and not great. The staff was fantastic at refilling everything and there was plenty of space. Tony talked briefly on the microphone to let everyone know what was going on later and it was honestly a fantastic meal.
After lunch, I knew I was going to go out to my car for a bit and take a quick power nap to combat the sleepiness from my sleeping disorder. So from about 12:45-2:15 or so I napped, then I came back in and walked over the marina for my cruise. I went to the top part of the boat and got a seat against the side to take good pictures. Little did I know that one of the guys that appeared in the ACE Arrow documentary would sit down next to me for the same reason. Can't remember his name but he's the guy talking about the log flumes at SFOT in the video. I think the main thing everyone was waiting for during the boat cruise was seeing the backside of RMC Mean Streak. I pulled out the zoom lens to make sure I got as many details as I could and as I've commented on IG, you can't appreciate the scope of it until you've made it out to the park. Seeing it in real life, it is WAY bigger than you could imagine. This thing is going to be massive and I'd be willing to bet breaks a ton of world records when it opens in 2018. (Those hoping for a 2017 opening, I still do not believe this is going to happen). Tony made a funny comment on the microphone during the cruise when he said "if you have a camera or phone, now would be a good time to take a picture and post it on the internet" right as we passed it.
After the cruise, I went back inside and grabbed a quick ride on Gatekeeper before walking around taking a few more pictures and then getting in line for the Q and A. I wanted a seat near the front, so I ended up being 5th in the line. The Q and A was somewhat uneventful. I was shocked that it took until about the tenth question for someone to ask about RMC Mean Streak. Jason McClure's answers to anything RMCMS related were pretty hilarious though. I wasn't that impressed with the pictures in the photo contest and the first video (and the won that I voted for and that won) was the only good one in my opinion. That said, they snuck a "4th" video in by "R.C. from Sandusky" which contained the drone footage taken the day before with the tag "they're wildly and unruly". Now, I still don't believe its any kind of dueling coaster. I don't think its possible with the layout, plus it would completely defeat the purpose of having Gemini then anyways. I still firmly believe it has something to do with the name of the coaster. That "Cavalry" name has been thrown around and could be true or I could see something like "Steel Bandits" or something like that being the name. I thought Iron Cowboy sounded like a cool name early on, but we'll see. I've seen a bunch of people post about how they've teased on April 1, May 1, June 2, etc., which is quite true and if that's the case, we should expect another teaser at the beginning of July. I'm hoping for an August announcement, but it might be in September or October even, depending on the scope and progress of the project. It'll be interesting to see how they do it.
After the Q and A, I was pretty whipped. I could have killed time and stayed until Luminosity and evening ERT, but I decided to head home. From what I was told, both were a mess. Luminosity started 25 minutes late. Maverick went down early on during ERT, Dragster had two rollbacks and went down, plus still had regular patrons in line. So Magnum and Wilderness Run were the only things open for the majority of the time.
For the most part, Coastermania! was a fun time like usual. I commend Kristi, Tony, Jordan and everyone else that put everything together because I'm sure its a tough job. That said, I was sort of disappointed. The pins were a cool touch but everything else was basically exactly the same as last year. I'm seriously considering going to Holiwood Nights next year at HW instead of CM. From what Taylor Bybee, Ohiovalleycoasters and everyone else has posted, it was an amazing event. I would have gone this year had I known I would have time to drive down there. If I can get rides in early on in the year on RMC MS, I will likely be there instead of Coastermania. How can CP avoid me (and probably others) going to HW instead? Change the perks - how about some backstage type tours like we had of The Beast and Diamondback? Schedule it one weekend later so they don't compete against one another. I tweeted both parks about this and HW immediately responded that this event is always the weekend after Memorial Day. Nothing is stopping CP from changing it to a week later. Its time for a date change or at minimum, a refreshing of the perks and events CP.