Cedar Point - A Tourist's Guide to the Best Amusement Park in the World - Part 1
Introduction to the Amazement Park
Cedar Point is located as its name implies...on a peninsula sticking out of the land at Lake Erie in Sandusky, Ohio. For the last 15 consecutive years, it has been voted the best amusement park in the world. Despite these accolades, there is a large part of the world, including part of the United States, where this bastion of rides, water recreation, dining, camping, water park, live entertainment, and resort hotels, remains unknown.
It is one of the oldest amusement parks in the world, opening in 1870. It originally had no rides; it began with just a bathhouse, dance floor, and beer garden. The first ride was not built until 22 years later. It was a roller coaster called Switchback Railway, which had a top speed of approximately 10 mph, of course far since surpassed by the giant, speedy masterpieces of engineering and imagination that currently occupy the park.
Cedar Point has 15 roller coasters, the most of any amusement park in the world. They also have the 2012 top rated roller coaster in the world, Millennium Force, which has a 310 ft. lift hill, and a speed of 93 mph. It was built in 2000, and since that time the lowest rank it has had is second in the world.
In 2013, Gatekeeper will become the 16th roller coaster at Cedar Point. It is a winged coaster that will have the highest inversion in the world. It is projected to break seven world records upon its opening.
The oldest operating roller coaster at Cedar Point is the Blue Streak, constructed in 1964. The cars have since been renovated, but the track has been left intact. It remains near the park's entrance.
Top Thrill Dragster, like many roller coasters at Cedar Point, also was a record breaker upon its opening. It was at one time the highest and fastest strata coaster in the world, at 420 feet and 120 mph. That record has since been broken by Kingda Ka, at 456 feet and 128 mph. Those are the only two strata coasters in the world, which is a roller coaster with a height of over 400 feet.
The Mean Streak and the Magnum XL-200 are also former record holders. The Mean Streak held the record for the tallest lift hill on a wooden roller coaster, along with the fastest speed. The Magnum XL 200 was the first roller coaster built that had a lift hill of higher than 200 feet, and at 72 mph was the former fastest roller coaster in the world.
In addition to the thrill of the ride and the forces you will experience upon getting on one of these giants, the view of Lake Erie and the beach during the day is beautiful, and just as spectacular is the view of the lighting of Cedar Point at night.
Some Other Featured Rides
With the exception of children's rides, Cedar Point is not known for doing anything small. The Giant Wheel has been a mainstay of Cedar Point for many decades. It stands 136 feet tall, and provides a beautiful aerial view of the park and of Lake Erie. The length of the ride is decent, and the cars are comfortable.
On hot days, Snake River Falls is bound to have long lines. It is one of the fastest log rides in the world, and you are guaranteed to get gunged on the ride. You will also be heavily drenched if you cross the nearby bridge when a car is coming down the hill.
The Power Tower is a vertical drop/shoot ride with four towers. There are two shoot queues and two drop queues. It has a drop height of 240 ft. In the shoot queues, you are propelled upwards at high velocity via a hydraulic system. The drop queues slowly take you to a height of 240 feet, and then you are dropped after some moments of suspension at the top to take in the view.
Cedar Downs is not an ordinary merry-go-round carousel. It's a high speed, racing carousel with horses in sets of four taking turns getting the lead.
There are three recently introduced swing rides. MaxAir is a frisbee/pendulum ride much like those seen at traveling carnivals, except of course, much larger. It has a height of 140 feet. Windseeker seems at rest a normal rotating swing ride, until it elevates you 300 feet above ground. And Skyhawk, a classic swingset ride with a drop height of 125 feet.
In the late 1980s, Cedar Point introduced visitors to the first features of what would become a sizable water park. For an extra fee, you can experience more gravitational forces and cool off at the same time. Soak City originally had only ten slides, ranging from leisurely to extremely fast. It now features a large wave pool, children's slides, a lily pad pool, a racing slide, enclosed, tunneled water slides, a lazy river, an adult swim up bar, a rafting slide, and Splash Zone, which has various gadgets, tunnels, and other traps that will get you very wet, and thoroughly entertained.
Soak City spans 16 acres and is located directly next to the ride area of the park.
What is now Challenge Park originally had just one ride which carried an extra charge, called Ripcord. You are strapped to a launch pad attached to a cable carries you up approximately 150 feet in the air. When you pull the cord, you will swing down towards the ground, coming within six feet. You will swing several times before being pulled back up to the starting position.
Years after Ripcord was introduced, Cedar Point eventually added three more attractions to this section, and naming it Challenge Park. All of these are pay per use. There is a miniature golf course, two go kart tracks, and Skyscraper. Skyscraper is a 160 foot propeller swing ride with two riders at each arm at a time.
Cedar Point has a special section with rides for kids. Probably the most famous of these is the kiddie roller coaster called the Jr. Gemini, with a 19 foot tall lift hill. A subsection of this area is Camp Snoopy that contains a bounce house, other Peanuts themed kiddie rides, and a roller coaster called Woodstock Express that is technically not considered a kiddie roller coaster, but a junior roller coaster. It has a lift hill of 43 feet and is suited to kids over 48" that might not quite be ready enough to handle an adult roller coaster yet.
Other features in this area are old time car tracks, bumper boats, and various other themed kiddie car and motorcycle rides.
On Lake Erie
Directly outside the park area, Cedar Point also sponsors activities on the lake. There is the Cedar Point beach, for lounging and swimming. They also have Wave Runner jet ski rentals, as well as parasailing. It is not required for you to buy a ticket to the park in order to participate in the lakeside activities, so it is possible to dedicate a day to spend in and around Lake Erie without having to pay the admission fee. Parasailing has varying rates depending on length of time, and length of tow line. Wave Runners have half hour and hour rates.