First summer trip in a while. We are family of 4 and our last few trips have been during Halloweekends. Our kids are finally getting tall enough to actually ride the big rides, so I would expect we will be going to the park more often in coming years.
We stayed in a Rotunda room at Breakers and went to the park 2 days. The Rotunda room was great and I would have a hard time believing there are better rooms at Breakers. The Rotunda has 2 elevators that access a total of 12 rooms. I believe we shared an elevator only once the entire trip. This was very different than our last stay at Breakers in the tower section.
I was a little nervous about Breakers because we stayed at the Dollywood DreamMore resort earlier this summer and it was nothing short of fantastic. I was worried that direct comparison between the two in the same summer would show Breakers with a lot of flaws. However, things turned out pretty well and we were happy with the overall Breakers experience. It took 30 minutes to check-in on a Monday at around 5:00pm. This was disappointing, but seems to vary by day. (I was in the lobby around the same time on Wednesday and there was no wait for check-in.) The pools are just okay, but the beach and lake are great this time of year. The easy access to the Magnum and Beach gates is the other gigantic benefit to staying at Breakers. We went back to the room and swam in the pool/lake on both afternoons.
Food stuffs. We ate at the Farmhouse and Grand Pavilion. Both are great. We had eaten at the Farmhouse in the Fall last year and it was equally excellent this time. I still think Grand Pavilion is a little too big for its location, even with the closing of many nearby area food places. It can handle massive crowds, I'm just not sure there will be any. For table service places, we ate at Friday's and Famous Dave's. Neither one was very busy when we ate dinner there at around 6:00pm. Famous Dave's was fine, maybe a little above average for a sit down place. Friday's was disappointing. The menu is a limited one, which makes no sense to me. Don't they know 99% of people eating there are on vacation? They should be offering everything. No other restaurant has a better claim to being the "signature" restaurant than Friday's with its location within Breakers and with the beachfront view. The improved restaurants in the park make these older locations feel like they need a refresh.
Dinner on a Tuesday in early August. Only one side needed at Grand Pavilion.
For early entry, we did Wild Mouse to avoid a longer line later in the day. We got 2 quick rides on Tuesday morning and then head to Millennium Force and got that as well before 10 AM. I think Wild Mouse is underrated and is a great addition to the park. We did 4 rides total and to my kids' disappointment did not get the cheese car on any of our rides. We did notice that the cheese car seemed be spinning noticeably more than the others. Whatever kinks the ride had early in the season, they are gone now. It ran very consistently both days and the crew had things moving very efficiently.
The park did great with early entry on Tuesday. Gatekeeper, Wild Mouse, and Millennium Force all opened on time. Valravn also starting giving rides at around 9:30 from what I could tell. On Wednesday, they did not do as well. GateKeeper opened late, around 9:30ish and Valravn opened at the standard 10 AM open time.
We rode Valravn at 10 when it opened and then headed to Steel Vengeance to try our luck. Steel Vengeance had not had a good day on Tuesday, with periods of downtime throughout the morning and afternoon. When it did open, the wait time (according to the app) would quickly shoot up to 2 hours. We arrived at the entrance plaza at around 10:25 to find a big crowd of people and the ride testing. The ride opened at 10:45, which fits with the narrative I have heard and read online for the past several years that the park continues to "fight" with the ride. My previous rides on Steel Vengeance had been at the charity event in 2018, so it had been quite a while for me. This was my first experience with the loose articles locker system in the queue. I think it works very well, but my goodness what an ordeal for the park to operate the ride. The crew has to be at least 12-15 people considering they need a person to explain the lockers, workers at each metal detector, and workers to monitor/assist on the exit side of the lockers. We also saw a supervisor who was floating and helping people with the lockers.
The ride itself was as good as I remember. They were only running 2 trains (Digger and Blackjack) but moving fairly efficiently in the station. The ride announcer was asking everyone to just buckle the seat belt and not put down the lap bar, which I don't think people are capable of doing. They ask the same thing on the new Sol Spin flat ride at Kings Island and yet every ride cycle someone can be seen pulling on the restraint. People have been conditioned to pull down the lap bar and asking them to do otherwise, particularly in a environment where they are excited, is near impossible in my opinion. The third Steel Vengeance train (Chess) was still on the transfer track the next day when we went by on Perimeter road. Maybe they are only running 2 for now.
A few other odds and ends. Operations were okay overall. They are not the operations from the 90s and 2000s, but they were not too bad. Iron Dragon and Wild Mouse were both great crews. Gemini crew was probably the worst and were stacking the trains consistently. As I posted in a separate thread, Magnum was down for our entire visit, apparently due to a lift motor issue. We did not ride Gatekeeper or Maverick on this trip.
One of the saddest Cedar Point pictures I can think of.
We happened to be there the morning of the Top Thrill 2 announcement, but it really didn't mean a lot for anyone in the park other than the banners were up on the construction wall when you walked by. We walked past Antonio Zamperla on the midway without knowing who he was until watching some interviews later. My son (11) was interviewed by a Spectrum news woman who was still around the construction wall when we walked by, so that was very cool for him.
Overall a good trip with very good weather. We will be back again next year and my daughter should hopefully have hit the magic 52" or 54" height number.
-- Chuck Wagon --
aka Pagoda Gift Shop
That Friday's has always been a disaster in one way or another, and as a franchise its reputation is poor in most places. Not sure why they haven't bailed on it for something else. They desperately need another or bigger bar in the resorts as well.
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