Man, it's been a long, long time on here and at Cedar Point in general. My last trip there here was in 2019 for the same ordeal -- I head up with the guys and our significant others to celebrate me and my best friends' birthday which is interestingly enough the same date. That trip ended somewhat disastrous for reasons I won't get into here. In 2020, obviously with the pandemic the way it was proceeding and how 2019 was we skipped the parks all together & decided to just rent a cabin in Gatlinburg to essentially get away.
However, we decided to get back to the tradition this year and return full force & do a ton of stuff. Our "Return of the Mack" if you will haha. However, I feel old seeing the park change and undulate in the span of time like it has. I'm overall extremely happy to see how the park has improved & delivering better and better though.
So anywho, onto the trip report:
Checked into a Suite for Breakers Friday afternoon. It was my first time ever booking Breakers since the refurb. I've walked thru a few times & whatnot but never just stayed & went all out. Let me just say, it may not be the most premiere resort and it's cost doesn't reflect, but it IS worth the price...just, few sore areas we'll go thru later. Overall checkin is a breeze process. Book online, show up, they load your luggage for you on a trolley deal & deliver to your room, sign some paperwork with the front desk, get keys, and you're off.
So as for Breakers. We booked a Standard Suite to maximize bed use & missed our timing to book other rooms we wanted. No issue with the room or it's setup per se. It felt clean, exciting, and did offer more than we even expected. However some areas I felt like this was cheap given the $1k+ cost for the entire weekend.
Overall, seems nitpicky, it kinda is. I will say I thoroughly enjoyed being on-prem and not in a cabin/etc. We'll use Breakers for sure with every subsequent trip, but just some things would make it a 9/10 into a 10/10.
Anywho into the park. We opted to eat/drink all day Friday with park days Saturday thru Monday. Saturday was dead. I really don't know why either. The only thing I could figure is families didn't come in Friday after work, they all traveled Saturday. The only other hunch was Delta/weather/TTD stuff is keeping people from still returning to the park on holidays, I dunno.
The typical rides had long waits, but everything else was walk on or very close to it under 15 minutes. Super convenient & got alot knocked out. Food wise I hit up the usual enthusiast spots & was quite happy. The only thing now is the discount for food. NOT harping on the discount, but the added time per transaction kinda bites. I wish we had a way to tie a payment card to the pass to just tap/swipe & be done. Now however I have to ring up, blip my season pass, then my Credit Card, etc. Just a thought here that I'm all for.
Food quality wise we're still excellent. I can wholeheartedly say the food quality at CP in literally a decade has improved so much. I remember bringing external food into the park or just leaving for food. With this change I'm essentially eating & drinking solely on peninsula -- excellent job!
Overall, practically every major coaster except Steel Vengeance was knocked out, a ton of flats, as much Cheese on a Stick that I could muster, and some nice enjoyable time soaking in the hot tub with an IPA and Pitbull from the Cedar Point Nights DJ.
Sunday was another day of ride all the things, this time though lines were much longer. Even things like Super Himalaya had a 2 cycle wait, so it shows the park had some volume Sunday.
First things first, we hit Steve given we missed it yesterday & it amassed a line. One, their ops are beautiful here. The whole locker/scanner setup SUCKS to have to see, but it works well. If new rides build it like this, I'm 100% for it. The free lockers for small stuff was 100% the way to go and works well. Anything large, you gatta pay outside the ride. This was the answer IMO to every problem with ride ops. Take care of all the outliers, so on platform it's just get on, ride, and be done. This felt very much like the Universal approach with loose articles, and I love it. Lastly, I forgot how intense Steve is. I LOVE Maggie & Maverick to no end, but this thing just beats the **** out of you for a few minutes with honestly a pace that is mind boggling. It's not element, transition, element, transition. It's just a flurry of elements pieced together with rapid succession. By the time you react to being tossed one way you're already primed for the next inversion, etc. Not going to lie, next year we're potentially priming for either FL+ or VIP tickets...that'll come in handy here for sure.
I will also say I know I'll sound like a crusty old ride operator, but the current ops are nowhere near the efficiency they used to have. It's a hill I'll totally die on, but iROC did not make the park ops better from a workflow standpoint. I could see the argument of safer sure, but it's rough to watch ops.
For example Corkscrew for EVERY single train would setup fully on the transfer table. In past years we'd have the train dispatched at least by the first corkscrew or at least by the trim brake on the run to let the train slide straight thru to the station brake. Part of the slowdown is people not being herded with speed like former years, part is some of the extra checks/scans/walks they perform, and part of it overall felt like employee morale was low. I get it's the day before weekly op ends, but man I was all about turning people around on rides thru the whole season -- the quicker they're thru, the quicker I enjoy what is left of my evening ya know. Lastly, I love spiels, I do, but they shouldn't get into the way of your work. Our train waited for 3 "oh yeah"s before being cleared. Just send it. Work the spiel into your work, not the other way around. Overall I observed essentially 2.5 min dispatch times for a 1.5 minute ride. That's Monster or Witches Wheel level efficiency, not an Arrow looper. This hurt a bit to experience.
Another example was Power Tower, it seems the ride safety systems changed a ton. There are now AB boxes on each tower leg for what I assume are the restraints, but couldn't watch & observe enough to say fully. Secondly in the past, the safety restraint seemed to be akin of a Millennium/Dragster with a hydraulic locking mechanism, but also seemed to include a ratchet design now as well. What's interesting about this is in the past the max go/nogo was if the belt buckled, it was green, now it's actually a bit further into the restraint movement to engage the first ratchet that marks the restraint as "closed." With all of this and their procedures, a drop tower side was clearing about every 2 minutes as well, sometimes longer depending on the restraint issues I kept seeing for go/nogo. Dave may need to chime in here with the changes (perhaps an ASTM change or S&S required change).
Ended up finishing the day with a Maggie marathon as much as we could given the low tempo (even Maggie was C Setting on the safety brake). Overall still my favorite ride and a gorgeous out & back layout especially with a moonless sky. The icing on the cake here was taking a new guy with us this year on the trip that had never ridden Maggie or had ejector seat. As we hit the last tunnel all I heard was "CHRIST." as we dipped for the last hill. Walking down the ramp the exact reaction was "This thing just tries to kill you doesn't it." Mission accomplished.
Overall here, less rides, more food, more of a slower tempo even for the group, but still a ton of fun. The remainder of the evening was hot tub induced drinking followed by enjoying some conversations around the fire pit well into 1:30AM with some other guests.
Nothing here really, just a pack & go situation really. Some of the group went in for ERT while I recovered from a headache & just general exhaustion from a long weekend. Checkout was dumb simple via a web based self checkout. Park wise it seemed very crowded when we left at 11:00, I'm assuming for the last day of ops & Wicked Twister's shutdown. Makes sense at least for that.
As a whole, this was a fantastic return. Seeing new stuff offered food and ride wise, some general improvements, and just getting to walk midways again was such a blast. I can certainly say it sucked not going to the park last year, but now that we're back in motion for it, it's super nice to have that tradition return. It was even nice to scroll thru here & see the years of posts I've essentially neglected :P
Corkscrew, Power Tower, Magnum, & Monster/ Witches Wheel Crew 2011
I'll chime in on the Power Tower restraint changes. The changes took place for the 2019 season. You are correct that the new boxes are for the restraints. The previous hydraulic system for restraints is completely gone, replaced with an air powered ratchet system. If memory serves me correct, S&S said upgrade to this system or remove the ride.
This new system runs on a 3 setting cycle of "open - check - lock" where the previous system was open/close. When in "check" there is only one set of ratchets engaged, this is while the associate is going around checking seats. Right before dispatch, they are switched to "lock" which engages the second set of ratchets. One of the biggest causes of slowdown is that with this system, every restraint has to be physically opened every time the mode is switched to "open". So say you have a large guest and open the restraints, you then have to open all 12 as opposed to just the 1. On a good day, this resulted in a reduction of ~10 cycles per hour, per tower.
2015 - Ride Host: Shoot the Rapids 2016 - Team Leader: Ripcord/Challenge Golf 2017 - Supervisor: Thunder Canyon 2018 - Supervisor: Camp Snoopy 2019 - Supervisor: Power Tower
That sort of explains what my wife and I observed on Power Tower a few weeks ago near the end of the night. We honestly thought the crew was effing around or something, but what you describe (lifting all 12 seats probably due to change of mode) was what we saw.
Who comes up with designs like this? What exactly makes this better/safer than what they had before that worked fine for 20 years? I guess it doesn't matter terribly much on Power Tower since it usually doesn't have a huge line, but the cumulative effect of all these changes across the park is very noticeable.
You didn't waste your time, man. Besides, I like your storytelling style, you made me want to repeat your trip. Overall, I understand your point. That pandemic has brought so many troubles, including not being able to travel. And it's not a local problem. You can check the Tourism industry statistics - it's just sad. On the other side - all the stuff is now much cheaper. Hotels, restaurants, and other services fight for customers lowering their prices. I will travel to Europe later this year - I hope it will be worth it.
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