Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Daytripping: Rating the Roller Coasters at Cedar Point

One day, 18 roller coasters, four queasy stomachs, two cheeseburgers, one fried dough … whew.




photos by chuck beard
 

If it’s a registered trademark, it must be true.

Cedar Point is The Roller Coaster Capital of the World (sorry, Kennywood), and that’s that. The official count is 18 roller coasters — but three of those are for the young’uns (heck, you have to be only 3 feet tall to ride two of them).

Being twice that height and blessed with a stomach of iron, I laugh at motion sickness. I’ve been known to point and laugh.

This is my first trip to Cedar Point, so I’ll be smart about it. I have one day to ride as many coasters as I can, so I shell out a Ben Franklin to get the Fast Lane Plus to bypass all of the surly riffraff waiting in line. It’s well worth the money; you’ll save hours. My other half is cursed with a stomach of cold noodles, so I ride solo for most of the day.

To make this quick and easy, here are my coaster notes in alphabetical order, with ride times, top speed and my Thrills rating — from 1 (yawn) to 5 (OMG):
 


 

Blue Streak: A wooden roller coaster with the traditional “out and back” track layout, it’s classic and old-school. 1’45”, 40 mph. Thrills: 3.

Cedar Creek Mine Ride: Its claim to fame is a signature helix whirlwind finish. 2’0”, 40 mph. Thrills: 2.

Corkscrew: The first coaster in the world to invert riders three times over the course of its run. 2’0”, 48 mph. Thrills: 3.

Gatekeeper: Sleek and smooth, this wing coaster has set world records since being introduced in 2013: longest wing coaster (4,164 feet), fastest non-launched wing coaster (67 mph), tallest inversion on any roller coaster (170 feet), longest drop on a wing coaster (164 feet), most inversions on a wing coaster (6). It’s one of my top three rides of the day. 2’20”, 67 mph. Thrills: 4.
 


 

Gemini: This racing coaster broke height and speed records when introduced in 1978, but it now feels dated. We got stuck on the track 60 feet up on the initial climb and spent the next 30 minutes Instagramming our bird’s-eye view. 2’20”, 60 mph. Thrills: 2.

Iron Dragon: This suspended coaster swings and sways over Cedar Point Lagoon but rates low on thrills. 2’0”, 40 mph. Thrills: 2.

Magnum XL-200: This was the first coaster to top 200 feet in height, and it’s dizzying. A bit rough for my taste, but the signature “pretzel” turnaround is fantastic. 2’0”, 72 mph. Thrills: 4.

Maverick: My favorite ride of the day. What it lacks in height (105 feet) is made up for in tight twists and low-slung speed. Just when you think it’s over, you’re launched at super-speed through a 400-foot blacked-out tunnel. Awesome. (This was my first sighting of a bilious rider.) 2’30”, 70 mph. Thrills: 5.
 


 

Mean Streak: It’s 1.7 million board feet of Southern yellow pine with a bad attitude. It debuted in 1991 and had the tallest lift and longest drop on a wooden coaster at the time. It’s a long and rough ride, but it’s fun and gratifying. 2’45”, 65 mph. Thrills: 4.

Millennium Force: This coaster is so huge it was dubbed the first “giga-coaster.” At 310 feet high with an 80-degree drop at the start, it’s a monster. 2’0”, 93 mph. Thrills: 5.

Raptor: I was running out of time and doubled back to this coaster only on advice from another park guest. Afterward, in my shorthand coaster notes, I wrote “vomit 3x.” (Not me, but the proximity of the three sick riders was nauseatingly close.) This hanging ride is so tightly wound that you’re never aware of the horizon, made better/worse by six sudden upside-down turns. To a coaster fan, that’s quite something. To the three fellow riders with queasy stomachs, it was something else. 2’0”, 57 mph. Thrills: 5.

Rougarou: This was the first “floorless” coaster at Cedar Point, diving 137 feet with four inversions. 2’15”, 60 mph. Thrills: 2.
 


 

Top Thrill Dragster: In 17 seconds, the ride shoots you out and up the steep 42-story loop and back down to the station; it’s all about speed and height. 0’17”, 120 mph (in less than four seconds). Thrills: 5.

Valravn: Terrifying and fun (and in my top three of the day), this dive coaster starts high and teases with a four-second delay before dropping more than 200 feet at a 90-degree angle. A second dive ends with a 270-degree roll. The park’s newest coaster boasts its own set of records among dive coasters— tallest (223 feet), fastest (75 mph), longest (3,415 feet), most inversions (three), longest drop (214 feet) and highest inversion (165 feet). 2’23”, 75 mph. Thrills: 5.

Wicked Twister: Features two 450-foot vertical spirals at opposite ends of the track. Scary fun. 0’40”, 72 mph. Thrills: 5.

Let's go again.
 

Fast Facts

• Cedar Point has the most steel roller-coaster track (9.9 miles) of any amusement park. When wooden track is added, the count jumps to 11.4 miles.
• Cedar Point is the second oldest continually operated amusement park (opening in 1870) in North America. (The oldest is Lake Compounce in Connecticut.)
• On a clear day, you can see Canada from the peak of the Magnum XL-200.
• Cedar Point’s free mobile app features ride wait times, your park photos, a GPS feature to navigate the park, a parking-lot car finder, ride height requirement, thrill ratings, show times and more.
 

Get Lost

Many smartphones meet their maker at amusement parks. To keep yours safe, wear shorts with a zip pocket and slip the phone into a
plastic baggie on water rides.
 

Chugga-chugga
 

The Cedar Point & Lake Erie Railroad has been chugging around Cedar Point for almost 50 years. The authentic steam-powered train circles the park on more than 2 miles of tracks and gives a good look at popular spots and a behind-the-scenes ghost town. Catch it on the Iron Dragon Midway and in Frontiertown.
 

 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit Module Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

The City's Free Grass Cutting Service is Back for Its Second Year

There’s four different ways to apply — do you qualify?

Kennywood Earns Designation as Certified Autism Center

With noise-cancelling headphones and sensory bags, park officials hope its summertime fun can be accessible for more families.

For Three Days, Sesame Street Will be in Pittsburgh

Kids can join Big Bird, Elmo and more Muppets as Sesame Workshop plans three days of events during a stop in Pittsburgh in June.

Penguins’ Lament: ‘To an Extent We Beat Ourselves’

The answer to a self-inflicted postseason sweep must begin with getting the players and their coach back on the same page regarding what’s required for survival in the playoffs.

Picklesburgh to Double in Size for Its Fifth Year

Nation’s top speciality food festival to spill out onto Ft. Duquesne Boulevard.

A Look at The Latest Restaurant Openings in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh says hello to Alta Via, Leo. A Public House, a new Milk Shake Factory location and more.

Is Your Pittsburgh Street on This Year's Road Repaving List?

The City of Pittsburgh has announced its street paving plan for 2019. You’re one click away from finding out if your street or route to work is on the list.

Downtown Pittsburgh Remains a Classic Rock Haven

PM intern Amanda Myers recounts the radio-rock adventures that life as a Downtown student has made possible.

The 400-Word Review: Master Z: Ip Man Legacy

The latest chapter in the Hong Kong martial-arts franchise gets a Pittsburgh release.

The 400-Word Review: The Curse of La Llorona

The latest chapter in the Conjuring franchise concerns a sinister spirit from folklore.

Details Shine in Metallic Hip-Hop Wedding

A graffiti-decorated cake, a sequined jacket for the groom and a violinist playing hip-hop covers wowed guests at this Strip District wedding.

New Restaurants Coming to Smallman Galley and Federal Galley

Look for New Mexican cuisine, customizable chicken and more as half of the Pittsburgh Galley Group concepts change in the next few months.

Design Goes to the Dogs with BARKitecture

Featuring innovative indoor animal shelters designed by local architects and artists going up for auction, the event at PerLora raises money for Animal Friends.

The 400-Word Review: Hellboy

The cult comic character gets a reboot in this R-rated action flick.

5 Best Spots to Hang Out with Your Dog

For those who can’t stand the idea of leaving their dogs home alone on a beautiful day, these dog-friendly stores, restaurants and bars in the Pittsburgh area welcome humans and canines alike.
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags


The City's Free Grass Cutting Service is Back for Its Second Year

The City's Free Grass Cutting Service is Back for Its Second Year

There’s four different ways to apply — do you qualify?

Comments

Kennywood Earns Designation as Certified Autism Center

Kennywood Earns Designation as Certified Autism Center

With noise-cancelling headphones and sensory bags, park officials hope its summertime fun can be accessible for more families.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
A Look at The Latest Restaurant Openings in Pittsburgh

A Look at The Latest Restaurant Openings in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh says hello to Alta Via, Leo. A Public House, a new Milk Shake Factory location and more.

Comments

New Restaurants Coming to Smallman Galley and Federal Galley

New Restaurants Coming to Smallman Galley and Federal Galley

Look for New Mexican cuisine, customizable chicken and more as half of the Pittsburgh Galley Group concepts change in the next few months.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
5 Best Spots to Hang Out with Your Dog

5 Best Spots to Hang Out with Your Dog

For those who can’t stand the idea of leaving their dogs home alone on a beautiful day, these dog-friendly stores, restaurants and bars in the Pittsburgh area welcome humans and canines alike.

Comments

5 Races You (Yes, You) Can Run This Year

5 Races You (Yes, You) Can Run This Year

Even novice runners can work their way up to these fun and (mildly) challenging races.

Comments


Downtown Pittsburgh Remains a Classic Rock Haven

Downtown Pittsburgh Remains a Classic Rock Haven

PM intern Amanda Myers recounts the radio-rock adventures that life as a Downtown student has made possible.

Comments

Take Your Video-Game Habit Into the Real World at Rogue Laser Grounds

Take Your Video-Game Habit Into the Real World at Rogue Laser Grounds

The pop-up laser tag arena takes the mechanics of online video games into a undeniably cool setting.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Penguins’ Lament: ‘To an Extent We Beat Ourselves’

Penguins’ Lament: ‘To an Extent We Beat Ourselves’

The answer to a self-inflicted postseason sweep must begin with getting the players and their coach back on the same page regarding what’s required for survival in the playoffs.

Comments

Pens Don't Need to Overwhelm Islanders, Just Outlast Them

Pens Don't Need to Overwhelm Islanders, Just Outlast Them

Patience, persistence and taking what the game gives is critical in Round One.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
The 400-Word Review: Master Z: Ip Man Legacy

The 400-Word Review: Master Z: Ip Man Legacy

The latest chapter in the Hong Kong martial-arts franchise gets a Pittsburgh release.

Comments

The 400-Word Review: The Curse of La Llorona

The 400-Word Review: The Curse of La Llorona

The latest chapter in the Conjuring franchise concerns a sinister spirit from folklore.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Details Shine in Metallic Hip-Hop Wedding

Details Shine in Metallic Hip-Hop Wedding

A graffiti-decorated cake, a sequined jacket for the groom and a violinist playing hip-hop covers wowed guests at this Strip District wedding.

Comments

Matching Bridesmaids’ Dresses May Be a Thing of the Past

Matching Bridesmaids’ Dresses May Be a Thing of the Past

Brides choosing one (or several) different colors, but leaving the design up to the bridesmaids, help attendants feel comfortable within their own budget.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Design Goes to the Dogs with BARKitecture

Design Goes to the Dogs with BARKitecture

Featuring innovative indoor animal shelters designed by local architects and artists going up for auction, the event at PerLora raises money for Animal Friends.

Comments

Room2Grow Reveals Your Baby's Gender — With a Nursery

Room2Grow Reveals Your Baby's Gender — With a Nursery

After designing a room around their child’s gender reveal, Chris and Stacy Galiyas are shopping around a reality show where they do the same for other expectant parents.

Comments