Cedar Point
July 29-30, 2019

copyright Jay Ducharme 2019

Another summer, another visit to Cedar Point, America's Roller Coast. The visit this time, though, was relatively brief. Karen had gone to Sandusky to visit our daughter and grandkids. I met up with her a week later by train. We stayed at our usual hotel, the South Shore Inn, which had new owners and was being spruced up. I arrived Sunday morning at about five. Karen and I went out to Bob Evans for breakfast. That used to be one of my favorite eateries, but since its namesake died the chain had begun to slide downhill. After that we went to our daughter's house and spent time with her husband and the grandkids.

On Monday we had a birthday party for the kids at a nearby public park. They had just turned five and six. After the party the in-laws invited us to dinner in Marblehead. There were a few hours till then, so Karen dropped me off at Cedar Point so I could make another walk-thru video. It had been two years since the last one and the park had a few updates since then.

From the entrance, I made a clockwise sweep of the park. It was a partly sunny day but extremely windy. Because of that, several of the taller rides (like the Sky Ride) weren't running. The first new thing I noticed was the rebranding of the old Midway Market restaurant, which used to feature an all-you-can-eat buffet. Instead it was called Hugo's and featured Italian food.

I continued on past Millennium Force and into the Frontier themed section of the park. There was a whole new area there: Forbidden Frontier. It was a new type of attraction for the Point. It was located where the old Dinosaurs Alive attraction used to be. The paths were pretty much the same but the contents fit better with the frontier theme. The entrance was through the station of the short-lived Shoot the Rapids ride. From there, paths branched off in different directions around an area labeled Snake River Swamp. It was originally the holding pond for Shoot the Rapids and now was populated by two Huck Finn-styled rafts. Guests could climb aboard and, using a rope threaded through the craft and connected to each dock, pull themselves along from one side of the pond to the other. I followed the path on the right which led to Cascade Crossing,a sort of wood bridge near a holding pond. There were detonator-like plungers there. Pumping one would set off a water cannon and drench the area.

Large signs proclaimed that today was "truce day". In reality, every day was truce day. The concept behind the area was to have guests become part of a story the park created by engaging with the performers throughout the area. Or if you were less gregarious, you could simply watch the proceedings unfold. I didn't see much happening while I was there. The paths were shady and pleasant to walk down. They were also surrounded by the track of Millennium Force, which was anachronistic but pretty cool just the same.

The winding paths didn't really seem to lead anywhere in particular. At one point there was a large kids' playscape area that seemed to be popular. Rustic buildings were scattered around here and there. But that was about it. The area was quite extensive though, and took me about 20 minutes to walk through. I liked the concept of the area. It was definitely a new concept for Cedar Point and I was interested in how the area would be received by guests and developed over time.

I continued along through the Frontier area to the north end of the park. The Point's newest coaster (and the best thrill ride in the park), Steel Vengeance, was down. A crew on a tall bucket loader appeared to be working on the lift hill. The ride's entrance was blocked off by the railroad gate. So I continued along toward the Gemini midway area, past the Happy Friar and Camp Snoopy. At the corner that turned back south, near the entrances to Magnum XL-200 and the waterpark, used to be the old Witch's Wheel ride, an attraction you could see at many other parks and carnivals. That was removed and in its place was the awkwardly named BackBeatQue, a large barbecue restaurant. Although I'm not into BBQ meats, I thought it was a better use of the space. Opposite the restaurant was the massive tower of Top Thrill Dragster, which had fallen silent. It was usually the most wind-sensitive of the rides because of its 400-foot height. But it had been running earlier and I wasn't sure why it had stopped.

I continued on to the south and finished up my walk-thru back at the entrance. But I couldn't leave the park without having a cheese-on-a-stick! Cedar Point was one of the only places left in the country where I could find that delicacy. I got one at the food stand next to the Raptor. The Point still had three separate places that sold CoaSt, which made me happy. No matter where I was in the park, I'd never be far from my favorite treat.

Once I finished snacking, I headed over to the arcade. Sadly, the rumor I heard was true: at the back of the cavernous arcade was nothing but a long white wall. The park had discarded all of their pinball machines. The arcade was then as generic as any you'd see at any shopping mall. I stopped by Park Plaza, the big gift shop, and found a nice new t-shirt (not that I needed one). After that, I had Karen pick me up so we could go to dinner.

The next day we headed back to the Point, but this time with our daughter Heather and the grandkids. She wanted to head to Camp Snoopy first. The kids met up with one of their friends and they had a good time going on the kiddie rides. I accompanied Ben on the front seat of Woodstock Express, a surprisingly large steel kiddie coaster. I had never been on it before (since I previously didn't have any kids to take on it). It was really fun, smooth and with lots of twists and turns. Ben really liked it. Since we were next to the Happy Friar, I got myself another CoaSt. Karen got one too, and we ate in the shade.

Isabelle wanted to go on the Lake Erie Eagles, the park's flying scooter ride. Ben didn't want to ride so Karen and I stayed behind while Heather accompanied her daughter. As we sat watching them, a man approached Ben with a giant green gecko plush he had just won. "How would you like this? I don't want to carry it around. He has to have a name, so call him Larry -- Larry the Lizard." We thanked the generous stranger as he disappeared into the crowd.

From there we headed toward the front of the park, pausing to watch Top Thrill Dragster blast out of the station. We entered the other Peanuts kiddieland and they rode some more rides, including the kiddie bumper cars. We walked around the corner to Kiddie Kingdom where they rode the classic Dentzel carousel. It was then after 3:00. Karen and I had to be up in 12 hours so that I could catch the train back home, so we called it a day.

The threat of thunderstorms that week might have kept people away; the parking lot was only half full. But that was great for us because we never had to wait for anything. I liked the new Forbidden Frontier area. Although the Point is famous for having oversized thrill rides, it's nice to see them invest in more family-friendly fare. And cheese-on-a-stick.

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