Earlier this month, we made our second trip to Cedar Point for this season. No race. No events. Just going to ride rides and have fun. Summer weekends have held a reputation of being extremely busy. That in mind, we went expecting the worst. There were four of us this time around (a good number for touring a coaster park, in my opinion) and none of us had any great aversions to riding anything.
As usual, the best intentions of mice and men often go astray. Even though I set the alarm plenty early to get ready, enjoy the complimentary hot breakfast at the hotel, load the car and be to Cedar Point by the 10am opening, we didn’t make it until well after 11. I cannot recall ever parking so far away from the entrance gates. It was almost ¾ of a mile walk after I parked the car, which isn’t bad when you are starting your day. But if you make trips to the car for food, beverages, sun screen reapplication, etc., then you definitely feel it. And the journey out at the end of your day seems like mile 25 of a marathon across a desert of asphalt.
Since our plan of getting there when the park opened had gone awry, we were already off track with the day’s plans. So we decided to call an audible and do things a bit unorthodox. Pretty much all of these things were breaking new ground for me.
• We had lunch as soon as we got there. I was the only one who ate breakfast at the hotel, so everyone else was hungry. By eating before noon, we avoided the major lunch rush. While we were enjoying our meal, we watched the line grow to over 50 people. There were two people ahead of us when we ordered.
• We had a cooler full of cold water and Powerade along with some snack food in the car. Not once did we trek out to the car. It was too far out in the lot.
• Because the car was so far out, we opted to buy the refillable souvenir cups. The cups are regularly $12.99. if you purchased two, they were $11.99 each. Three or more brought the price down to $9.99 apiece. Unlimited refills are offered on the day of purchase and if you bring your cup back, they are $0.99 each refill thereafter. The cups had screw lids and straws and were allowed on most rides. The handle detached so you could loop it around something, I used a belt loop on my shorts, so I didn’t end up carrying it around all day or setting it down and forgetting it. Seeing as a cup of fountain pop of comparable size was $3.79, it would only take a few drinks to break even. If you know me, you know I can drink quite a bit. Yes, I know it’s not the healthiest, but it is better than not drinking at all. There was no doubt that I would break even with the cup. One other person in our party opted for the cup and even though he didn’t drink nearly as much as I did, he too came out ahead. The two who didn’t get the cup wished they had by the end of the day.
• In the hottest part of the day, we decided to stop, have a beverage and watch a live show. I may be rather spoiled by Disney’s stage shows, but Cedar Point put on a fun and whimsical musical review. It felt like we were watching “Glee Goes to Summer Camp”. It was nice to get off our feet and enjoy the air conditioning.
• While the lines were not excruciating, some were a bit long. At the more popular rides, Cedar Point has installed mobile games similar to “Plinko” on the Price is Right. The area that displayed the price looked as if it could be changed, but when we played, it was two tokens for $5. There are two slots at the bottom with the prize of “Immediate Front of the Line Pass”. Just for grins, someone gave it a shot. His first token landed in a slot that gave him a free digital photo when purchasing an on-ride photo. His second token landed in the sweet spot. Skipping over 120+ minutes of waiting in line for arguably the best roller coaster in the world (Millennium Force) was well worth the $5. Only one glitch. The pass was only valid for two riders. So someone else gave it a shot. It felt like divine providence as the first token plopped into the “Immediate Front of the Line Pass” slot. His second token won him a free play at the Jacob’s Ladder midway game. So for $10, the four of us got to walk from the midway to the point where you choose which row in the train you are going to ride in. We were on the ride within two minutes of redeeming our passes.
• Something that I have noticed my past few trips, but had not utilized was Cedar Point’s Fast Lane. It works similarly to Universal’s Front of the Line Access pass. You pay a fee on top of your admission to the park to have priority when going on a ride, with very minimal waiting. We didn’t use it this trip, but a co-worker had the weekend before when she described the crowd level as being “beyond mobbed”. Her family of six (four teens/adults over 48” who got the FastLane Plus and two children under 48” who got the standard FastLane pass) spent an additional $480 beyond their park admission. While she said it was most certainly worth it, she did also feel it was rather exorbitantly priced.
• Nobody purchased a beverage from the vending machines in line. Part of the reason was the free refills we had, but the other factor (the main one, for this thrifty guy) was the price for a bottle of pop or water. Almost makes what are usually referred to as “high Disney prices” look reasonable.
• We rode the carousel mid-afternoon and didn’t close the park. It was a long warm, fun filled day. We didn’t want to overstep into the “somebody needs a nap” zone and most of us had to be to work bright and early the next morning.
We are still looking forward to going to the popular Halloweekends at Cedar Point later this year. As I am looking forward to experiencing another Cedar Fair property, Knott’s Berry Farm later this month.