Friday, June 15, 2012

10 tips for the novice Cedar Point traveler

For those who know me you probably know that I missed my annual trip to Cedar Point the last 2 years and have been none too pleased about this. Well this year after begging & pleading for someone to go with me my aunt finally volunteered, and we hit the coasters on June 2. I figured with my surgery rotation (aka Hell) coming up I should probably take the only guaranteed time off that I had. And now I no longer get saddened by the amusing commercials (though unfortunately I did not learn Chinese or Japanese or any other language on any of the rides. False advertising).

Anyway, I thought I'd use this chance to put together some tips for making a trip to Cedar Point a success in addition to highlighting my favorites about the best amusement park in the Midwest.

  1. Buy your tickets at Meijer if you have the option. You can save about $10 from the price at the gates ($42 vs $52). Sometimes they have deals available online so you may want to check out their website as well. Discounts are also available if you're a member of AAA & buy tickets there.
  2. Wear comfortable shoes. It's a big park that involved a LOT of walking. I prefer flip flops, but those don't offer an abundance of support, and for many rides you have to remove those because they could fly off. So if the idea of walking barefoot on & off of rides grosses you out you should stick with shoes that secure to your feet.
  3. Summers around these parts can get hot, and the days are even hotter when you're walking around the concrete all day. Always always bring & wear sunscreen. Unless you dig the lobster look that is.
  4. Also, drink plenty of water. Heat stroke is not cool. Beverages inside the park are expensive, but if you have a way to carry something with you you are allowed to bring drinks & snacks inside (just no coolers).
  5. Along the same idea: bring a change of clothes or a bathing suit because walking around wet does not feel great. There is a water park next door if you feel so inclined (but be warned that admission is crazy expensive, and I wasn't super impressed the one day I went like 10 years ago), but there are also 3 water rides available in the park itself. Snake River Falls is akin to Splash Mountain if you've been to Disney World, but then there's also Thunder Canyon which is friendlier to a wider age range. That one is like a large inner tube with about 8 seats that rides through some "rapids". You may not get wet on Thunder Canyon, but you may get soaked, it all depends on which way you turn through the water falls. They recently brought back an older ride called Shoot the Rapids, but unfortunately it was closed (& too cold on the day we went this year). Extra clothes are also a good idea in case it rains (Heaven forbid).
  6. If everyone in your party will be riding I've found that the most convenient option for carrying belongings is to wear a fanny pack. Yes, you may look kinda dorky, but seriously, if it's not attached to your person you may not be able to bring it on the rides. Most rides have bins for storing loose items while you ride, but do you really trust the integrity of strangers enough to leave your wallet in a place where people are rapidly grabbing things anyway? There are also some rides (ie Millenium Force) that do not offer a place to leave things so if you have a bag you have to either get a locker or you can't ride. Millennium Force is a blast btw. 
  7. Brand new this year the park now offers the option to buy a pass to the "Fast Lane". You purchase a wristband (in addition to your admission ticket) that will allow you to skip through most of the line for like 20 different rides (I didn't count, but that's what they advertise). I was a little leery at first thinking 'now how fast is it really if everybody buys these passes?' BUT we bought them, and I have to say it's amazing how many rides you can actually ride when you wait 10-20 minutes for everything instead of 1-2.5 HOURS. The only downside to this that I discovered is that all that wait time in line gave my stomach the opportunity to rest between rides before. Now I had to self impose a few breaks. Horrible, right? haha Be mindful that the pass doesn't work for everything however. Here is the official list of the rides that currently have fast lanes: For possibly the first time ever, I went on the bumper cars there. We used to always be in a huge rush to get on our top choices of big, popular coaster instead that some fun stuff had to be sacrificed. The Fast Lane pass also brings the caveat of the price. It varies by day and by how many people are buying in one group, but if you go on a Saturday with only 1 other person you have to shell out a whopping $55 (note that this is more than the daily ticket price).
  8. Bring Tylenol or Advil. Some of the older rides are rough & prone to give you a headache. Of note: the Mean Streak is truly mean. I coulda swore my brain was trying to bust through my skull as we bounced along. Other rough rides include the Cedar Creek Mine (or something to that effect), the Blue Streak, the Magnum, and the Gemini. 
  9. If you decide to bring small children but you still want to be able to go on some of the big crazy rides, make sure you inquire about the parent swap option. (Sorry I don't recall the official name) If you get a pass you can have part of your party wait in the line & ride while someone stays aside with the kid/s, and then when the first riders get off, the parent that has been waiting can get right on without waiting in the line again (and they can bring 1 person with them so they don't have to ride alone). 
  10. And finally: soak it all in. Arrive early, stay late, and just be grateful to have the opportunity to be carefree for the day (or 2). :D

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