Friday, August 21, 2015

Roller Coasters

There is a ride at Cedar Point called the maXair. It's what's known as a giant frisbee in the amusement park business (I looked it up). The one at Cedar Point is one of only two in the world (the other is at Kings Island). It's not a roller coaster so there are no loops or crazy drops but it is one of the most addicting rides I've ever been on. There are 50 seats on the giant frisbee and at the peak of the two minute ride, it soars to 180 feet and twists and turns at 70 mph. There are several moments when you're upside down and several more when you think you might hit one of the large orange poles that support the ride. Mostly, it's the sensation of soaring and not having any control over the air or the motion. You can close your eyes (it's cool if you do at least for a little while) or watch people on the ground watching you. On a sunny day, you can see the beautiful blue sky and fluffy perfect clouds It's peaceful despite the risk involved in being that high in the air, spinning at that speed, and the only thing holding you in is a small seat beat and a plastic shoulder harness. I rode the maXair twice on my recent (and first) visit to Cedar Point. I could have ridden forty more.

I love roller coasters and thrill rides. I can't remember my first real roller coaster (although I believe it may have been Space Mountain at Disney World) but I know that I've always loved them. It's amazing to me that large groups of people will wait in line for hours (sometimes) to ride something that is usually over in less than three minutes. There is a definite rush when riding on a roller coaster; the climb to the top followed by what is normally a crazy drop that segues right into a twist that takes you upside down and around is thrilling. Even old school wooden coasters pack a certain type of punch with their drops, usually in quick succession, and the realization that wooden tracks maybe shouldn't curve the way they do. I imagine it's like what descending into a gold mine was like back in the day.

Lake Erie
            My brother and I try to go to an amusement park each summer. We don't always make it and obviously there was that whole period of time that I lived in other states where this didn't happen as frequently either. Last summer we took a random weekday off in August and went to Kings Dominion. It was a perfectly overcast day and we basically had the run of the park. This summer we decided to visit Cedar Point on our way to Detroit. I've never been to Cedar Point and Scott can't remember when he was there last. Cedar Point is right on Lake Erie and I've been told that you can see Canada from the top of the Millennium Force. I don't know if that's true because I was too busy screaming as we dropped from 300 feet. We visited on a picture perfect day, blue skies, temperatures in the 70s. It was windy though and a few rides were closed because of this.

Neither of us are particularly chatty when it comes to strangers but we did end up talking to two groups, one in line at the Raptor and the other on the Gemini. The wait for the Raptor was about an hour, the longest wait we had all day. In front of us was a little boy sporting a Darth Vader shirt ("Chillin' Like A Villain" it read), bright red hair, and the kind of enthusiasm only children under 12 have for anything. He was with his grandparents and was excited to be riding the Raptor for the first time. His grandmother started the conversation with me asking if I had ridden the Raptor before and when her grandson heard me say no, he asked me if I was scared and if I thought it was going to be cool. Yes, I told him to both questions. We talked about the park a bit and she told me he had recently ridden Space Mountain for the first time. We didn't get to ride the Raptor at the same time; they went before us. I saw them a little later on heading towards the Blue Streak and the little boy looked perfectly content and excited to be on another roller coaster. He made me wonder if any of my grandparents would have ever ridden giant roller coasters with me.

The other conversation we had occurred on the Gemini (and I do mean on the ride). A brother and sister were sitting in the car in front of us. She was probably 11 or so and he was 8 or 9 (so my brother and I except Scott is older than me). As we ascended to the start of the ride, the two of them turned to us and started telling us how awesome Gemini was and that the blue car always cheated (it's a dual run coaster so the cars leave at the same time and run on parallel tracks - we were on the orange car) and that we should ride Millennium Force and to avoid the Slingshot (which you have to pay extra for anyway). I can barely say anything other than "This was a bad life choice" or "Are you f-ing joking" when experiencing the first drop or extreme loop on a ride (these are exact quotes by the way) so I was impressed and slightly uncomfortable with their conversation skills. These two were just chatting with us like it was no big thing. They had absolutely no fear of what was about to occur. Their excitement was so awesome; it made me realize that I want to be like them every day. When the ride ended, we exited and moved on to other rides. They got right back in line for the Gemini. I assume they're still there hoping that this one time the blue car won't cheat and the orange car will win.

Our favorite rides of the day were the Millennium Force, Magnum XL-200, and the Gatekeeper. The Magnum was the surprise of the day; we got through the line quickly both times we rode it and it was a shocker. When it was built in the late 80s, it was the tallest, fastest, and steepest coaster in the world. I can absolutely agree with all of these things. During our second ride, the woman in front of us almost lost the small purse she had after a drop and a turn. Impressive. It also includes tunnels; I love tunnels and roller coasters that take place in the dark. Not actually being able to see what's coming makes a roller coaster even better in my opinion.

We finished our day enjoying ice cream in the breeze of Lake Erie. I was able to accomplish on of my summer goals by enjoying my first Superman ice cream in probably twenty years. It tasted exactly as I remember it from my childhood...delicious.

Waiting in line for the Millennium Force - finally a picture where Scott is making a face not me.


  1. The Magnum is my favorite coaster ever! I'm glad you had fun at Cedar Point!!

    1. I have to post our official photo from the ride; we decided to buy the picture from our second run on Magnum. One of the best coasters ever.