Ever since I married Kathleen and we started visiting Ohio occasionally we’ve made it a point to go to Cedar Point. I like roller coasters (though I wouldn’t say I’m as hard-core as some of the nerds on the internet), and Cedar Point is probably the best single collection of coasters on the planet. So with our trip to Ohio this summer, we made plans to go and bring Isaac and Charlotte along.
Charlotte is just barely 48″ in shoes, which means she wasn’t tall enough for many rides, but she was tall enough for some of the best. Isaac was just short of the 52″ requirement for that next tier of rides as well. So we planned accordingly.
We wanted to give Isaac and Charlotte a chance to experience some really great coasters, and we wanted to break them in gently so they’d have a good time and not be too intimidated. We loaded up and headed for Sandusky with Bryan, Grandpa Bird, and Cousin Paul to hit the park.
It turned out Paul was too small to ride anything big, which was disappointing for him, but he still had a chance to ride a lot of smaller rides with his grandpa. We split up to try our first coaster – Paul and Grandpa to some smaller rides, and the rest of us to a pretty mild coaster, the Iron Dragon, that we’d picked as our starter.
Isaac, Kathleen, Charlotte, and Bryan in line to ride the Iron Dragon
Charlotte was pretty nervous, but she tried hard to be brave, and it seemed like she had a pretty good time. We took a break from coasters to drive the antique cars:
Isaac drove me around.
Charlotte was nervous about this at first, too.
From there, we thought the mine ride would be a good next stop.
Isaac, Kathleen, Charlotte, and Bryan waiting to ride.
Then it was time for lunch. We had a quick snack in the van, than a too-long line for bumper cars, and then Charlotte went with Paul and Grandpa Bird for some more gentle rides while Kathleen, Bryan, Isaac and I went to ride a coaster.
We opted for the Magnum XL-200, which was one of the early “hypercoasters”, built back in 1989. It was the first coaster higher than 200 feet and was the tallest, fastest, and steepest coaster when it opened. It’s still a pretty great ride. But sadly, it broke down while we were in line, so we wound up jumping out of line and riding a new ride, the Pipe Scream:
It was OK, but the line was kind of long. But when we got off, we saw that the Magnum was running again, so we headed over there to give it a ride. Isaac was a little nervous, but he seemed to have a good time, and more than that, he was pretty proud of himself for being brave and riding it. Here’s the official video so you can get a sense for it:
We also took the time to re-create a famous picture, with Kathleen as a stand-in for another participant:
Bryan, Isaac, Kathleen, and Zach reproduce a prior photo.
After this ride, things got a little muddled. Kathleen and I had really poor phone reception (in fact, we wound up borrowing phones from people at points during the day), so we had trouble connecting with Grandpa Bird and meeting up again. But we wound up going to the van to get some snacks and drinks, and then getting Charlotte again to try to hit some more rides. We didn’t want to abandon Grandpa Bird, but since Paul couldn’t ride anything while Isaac and Charlotte could, we thought we’d try to get Charlotte a chance at another big coaster. Kathleen and I also decided to try the parent’s pass thing, which lets one parent ride while the other one is with the kids, then they trade off and the other parent rides without waiting in line. We were able to try a couple of new rides this way:
Somewhere in this mix we lost Bryan, though, and then we weren’t able to connect with our next meeting. After looking around for a while, Kathleen, Isaac, Charlotte and I went on to try to ride the Millennium Force.
Millennium Force was a new coaster when Kathleen and I first visited Cedar Point, and it was another record breaker. It’s still impressively high and fast, and Charlotte was pretty intimidated. The track runs past the line, so you are quite close to the trains whipping by at close to 90 mph. Pretty soon into our wait in line it was clear that Charlotte was too scared to try this time. So when we got to the station, Isaac and I got on while Kathleen and Charlotte went around to the exit platform.
Isaac was pretty scared; the lift is very high and very fast, and the cars are really open. He spent the lift looking at his shoes, and I didn’t blame him; when I was his age I was scared to death of the Colossus at Lagoon, which is 85 feet high with a top speed of maybe 55 mph. Millennium Force is 310 feet high, by comparison. It’s a scary hill. But once we were over the top, he started to really enjoy it. I love this coaster; it’s very fast, very smooth, with huge sweeping turns. Isaac had a good time too. Here’s the official video so you can get a sense:
As we came into the exit platform, Kathleen and Charlotte were waiting. Kathleen hopped on to ride while Isaac, Charlotte, and I exited. As we were waiting for Kathleen’s ride, Charlotte started to cry.
“Dad, can I have another chance?” In spite of everything, being so frightened, and getting right up to the ride, Charlotte still wanted to go.
“Of course you can!” So when Kathleen got off, they went right into the line to try again. I was proud of Charlotte for giving it another try in spite of being scared.
We’d promised Charlotte she could have Panda Express for dinner if she gave it a try, and that’s where Isaac and I went. Unfortunately, just as Isaac and I got our food, they shut down the restaurant, so Charlotte didn’t get her reward. (Coincidentally, I’m finishing this post after returning from lunch with Charlotte at Panda Express; we finally kept our promise!)
Charlotte and Kathleen came off the ride, and then we started heading for the exit as the park was shutting down. Kathleen and Charlotte ran one way to hit Charlotte’s favorite ride (the Matterhorn, a spinny flat ride) and Isaac and I went to ride the Blue Streak, which we regretted since we got knocked around a ton and got a headache (still fun, though).
So we came with the hope that Isaac and Charlotte would get a chance to try some roller coasters, and just maybe they’d be brave enough to ride a big one. In the end, they both got a chance to ride one of the biggest and best in the world, which I call a successful day at Cedar Point.