Yesterday I spent a wonderful day with my two daughters, my sister and her family and my parents at Cedar Point. Cedar Point is an awesome amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio known for its roller coasters. As kids my sister and I lived for our annual summer trip to Cedar Point. It was almost as good as Christmas, maybe even better.
Everyone in my family is a coaster enthusiast. I, however, wasn’t always in this club. I can remember the days when my parents and sister used to have to drag me onto the various, stomach-dropping, rides of terror. My stomach hurt before the, tick, tick, tick of the train being pulled up the giant hill even began. I’d clench my eyes shut, scream until I was hoarse and hold on for dear life until it was over. It wasn’t until my teenage years, I learned the trick of riding roller coasters and actually began to enjoy the thrill of them. First, you must keep your eyes open and second sit as close to the front as possible. The back and middle make the nausea sensation much worse. With my new-found coaster-riding ability, my sister gave me the nickname, “Front Car Shar.” And I actually did ride in the front car when the line wasn’t too long and I even went for it – proudly waving my hands above my head as the train plunged down the biggest drop.
As I graduated college, got married and had kids, Cedar Point became a distant memory. The girls weren’t tall enough yet and my husband isn’t a big amusement park fan. So until yesterday it’d been at least 20 years since I’d visited this world of fun and ridden a roller coast. The last time I’d gone, the Magnum XL 200 was the newest coaster. So, I was bit nervous about riding the new monsters added to the lineup over the years – Millennium Force, Raptor, Mantis, Maverick, Mean Streak, Top Thrill Dragster and this year’s debut, The Gatekeeper. My sister and her big mouth had filled my girls, my nephews and my niece in on my “Front Car Shar” reputation. I knew I’d never live it down, if I didn’t at least try to live up to that old rep. Lucky for us, my sister and her husband are Ohio State University alum and Cedar Point invited OSU alums to a special Ohio State day the day before opening day. So, we had practically no wait time for the rides and nice weather for most of the day.
The first coaster on the agenda was Raptor and I actually did ride in the front car. It was a crazy ride and flipped you upside-down – a lot – which I didn’t realize when I got in line. I’m not sure I would ride it again, but at least I didn’t puke. After the Raptor, I rode my favorite Blue Streak, twice with my oldest daughter (the little one wasn’t tall enough yet.) We then headed to the Millennium Force. My daughter reluctantly got in line with us and once she saw the first hill bailed the line with my Dad. I tried to fill her in on my roller-coaster riding expertise, but she wouldn’t believe me. I think she would have had fun had she gone on to ride it as it was a lot more fun and less jerky than the Blue Streak or the Cork Screw (which she rode last year when she went with her cousins).
My daughter did join me on the Mine Ride. And while the boys rode the Maverick (which she thought looked too scary), we rode the Mean Streak. She thought since it was a wooden coaster, it’d be a lot like her favorite one from her last visit, The Gemini. However, the Mean Streak is named appropriately as it was very jerky and headache-inducing for both of us. Unfortunately due to an afternoon rain shower, we never did get to ride The Gemini (another childhood favorite of mine) as it shut down and didn’t reopen:( On the other hand, the short-lived, but hard rain storm also shut down Mantis and Top Thrill Dragster – both of which I wasn’t sure I really wanted to ride anyway.
The best ride of the day though, had to be the new GateKeeper. Watching it as it flew over the tracks I have to admit, I wondered what I’d gotten myself into, especially when it was almost my turn to ride. My stomach had those old butterflies in it again, but I wouldn’t let myself chicken out and I’m glad I didn’t. It was one of the smoothest, funnest roller coasters I’ve ever ridden. I wish I could have convinced my daughter as I know she would have loved it. Oh well…maybe next year….If she won’t ride, maybe my youngest will be tall enough. I think she may be taking after her mother as she rode with her hands up, in the front car of the Junior Gemini with her hands in the air. Time will tell….
Are you a rollercoaster lover or avoider?