The excitement builds, as you enter the gate to the world's largest ride park. Smell the hot dogs, listen to the screams of joy, as you view the breathtaking sights of some of the finest attractions ever created. You have entered Cedar Point, America's Roller Coast.
On these pages, you will be treated to some of the amazing sights offered by this Ohio landmark. So, enjoy some delicious Salt Water Taffy or cotton candy as you experience the Cedar Point Virtual Tour. Beware, however, as this tour is picture-intensive! Also note, I have tried to keep all of the information accurate, but watch out for the rumors -- sometimes they are more fun than fact, and I've never been one to let the truth stand in the way of a good story!
Cedar Point is America's second oldest remaining amusement park, having first opened to the public in 1870. It is located on a peninsula jutting into Lake Erie, approximately half way between Toledo and Cleveland, Ohio. Many celebrities have visited or worked at the park over the years. Near the beautiful Cedar Point beach, a plaque can be found commemorating football great Knute Rockne, who developed the forward pass while working as a life guard on Cedar Point's beaches.
|The recent development of Cedar Point is largely the responsibility
Richard Kinzel. On the left is Don Miears, the former Executive Vice President
and General Manager of Cedar Point. Don retired at the conclusion of 2000.
While I was working at the park, Don was the Vice President in charge of
Merchandising, where I found him to be a remarkably kind and fair man,
with a great sense of humor. One day, he arrived at my location with a
very stern look on his face, stepping right up next to me (I was in charge
of the location). He then told me that he had been talking to a park guest.
At this point, I was wondering what complaint my location received. He
informed me that the guest said, "The two people at that location have
done a tremendous job at upholding the Cedar Point image." The whole "stern"
image was an act as he came up to congratulate me on my guest compliment.
Dick Kinzel, the President and CEO of Cedar Fair, is on the right. I've only talked to him a few times, but was delighted that I was usually able to make him laugh as he passed by my location. He retired following the 2011 season. I will miss him and his wife, as well -- I managed to have some enjoyable conversations with both of them during charity events for the opening of SkyHawk and Shoot the Rapids, and the final ride for Paddle Wheel Excursions.
My relationship with Cedar Point dates back to 1970, when I was just three years old. I immediately felt a connection with the park. Could it have been due to Cedar Point's 100th anniversary happening that year? Perhaps. It was at that time that I told my parents I would work at the park someday. Since my first visit in 1970, I haven't missed a single Cedar Point season.
When I was a teenager, Cedar Point helped me overcome one of my greatest fears: I was terrified of roller coasters. I simply would not ride them. Oh, I still enjoyed Cedar Point more than just about anything on Earth, but I wouldn't ride the roller coasters. One year, when I was 15, I decided I was going to ride Cedar Point's Gemini, which, at the time, was the park's largest coaster. I was trembling with fear, but I went on it. Now, 31 years later, you can't keep me off of the coasters! As of the end of 2012, my roller coaster riding hobby has taken me to 196 amusement parks where I've been on 707 different roller coasters. It all started with my favorite park, Cedar Point.
It's too bad I didn't pick stocks when I was three, for my prediction about working at The Point came true. In 1986, I started my first of four summers working as a Guesser -- you know, one of those dweebs who tries to guess your age, weight, and birthday month. Really, Guessers are not bad people! Here's a picture of me in my second year, working at the Frontiertown Guessing Game with Violetta Severkoski:
Those four years meant more to me than just four fun summers. Prior to starting my first year at Cedar Point, I was a very shy person who was terrified of public speaking. Once again, it was Cedar Point to the rescue. A very wise person named Dave Hensley decided to make me a Guesser. When he told me, I must have had a look of sheer terror in my eyes, for he quickly reassured me that he felt I would do fine. He got me onto the microphone that night. When I took the mic, I thought to myself, "Well, I don't know if I can do this, but I really want to work here. If I'm going to make it, I've got to be vocal." I raised the microphone, and shouted, "AGES, WEIGHTS, AND BIRTHDAYS!" People on the midway jumped. Dave raced into the back room to turn down the amplifier. It started a tradition of my being one of the loudest Guessers Cedar Point has ever known! After 30 minutes, I handed back the microphone, and Dave said, "Well, at least you aren't afraid of the microphone!" To that, I responded, "Are you kidding? I was terrified." Dave then had to admit, "Well, yeah, I've never seen anyone shake quite like that!" Obviously, I overcame my fear of public speaking, since I followed 1986 with three more summers of guessing.
It was more than just overcoming that fear, however. That work experience gave me a whole new level of confidence. It taught me that I can do anything I put my mind to, no matter what it may be. That bit of wisdom came in very handy in 1988. I was studying to become an electrical engineer. Classes were not going well that year, and I nearly gave it up. The problem, however, was that I didn't want to take up any other profession -- electrical engineering was my life. Due to my depression, that electrical engineering life nearly came to an end. However, when I hit rock-bottom, a thought suddenly sprang into my mind -- I was a Guesser, and, with my personality back in high school, I never should have been. I overcame my biggest obstacle to make that job happen. It was at that time that I realized I could overcome my problems in school, too. My mood greatly improved, I found myself rededicated to making an engineer of myself, and I wound up graduating with a Bachelor's degree in June 1990. More than that, I wound up continuing on for a Master's degree, which I received in March 1992. I had confidence that I could do anything if I really wanted it -- a confidence that came from overcoming an enormous fear at Cedar Point. I am personally convinced that, had I not been a Guesser, I would not have had that extra confidence boost that I so desperately needed, and I would not be an electrical engineer today. Beyone that, since 2008, I've been a Senior Training Engineer, where my job is to stand up in front of classrooms full of people and teach them about how to use my company's products. Cedar Point helped me to make my life what it is. For that reason, I have a tie to The Point that can never be broken. My goal here is to attempt to share the wonderful feelings Cedar Point gives me with the rest of the world.
Enjoy the tour!
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