||It looks like a good set... The starter waves the green flag... And
there they go! The blue train is in front by a bumper length racing down
the first straightaway. Going around the first turn, the red train is taking
the lead! Around the second turn, blue resumes the lead! Racing into the
third turn, it looks like red is going to pull back out in front. But wait!
Blue manages to hang on! Coming into the final stretch, it's blue all the
way! What an exciting race!
Back in 1978, Gemini was the tallest, fastest, steepest all-wooden racing coaster in the world, going up 125 feet 4 inches, dropping 118 feet at a 55 degree angle, and reaching speeds up to 60 miles per hour. This Cedar Point classic was the park's largest from 1978 until Magnum XL-200 was built in 1989. To this day, Gemini still gives around 3 million rides per year. Oh, it's just a little coaster, now, but for 1978, it was a monster!
|Despite its age, Gemini is still an exciting coaster. Some of the visual
thrills experienced by this wooden marvel add excitement unlike that which
is found on most coasters. Going down that first hill, look out! Are you
really going to fit under that beam?
The Gemini holds a special attachment for me. For many years, I was terrified of roller coasters, although I still enjoyed trips to Cedar Point. One year, I vowed that I was going to ride Gemini. (At that time, it was still Cedar Point's largest coaster.) Well, I figured I'd start slow with some of the smaller coasters, then work up to Gemini. My family and friends had a different idea -- very first ride for the trip? Gemini! Well, I was definitely doing the "white knuckle" thing. I think my hand prints are still permanently embedded in the lap bar! That trip, however, changed entertainment for me forever. It took about 15 years to get me on a coaster. Ever since, people have had trouble getting me off of 'em!
When Gemini first opened, waits for the ride often exceeded 6 hours. Until the construction of Millennium Force 22 years later, no other Cedar Point ride had even come close to such long waits. But something else happened during that first year. Someone left a teddy bear in one of the trains. When no one claimed it, that teddy bear was given a name tag, and was tacked up at the bottom of the first hill following the second turn. The teddy bear was very difficult to spot, unless you knew just where to look for it. It hung in there for many years, managing the harsh Lake Erie winters. Each year, it looked just a bit worse for wear, until it finally disappeared one year. In case you're curious, the bear was given a blue name tag, which is the color given to the leaders of the crew.
|There is an interesting rumor surrounding Gemini. When Gemini was designed, computers were not yet involved in the design process. With pre-computer age designs, some of the physics of the rides actually relied on guess-work. It was not too uncommon for rides to be constructed, just to find that they couldn't work. With Gemini, the rumor is that the second hill was built too tall -- the trains couldn't get back up after going down the first hill. Rumor has it that the second hill had to be torn down and lowered by 5 feet. Looking at the structure, it is possible to see that the structure looks like it has been modified at that end. It is known that the Gemini needs to be "warmed up" with care. When the coasters start in the morning, their thick, gooey grease is not yet warm, hence causing additional friction, slowing down the trains. Gemini requires proper weighting when it is first started, or the trains will fail to make it up the second hill. When that happens, the maintenance crews need to disassemble the trains from the bottom of that hill, take them back to the platform in pieces, then reassemble them. The process generally takes a few days. During my time working at the park, I would usually spot a train sitting between the first and second hills two or three times per summer. It usually happened early in the year, while the crews were still learning. Do not fear, however -- guests are never allowed to ride the Gemini until it has been properly warmed up.|
|Continuing to walk along the Gemini, we come across a rotary ride. That orange and black contraption with all the tentacles is called The Monster. This one allows shorter kids to ride, provided they're with an adult. At one time, The Monster was located on the site currently occupied by Iron Dragon. Clearly then, a dragon made of iron is capable of defeating your generic, run-of-the-mill monster. That information could prove valuable if you ever find yourself playing Dungeons & Dragons.|
||On the right side of the midway is the entrance to the Paddlewheel
Excursions. Take a relaxing cruise around the Cedar Point lagoon. It's
a great way to get off your feet for a few minutes. Of course, there is
a price -- you need to listen to some of the worst jokes in the park. In
fact, during my time as a Cedar Point Guesser, Paddlewheel Excursions'
jokes were the second worst in the park. (I'm proud to say that my jokes
were the worst! Wahoo!) Over the years, however, some of the jokes have
been retired. For example, Spot the Bear is no longer on the ride. Why
was he named Spot? Well, he stood in the same spot for nine years. Spot
now occupies another spot in the Cedar Point offices.
|Some of Cedar Point's famous wildlife can be spotted along the excursion,
such as Elkon John.
You can also still see Timex the Dog. Can you guess what type of dog he is? Did I hear someone say, "A watch dog?" Well, that's a good guess, but it's wrong. Naturally, Timex is a Cedar Pointer.
If these jokes have not yet caused you to go blind, you're doing great -- keep reading!
|Not all of the jokes are stinkers, however. The jokes corresponding
to the cabin on the left have had their stink glands removed. Naturally,
that would make them exstinked.
Watch out for that gunfight. Apparently, it all started when the cabins on each side of the river started arguing about who had the more exciting view. One side sees Millennium Force, while the other sees Top Thrill Dragster. Fortunately, they're wooden people fighting with wooden bullets, so, if they hit you, it "wooden" hurt.
My keyboard hasn't exploded from typing in these horrible jokes, so I'll risk it and keep going.
|You'll also meet Bucky Beaver, who finally cuts through that tree after
about 30 years. As it falls, the careful listener may hear Bucky proclaim,
"It was nice gnawin' ya!"
Next, you'll float past the town of Seville, where you'll get to meet the famous Barber of Seville. Do you know what the people of Seville are called? Did someone say Sevillians? Good guess, but wrong. They're called plastic.
Uh oh, my computer hard drive is starting to smoke a little bit. Guess I'd better wrap it up with the bad jokes. But, I think I'll risk just a couple more.
|Near the end of the ride, you'll notice Cedar Point's docks. There
are two of them, which, naturally, makes them Cedar Point's "paradox".
As the boat gets parked, you'll notice a little bump. Nothing to worry
about. It's just a little "pier pressure." I warned you that the jokes
were bad, but that's the price of a restful ride!
True story: A couple of years ago, I had someone ask me about an old wooden coaster that had apparently been abandoned in the center of the park, wondering just what it was. He told me he saw a bit of the track remaining. Well, I puzzled over that item for a while. Cedar Point doesn't leave bits of old coasters lying around. Turns out he didn't ride Paddle Wheel Excursions, but caught a glimpse of that track to the right. That's Cedar Point's inventor, trying to get his new flying contraption off the ground. Unfortunately, he didn't quite make it. I guess he didn't use enough fly paper.
In case you're wondering, I modified a few of the jokes, and left plenty more bad jokes for the Paddle Wheel captains to share with you, so be sure to ride so you can see if you measure up to the full groan effect!
|At the end of the Gemini, we're stirring up a whole cauldron of trouble
with the Witches' Wheel. It's just the right potion to turn your stomach
into a bunch of butterflies.
To determine whether or not you're tall enough to ride Witches' Wheel, it used to be required to obtain a degree in vertical-dimensionology. This ride had the most confusing height requirements in the park. If you were over 60 inches tall, ride away! If you were between 60 and 48, you were allowed to ride, provided you rode with someone else who was at least 48 inches tall. If you were under 48 inches, well, try going back to The Monster. For those between 48 and 60 inches, this ride provided a darn good way to meet new people, or to get closer to your boy/girlfriend! After all, nothing says "I love you" quite so well as up-chucking on someone's lapel.
Apparently, the height requirements were TOO confusing, so now the ride simply requires being taller than 54", matching the tallest height requirements in the park.
Looking to be a fighter pilot some day? Consider Witches' Wheel as good flight training. Dive bombing has never been so much fun!
|And now, measuring up at 205 feet, dropping at a 60 degree angle, reaching
speeds of 72 miles per hour, it's the big boy himself... The Magnum XL-200!
Built in 1989 as the tallest, fastest, and steepest coaster in the world, Magnum has dropped to Cedar Point's fourth tallest and fastest coaster. As of 1999, Magnum still ranked as the number one steel roller coaster in the world. As of 2006, it was still the world's #3 steel coaster, one of Cedar Point's three top-10 steel coasters. If there is a down side to the opening of Millennium Force (the world's #2 steel coaster) and Top Thrill Dragster (the world's #10 steel coaster), it would be that Magnum now seems slow in comparison! However, it is still a lot of fun!
|Magnum is a basic out-and-back coaster, meaning that it does not go
through any loops. In that respect, it could be seen as the "big brother"
to the Blue Streak. Don't let that description fool you -- this coaster
really packs a punch! In 1989, the first hill was the tallest ever built,
with the second hill being the third tallest ever built. (That's not to
say that it was the third tallest second hill, but, rather, it was the
third tallest hill, so if the first hill had not been built, and the second
hill had been the first hill, it would have been the second tallest hill
ever built. Confused? Me too -- Let's just say that it's really tall!)
The third hill is approximately the size of Blue Streak's first hill.
Don't mind adding a few minutes to your wait? Here are some riding suggestions. The most thrilling ride can be obtained by sitting in the very back seat. You'll get whipped around quite a bit, making the coaster seem even faster. At night, give the very front seat a try. The coaster heads towards Lake Erie, turning on the second hill. From the front seat on a dark night, it appears as if the train is going to go straight into the lake.
If you don't want to wait the extra few minutes, well, don't worry. There isn't a bad seat on Magnum. On a really clear day, you may want to look to the north. From the top of the first hill, it is possible to see Canada on the other side of Lake Erie.
|One interesting feature of this coaster is the Pretzel Turn, experienced
at the farthest point. Going into the turn, you might notice a brake. This
brake isn't used much anymore. During the coaster's first year, people
were getting banged up in the Pretzel Turn. As a short-term solution, Cedar
Point installed the brake. The following winter the long-term solution
was implemented. The third hill was torn down and rebuilt, making it a
bit smoother. It just goes to show that Cedar Point puts safety first.
(It also shows that the computer simulations used to design modern-day
coasters are not always perfect!)
Wave for the camera! Your photo is being taken for everyone to see! It's OK to "ham it up" a bit (like this ol' ham!), but keep it clean. Oh, why is my hand gripping the bar? It's possible that not all guys have this problem, but I've found that Magnum's lap bar hits me in a rather, uh, sensitive location. To avoid becoming a soprano, I provide myself with a bit of protection. Remember, gentlemen -- always practice safe coaster riding!
|It may look small by today's standards, but the Corkscrew paved the
way for a whole new generation of roller coasters. This coaster will turn
you upside-down not once, not twice, but three times. OK, that seems a
bit mild now, but in 1976, that was a big deal. Corkscrew was the first
coaster in the world to go upside-down three times, combining a vertical
loop with two corkscrew turns.
Once considered the "Sports Car of Roller Coasters", Corkscrew cruises up to 48 miles per hour, taking the loop at 38 miles per hour. As a bit of history, the coaster was painted red, white, and blue in order to celebrate the bicentennial of the USA. Somehow, it seems fitting to me. In 1776, a great country was started. In 1976, this coaster was built, launching a new generation of exciting looping coasters.
From 1976 to 1992, Cedar Point had exactly three inversions in their roller coasters. In 1993, that number jumped to 9 with the construction of Raptor. With the construction of Mantis in 1996, the number reached 13. Maverick's 2007 opening brings the number to 15. Isn't it amazing what was started by the Corkscrew?
|Next to the Corkscrew, we find one of those spin-'n'-go-pukers, er,
spinning rides. This one is called the Super Himalaya. The ride was
moved to this location in 1999 to make way for Camp Snoopy. In this
photo, you can see my niece and brother-in-law in the car on the left.
(My niece is the one without the hat.) Right behind them would be my nephew,
and this 'ol dude. Since the ride is just starting, my nephew hasn't quite
accepted the fact that he'll soon be sliding into his uncle! I'm sure he'll
someday learn about centrifugal force. (Well, centripetal, really, but
this isn't a science lesson!)
By the way, the Super Himalaya allows shorter riders, if they are with an adult. Since the kids love these spinning rides, and the rest of the family tends to get sick just looking at them, I'm the one that gets to go around in circles roughly 3574 times per visit to The Point!
|Racers, start your engines! 3 - 2 - 1 - GO! With a revving of engines, a squealing of tires, and a blast of smoke, Top Thrill Dragster takes the lead!|
|For the fourth time in Cedar Point's history, the park held the world's
record for Tallest and Fastest Coaster. Dubbed as the world's first
"strata-coaster," Top Thrill Dragster reaches an incredible 420 feet into
the air, making it the tallest attraction at Cedar Point. The park's
previous tallest attraction was the Space Spiral, which held that lofty
position since 1965. The Space Spiral is still at Cedar Point, but
it is dwarfed by Top Thrill Dragster. Want an interesting perspective
on that height? Take the Magnum XL-200, then place Wicked Twister
on top of it. The result is as tall as Top Thrill Dragster!
But, height isn't all this coaster has to offer. This ride launches from 0 to 120 MPH in just 4 seconds! The launch is so fast, even at the very start of launch, the train appears as a blur!
|From the launch, Top Thrill Dragster sends you straight up, as shown
on the right. On the way up, the train twists by 90 degrees in preparation
for going over the top.
Then, on the way down (shown on the left), the train twists 270 degrees before pulling out of the vertical drop.
Cedar Point isn't called The Roller Coast for nothing! Top Thrill Dragster is the park's record-breaking 16th roller coaster. But wait, there's more! At 420 feet tall and 120 miles per hour, it debuted as the tallest and fastest roller coaster in the world. It also makes Cedar Point the only park in the world with four coasters over 200 feet tall, and two coasters over 300 feet tall. Wow!
|That enormous tower can be seen from many miles away, even at night.
Need another perspective on the height? The photo on the left was taken looking straight up at the tower. That little speck is a train on the way up!
The picture on the right is a view from in front of the Hotel Breakers. To the right of it is Gemini. The huge yellow structure is Top Thrill Dragster.
||Dragster moves so fast, there isn't even time to scream! However,
you'd better find a way to smile: Top Thrill Dragster takes your
picture twice -- once on the launch, and once on the return. It's rather
interesting that I'm the only one with teeth showing on the launch!
(The launch is on the left side of the photo, with the return on the right.)
Everyone else looks just a tad nervous. But, as the train returns
from the drop, you can see a lot of people who were delighted to race for
the sky in Top Thrill Dragster.
As mentioned above, Top Thrill Dragster marks the fourth time in Cedar Point history that the park has built the world's tallest and fastest coaster. The first time was in 1978, when Gemini opened at 125 feet and 60 MPH. It's hard to believe that coaster designers thought they were nearing the upper height and speed limits with Gemini! Eleven years later, in 1989, the 205 foot tall, 72 MPH Magnum XL-200 made its debut as the first roller coaster to top 200 feet. It was another eleven years, in 2000, that the world's first coaster to top 300 feet appeared in the form of the 310 foot tall, 93 MPH Millennium Force. Then, for 2003, the 400 foot mark was broken with the 420 foot tall, 120 MPH Top Thrill Dragster. Not every park can afford to build a coaster of this magnitude. Top Thrill Dragster had an astounding price tag of $25,000,000!
|Where'd the park get the name for Top Thrill Dragster? For those who don't know much about drag racing (a category which includes this author), top fuel dragster cars are known for their remarkable speed and acceleration. The trains on Top Thrill Dragster are designed to resemble the top fuel dragster cars. Upon launch, you'll even hear sounds of revving engines and screeching tires, along with smoke pouring off the rear wheels. For the timid, there's the Cedar Point Raceway Grandstands. This bleacher section could possibly mark the first time in history that a coaster was designed with a spectator section, complete with a snack bar! If you're brave, however, pull up to the starting line, keep your arms down, head back, and hooooooooooold on!|
|Is Top Thrill Dragster just a bit too tall for you? Well, then,
try scaling down to the next thrill ride on the block. Stretching
300 feet into the air, added in 1998, it's Power Tower. Cedar Point's
fourth tallest ride provides two thrills in one structure. Veer to
the left, and you'll find yourself rocketing upward. Veer to the
right, and you'll be thrust down.
Standing in line for the "up" side is an adventure in itself. The riders are strapped in their seats, a look of anticipation and worry on their faces. Suddenly, without warning, they're gone! Houdini couldn't have made them disappear any faster!
Power Tower can be described as "Demon Drop gone mad." It's a thrilling trip, complete with spectacular views over the park and Lake Erie. Beware, however, the line is rather slow moving, and the ride is quite short. On the busier days, I recommend getting in line very early, or very late. When early, you can be one of the first riders, then move on to other exciting attractions. When late, get in line just before it is cut off for the night. You may still have quite a wait, but all the other rides are closed, so it doesn't really matter. I have set a personal limit of 45 minutes as the maximum that I will wait for Power Tower. (That makes it better than Demon Drop, but not as good as Raptor.)
So, which side is better, up or down? Both sides have their merits, but I'm partial to the Down towers. Why? I don't really know -- I just found them to be more exciting. Try them both, and come to your own conclusion.
The Beagle Has Landed!
|"Is it possible I could miss the entrance to Camp Snoopy?" I hear you cry. Well, anything is possible, but, in this case, all you need to do is look for the big beagle with a backpack. Besides making a great landmark, Snoopy is also a ride. Kids can go bouncing around inside of Snoopy's seat cushion.|
|Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines and race on over to the Peanuts 500 Speedway! Better beware -- I don't think Linus and Lucy have been to Driver's Training yet!|
|Let's fly on down the midway, where we'll find Woodstock's Express
on the right. Cedar Point's 13th coaster, this one is a great step-up
from the Jr. Gemini on the way to training future Roller Coaster Pilots.
For a small coaster, this one really is rather fun. Also, you can
sit up front in the engine, sitting right by Woodstock himself!
As a family coaster, Cedar Point will let anyone ride, but most riders are with children.
|Up, up and away, our famous World War II flying ace is at it again! After leaving Woodstock's Express, we find the Red Baron on the right, making the skies safe for beagles everywhere! Don't forget your fighter pilot scarf as you aid Snoopy in the fight for Beagle-ocracy!|
|After removing our flight goggles, we step across the midway to an amusement park spin-n-go-puke classic, the Tilt-A-Hurl, er, uh, Tilt-A-Whirl. Unlike many of the rides in Camp Snoopy, adults don't have to be with a child to ride this one. You can get dizzy with or without offspring!|
|Staggering back across the midway, it's time to pack up the bags. Get out the canoe, the swim trunks, and, of course, the bug spray, and hop aboard the Camp Bus. Good grief, Charlie Brown, did you forget the paddles again?|
|"Lolli Lolli Lolli get your adverbs here." Oops, wait, that was from Schoolhouse Rock. What we have here is the Lolli Swing. Just looking at this ride makes my sweet tooth ache!|
|Now we're coming to the end of Camp Snoopy. Up, up, and away in your beautiful balloon, as you coast through the clouds with Charlie Brown and Lucy on the Balloon Race.|
|"Didn't you claim there were six coasters on the Gemini Midway?" I
hear you ask. Well, I didn't lie. The sixth is a smaller kiddy coaster,
named the Jr. Gemini. Built in 1979, the kids can scream along at a thrilling
6 miles per hour! Wow!
In that photo on the right, my mom is riding in the front seat with her first granddaughter. Doesn't it just melt the heart?
This ride also contains height restrictions. Riders must be less than 48" tall or accompanied by a child in order to ride.
|One adult is allowed to ride in each train, provided that adult is with a small child. The children can go alone, if they want, but some kids prefer being with an adult. In the photo on the left, my mom and niece are in the front seat. Uh, my niece is the one with her hands up. Directly behind them, doing his imitation of "The Thinker", is my nephew. Ya just gotta love these family moments!|
In addition to the Jr. Gemini and Camp Snoopy, there's Rock Spin and Turn, and Space Age.
And don't forget, as long as they are with an adult, the kids can ride the Super Himalaya, Monster, or Paddlewheel Excursions.
|Frog Hopper, added in 1998, has got to be one of the cutest rides I
have ever seen. The kids are slowly hauled up to the top, then they
are bounced down. When they reach the bottom, they are hauled back
up to do it all over again. I don't recommend letting your child
ride Frog Hopper immediately after eating!
Right next to Frog Hopper are the Kiddy Bumper Boats. These boats used to be located on the Twister Midway near the Krazy Kars, but they were moved to this area in 1998.
|In the Camp Snoopy area, there is a stage where Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang will provide fun, music, and surprises. The Peanuts characters will perform in Charlie Brown's Funtime Frolics from May 10th through September 1st (except Thursdays). In addition. there's Snoopy's Sing-A-Long for all ages, daily from May 24th through August 17th (except Mondays). The Peanuts gang also shows up in this area at the top of the hour from May 10th through November 2nd (unless it's raining -- apparently Snoopy doesn't like taking a bath!).|
|Cedar Point's second-largest gaming area is located along the Gemini
Midway, right next to the Gemini kiddieland. Here, you will find an arcade,
Skee Ball, and various other games of skill. Try out some of the race games,
or see if you can shoot a basketball well enough to be in the pros. Is
that arm all limbered up? See just how fast you can throw.
On the other side of the midway, you can also try scaling a ladder to see if you're able to hit the buzzer, or just wind up hitting the mat.
|Naturally, all the best regions of the park contain a Guessing Game, and this one is no different. Located near the Magnum entrance is what used to be called the Troika Scale. (Now, perhaps, it'll be called the Dragster scale?) Currently, a mixed crew works at this location, but when I was a guesser, Troika was an all-girls scale. They became known as the Troika Toads. Guessers at other scales used to tease the girls by saying, "You could put a toad at that scale on a Saturday, and they could guess 200 people an hour!" Not to take anything away from those girls, but that scale was situated in such a position, and with a natural "stage-like" effect, that it was almost natural for people to play the game. 200 guesses in an hour, by the way, is the figure that separates the guesser wanna-be's from the Real Guessers. Believe me, averaging better than three and one-third guesses per minute is no easy task. I managed it a few times per year during my first two years. It was a regular occurrence on Saturdays during my third year, when I was located at a higher-traffic scale. I just wish I could have had the opportunity to guess at Troika in the middle of a day on a Saturday. Oh, my heart starts pumping faster just from the thought of it! I never did guess at that scale during a mid-season Saturday, but I did fill in there once in a while at the beginning and end of the seasons. In several dozen opportunities, only once did I not bring in the most guesses for that location for the day. I may not have been able to guess the weights worth diddly, but I could sure get the people to play! "Give it a shot, give it a go, give it a spin! Fool me once, and then you win! Fool me one time, win a prize. Fool me a second time, win two prizes. Fool me a third time, and I look for another job. No, I mean, you win three prizes! Wow! Incredible, amazing, but true!"|
|Right across from the Gemini is the Happy Friar french fry stand. Those big fries are goooooood, especially when smothered in cheese!|
|At Camp Snoopy, there's Charlie Brown's Cookout, for campfire-cooked burgers, hot dogs, and s'mores.|
|Near the Magnum is the Pretzel Fillers pretzel stand. There is also a small Hot Fries stand near the entrance to the Corkscrew.|
|Also, with the debut of Top Thrill Dragster, there are hot sandwiches
and such at Grandstand Foods, located under the Cedar Point Dragstrip grandstands.
It isn't exactly gourmet dining, but with all the spinning, dropping, flipping, and twirling, Gemini Midway probably isn't the best place to be eating, anyway, unless you enjoy "losing your lunch!"
|With all the other activities on this midway, why would you need to
be shopping? If you do have that compulsive need for souvenirs, however,
don't fret. Beagle Bay Outfitters is located at one end of Camp Snoopy,
across from the Peanuts 500 Speedway, looking rather like a ranger's station.
Joe Cool's Corner Store is at the other end of Camp Snoopy, located across
from the Monster, next to the entrance of Paddlewheel Excursions. It's
a small shop, but it usually contains some nice gifts.
Near Corkscrew's entrance, there's a small gift building called Speed Freaks.
When passing by the Corkscrew, you will also see the SpeedZone, formerly Power Station. This gift shop is left over from when Jungle Larry's still existed. It was given a new face to coincide with Power Tower, and yet another new face for Top Thrill Dragster, but the old features of the building can still be seen. You may be able to find some "exotic" type gifts at this store.
|Return to Frontiertown||Go to The Point Tour||Continue with the Twister Midway|