Mike invited me to join him at Cedar Point last Saturday. His employer was kind enough to purchase tickets for its employees, and Mike's wife isn't much of a coaster rider. I quite enjoy roller coasters, so I was only to happy to accept the invitation.
The last time I was at Cedar Point was nearly a decade ago, and as I recall the big new ride of the season was The Raptor. I thoroughly enjoyed The Raptor at the time, and had no hesitation listing it as the best ride in the park.
I had an interesting observation while at the park this year: I'm not nearly the thrill seeker I once was. I didn't feel particularly energized to try many of the new rides. Indeed, I was actually quite scared while waiting in line for the Wicked Twister! It was a unique ride, and I can't say that I didn't enjoy it. But it's not the kind of ride that I'd do more than once per visit to the park.
I realized that I greatly prefer rides that do something, as opposed to those that repeat a specific action. For example, I wasn't at all interested in Skyhawk. It's a glorified version of the Ocean Motion, except that it swings considerably higher, and provides a more thrilling view. Likewise, although the maXair looked fun, the lack of any kind of a surprise turned me off.
And to be completely honest, the sensation of falling isn't terribly appealing to me. Since that's the primary -- and only -- gimmick on these rides, it's not terribly surprising that I didn't have much interest in them. I flat out refused to ride the Power Tower. The Top Thrill Dragster would have been the exception, for reasons I can't adequately explain, except that the lines for it never dipped below 2 hours.
Few rides are, to me, worth standing around for two hours. I'm willing to accept up to 60 minutes of wait for a really good ride -- the Raptor, for example. Indeed, that's almost exactly how long we waited before riding it! The Magnum XL-200 had a 45 minute wait, and I found that acceptable. It was about 45 minutes for the Mean Streak, and 60 for the Millennium Force.
We rode most of the roller coasters at the park. After considerable reflection, I ultimately decided that the Millennium Force was the best ride in the park. Although I usually prefer rides that include loops or spirals, the Millennium Force offered the most entertaining thrill of the coasters in the park for me.
Mike, who's quite the daredevil, makes it a point to stick his hands as high in the air as possible as the car crests the first big hill of each ride, sometimes going so far as to stand up (as much as one can, given the harnesses and restraining bars) in the seat. As we reached the climax of the Millennium Force hill, Mike reached for the sky. As soon as the last car glided over into the descent, Mike quickly sat back down and grabbed the handlebar in front of him: we felt like we were going straight down! (Cedar Point claims the angle of descent is eighty degrees: it feels completely vertical as you're going down!) The train plummeted for what felt like an eternity, and then whipped around into an extremely fun sequence of smaller hills and turns that left me breathless and giggling like a little kid as we pulled into the loading area at the end.
The park was crowded, but not filled with jerks as I recall from my last visit. Mike and I were able to make unencumbered progress to each of the rides, and had friendly banter as we waited for our turns to ride. A particularly interesting game of "20 Questions" consumed the two hours combined wait for Raptor and Millennium Force. All in all, it was a spectacular day. Thanks, Mike!