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Farewell, Mantis 10/18/14

Let us know how your day at the park was.
Postby Muck Finnesota on October 20th, 2014, 1:14 pm
I had no plans to visit Cedar Point this year until Rougarou was announced in September. With Mantis being one of only a few B&M StandUps in existence, and myself being a big fan of this coaster type, I decided that a trip out to Ohio might be in order. As it turned out, the only weekend that would work would be the last weekend to ride Mantis. I was banking on manageable crowds due to the cool forecast and possibility of rain. The park was open until midnight, and we arrived at about 1 pm (lost an hour- EST). It was chilly and overcast, but the long line of cars and full parking lot were reminiscent of what one would encounter on a typical day with perfect weather in the middle of peak season.

First up was Top Thrill Dragster. I’d usually pass, but there were some amongst us that hadn’t ridden it yet, so it was a must. I was worried that the weather would foil this plan, but as we made our way across the causeway earlier, we saw it was operational. The line was blazing by at the speed of a retarded snail, and before long, we noticed that it had been a while since we were deafened by a passing train. Shortly after that, a mass exodus of the line commenced. We heard some of the people walking out saying things like “closed for the rest of the day” and “not going to open”, but we hadn't heard an announcement of any kind, and we decided to stick around for a bit.
Before long (while we were moving toward the station at a brisk pace due to people bailing), I noticed mechanics working on the end of the brake run before the turnaround into the exit platform. This went on for about 45 minutes (still no announcement mentioning anything), they were raising and lowering a brake fins, and it looked like they were replacing a hose in that section. At this point we had been in line for about 90+ minutes, and were nearly at the loading station. Then, without even sending an empty train, the air gates were opened, riders boarded, and it advanced to the launch. These lucky riders were treated to a rollback. The next few trains out just barely made it over.
We had 3 in our group, and they were looking for a single rider, so one of us went a few trains ahead of us and rode. Shortly after, we’re next in line. We notice a train that was set to launch hasn't gone yet. The people in front of us, already in the train, were told to disembark. God damn it. A gaggle of mechanics arrive a few minutes later, and they begin moving the trains back until the one sitting at launch is back in the station. They release the restraints, but I’m encouraged that it won’t be too long of a wait when they tell those riders to remain seated in the train. The mechanics make their way all the way down to the end of the launch and start working on something. 45 minutes pass. The people immediately in front of us who had already boarded and had to get off decide to leave. We were nearly at 3 hours at this point, and 5 minutes later, we’re back in business. I felt bad for them, but patience is a virtue.

Finally, we ride.

The trick to enjoying TTD is riding it sparingly. This was only my third lap on it since it opened, and it was every bit as insane as the first. I could see how it gets old fast if you’re going to sit there and power-ride it any time you visit this park. It will be a while before I ride it again, and when I do, I'll be blown away. Again.

Next was Maverick, and we were in for another long wait. 2 hours and change, made to feel even longer because of the garbage music videos that were being looped on the tv monitors in the queue- but it’s always worth the wait. It was dark by the time we rode. This ride is so excellent that it has probably inspired beautiful poetry and song since it came into existence back in 2007. If I kept a list, it’s probably at the very top of it, comfortably (wood, steel, hybrid, liquid, gold, anything else you can think of).

We’re beginning to feel a bit rushed because it’s dark out, and we’ve only taken in 2 rides. We ride Millennium Force next- it was about a 90 minute wait. Very fun ride, as usual, probably made better because it was dark and cold. When riding during the day, the drop feels somewhat underwhelming (not bad by any means, just not as good as you think it would be). At night, it's a different story. We’ll be back to ride it again for our last ride of the day.

A pair of rides on Mantis followed. I love this ride. The non-coaster people I was with also enjoyed it, which was nice because it seems like there is some unspoken rule in effect that requires people to complain and moan excessively about Stand-Up coasters. Come to think of it, it seems to usually be coaster people, too. Their loss. This is the most intense coaster type there is if you’re in the business of enjoying positive G’s. I’m glad the actual layout/structure is sticking around, because it will be neat to see how the Floorless experience feels on an old-school B&M non-fluff design. The only memorable Floorless I’ve ridden to this day was Batman Knight Flight at the park that used to be right down the road from Cedar Point. It would be fitting if northern Ohio gets a great Floorless coaster after having that one packed off to Virginia.

We made our way out to Gatekeeper next. This ride was new-to-me. It’s really an impressive-looking ride. The interaction with the actual gate is cool, the theme (color scheme, the odd keyhole structure etc.) kind of reminds me of the Gate Keeper (Heimdall) from the recent Thor movies. It also made me remember how effective it is to have an impressive looking structure tower over the entrance of the park- something Great America once had. Regrettably, it doesn’t anymore. Also regrettable is the actual ride experience of Gatekeeper. This ride serves absolutely no other purpose aside from being visually impressive, and being a capacity monster. Based on X-Flight, I was expecting a fun ride with a nice moment or two where it catches you off-guard with a surprise force or neat visual. There was nothing. If you have a small desk fan, a chair, and access to Youtube you can easily recreate the complete ride experience at home. I really hope Holiday World’s forthcoming Wing Coaster isn't anything like this great looking piece of shit. Waste of steel and space. I certainly appreciate X-Flight a lot more because of this.

Next was the always-fun HUSS Giant Frisbee, Maxair. Good stuff, but for some reason, I remember Delirium at Kings Island having a bit more of a punch to it. Not sure whether Maxair has a different ride program, or if my senses were still numbed from Gatesleeper.

Closing time was drawing near, and we fought our way upstream against the masses heading toward the exit for one or two more rides. The plan was to make it to Magnum and hope it was a walk-on so that we could make it to the blissful Maverick before the line closed, but we decided against this as we were all pretty beat and had a 5+ hour drive to Chicago still ahead of us. Instead, we walked on to Mantis to bid it adieu and hopped into Millennium Force’ line with a few minutes to spare. Only about a 30 minute wait this time around, and a fine way to end the day.

There was quite a bit that we never had the chance to get to because of the crowds- Raptor, Magnum, and Wicked Twister stood out, but I like me some Blue Streak, Gemini, and even Draggin’ Iron, too. I’ve still never actually ridden Corkscrew out of all the times I’ve visited the place (ditto the recently deceased Disaster Transport as well). I’m glad to have made this unexpected trip out to the park this year; I’ve never been during their Halloween event, but then again, I’m indifferent to these events in general (Frightfests/Halloweekends/Howl-o-Screams). Instead, I love visiting parks this time of year for the chill in the air and colorful trees much more than I give a shit about how many “scaracters” are walking around or mazes there are to waste time on.
Keep Eurofighters in Europe
Muck Finnesota

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