Cedar Point: Roller Coaster Capital of the World

When out of town family came to visit, one of the things they asked to do was visit Cedar Point. Located in Sandusky, Ohio along the shore of Lake Erie, the park is a two hour drive from our home.  Twelve of us, ranging in age from 14 to 76 visited the park on a Friday in early June. It was my first visit here in almost 40 years. The last time that I rode a roller coaster “The Blue Streak” was the biggest and best. That coaster is now considered “classic” and is dwarfed by much more spectacular creations. Today’s roller coasters are taller and faster than I ever imagined possible. I knew there would be lots of twisting and turning. What surprised me was just how high and fast cars travel. Tracks reach into the sky, some moving at breakneck speeds and soaring vertically so high into the air that passengers look to be the size of gnats. I was in awe at just how far roller coaster and amusements ride technology had advanced. Until you see it, you won’t be able to imagine how unbelievably massive they have gotten.

In addition to roller coasters, Cedar Point’s other rides include a sky tram, swings, a train, a ferris wheel, antique cars, and lots of other classic rides, midway games, arcades, a kiddie area etc, A few shows run throughout the day too. A water park charges a separate admission fee.

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We purchased our tickets online and in advance. With a corporate discount, my ticket was $45. My husband’s senior rate ticket was $42. There is no such thing as a companion ticket for grandma and grandpa. Everyone must pay the full admission, whether they ride rides or not. $20 for parking was pretty shocking.

You might decide to buy a “fast lane pass” which allows you to move to the front of the line. It is expensive — more than double the cost of your admission ticket but if this is your one trip here and you are spending that much money to ride anyway, you may find it worth the added cost. Most of the roller coasters I saw had wait times of 1 1/2 to 2 hours and the park was not especially crowded.

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If you are disabled you should visit Guest services. They will give you a sheet that you take to the ride. The ride attendant will write down a time for you to return. This allows you to sit down instead of standing in line to wait. You can take up to three people with you, but you can only use it for one ride at a time.

It is possible to buy a drink plan for an additional $4 charge when you purchase your ticket. You can also buy a refillable drink bottle in the park for $14 for the day. With a single beverage costing $4.99 for a medium size cup, these deals are worth the extra few dollars and nothing prevents you from sharing drinks with the rest of your group. A food plan is also available and worth the $30 cost especially if you have hungry teenagers. That may sound like a lot, but food and drinks are overpriced so you can easily spend at least that much in a day without a food plan. My complaint about it is that it was limited to up to age 61. My 76-year-old husband was not eligible. It makes no sense to cut seniors out of the food and drink.plans.

We ate lunch in the sports bar and while expensive ($9 for French fries!) at least the food was good. The ice cream was also good but I ordered a hot fudge sundae for $6+ and they just smeared the bottom of my cup with so little chocolate that I couldn’t get enough onto my spoon to even taste it! Get the ice cream cone instead, and skip the pricey sundae that comes with NO TOPPING.

As we were walking around we came upon the “dinosaur” exhibit. It costs an extra $5 or $10 and we bought tickets thinking that it would be something special. It turned out to be cheesy mechanical dinosaurs. The sign says that it takes an hour to walk through but it doesn’t take 20 min. Life-size rubber dinosaurs bob their heads and growl. It is ridiculous that they charge extra money for this. When you see it, just keep walking on by.

There are many hotels near Cedar Point if you need a place to stay. The only one I have stayed at is Sawmill Creek. It is less expensive than Cedar Point hotels that are right next to the park, about $175 per night rather than $300, but it is still close and it is a beautiful facility with a restaurant and shops. The service there was fantastic and the rooms clean and comfortable. You will do even better for your wallet if you choose a Sandusky hotel that is a little further out. The traffic getting to the park isn’t that bad and the $20 it will cost you to park is less than the mark up you will pay to stay in one of the hotels adjacent to the park.

You should expect Cedar Point to cost a good chunk of change. As long as you go into knowing that you will have a good time.


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