Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Racing the Dragster – Roller Coaster Thrills part 2

Top Thrill Dragster
Power Tower and Top Thrill Dragster
In the morning it was 48° but the sun was out and Lake Erie was beautiful. We strolled down the beach to the next hotel and then drove over to the marina to a restaurant that served breakfast. The park didn’t open till 11:00, so we explored the Breakers (built in 1905) and strolled up the beach. Bob was brave enough to put his feet in the ice cold waters of Lake Erie. Once the park opened we headed straight for the Top Thrill Dragster. We had been watching them test it all morning, half the time it didn’t make it over the top.  The line was already long. They loaded the first car only ½ full and it didn’t go over. They backed it up and tried again and it made it. Same thing happened with the second car and they announced the ride would be closing. About half the people left the line, but we decided to wait it out. After a few successful runs it opened up again. Lots of people were hoping that their car wouldn’t go over, but not me. Our turn finally came. I was doing deep breathing waiting for the lights that indicate the launch. The take off is wicked fast and a sign indicates the speed 120 MPH as you start vertical. It was the fastest I’ve ever moved in anything other than a plane. It is so exhilarating. It was mercifully fast. You really don’t have time to be scared.  Something malfunctioned after our ride and we had to wait in the car about 20 minutes before we could get out. One of the guys working the ride was telling us that the problem was the high winds, about 25mph. It was closed on and off the rest of the day, so we were glad we held our spot in the beginning.
Mean Streak

It was already 1:30 and we had 8 coasters still to conquer. We planned for the Raptor and the Mantis. Millenium Force was next to Mantis and the sign estimated a ½ hour wait, so it was time to try it in the daylight, this time I even raised my hands (not on the first drop though).  We then headed down to the Mean Streak. I think one of the largest wooden coasters around. We took the back seat on Mean Streak. It was a very bumpy ride and our brains got rattled around, but it had some really good drops. We then ran across the park to Mantis. Mantis is a standing coaster, first time for both of us on that kind. Similar to Raptor in that you loop, spiral and flip all over, but trying to stay in that standing position is very tough on the legs. You get off and your legs are sore, then you have to walk down stairs, a bit shaky. Pretty cool ride though. We then went next door to the Wild Cat, what looks like a variation on the old Wild Mouse that was outlawed but not with quite those sharp turns (that was my favorite ride as a kid). Didn’t look like much, but was actually a lot of fun, lots of ups and downs. We then headed to the Corkscrew, which spirals all across the midway.  We had walked under it many times. From the lines at other coasters I had watched it and it seemed slow, I told Bob it was a kiddy coaster.  Proved me wrong, lots of fun, but still much tamer than the biggies. We then headed to Blue Streak, built in, 1964, a classic up and back wood coaster. It was a very pleasant nostalgic ride. We decided to stay at the front end of the park & ride what was there before the Raptor. We went to Disaster Transport, an indoor coaster. It’s mostly dark and boring and topped Iron Dragon as our least favorite. We then noticed that they had opened the Sky Ride, what a nice overview of the park and gave our sore feet a rest. Then a return to the Raptor, what a blast. It was now starting to get dark, so we decided to break for dinner. The sun was setting and the sky was beautiful, so Bob got his camera & took a few shots. We didn’t carry it around the park while going on rides because you can’t take anything on the big coasters. Even your glasses need to be strapped on. After dinner, we stopped at Magnum XL-200 again.  It’s an excellent coaster. Since they close Sunday at 6:00PM, it was our last night to get into Werewolf Canyon. There were a few animatronic wolves with glowing eyes than were neat, they sent up one cloud of fog that was so thick I couldn’t move, I was afraid I’d run into something, couldn’t see an inch in front of me. We headed through the Fright Zone again, many more spooks than the night before and it was more fun than the canyon. We needed somewhere to rest, so we got on the Giant Wheel. It was now around 10 or 11 and the temp was dropping again, down to the 40’s. It was really cold up there at the top, but at least we were off our feet. We then went up in the Space Spiral, enclosed & much warmer, but too short a ride. It was now approaching midnight and closing time. Ready for another hot bath. We should have taken advantage of the  indoor heated pool or hot tub, but by the time we climbed the stairs to our room, we didn’t want to move again.

travel date Oct. 2003

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