The Complete Guide to Visiting Cedar Point

by Dr. Jessie Voigts / May 27, 2017 /
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Cedar Point – The World’s Best Amusement Park?! Why yes, indeed, it is…not only because of the 17 world-class roller coasters, or because it has been named that for the last 16 years, but because it’s just awesome.

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Love roller coasters and other fun things to do at amusement parks? Here's our Complete Guide to Visiting Cedar Point

Driving in, you’ll see the high profiles of the coasters. Up close, you’ll see smiles galore. Located on a 364 acre peninsula in Sandusky, Ohio, Cedar Point is surrounded by Lake Erie. If you’re looking for an outing that will provide something for everyone in your group, I can’t recommend Cedar Point highly enough.

Where to Stay

There are plenty of hotels in Sandusky - everyone is coming to Cedar Point! Here are some great hotels (click for rates and availability), and here are hotels with special offers (which I love). 

Welcome to Cedar Point! From The Complete Guide to Visiting Cedar Point

We started out by meeting Bryan Edwards, PR Manager for Cedar Point. Meeting Bryan had a huge impact on our day. Right away, we could tell that he truly loves his job. Like many of the employees that work at Cedar Point, Bryan was very enthusiastic. He’s worked at Cedar Point for 23 (!) years, and his joy at being there was contagious. He noted that not only does Cedar Point help build longstanding family traditions, but he said that when you’re there, the stresses of life dissolve and you just have fun. He showed us around part of the park, sharing the history (more on that below), telling how employees come from around the world, and noting that even if you’re not a roller coaster aficionado, there’s something for everyone (and gave an example of his own kids). But more than that, his smile and happiness at being at Cedar Point jumpstarted our own happiness and joy at being there. Hopefully this complete guide will do for you what meeting Bryan did for us – getting excited about having fun at Cedar Point.

Roller coasters galore! From A Complete Guide to Visiting Cedar Point

Cedar Point - Power Tower! From A Complete Guide to Visiting Cedar Point
 
Cedar Point was founded in 1870. Take a look at this interesting background, from their website:

Prior to 1870 the Cedar Point Peninsula was mainly used for fishing and hunting. However, that all changed with an editorial in the local newspaper in 1867 calling on “some enterprising person” to utilize the magnificent beach on the lake side of Cedar Point. In the summer of 1870, local businessperson Louis Zistel opened a small beer garden, bathhouse and dance floor on the peninsula. He would bring guests over to Cedar Point on his steamboat, Young Reindeer, for the modest price of 25 cents. By the 1880s it was noted in the local paper that “sailing and bathing parties to Cedar Point are all the rage.”

The history of thrill rides at Cedar Point began in 1892 with the introduction of the peninsula’s first roller coaster, the Switchback Railway. The addition of the 25-foot-tall, 10-mph scream machine would forever shape the future of Cedar Point. Later years would bring a wide variety of rides, roller coasters, games, shows and more. [Now Cedar Point is] the ultimate amusement park that more than 3 million guests trek to each and every summer.

Interested in more Cedar Point history? At Town Hall in Frontierland, you can visit a very cool museum, filled with artifacts from the history of Cedar Point.

Some of the history of Cedar Point. From The Complete Guide to Visiting Cedar Point

Some history of Cedar Point. From The Complete Guide to Visiting Cedar Point

Intrigued? Of course! And, probably ready to get going. But while you’re reading our tried and true tips, notice the variety of goodness and fun that Cedar Point shares with guests.

From The Complete Guide to Visiting Cedar Point

From The Complete Guide to Visiting Cedar Point

The Complete Guide to Visiting Cedar Point

What to wear

Sunscreen!

A hat

If you wear glasses or sunglasses, a glasses strap so you can wear them on rides, the better to see you with, my dear. (don’t worry, you can purchase these at shops onsite).

Layers of clothing, depending on the weather. If the evening will be cool, you’ll run the weather gamut from hot to cool – tie a light jacket around your waist, or store your stuff in a locker for the day.

If you’re planning on going on any of the water rides, either in Cedar Point or in Soak City (the waterpark right next door), then pack an extra set of clothes and a towel. OR, just ride those rides near the end of your day, and walk around to get dry.

Comfortable shoes are a must. You should be able to walk long distances in them – and if you’re going on water rides, they should dry easily.

The Complete Guide to Visiting Cedar Point

What to bring

Here’s a case of if you want to have a locker or not. I’d bring your cell phone, money, and ID card (and debit/credit card) and fit them all into a pocket. If you’re going on rides, you will not want to have extra things.

THAT SAID – the rides all have boxes right where you get on them, for you to store your backpack while you’re riding. So, if that is your plan and you need more stuff, then don’t worry about going on rides with a backpack. Just put it in before your ride, and grab it when you’re done. These are located right at the platform where you hop into the ride.

If you have mobility disabilities, I’ve written a guide to Disability Access at Cedar Point. If you don’t have a wheelchair scooter, you can rent one on site.

If you have small kids, I’d definitely recommend a stroller or child carrier/sling. The park is very large and small feet get tired pretty quickly.

The Complete Guide to Visiting Cedar Point

Cedar Point with Kids

One of the most impressive things about Cedar Point for families is their Kid Track program. Stop in at Guest Services before you enter the park to sign up. What is it? You input your cell phone number, and your kids learn how to get help if they are lost or need assistance. GENIUS.

Cedar Point's Kid Track Program. From The Complete Guide to Visiting Cedar Point

There’s also a parent swap program for rides – you wait in line, ride your ride, and then get a special Parent Swap Pass to give to your partner, skipping the lines and thus being able to be with your kids AND ride the big rides! Get this at Guest Services or Town Hall.

There are many things in Cedar Point for those that don’t like big roller coasters! Of special interest to families with small children are Camp Snoopy, Planet Snoopy, Kiddy Kingdom, and the Gemini Midway Area.

Camp Snoopy. From The Complete Guide to Visiting Cedar Point

Let’s talk about food...

There are a variety of restaurants and food stands all throughout the park. Check out the map for what interests you. We ate at Panda  Express and Chick-fil-A – both were tasty. Watch the lines to see when you should go – it might not be worth standing in line for an hour when you’d rather be having fun. There are also local favorites like fresh-cut fries and Toft’s Ice Cream (LOVE IT!). We also got some frozen yogurt to cool down.

Fresh cut fries at Cedar Point. From The Complete Guide to Visiting Cedar Point

Frozen Yogurt at Cedar Point. From The Complete Guide to Visiting Cedar Point

Panda Express at Cedar Point. From The Complete Guide to Visiting Cedar Point

Beverages

Each food stand and restaurant in the park offers free water. You just need to ask. They also sell a refillable sports beverage container for pop at $9.99 with 99c refills; note that you have to carry this around with you. There’s also a Starbucks (as if you needed caffeine, with all the adrenaline?).

Places to eat and drink at Cedar Point (including Starbucks!). From The Complete Guide to Visiting Cedar Point

Hit the beach

Find one of the entrances to the beach, and dip your toes (or more) in warm Lake Erie. It is especially refreshing and picturesque at sunset.

Lake Erie at Cedar Point at Sunset - gorgeous! From The Complete Guide to Visiting Cedar Point

Shopping

You can shop at the many stores in Cedar Point, or take your chances on games. We sat and watched one CP employee guess the age, weight, or birth month of many customers. She was good, but more often than not, the guest won their prize. It was fun! There are also caricature booths, if you’d like to be immortalized that way.

Shopping at Cedar Point - including games! From The Complete Guide to Visiting Cedar Point

Shopping at Cedar Point. From The Complete Guide to Visiting Cedar Point

Guessing game at Cedar Point. From https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-y7QbXEzmvDM/U4irMtJz1hI/AAAAAAAAVWM/u643KlTxMZE/s720/yellow%2520team-262.JPG

Caricatures at Cedar Point - making memories! From The Complete Guide to Visiting Cedar Point

Live Entertainment

Each day, there are multiple shows around the park. They range from kids to country to musicals. You will find the shows in various areas and at different times, but the new Luminosity light show is held in the evenings near the Iron Dragon rollercoaster.

Live entertainment shows at Cedar Point. From The Complete Guide to Visiting Cedar Point
Live entertainment at the Red Garter Saloon

Rides

There is an enormous variety of rides (72!) at Cedar Point, ranging from mild to extreme thrill rides. New Rides this year include the Pipe Scream (which my husband loved) and Lake Erie Eagles.

Roller coasters at Cedar Point. From The Complete Guide to Visiting Cedar Point

Roller coasters at Cedar Point. From The Complete Guide to Visiting Cedar Point

Dodgem ride at Cedar Point. From The Complete Guide to Visiting Cedar Point

Kids Rides range from low thrill to mild thrill (1-2 on their rating system).

Kids rides range from slow to mild thrills at Cedar Point. From The Complete Guide to Visiting Cedar Point

Our daughter loved "driving" this antique car

The Monster at Cedar Point. From The Complete Guide to Visiting Cedar Point

Family Rides range from low thrill to moderate thrill (1-3). Of special interest is the train – take the Cedar Point and Lake Erie Railroad around part of the park. It’s slow, easy, and a good way to glimpse some behind the scenes action. There are some special things to see on the railroad – keep your eyes peeled for some funny and peculiar tableaus. This was one of our favorite things to do, and we rode it twice in a row. Also good for being in the shade and off your feet – a nice break!

Cedar Point and Lake Erie Railroad. From The Complete Guide to Visiting Cedar Point

The train, which circles part of the park

Lake Erie Eagles - a new ride for 2014. From The Complete Guide to Visiting Cedar Point

Lake Erie Eagles

Water Rides (all three of them) range from high thrill to aggressive thrill. Prepare to get wet!

Thrill rides range from moderate thrill to aggressive thrill (3-5). We rode the Monster, Matterhorn, Ocean Motion, Super Himalaya, Witches Wheel, and Windseeker. Our daughter (11) who doesn’t like rollercoasters or going fast LOVED the Super Himalaya. She rode it, got off, and went right back around to get on. Her smile? Contagious!

Now, I am not so brave or like going fast, but I was intrigued by the Windseeker. To be honest, it freaked me out. The girl behind me kept saying, “I love this ride!” which made me less stressed. If you don’t mind heights or going out at a 45 degree angle, this offers the best view of the park and surrounding area.

The Windseeker. From The Complete Guide to Visiting Cedar Point

The Windseeker. From The Complete Guide to Visiting Cedar Point

Looks not so bad, right? Well, at 301 feet in the air, with the wind briskly blowing, it was definitely a thrill ride!
 

Getting ready to ride the Windseeker. From The Complete Guide to Visiting Cedar Point

Getting ready to ride the Windseeker!

Roller Coasters

Well, we all know Cedar Point is roller coaster central, with 16 big ones and over 10 miles of track! We rode the Blue Streak, Cedar Creek Mine Ride, Iron Dragon, and the Corkscrew.

Roller coasters at Cedar Point. From The Complete Guide to Visiting Cedar Point

The Corkscrew (above and below)

The Corkscrew. From The Complete Guide to Visiting Cedar Point

The Corkscrew! From The Complete Guide to Visiting Cedar Point

Iron Dragon roller coaster. From The Complete Guide to Visiting Cedar Point

The Iron Dragon roller coaster, in which you hang below the track.

I tried to work up the nerve for the Gatekeeper, which is the tallest, fastest, and longest wing roller coaster in the world. Cedar Point notes, “The ride sets three world records for the tallest drop, longest track and most inversions of any wing coaster on the planet. A state-of-the-art control center is at the heart of operations, and energy-efficient LED lighting illuminates the trains. Aside from the screams of excitement, it is one of the quietest roller coasters ever built because the track is filled with sand. Using all the latest technology, GateKeeper has set new standards in the amusement industry.” And, it’s a welcome entrance (and exit) to the park.

The Gatekeeper, the tallest, fastest, and longest wing roller coaster in the world. From The Complete Guide to Visiting Cedar Point

If you’ve got 17 seconds of bravery in you, ride Top Thrill Dragster. You get into your seats, locked in, see the track prepare, and then shoot up 420 feet in the air – all going zero to 120 in 4 seconds (that’s 176 feet per second). After the top, you’ll come hurtling down, twisting to slow your descent and finally arriving back at the gate. WHEW. Not interested in riding it? Watch from the stands – just like at a real race! You won’t believe how FAST it goes. Videos do not do it justice.

Top Thrill Dragster - 0-120mph in 4 seconds! From The Complete Guide to Visiting Cedar Point

Top Thrill Dragster - 0-120mph in 4 seconds

Ed liked Pipe Scream, a new ride this year. It’s a large skateboard pipe – with you riding the skateboard! You’ll spin and ride on over 300 feet of track, going back and forth, building up speed – up to 43 mph.

Pipe Scream, a new ride this year. From The Complete Guide to Visiting Cedar Point

Roller Coaster Tips

If you are super into rides, then you will want to invest in the Fast Track pass or Fast Track Plus pass, which speed up your wait times.

Mantis roller coaster. From The Complete Guide to Visiting Cedar Point

The Mantis Roller Coaster. From the Complete Guide to Cedar Point

Mantis Roller Coaster. From the Complete Guide to Visiting Cedar Point
Mantis Roller Coaster (above)

To experience the least lines, go to the back of the park right when you get there, and work your way forward. Some experiences coaster riders suggest doing Millenium Force and Maverick first, and hitting Gatekeeper, Raptor, and Wicked Twister in the middle of the afternoon, as people have hit the park and are working their way toward the back.

Mantis roller coaster. From the Complete Guide to Visiting Cedar Point

Mantis

For closest access to the coasters, don’t park in the very first parking lot. Park just past the marina (near the Millenium), or near Soak City (closer to Gemini, Mean Streak, Maverick, and Top Thrill Dragster). You’ll not only get faster access to the rides you want, but you’ll have a much easier time leaving when CP closes!

The first parking lot at Cedar Point. From The Complete Guide to Visiting Cedar Point

The first parking lot at Cedar Point

Millenium Force roller coaster. From The Complete Guide to Visiting Cedar Point

Millenium Force

If you stay at one of Cedar Point’s hotels onsite, you will get park access an hour earlier than the gates open at 10am.

Don’t miss the giant Ferris Wheel, especially at dusk. You’ll see the entire park lit up beautifully, from one end to the next.

Giant Ferris Wheel at Cedar Point. From The Complete Guide to Visiting Cedar Point

End your evening on the Carousel. Our family does this wherever we find one, and it’s a lovely ending to a perfect, fun-filled day.

Cedar Point Carousel. From The Complete Guide to Visiting Cedar Point

Tip from Paul, in the article comments (thank you!):

Friendly update as of 2016 season: no more storing items in bins on rides...items must be put in a locker before you get on the platform. Something to think about especially if you are going to pay for the souvenir cup that you have to carry all day. And the all day lockers are at the very front and back of the park so somewhat inconvenient. Some rides you cant have anything in your pockets either and must use the lockers at the entrances.

The Complete Guide to Visiting Cedar Point

 

More info:
https://www.cedarpoint.com/
https://www.facebook.com/cedarpoint
https://twitter.com/cedarpoint

Cedar Point, the best amusement park in the world. From The Complete Guide to Visiting Cedar Point

Note: Big thanks to Cedar Point for media access to the park. Honestly? We’ll be back!
 

The Complete Guide to Visiting Cedar Point

 

 

All photos courtesy and copyright Jessie Voigts