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Sandusky, Ohio, USA
Today, Sandusky, Ohio's Cedar Point is known worldwide for being the largest amusement park on Earth, with a bigger assortment of rides than anywhere else, a history of being the second oldest operating park on the continent and a reputation of adding world record-redefining roller coasters by which all others are judged. Spread out over a 364-acre peninsula stretching into Lake Erie, Cedar Point is one of the greatest and most unique amusement resorts in the world, boasting seventeen coaster tracks of wood and steel, four on-site hotels, an adjoining water park, a boating marina, and a beach spanning the peninsula's northern coast.
Back in 1870, however, the story was a much different one. The peninsula now known as Cedar Point was nothing more than windswept, forested land. But then, the park had a humble beginning when a businessman from Sandusky, Louis Zistell, saw the potential in creating a summer resort by the white, sandy beaches of Lake Erie and began taking pleasure-seekers across the Sandusky Bay to swim, sunbathe, and picnic on the peninsula. Named for the forest of cedar trees that blanketed the area, Cedar Point was born.
Throughout the latter part of the nineteenth century, guests to Cedar Point enjoyed an ever-expanding collection of activities and eventually rides. And finally, Cedar Point decided to invest in a new type of attraction that had started to spring up at popular destinations around the world. Called the Switchback Railway, it opened in 1892 as a predecessor to today's roller coaster and gave passengers their first taste of what was to come.
The end of the 1890s would prove trying times as Cedar Point fell into a state of disrepair, but then came George Boeckling, a man who would forever change the course of the park's future. Boeckling created the Cedar Point Pleasure Resort Co. in order to purchase the park in 1897 and began revamping and expanding the next year. By 1901, Cedar Point was back on track again, with the resort's first hotel being added which renewed interest from guests.
In 1902, the first roller coaster addition under the direction of Boeckling opened as the Figure-Eight Toboggan, eclipsing the Switchback Railway for size and thrills, and more park improvements and additions followed. Three years later, the grandeur 600-room Hotel Breakers opened, followed by a number of new rides and attractions in 1906 to help bring Cedar Point up to the level of other growing amusement parks around the country.
Switchback Railway was removed at the end of the first decade of the new century, but over the next several years, Cedar Point would open multiple new coasters beginning with the Dip the Dips Scenic Railway of 1908 which became one of the largest coasters of its day at 4,200 feet in length and over five stories in height. Due to the addition of a new bathhouse two years following, the Figure-Eight Toboggan was relocated, reworked and reopened as the Racer, an out and back side-friction coaster with two parallel wooden tracks. And only two years after that, Leap the Dips opened as the third coaster in the collection.
The growing popularity of the automobile lead to the building of the seven-mile-long Cedar Point Road to connect to the mainland in 1914, and the consequential new flow of visitors forced the addition of the new Cedars Hotel for the following season. In 1918, the Scenic Railway was updated and revamped into LeapFrog Railway (later renamed High Frolics), with added hills and a multi-dipping first drop. Still more accommodations were needed, so 160 rooms were added to the Hotel Breakers in a new wing. After adding a Kiddieland section in 1924, Cedar Point took a temporary break from the rapid expansion, but five years later would come another major wooden coaster, Harry Traver's Cyclone, which ran along a twisting multi-out and back layout.
The Great Depression of the '30s hit Cedar Point hard, resulting in a two-decade off-season in the addition of any major new rides. And during that time, three coasters would be lost, the first being Leap the Dips is 1935, followed by High Frolics five years later, and eventually Cyclone in 1951. But Cedar Point survived, and finally, things started off in the right direction once again as the park added the small steel Kiddieland Coaster towards the end of the 1950s, then came one of the first steel Wild Mouse rides in 1959.
Wild Mouse would last only three seasons, but in the same year of its removal, the Scamper was added and became the Point's first new wooden coaster since the '20s. Another set of wooden rails found residence at Cedar Point with Blue Streak, a classic out and back layout of 78 feet in height located at the front of the park. One more coaster arrived that decade in 1969 when the Cedar Creek Mine Ride began taking riders over 2,540 winding feet of Arrow-Dynamics-manufactured track in a modern scenic-railway-type ride.
The 1970s began with the installation of a new coaster, and the steel twister Wildcat opened in May 1970 from Anton Schwarzkopf. Schwarzkopf was called in again in 1972 to erect another steel twister, Jumbo Jet, on the peninsula's southern shore. Following the demolition of Scamper, in 1976 Cedar Point opened up Corkscrew, a then-revolutionary steel coaster from Arrow Dynamics becoming the first in the world with three inversions (along with Valleyfair!'s version), and also one of the first three steel coasters ever with a complete vertical loop.
Cedar Point was satisfied with their first record-breaker and went on to have Arrow construct the world's tallest and steepest coaster with the Gemini twin-track racer in 1978 after Wildcat and Jumbo Jet took their last riders that year. A new Schwarzkopf twister was added the next season near the former site of Jumbo Jet and received the Wildcat name itself. Also in 1979, Junior Gemini was opened as a smaller single-tracked companion to its nearby big brother.
The first addition of the '80s came with Avalanche Run, a bobsled ride residing in the northeastern park corner, and two years later, Arrow created the suspended, swinging Iron Dragon over central lagoons in Cedar Point. In 1988, the resort expanded with a new waterpark, Soak City, and then, for 1989, Arrow Dynamics was brought in once more to build Magnum XL-200, a new ride milestone that would spark a new generation of coasters, being the first full-circuit ride to top 200 feet in height and becoming the first 'hyper' or 'mega'-coaster at 205 feet and 72 miles per hour.
In 1990, Avalanche Run was enclosed, rethemed, and renamed Disaster Transport. Next year saw the debut of Mean Streak as the world's tallest and fastest wooden coaster with a lift height of 161 feet and 5,427-foot run. The trend of record-breaking rides continued with Raptor in 1994, a Bolliger and Mabillard inverted coaster boasting the most inversions, highest lift and fastest speeds of its type. B&M returned again for 1996 to install the tallest, fastest and most twisted stand-up coaster, Mantis.
For 1998, S&S Power's Power Tower blasted off as the tallest free-fall tower complex at 20 stories in height, with a new Hotel Breakers expansion opening to guests the next season. A new kids' area, Camp Snoopy, was the park's addition for 1999, complete with a new junior coaster, Woodstock Express. And for the coming millennium, Cedar Point knew that they had to do something big. So Intamin AG and designer Werner Stengel were called in to create Millennium Force for 2000, rising up above all others as the planet's first giga-coaster at over 300 feet and 93 miles per hour.
Intamin returned for 2002 with Wicked Twister, an inverted, LIM-launched shuttle coaster located on the northern beach with two twisting vertical 215-foot towers of 450 degrees. Then, in 2003, Cedar Point debuted the next level of extreme once again with Top Thrill Dragster, the new world's tallest and fastest coaster from Intamin AG at an unforeseen 120 miles per hour and 420 vertical feet with a striking yellow tower making the park visible from miles around. The next year, Cedar Point introduced the indoor waterpark complex Castaway Bay farther inland on the peninsula.
In 2005, Cedar Point introduced another thrill ride to the park's long list: MaXair, a swinging, spinning Giant Frisbee from Huss Rides arriving on the Wicked Twister midway as part of a three-year-long revitalization of the front corner of the park.
In 2007, Cedar Point made a big investment towards one of the most unique rides ever built on the peninsula. Scheduled to open on opening day, Maverick was born. Placed in Frontier Town replacing White Water Landing, the coaster was Intamin AG's sixth in the park. Featuring a 95-degree drop and a 70 mph launch, the coaster quickly became one of the best coasters in the world. Today, it is still rated in the top 20. The following year, the park constructed a children's area called Planet Snoopy. The area consisted of kiddie rides relocated to Cedar Point after its sister park Geauga Lake closed its gates.
Park guests visiting in the year of 2009 found a new night attraction called the Starlight Experience. The attraction was placed on the Frontier Trails for a price of $1,000,000, consisting of an LED light show themed to the four seasons. Following heavy hype, Cedar Point announced its new addition for 2010 later that year. Located on Millennium Island, it would be a flume ride called Shoot the Rapids. The ride would have 2 drops, one being 85 feet tall and the other being 49 feet tall. Both would drop into a pool of water, creating a big splash. The ride opened in the 2010 season. Shoot The Rapids closed for good less than six years later, when Cedar Point confirmed it would be removed during the 2016 season. Professor Delbert's Frontier Fling (formerly RipCord, relocated to make room for conversion from Soak City to Cedar Point Shores) now operates in its place.
In 2012, Cedar Point announced that their Space Spiral gyro tower, and the Disaster Transport bobsled coaster, would close forever after the 2012 season. Disaster Transport closed forever on July 29th, 2012, while the Space Spiral closed August 14th, 2012.
In their place, Cedar Point opened the world's tallest, longest, and fastest wing coaster, Gatekeeper, for the 2013 season. Along with GateKeeper, Cedar Point built a new main entrance, with two large towers, each containing a large keyhole that GateKeeper passes through.
In 2016, Cedar Point opened the tallest, longest, and fastest dive coaster, Valravn. Late into the 2016 season, Cedar Point announced the final closure of Mean Streak. The ride is currently being converted by Rocky Mountain Construction into the world's tallest, longest, steepest, and fastest hybrid coaster and the world's only "hyper-hybrid" coaster, Steel Vengeance.
And so, over more than 135 years, Cedar Point has grown to the world's largest amusement park and the Roller Coaster Capital of the World, and the tradition of installing the greatest of the greatest time after time again continues to this day.
Cedar Point has received the Golden Ticket Award by Amusement Today for "Best Amusement Park in the World", sixteen consecutive years (1998-2013) and counting. The park has also placed in categories for "Friendliest Staff", "Best Outdoor Night Production" and "Best Halloween Event". Cedar Point won "Best New Ride of 2007" with Maverick.
Current Roller Coasters (16)
Defunct Roller Coasters (16)
|Broadway Trip||Mack Rides||Sit-Down||?-1964||1964-?||Casino Pier|
|Dip the Dips Scenic Railway||Unknown||Wooden||1908||1917||-|
|Disaster Transport||Intamin AG||Bobsled||1985||2012||-|
|High Frolics||Andy Vettel||Wooden||1918||1940||-|
|Leap the Dips||Andy Vettel||Wooden||1912||1935||-|
|Super Coaster||Allan Herschell Company||Kiddie||1952||1964||Six Flags Fiesta Texas|
|Three-Way Figure Eight Roller Toboggan||Fredrick Ingersoll||Wooden||1902||1909||-|
|Wild Mouse||B. A. Schiff & Associates||Wild Mouse||1959||1962||-|
|WildCat||Schwarzkopf||Wild Mouse||1970||1978||Jolly Rodger Amusement Park|
|Mean Streak||Dinn Corporation||Wooden||1991||2016||-|