When I first met Michael, going to Cedar Point was his dream vacation. Cedar Point Amusement Park is known as the "roller coaster capital of the world." They pride themselves in always adding newer, faster, & higher coasters. When we started planning dates in Ohio, Michael knew that he wanted to go. We invited our roommate and she booked her bus tickets to meet us there. This was back in December. This was one of the few "firm" dates on the tour at that point.
We have actually had the opportunity to visit Cedar Point one time before. Michael's family treated us to a nice trip...when I was pregnant with Trinity. That's right. I spent 2 days at the "roller coaster capital of the world" and could not ride a single one! I think that I have blocked out most of the memories, but I have one sticking out in my mind of a boat in the shape of a swan. I think there was also a lot of time spent on the lazy river ride at the water park.
We were totally excited and also a bit apprehesive about this trip. Although I was not pregnant and would technically be able to ride some roller coasters, we were taking 5 young kids! Our oldest made it very clear that although she was tall enough, she had no desire to ride roller coasters. She even tried to claim that week as her week at Grandma's house. Our second oldest was willing, but when we measured her, she was 47 1/2 inches. Just shy of the 48" required for most rides. We asked our roomate if she liked rollercoasters. She replied that she wanted to try them, but that she gets nervous easily. Add in a 2 year old, a 4 year old, and a 5 year old and this trip ran the risk of being a collosal waste of money and energy - at least in the eyes of a roller coaster fanboy.
I tried to make the reservation in April, but after taking the month off work to remodel the Airstream I could not talk myself into paying the money for the tickets and campsite. We knew that we wanted to camp on-site so that we would have access to early entry, free parking, discounted tickets, and our own space for food and naps during the day. What we could not decide on was how many nights camping and how many days worth of tickets. Finally, the week of the trip, I booked us 3 nights at the campground and decided to buy the 2 day ride and slide passes, but I would buy those when we checked in. When we arrived in Cleveland, our host Greg Wasinski (who works with Michael on the HOPE advent missions) agreed that his family would be join us for our second day at Cedar Point.
We arrived Monday night and set up camp. They pack you in like sardines there! They only allow RVs (no tents) and it is the only place that I have seen where sites are assigned consecutively. We had to wait for our neighbors to pull in before we could park and while we were backing in, our other neighbors were waiting for their spot! The RV beside us literally had their awning touching ours and stored their tubs under our wheel wells. They came over to apologize, and I agreed we all just had to work with what we were given.
Since we had a "house guest" with us (our former roommate), I had planned on using the picnic table outside for most meals, so she could sleep on the dinette bed. However, the entire campsite was covered in tiny Mayflies. They were so small, in fact, that they could work their way into our Airstream through the screen windows. I took my can of insecticide to the outside and had some "hand-to-bug" combat inside. By the next day, the problem had minimized to an annoying disturbance. We did decide to make up the dinette each morning & eat inside, though.
We started our day at the park with a plan: rollercoasters during the early entry hours, kids rides until noon, lunch and naps at the Airstream, afternoon at the water park, showers and dinner, final hours on the coasters. We followed that plan. Trinity measured in at a solid 48", so she was Michael's riding buddy. As her Father's Day present she agreed to try all the coasters with a positive attitude. About the second coaster in she was terrified, but just smiled and said "No, thank you, I won't ride that one a second time." Gabriella, on the other hand, held firm on her "no coaster" stance. Charity was willing to try anything that she qualified for at a solid 42", which was only the Iron Dragon rollercoaster, but she loved and and rode it 5 times.
We managed to ride 3 coasters in the morning and the kids were pretty patient. We learned how to use the parent pass - which allowed one person to wait on the bench with the kids while the other adults rode. Then we would swap places and 2 riders were allowed to skip the line to that ride. The system was not perfect, but it did allow 2 passengers to skip the line, so some of us got to double-ride - which was cool.
From mid-morning until about 5 o'clock there was a LONG stretch of kids activities. MJMJ was just 2 years old, so he got into the park for free. He was a very borderline 36" depending on how tall his mohawk was and how cute the workers thought he was. One worker even let him ride a kids rollercoaster. He loved it! Some rides he was allowed on the first time and then rejected on the second try. Michael tried to stuff his shoes with insoles the second day, but he couldn't keep them on his feet. We later learned that we could have had him "officially" measured at guest services and then he would be granted an armband stating his height. (Unfortunately, I did not remember this until the worker told me 30 min before close on our last day.)
It was the PERFECT rollercoaster weather - 75 degrees, slightly cloudy with a light breeze. It was not so perfect of a water park day, but the kids enjoyed it. There was a solid moment around 4 PM Where we began to doubt our plan. The kids were completely happy splashing in a wading pool - which we could have done in St. Louis for free! We were miserably cold and yearning for our turn on the coasters. The kids were wearing down and we feared that we would be back at the Airstream, prisoner to an early bedtime.
Once we got a warm shower and a bit of food in us, we went back to the park and things were beginning to look up. The longest line for a coaster was 15 minutes. Our former roommate had had her fill of coasters for the day and agreed to watch the kids in Camp Snoopy while Michael and I literally ran from coaster to coaster to coaster. We were able to get over half the coasters in the park done on that day. The kids hung in until the 10 PM closing time & then fell fast aleep in seconds once we hit home. We felt MUCH better about our trip...and the next day more friends would join us!
Because we were campers, we were able to get early entrance tickets for our friends as well! We decided since we were going to have guests that it would be a good idea to empty our tanks and refill with fresh water. Since I had delayed in booking our campsite, we were in an electric only site. Dumping may have been an easy task, if we had not been crammed in quite so closely. We had to ask our nieghbors to move all their things, and then gingerly back into our asphalt driveway.
We were running a bit late, but our friends had run into a little bit of traffic, so we arrived at our meeting point within minutes of each other and made it into the park by 9:30. We kept our plan again and it worked like a charm. Starting with the newest, longest rollercoaster may not have been the first choice for our friends - but they braved it anyway. There were more people to divide up, so some got to ride coasters in the afternoon. The day was hotter and we turned on the A/C during lunch and dinner break - which was a nice reprieve. The girls that were scared of rollercoasters LOVED the water slides and nearly missed dinner. The last hour of the night we completely split up to finish off our "bucket lists" and our friends brought back some elephant ears and cotton candy for us.
We were very satisfied with the trip. We think it should be an annual event. The only trouble was that our days off were exhausting. The next day we would be back on the road driving and working. We slept well that night!