Cedar Point

Cedar Point is a 364-acre (147 ha) amusement park located on a Lake Erie peninsula in Sandusky, Ohio. Opened in the late-1800s, it is reported to be the second-oldest operating amusement park in the United States behind Lake Compounce.[2] Cedar Point is owned and operated by Cedar Fair and is considered the flagship of the amusement park chain.[3] Known as "America's Roller Coast",[4] the park features a world-record 72 rides, including 17 roller coasters – the second-most in the world behind Six Flags Magic Mountain. Its newest roller coaster, Steel Vengeance, opened to the public on May 5, 2018.[5]

Cedar Point
LocationSandusky, Ohio, United States
Coordinates41°28′41.14″N 82°40′44.08″W
OwnerCedar Fair Entertainment Company
General ManagerJason McClure
Operating seasonMay through October
Visitors per annum3.604 million in 2017[1]
Area364 acres (0.569 sq mi; 1.47 km2)
Roller coasters17
Water rides2

Cedar Point's normal operating season runs from early May until Labor Day in September. The park then reopens only on weekends until the end of October or early November for a Halloween-themed event known as HalloWeekends.[6] Other attractions near the park include a one-mile-long (1.6 km) white-sand beach,[7] an outdoor water park called Cedar Point Shores, an indoor water park called Castaway Bay, two marinas,[8] an outdoor sports complex called Cedar Point Sports Center, and several nearby resorts.

The park has reached several milestones. It is the only amusement park in the world with six roller coasters taller than 199 feet (61 m) Magnum XL-200, Millennium Force, Wicked Twister, Top Thrill Dragster, Valravn, and Steel Vengeance – and is the only park with roller coasters in all four height classifications. Cedar Point also received the Golden Ticket Award for "Best Amusement Park in the World" from Amusement Today for 16 consecutive years from 1997–2013.[9] The park is the most visited seasonal amusement park in the United States with an estimated 3.6 million visitors in 2017.[1] The park also has several buildings that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


In the late-19th century, the south shore region of Lake Erie became a popular vacation destination for the emerging middle-class in the United States. The Lake's islands, such as Kelleys Island and South Bass Island, were gaining a reputation for their freshwater bathing resorts.[10] The Cedar Point peninsula, named for its abundance of cedar trees, was originally known for its fishing. Local fishermen leased land and built living quarters there.[11] Sandusky, which featured an important shipping harbor and two railroads, transformed into a major economic center over the next three decades.[12] Railroad and steamship travel supported an emerging tourism industry, and rapid development of the area began.[13]

In the 1860s during the American Civil War, housing for a battery of four field artillery pieces was constructed at the tip of the peninsula. It was used to defend a prison for Confederate soldiers on nearby Johnson's Island. Louis Zistel, a German immigrant, built two boats to transport the prisoners. According to some sources, in 1870 Zistel began to ferry locals to the Cedar Point peninsula (perhaps to the "Biemiller's Cove" area, which is not within the specific area of the present amusement-park).[10] He charged 25 cents per person to ride from Sandusky to Cedar Point on his boat, Young Reindeer. This marked the beginning of commercial tourism on the Cedar Point peninsula.[14] However, the present amusement-park technically had its official beginning in 1888. [15]. Benjamin F. Dwelle and Captain William Slackford leased land on the peninsula (perhaps also in the separate "Biemiller's Cove" area) in 1882 and built eight new bathhouses, a dance hall and wooden walkways on the beach.[10] The steamboats R.B. Hayes and Lutts provided transport to Biemiller's Cove and Cedar Point Light.[14] Building on early success, Dwelle and Slackford continued to expand the offerings for their visitors each year and added picnic tables, cleared acres of brush, and built a baseball diamond. In 1888, after Slackford became ill, Dwelle entered a more lucrative partnership with Adam Stoll and Louis Adolph, who owned land at Cedar Point, and investors Charles Baetz and Jacob Kuebeler.[16] The partnership's first venture was constructing a Grand Pavilion, which opened in 1888. It was a two-story theater and concert hall with a bowling alley and photographer's studio. The building was recognized for its unusual architecture and still stands in the park.[16] The first amusement ride at Cedar Point, a water toboggan ride consisting of a ramp that launched riders into Lake Erie, opened in 1890. Electricity was installed at Cedar Point in 1891.[17] The first roller coaster, Switchback Railway, opened the following year. It stood 25 feet (7.6 m) high and had a top speed of 10 miles per hour (16 km/h). The Switchback Railway was designed as two identical tracks side-by-side – one for the ride down and the other for the train to be hauled back to the top by the ride attendant.[10]

Boeckling era

Representatives of the Lake Erie and Western Railroad purchased the peninsula for US$256,000 (equivalent to about $7,709,700 in 2018) in 1897 and formed the Cedar Point Pleasure Resort Company.[18][19] The company appointed George A. Boeckling, a businessman from Indiana, as the park's new manager. Under his tenure, the peninsula was transformed from a picnic ground into a nationally recognized amusement park and resort destination.[10][14]

The second roller coaster at Cedar Point, the Figure-Eight Roller Toboggan, debuted in 1902. It was moved several years later and renamed The Racer.[20][21] A pony track was built near the beach the same year. Mosquitos were becoming a problem, so in 1904, the park hired the Detroit Dredging Company to drain swampy areas on the peninsula. Detroit Dredging connected a series of lagoons to form a water passageway that quickly became one of the park's signature attractions. Aside from sightseeing passenger boats, the passageway was used to transport coal to power plants near the center of the peninsula.[10] The historic Hotel Breakers opened in 1905 as one of the largest hotels in the Midwest; it had 600 guest rooms and a cafe that could seat 400 guests. A new area of the park called "Amusement Circle" was designed in 1906 to link the pier to the beach. It was located southeast of the Coliseum, a large arena built the same year that featured a grand ballroom and other attractions.[14]

In 1908, the Dip the Dips Scenic Railway roller coaster opened but was soon overshadowed in 1912 by the larger Leap the Dips ride. In 1917, Dip the Dips was razed and replaced by the Leap Frog Scenic Railway. With three roller coasters and a growing variety of other rides, Cedar Point was beginning to grow as an amusement park, though that was not Boeckling's priority. He marketed the peninsula primarily as a bathing resort complete with shows, exhibits, motion pictures and other forms of entertainment, but did not emphasize the park's rides.[22]

Many more hotels and restaurants were constructed in the remaining years of Boeckling's tenure, including Hotel Cedars, White House Hotel, Crystal Rock Castle and Crystal Gardens Ballroom. The Cyclone, a rickety and rough coaster, was built in 1926. Cedar Point continued to update its ride attractions, replacing the Racer, the Circle Swing, and many other rides to make way for a Shoot-the-Chutes water ride, a Tilt-A-Whirl, and fun houses such as Noah's Ark and Bluebeard's Palace. Boeckling's health began to deteriorate in the late 1920s. In 1931, Boeckling became confined to a wheelchair, but he continued to oversee park operations and was pushed around Cedar Point by an employee or relative. His condition worsened, however, and he eventually had to remain indoors. Boeckling died from uremia on July 24, 1931. His portrait in the lobby of Breakers Hotel was draped in black. Flags in the resort and on the G.A. Boeckling steamboat were lowered to half mast.[23]

After Boeckling: the George A. Roose era

Erick Smith took over Cedar Point's management after Boeckling's death. Little expansion happened through the 1930s; one of the few rides built in that period was the Tumble Bug. The decaying Leap the Dips coaster was demolished in the mid-1930s. In the late 1930s, the resort was on the brink of being sold to the state of Ohio for US$3,000,000 (equivalent to about $52,284,700 in 2018). After the 1938 season, the directors had the second floor of the Coliseum modernized in the art deco style with a new stage. In the middle, the giant dance floor remained. Some of the top bands of the time played in the ballroom. As a result, it kept Cedar Point operating through the rest of the Depression.[23] Momma Berardi's Home Made French Fries came to Cedar Point, Momma Berardi's family played an important role in the food industry at Cedar Point. Momma Berardi's fries were sold there from 1942 until 1978, winning four Reader's Choice Awards.[24]

By the end of World War II, Cedar Point was in need of financial help. The wood of the Cyclone roller coaster was rotting, the boardwalk was cracked in many places, and the fishing dock was in need of repair. In 1946, Cedar Point's oldest still-existing ride, the Midway Carousel, was installed. By 1951, the Cyclone coaster was razed because of its poor condition, leaving the resort without a roller coaster. As the Cyclone was being removed, the Laff-in-the-Dark, Rocket Ships, and Loop-A-Plane attractions were installed. Cedar Point Causeway was built in 1957 and is still in use. The president of Cedar Point, Bernie Zeiher, was replaced by George Roose around 1958, and Emile Legros was elected chairman that same year.[17][20]

In the 1950s, the Pagoda Gift Shop was a post-office and the Crystal Rock Castle was turned into a maintenance shop in the late-1950s. In 1959, the hotels were repainted, new admission gates were installed, and over US$1,200,000 (equivalent to about $10,313,700 in 2018) was spent to refresh Cedar Point. The park's first roller coaster since the Cyclone, the Wild Mouse, was built. The resort also got a new kind of ride, a monorail, that was the most popular ride in 1959. Breakers Hotel was restored and the neglected cottages were demolished. The Coliseum and Grand Pavilion were both painted and remodeled. The Crystal Rock Castle Maintenance Shop, bathhouses, and the old powerhouse were demolished, and a new $50,000 bathhouse, boiler house, and maintenance shop were built in their place.[17][20]

In the 1960s, the idea of "pay one price" season passes became common.[11] On March 28, 1960, Cedar Point announced plans to transform the park into a "Disneyland" amusement center.[25] Those plans fell through, however. Cedar Point & Lake Erie Railroad opened in 1963, transporting passengers from the middle of the park to the back. In 1964, Cedar Point built its oldest surviving roller coaster, the Blue Streak. It was named after the local high school's sports teams, the Sandusky Blue Streaks.[26] Jungle Larry's Safari Island was a well-known attraction that operated from 1965 until 1994 despite the death of Jungle Larry in 1984.[27] The Cedar Creek Mine Ride opened in 1969; it is currently the second oldest roller coaster at Cedar Point.[28]

In 1970, the Centennial Theatre, named in honor of Cedar Point's 100th anniversary, was built. 1972 brought Giant Wheel and the now-defunct Jumbo Jet coaster, which was noted for being the fastest coaster at that time. In 1975, Robert L. Munger Jr. took over as president of Cedar Point after Roose retired. The record-breaking Corkscrew roller coaster was built in 1976; it was the first roller coaster to span a midway and have three inversions. Gemini opened in 1978 and was advertised as the tallest, fastest and steepest roller coaster in the world.[29] A kiddie coaster, named Jr. Gemini (now known as Wilderness Run), opened the following year across from the Gemini. White Water Landing opened in 1982, replacing the original Shoot the Rapids log flume. In 1983, Demon Drop was built at the front of the park. Avalanche Run opened in 1985 close to the beach and would later be re-themed as Disaster Transport.[20] That same year, the San Francisco Earthquake Ride was transformed into the Berenstain Bear Country.[23]

Dick Kinzel era

In 1986, Robert L. Munger Jr, the President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Cedar Fair, stepped down due to health issues and was replaced by Richard "Dick" Kinzel.[30] Thunder Canyon, a river rafting ride manufactured by Intamin, also opened in 1986. In 1987, Iron Dragon, a suspended roller coaster, debuted on the Million Dollar Midway near the Cedar Point & Lake Erie Railroad station. In 1988, Soak City (now known as Cedar Point Shores), Cedar Point's outdoor water park, was constructed near Hotel Breakers. It featured speed slides, more than 10 body and tube slides, a family raft ride, a water playhouse and two lazy rivers.[23]

Several new rides and roller coasters opened at Cedar Point from 1989 to 2011 that were record-breakers. Magnum XL-200 debuted in 1989, breaking the world height and speed records. It was the first roller coaster to exceed a height of 200 feet (61 m) and speeds over 70 miles per hour (110 km/h) and was the first hypercoaster in the world.[23] For the 1990 season, Avalanche Run was transformed into Disaster Transport; the ride was fully enclosed and special effects were added.[23] In subsequent years, the special effects and theming were removed, leaving the ride almost completely dark. Mean Streak opened in 1991 as the northernmost attraction in the park. It broke records for the fastest and tallest wooden roller coaster in the world, reaching speeds of 65 miles per hour (105 km/h) and a height of 161 feet (49 m).[17][23] Challenge Park was built between Hotel Breakers and Soak City in 1992. Challenge Park included RipCord, Skyscraper, and two eighteen-hole mini-golf courses.[23]

Snake River Falls was constructed in 1993 because of the popularity of Soak City. The 82-foot (25 m)-tall structure sends riders plunging down 40 mph (64 km/h) at a 50-degree angle.[31] At the bottom of the hill, the ride ends with a splash landing in which the boat creates a large wave, splashing spectators on an overlooking bridge. When it opened, it was the tallest and fastest water ride in the world.[23] In 1994, Cedar Point installed Raptor. The Mill Race log flume was removed from the park, and the circular Calypso was relocated to make room for Raptor, the first inverted roller coaster to feature a cobra roll.[32] In December 1994, the park held its only Christmas in the Park. The Midway Carousel was open, a horse-drawn carriage gave behind-the-scenes tours of the park and the midway held many Christmas festivals, including a Christmas tree.[17] In 1996, Cedar Point opened Mantis, then the tallest, steepest, and fastest stand-up roller coaster in the world.[17] Originally, the ride was to be called "Banshee", but it was later changed after negative public reaction.[33] The discarded name would later be reused for Banshee at Kings Island in 2014.[34] In 1997, the park added HalloWeekends, a Halloween event with haunted houses and mazes that typically operates from September through late October.[35] Camp Snoopy debuted in 1999; it features eight Snoopy-themed attractions, with the exception of a Tilt-A-Whirl. The area also features a junior roller coaster built by Vekoma, Woodstock Express.[36]

Cedar Point built the first giga coaster, Millennium Force, in 2000. When it debuted, it was the tallest and fastest complete-circuit roller coaster in the world, climbing 310 ft (94 m) and reaching a maximum speed of 93 mph (150 km/h).[37] In 2002, Wicked Twister opened as the tallest, fastest, and longest inverted impulse roller coaster of its kind.[38] In the midst of a highly-competitive industry with other parks, Cedar Point again set new records the following year with the debut of Top Thrill Dragster, which opened as the tallest and fastest roller coaster in the world in 2003.[39] It reached a height of 420 ft (130 m) and a maximum speed of 120 mph (190 km/h).[39] Kingda Ka at Six Flags Great Adventure broke both records two years later.[40] maXair debuted in 2005 as only the second HUSS Giant Frisbee ride in the United States.[41] Dan Keller also retired in 2005 as Vice President and general manager. He was replaced by John Hildebrandt, who had been the Vice President and general manager of Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom since May 2004.[42] In 2006, Skyhawk was built next to Snake River Falls; it is currently the tallest Screamin' Swing in the world.[43] In the 2007 season, Cedar Point built Maverick, which features a 100-foot (30 m) drop at a 95-degree angle and includes a linear synchronous motor (LSM) launch in the middle of the ride reaching speeds of 70 miles per hour (110 km/h).[44] In 2008, Cedar Point introduced Planet Snoopy, a kids' area constructed on the site of Peanuts Playground; it consists of family and children's rides relocated from Cedar Point's sister park Geauga Lake after it closed. The area also consisted of a "Kids Only" restaurant called Joe Cool Cafe, which had a small menu for adults.[45] Starlight Experience, a night-time LED light extravaganza with floats themed to the four seasons, debuted in 2009. The $1,000,000 attraction took place on the Frontier Trail nightly beginning at twilight.[46] In 2010, Cedar Point added a new flume ride on the park's Frontier Trail named Shoot the Rapids, which included two drops and a three-minute journey through a rustic, western-themed environment. It was removed in February 2016 following a history of low ridership and a serious incident in 2013 injuring seven riders.[47][48] WindSeeker, a 301-foot (92 m) tall tower that spins riders along the shoreline of Lake Erie, was introduced in 2011. WindSeeker did not open on time due to construction delays and opened to the public on June 14, 2011.[49]

Matt Ouimet era

On June 20, 2011, Cedar Fair announced that Dick Kinzel would retire on January 3, 2012, and Matt Ouimet would become the CEO of the company. Ouimet was employed by The Walt Disney Company for 17 years, including tenures as president of Disney Cruise Line and the Disneyland Resort.[50]

In 2012, Cedar Point added Dinosaurs Alive!, a walk-through exhibit featuring approximately 50 life-size animatronic dinosaurs. It was located on Adventure Island and replaced the Paddlewheel Excursions boat cruise ride.[51] Dinosaurs Alive! was replaced with Forbidden Frontier after the 2018 season. A six-lane mat racer slide complex called Dragster H2O was added to Soak City. The slides around Dragster H2O were repainted and the Speed Slides were dismantled to make room for Dragster H2O. Cedar Point also introduced Fast Lane, their version of a fast-pass system, and a new nighttime show, Luminosity – Ignite the Night!. Cedar Point also removed WildCat for the 2012 season to make room for Luminosity.[52] This was the first time since 1978 that a roller coaster was removed from Cedar Point.[28]

On July 13, 2012, Cedar Point announced the removal of Disaster Transport and Space Spiral.[53] Exactly a month later, Cedar Point announced GateKeeper, the longest wing coaster in the world, which opened on May 11, 2013. Along with GateKeeper, a new main entrance plaza was constructed, replacing the entrance that was built in the 1960s. It features two 100-foot (30 m)-tall support columns that the GateKeeper trains go through.[54] Cedar Point invested $60 million in its resort hotels over the next three years, starting in the 2013–2014 offseason.[55] At the end of the 2013 season, John Hildebrandt retired as the park's general manager and was replaced by Jason McClure, the former Vice President and general manager of Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom.[56]

Two new family attractions called Pipe Scream and Lake Erie Eagles were added in 2014, along with a pay-per-ride thrill ride named SlingShot. Camp Snoopy and the Gemini Midway underwent renovations the same year, and some rides within those areas were relocated and given new themes. In 2015, the stand-up coaster Mantis was transformed into a floorless roller coaster called Rougarou, receiving new trains and a new green and orange paint scheme in the process. Also in 2015, Hotel Breakers received a $25-million renovation. A new roller coaster called Valravn debuted in 2016 as the tallest, fastest, and longest dive coaster in the world.[57] The 223-foot-tall (68 m) ride replaced the 40-year-old Good Time Theater along with an antique car ride known as Turnpike Cars. Calypso was also moved in the process to the beach area near Wicked Twister, where it was renamed Tiki Twirl. Raptor and Top Thrill Dragster were repainted as well.[58][59]

As the 2016 season came to close, Cedar Point announced that Mean Streak would close permanently on September 16, 2016, though park officials declined to confirm that it was being torn down.[60] The park teased subtle hints over the following year that the roller coaster was in fact being refurbished.[61] In August 2017, Cedar Point officially confirmed that Mean Streak would reemerge as Steel Vengeance in 2018.[61]

Park timeline

Before 1960
  • 1870: Cedar Point opens
  • 1892: Switchback Railway opens
  • 1899: Bay Shore Hotel opens
  • 1902: Figure-Eight Roller Toboggan opens
  • 1905: Hotel Breakers opens
  • 1907: Switchback Railway closes
  • 1908: Dip the Dips Scenic Railway opens
  • 1910: Racer opens
  • 1912: Leap the Dips opens
  • 1917: Dip the Dips Scenic Railway closes
  • 1918: High Frolics (formerly known as Leap Frog Railway) opens
  • 1925: Noah's Ark opens
  • 1928: Racer closes
  • 1929: Cyclone opens
  • 1933: Leap Frog Railway was renamed High Frolics
  • 1934: Tumble Bug opens
  • 1935: Leap the Dips closes
  • 1940: High Frolics closes
  • 1946: Midway Carrousel opens
  • 1951: Cyclone closes
  • 1952: Super Coaster opens
  • 1955: Fascination opens
  • 1957: The Cedar Point Causeway opens
  • 1958: Cadillac Cars open
  • 1959: Monorail, Turnpike Cars, and Wild Mouse opens; Noah's Ark closes; Construction is completed on the Cedar Point Marina
1960 to 1999
  • 1960: Scrambler opens
  • 1961: Sky wheel, Rotor, and Star Voyager (formerly called Super Jets) open
  • 1962: Sky Ride and Scamper opens
  • 1963: Cedar Point & Lake Erie Railroad and Mill Race open; Wild Mouse closes
  • 1964: Blue Streak, and Paddlewheel Excursions (formerly called Western Cruise) open
  • 1965: Space Spiral, Earthquake, and Jungle Larry's African Safari open
  • 1966: Pirate Ride, Trabant, and Upside Down Funhouse opens
  • 1967: Cedar Downs Racing Derby, Second Rotor, Sealand Marine exhibit, Shoot-the-Rapids, and Frontiertown open; Super Coaster closes
  • 1968: Frontier Lift, Kiddieland Carousel and Sky Slide open
  • 1969: Cedar Creek Mine Ride, Antique Cars, and the Town Hall Museum open; Scamper closes
  • 1970: WildCat, Bayern Kurve, Dodgem No. 2, Monster, Schwabinchen, Calypso, Super Himilaya, Centennial Theatre, Kiddy Kingdom, and Tiki Twirl open, Cedar Point marked the 100th anniversary
  • 1971: Frontier Trail and Camper Village RV Campground open; Zugspitze closes
  • 1972: Frontiertown Carousel, Jumbo Jet, Giant Wheel and Matterhorn open
  • 1975: The Cedar Point Cinema opens
  • 1976: Corkscrew and Troika open
  • 1977: Witches' Wheel opens
  • 1978: Gemini opens; Jumbo Jet was closed down
  • 1979: Jr. Gemini and Wave Swinger open
  • 1980: Oceana Dolphin stadium opens; Sky Wheel closes;
  • 1981: Ocean Motion opens; Sky Wheel, Funhouse and Shoot-the-Rapids close
  • 1982: White Water Landing and Kid Arthur's Court open
  • 1983: Demon Drop opens
  • 1984: Tiki Twirl, Rotor, Bayern Curve and Earthquake close
  • 1985: Avalanche Run and Berenstain Bear Country indoor complex opens; Frontier Lift closes; WildCat, Matterhorn and Super Himalaya moved to make room for Avalanche Run; Schwabinchen relocated near Ocean Motion
  • 1986: Thunder Canyon opens; Sir Rub-A-Dub's Tubs added to Kiddy Kingdom
  • 1987: Iron Dragon opens; Monster is relocated to make room for Iron Dragon; Western Cruise station is moved and renamed Paddlewheel Excursions to make room for Iron Dragon
  • 1988: Soak City waterpark opens
  • 1989: Magnum XL-200 opens
  • 1990: Sandcastle Suites; Main Stream and Tadpole Town added to Soak City; Trabant closes; Avalanche Run is transformed into Disaster Transport
  • 1991: Mean Streak opens; Sky Slide closes
  • 1992: Challenge Park opens; outdoor complex added to Berenstain Bear Country
  • 1993: Snake River Falls opens; Mill Race closes
  • 1994: Raptor opens; Jungle Larry's African Safari closes; Calypso and Midway Carousel relocated to make room for Raptor; Turnpike Cars reduced to make room for Raptor; Christmas in the Park is held for the first and last time
  • 1995: Zoom Flume and laser light show added; Renegade River and Choo-Choo Lagoon debut in Soak City; Breakers East is added to Hotel Breakers
  • 1996: Mantis and Ripcord open; Pirate Ride closes
  • 1997: Chaos opens; Soak city expansion; HalloWeekends introduced for the first time
  • 1998: Power Tower opens; Bumper Boats relocated from Kiddy Kingdom to Gemini Midway
  • 1999: Camp Snoopy opens; Breakers Tower is added to Hotel Breakers; Super Himalaya is relocated to make room for Camp Snoopy; Oceana Dolphin stadium is renamed The Aquatic Stadium with new show, Splash!; Kid Arthur's Court closes
  • 2000: Millennium Force and Breakers Express open; Giant Wheel relocated to make room for Millennium Force.
  • 2001: Lighthouse Point opens; The Aquarium closes; VertiGo is open 4 months before being demolished, Dodgem No.1 and Fascination close.
  • 2002: Wicked Twister opens; "Snoopy Rocks! On Ice" ice skating show debuts; Cedar Point Cinema is converted into Good Time Theatre; Schwabinchen closes.
  • 2003: Top Thrill Dragster opens; Swan Boats close; Troika and Chaos are relocated to make room for Top Thrill Dragster; Troika and WildCat repainted.
  • 2004: $10 million in capital improvements with expansions at Lighthouse Point luxury camping complex; Splash City added to Soak City; Iron Dragon repainted.
  • 2005: maXair opens; White Water Landing closes; Magnum XL-200 repainted.
  • 2006: Skyhawk opens; Hot Summer Lights nighttime show.
  • 2007: Maverick opens; Peanuts Playground closes.
  • 2008: Planet Snoopy and SkyScraper open; the Aquatic Stadium is renamed Extreme Sports Stadium with new show, All Wheels Extreme.
  • 2009: Starlight Experience opens; Demon Drop closes.
  • 2010: Shoot the Rapids opens; Chaos closes.
  • 2011: WindSeeker opens; Ocean Motion relocated to the former Demon Drop site to make room for WindSeeker; Paddlewheel Excursions and WildCat close, Speed Slides in Soak City close; Millennium Force repainted.
  • 2012: Dinosaurs Alive! opens; Dragster H2O added to Soak City; Fast Lane is introduced; Iron Dragon Midway renamed Celebration Plaza with new show, Luminosity – Ignite the Night!; Disaster Transport and Space Spiral close.
  • 2013: GateKeeper opens; new entrance plaza debuts; Bumper Boats closes.
  • 2014: Pipe Scream, Lake Erie Eagles, and SlingShot open with renovated Gemini Midway; Frog Hopper becomes Woodstock's Airmail and relocates to Camp Snoopy; Jr. Gemini entrance moves to Camp Snoopy and renamed Wilderness Run; Mantis, Turnpike Cars, Sir Rub-a-Dubs Tubs and Good Time Theatre close.
  • 2015: Mantis reopens as Rougarou, a floorless coaster; Hotel Breakers finishes renovation; Calypso renamed Tiki Twirl and relocates; Dodgem relocated and cars are replaced with more padding; Maverick gets new restraints; Challenge Racing, Skyscraper, and Shoot the Rapids close.
  • 2016: Valravn opens, along with a new restaurant called Frontier Inn; Raptor and Top Thrill Dragster repainted; Mean Streak, Challenge Park, Challenge Golf, and Choo Choo Lagoon at Soak City close.
  • 2017: Soak City expands and becomes Cedar Point Shores; Hotel Breakers expands; Breakers Express expands and becomes Cedar Point's Express Hotel; new sporting complex called Cedar Point Sports Center opens; RipCord relocated to the former Shoot the Rapids location and renamed Professor Delbert's Frontier Fling; Joe Cool's Cafe is replaced by Melt Bar & Grilled; Sandcastle Suites and Extreme Sports Stadium close; Luminosity – Ignite the Night! issues its final performance.
  • 2018: Mean Streak reopens as Steel Vengeance; Dinosaurs Alive! and Witches' Wheel close.
  • 2019: Forbidden Frontier opens.


List of attractions

Thrill level (out of 5)[67]
  1 (low)   2 (mild)   3 (moderate)   4 (high)   5 (aggressive)

Roller coasters

As of May 2018, Cedar Point features 17 roller coasters.[68] It is tied with Canada's Wonderland for second-most in the world behind Six Flags Magic Mountain, which has 19.[69][70]

Coaster Picture Opened Manufacturer Description Thrill
Blue Streak 1964 Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters A wooden roller coaster. It is the oldest operating roller coaster at Cedar Point. 4
Cedar Creek Mine Ride 1969 Arrow Dynamics A steel mine train Hybrid roller coaster. 4
Corkscrew 1976 Arrow Dynamics A steel roller coaster that spans the midway. It was the first coaster with 3 inversions and the first coaster to span a midway when it opened. 5
GateKeeper 2013 Bolliger & Mabillard A steel wing coaster that travels from the beach through the main gate. It is the tallest and longest Wing Coaster as well as having the highest inversion on any roller coaster in the world.[71] 5
Gemini 1978 Arrow Dynamics A steel racing Hybrid roller coaster. It was marketed as the tallest, fastest and longest when it opened. 5
Iron Dragon 1987 Arrow Dynamics A steel suspended roller coaster. Supports were painted yellow for the 2004 season. 4
Magnum XL-200 1989 Arrow Dynamics A steel hyper roller coaster. It was the tallest and fastest roller coaster in the world when it opened.[17] 5
Maverick 2007 Intamin A steel launched roller coaster. With its 95-degree drop, it is the steepest roller coaster in the park. 5
Millennium Force 2000 Intamin A steel giga roller coaster. It set several records when it opened such as the tallest, fastest and steepest roller coaster in the world.[72] 5
Raptor 1994 Bolliger & Mabillard A steel inverted roller coaster. It was the tallest, fastest and longest inverted roller coaster in the world when it opened. It was also the first inverted roller coaster with a cobra roll.[32] 5
Rougarou 1996 Bolliger & Mabillard A steel floorless coaster previously known as Mantis, which was the tallest, fastest and steepest stand-up roller coaster in the world when it opened in 1996. Rougarou opened in 2015 as a renovated version of Mantis featuring new trains, new colors, and a new theme.[73][74] 5
Steel Vengeance 2018 Rocky Mountain Construction A steel hybrid coaster that opened as the tallest, longest, and fastest of its kind in the world. 5
Top Thrill Dragster 2003 Intamin A steel strata accelerator roller coaster. It was the tallest and fastest roller coaster in the world when it opened.[39] 5
Valravn 2016 Bolliger & Mabillard A steel Dive Coaster that opened as the tallest, fastest, and longest of its kind in the world.[57] 5
Wicked Twister 2002 Intamin A steel inverted impulse roller coaster. It is currently the tallest and fastest inverted coaster in the world. 5
Wilderness Run 1979 Intamin A steel children's roller coaster, previously known as Jr. Gemini until 2014. It was the first roller coaster manufactured by Intamin.[75] Entrance was moved to Camp Snoopy and renamed Wilderness Run in 2014.[58] 2
Woodstock Express 1999 Vekoma A steel junior roller coaster. It is located within Camp Snoopy. 4

Thrill rides

Cedar Point has 17 thrill rides. The newest is SlingShot, which was introduced in 2014.[76]

Ride Year opened Manufacturer Description Thrill level[67]
Cedar Downs Racing Derby 1967 Prior and Church A high-speed, circular ride resembling a carousel themed to horse racing. It is one of only two remaining installations of its kind still operating in the United States.[77] Manufactured in 1920 by Prior and Church, the ride was sold to Cedar Point in 1965. It was originally located at the defunct Euclid Beach Park in east Cleveland, where it was called "Great American Racing Derby", and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[78][79] 3
Dodgem 1970 Soli of Italy A classic bumper cars attraction. 4
Matterhorn 1972 Mack Rides A matterhorn circular ride that swings riders as it moves in a clockwise motion while traveling up and down. 3
maXair 2005 HUSS Park Attractions A Giant Frisbee ride, it is one of only two Giant Frisbees made by HUSS in the world. 5
Monster 1970 Eyerly Aircraft Company A standard monster ride. 3
Ocean Motion 1981 HUSS Park Attractions A swinging pirate ship ride that reaches a height of 65 feet (20 m). 3
Pipe Scream 2014 Zamperla A Disk'O ride where a single car travels along a 302-foot (92 m) long, U-shaped track, reaching a height of 43 feet (13 m). 4
Power Tower 1998 S&S Worldwide A combo drop tower ride featuring both a Space Shot and a Turbo Drop. Power Tower is the only four-towered drop tower ride in the world, devoting two towers to each drop cycle. 5
Professor Delbert's Frontier Fling 1996 Ride Entertainment Group A 152 feet (46 m) dual arch Skycoaster model. Operated as Ripcord in Challenge Park from 1996–2016. This is an upcharge attraction. 5
Scrambler 1960 Eli Bridge Company A twist ride that is one of the oldest rides operating at Cedar Point. 3
Skyhawk 2006 S&S Worldwide A Screamin' Swing ride, which is currently the world's largest swinging ride. 5
SlingShot 2014 Funtime A 236 feet (72 m) tall Reverse bungee ride that launches riders up 360 feet (110 m) at speeds up to 62 miles per hour (100 km/h). SlingShot is an additional charge attraction. 5
Super Himalaya 1970 Mack Rides A circular Music Express ride that travels in a clockwise motion on a track of various elevations. 3
Tiki Twirl 1970 Mack Rides A spinning ride that spins riders in two degrees of motion. Previously known as Calypso prior to its relocation in 2015. 3
Troika 1976 HUSS Park Attractions A Troika ride in which riders reach a height of 25 feet (7.6 m). 3
Wave Swinger 1979 Zierer A wave swinger ride featuring hand painted murals. Riders reach a height of 16 feet (4.9 m). 3
WindSeeker 2011 Mondial A WindSeeker tower swinger ride. It was one of the first of its kind. 4

Family rides

Cedar Point has 9 family rides.

Ride Year opened Manufacturer Description Thrill level[67]
Antique Cars 1969 Arrow Dynamics An automobile track ride with cars that resemble an early Cadillac car. It is one of two track rides in the park. 3
Cadillac Cars 1958 Arrow Dynamics A second track ride with cars designed to look like a 1910 Cadillac. 3
Cedar Point & Lake Erie Railroad 1963 Engines: A 15-minute, western-themed train excursion encompasses a two-mile (3.2 km) trip.[80] The 3 ft (914 mm) narrow gauge[81] train features two stations: one near Iron Dragon and the other near Steel Vengeance. 1
Giant Wheel 1972[14] Anton Schwarzkopf A 136 feet (41.5 m) tall, observation wheel.[82] 2
Kiddy Kingdom Carousel 1968 Dentzel Carousel Company A classic carousel ride originally built in 1925. It is located in the Kiddy Kingdom section of the park and is listed on the NRHP.[83] A Wurlitzer #103 Band Organ that once provided the carousel's music is now in storage. 1
Lake Erie Eagles 2014 Larson International A flying eagles ride with eight carriages that each have a paddle, enabling guests to change the movement of their carriage. 3
Midway Carousel 1946 Daniel Muller A classic carousel ride. One of the few remaining Daniel Muller Carousels, it was built in 1912 and moved to Cedar Point 1946. It is the oldest operating ride at Cedar Point and is listed on the NRHP.[84] A non operational Wurlitzer #153 Band Organ can be seen on the ride. 1
Sky Ride 1962 Von Roll A standard gondola lift ride. It transports passengers from the front of the park to a station near Celebration Plaza. The cars used are from the defunct Frontier Lift. 3
Linus' Beetle Bugs 1999 Sellner A standard Tilt-A-Whirl ride. It was re-themed for the 2019 season to fit in with the Camp Snoopy theme. 3

Water rides

Cedar Point has two water rides, excluding attractions located in Cedar Point Shores.[85]

Ride Opened Manufacturer Description Thrill level[67]
Snake River Falls 1993 Arrow Dynamics A Shoot-the-Chute ride. It opened as the tallest and fastest water ride in the world with a drop of 80 feet (24 m).[23] 5
Thunder Canyon 1986 Intamin A river rafting ride. Thunder Canyon normally closes in late August and is transformed into a HalloWeekends attraction called CornStalkers. 4

Children rides

Kiddy Kingdom opened in 1970 as Kiddieland but was renamed in 1993.[17] It is located near the first aid station and maXair. It contains 10 rides.

NameThrill level[67]
Dune Buggies1
Police Cars1
Rock Spin & Turn2
Roto Whip2
Sky Fighters2
Space Age2

Opened in 2008, Planet Snoopy is Cedar Point's newest children's area. All of its rides come from the defunct Geauga Lake park.[45] It is located near WindSeeker and contains eight rides.

NameThrill level[67]
Flying Ace Balloon Race2
Joe Cool's Dodgem School2
Kite Eating Tree2
Peanuts Road Rally1
Snoopy's Deep Sea Divers2
Snoopy's Space Race2
Snoopy's Express Railroad1
Woodstock's Whirlybirds2

Camp Snoopy opened in 1999 and is located near the entrance to Dinosaurs Alive!. It contains six rides and two kiddie coasters.

NameThrill level[67]
Balloon Race2
Camp Bus2
Charlie Brown's Wind Up2
Peanuts 5002
Red Baron2
Snoopy Bounce2
Wilderness Run2
Woodstock Express4
Woodstock's Airmail2

Cedar Point Shores

Cedar Point's water park opened in 1988 as Soak City and was renamed Cedar Point Shores following an announcement on August 18, 2016. It is adjacent to Cedar Point and requires separate admission. Guests must get their hands stamped to re-enter Cedar Point.

Live entertainment


  • The Celebration Plaza Stage is in Celebration Plaza in front of the Iron Dragon. It was built for the 2012 season as part of Luminosity – Ignite the Night! and replaced a giant screen used for Hot Summer Lights.
  • The Red Garter Saloon is a stage located on the Frontier Trail.
  • The Palace Theater is next to the Last Chance Saloon in Frontiertown.
  • The Camp Snoopy Theatre is a small stage in Camp Snoopy.
  • The Jack Aldrich Theatre formerly called the Centennial Theatre is a stage located between Midway Carousel and the Skyride.


  • Bandstand USA is a musical medley of tributes featuring a handful of Motown classics.
  • Beach Band is brass and percussion band that travels around the park playing pop, rock and other genres.
  • Charlie Brown's Funtime Frolics takes place in the Camp Snoopy Theatre.
  • Jamming DJ's are disc jockeys (DJ's) who take requests from people waiting in line for the Millennium Force daily and for the Raptor on weekends during the summer.
  • Vertical Impact is an action show that features acrobats, extreme athletes, and dancers.
  • Lusty Lil's Revue is a musical comedy show set to a western theme in the Palace Theater.
  • Peanuts' Celebration at the Point is a Peanuts show performed on the Celebration Plaza stage.
  • Snoopy's Sing-A-Long is a singing and dancing show in the Camp Snoopy Theatre.
  • Toes in the Sand Band is a band that plays outside of the Hotel Breakers on the beach.
  • Totally Live – This Country Rocks is a country music and dancing show in the Red Garter Saloon.


Fast Lane

Fast Lane, introduced at Cedar Point in 2012, is a secondary queue system that offers shorter wait times on the park's most popular rides.[87] In addition to the standard admission charge, visitors can bypass the standard wait line by purchasing a wristband that grants access to the Fast Lane queue. A limited number of wristbands are sold each day. The two options available for purchase are "Fast Lane" and "Fast Lane Plus". The standard Fast Lane offers access to 24 attractions, while Fast Lane Plus covers the same rides and adds Top Thrill Dragster, GateKeeper, Maverick, Valravn, and Steel Vengeance.[88]

Beginning in the 2014 season, Cedar Point offers a Halloween-themed version of Fast Lane called Fright Lane with Skeleton Key, available during HalloWeekends. In addition to Fast Lane access, this version provides priority access to haunted attractions within the park. It also includes a key that provides access to a secret room in each haunted attraction.[89]



Cedar Point won the Golden Ticket Award from Amusement Today for "Best Amusement Park in the World" for 16 consecutive years from 1997–2013.[9] The park has also placed in categories for "Friendliest Park Staff" (2002, 2004 – 2006), "Cleanest Park" (2004, 2005), "Best Capacity" (1998–2002), "Best Kid's Area" (2004, 2013), "Best Outdoor Night Production" (2004–2007), "Best Shows" (2004, 2005), "Best Games Area" (2002), "Best Souvenirs" (2002), and "Best Halloween Event" (2005 – 2008, 2013, 2014). The park also won the Golden Ticket Award for "Best New Ride of 2007" with the roller coaster Maverick.[90] Cedar Point has also won several IAAPA awards, including the Applause Award in 1996.[91]


Cedar Point's roller coasters have consistently ranked high in the Golden Ticket Awards. In the 2013 rankings, GateKeeper debuted at 28th, making it the first time ever that the park had six steel roller coasters in the top 50; it currently has five, all in the top 25. The following steel and wooden coasters were ranked by Amusement Today in 2019:[92]




In 1960, the park's attendance reached 1 million for the first time. Just five years later, the attendance reached 2 million.[17][93] In 1975, attendance reached 3 million for the first time.[93] Cedar Point's attendance peaked in 1994 with 3.6 million visitors,[94] a feat not matched again until 2016. In 2017, the park was ranked fourteenth overall in North America for attendance and first in the United States among seasonal amusement parks, with an estimated 3.6 million visitors.[1]



Cedar Point owns and operates five resorts located either on park grounds or less than a mile away.[108] Most are within walking distance of Cedar Point Beach, and all guests can enter the park one hour before it opens to the general public, where a select number of rides are available including Steel Vengeance, Millennium Force, and others.[108]

On December 2, 2012, Cedar Point announced that it would invest $60 million in its hotel resorts over three years, starting in the 2013–2014 offseason. No additional rooms were added to any of the hotels.[55][109]

On-site resorts, marina, and campgrounds

Hotel Breakers, the oldest resort at Cedar Point, was built in 1905. It's the closest resort to Cedar Point and Cedar Point Shores, and it features over 500 rooms and suites. In 1997, Hotel Breakers was renovated and expanded, doubling in size.[110]

Lighthouse Point, located along the west bank of the peninsula, contains 64 cottages and 40 cabins. The centerpiece of Lighthouse Point is the Cedar Point Light, which was built in 1862 and is the oldest existing structure on the peninsula.[111]

Camper Village is the only place at Cedar Point where it is possible to hook up a recreational vehicle (RV) to water and electricity. Camper Village sites range from deluxe sites with electricity, water, sewer and cable to 112 electric-only sites. The Camper Village has the Camper Village Store, an outdoor pool, a shuffleboard court, a game room, a shuttle service, a dump station and laundry facilities.[112]

The Cedar Point Marina is located on the Sandusky Bay side of the peninsula, directly adjacent to the amusement park. The marina is one of two operated by Cedar Point. It is also one of the largest on Lake Erie with docks, able to accommodate vessels up to 100 ft, for both seasonal and transient boaters. The Marina has fuel docks with holding tank pumpout, a small marina store, dedicated restroom and shower facilities, laundry facilities, and a marina only pool. There are 2 restaurants located at the marina, Famous Daves Bar-B-Que, and Bay Harbor Inn (an upscale seafood restaurant). Seasonal dockers receive various perks with their docks including 2 Platinum Season Passes, a visitors parking pass, and various extra discounts. Seasonal and transient boaters can access the park through the Marina Gate and also receive the same perks as at the other resorts including early entry and discount tickets. The marina is the base for the ILYA affiliated Point Yacht Club and home port for most of the members. The marina season roughly parallels the park's operating season and is open from early May through late October or early November.

Off-site Cedar Point-owned resorts

Castaway Bay is an indoor waterpark resort opened by Cedar Fair in November 2004. It houses over 38,000 square feet (3,500 m2) of water attractions, shops, and restaurants, in addition to more than 200 guest rooms and a marina.

Cedar Point's Express Hotel, formerly Breakers Express, is a hotel located one mile (one point six kilometres) from Cedar Point. Opened in 2000, it is the closest off-site hotel to the peninsula and includes over 400 guest rooms.[113][114]

National Register of Historic Places

Cedar Point features several historic buildings on the peninsula. Many of the buildings and structures on the peninsula are from the late 1800s or early 1900s. The oldest structure on the peninsula is the Cedar Point Light. It is a restored lighthouse that was built in 1862 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) on July 19, 1984.[115] Located along the main midway is the Coliseum. The Coliseum was built in 1906 with the newly expanded Midway. It has a ballroom known for holding several dances that helped Cedar Point out of The Depression. It was added to the NRHP on October 2, 1982.[116] Another building that is listed on the NRHP is the U.S. Coast Guard Building located along Perimeter Road that stretches around the peninsula.[117]

All three of Cedar Point's carousels are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Midway Carousel, otherwise known as the Daniel C. Muller Carousel, is located at the front of the park. It opened in 1912 and was brought to Cedar Point in 1946. A Sandusky family purchased the ride and operated it at the park. It became property of Cedar Point in 1963. It is Cedar Point's oldest operating ride and was added to the NRHP on October 20, 1982.[77][84] The second carousel at the park is the Cedar Downs Racing Derby, also known as the Great American Racing Derby. It originally opened at Euclid Beach Park in 1921 and was transported to Cedar Point for the 1967 season.[79] It is only one of two racing carousels still operating in the United States,[77] and was added to the NRHP on November 8, 1990.[78] The third carousel is the Kiddy Kingdom Carousel, located in Kiddy Kingdom. It is also known as William H. Dentzel 1924 Carousel and opened at Cedar Point in 1968. It was added to the NRHP on November 8, 1990.[83]

Cedar Point used to have a fourth carousel located in Frontiertown, next to the Wave Swinger. It was known as the Frontier Carousel or William H. Dentzel 1921 Carousel. It opened at Cedar Point in 1972 when it was bought from a family in Lansing, Michigan. It was listed on the NRHP on November 8, 1990.[118] After the 1994 season, the carousel closed and was moved to Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom, where it now operates under the name Antique Carousel. Its building is currently used for the HalloWeekends attraction, Eternity Infirmary.


Cedar Point's oldest hotel is the Hotel Breakers. It opened in 1905 during the "golden age" of resort hotels. It was added to the NRHP on March 9, 1987. After several major alterations, most notably the Breakers Tower in 1998, the National Park Service removed the Hotel Breakers from the NRHP on August 7, 2001.[119]

Cedar Point has had a cultural influence on American society as evidenced in many forms of media such as books, television, and film. In the 1940 biographical film Knute Rockne, All American documenting the life of famous Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne, Cedar Point is featured at a pivotal point in the story. In 1913, Knute works as a lifeguard on a beach at Cedar Point, where he and his college roommate Gus Dorais worked on the forward pass. The concept, which was first used in a scrimmage game at Cedar Point, would revolutionize the sport and the film would later be preserved in the Library of Congress National Film Registry.[120][121] In 2004, an independently-produced film, Close Encounters of the Fourth Kind: Infestation From Mars, was shot at several historic locations around Sandusky including Cedar Point. Dick Kinzel, CEO of Cedar Fair at the time, had a brief speaking role in the film.[122]

In the 2006 book The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima, the main characters take a field trip to Cedar Point with their high school class.[123][124] In a 2010 episode of Bert the Conqueror on the Travel Channel, Bert takes the "Foursome Fearsome" roller-coaster challenge in which he rides the four fastest and tallest coasters in the park in under an hour.[125][126] A 2012 episode of Travel Channel's Off Limits takes a look at off-season maintenance at the park and features the host, Don Wildman, working with the maintenance crew on Mean Streak and Millennium Force.[127][128] In 2012, the "Extreme Heights" and "Speed Demons" episodes of Insane Coaster Wars on the Travel Channel feature Cedar Point coasters Millennium Force and Top Thrill Dragster, respectively. Commentary for the series was primarily filmed at Cedar Point.[129][130]

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Further reading

  • Francis, David W.; Diane DeMali Francis (1995). Cedar Point: The Queen of American Watering Places. Amusement Park Books. ISBN 0-935408-03-7.
  • Francis, David W.; Diane DeMali Francis (2004). Cleveland Amusement Park Memories. Gray & Company. ISBN 978-1-886228-89-4.
  • Hildebrandt, Hugo John (2018). Tim O'Brien (ed.). Always Cedar Point: A Memoir of the Midway. Casa Flamingo Literary Arts. ISBN 0-996750-41-X.
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