Sandusky, Ohio (Abbreviation: CP)
Cedar Fair Entertainment
---- THE LATEST NEWS ----
(2/1/2024) Cedar Point Shows Off New Top Thrill 2 Train Colors
(1/24/2024) Looking Forward To Top Thrill... 3?!
(12/17/2023) Cedar Point To Host Special Eclipse Viewing Event In April 2024 (MORE...)
(12/13/2023) Cedar Point Offers Official Update On Top Thrill 2 Testing
(12/11/2023) Top Thrill 2 Spotted Making Test Launches
Park News - (12/17/2023) While Cedar Point won’t open for the 2024 season until May 4th, the park is hosting a very rare special event on April 8th called Total Eclipse of the Point. The park will find itself right in the path of a total solar eclipse next year, will open to a select few to celebrate the celestial event with food and drinks in the Grand Pavilion Restaurant & Bar, as well as a selection of rides to be open in The Boardwalk area. Keep an eye on the official website for details about how you can attend in the near future.
Oh… and for those wondering, the park has also announced that there will be Passholder Preview days for the new Top Thrill 2 coaster, slated between April 30 and May 2, ahead of t he grand opening. Details on that will also be released as the date gets closer.
(11/10/2023) According to the local news, Cedar Point has confirmed that the purchase of the auto dealer property was to be used for new “auxiliary human resources offices”. The existing HR offices are currently located in a lot next to the marina and Famous Dave’s restaurant. The area here also used to be home to the former Cedar Dorms before they were demolished, so the removal of the current HR building will open up a decent piece of property for future development. If this is the case, the next likely course of action would be to redirect the access road to reside closer to the marina in order to maximize the size of the property that could be absorbed into the park itself for a future expansion that would sit between Valravn and Millennium Force.
(11/7/2023) According to local reports, Cedar Point has just purchased a 3+ acre piece of property along Cleveland Road in Sandusky, which was the site of a former car dealer for $1.5 million. The site is about a minute down the road from the resort’s off-site Castaway Bay resort hotel. Cedar Point did not mention what their plans are for the site, but the site could be suitable for either storage or office space for the theme park. Given that land is limited on the peninsula itself, it’s always a smart move to pick up property they could use on the mainland to make more room at the park for future expansion concepts.
(9/24/2023) Cedar Point is finding itself the target of an interesting new lawsuit from the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. According to the story posted by Fox8, the lawsuit claims Cedar Fair is violating the “Age Discrimination in Employment Act” because they do not allow seasonal workers age 40 and older to stay in employee housing.
Now when you think about “employee housing” offered by select theme parks, you think of it as as something that was traditionally run more as a program to bring in College students and those from other countries on work visas to work at the park for the busy summer season. As Cedar Point is located in Sandusky, Ohio it isn’t like they have a huge local population base to hire from, and with the price of gas being what it is these days, it’s not like many would offer to drive in daily from Cleveland. So for decades, Cedar Fair has offered low-priced housing in dorm style buildings for their seasonal workers.
According to the story, in 2021 Cedar Fair changed their company policy regarding employee housing that now prevents most employees, age 30 and up, from staying in employee housing. According to the lawsuit, many older out-of-town workers were unable to resume their seasonal jobs at Cedar Point because of this. According to the US Department of Labor, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act “protects certain applicants and employees 40 years of age and older from discrimination on the basis of age in hiring, promotion, discharge, compensation, or terms, conditions or privileges of employment.”
(9/11/2023) I missed this at the time, but apparently a fight broke out at Cedar Point last weekend that was caught on video. The potential combatants are easy to identify as they’ve got their shirts off for some reason and before you know it, the shoes are flying. Before too long a police officer arrives on the scene to put an end to it.
Now if only someone would repost this video and add the Benny Hill theme song to it.
(7/27/2023) If you ever wonder why Cedar Point is so aggressive about making sure guests are not holding their phones or attempting to use cameras while on the coasters in the park, then here is another fine example. According to various news outlets another park guest was struck in the head by a flying object (a cell phone) while he was riding the park’s Maverick roller coaster. The offending phone actually belonged to a fellow rider just three rows ahead of him, before it flew back and caused open bloody wounds and a concussion on the victim.
October 2023 - Cedar Point ESports Arena - (9/27/2023) It has been in the works for awhile now, but according to a new press release the Cedar Point Esports center will finally open on Friday, October 6th.
“The new gaming facility will initially cover an area of more than 1,000 square feet within the existing Cedar Point Sports Center. The first phase of the development will include 32 state-of-the-art gaming stations, each equipped with the latest hardware and peripherals. Through this initiative, Cedar Point Esports aims to establish a dynamic hubs for gaming enthusiasts and competitive gamers, offering them a world-class platform to nurture their gaming passion.”
”Our long-term strategy is focused on delivering immersive entertainment experiences that differentiate our parks and make our guests want to come back again and again,” said Richard A. Zimmerman, Cedar Fair president and chief executive officer. “The opening of Cedar Point Esports marks a significant step for us as we diversify our offerings and engage with a broader audience. Given the booming popularity of esports, we are excited about this opportunity to tap into the growing appetite for that form of entertainment and package it with all that Cedar Point has to offer.”
(7/31/21) The local news reports that Cedar Fair is making plans to build a 1,500 seat E-Sports Arena site near their Cedar Point amusement park in Sandusky. If all goes as planned, construction on the $28 million facility will begin before the end of the year that will feature 200 gaming stations and able to host gaming tournaments year-round once it opens in mid-2023. The design of the site will also allow it to be used for concerts and other large events.
2024 - Top Thrill 2 - (2/1/2024) Cedar Point has posted a new piece of animation showing off the three differently colored trains that will be running on Top Thrill 2 this season. This includes the metallic-blue train that we have previously seen on display at IAAPA, a metallic-silver train and lastly a look at the metallic-black train.
(1/24/2024) Before I start, what I am about to tell you is absolutely NOT a rumor. Nope, not even the slightest! This is just something that has been banging around inside my head for a while, and I thought I’d share.
When Cedar Point announced all the details about Top Thrill 2, there was something bugging me. If the first launch forward was just 74mph, followed by a reverse launch of 101 mph up the brand new reverse spike, then why exactly did they have to make the reverse spike 420 feet tall? The existing top-hat is 420 feet tall, and by the numbers promoted, it takes a launch of 120 mph to get up and over the top of that, which brings me back to my query. Surely Cedar Point could have saved a bit from the budget if they made the reverse spike a bit shorter.
Wouldn’t 400 ft have worked?
How about 380 ft?
Maybe just 360 ft?
After all, if Top Thrill 2 is only going to launch riders at 101mph, then a 420 foot tall reverse spike really isn’t necessary, is it?
Then my thoughts wander to the 2023 project that was lost… to Knott’s Berry Farm and Motezooma: The Forbidden Fortress. While this still in limbo project was mainly meant to be a technical upgrade of the park’s former Schwarzkopf Shuttle Loop, Cedar Fair did confirm that a main feature of the planned renovation would be a “randomized launch sequence” so that riders would not know if the train was going to launch forward or backwards at first.
While no such concept was ever mentioned for Top Thrill 2… by redesigning the ride to feature 420 foot tall towers on either end, it would open up the possibility for Cedar Point to reprogram the launch sequence after a few years to add more passes through the swing launch. While this might allow a more powerful backwards launch higher up the rear spike, it would also allow Cedar Point to possibly even a launch randomizer element, so that riders would never know if they were going to launch forwards or backwards at first. Of course by then they may rename the ride Top Thrill 3…
(12/13/2023) Top Thrill 2 was caught testing from afar over the weekend, and now the latest episode of Top Thrill 2 Pit Stop gives us some close up footage of the testing taking place. THey also note that on Wednesday, for the first time in forever, a train was launched up and over the top hat, completing the first full cycle on the ride.
(12/11/2023) Exciting news popped up on Facebook about Cedar Point’s Top Thrill 2. Long distance video footage of the park spotted the test train launching back and forth between the rear spike and top hat. This is very early testing, so at limited power settings of course while they test the systems, but it is exciting to see the train already climbing a good distance up the brand new rear spike for the first time.
(12/9/2023) The first cars are being loaded onto the track for Top Thrill 2 to begin some early testing and positioning. Right now it’s sort of a Franken-Train, using different colored cars that were ready to go just so they can begin some of the early testing work. By the time the ride is ready to go, they’ll separate everything to assemble the three different colored trains in proper form.
The other big news this past week was that the top piece of track has also been now installed onto the rear Spike track, ahead of the nasty winter weather to come which is fantastic and will assure that the project is moving right along as planned in order to hopefully open with the park for the 2024 season. What a view you are going to have from up there, especially in the last car.
(11/21/2023) According to the latest video update from Lake Erie Lifestyles, the new rear spike on Top Thrill 2 is said to be now standing over 400 feet tall. The drone used to shoot the footage has a maximum flight height of 400 feet, and looking straight out you can see that the top of the rear spike is now standing tall above the flight path.
(11/18/2023) The latest episode of the Cedar Point “Pit Stop” construction video series for Top Thrill 2 takes everyone to the IAAPA show floor to see the actual new coaster train. Adam Sandy from Zamperla is on hand to talk about the new train, mentioning that it has an aluminum milled chassis for reduced weight and took design inspiration from high performance racing to create the new aerodynamic nose cone design. They also point out the massive primary wheels on the coaster, which are said to be a bit over 20 inches tall. There is also a quick close-up of the new seat and restraint system.
(11/17/2023) Zamperla and Cedar Point revealed the Top Thrill 2 train at IAAPA this week. Check out a short video peek at it below. There really isn’t a good look at the restraints in this video, but rumor has it that the trains will not feature any kind of Seat Belt, just the lap bar system.
(11/14/2023) With IAAPA opening the show floor today, we should be flooded with news from the various parks, manufacturers and design firms this week. One thing we know is coming first thing Tuesday morning is Zamperla and Cedar Point are going to show off the new Top Thrill 2 coaster train at 10:15am .
(11/6/2023) Cedar Point has posted a new official construction update for Top Thrill 2, showing off the incredible amount of wiring that has taken place just to hook up the ride’s new magnetic launch system. We also get a small look a the station, supports in place for the new turn from the brake run into the station, switch track, the new rear spike and more.
One thing I don’t think anyone has mentioned yet is just how close the track for the bottom for the rear spike will be to where the trains are parked in the station for loading. At the speeds involved, I’m sure it going to be loud and very exciting in the station when the train on the launch track blasts backwards through the outer edge of the station, up the rear spike and then drops forward again at high speed through the station once again and into the final forward launch.
(10/27/2023) According to the latest construction video overlooking Cedar Point, a massive crane is now on site at the park, tall enough to handle the installation of the top of the reverse spike being added to Top Thrill 2. It’s fun to notice that the crane is now an estimated 500 feet tall, making it clearly the tallest structure in the park right now. With the crane in place, this should mean the a large shipment of new track and support structure is on the way, so they can top off the 420 foot tall reverse spike.
(10/20/2023) Some amazing new construction pictures of Top Thrill 2 at Cedar Point were posted on FB by Park Paradise that are definitely worth checking out below.
(10/10/2023) Cedar Point has posted Part 3 of their Top Thrill 2 Pit Stop series of videos, documenting the transformation progress of turning Top Thrill Dragster into Top Thrill 2. This includes a look at the progress for the new paint job, the construction of the new rear spike tower, the arrival of new track and maintenance track segments, and more.
(9/30/2023) Some incredible new photos from the site of Top Thrill 2 can be found at the CP Rundown FB page. You can see the repainting progress on the Top Hat along with the installation progress of the new spike tower and track already rising up to a nearly vertical position on it. Check it out below!
(9/25/2023) Coaster101 dropped in to Cedar Point the other day and posted a new construction update showing off the latest Top Thrill 2 progress. Visually things have definitely changed as of late, as the new rear spike tower is now rising, and is said to already be about as tall as Rougarou. The new track for the rear spike is also being placed, and now visible rising backwards out of the station towards the base of the new spike tower. The repainting of the old Top Hat continues as well.
(9/8/2023) Cedar Point has posted the first of several “Top Thrill 2 Pit Stop” construction progress videos.
(9/1/2023) Despite some bad weather in the area, the launch track for Top Thrill 2 is now being installed. You can see some aerial footage of the construction site in the video below.
(8/1/2023) Cedar Point has now officially confirmed that Top Thrill 2 will serve as the replacement for the former Top Thrill Dragster coaster. The stats from the leak the other day from Zamperla were all true, which confirms the rumors that Screamscape has posted for the last year as well, that a larger vertical spike will be added to the back end of the layout, along with a switch track, to create the world’s first triple launch Stratacoaster.
(7/30/2023) Cyberspace is abuzz this morning as it looks like the Zamperla website may have briefly accidentally leaked the details about Cedar Point’s 2024 project ahead of the big announcement. The entire Zamperla website is currently down at the moment, but the page was up long enough for the internet’s archive machine to capture the details.
So Spoilers Ahead - Or you can read it yourself here.
In short, the rumors mostly were all true... Zamperla is working with Cedar Point on what they are calling (for now) Top Thrill 2... though I’ve got a feeling that name may be subject to change between now and August 1st. 20 Passenger trains will move from the station through a switch track onto the main launch area where a new LSM powered triple swing launch system will be used. First launch will be forward at 74mph, roll back and through the launch a second time backwards at 101 mph where the train will climb up a brand new vertical 420 foot spike track. After a brief float at the top of the world, riders will plunge back down and through the launch a final time forward, hitting 120 mph and blasting up and over the former Top Thrill Dragster top-hat just as before.
The press release mentions the use of Zamperla Lightning trains that will feature more open style seating and a new restraint system with a redunant lap bar. No images of the new train design were posted yet, but it does mention that the entire chassis is aluminum-milled and much lighter than the former trains. Further details down the page mention that the new version of the coaster will feature just three 20-passenger trains, but the design will allow for much faster reloading and dispatch times than the former version.
The final result will be the creation of “the world’s tallest and fastest triple-launch roller coaster”.
(7/23/2023) Cedar Point is ramping up the in-park teasers for their 2024 revamp of Top Thrill Dragsters with a bunch of new decor added to the construction walls this weekend. Sayings are now present teasing the anoucement date “Get Revvved Up 08.01.23”, “The Revvvolution Continues”, “Drive The Sky”, “Smoke the Competition”, “Nowhere To Go But Back” and others. At this point it also looks like they’ve finished repainting about the bottom forth of the track and tower to the new white and gray color scheme, and a lot of work has been going on at the ground level behind the walls to create new footers for what is assumed to be a switch track and the new launch track.
(7/21/2023) Cedar Point has now confirmed that a big announcement about their 2024 plans will take place on August 1st.
(7/14/2023) Some interesting new additions arrived at Cedar Point this morning, featuring the same new logo shape that was given out on those mystery key chains last month, with the word “RACING” now added to the center space.
(7/12/2023) The latest spy video of Cedar Point shows off more footage of the painting going on as well as the construction of new footers around the station building of the former Top Thrill Dragster coaster. They also take a quick aerial flight over the track storage area where more pieces have arrived on site, and some of the first load have already been moved elsewhere.
(7/9/2023) The repainting of the former Top Thrill Dragster tower has begun, with crews now working on site, repainting the bright yellow portions of the tower to a new dark grey color. Previously sections of the red track curving up the tower from the ground have also been painted white.
(7/3/2023) Exciting news from Cedar Point, as pictures and video of the first delivery of parts for the 2024 version of Dragster can now be found online. So far I see what looks like a series of short supports that are likely for the revised launch track, a couple of straight pieces of track painted white, and some very thick massive new support columns. New aerial videos show that work is now progressing in the station and launch track areas, and the leftover track at the bottom of the top hat is getting a fresh coat of white paint as well.
(7/1/2023) Cedar Point posted an interesting tweet the other day regarding what they have planned for the former Top Thrill Dragster roller coaster. According to the tweet, they confirm that the “First shipment” for the project has arrived, but they also drop an interesting new hashtag for the project: #CP24PHP along with a checkered flag next to the word “Delivered”.
In racing terms, I believe PHP stands for Peak Horse Power, which sticks with the on-going theme of automotive hints being given about the 2024 project. Unique key-chains were also distributed to guests attending Coastermania a few weeks ago with a unique new design that could be interpreted as a “CP” logo that would be identifiable when viewed in either orientation, along with the initial clue dropped that 2024 would bring “A new formula for thrills” to Cedar Point.
(6/21/2023) A great collection of photos posted to IG this week show off new paint being applied to the various supports on the former Top Thrill Dragster roller coaster, where the white supports are now being painted a dark gray color.
According to a reader at the park this week, there was also no sign of the giant crane that was previously spotted being set up near the base of the tower, so I’m not quite sure what that was all about, but I have a feeling it will be back.
(5/14/2023) A fantastic new construction update from Cedar Point has been posted this weekend to Facebook, with an assortment of photos of the new footers as seen from the Iron Dragon side.
(5/7/2023) Cedar Point is open for the season and of course everyone decended upon the former Top Thrill Dragster site to get a first hand look at what’s going on. From what I understand, the park kept Iron Dragon closed, which would have been the place to get some of the best views of what appears to be site prep for a rear-spike structure. It mattered not however, as eagle-eyed guests were able to spot a set of brand new footers now in place on the site, ready and awaiting whatever The Point has planned to install there for 2024.
Meanwhile the latest fly-by video of The Point from Lake Erie Lifestyles youtube channel also shows work is under way to create two more large footers on the Dragster side of the Iron Dragon track that line up perfectly with the new triangle formation.
(4/24/2023) A new video featuring some drone footage shot by flying near Cedar Point has been seen below, giving us a look at the updated Boardwalk area under construction, as well as the latest look at what’s going on by Top Thrill Dragster. As they note, the Iron Dragon track is already back in place, and that steel triangle form has been mostly surrounded by dirt, and filled in with what looks like a grid of rebar.
It is possible that the park is trying to wrap up the heavy digging and disruptions as we approach the start of the Cedar Point season. Once the season starts, there is a chance that the pace of visible construction may slow considerably.
(3/29/2023) Remember how we mentioned that some of Iron Dragon’s track had been removed just behind the former Top Thrill Dragster station? All the rumors for months now have claimed that the big change coming to Dragster when it reopens would be to build a rear-spike and turn the ride into a swing-launch creation, though Cedar Point denied this work was anything to do with the 2024 Dragster project. But as I said at the time… they were probably lying.
Like Pants-On-Fire Lying! Big Time… because check out the awesome new aerial photo of this same area of the park posted on Twitter by ElToroRyan and you’ll clearly see work taking place in the drained lagoon to create a positively huge triangle-shaped form, likely to make a large concrete pad that will be used to support the rumored rear-spike. You’ll also see how the triangle aligns perfectly with the station and the former Dragster launch track.
(3/7/2023) While i don’t have any pictures, during a Winter enthusiast event at Cedar Point it was noticed that sections of Iron Dragon’s track located just behind the Dragster station has been removed. According to CPs Tony Clark, this has nothing to do with the Dragster project, and was just needed to move heavy equipment into place for something else. Iron Dragon will be put back together in time to run by this May.
While I don’t doubt Iron Dragon will be back, and I have no doubt that there is work taking place that needs to allow access by heavy equipment. But I think they may be fibbing a bit when they say that this doesn’t involve what they’re doing with the former Top Thrill Dragster. Especially as a good number of rumors have suggested that the new version of the ride may receive some kind of swing/launch system that would require the installation of some kind of rear-spike track behind the station. The biggest problem with that rumor’s concept was that Iron Dragon’s track was in the way, so any construction to this site would have to take place in the off season to allow for some temporary track removal. Like… what they are doing at this very moment.
Makes you go, “Hmmm…. “ doesn’t it?
(2/13/2023) It’s been awhile since we’ve heard any news about what’s happening at Cedar Point with the former Top Thrill Dragster roller coaster, but based on the new aerial photo seen below, it looks like nothing at all is left other than the track on the tower. The station has been gutted completely, leaving over the overhang, the entire area around it has been dug out, and the old center track-storage area has also been dug out, leaving a trench filled with rain water at the moment. At this point, about the only thing left here are the old supports from the brake run.
(1/10/2023) For all those who have been in denial that the former Top Thrill Dragster coaster would be rebuilt, “reimagined” and returning in the future, Cedar Point just confirmed that the new version would return in 2024 with a new video on YouTube yesterday which you can see below. Also interesting is a great new aerial shot showing off the current state of construction from the station side of the project area, giving us a much better look at just how much land has been cleared out, including everything under the station canopy.
From this angle, it kind of makes me think... you know... there may actually still be room to put in that rear-spike we’ve all been dreaming about.
(12/31/2022) With Cedar Point closed, it has been awhile since we’ve seen any good updates about what is going on with Top Thrill Dragster. A new aerial pic of the site taken earlier this month and posted to Reddit however gives us a great look at the Dragster site.
As we saw in the fall, just before the park closed in late October, all of the track from the brake run, the turn through the station and all the launch track down to the building that houses the actual cable launch system are still removed. Since then however, it appears that work crews have also begun to entirely gut the interior of the station itself, leaving only the roof in place. They’ve got an excavator on site here as well that has removed the rising pathways that would lead from the queue up to the station itself as well as the entire exit platform guests would use to leave the coaster and return to the midway. Excavators have also dug up the entire area where the maintenance / transfer tracks once sat, including all the footers in the space between the bleacher seats and the station building. While those transfer tracks and supports were already removed in the fall, this area has now been completely dug out. You’ll also notice that the entire inner courtyard queue for Dragster has also been completely removed. Every railing… every shade structure… all gone.
So at this point the only thing that seems to have remained untouched has been the 420 foot tower and track itself. Otherwise, it is also worth noting that nothing really beyond the scope of the original ride area is being touched as well. While a lot can change between now and when they open what they have planned, the lack of any work outside the existing area would seem to be an indicator that the rumored and wishful thoughts hoping for some kind of expanded layout, such as the addition of a rear spike, is now less likely to be happening. Or at least, nothing on a scale that would change the footprint of the ride.
(11/6/22) The latest rumor slowly leaking out about Top Thrill Dragster is about what company was hired to do the work on the ride. While I was asked not to say anything a couple months ago other than that Intamin wasn’t involved, the trail of breadcrumbs have started to reveal a connection with Italy (some of Dragster’s removed track pieces have been shipped overseas) and the rumored involvement of Zamperla.
Now I’m not saying 100% that it is Zamperla just yet, but that is indeed the rumor that was sent my way months ago. In an interesting coincidence, a poster in the same Reddit threat mentions that Zamperla was also rumored to be moving and providing a new launch system and trains to the closed “Senzafiato” coaster at the now closed Miragica park in Italy that was another one of Intamin’s Accelerator style launched coaster projects. I believe the park opened in 2009 but then the entire park failed to open in 2019 due to financial issues and then of course remained closed in 2020 when Italy was hit hard by the pandemic and has never reopened.
It’s clear that Zamperla has been pushing their coaster division hard over the past year or so. The company has always been a huge provider of other riders with a good reputation for quality products purchased by about every major theme park chain across the globe, including Disney. Zamperla has always made roller coasters as well, though has never reached the success of reputation level of the giants like B&M, Intamin or even Vekoma, but they seem poised and determined to change that going forward. Tackling a project of this kind of magnitude for Cedar Fair would certainly go a long way towards achieving that goal, so stay tuned!
(10/3/22) Things are getting more serious over at the Top Thrill Dragster work site at Cedar Point. Based on the latest photos sent in to Screamscpae you can now see that not only has even more launch track been removed from the supports, but if you look in the background you can also see that the returning / brake track run is also being rapidly removed all the way from the station back to just past the “Finish” line sign. It also looks like all the transfer/maintenance tracks that used to sit between the launch track and the inner queue have also been removed.
(9/28/22) Another video shot at Cedar Point takes a peek over the construction walls to see what’s going on with all the track removal happening around the station and the start of the launch track.
(9/25/22) It didn’t take long for work crews to descended upon Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point it seems. A reader sent in some pictures shot around Sept. 11th showing that the launch cable and most of the retractable brake-fins on the launch track were in the process of being removed.
Jump ahead to this week and some welders were spotted in this same general area working on the track yesterday morning, and according to a Facebook post, the track was reported to be removed from the unloading area through to the loading station. While work on the launch track isn’t surprising given the speculation that Dragster will likely be updated with a magnetic launch system. However the removal of the load/unload station track is much telling that we will see some major changes take place here. Suddenly the concept of remodeling the station track to allow for a switch-track and dedicated multi-launch track segment, complete with a rear spike structure doesn’t quite seem so far fetched.
(9/16/22) Remember how I described one possible idea to update Top Thrill Dragster would be to add a switch from the station over to a dedicated launch track where a new LSM powered launch system would turn the coaster into a Multi-Launch attraction, shooting up the tower first, giving every train a roll-back experience, back through the launch and up a new rear-spike track that would feature a twisted spirl track, not unlike Wicked Twisted, before falling back down and through the launch for a full powered run up and over the Dragster tower as normal?
I guess I wasn’t alone in envisioning that concept, as an awesome animated concept of exactly what I described has been posted to YouTube by Savage Coasters, who are calling the concept Dragster 555. Check it out below, but keep in mind this is just fan-speculation and blue-sky dreaming… and not anything official from the park.
It sure looks like a lot of fun though!
(9/11/22) The rumor mill is suddenly very loud with ideas as to how Cedar Point will re-invent Top Thrill Dragster for the 2024 season. As I previously suggested myself, if Cedar Fair is going to be pumping money into revising the coaster, there is no way they are going to drop several million on it only to promote it as being a slower or shorter experience than it was before. As Captain Marvel said it best, “HIGHER, FURTHER, FASTER BABY!”
For starters, there was no love lost between Six Flags and Cedar Fair when just two years after Top Thrill Dragster opened in 2003, Six Flags Great Adventure opened Kingda Ka in true one-upmanship fashion, with a 128mph launch (8mph faster than Dragster), and a 456 foot tower / 418 foot drop compared to Dragster’s 420 ft tower and 400 foot drop. To make Kingda Ka a little more fancy, they added in a fun air-time hill after the drop just to rub it in.
Footprint wise, both of these massive Stratacoasters fit into about the same size footprint, with Dragster said to hit 120mph in 4 seconds, but Ka hitting 128mph in just 3.5 seconds. Based on some very approximate measurements from Google Maps, the launch track from the station to where the track rises up the tower on both Dragster and Kingda Ka is about 800 feet. By comparison, Intamin later built Red Force at Ferrari Land in Spain (attached to PortAventura) in 2017 using modern LSM technology which hits a top speed of just under 112mph in 5 seconds, using only approximately 550 to 600 feet of launch track.
I’m no physicist or engineering student, but thank the internet for making awesome calculator tools to figure some of this stuff out.
Top Thrill Dragster, going from 0 to 120 in 4 seconds = acceleration of 44 ft/s.
Kingda Ka, going from 0 to 128 in 3.5 seconds = acceleration of 53.64 ft/s.
Red Force, going from 0 to 112 in 5 seconds = acceleration of 32.85 ft/s.
What I can’t quite exactly figure out, and I’ll leave this to those in the proper fields of science to determine, is if it is possible for Dragster to hit a higher top speed than Kingda Ka while switching to an LSM launch system. Since Red Force hits a top speed of nearly 112mph with a much shorter launch track than Dragster, it seems to be a safe bet that Dragster could still reach the required 120mph speed (just 8mph faster than Red Force) with an LSM system with it’s longer length launch track. I’m just not sure if it could reach a speed of, say… 130 to 135mph for example, just enough to take the North American record back from Ka.
Of course, if Cedar Fair were able to make the new version of Dragster go faster, than of course they would also likely be willing to go a little taller. If the support system could handle it, I can imagine ride designers coming up with a way to take the top section of Dragsters tower off and re-engineering it all to possibly allow for a slightly taller tower. They wouldn’t have to increase the height to be taller than KA entirely, as long as the drop was increased from 400 feet to be higher than Ka’s 418 ft. Of course some of the height modifications could also be done by lowering the bottom ends of the track at the base of the tower into a below-grade trench.
We could be looking at the possibility of other track modifications, such as the addition of an Ka style air-time hill after the drop, maybe even with some kind of prolonged roll-over inversion built into the hill, which is something we’ve been seeing Intamin doing a bit of lately on their newer coasters. Of course there may also be a way of incorporating another one of Intamin’s latest coaster trends with the holy-grail of Top Thrill Dragster ride-moments… the roll-back. By rebuilding the station and the use of a switch-track from the station onto a dedicated launch-track featuring a rear-spike track, what if the new Dragster was converted into a multi-launch coaster? Launching first at a fairly strong speed up the tower, but not quite fast enough to hit the peak, falling backwards and up the rear spike and then forwards again, through the launch track that would boost the top speed fast enough to allow the train to climb over the top of the tower and complete the circuit.
In many ways, not only would this concept provide every riders with that rare-feeling of a roll-back experience on Dragster but could also bring back the lost sensation of rising backwards up a spiked piece of track, possibly one that spiraled, that was lost when the park removed Wicked Twister. The multi-launch system would also likely provide the ability for a new LSM launch system to reach whatever new speed that Cedar Fair wanted to achieve with this new creation.
Again this is just mostly speculation here as to how Cedar Point could turn the retirement of Top Thrill Dragster into a win-win situation for the park, by turning it into something even more thrilling, and potentially taking the record back for having the tallest and fastest Stratacoaster in the world.
(9/6/22) Cedar Point has finally released a statement on social media regarding the future of Top Thrill Dragster. After 19 seasons and 18 million riders, “Top Thrill Dragster, as you know it, is being retired.”
You’ll be quick to pick-up on the “as you know it” part of the line, which is followed up later in the post with the following statement, “Our team is hard at work, creating a new and reimagined ride experience. We’ll share more details and information at a later date.”
So… Top Thrill Dragster is done… but it definitely sounds like the ride will be modified, rebuilt and changed in some fashion to reopen as something else in the future. I’d say that it’s pretty much a given that Cedar Point will take this opportunity to scrap the troublesome launch system and replace it with a modern LSM launch system, though the downside is that it may be a little less intense than what Dragster fans were used to experiencing. I’d also expect changes to the queue to move the guests waiting in line further away from the tracks, or placed within covered structures, but otherwise there is no telling just how far Cedar Point may be willing to go to change the experience.
After all, while Top Thrill Dragster may have been the first “strata coaster”, it wasn’t long until Six Flags made Kingda Ka, which was a little taller and a little faster. It wouldn’t surprise me if they took this opportunity to try and take those records back from Kingda Ka in some fashion if possible.
I’d also expect that we wont see the new version of the ride ready to open until at least 2024, so we’ll probably be waiting quite awhile for the next update.
(8/5/22) It’s safe to say that a lot of the coaster fans out there in the world have been waiting patiently to find out what will happen with Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point. At one point the rumors did not look good for the ride, but according to new pictures posted to Facebook, a large numbers of markings have now been added all around the Dragster area which seem to indicate that some kind of work project is getting ready to start.
Dragster has been closed since late Summer 2021, after a guest in the queue was struck by a piece of metal that flew off from one of the roller coaster trains. With the majority of Dragster’s queue area positioned in between the launch and return tracks, with an open air queue, the best way to prevent this from possibly happening again would be to either enclose the queue, or move it to a new location further away from the tracks. With that in mind, the markings could possibly be an indicator that the ride queue may be moved by the start of next season if they are planning to reopen Dragster.
As an interesting side note, it was reported on social media that the lighting package in space that normally lights up the massive 420 foot Top Thrill Dragster tower was turned on again for the first time this year. While this simply could have just been a test to make sure that the lights are still functional, many have taken it as a sort of silent “Bat-Signal” style sign from Cedar Point that Dragster will return.
(5/29/22) Screamscape has been sent some unsettling potential news about the fate of Top Thrill Dragster. Now given the whole Kumba debacle that took place earlier this year when someone intentionally spread false news claiming that particular roller coaster was to be closed, I’m going to be a little more cautious here. That said. there really is no easy way to say this, other than to say that the fate of Top Thrill Dragster may have been decided.
On a related note, a source claims that little in the way of Dragster specific themed merchandise is being sold in the park this season. You may find some items that show off the park’s skyline that show Dragster, but SOME new specific merchandise items that list the park’s coasters no longer include both Wicked Twister and Dragster, so these are new items where the omission was made on purpose. Otherwise if you find something that lists Dragster, it may be leftover merchandise from last season.
It is also worth noting that no trains for Dragster have been returned to the coaster’s main or transfer tracks in the park, and a few comments on Twitter also claim there have been no signs of the trains anywhere visible backstage either. So where are the trains? As I recall, Top Thrill Dragster opened with six trains, but we’ve also heard a very strange and unverified rumor claiming that up to three of Dragster’s trains may have been loaded up and shipped off to Knott’s Berry Farm in California, possibly for use as spare parts for Xcelerator.
Again, all rumors are unverified at this time, but hopefully some hard truths will come out about the fate of Top Thrill Dragster before too long. Specifically, it sounds like we may have to wait until at least August until The Point is ready to confirm anything.
(2/19/22) Ok folks, we got some bad news this week from Cedar Point, as the park has officially confirmed that Top Thrill Dragster will remain closed for the 2022 season. Not just the start of the season… but the whole season. Ouch!
Now I can’t say that I didn’t expect there to perhaps be at least some kind of delayed opening. After all, this is all fallout from the incident last August that saw Dragster get shut down for the remainder of the season after a piece of metal broke away from one of the trains and struck a guest in the queue, causing severe injury. Fans have been waiting for some kind of status update on the coaster ever since, and following the release of the state’s accident report yesterday, confirming the shut down of Dragster for the season was Cedar Point’s official response.
So what did the accident report say? After six months of investigation, the investigation determined that “'after examining the documentation provided and conducting interviews of Cedar Point staff, ODA found no evidence that Cedar Point had knowledge of or reason to believe that the Top Thrill Dragster was in an unsafe condition that could cause a hazard to riders, employees, or the public on Aug. 15, 2021.”
So this appears to officially release Cedar Point from any kind of accusation of negligence regarding the accident. This isn’t surprising, as this is Cedar Point we’re talking about, and no one knows more about taking care of their fleet of rides than they do, plus the park has a fairly impeccable safety record for the most part. On the other hand, this is Top Thrill Dragster we are talking about, and this isn’t the first time that something has broke free from a train and been thrown. Anyone remember Dragster in the first season, back when the tail of the train still looked like the backside of a Drag Racer car, giant tires and all? Much of that theming vanished after one of those tires ended up in the bushes between the base of the tower and Camp Snoopy.
Those big hunking tires were all quickly removed from trains, leaving them running with just the tail of the dragster. About a season or two later the back car was entirely transformed to look like a regular coaster car, adding an extra row of seats to the back car in the process for extra capacity, leaving the front car as the only remaining piece of Drag Racer theming on the trains.
So let’s get back to the decision to close Dragster for the entire 2022 season. While the report clears the park of blame for the incident, the closure seem to indicate that Cedar Point is planning to take some kind of action to further prevent this kind of thing from happening. This could take the form of something simple, such as an internal assessment regarding the long-term feasibility of keeping the ride in operation, but following the removal of Wicked Twister I would think that the last thing they want to do is to remove another major piece of the park’s iconic skyline. So with that in mind, we have to think along the lines of what else the park can do to further protect guests from harm? Compared to other similar coaster designs that have followed, one of the unique things you could say about Dragster would be the placement of the ride’s queue in the center of the ride, with guests entering this area about half-way down the launch track where the trains roar by at extreme speed on both the launch and return trip down the tower. If Cedar Point has a failing, it would be a general rejection of the idea of building solid roof structures to cover their ride queues. Instead the park’s standard design is to use large cattle style switchbacks mostly left wide open to the exposure of the sun. On the longer queues, about the most you can expect is some soft tent-fabric style coverage over certain queues (like Millennium Force) which would do little to stop a stay piece of metal from ripping right through them. So with this in mind, the safest solution to add another layout of protection to the guests in the queue would be either to move some of the queue away from these high-speed areas, or to construct a more solid building to enclose the queue in these areas. Maybe with Air Conditioning? Ok that last part may be asking too much, but you get my point. They could also perhaps install some kind of barrier walls, or tunnels along these points of the ride as well as an extra protective measure.
However it plays out, Cedar Point is putting Dragster operations on hold this year, so keep your eyes open to see if the landscape around the coaster begins to change this season.
(8/25/21) According to a local news article, they have discovered a little more information about the accident that took place on Top Thrill Dragster. The piece that struck the woman in the queue was confirmed to have come off the Green Train and not from the coaster structure itself, and was identified as a “flag plate”. The Flag Plate is an L-shaped piece of metal, roughly the size of an adult hand, and is attached to the back of each train where it acts as a sensor to help the coaster’s operating system monitor where each train is on the track.
The Green Train has been out for further inspection, but where the bracket was missing they report that roughly half of the bolts designed to hold the flag plate to the train were still in place. There were signs of impact and deformation reported to the ‘finish line’ area of the ride, as well as signs of impact on the “horizontal track beams” 25 feet away from the brake area. Currently they have not determined how or where the piece broke off from the Green train.
(8/18/21) Another bit of bad news this week as various reports confirm that a woman waiting in line for Top Thrill Dragster was struck by a falling metal object that came off the ride. The park’s EMT team responded and transported the woman out of the park for medical treatment and for the time being Top Thrill Dragster is now closed to investigate what happened.
The story got a little more complicated a couple of days later amid some claims about improper care of the woman by the park’s EMTs. BodyCam footage of the medical responders can be seen here, where a bystander who was there at the scene claims that the woman was ‘inappropriately placed on a gurney” and they did not use a Cervical Collar. Also according to the report, it is believed the piece of the ride that struck the woman was a large bolt (described as being about the size of a soda can!) which was found by an employee and handed to a maintenance worker.