I am a thrill seeker. Now you won’t find me sky diving or bungee jumping, but roller coasters – heck yes! I absolutely love roller coasters and am so lucky to have the roller coaster capital of the world, Cedar Point, just a little over an hour away in Sandusky, Ohio. Cedar Point is the home of sixteen roller coasters one of which is brand new this year.
The last time Dustin and I visited the park during HalloWeekends we spent some time oooh-ing and ahhh-ing over the details of this new coaster on the signs displayed on the fence in front of the construction site. We both agreed that we had to visit Cedar Point as soon as they opened for the season to ride this new coaster. And so when I received an e-mail inviting our family to the Media Day Preview event for GateKeeper a few days before the park would open to the general public I was beyond stoked. Since this would be the only ride scheduled to operate we decided to get a babysitter for the big girls and invited my sister along for the GateKeeper experience.
As we pulled into the parking lot I couldn’t get over how awesome this coaster looked and how it had completely transformed the main entrance of the park.
Looks sweet, right? The GateKeeper is the longest winged roller coaster at 4,164 feet and boasts the longest drop at 164 feet of any winged roller coaster on the planet. Your ride will last approximately 2 minutes and 40 seconds reaching speeds of about 67 miles per hour. Even the trains on this coaster look awesome painted in gold and shaped like a giant bird. Plus there are 3 thirty-two passenger trains running which equals out to a capacity of about 1,710 riders per hour.
The restraint system a roller coaster has really impacts how much I enjoy the ride. If I’m struggling to keep my head from bouncing off the shoulder restraints chances are that is what I will be focusing on and not all of the awesome twists and turns. As soon as I hopped into my seat on the GateKeeper I could tell it was unlike any coaster I had ever been on before. The black part that is against our bodies in the picture is snug yet flexible so I felt very secure, but not claustrophobic. The bars that came down over our shoulders were far enough away from our heads that even when I tilted my head as far as I possibly could to the left and right I didn’t touch them.
The ride begins by climbing the 170 foot lift at a 40 degree angle with a lovely view of Lake Erie to your left. As soon as the train crests the top of the hill it rotates 180 degrees turning riders upside down before heading back towards the ground going more than 65 miles per hour. The first time I rode GateKeeper I sat in the front seat and let me tell you – it was AWESOME.
The ride continues with many more awesome twists and turns including:
Immelmann – a maneuver where riders enter a half loop, go through a half twist and curve out in the opposite direction from which they came.
Camelback – riders will fly over a giant, 105-foot-tall camelback hill that will be filled with “airtime!”
Giant Flat Spin – a hair-raising 360-degree flip that will provide two different ride experiences for guests on each side of the train.
Zero-G-Roll – a flying element that takes riders through two support towers that will dominate Cedar Point’s new Main Entrance.
Inclined Dive Loop – a tight, 180-degree turnaround pushes riders through an overbanked turn and rockets them back towards the station.
360° In-Line-Roll – an element that will take riders extremely close to the new massive support towers while flying over guests entering the park below.
Camelback Drop – a quick drop that will help propel the train and its guests through the rides final thrilling element, the spiral.
Spiral – GateKeeper’s track rotates a wicked 360 degrees before bringing the coasters train back to the ride station.
I can tell from experience that when you’re riding GateKeeper things like “that was a cool Zero-G-Roll” are not going through your head…. instead you might think something like “oh my gosh that was so close” when going through the support towers above the main entrance of the park. It seriously feels like your head or legs might get whacked right off. Love that rush!
There are so many things I absolutely loved about GateKeeper. I loved that it is a high thrill coaster yet the ride was very smooth. Plus you can ride it numerous time and have a completely different experience each time depending on where you choose to sit. I highly suggest riding on the left side and right side at least once. I also rode in the front seat and back seat. The front seat makes for an awesome view, but the back seat seems to whip you around the twists and turns much faster which is really fun. In the mean time check out this real point of view video to see what your ride will be like!
A few other things I think are definitely worth mentioning. While waiting in line for GateKeeper there are awesome canopies to help keep the sun from beating down on you and they also cover a seating area near the exit of the ride beside some food stands and restrooms. Don’t forget to check out your picture when you get off the ride as well as the gift shop!
Tomorrow, May 11th, is opening day 2013! Do you plan on visiting Cedar Point and riding GateKeeper this year? I know we’ll be going back for another flight or two or three!