Jeff and I (Joe R) were given an amazing
opportunity to attend Cedar Point for the Media Day for Gatekeeper. While I want to just sit here and rave all about the ride at this exact moment (which will happen), I need to set a few things in stone, so please bear with me here. I had only gotten an hours worth of sleep after writing up some questions (that I subsequently forgot to print out and take with us...) and Jeff had gotten maybe a couple hours worth. I was running on pure adrenaline and excitement at this point, so some events might be fuzzy in my memory.
Now that we have that cleared up, let us continue onto how the day proceeded. We had arrived to the park at 3:45 A.M. to Gatekeeper doing some beginning test runs. The trains are very sleek and beautiful to watch while it runs the course. While observing its early morning runs, I had some time to take in the newly redone entrance to the entire park. Instead of all the clutter, the entrance has been completely opened. The left has been designated into the Season Pass Processing building as well as a set of restrooms, whereas the right is now designated purely to Ticket Sales. The entire center is now free of the mass crowding it would normally get on a typical business day, while also giving you a completely clear view of the two towers Gatekeeper passes through and behind. Around 4 A.M., we were finally allowed to head into the park after a quick stop inside Guest Relations to pick up our free lanyard (YES!) and necessary badge to accompany us. Now, the lanyards were given in two different colors due to Cedar Point opening up this day up to Coaster Clubs as well: Light blue for the Media and black for the club goers.
Now, walking towards the ride offers a whole new visual experience. Instead of a giant building that was somewhat themed, you now have a wonderful view of Lake Erie. Where Space Spiral once stood, is a stunning new plaza that now houses a Frozen Yogurt Self-serve, a row of Coke Freestyle machines as well as a very spacious sitting area underneath a white and blue awning structure. If you want to get to the ride though, you will need to bypass this wonderful spot and head towards the beach. Passing through some wings, you come upon the statue for the ride, and bank right to start your wait. Now, something to make mention of that really
caught my attention was the fact that the Test Seat now houses both the regular seat belt, as well as the larger seat belt for those of you who are plus sized. While the addition seems small and not really important, it actually gives those of us a more reassured view on if we will truly fit the seat, or if we won't (cause waiting any amount of time for a ride you won't be able to fit sucks), so massive props there to whoever tossed out that idea.
Now, onto the part you all have most likely been waiting for, and just scrolled through to get to this part: the ride itself. Since we were with the media, we really didn't have to wait in line with the others and were told to do what I believe will be in use for their Fast Pass system. We went up the exit ramp but headed to the left side of the train, where we were let in a side gate to go queue for whichever row we wished to. Since I am of the larger size, we were limited to Row 4 (which is the designated Big Boy Row) for any rides that included myself, but Jeff got an extra ride for a chance to get the Go Pro footage. I did ride each side thankfully, as they both do give MASSIVELY different experiences in my opinion. The left side pushes you more for the Zero-G/inline roll inversions, whereas the right side gives a more pulling sensation (which was weird feeling, but still massively awesome). If you want to deal with a LOT more near misses, then stick to the right side, as my arm was quickly wrenched up against my body as some of those supports looked far too close for comfort (and I've hugged a support before while riding a coaster!). The main drop is fantastic, and offers some impressive forces down at the bottom before you get thrust upwards into the Immelmann. The turn was a bit rough, but the slightly more forceful floater you experience on the airtime hill is fabulous, and was unexpected since these types of rides do not look like the type to house some. Dropping into the large Wing Over is awesome, and then you head into what you saw while entering the park, the dreaded Keyholes (AWESOME TOWERS OF WIN). Just flying through those is something you really need to experience, since you go through both of them sideways.
The left offers more forces at this point since you are being pushed through them, where the right side offered a bit of a floating sensation due to being pulled. All in all, the effect is awesome no matter where you sit! So, you exit the keyholes into the Dive Loop that sits next to Blue Streak, which is the furthest point of the ride. Turning around you enter the second Zero-G that makes use of the backside of the Keyhole tower, giving you another wonderful head-chopper Now, the difference between these two Zero-G rolls is that the second one is taken at a slightly slower and drawn out pace, so you get some pretty nifty hang time before exiting and heading up into the mid-course brake run. After a quick tapping of the brakes, you head down into get close to the ground before hitting the small helix and last turn into the brake run.
The overall experience of the ride itself is mind boggling for those that haven't ridden a B&M Wing Coaster yet, and will truly give Cedar Point another world star attraction that will please their park goers wondrously so. Getting off the ride is a bit of relief, but adds in more excitement and adrenaline for what is to come in your day there.
I shall finish with a bit more info on what else they offered that day for us to do and enjoy. We were given access to the whole attraction. We were allowed on the back access road that would won't be able to get to once the park is open, and were able to get really up close and personal with the ride so long as we weren't in any restricted areas. For breakfast, Jeff and I ate at the Midway Market whose buffet line was crowded already with many hungry enthusiasts, as well as those needed a brief break from the intensity of the ride. For lunch we were off to Coasters Drive-In. Everything we ate was awesome and delicious, and rightly filled us both up!
You can check out our picture gallery here
. You can also see our reverse POV here
and our off-ride/on ride POV here