Cedar Point Winter Chill Out 2016

By Jenny Fiedler

This year’s Cedar Point Winter Chillout was held on February 20th, 2016. There were six different time slots this year with the earliest being 8:00am and the latest being 10:30am. We, Jenny and Brad, chose to do the 8:00am tour since it was the earliest time available. We like being first for stuff like that. The day began with check in at the season pass center right outside the main gate. Tony Clark took our tickets and after our names were found, we were each given a lanyard and paper with a voucher on it to pick up our gifts later. After we got all of our stuff, we were told to walk over to Midway Market where we were welcomed with food and drinks. They were serving granola bars and coffee similar to last year. While waiting for our tour to begin, we ran into Jason McClure and got a picture with him. I also got to see two of my friends, Evan and Lorie, who I met at media day for the Gemini midway a couple years ago. We sat at a table for a while and then were told to head outside to meet our tour guide. The 8:00am tour actually got split into two groups and we ended up with Shaun as our tour guide. 

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Shaun led us down the midway and towards Blue Streak. On our way there, I could not help but notice how wonderful Raptor’s new paint was looking. The green is a little bit different shade, but I think it looks really nice. We walked under Raptor and went over to where the fence used to be over by Blue Streak. Here, we got to see some construction of Valravn, which was very exciting for me. A guy also talked about it, so we got to listen to his speech while staring at Valravn’s chain lift.

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The next part of the tour began with us walking back out to the midway and past Cedar Downs. I got really excited because Cedar Downs is my favorite flat ride at the park. Some people joke with me and call me “Cedar Downs Jenny” since I always make sure to ride Cedar Downs at least once every time I go to the park. Anyway, the next stop on the tour was truly incredible. We stopped right in front of Valravn! I was amazed at the site because I never realized how it would look in person and I finally got to see it. I have never ridden a dive coaster nor had I ever seen one in person until Valravn. Looking at the track, I could just imagine how thrilling the first drop would be along with the Immelmann, which is my favorite inversion on a roller coaster. While we were over there, I was able to get a great view of my favorite roller coaster Millennium Force and I got super happy when we started walking towards it.

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We walked by Celebration Plaza and over to the train. There, we were given a tour of the engine house, which is something that had never been shown at a Winter Chillout tour in previous years. It was interesting to look around in there and see the two engines that are never used for Cedar Point & Lake Erie Railroad. Those two engines are known as George R. and G.A. Boeckling. Also, there were a ton of pictures, spare parts, and tools in there. We spent quite a bit of time in there and then headed back outside. Once outside, we followed Shaun past Rougarou and over to Millennium Force. This was my absolute favorite part of the tour! They had set a number of Millennium Force cars out in front of the sign and over in the area near the entrance to the ride. Of course, I got really excited, took pictures of everything, and then took selfies. It was so hard having to walk away from all of that and not being able to ride my favorite coaster on a nice day was even worse.

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The tour continued on Frontier Trail with another great view of Millennium Force. I could not help but stop to take more pictures of it. Then, we made it to Shoot the Rapids and we were in for a surprise. The whole second hill had been demolished! We already had an idea that something was going on with that ride, but this just proved it. I personally never got to ride Shoot the Rapids, but I am sure that Cedar Point will use this land for something better. After stopping there to take some pictures, we walked by Maverick and saw the old Chik-fil-A building without the sign on it. We still had no idea what would take the place of Chik-fil-A, but were hoping to find out later at the presentation.

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We kept walking through Frontier Town past Skyhawk and Cedar Creek Mine Ride. Shaun took us over to the Planning and Design building behind Slingshot. Inside, we were amazed to see a Valravn car that we got to sit in and get our picture taken with. I really enjoyed this part because it was so special that I got to sit in Valravn for the first time with my best friend. Once we got our picture taken, we explored more of the building and saw some teasers made by the staff along with some horses from the carousel. One of the teasers was a sign saying “Cedar Point 2017 Plans Top Secret” and another one was writing on a white board about something new, but they were just joking with us. Something that I found interesting was a Valravn plush sitting on one of the desks. I am hoping that they decide to sell those in the Valravn gift shop this year.

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After leaving Planning and Design, we got to walk through the Gemini midway and went out of the park through a gate past Magnum’s entrance. From there, we got a glimpse of Hotel Breakers and eventually went into the maintenance shop. Eric Lapp, the ride maintenance manager, spoke to us for a few minutes about everything sitting around in the shop. Brad and I asked him if we could get a picture with him after he was done talking and he was nice and let us. The most bizarre thing that we saw in there was a Millennium Force car with a Maverick restraint on it. The restraint was painted yellow to match the ride. We asked Eric about this and he said it was just a joke and they were being silly. I walked around the shop and saw some other Millennium Force cars, Maverick chassis, and even a Maverick seat that I sat in and got my picture taken.

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Lunch was the next part of our agenda. We walked back into the park past Eerie Estates and down near WindSeeker. Lunch was served inside Lakeside Dining Room over by Lakeside Pavilion. While waiting to go inside to eat, we looked around Lakeside Pavilion and saw a bunch of ride parts sitting there. These included Maverick cars, Dragster cars, Matterhorn cars, and a bunch of kiddie ride parts. After a few minutes of waiting, we were finally allowed to go in and get food. The food included vegetables (broccoli, carrots, celery, etc.) and different types of dips (ranch, blue cheese, and hummus), a boneless wing bar, chili, a pasta station, salad, and fruit cobbler or cookies for dessert. During lunch, everyone had the opportunity to purchase a CoasterDynamix nanocoaster. They even were selling Valravn ones. I chose not to buy one because I want to wait and see what I think of the ride before purchasing any expensive merchandise like that. I do, however, own a Millennium Force and a Top Thrill Dragster nanocoaster and they are a cool decoration to have for my apartment.

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They gave us quite a bit of time for lunch and then took us over to the presentation room. Each person was given a raffle ticket before entering the room. Tony Clark and Jason McClure were there to talk to us about what is going on at the park. We were told that no pictures or video were allowed during the presentation. They started off by talking about how 800 people attended the Winter Chillout this year and they raised $40,000 for the charity A Kid Again. That is an amazing achievement and I am so happy for the charity to receive all of that money for kids with life-threatening illnesses. They then moved on to discuss Shoot the Rapids and were joking about it getting rethemed with elephants. It was finally explained that the ride was being taken out and being completely scrapped. After that, they talked about Valravn being completed soon and moved on to give more information about events such as Coaster Campout, which will be returning, and CoasterMania. They talked about two new things that will be offered at Cedar Point: Ride Warriors Club and Sunrise Tours. The Ride Warriors Club will cost $120 to join and will only have 1,000 spaces available. It will give members a chance to participate in special ERT sessions, access to coaster events at Cedar Point, unique photo opportunities, the ability to take a video of yourself on a ride, offseason events, and more perks that have not been announced yet. A Sunrise Tour will be an opportunity to see Valravn start up for the day behind the scenes. The best part is that you will be allowed to walk up the first hill and take pictures at the top. The price is unknown at this time, but I am guessing that it will cost over $200. We then found out that Dodgem would be getting new cars manufactured by Ninja to make the ride experience better. After that, it was stated that Skyscraper had been taken out and Challenge Racing would be taken out in the future. A picture of RipCord was shown, but they never explained what would happen to it. Later, they announced that Frontier Inn would take the place of Chik-fil-A. The menu would include things like chicken tenders, chicken sandwiches, salads, and side dishes. I hope that this location will be added to the season long dining plan to give us more choices for meals. They continued discussing food and drinks and announced that Hurricane Hannah’s would be replaced by a Coca Cola Oasis. Also, Fresh Cut Fries will be getting refurbished and the gift shop called Attitudes will not be returning. That pretty much sums up the presentation other than them calling raffle numbers to go get a prize. Unfortunately, I did not win anything, but they had some cool prizes like old calendar posters and some banners.

When the presentation was over, we exited the room and headed over to the Hotel Breakers lobby. A guy named Tyler talked about Hotel Breakers for a little bit and afterwards, we were allowed to explore on our own. They had a couple rooms open for us to look inside and take pictures of, but it really was not that big of a deal. I have walked around the hotel many times, so this was probably my least favorite part of the tour.

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The last part of the tour began with us walking past the beach and back into the park over by WindSeeker. We walked near the Wicked Twister midway and turned toward the arcade. Not everyone knows this, but there is a huge ballroom above the arcade. This area is used for wardrobe and getting all of the screamsters ready for HalloWeekends. There is also a wardrobe room up there that we got the chance to look inside and listen to someone talk about. We stayed in the ballroom for a while and then were asked to walk back to the entrance of the park. Sadly, this was the end of the tour. However, we did pick up our gifts, which included a tumbler, Valravn poster, Valravn hat, and a paper with a website on it to get our free photo with the Valravn car. We thanked our tour guide Shaun and headed to our cars.

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I had an absolute blast at the Winter Chillout! It was great getting to see all of my coaster friends while enjoying being in the park again. The best part was being able to spend the entire day with my best friend, Brad. I always love spending time with him no matter what we are doing. Anyway, I am definitely looking forward to riding Valravn on May 6th at season passholder preview night. It will be great to experience my first dive coaster and to spend more time with all of my friends. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and I hope to see everyone at the park this year!

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