Are you looking for something fun to do with the whole family this summer? If you haven’t considered it, please, think about visiting Cedar Point amusement park on beautiful Lake Erie. You may think this is a place only for roller coaster aficionados or teens with their friends to hang out. That couldn’t be less true. There’s plenty for the entire family to enjoy – even your youngest family members! Thanks to Cedar Point my family received complimentary entrance to the park for a day for the purposes of sharing our experience. There are a few things you need to know about me -
- The last time I was at Cedar Point was 16 years ago. It was my second date with my now husband.
- Roller coasters really aren’t my thing. The intense sensation of losing my stomach is not something I enjoy. Not to mention I’m not fond of heights. But my husband LOOOOOOVES them.
- This is my first time taking my children to any amusement park, anywhere, ever.
We invited my husband’s cousin and his family to join us for the day. They go to CP every year and were more familiar with the park and the attractions geared toward little ones. Their little girl is the same age as our youngest. I was a little worried about how things were going to work out since I’m a bit too big to ride on some of the small rides that require adult accompaniment (aka I need to lose some weight) and how we were going to deal with the guys wanting to ride the big rides.
I’ve got to say it was one of the most fun experiences I’ve ever had at Cedar Point. On previous visits I was the only “chicken” in the group and ended up feeling compelled to ride the huge roller coasters, like the Mean Streak and Magnum. I did enjoy the Mantis though. Going with my kids was completely different and very gratifying. Watching them enjoy the sights, sounds and sensations of the rides made my husband and me very happy.
We started out in Kiddie Kingdom. Most of the rides there are so small adults aren’t actually allowed; some an adult can ride, but they must be accompanied by a child. Given the fact my kids had never been on even a carnival ride before we wanted to start on something pretty tame and work our way up. They did the little Helicopter ride first. All of the girls were under 54″ so it was perfect for them. Each girl got their own copter to control during the ride. To our surprise they all wanted to ride the Matterhorn. I love these kinds of rides. The spinning makes me dizzy, BUT it’s something I can handle (plus I took some motion sickness medication before we left home). The girls loved it.
Little cousin had begged all morning for us to take them to Camp Snoopy so they could ride WoodStock Express. After lunch, which Cedar Point so graciously (and deliciously) provided, we headed that direction. My oldest was tall enough to ride alone, but she didn’t really want to, so I said I’d go with her. This was my first taste of “I’m too fat to ride”; it was humiliating. Unfortunately I wasn’t the only parent who faced that dilemma, but at least my girl was tall enough to ride this one alone. There were many disappointed kids (and mortified parents) walking away because neither mom or dad could fit on the ride and the kiddos were too small to ride alone. Make yourself aware of height and weight limits before arriving to save yourself some embarrassment. Next we took them to the Wilderness Run. We probably should have done these the other way around since this ride was a step down on the thrill factor. We learned early on that the girls like riding roller coasters!!!
We finally got our chance to get our first experience on Pipe Scream and Lake Erie Eagles. This was where having an extra person willing to wait with our backpacks came in handy. The wait was 45 minutes :O and I kind of wished we’d gotten a FastLane pass. By the time we got to the front of the line the ride had broken down and we had to wait another 20 minutes while maintenance figured out what was wrong. Being that this was the whole reason we came to CP in the first place I wasn’t about to abandon my place in line. So glad we didn’t. This ride combines the best of the spinning carnival type rides with the the thrills of a roller coaster. Each row sat 6. The guys sat at one end of the car, I sat at the other and the three little ones sat in the middle. The only restraint was a lap bar but we were so snug in the seats there wasn’t a need for a seat belt. When the ride reached the apex of the turn on either end and your side of the car was on the upswing, HOLY COW, you could certainly feel that familiar ‘going over a hill too fast’ feeling. It made me scream every time. The girls did too, but they’d immediately start giggling once it was over. So much fun; I’d definitely ride it again.
Lake Erie Eagles was an upgraded airplane ride where the “planes” looked like eagles. The steering mechanism was the head of the eagle. You could control your ascent and descent and angle into the wind by pushing the handle to the left or the right. I rode with my little one. She did not want to let me help her steer!!! She had us up as far as we could go and then got pushed by a wind gust. It was quite an experience. I had to close my eyes for a little bit on the ride so I wouldn’t get too dizzy, lol.
Next we headed to Dinosaurs Alive! This open air exhibit of animatronic dinosaurs is available to tour for an extra fee (included for PlatinumPass holders). I wasn’t sure what to expect. The littlest ones thought maybe there were real live dinos :D. The life-size, life-like dinosaurs were stationary for the most part but would regularly move head to tail and roar. There were also stations where you could push a button to make the dino there move. It was great for scaring the bejeezus out of people :).
Each exhibit was a different scene from what we assume dinosaur life was like complete with a description of the dinosaurs involved. Everything from feeding and hunting to caring for eggs and young and even how the dinos may have been trapped in swamps and quicksand leading to the discovery of their fossils in our day was depicted. It takes about 30 minutes to 1 hour to go through and is a great interactive experience for those who like the shows and not the rides so much. The rides hung over most of the exhibit and their roar as they zoomed past added to the growls and sounds of the beasts within. There weren’t any restrooms within the exhibit that I could find. I asked if we would be allowed back in if we left to go to the restroom and we were told no unless of course we still had family with small children inside the exhibit we needed to get back to.
For me another highlight of our trip was All Wheels Extreme at the Extreme Sports Stadium (next to WindSeeker) . This show features acrobatics done on trampoline, half pipe, bicycles, scooters, and roller blades. The athletes performing the show come from all over the country and have previously competed in the X-Games or performed professionally in other venues. Nearing the end of our long day it was a perfect way to cap off our trip while we waited for our men to come back from riding the Millennium Force. The girls were enthralled by the almost sensory overload of rockin’ music and incredible choreography. At the end of the show we got to go down and meet the cast. The girls were happy to get their picture taken with Coco. She was one of the athletes on roller blades for the show. All Wheels Extreme runs every day of the week except Thursday with the last daily showing at 7 PM. This show was a big change from the singing and dancing shows I remember as a kid.
How To Make the Most of Your Day At Cedar Point
Plan ahead and check online for deals.
- This thread on FatWallet is regularly updated and has a list of what’s new, what’s gone, what’s closed that day and entrance fee “discount holidays”.
- RetailMeNot’s CedarPoint page has up to date deals you can use online.
- Look for deals on All Day Meal Plans, FastLane, group ticketing, hotel rates and drink wristbands.
Get a FastLane or FastLane Plus Pass
- It’s not cheap BUT you are guaranteed (weather and mechanical difficulties aside) a ride on 20 of the parks most popular coasters with NO WAITING. Time is money right?
- These are sold in very limited quantities every day so if you know you’ll definitely want to ride the big, popular attractions get yours online ahead of time.
Get there early.
- With an average daily attendance of 22,000 the park fills up quick. The park opens at 10 AM so the earlier you get there the better. This is especially true if you plan on riding any of the more popular roller coasters.
- Ohio weather can be unpredictable at times, but in the summer you can typically count on cool mornings and evenings and really hot sunny days. If you can stay at a resort on the park grounds to keep your jacket and change of clothes that’s great. Otherwise plan on carrying them in a backpack or at least having a light jacket available in your vehicle.
- Be wise with your footwear. You are going to be walking a lot. Make sure your footwear is comfortable AND that it is secured to your foot. You don’t want to lose your shoes on a ride, do you ;)?
- Sunny summer days can go from pleasant to painful without the proper protection for your skin. Make sure to cover your exposed skin with at least SPF 30 and reapply regularly. Don’t forget the back of your neck and tops of your ears!
If you suffer with motion sickness or vertigo take a preventative/antiemetic med before coming.
- Don’t give up on enjoying your day if you get motion sickness. I started experiencing motion sickness after my kids were born. I thought I’d never ride another thrill ride again. By taking a Bonine Motion Sickness Protection Chewable Tablet when we left the house I was able to make it to Sandusky and ride some rides without experiencing nausea and only minimal dizziness.
Pack a backpack with water and snacks. Wear a waist pack or make use of zippered pants pockets to store your valuables.
- As parents we always need to be prepared for the inevitable “I’m hungry” or “I’m thirsty” at the most inopportune times. You can stash a backpack in the cubbies at each ride and pick it up when you’re finished. Whatever you do, DO NOT PUT VALUABLES IN ANY BAG YOU PLAN ON PUTTING IN THE CUBBIES. You would like to trust people, but you don’t want to risk ruining your day by losing your wallet, phone or camera.
- Purses, bags or lose items are not allowed on the rides. To keep from losing your keys, phone, wallet, inhaler or what have you be prepared with the proper and ONLY bag allowed on rides – a fanny or waist pack.
- Alternatively, you can leave these items with a non-rider who is willing to wait for you.
Prepare your kids for the crowds and what to do if they get lost.
There will be a TON of people, especially on the weekends. If you don’t have little ones by the hand it can be easy for them to get lost in the shuffle. Prepare them to stay calm and ask for help. If they are old enough to follow directions pick a meeting place if you get separated. There is a lost persons stand in the middle of Kiddie Kingdom and also any of the park employees should be more than willing to help.
We used the “ducky system” with dads in front, kids in the middle and moms behind. It’s an easy way to keep an eye on little ones.
Just have fun!
Thanks to Cedar Point for a wonderful day of fun in the sun. Can’t wait to do that again!
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