- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 22, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Next year Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, will boast even more thrills. In 2018 the self-described “Roller Coaster Capital of the World” will introduce Steel Vengeance, a “hyper-hybrid” high-octane attraction. Combining a steel running track on a wooden structure, the new ride will provide a smooth ride that simultaneously allows the coaster’s trains to engage in a “twisted snake dive” — a half-barrel roll while upside-down before turning back in the direction of travel.

Furthermore, Steel Vengeance’s figure-eight layout will allow for multiple airtime hills, twists and dives to thrill riders over its 150 seconds of adrenaline. Riders will climb 205 feet above the park’s FrontierTown before staring down a 90-degree, 200-foot drop back to earth.

“This is another roller coaster that only Cedar Point could build — tallest, fastest and longest of its kind with four inversions and the exciting movements the hybrid design can achieve,” Jason McClure, vice president and general manager of Cedar Point, said in a statement. “There are so many unexpected moments on Steel Vengeance, it’s just plain twisted. It’ll be an extremely wild experience for our guests.”

Steel Vengeance marks the fourth classification of roller coaster introduced by Cedar Point, with each new attraction necessitating new categories just to define them.

But before Steel Vengeance opens in the spring, guests can meantime still enjoy the park’s other 17 world-class coasters. Valravn may be the ultimate tease, as it literally hangs riders over the edge of a 90-degree drop for what seems an eternity before the inevitable descent. This is a smooth coaster of maximal adrenaline.

Rougarou and Millennium Force both take riders up to the clouds, offering up a stellar view of Lake Erie, before shooting you back toward the ground. You’ll be too busy screaming to take in the surroundings.

For top thrills, Top Thrill Dragster launches riders from a standstill to 120 mph in less than two seconds, shooting their train 420 feet into the air to cross a vertical track before returning to the station.

If you’re in search of a less adrenaline-filled trek to the sky, hop on WindSeeker, a swing ride that takes you up to 302 feet above Cedar Point, offering up views of the lake, the beach, the entire park and as far to the Ohio horizon as you can glean.

For my money, the absolute best ride in the park is GateKeeper. This extraordinary unique ride gives you the sensation of flying — turning you upside-down, backwards, forwards, diving and banking — in quite possibly the smoothest excitement-based coaster in the world. You genuinely feel like you’re flying like a bird — and there’s no sensation of “falling” that characterizes many other coasters. It’s smooth, fun, freeing and, quite simply, amazing.

At one point you even barrel-roll through a barrier tunnel, and you’re all but positive you won’t make it right up until the moment the train tilts.

As a first-time visitor to Cedar Point, and with only four hours to spend there, I had to try as many rides as possible. GateKeeper was the only one I returned to for a second go-round. I absolutely cannot wait to return.

Check out GateKeeper and Cedar Point’s many other fine thrill rides as we all wait anxiously Steel Vengeance’s debut in 2018.

For more information on coming to the park, visit CedarPoint.com

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