Monday, September 19, 2005

The Weekend

Well, since I was sick most of the week last week I poorly prepaired for my weekend mini vacation but it still worked out well. I've always loved roller coasters and always wanted to do a "tour" of the coasters in the area but never got around to it. My friends and I deceided to make a dent in that tour and go to one of the best coaster parks in the country: Ceder Point. (also see here). We planned an overnight trip that ended up working quite well.

Our first plan was to drive there. We're in Philadelphia, so the drive would have been major. Soon that idea morphed into a drive from Pittsburgh since Southwest has some sick fares to Pittsburgh from Philly (I believe we paid $69 each roundtrip).We left Sat morning, flew to Pitt, rented a car and drove the 2.5 hours to the park. We got there at about 5pm which gave us 3 hours to hit some stuff.

We stayed at a hotel at the park (Breakers Express, like $79 a night) and were admitted an hour early into the park the next morning (9am). We used that time to run to the Millennium Force which the day before had a 2 hour wait (1.25 hours to the ride and .75 for the front seat) which we gladly braved.

All in all, we were able to ride everything we came to ride and hit MF 3 times (2x front seat, 1x back seat). The coasters we rode were : Millenium Force (voted best steel coaster on the planet 3 out of the past 5 years), Mantis, Raptor, Mean Streak, Magnum XL-200, Gemini, and Power Tower (not a coaster). We would have done Top Thrill Dragster which was insane (and a full version of something I rode a few years back in Virginia) but it was out of comission.

Anyway, we left the park at 12pm, got some breakfast and drove back to Pittsburgh and were home by 6pm yesterday. Was perfect.

A couple of notes. First off, Southwest was great as usual. The key is to get your bording pass as early as you can and then camp in the correct line, if not, you could get a terrible seat and have to check your bags. The flights were each ahead of schedule, the attendants were great and unlike lame US Air, we got peanuts with our drinks.. Glad to see at least one airline is doing it right.

Secondly, Ceder Point is a really nice park if you ever want to plan a trip. We didn't have time, but there was so much more to do there and overall the park is big and the themes are pretty well done. Highly recommended.. It's also not that expensive.

Thirdly, and most importantly, we learned what we already believed to be true and that is this : when going to a theme park, Go Off Season! Wow, what a difference that made. Not only was it cooler, but it was easier to park, lines were shorter, and of course there were much less people, it was dreamy! Also, it goes without saying that you should go at the opening time for the park as well (everyone should know that one)..

Ok, well, I've got to get to work now.. cya!

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