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Blog #521

GateKeeper Media Day - 5/9/2013

Cedar Point wanted to show off its newest roller coaster and get the maxium exposure possible.  So for the first time, coaster club members have been invited to media day for a new coaster.  The event began at 4:00am, but took my time and arrived at about 9:45am.   I got my pass, coupons for free gifts and the itinerary at guest services and entered the park.


Itinerary lanyard

I headed to the free breakfast at Donut Time, but I was too late.  They had just closed down.  I needed some sugar in my system before I started my multiple laps on GateKeeper.  Luckily they were handing out free bottles of Coke products.  This was the first season that Cedar Point has switched from Pepsi to Coke.  I took my free Coke and got in line for the coaster.


Free Coke

My first ride on GateKeeper was great.  The coaster felt more forceful than I had expected it to be.  The first inversion and drop are like nothing I've experienced before.  The combination of elements is great.  The keyholes and pass over the park enterance is a great and novel feature.  I really liked to new over-the-shoulder restraints.  The seats were more of a bucket seat than on Raptor or any other B&M coaster that I could remember.  And of course, the ride was just as smooth as any B&M coaster would be.


GateKeeper

After my first couple of rides I met up with my friend David from Columbus and his father.  We rode together for a few laps before it was time for lunch.  Lunch was served from 11:00am to 2:00pm and we ate around 11:30am.  We ate at the free lunch buffet that was served at Midway Market.  The restaurant had been updated with new Coke Freestyle machines.  The food was good and service was great.   Lunch was also available at Hot Potato and Coasters Drive-In.


Free Lunch

After lunch we took a few laps on Raptor which opened at Noon.


We spent some time taking it easy and David got from fries from Hot Potato.  We slowly walked along the main midway killing some time until Millennium Force opened at 2:00pm.  Eventhough there were only three coasters opened during media day there was a lot of activity in the park.  Ride crews were operating the rides and even doing the complete anouncement schpiels.  It was kind of funny hearing the schpiels with absolutely no one on the rides.  At one point I was walking past MaxAir and they asked the usual "How was your ride?" and I gave them a big whistle.  It put a smile on one of the crew member's faces.  I saw outside contractors replacing an awning over Raptor's queue and repairing the roof on the Pagoda Gift Shop.  There were numerous vehicles traveling along the midways.  It was quite a difference experience having to dodge traffic in the middle of an amusement park.


Vehicles parked along the midway

While we waited for Millennium Force to open we could see that Iron Dragon was testing.  We heard a loud banging sound in that direction and saw that the train never made it to the second lift hill.  It must have lost a wheel or something.  Millie opened a little late but we got several great laps.


We returned to GateKeeper for some afternoon rides.  With most of the coaster geeks riding Raptor and Millennium Force, GateKeeper was an easy walk on.  David had started his day at the park much earlier than I did, so he and his father left around four o'clock.  I spent some time getting a few solo laps on GateKeeper.  Over the course of the day I had a total of nine rides on GateKeeper.  I was able to try out the ride from many different seats.  The left side seems fo feel more forceful.  Especially in the rear through the dive drop and the immelmann.  The left side raises you up in the air and the right side drops you down as you roll into the first inversion at the top of the lift hill.  It is quite a feeling. The front rows give a lot of hang time in the inversion.  While the rear whips through it, especially on the left side.  The keyholes are great.  I can't wait to see it at night.


GateKeeper

Around five I was about ready to leave.  I picked up a free copy of the Sandusky Register from their table near the GateKeeper station.   And on my way out the main gate I stopped at guest services to trade my coupon for my free gift.  It was a nice tote bag with the GateKeeper logo.


I spent a little time looking around the new entrance plaza and took a few photos.  I saw the park's shoutout to CoasterBuzz on the new LED screen.


CoasterBuzz

I got my good camera from the car and spent about an hour taking pictures of the new coaster and park entrance.  I was even able to sneak into some areas normally off-limits to the general public.  I was able to walk right under the coaster and got some great photos that I'll never again have the chance to get.


GateKeeper

I finished my day at 6:00pm and headed home.  My day at Cedar Point was like no other.  And it was completely free.  Admission.  Food.  Drinks.  Gifts.  And a great time.


Click here to see my pictures from GateKeeper Media Day.


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