On a sun-drenched, Ohio Chamber of Commerce-type day with temps in the mid-70s, Cedar Point officially introduced GateKeeper, its 16th roller coaster. GateKeeper is a relatively new style of coaster, called a “wing” coaster because the riders ride out on the edges of the coaster train, with a sensation that’s sort of like what a wing-walker might experience on a biplane.
I was there for Media Day, and am pleased to report that the ride is a superb addition to Cedar Point’s collection of coasters. GateKeeper is the longest coaster of its kind and also boasts the largest drop of 164 feet. Riders enter that drop after experiencing the world’s highest inversion on a coaster— right off the lift hill, the train inverts and dives into a loop. Further moments of airtime happen as the train crests hills and spirals, then it’s time for GateKeeper’s signature element: a spiraling dive through two vertical “keyholes” that brings the words “shit-eating grin” to mind. The keyholes are right over Cedar Point’s brand new front gate, which is simply beautiful. A world-class welcome to a world-class park.
I got to ride it six times, in the front, middle and back. The ride is rather different depending on what side of the train you are on, as well as how far in front or back you are. This just makes you want to ride again, and try out the differences in sensation and speed from varying seat locations.
The ride is really unlike anything else at CP: Unlike it’s cousin Raptor — manufactured by the same company and also featuring the dangling leg sensation, GateKeeper flows through its layout with speed metered out in big, graceful arcs, like a skywriter who is practicing his cursive. Raptor is more like a fighter jet, with quick turns and pivots.
It’s also insanely photogenic — I can’t wait to come back and shoot some nighttime pics.
I’ve been a Cedar Point geek since 1972, including the summer of 1984 when I was a summer employee. Take it from this geek, GateKeeper is so good it has taken over the #2 spot on my ranking of CP’s coasters. Millennium Force, the 310-foot high, 93-mph wonder on the other side of the peninsula — remains in the top spot. I’ll let Maverick and Dragster battle it out for #3.
Thanks again to Cedar Point for the opportunity to preview this fantastic new machine.