This past week was a busy one for Cedar Point's construction of GateKeeper. The park has made quick work of getting the rest of the keyhole element completed, including threading it with track. Going back a few days, we start with the park finishing up assembling the support structures for the new park entrance element.
With both towers standing, you can really get a feel for how the elements will absolutely tower over the new entrance plaza. The actual keyhole supports stand on top of enormous concrete pillars that will become a part of the entrance gates.
I love this zoomed-out view of the ride's progress so far. GateKeeper really covers a lot of territory at Cedar Point... perhaps not as much as some other rides but it will certainly dominate the front corner of the park. You can also see the supports and completed footers for the ride's turnaround element, which will send the trains past - but not through - the keyhole again.
A couple days later - and with much prettier weather for photographs - the park was using two cranes to carefully thread track pieces into the keyholes. I've seen some folks express wishes that the keyholes didn't have large seams in the middle, but I think it adds a little something extra to the towers.
While not completed, this is what will greet guests as they make their way into the brand new entrance plaza. Speaking of that, Pointbuzz got the scoop on what the new area will look like, I suggest checking it out for the details and some high resolution images of the concept art. Overall it's a great change, and will better serve the more modern needs of guests.
After a supersized corkscrew, GateKeeper's trains will head up this track into the keyholes. Trains will roll to the side to start the inversion just in time to fit through the opening above. You can also see the supports that will hold the return track, as well.
Since the track pieces between the two towers have no individual supports, two cranes were needed to hold everything in place while the work was done. Gotta love that blue sky and wispy clouds in the background - you could almost imagine that it was June, not February with a sky like that!
The 4,164 feet of track that GateKeeper is made up is quite evident in this shot - again it really shows off how much ground the ride covers. GateKeeper's track is anywhere from 1,000 to 1,500 feet longer than the previous B&M wing coasters that are already open.
Oh, here's the giant sized corkscrew that I was speaking of before. Wing coasters often have really exaggerated elements, which makes watching the trains move through them even more spectacular. It also makes the ride quite different depending on front or back, far left or far right seating on the train.
Finally, here's a taste of how the view of GateKeeper's big entrance element will look from inside the park, from the classic Main Midway. Nice, right?
All photos © Cedar Point