Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Blast From The Past - The Beginning of a New Millennium (Force)

In May 2000, Cedar Point proudly unveiled what was then largest project in park history, Millennium Force. Standing 310-feet tall Millennium Force was expected to test the adrenaline levels of the most daring coaster junkies. While we were unable to attend the media event, we did use a connection to attend the AAA of Ohio day on May 7th. The following is our report, which appeared in our local paper on May 21st 2000.

Coaster enthusiasts have waited and speculated for years as to whether the 300 foot barrier would ever even be broken. As recently as last June Ron Toomer, retired designer of the Magnum XL-200, said to enthusiasts gathered at Cedar Point that he knew of no coasters being designed that would surpass this milestone. Either you wouldn't want to play poker with him, or he is out of touch since retirement. But, speculation grew in the enthusiast community after Cedar Point scheduled a press conference for July 22, 1999.

Everyone knew something new was going in because the train tracks had been moved away from the woods. But, what was it going to be? At 10AM Cedar Point announced the world's first continuous circuit roller coaster that would top 300 feet. The Internet went crazy with the news. Copies of the press release appeared on other websites before Cedar Point put it on its own With the installation of the web cam, everything was in place for the much heralded breakthrough roller coaster. Cedar Point does not call itself "America's Roller Coast “without good reason.

Monty Jasper, the construction superintendent for Millennium Force, started a diary on the Cedar Point Web site to cut down on the number of phone calls. He described the construction process and made sure there were new pictures available on a regular basis. In an interview he stated that the trains travel up the lift hill at 23 feet per second and that the time to climb the hill is actually less than the climb up the top of Magnum. This allows less time for riders to get overly apprehensive and lets more people ride every hour. While this will help with the line, don't expect it to be short.

May 11th, there were approximately 800 people at Cedar Point for the media event. According to Bryan Edwards of Cedar Point, press from Japan, London and Germany were in attendance, as well as the entire United States and Canada. Everyone who wanted a ride, received one, and many pictures were taken. First public rides were auctioned off to raise money for the local Red Cross for opening day. Anticipation was high, but the ride delivered.

It takes less than 30 seconds to climb to the top, and the view is spectacular. People had long said that on a clear day on Magnum you could see Canada, now you can see farther away than that! The coaster dominates the Cedar Point skyline, and is more impressive at night with the colored lights.

The first drop is at a 90 degree angle, and quickly accelerates you to 92 MPH. You pull up into a high, over banked turn and dive down for a speed run close to the ground. You turn left and enter a tunnel over Frontier Trail, cross the lagoon with the third hill, only 17 feet shorter than Magnum's first drop and do a fast figure eight before crossing back for a high speed run past the station, before entering the final brake run.

The hills over the water offer excellent air time. All the turns are very comfortable, very fast and very, very fun. Because the coaster does not have any inversions, over the shoulder restraints are not required and this makes the coaster extremely comfortable.

Cedar Point is now open weekends and opens daily Memorial Day weekend. The official web site is

So, there you have it and first impressions of Millennium Force, by the way it was Scott's first ever by-line and my first official photo credit. Check back next Thursday for part three of the Millennium Force saga.