Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Blast From The Past - Ten Years of the Force!

Caution....before riding...please be seated, fasten your seat belt and hold on for the ride of your life...and the ride of the millennium!

With those words, on July 22, 1999 Cedar Point announced they were building the world's tallest, fastest roller coaster. A new thriller that would break 10 world records, leaping into the next century at a mind blowing 310 feet tall. This goliath steel coaster, named Millennium Force, would be the park's 14th coaster and single largest investment in the 129-year history of Cedar Point.


Opening in May of 2000 and located in the center of the park along Frontier Trail, Millennium Force's layout covered 13 acres. To make room for this massive ride the Giant Wheel had to be moved over by Disaster Transport.

Millennium Force also coined a new coaster term. Many parks already had hyper coasters, but none were over 300 feet tall. Lumping the world's first 300 footer in a category with all those "short" rides didn't seem right. So Millennium Force, befitting a coaster of its extreme height became known as the world's 1st "giga-coaster"

Millennium Force was the 1st coaster to use an elevator cable system, which makes that ride up the 310 foot lift hill pretty quickly and very smooth. Even the coaster's structure had a futuristic look to it with the brilliant blue track blending with sleek silver framework. And,the three stainless steel trains, in primary colors of red, blue and yellow, allow for a capacity of approximately 1,600 riders an hour.
To put some perspective on just how tall Millennium Force would be, the PR gurus at Cedar Point came up with a few famous landmarks that fall just short of the coaster's record breaking 310 feet. The Capitol Building in Washington DC, which is one of the most recognizable buildings in the world is a mere 287 feet tall. Cedar Point's own Power Tower comes a bit closer, topping out at 300 feet even, close but not quite, is the then 112 year old, Statue of Liberty. From ground level to the tip of her torch she is a petite at 305 feet tall. Shorter sibling and 1989 record breaker, Magnum XL 200, at 205 feet isn't even close. It's interesting to note when Magnum was announced the Statue of Liberty's height without the base was used in promoting that ride.

A few more fun facts, if you stack 744 cans of Pepsi- one by one- on top of each other they would equal the height of Millennium Force's lift hill. At 92mph the coaster broke the legal speed limit of the then 65mph in most states by a whopping 27 mph! Millennium Forces 1st drop is only 10 degrees short of being vertical. And, finally more than 400 steel columns were used to build Millennium Force

So, how about those ten world records...
1.) tallest roller coaster at 310 feet;
2.) fastest roller coaster at 92 mph;
3.) longest drop on a roller coaster at 300 feet;
4.) the most roller coasters anywhere in the world with an astonishing 14 at Cedar Point;
5.) the most rides anywhere in the world with 68 at Cedar Point;
6.) first roller coaster to break the 300-foot-tall threshold;
7.) most steel roller coasters anywhere in the world with 12 at Cedar Point;
8.) more roller coaster track than anywhere else in the world with 44,013 feet;
9.) first roller coaster to use an elevator lift cable system; and
10.) steepest non-inversion banked turn on a roller coaster at 122 degrees.

Construction began in July and continued throughout the snowy northern Ohio winter. And, just like the mailman, through rain, sleet or snow the construction crew delivered! Stay tuned for more of the Force next week!