My family spent last weekend at Cedar Point during their Halloweekends event so I could attend Bloggy Conference. This was our third year visiting Cedar Point for Bloggy Conference and staying at Hotel Breakers. The conference registration and discounted conference rate at Hotel Breakers included tickets to Cedar Point for my family over the weekend.
I wanted to share a few highlights from our trip and also some tips for visiting Cedar Point for Halloweekends.
Cedar Point Rides
For our family, the main draw at Cedar Point is the roller coasters (and a few other thrill rides). My daughter can talk about the coasters all day…their speeds, the 95 degree drop on Maverick, the record-breaking heights of Magnum, Millennium Force, and Top Thrill Dragster. HalloWeekends is a great time to visit because the park is not as crowded as the summer, particularly on Friday night and Sunday.
Cedar Point Roller Coasters
Over the course of the weekend, we managed to ride each of the steel coasters and Gemini. For my husband and daughter, this was their first chance to ride Valravn. They rode it 3 or 4 times over the weekend (I rode it twice with them this weekend). We even walked directly on GateKeeper.
My daughter is up for any ride and my husband and I rarely let her outdo us. Even beyond coasters, she is picking the thrill rides. I love swings, but the height of WindSeeker (301′) has always intimidated me. This year, my daughter insisted on trying it. I actually enjoyed the ride, although once was enough.
[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@a2withkids” display_mode=”box”]Cedar Point Tip: WindSeeker closes in wind and other conditions. If it’s open, ride it then[/tweetthis]
My daughter decided that she wanted to ride WindSeeker this year on Friday night. We walked by it several times on Friday night and Saturday when it was running, but were in a hurry to get to the roller coasters before their lines got long. Each time we returned to WindSeeker (about 4 times), the ride was not operating. On Sunday morning when my conference ended, I used the entrance by WindSeeker to join my husband and daughter in the park and saw it running. I called them to join me at WindSeeker. The view is amazing from the top and was not as scary as I thought it would be.
If you have small kids, don’t worry. Cedar Point has plenty of kids rides and low or moderate thrill rides that they can enjoy with you. The kids rides are predominately in Camp Snoopy, Planet Snoopy, and Kiddy Kingdom. The maximum height on the kids rides is 54″, so we skipped these sections. On our first visit, when my daughter was just under 52″, she rode a few of the kids rides, but it was obvious she was getting too big for them.
Some of the kiddie rides allow a rider over 54″ to accompany a shorter rider. This is a great option when you have children both above and below 54″.
Many rides at Cedar Point are restricted by height. Since my husband and I are big roller coaster fans, we waited to take our daughter until she was tall enough for the coasters.
[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@a2withkids” display_mode=”box”]Cedar Point Tip: Know which rides your child can ride. Get a Ride Wristband at Guest Services[/tweetthis]
On our first trip to Cedar Point in summer 2013, she was disappointed to just miss the 52″ height for GateKeeper at age 7.5. As we were leaving, she requested to come back when she was tall enough to ride. The next fall, she was just over 54″ and able to ride all of the coasters. And yes, at 8.5 she rode all of the roller coaster at Cedar Point including the 400+ foot tall Top Thrill Dragster.
Ride Wristbands can be obtained at Guest Services and confirm your child’s height level. If they’re close to a ride cut-off, it might help to pick their shoes with the most sole cushioning for a little help. For my daughter this would mean picking her sneakers instead of sandals or flip-flops.
With only one child, we’ve never used a Parent Swap Pass. But, it is a great option if you have children who are tall enough/want to go on rides and ones who don’t.
[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@a2withkids” display_mode=”box”]Cedar Point Tip: A Parent Swap Pass lets you alternate riding the big rides and watching the kids.[/tweetthis]
With the Parent Swap Pass, only one parent needs to wait in the ride line. Stop by Guest Services to obtain your Parent Swap Pass.
Cedar Point will be celebrating HalloWeekends on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through October 30. HalloWeekends is broken into two components, Great Pumpkin Fest and Haunt. The park features 20,000 lbs of pumpkins, gourds, and squash, over 400 monsters, and 96,000 corn stalks. One of our favorite areas of the park is the Pumpkin Spectacular where most of the pumpkins can be found.
Great Pumpkin Fest
Great Pumpkin Fest is the kid-friendly daytime portion of HalloWeekends with special activities for kids under 54″. Activities run from 11a-7p on Saturday and Sunday. There will be crafts, tractor races, a corn maze, a hay bale maze, and an outdoor foam pit. They also offer Trick or Treat. In 2014, my daughter participated in the Trick or Treat (even though she was just over the 54″ maximum height). No costume is needed for the Trick or Treat, although some kids do come in costume.
The night time portion of HalloWeekends, Haunt, is geared towards teens and adults. Haunt includes several walkthrough Haunted Houses and Terror Zones. The Terror Zones are outdoor walkthrough attractions with monsters and zombies that will come up to you, but do not touch you. They may approach you from behind, or hidden behind mist and lights, or just walk up near you. Three of the terror zones are on the regular park paths towards the back of the park, so if your child is particularly sensitive, you may want to stay in the front of the park.
[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@a2withkids” display_mode=”box”]Cedar Point Halloweekends Tip: Buy a No Boo Necklace to minimize spooks in terror zones.[/tweetthis]
Cedar Point offers a “No-Boo” Necklace for kids (or adults) that want to try the haunted areas without being spooked. The monsters will still interact with the wearer of a No-Boo necklace, but won’t try to spook or scare them. A No-Boo Necklace costs $10 and is a cute light-up ghost this year.
This year, we were initially underwhelmed by the Terror Zones compared to last year. Then I realized that we experienced them much earlier in the evening this year than past years. Last year we only arrived at 9p. This year, we were in the scare zones by 8p when the monsters first come out.
What to Wear
The weather at Cedar Point can vary quite a bit due to it’s location on an island in Lake Erie. Last weekend we were able to wear shorts and t-shirts all weekend. Even though the temperatures dropped just below 70 in the evenings, it was very humid, so it didn’t feel cool. Other years we have needed jackets in the evening, particularly if we’re riding the tall, fast rides.
You will do lots of walking at Cedar Point. According to my FitBit, I walked 14000 steps on Friday night, 12000 steps on Saturday (and I was in conference sessions most of the day), and 23000 steps on Sunday. Make sure your shoes are comfortable.
[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@a2withkids” display_mode=”box”]Cedar Point Tip: Wear comfortable, secure shoes.[/tweetthis]
Also, several rides require you to remove loose shoes (i.e. flip flops, crocs, etc) since your feet hang from the ride vehicle. While you can leave your shoes in bins, I’ve found it easier to just wear sneakers. Some rides in this category are GateKeeper, Valravn, Raptor, WindSeeker, and SkyHawk.
Storing Your Stuff
On most of the roller coasters you will not be able to take loose items with you. Some rides have bins for your stuff (Maverick, GateKeeper, Raptor). Other rides use separate load and unload platforms, so you cannot leave anything on the platform (Millennium Force, Top Thrill Dragster). Valravn, the newest ride, only allows you to leave shoes behind. Lockers are available, but will get expensive if your entire party is going on lots of rides.
[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@a2withkids” display_mode=”box”]Cedar Point Tip: Travel Light – Cargo Pockets, or Waist Packs are useful.[/tweetthis]
We opt to travel light. After losing his keys out of a regular pocket at Michigan Adventure a few years ago, my husband wears cargo shorts at amusement parks now. Cedar Point allows a waist pack on all of their rides. Since most of my clothes lack pockets, I use an old camera pack as a waist pack. It fits my phone, my daughter’s iPod, and a key. The battery pocket is the perfect size for my cards and money.
Hotel Breakers underwent a major renovation between the 2014 and 2015 season. The renovation was much needed. In both 2014 and 2015 we stayed in the tower at Hotel Breakers overlooking the park. This year, we could see both Magnum XL and Top Thrill Dragster from our room.
The new rooms were bright, well-maintained, and cheery. I love that the hotel headboard features a ride. Last year, we had GateKeeper headboards. This year we had Ferris Wheel headboards.
The room also had both a refrigerator and a small microwave, perfect if you want to have snacks or breakfast in the room. I had breakfast at the conference room both days. My husband and daughter went to Starbucks on Saturday and Perkins on Sunday. They found both places were crowded. It would definitely be faster to eat in the room and take advantage of the early opening hour.
Hotel Breakers has both an indoor pool and the outdoor pools. The outdoor pools are open in fall based on the temperature. Last year we hadn’t realized that there was an indoor pool, so we hadn’t brought our swim suits. My daughter went swimming in the indoor pool during the rain on Saturday afternoon.
[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@a2withkids” display_mode=”box”]Cedar Point Tip: Walk right in with Early Entry by Staying at Hotel Breakers[/tweetthis]
There are many perks to staying at Hotel Breakers. The two biggest perks are location and early entry. Hotel Breakers is adjacent to the park on the beach. There are two resort entrances…one by Wave Swinger and one near Magnum XL-200. Hotel guests also receive entry into the parks one hour early (including Friday afternoons). My husband and daughter definitely used this hour to their advantage.
With the location near the park, your hotel room offers a perfect shelter for rain storms. My husband and daughter returned to the room just ahead of a rain storm on Saturday afternoon. I met them there when my sessions were done. They were watching a movie on my husband’s laptop, then we took a trip to the indoor pool.
Food at Cedar Point
Cedar Point offers food options beyond the standard theme park fare. In past years we ate at Johnny Rockets, Famous Dave’s (outside the park on the marina), and Panda Express.
Hotel Breakers Food
For breakfast, Hotel Breakers has a Perkins and a Starbucks. I had breakfast at the conference both days but my husband and daughter tried out Starbucks on Saturday and Perkins on Sunday. Since it was still raining at dinner time Saturday, we had dinner at Tomo, a Japanese Steak House inside Hotel Breakers. I definitely recommend making a reservation. We were one of the last groups seated without a reservation. We had a great meal.
In Park Food
We had lunch in the park on Sunday at Chickie & Pete’s, a sports bar offering table service meals. Chickie & Pete’s is a Philadelphia area chain. My husband was thrilled to be able to get a Yuengling Beer which isn’t available in Michigan. We definitely recommend the crab fries at Chickie & Pete’s.
Saturday, my husband and daughter tried to eat lunch at Frontier Inn which replaced Chick-Fil-A this year. The restaurant was not open, so they ended up eating burgers at Coasters Drive-In.
We had a great time at Cedar Point for HalloWeekends and BloggyCon. We hope to return next year for BloggyCon 2017 (not yet announced). Cedar Point’s big plan for 2017 is an expansion of Soak City to Cedar Point Shores water park. Since the water park is not open in September, we may try to make a trip earlier in the summer when the water park is open.