Cedar Point History: 1970 – 1994

1870 – 1904  |  1905 – 1949  | 1950 – 1969  |  1970 – 1994  |  1995 – Present

Indeed, the year 1970 was a year for celebration. For it was the year Cedar Point celebrated its 100th anniversary. To mark this monumental occasion, the park made many additions. The biggest addition was the new Million-Dollar Midway. This midway is the midway where today’s Mantis roller coaster and Cedar Point Cinema is located. The Bayern Kurve, opening on the new midway, featured a bobsled themed train that ran in a circle, with a small hill in the back of the ride. Built across the old Grand Pavilion, the WildCat roller coaster deputed that year with a blue and red structure. Children could enjoy a new Kiddle Land, known today as Kiddy Kingdom, that was built next to the massive Coliseum with an antique carousel as its centerpiece. The Hollywood Wax Museum was converted into the live show theatre called the Centennial Theatre in mark of Cedar Point’s Centennial.

Frontiertown was connected with a midway in 1971 when the Frontier Trail opened on the northwest side of the peninsula. Themed like Frontiertown, this path features authentic log cabins and various shops. Near the tip of the peninsula, Camper Village was also added in 1971 for the use of guests with recreational vehicles.

The mammoth Giant Wheel ferris wheel debuted in 1972 behind the Cedar Point and Lake Erie Railroad Station on the new Million-Dollar Midway. The 168-foot ride features over 7,996 light bulbs, which put on a dazzling light show at night. The Frontiertown Carousel, built by William H. Dentzel, featured 66-piece menagerie of animals and chariots. This carousel was added to Frontiertown in 1972 from an amusement park in Michigan. The Jumbo Jet roller coaster with its all steel structure and track opened in 1972 along the beach area where the Cyclone once stood. When it opened, it was said to be the fastest in America and had banked turns as steep as seventy degrees.

Corkscrew roller coasterIn 1975, Robert Munger, Jr. became the new president of the thriving peninsula, replacing presidents George Roose and Emile Legros. New that year, was the Cedar Point Cinema with an IMAX® projection system. The 19,000 square-foot theatre debuted on the Million-Dollar Midway near the old Cedars Hotel.

The Corkscrew roller coaster opened in 1976 and was the first roller coaster ever to have three inversions. The ride was built over part of the midway near the lagoons and Hotel Breakers. The lift hill is eighty-five feet tall and the ride reaches speeds of forty-eight miles per hour. Near the new Corkscrew, the Troika fast-moving circular ride opened that year with three large arms that hold gondolas that move counterclockwise while the ride rotates clockwise.

The Dodgem bumper cars opened the next year in 1977 near the Corkscrew roller coaster station. A little further down the midway, the Witches’ Wheel opened as well that year. An exciting variation of the Ferris wheel, the Witches’ Wheel rises almost sixty feet while it turns guests upside-down.
The one hundred twenty-five-foot tall Gemini opened in 1978 and was the tallest roller coaster in the world. As the name suggests, there are two separate tracks in which riders get to race the other train when ride is in operation reaching speeds of sixty miles per hour. After dismissing the idea of starting a new park from scratch, Cedar Point purchased Valleyfair Amusement Park in 1978. This Minnesota amusement park was originally built in 1976 and was already successful before Cedar Point purchased it.

The compact WildCat roller coaster was sent to ValleyFair Amusement Park during the 1978-1979 off-season and in 1979 a new WildCat opened in the area of today’s Disaster Transport. Built in the shadows of the Gemini, the Junior Gemini roller coaster opened in 1979 as a kiddy version of the giant. Reaching a top speed of about six miles per hour and height of only nineteen feet, this gentle ride was intended for the entertainment of the many younger guests that visit the park annually. Also added in 1979 was the new Wave Swinger ride. Located in Frontiertown, this ride features single seated swings that swing outward while the ride itself tips on an angle.

Oceana, built at a cost of three million dollars, was added in 1980 with the beautiful Lake Erie as its backdrop. The 1,600-seat stadium reached five stories high and featured dolphin and sea lion shows that were sponsored by Coca-Cola.

New for 1981 was the Ocean Motion ride that features a boat that rocks riders back and forth with a pendulum style motion. Built near the new Oceana, the ride let riders experience weightlessness when the ship reaches the peak of it’s swinging motion. Also that year Cedar Point adopted a new logo which carried the park through the mid-nineties.

Before the start of the 1982 season, the park removed the Sky Wheel double Ferris wheel, Upside-down funhouse, and Shoot-the-Rapids water ride. In the area of the old Sky Wheel, they added another beautiful flowerbed. The new Kid Arthur’s Court replaced the recently razed fun house and contained a massive net of rope for children to climb. Lastly, the mild Shoot-the-Rapids water ride was replaced with a more intense White Water Landing. The new ride has a forty-five foot decent and takes riders on a four-minute trip through its water channels.

Demon DropNear the main entrance gate of the park, a new free fall ride was added for the 1983 season. The 131-foot high Demon Drop takes riders up its skeletal tower and holds them dangling in four passenger cars. After holding them for a few moments, the car is released and descends down the tower sixty-feet in less than two seconds. Cedar Point Inc. was converted into Cedar Fair Limited Partnership that year as well to protect the company from being purchased.

No major additions were seen in 1984, but a year later the WildCat roller coaster was moved from near the Space Spiral to the area of the recently removed Bayern Kurve ride on the Million-Dollar Midway. The WildCat and other riders were moved for the new Avalanche Run roller coaster. The sled looking cars and the curved troughs of Avalanche Run made the ride look like a bobsled run and incorporates a sixty-three foot high lift hill and has 1,932 feet of troughs for the trains to roll on. In the spot of the old San Francisco Earthquake ride arose the new Berenstain Bear Country for the 1985 season. This area featured the loved storybook characters with a themed playground for children. The spinning Rotor ride was also removed this year and in its place came the Schwabinchen. The German themed ride takes riders on its rotating and tilting platform.

New for 1986 was the Thunder Canyon water ride that resembles white water rafting. The 1,600 feet of rapids, waterfalls, and shooting geysers drenches willing riders, seated in round boats that hold twelve people.

Built over the end of the lagoons in 1987, the Iron Dragon is a suspended coaster that hangs from the track. The ride was named for the way it looked like a dragon when it was in operation reaching speeds of forty miles per hour. A portion of the ride was built on an island in the center of the peninsula. For this new roller coaster to be added the old Frontier Lift was removed and the Frontiertown station of the lift was converted into a restroom. Also the entrance to the Western Cruise had to be moved further down the lagoons and the ride was renamed Paddlewheel Excursions.

On five-acres of land, north of the old Hotel Breakers, Cedar Point added Soak City water park for the 1988 season. The 3.5 million-dollar investment featured ten serpentine inter tube water slides when it opened and the park charged extra admission for it. Also that year, Richard L. Kinzel replaced Robert Munger as president of Cedar Fair, L. P, due to Munger’s death.

Changing the skyline of Cedar Point was the Magnum XL-200 roller coaster, which opened for the 1989 season. This record-breaking roller coaster was the first to break the 200-foot height barrier and have the fastest speed on a roller coaster of seventy-two miles per hour. The out and back style ride is supported by more than 350 concrete footers and was designed by famous roller coaster designer Ron Toomer of Arrow Dynamics. This new roller coaster put Cedar Point on the map as a world class amusement park with it’s collection of nine roller coasters at the time.

The Avalanche Run roller coaster was renovated for the 1990 season at a cost of four million dollars and renamed Disaster Transport. The existing roller coaster was enclosed in a building and themed to look like a battered space transport. Inside the ride they added many special effects including robots and projection equipment. The newly themed ride let riders take part in a transport to Alaska but encounter trouble along the way. A new hotel was also added that year at the very tip of the peninsula. The Sandcastle Suites Hotel was built far from all the noise and action of the amusement park and featured it’s own pool at private beach. The all suite hotel was added due to the overwhelming popularity of Hotel Breakers in peak season.

One of the tallest and fastest wooden roller coasters was built for the 1991 season. The 163-foot high Mean Streak opened in the back of Frontiertown and reaches speeds of sixty-five miles per hour. Mean StreakThe 1.7 million board feet of lumber used to build this roller coaster is made from Southern yellow pine and is lit at night with spotlights. Also that year a pool was added to the Hotel Breakers and the Breakwater Café was added to the secluded Sandcastle Suites Hotel.

In 1992, Cedar Point celebrated its roller coaster centennial due to the Switchback Railway being built in 1892. Also that year, Cedar Fair, L. P. purchased Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom in Allentown, Pennsylvania. This beautiful amusement park opened in 1884 and now contains popular roller coasters such as the Steel Force. In addition that year, Cedar Point added Challenge Park between Soak City and the Hotel Breakers. When the area opened, Challenge Park contained a go-kart raceway and a 36-hole golf course. Also that year, Berenstain Bear Country was expanded outside with the removal of the Sky Slide. Around this new themed area, a miniature train was added for children to ride. The last major addition in 1992 was the expansion of the Sandcastle Suites Hotel with two new wings.

Near the Cedar Creek Mine Ride, the park added Snake River Falls. Opening in 1993, this water flume ride debuted as the tallest and fastest in the world. Riders ascend a hill and into a tunnel, which stands eight stories high, and plunge down the hill into the lagoons creating a mammoth wave.

One of the first inverted roller coasters ever, Raptor opened in 1994 on the former site of the recently razed Mill Race water ride near the front of the resort. The structure reaches a height of 137 feet and the trains accelerate to speeds of fifty-seven miles per hour. The entire ride is held up by 300 steel columns, which are painted green. The twelve million-dollar roller coaster also forced the Turnpike Cars track to be reduced in size and the Calypso and Midway Carousel to be moved to other locations in the park. Also moved that year was the Frontiertown Carousel, which was sent to the recently purchased Dorney Park.

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1870 – 1904  |  1905 – 1949  | 1950 – 1969  |  1970 – 1994  |  1995 – Present