SANDUSKY — Cedar Point amusement park, which has been named the country’s Best Amusement Park for 14 years running, will try to preserve that honor in 2013 by constructing a $26 million “winged” roller coaster to debut next season.
The GateKeeper, designed by Swiss-based Bolliger & Mabillard Consulting Engineers, will be 170 feet tall and 4,164 feet long, making it the second-longest ride at Cedar Point, behind Millenium Force. It will provide 32 riders with thrills for approximately two minutes and 40 seconds while hitting speeds up to 67 mph.
The new coaster will be located near Cedar Point’s front entrance, with one section of the ride arching through two towers located directly over the admission gate — hence the name GateKeeper — to provide customers entering the park with an immediate and breathtaking visual shot of adrenalin designed to generate anticipation and excitement for a day of upcoming thrills.
The new ride will start to the east of the front entrance on the site where Cedar Point recently began removing its outdated Disaster Transport roller coaster and Space Spiral tower ride. The new coaster is expected to ready when Cedar Point opens for the season next May.
The GateKeeper will bump Cedar Point’s stable of roller coasters back up to 16 from a temporary 15 following the removal of Disaster Transport, a bobsled-style roller coaster that the park closed July 29 after 28 years.
It will be the first “winged” coaster built at any of the 11 amusement parks owned by Cedar Point’s parent firm, Sandusky-based Cedar Fair LP. A “winged” coaster is one where riders are suspended in cars that hang out over either side of the coaster’s track and allow a rider’s legs to dangle freely.
The GateKeeper will be the first new roller coaster to be built at Cedar Point since the 105-foot high Maverick coaster debuted in 2007. At $26 million, the GateKeeper will exceed the Millennium Force roller coaster, built in 2000, as the most expensive ride in the park.
The park is expected to spend another $2 million to redo the front entrance to accommodate the ride.