SANDUSKY — Cedar Point is just weeks away from debuting its newest metal behemoth, Steel Vengeance.
The park just conducted the new coaster’s first test run late last week, and now they’re doing some of the finishing work like landscaping and adding fencing around the ride. Programmers are working on the coaster’s computer system to help tell operators where the train is at any given moment.
Steel Vengeance’s time is quickly approaching, and the hype is building for its May 5 opening.
“We have not been more excited to open a new ride here at Cedar Point,” said Cedar Point spokesman Tony Clark. “Based on the interest that we’ve received and the reaction from guests and the industry, we think that it’s going to be the biggest ride debut this summer. We all cannot wait to ride it.”
The coaster’s credentials are well-documented: It’ll be the coaster with the world’s most air time, plus the longest, tallest, and fastest hybrid roller coaster ever built. It’s built by Rocky Mountain Construction, the same company that’s erected a number of wooden-steel hybrid coasters across the country.
Since Cedar Point announced the ride last year, Steel Vengeance’s arrival has been highly anticipated. You can count Eric Stumpf as among those who are excited: He’s a writer for an amusement park blog called Coaster Critic, and he tries to make it out to three to five venues across the country each summer. Though he was planning on attending other parks he hasn’t previously attended, he knows Steel Vengeance may draw him back to Cedar Point.
“I’m always out in search of the newest, tallest, fastest thrill machine out there,” Mr. Stumpf said. “I’ve had, really, a lifelong pursuit and passion for roller coasters.”
Mr. Stumpf was granted early access to the park last year when Cedar Point announced Steel Vengeance, and he was on the first people to see the point of view design. What he saw that day on video instantly caught his attention, including the 90-degree drop, the two-and-a-half minute ride duration, and the potential for what experts call “ejector air” that feels like riders are being thrown out of their seats.
“I imagine when you’re on that, you will feel every degree,” Mr. Stumpf said. “That’s certainly going to be quite the rush. [Steel Vengeance] is going to make quite the statement.”
Mr. Clark is careful to distance Steel Vengeance from the coaster it’s replacing, Mean Streak. After years of complaints, Cedar Point spent the last few years tweaking Mean Streak to make up for its rickety nature. But the adjustments, according to Mr. Stumpf, simply made the ride lame. The park needed to start from scratch.
The structure from Mean Streak remains, but the track is now steel, making it a hybrid. As a result, thrill-seekers will get the look of a wooden coaster with the slick feel of a steel behemoth.
“People were calling [Mean Streak] a snoozefest,” Mr. Stumpf said. “It just didn’t have that speed and that vigor that it used to have, and it really didn’t live up to its namesake. I think there were enough people like me with those complaints, and those folks said, ‘You know what, we’re not going to tear it down completely, but we are going to make it better.’ ”
Don’t be deceived by the ride’s wooden frame: Mr. Clark said Steel Vengeance will ride with the same smoothness — and intensity — as the park’s latest roller coasters that grace Cedar Point’s skyline.
“It’s just an impressive structure,” Mr. Clark said. “It does conjure up that nostalgia of an old, wooden roller coaster, but when guests ride it, they’re going to quickly realize that it’s nothing like a wooden coaster at all. It’s going to be exciting, fun, thrilling, and it’s going to combine all the elements that a coaster fan is going to want.”
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