Cedar Point says farewell to the Mantis

Coaster lovers speculate park’s future plans

Mantis ride at Cedar Point in Sandusky in May 2014.  They announced Tuesday that this will be the last year for the Mantis.
Mantis ride at Cedar Point in Sandusky in May 2014. They announced Tuesday that this will be the last year for the Mantis.

SANDUSKY — Part of the thrill of a good roller coaster is the anticipation.

There’s plenty of that now for fans of Cedar Point.

The Sandusky amusement park announced Tuesday that it will decommission the Mantis next month, but gave no indication of what would take the place of the steel coaster when the park reopens next year.

“It’s time to say good-bye to one of the park’s coasters, and it’s certainly been a different kind of ride for our guests,” said Jason McClure, vice president and general manager of Cedar Point. “But we’re extremely excited about what the future holds here at the Roller Coaster Capital of the World.”

Let the speculation begin.

With its standing riding position, the Mantis has been one of Cedar Point’s quirkier coasters. When the ride opened in 1996, it was promoted as the tallest, fastest, and steepest stand-up coaster in the world. But in spite of its record-breaking status, the Mantis never quite became one of the park’s signature attractions. Some riders in recent years have complained the ride was rough and uncomfortable.

Still, coaster lovers say the Mantis has its place.

“There’s fans for every coaster,” said Jason Hammond, president of the Great Ohio Coaster Club. “There’s going to be people who are going to be very disappointed this is leaving. It wasn’t my favorite, but it wasn’t my least favorite either.”

Some, including Mr. Hammond, wonder if Cedar Point might be planning to rework Mantis into a more traditional coaster. He noted the news release put out by Cedar Point didn’t say the ride was being torn down.

“I think there’s a possibility it’s not going anywhere,” he said.

Whatever park officials have planned, it’s important for them to keep the offerings fresh, industry experts say.

“The lifeblood of our parks is repeat visitation, and repeat visitation is based on the introduction of new product,” said Dennis Speigel, president of Cincinnati-based International Theme Park Services Inc.

At older parks like Cedar Point, adding new rides usually means doing away with existing ones. In recent years Cedar Point tore down the White Water Landing log ride to make space for Maverick, and razed the indoor Disaster Transport coaster and the Space Spiral tower to make room for the winged GateKeeper coaster that opened in 2012.

Mr. Speigel said standing coasters don’t seem to be en vogue right now, and that closing Mantis gives the park a lot of room to work with.

“That’s going to give them a very nice piece of property to expand in, maybe with one new ride; it could be another coaster for all we know. [But] it wouldn’t surprise me to see them put in multiple attractions in that area,” he said.

Thrill-seekers still have time left to ride Mantis. It’s scheduled to be shut down at the end of the day on Oct. 19. Cedar Point’s last day for the 2014 season is Nov. 2.

Contact Tyrel Linkhorn at tlinkhorn@theblade.com or 419-724-6134 or on Twitter @BladeAutoWriter.