SANDUSKY, Ohio – Cedar Point’s new Wild Mouse roller coaster refused to be tamed Thursday, shutting down due to mechanical problems at least twice during a media preview.
But here’s the good news when the coaster car you’re riding in comes to an unexpected stop on the track before it’s supposed to, and you have to be escorted off. You get another ride without having to wait in line again.
And the Wild Mouse is a coaster that’s so much fun you’ll want to ride it again and again, with unexpected curves and spins and hairpin turns that will keep you laughing for the entire 1 minute 10 second romp.
“They took a familiar ride and made it more interesting, with a completely new layout,” said Jeff Putz, the founder of Cedar Point fan site pointbuzz.com.
The new coaster is a centerpiece of a new area in the park called the Boardwalk, which also includes a terrific new lakefront dining venue called the Grand Pavilion.
The new area – located along the Lake Erie shore near the front of the park – is a throwback to the park’s earliest days, with classic rides, nostalgic signage and terrific water views.
“We started on the beach,” said Cedar Point General Manager Carrie Boldman, referring to amusement park’s earliest years as a bathhouse and beachfront park. “We’re going back to the nostalgia of the classic boardwalk. This is a modern interpretation.”
She expects the area will be especially popular with families, with its collection of kid-friendly rides, including the Giant Wheel, Matterhorn, Calypso and several others.
The Wild Mouse, too, is meant to be enjoyed by all ages – the height requirement for riders is 42 inches if accompanied by a supervising companion 48 inches or taller.
With a top speed of 35 mph and a first hill that’s just 52 feet high, Wild Mouse doesn’t offer the intensity of many of the park’s other coasters. That’s OK, said Putz.
“Not everything has to be record breaking,” said Putz. “If you like variety – and especially if you have a family – this hits the spot.”
Cedar Point previously had a Wild Mouse, which operated at the park from in the late 1950s and early 1960s. It also had WildCat, in the same family, which was removed in 2012.
This new version is similar, with seven individual cars – six mice and one painted as a hunk of Swiss cheese — holding four riders each. One big difference between this modern version and its previous incarnations – these Wild Mouse cars spin around as they zip up and down the track, offering an extra element of smile-inducing surprise.
One surprise that didn’t generate smiles on Thursday – mechanical issues that shuttered the ride for extended periods at least twice during the media event.
Cedar Point spokesman Tony Clark declined to comment on the issue, other than to say that ride manufacturer Zamperla was on site working on the problem. It’s unclear whether the issues would affect the ride’s operations on opening day, which is Saturday.
Putz, who has followed the industry for decades, said every new ride has glitches. “This happens,” he said. “There’s always a learning curve.”
Cleveland.com photographer Joshua Gunter snapped this photo before being escorted off the Wild Mouse, which was having some mechanical problems during a media preview Thursday. Jeff Putz, the founder of Pointbuzz.com is on the left; Plain Dealer Travel editor Susan Glaser is on the right.The original Wild Mouse operated at Cedar Point in the late 1950s and early 1960s.Cedar Point’s new Boardwalk area is a throwback to its early history as a beachfront park.
The Grand Pavilion, meanwhile, is likely to be just as popular as the coaster – with sweeping views of Lake Erie and a menu designed to evoke a coastal vibe.
The two-story building features the main restaurant on the first floor, with ample indoor seating – a rarity for Cedar Point. The second floor is the real showstopper, however, with a large bar in the center and three outdoor seating areas overlooking the lake.
“You really feel like you’re on vacation out here,” said Boldman.
Unfortunately, there is no direct access from the restaurant to the public beach or vice versa. Park admission is required to enter the restaurant. The closest beach access is a short walk from the Pavilion, near WindSeeker.
Menu items include funnel-cake shrimp, beer-battered fish, roasted turkey, pork tenderloin, tropical fried rice, key lime pie and strawberry shortcake cheesecake.
“This is food you won’t find anywhere else at Cedar Point,” said food and beverage director Carson Weingart.
The bar also features an unusual drink – the Waldmeister, with lemon, vodka and a syrup made from a clover native to the Cedar Point peninsula. “This was served at Cedar Point in the 1890s,” said Weingart.
Talk about a throwback.
If you go: Cedar Point
Cedar Point, about 60 miles west of Cleveland in Sandusky, opens for its 123rd season on Saturday. Park hours are 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
Admission at the gate is $80; online ticket prices start at $49.99.
More information: cedarpoint.com
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