Cedar Point, Kings Island, Kennywood, Waldameer prepare to reopen, with adjustments: Amusement park guide 2020

Cedar Point, Kings Island, Kennywood, Waldameer prepare to reopen, with adjustments: Amusement park guide 2020

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Riding a roller coaster won’t be the same this summer, but it will still be fun. At least area amusement park executives hope so.

Several regional parks plan to open in the coming weeks, after being shuttered for months because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Kings Island opens on July 2, followed by Cedar Point on July 9, Kennywood on July 11, and others.

The park experience will be different – reservations are required to enter, hours will be limited, capacity will be capped to keep crowds down, face masks will be required of almost all guests.

And yet some things won’t change: Top Thrill Dragster will still hit 120 mph, Steel Vengeance will flip you upside down four times, and Windseeker will provide amazing views of Lake Erie from 300 feet aloft.

Cedar Fair, the parent company of Cedar Point and Kings Island, recently released a video outlining many of the changes that guests can expect. Among them: Guests will be required to reserve a date and time for every visit, fill out a health questionnaire before they arrive, and get their temperature scanned before they enter.

Once in the park, guests will be required to wear masks, adhere to social distancing guidelines while waiting in line, encouraged to wash hands often, and use non-cash options for paying for food and souvenirs.

“We’re doing everything we can to create a safe and healthy environment,” said Cedar Point spokesman Tony Clark in the video. “Remember, we’re all in this together, but we need your help. We’re ready to have some fun again, and we hope you are, too.”

One short-term casualty of the coronavirus: Conneaut Lake Park, not far from the Ohio border in Conneaut Lake, Pa., announced last month that it would not open in 2020.

But other parks are taking significant steps to prepare for guests. Here’s a look at what you can expect at five parks within a few hours’ drive of Cleveland:

Orion, a new space-themed roller coaster, will make its public debut at Kings Island on July 2.

Kings Island

Mason

Opens: July 2 to season passholders, July 12 to everyone else

Reservations required: Yes; reservations opened Tuesday, June 23; go to visitkingsisland.com

Prices: $41.99 online; no walk-up tickets sold

Hours: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. daily (until 10 p.m. July 4)

Top rides: Kings Island this year is debuting Orion, a space-themed steel coaster with a 287-foot first hill and top speed of 91 mph. The coaster will be the tallest and fastest at the park, and is one of the most highly anticipated new rides in the United States this year.

Don’t miss: At 7,359 feet long, the Beast is still the longest wooden coaster in the world – and regularly ranked among the very best. Mystic Timbers, also a wooden coaster, debuted in 2017 and fast became a park favorite. Young visitors will love Planet Snoopy, consistently ranked among the best children’s areas by Amusement Today magazine. Opening date for waterpark Soak City has not been announced.

More information: visitkingsisland.com

Steel Vengeance at Cedar Point in Sandusky. (Marvin Fong / The Plain Dealer)The Plain Dealer

Cedar Point

Sandusky

Opens: July 9-10 to season passholders, July 11-22 to resort guests and season passholders. Guests who have already purchased single-day admission tickets will be able to make reservations for dates starting July 23; visitors who have not yet purchased tickets will be able to make reservations for later dates.

Reservations required: Yes, though reservations are not currently open; check cedarpoint.com for updates.

Prices: $45.99 online, not currently for sale; no walk-up tickets will be sold

Hours: 11 a.m.-8 p.m.

Top rides: Steel Vengeance debuted in 2018 and quickly became the park’s No. 1 attraction, with hours-long waits on busy days. The coaster, a remade version of the old Mean Streak wooden coaster, is a wood-steel hybrid that flips riders upside down four times. Coaster fans should not miss it.

Also: The park’s lineup of world-class coasters is long, including Millennium Force, Maverick, Magnum XL-200 and many others. For a dose of nostalgia, take a ride on Cedar Downs Racing Derby Carousel.

Cedar Point Shores: Cedar Point’s outdoor waterpark will not open this year.

Overnight options: Historic Hotel Breakers is a classic, with 669 beachfront rooms, many with views of Lake Erie.

More information: cedarpoint.com

Steel Curtain, the new Pittsburgh Steelers-themed coaster at Kennywood.

Kennywood

West Mifflin, Pennsylvania

Opens: July 11 (season passholder previews start July 7)

Reservations required: Yes, currently being accepted at kennywood.com

Prices: $32.99 (July 11-17), $45.99 starting July 18

Hours: 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m.

Top rides: Kennywood last year debuted Steel Curtain, a Pittsburgh Steelers-themed steel roller coaster that features nine inversions. The ride is the centerpiece of the park’s new Steelers Country area, with football-themed games, food and merchandise.

Also: Don’t miss the park’s trio of historic coasters – Jack Rabbit, Racer and Thunderbolt, plus dozens of other old and newer classics. Younger kids will want to check out Thomas Town, a Thomas the Tank Engine themed area. Finally, the park’s Potato Patch fries are legendary; don’t miss them.

The park announced this week that it was canceling its popular Happy Hauntings and Phantom Fright Nights events for 2020, although it will be open weekends in October.

Information: kennywood.com

Ravine Flyer II at Waldameer in Erie, Pa.

Waldameer

Erie, Pennsylvania

Opens: July 3

Reservations required: Yes

Prices: Waldameer is free to enter, with tickets required for individual rides. Or purchase a ride-all-day wristband for $34.

Hours: noon-10 p.m.

Top rides: The Ravine Flyer II consistently ranks among the top wooden coasters in the U.S. It zips riders around the 2,900-foot-long track at 60 mph, crossing four-lane highway Pennsylvania 832 before coming in for a landing.

Also: Don’t miss the Whacky Shack, a classic and campy dark ride. On hot days, cool off at adjacent Water World (separate admission), with slides, a wave pool and, new this year, Rally Racer, a six-lane racing slide.

Information: waldameer.com

The entrance to Story Book Forest at Idlewild in Ligonier, Pa..The Plain Dealer

Idlewild

Ligonier, Pennsylvania

Opens: July 11 (season passholder previews start July 7)

Reservations required: Yes; currently being accepted at idlewild.com

Prices: $35.99

Hours: 10:30 a.m.-8 p.m. (may vary)

Top rides: Idlewild, about an hour southeast of Pittsburgh, is the perfect place for kids who aren’t quite ready for the biggest coasters. Top attractions here include Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Story Book Forest, the historic Rollo Coaster and more.

Also: SoakZone waterpark offers slides, a wave pool and lazy river, included with admission.

Information: idlewild.com

Read more:

Cedar Point’s mask rule ignites firestorm of fan protests on social media

Cedar Point will open July 9, with reservations, masks required

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