Have you ever been to Winter Chill Out at Cedar Point? This was my first time attending the event and it was one I will surely return to in the years to come. I had many questions before submitting my ticket request this year. Why should I pay to get into Cedar Point during the off season? Is it really worth the money spent? What makes it so special? I surely gained the answers to all these questions and more!
My son Robbie and I attended this amazing event on February 21st, 2015 with excitement. We anxiously awaited being able to get into the park to be able to see what happens when all seems to be sleeping. Tickets in hand, we walked into the Season Pass Center to check in. We received our lanyard with a credential, a ticket with the tour schedule, a new Rougarou hat, and a voucher to return at the end of the tour for a surprise thank you gift! Cedar Point knows how to welcome everyone with open arms!
We then began the snowy walk towards Midway Market where the groups were waiting to start their tour. We gathered in front of the Cedar Point sign for a quick group photo. As we stepped inside the gates, I heard the roar of Raptor inside my head, although no trains could be seen. We met with other park enthusiasts inside Midway Market. We were treated to hot chocolate and granola bars to warm ourselves up before the chilly walk. We compared each other’s schedules to see whose tour we were walking with. Our group was lead by Michael and was scheduled to leave at 10:45 AM.
Our tour began by walking down the main midway past Raptor. Cameras and video recorders were out trying to capture each exciting moment. We noticed many construction vehicles scattered about along with a snow covered police car. The Derby Downs horses were shrink wrapped as if they were swaddled in a blanket to avoid winter’s cold grip. Something we noticed was part of the building near Pagoda that housed a small gift shop was obviously under construction. What was going on? We looked through Corkscrew’s inversions to see the Dragster Midway and started to walk towards Millennium Force. Stop number one on the tour did not disappoint in its surprises!
As we rounded the corner we noticed that the Good Time Theatre was completely demolished. The only reminder of its existence was a sign on the walkway directing guests to where the theatre stood. Another shocking disappearing act was Dodgem! The entire structure was missing from this area of the park. The sign carefully placed on the ground out of the construction site. Was Dodgem the next on the list of rides to be removed from this mystery area? We continued walking until we reached stop #2. This stop included a brief look at Cedar Point’s newest attraction, Rougarou! We were not permitted into the station, but we learned that the tracks to Rougarou needed to be widened to accommodate the new floorless trains!
We had a long walk to get to stop #3, but the scenery was breathtaking. We stood before Millennium Force in awe as its snow covered structure begged for its riders of course, of course! We meandered through the Frontier Trail decorated in snow. Many people stopped to get their picture taken in the famous pillory, laughing as they captured the moment. We walked past Maverick and Mine Ride. We crossed the train tracks and behind the gates by Slingshot.
We were lead into the Planning and Design office building for stop #3. The sign outside of the building directly stated that there could be no recordings of what we were about to hear. We were ready to hear inside secrets from two of Cedar Point’s best – Jason McClure and Tony Clark. While waiting for other groups to arrive, Jason entertained questions from the crowd. The presentation began by having us raise our right hands and swear that we wouldn’t disclose what we were about to learn until 2PM. What are the things we learned before the rest of the world?
Most importantly, the ticket sales for Winter Chill Out went to an amazing organization that provides sick children the chance to enjoy an all-expenses paid trip to a Florida theme park. $27,000 was raised through our event alone! It feels good to be able to not only enjoy ourselves, but allow sick children to enjoy themselves along with their family.
Here’s a breakdown of the remaining announcements that were made at Winter Chill Out.
1. The Wicked Twister Midway is getting a huge makeover! The Dodgems are making a move to this midway where the Krazy Kars used to be in Kiddy Kingdom.
2. Speaking of Kiddy Kingdom, Sir-Rub-a-Dub’s Tubs have been retired.
3. The Krazy Kars are being renamed Joe Cool’s Dodgem School and will be moved to where the Gazebo food stand used to be. It will be connected with Planet Snoopy.
4. The Calypso is also being moved to the Wicked Twister Midway.They will be renamed Tiki Twirl.
5. The Turnpike Cars have also been retired. (This leaves a huge gap in this area – what can go there? It’s open for future expansion!)
6. Remember the area next to Pagoda that we noticed was under construction? This will be created into a candy store called “The Sweet Spot” where you can watch candy being made and of course purchase! Yum!
7. Friday, May 8th will be a HUGE day and night for Cedar Point. It’s not only the day before the park officially opens, but it holds many exciting events for everyone!
- The media will officially be in the park from 5AM to 10 AM. Some of the Winter Chill Out attendees will win a spot to be at this event.
- There will be a first rider auction on Rougarou benefitting the LeBron James Foundation. This will take place from 5PM to 7PM. The auctions are set to begin in March.
- There is a Season Passholder Preview Night from 7PM to 10PM. You can be one of the first season passholders to ride Rougarou! There will be other select rides to be open, although the rides are subject to change.
8. Millennium Walkback will only be taking place on Saturday mornings this season.
9. Maverick is getting new restraints that are similar to Intimidator 305 at Kings Dominion.
10. Hotel Breakers is being remodeled. There will be many exciting changes inside and out!
We were also treated to be the first “sitters” in a Rougarou train. Of course we were allowed to have our pictures taken on the train, but we couldn’t post or send them until 2PM. We all kept our promise until Tony sent a tweet that we were allowed to post those pictures!
After we discovered as many secrets as we could, we were then bused back to Chickie and Pete’s for a catered lunch. We had a salad, choice of sandwich, tortilla chips, white chicken chili, and even cookies for dessert! It was a perfect time to meet up with other groups to discuss what our favorite parts of the tour had been so far. When our lunch had settled in, we were then bused back to the Planning and Design area to continue the tour.
Our tour guides lead us down the Gemini Midway where we got amazing views. The snow was a perfect backdrop for pictures! Stop #4 was a quick peek at the Hotel Breakers construction. We weren’t allowed too close, but it’s amazing how much they already have done! Stop #5 lead us to the Maintenance Department. Here we were able to see coaster trains taken down to the chassis. It was fun to try to figure out which chassis went with a specific coaster. There was a wall of wheels from each coaster. A station was set up to help explain how Top Thrill Dragster launches and why specific wheels and parts are put on various coasters.
The tour continued past Planet Snoopy towards Wind Seeker. Stop #6 gave us a closer look at what’s going on with the new the new Lakeside Pavilion area. This promises to be a breathtaking view of Lake Erie and an amazing place to hold catered events! We continued down the Wicked Twister Midway to see more renovations in progress at stop #7. The Gazebo food stand is gone in preparation to relocate Joe Cool’s Dodgem School. The main structure of Dodgem stands in its new spot just waiting to return to operation. Calypso wasn’t still not visible. We were able to continue to admire Gatekeeper’s beautiful profile against the lake and in the snow.
The Giant Wheel’s cabins lined the entire gaming area under the awnings. It was like a guiding path to lead us to the end of our tour. We reentered the Main Midway, to finish where we began. We again walked past Raptor, Midway Market, and the Midway Carousel. We left the gates of Cedar Point, anxious to return in warmer weather. We were then able to return our voucher for special thank you gifts. We received a Winter Chill Out glass and a 2015 Cedar Point Calendar!
I return to my thoughts when deciding whether or not to purchase tickets to Winter Chill Out. Why should I pay to get into Cedar Point during the off season? Is it really worth the money spent? What makes it so special? It was worth the donation to an amazing cause to be able to experience Cedar Point during its winter slumber. Everyone benefits from Winter Chill Out and it is special in so many ways. Thank you Cedar Point, Tony Clark, Jason McClure, and the entire staff for allowing us to step into your winter wonderland! I will never forget it!
Click to see the rest of our Winter Chill Out photos!
By - Britt Hageman