SANDUSKY, Ohio, May 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The roller coaster capital of the world will launch its 144 th season on Saturday, May 11, with the flyover its fans have been waiting for all year: The debut of its record-breaking wing roller coaster, GateKeeper!
GateKeeper forever transforms the skyline at Cedar Point amusement park as it flies directly over the new main gate, making a powerful impression on the 3 million guests who visit the park each year.
Riders sit suspended from the train as if on the wings of a plane, giving them the sensation of flight. They'll dangle 170 feet above the Cedar Point Beach before experiencing a sharp, 180-degree turn and plummeting to within six feet above the ground. Six unique inversions and rolling hills help create the feeling of weightlessness. Adding to the excitement, riders will soar through two massive keyhole towers that guard the park's redesigned main entrance, twisting just in time to nearly miss them at speeds of almost 70 mph.
"GateKeeper is unlike anything our guests have experienced before," said John Hildebrandt, Cedar Point's Vice President and General Manager. "It's innovative thrills, like those our visitors will experience on GateKeeper, that keep them coming back year after year, earning us the honor of 'Best Amusement Park in the World.'"Cedar Point will celebrate the historic opening of its 16 th roller coaster with a full slate of festivities, including a special ceremony, performances by The Ohio State University Spring Athletic Band and souvenirs for Opening Day guests. Guests will receive commemorative GateKeeper drink koozies courtesy of Coca-Cola, the new official beverage sponsor of all Cedar Fair properties, including Cedar Point. GateKeeper's first official riders will be the top bidders in two charity auctions that collectively raised more than $30,000 for Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospital and United Way of Erie County. GateKeeper was manufactured by Bolliger & Mabillard of Monthey, Switzerland, a company known around the world for its smooth steel coasters. Designed uniquely for Cedar Point, GateKeeper breaks seven world records, including the longest track (4,164 feet), tallest drop (164 feet) and most inversions of any wing roller coaster in the world. Workers broke ground in mid-September and placed the final piece of track on Feb. 28. The $30 million project involved more than 100 workers, primarily from local and regional companies. Every Opening Day guest will hear the screams and share in the excitement as GateKeeper flies over them, but the wing coaster won't be the only new attraction this year. Cedar Point's popular nighttime show, "Luminosity," will return in June with an all-new lineup of hit music and choreography that's sure to have everyone dancing long after dark. Those who love big-city entertainment also won't want to miss "On Broadway," a musical revue debuting June 8 in the park's Jack Aldrich Theatre. Guests will also have more food options, including the ability to customize their beverages with more than 100 flavor combinations at the park's new Coca-Cola freestyle machines. Visitors may choose their own yogurt toppings at Yogurt Plus, located near GateKeeper, and enjoy their favorite soft pretzel flavors at Auntie Anne's. Families looking for a prehistoric adventure can return to Dinosaurs Alive!, an island inhabited by more than 50 lifelike creatures from millions of years ago. This interactive walk-through exhibit is back with some newly-hatched surprises!