Cedar Point Memories – Part 30 – The Demon Has Dropped

September 24, 2014

by — Posted in Cedar Point, Personal Writing

I remember the commercial above and when it aired on TV in 1983.    I was six years old and intimidated.  I wouldn’t be intimidated for a long period over a ride until the Magnum XL 2000 was constructed.   Since then there hasn’t been a  ride that has given me pause.

I had a babysitter named Jenny.   She managed to go to Cedar Point shortly after opening and talked about the ride.  While she managed to get on the ride and go up – she didn’t get to go down.  On her visit the Demon Drop got stuck and she had to walk down all 131 feet to the ground.   Later in the year she would tell me how great it was on one of her return trips to Cedar Point.

These were the years that the yearly Cedar Point trip was a big deal for my family.   I remember going that year and seeing the Demon Drop on the Cedar Point skyline.  It stuck out mean and angry.  As you got closer to the entrance you could hear is banging and angry sound it made while in operation.  The only other ride that I can say has such a signature sound is the Raptor.

I do love the new entrance with Gatekeeper going over top of it.   Yet all those years of seeing the Demon Drop and hearing it as I entered.  That is still Cedar Point to me.  That was my era when it was my park.   Out of the corner of my eye when we are walking in I still see the ghost of it.  At least I hope it’s the ghost of it and that I’m not going crazy yet.

Cedar_Point_Demon_Drop_with_sign_in_view_(4070443603)Image from Wikipedia

Here is the ride description of Wikipedia:

The ride can accommodate up to four riders, and consists of three main sections; the loading and unloading station, the lift tower, and the drop and run-out track. Riders are loaded into a gondola type car near ground level at the station and secured with over the shoulder harnesses. The gondola is then moved backwards horizontally to the rear base of the lift tower and then climbs vertically to the top of the tower in 7.2 seconds. Once there, it slides forward and hangs over the drop track for a few seconds. Without warning, the car is released and riders drop 60 feet in less than two seconds before experiencing the deceleration g-forces as the car enters a pull-out curve which transitions the vertical fall into a horizontal brake run. As the gondola rolls through the brake run to slow down, the riders are facing the sky. Once it stops at the end of the run, a mechanism swings the top of the car down, and the gondola moves in reverse at a downward 45 degree angle to another track where it returns to an upright position. It then returns to the station in reverse traveling below the brake run track.

 

Cedar_Point_Demon_Drop_cars_in_station_(4070477873)

 

Image from Wikipedia

I said I was intimidated, so I almost think it would be five or six years after the opening that I would finally ride the Demon Drop.   I think there was a few times I started to go on it, but got out of line before we got too far along. It was likely 1989 or 1990 before I actually rode it.   This would have been the years I had a season pass and started going over a dozen times a year.

When my friends and I wanted to play video games, but had no money, we would head to the Demon Drop.   Once they loaded you into the car you stuck your hands behind and scooped up the loose change other people had lost.   One of the “stunts” people would do was to put a coin on their knee, once the freefall started the coin would float above your knee for a second.  Once you hit the curve at the bottom the coin would fall into you.  If you didn’t pay attention it was caught behind the seat.  I heard stories that workers would cleanup coins beneath the ride regularly.

The Demon Drop itself wasn’t really scary.   The thing that would get you is the anticipation.  Once the car went up and got into place, it could instant to up 20 seconds before you were drop.  You always tried to mentally prepare yourself, but it rarely worked.   The ride was also too short to say it was an “enjoyable ride”.   The whole thing was about being surprised, an adult version of peek-a-boo.  Without the surprise I think the novelty of The Demon Drop would have worn off much sooner.

Here is what the ride looked like to the riders:

Let’s go over some of the specifications.   While even in the commercial they state that you climb up the 131 Foot structure, the impression they give you is that you fall that much also.   In actuality the fall is 60 feet.   So you are being dropped less than half of the structure.  The speed of the free fall drop was rated at 55MPH.   With 6 rider cars and running at full capacity, the Demon Drop could go through a large number of  riders per hour.  By the time I was riding it, it was always a quick line to get through.

In 2005 The Demon Drop was placed up for sale.  Around 2008 I heard the price was about $5000.00.   I don’t know how honest that price was or where I heard it.  I did consider buying it and installing it in my backyard.   While I think I could have made it fit, I think the supporting concrete and electrical systems is what would have driven me into the poor house.

The Demon Drop was removed at the end of the 2009 season.   Ocean Motion has been moved to the old Demon Drop site. The Demon Drop was relocated to another Cedar Fair park, Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom in Allentown, PA.   This is a good thing.  So many rides at Cedar Point have been lost to time.   The diehard Demon Drop fans can make the trip and still get their fix in.
Here is some off ride footage of The Demon Drop at Cedar Point:

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