Cedar Point Memories – Part 32 – Return To The Demon

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Last year I wrote my memory piece about the Demon Drop.   I won’t say that it was my favorite ride at Cedar Point, but it was iconic and an important part of my growing up.   If I was ever out of money for video games at Cedar Point, I would ride the Demon Drop and recover some more change.   It was always the ride that kept on giving.

Cedar Point whisked this away in the winter before the 2010 season of the park.   What was the staple of the Cedar Point skyline was removed.  Even though Gatekeeper is the new showcase entrance ride, I still think it looked better with the Demon Drop.   The 2010 season was sad when the ride was no longer there.   Part of my childhood and been remodeled and removed.  It was put back into the toy chest and lost to the hands of time.   At least it was until yesterday.

The Demon Drop was moved to Dorney Park in Pennsylvania.   When I’m at home this park is about a 6 hour drive away.   While the Demon Drop is an iconic memory, I’m not sure it was a 6 hour drive of meaning to me to revisit.   Luckily the stars aligned and I was doing some work about 75 minutes away.  It was definitely worth less than an hour and half to go visit.   I didn’t have time in June when I found out about the proximity, but I planned to go in July.   Yesterday after work I made the hike to the park.

Having a platinum pass really worked out for this.   I didn’t have to pay for parking or anything to get into the park.  It only cost in me in toll roads and time.   When I got off the turnpike though 6:45PM, it was pouring rain.  I drove almost an hour and a half and was greeted to fear that it was all for nothing.   I soldiered on with hope.

I’m going to write about Dorney Park in a follow-up post, but when I got into the park all the big rides were closed.   Some of the smaller rides were still running though.   I could see in the distance that the Demon Drop wasn’t running.   I had some time to kill and hope that the rain stopped.

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I rode a smaller version of Ocean Motion another line member noticed that I was wearing a Cedar Point shirt.   She asked when I had been there and I mentioned I lived close by and go regularly.    She had visited there once.

Two ride attendants were just hanging out behind the ride closed sign.   I managed to snag a picture of the entrance and went to wander through the rest the park in the rain.   This was around 7:15PM.  Rain still coming down but slowing.  I kill time in the park.

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Around 7:45 While riding a Scrambler clone, the patron from the previous ride waved at me and said that the Demon Drop was running again.   I ran over to the ride, but she was wrong and it still wasn’t running.  They were testing some of the coasters at this point, so now it was a waiting game.

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8:15 the ride is still motionless and the park closes at 10PM.    Around 8:30 I noticed it.  They were testing the ride.   I start heading over to where it is located.    There are eight people waiting and I get into the line and watch the testing.   The car I saw was crawling up, it looked slower than the Demon Drop looked at Cedar Point before they upgraded the motor.   The car struggled up and made it to the top.   It then did the drop.

The sound was glorious.   It was the sound that you heard thousands of times in your youth as you walked from the parking lot into the park.  It was an aural equivalent that takes you back to childhood in the way certain tastes and smells do.   It was surreal and magnificent.   This is why I came.  This is why I drove over an hour, walked around a park in the rain, and endured on.   I came to relive this moment of childhood that disappeared from Ohio in 2009.

Footage I shot of the test
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They did one more test at 8:48 and then opened the ride.  The people ahead of me got loaded on and I was in the third car (the ride loads 3 cars at a time).   I was riding by myself, which was something that I probably haven’t done on the Demon Drop in over 25 years.   The first thing I noticed, in the space behind the seat cushion they added a bar all the way across about 3/4 inch wide.  This stopped you from  reaching back and checking for change (which habit forced me to do).   While the ride should be the same, part of the ritual and experience from the past is gone from future generations.

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I waited as the first car went up the tower and I moved backwards 3-4 feet.   A few seconds later a drop and that sound.   The second car went up and I moved back 3-4 feet – again the sound.   Then I started going up the tower. It actually went up quite quick.   Talking to my wife about it later, she reminded me about the upgraded motor toward the end of its Cedar Point tenure.  I get to the top and see the tire that helps roll it forward.   The tire looks fresh and new (something that I wasn’t used to from the Demon Drop).  The car moved forward to the drop area.   I waited.

The worst part (best part?) about the Demon Drop is the intermittent delay.  No matter how many times you rode it, the time you sat there waiting to drop was always a few seconds different.   I’ve ridden it where it has been over 10 seconds and sometimes it was less than a single second.  It’s an anticipation that makes it so you aren’t sure when it’s going to drop.   I was contemplating this and I was still waiting.

The slight butterflies of the past came flooding back, what if – drop! I was falling.  I was feeling the air.  I was hearing the sound.  I was a teenager again for a brief instant.   I came to the end and the car swung down and took me back to the terminal.   It was over.

When I was getting out the attendant asked me if I enjoyed my ride.  I told her that it was the only reason I came to the park.   She was a little surprised and I explained that I grew up with it at a Cedar Point.   We talked a bit more and then I wandered down the ramp.   It was 8:57.  The park would close in an hour.   What do I do now?

I thought about just chain riding the demon drop for an hour.   However, I didn’t really want to dilute what made the moment special.   The sound and the experience of the single ride made all the rain driving and rain worth it.   The Demon Drop wasn’t even my favorite Cedar Point ride, the Gemini is.   I wish I could say it was my favorite lost Cedar Point ride – but that is tie between the Pirate Ride and The Paddleboat.   It is however, a very special experience.

Seeing I wanted the moment to stay, I went around the park to hit some more rides.   I decided I would ride it one more time before I left, but I would leave that for the end.   Around 9:53 I was back in line.   By 9:57 I was in the second to last car of the night.   I was exhausted by going through the park.   I might have been able to get in line one more time and get the last ride – but I decided to leave things as they were.

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It was awesome. It was great.  It was childhood.  Childhood is something that Cedar Point always gives me, and I’m glad I could feel it somewhere else in and experience that Cedar Point could not give me.  If you have a chance to live such an experience – whether it is an amusement park ride or a stroll in the woods that you went to as a child.   Revisit that place and moment.  It’s a fantastic experience.

Here is a Youtube user’s on-ride video:

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