Cedar Point Tips for 2023
Growing up in Ohio, summer trips to Cedar Point with friends were a right of passage. We didn’t worry about Cedar Point tips for visiting. We’d just get up before sunrise and drive two hours for a day of thrills at the world’s best roller coaster park. We’d run from coaster to coaster until the park closed, and then drive home — exhausted and happy! Ahhh… youth!
But, the park has grown a lot since the 1980s, and so have the crowds, so you need a plan to fully enjoy the park! We compiled this list of the best Cedar Point tips to help you have an amazing day at the park!
Cedar Point tips you need to know before you go!
When you visit, these essential Cedar Point tips will save you time. They might save you money, and they should save you some aggravation!
1. Cedar Point is the best roller coaster park in the world!
Because Cedar Point is the world’s best roller coaster theme park, it is a very popular park! People travel from around the world, often just to ride a couple of world class roller coasters as many times as they can.
But, there’s a lot more to Cedar Point than just the roller coasters (more on that below)! So, use these tips for visiting Cedar Point to help you navigate the crowds and get the most enjoyment from your visit.
2. Purchase tickets online, in advance, to save big!
Sure, you can buy Cedar Point tickets at the gate like they did in the good old days, but you’ll have to stand in line, and you’ll pay more! Lots more!
Buy Cedar Point tickets online for the best prices — and convenience.
At this time, Cedar Point offers four ticket options (May, 2023 — check website for current offerings):
- Daily park admission ticket, $49.99 (save $30 compared to paying at the gate),
- Funday Bundle which includes park admission, all day dining, and free parking, $69.99. (save $67 compared to paying at the gate),
- 2023 Summer Pass for Cedar Point (not the waterpark or HalloWeekends), $105 (go three days and save compared to buying single day tickets), and
- Frontier Festival Bundle which includes park admission, free parking, and three food tastings at the Frontier Festival, from $44.99 (save $75 compared to paying at the gate).
Cedar Point season passes are also available in a variety of price points with better perks the higher you go. The summer pass offers admission to Cedar Point amusement park all season long for $105. The gold pass adds Cedar Shores Water Park and is only $140.
The Cedar Point Platinum Pass and the Cedar Point Prestige Pass include admission to all Cedar Fair Parks and more. These passes are pricier, but they’re a great option if you plan to visit other Cedar Fair Parks like Kings Island or Carowinds during the year.
3. Tips to plan for a great day at Cedar Point!
- Download the Cedar Point App before you go to use during your visit. The app has an interactive Cedar Point park map to help you get around the park. You can also use it for mobile food ordering (to save time), to check on ride wait times (to avoid the long lines), and — if you’re lucky — to get a special offer or two (like discounts on snacks or merchandise). If you purchase tickets online, you can store them in the app for easy access!
- Plan to get there early! Parking opens before the park does, so get there a little early for closer parking spots and to beat the rush. Use the time before the park opens to apply sunscreen without rushing around. At the end of the day, you’ll be glad you parked close!
- Look for side ticket entrances. We see this at every amusement park we visit. People line up behind each other, not looking to see if there are side ticket booths/entrance kiosks open. Look left and right to see if there’s a shorter line!
- Less is more! Carry less stuff and you’ll have more fun! Most of the roller coasters do NOT allow bags, purses or backpacks on the ride. Use a small fanny pack (we like this one, because it’s lightweight and has a small, secure pocket for credit cards/money) to carry your phone, credit cards and sunscreen. If you carry bags, you’ll have to rent a locker or leave your bags with a non-rider.
- Dress comfortably! It’s a theme park — on black concrete. While there are trees and umbrellas for shade, and some of the queues have powerful outdoor fans, it gets hot. And, you’ll walk a lot. Dress in breathable clothes and comfortable, secure shoes for the best experience.
4. .How long should you spend at Cedar Point?
When it comes to sharing Cedar Point tips, I hate having to say you can’t do it all in one day, but… you can’t! Cedar Point is a large park, and it’s immensely popular. Plan to spend two days at Cedar Point if you want to see it all.
If you want to add Cedar Shores Water Park, you’ll need three days to fully enjoy the park.
BUT…. if you really, truly only have one day to visit Cedar Point, try to go on a Tuesday or Wednesday, when the park is least crowded, though not in July.
More tips to enjoy your day!
Now that we have the planning tips for Cedar Point out of the way, let’s get down to business and talk theme park essentials!
When you visit the #1 roller coaster park in the world, the toughest decision is which coaster to ride first. Many people suggest hustling to the back of the park and working forward, but many of those rides are open early for people who stay at Cedar Point hotel properties, and they end up having lines.
Instead, we recommend that you pick between Gatekeeper and Raptor, and start there!
On our last visit, Raptor won first ride honors, and we loved it!
Then we headed across the midway to ride Gatekeeper, new to the park since our last visit. Not to sound redundant, but we loved the smooth ride and sense of flight. It’s one of my favorite coasters ever.
With two roller coasters done, we felt like we got something accomplished, and slowed down a bit to enjoy the nostalgia Cedar Point holds for us. We walked through the Lakeside Midway, my husband and I reminiscing about the past, as we made our way to this year’s big thrill: Steel Vengeance.
Everything you need to know about riding Steel Vengeance
We had trouble finding the entrance to Steel Vengeance. It’s tucked back in the corner across the tracks behind Frontiertown. Staff at the ride entrance pointed us to a locker storage area. All bags, including fanny packs, are strictly forbidden on Steel Vengeance.
That space was a madhouse and the locker rental process was annoying.
PRO TIP FOR CEDAR POINT LOCKERS: They change the layout of the keypad, so when you enter your security code, don’t go by pattern. Make sure you punch the numbers in carefully. Sounds like a silly warning, perhaps, but we weren’t the only ones who missed the pattern problem.
Bags finally stashed away, you can enter the queue. But, early in the day, they aren’t accurate on wait times. We had rented a locker for two hours and wandered through the queue until we caught up with the line. Unfortunately, we learned that the standby time was more than 3 hours!
A kind, incredibly patient, Cedar Point park attendant recommended that we come back mid-afternoon when wait times usually drop to about 90 minutes. She said after all the people who come to the park just for that ride get it in, the wait times drop. That sounded good to us, so we pulled out of line. We went to our locker, made peace with the wasted rental fee, and got our stuff.
I checked the Cedar Point app during the afternoon and saw that wait times had, in fact, dropped. We made the trek to the back of the park to try again. And we waited — for 90 minutes — just as we’d been told.
There’s a fairly long flight of stairs leading up to the loading deck. Watching the ride fly along the tracks, the entire structure swayed a bit.
Unnerving? Yes. And no.
It’s a wooden structure, so logically, I know there needs to be some give or the boards would snap. At the same time, the power of the ride is right there on full display. If you get squeamish, don’t look up!
After the long wait, was it worth it?
YES! I wish I could put to words what this ride is like, but it defies description. The first drop is terrifying in all the right ways. Steel Vengeance is a “hyper-hybrid coaster.” Forget the fancy terms.
It stands 205 feet tall, flies at 74 miles per hour, and is longest hybrid coaster in the world at 5,740 feet. Riders “enjoy” almost 30 seconds of airtime, the most airtime on ANY roller coaster in the world, and the reason the Steel Vengeance bag policy is so strict!
We loved Steel Vengeance for the thrills. As the coaster zips through twists and turns, riders scream with delight. Some, probably, with fear. I screamed in a mix of both! But, to describe it? I can’t.
My husband and I agree that Steel Vengeance is the BEST roller coaster we have ever ridden. When I asked Rob, his reply was, “Oh yeah. Without question.”
Our daughter is loyal to her Griffon at Busch Gardens, but says, “Steel Vengeance is second best. If I could go more, it might be the best.” She’s a practical girl.
Our son, who gets motion sickness and has a love/hate relationship with roller coasters, was more quiet, but I’m pretty sure it’s his favorite.
The other roller coasters at Cedar Point
We spent the rest of the day riding coasters old and new. Some were amazing. Others, well, I think they need to go the way of the Mean Streak and retire.
Cedar Point roller coasters that are past their prime
Since Ellie loves coasters so much, we rode them all, except Gemini which broke down during the day. Some brought back fun memories, but some…. well, you’d have to pay me a pretty penny to convince me to ride again.
Our family is in agreement that these Cedar Point roller coasters are pretty much past their prime. Ride if you have time, and don’t mind some back or neck pain.
Rougarou. This coaster opened in 1996 and was renovated in 2015, at one time the tallest, fastest and steepest stand-up roller coaster in the world. Warning signs tell people to remove earrings before riding — and we know why. Wow! My head banged around way more than I like. Our daughter, who is petite, liked it. Rob and I will let her tackle that one on her own in the future.
Iron Dragon. This roller coaster is fairly mild, but a little herky-jerky for my tastes. I do like that they’ve transformed it to a virtual reality experience in the evenings, but the line moves slowly. In our opinion, Cedar Point could replace this with a “real” virtual reality ride that loads more quickly. The retro-fit is just too slow. Ben doesn’t want Iron Dragon to be replaced because it’s the only roller coaster he wasn’t afraid to ride when he went as a kid.
Corkscrew. We walked right on to this ride, no lines at all! We climbed into the car — so uncomfortable. But, with knees to chin and smooshed in by the shoulder harness, we braved it for Ellie. And regretted it for hours after. I remember how, as teenagers, we thought the 1980s font and the excitement of going upside down three times, over the midway no less, was so cool. But, that’s a memory best left there. Not relived. Of all the coasters, this one needs to give up the real estate to something fresh and new.
And then there’s Blue Streak. How do you classify a wooden coaster that’s older than you are? Barely, but still, older. It’s the first roller coaster I ever rode at Cedar Point, honestly, because I was a chicken back in the day. Today, it’s rickety. There’s never a line. It breaks down a lot. But… when you ride in the front, it’s scary fun. You watch the track cruise by under your nose wondering if the whole contraption will collapse right there. But, then it’s over, and you find yourself giggling — in part from the memories reignited and in part because you survived. I will always love the Blue Streak.
Do you hear that, Cedar Point? Don’t mess with this memory!
Well worth the wait
On the flip side, “America’s Roller Coast” earns its reputation with its record-breaking coasters. And since we were there on a Thursday, we got to ride most of them multiple times! AWESOME!
Gatekeeper. Oh, Cedar Point. Where has this coaster been all my life? I absolutely love Gatekeeper. First, there’s its location — on the beach with epic, albeit brief, views of Lake Erie and crossing into the entry plaza for the park. It’s a mighty presence that reminds guests of the thrills just beyond the Midway. Gatekeeper’s relaxed, beachy color scheme, which at first seems strange for a super-coaster, actually fits the smooth ride. Despite holding the record for highest inversion of any roller coaster in the world, the ride is so smooth I actually relax and enjoy the feeling of weightlessness. Gatekeeper is the only roller coaster to hold that distinction!
Maverick. This is one wild ride, with a 95 degree drop that messes with your senses. Maverick is open for early entry on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays when Steel Vengeance isn’t. Morning lines are long, so go later in the day. Though, it is a ride worth waiting for.
Magnum XL-200. Better known as Magnum (which I think is a better name anyway), this coaster has dominated the skyline since it opened in 1989. It’s tall, long and really, really fast — and loads of fun.
Millenium Force. 300 feet high. 93 miles per hour. Two and half minutes. Need I say more. This ride is long, fast and fierce. Ride it once for the fear, then go back again for the thrill.
Raptor. Ellie’s first ride at Cedar Point will probably be her favorite forever. She’s loyal to her memorable thrills. The ride is incredible, but a warning. Don’t ride late in the day if you don’t feel 100%. The ride had short shut downs twice the day we went because people got sick. A park staffer said that it happens later in the day when people have been drinking beer or are dehydrated. Avoid those two situations, and Raptor will thrill you in all the right ways!
Valravn. This is one of my absolute favorite coasters at the park. It seems I have a preference for dive coasters (funny, since I can’t dive into a pool even to save my gym grade… long, painful story for another day). Valravn was built by the same company that built Griffon, my favorite ride at Busch Gardens. The suspense of the hold before the big drop is a thrill I’ll never tire from. Throw in the added twists and swoops and this is a coaster worthy of the #1 roller coaster park in the world.
What about Top Thrill Dragster?
Ahhh… Top Thrill Dragster. What is it about you that intimidates so many? We were firmly divided on this one. Surprisingly, Ellie was in the no column with me. Ben thought he’d give it a go.
I just can’t wrap my head around the speed — 0 to 120 mph in just 4 seconds? No thanks.
Ellie and I watched ride after ride from the nearby grandstands, not the least bit tempted to ride.
We learned a few things, though.
First, the ride won’t launch if you have your hands raised. I guess Cedar Point doesn’t want you to dislocate your shoulder!
Second, if you’re riding with kids, PLEASE don’t let them ride with their head hanging out to the side. The only thing worse than a dislocated shoulder would be a dislocated head! I honestly almost lost my lunch wondering if a couple kids would pull their heads in in time. I don’t think the ride safety crew can see them.
Third, I will never be a race car driver or a Top Thrill Dragster rider!
Spectator Pro Tip: The grandstands offer great views of the ride, but they sit in full sun and get really hot! If you are waiting on loved ones to survive the ride, have them text you when they get close to the loading deck so you can sit in the shade some of the time! We had the guys’ phones, so we just roasted in the sun.
Cedar Point after dark
My kids grew up with Walt Disney World and Busch Gardens Williamsburg. Both places are incredible. But, the one thing they don’t do well is capture the excitement of an amusement park after dark. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love the Magic Kingdom fireworks show (even if the crowds are insane).
But, Cedar Point after dark is a whole new level of fun.
Ben was skeptical, ready to head back to the hotel by 7:00. He tried arguing that we had ridden everything at least once, most things twice. When that didn’t work, he tried to remind us that our hotel had a pool and hot tub.
I ignored him. He had no idea what he was suggesting.
And then twilight fell. Ellie wanted one more roller coaster ride, so Rob took her. Ben and I rode the Sky Ride to pass the time (though I knew even more). As the ferris wheel came into view, I pointed a finger. No words.
“Oh my gosh, that is cool,” he said.
And I knew he understood.
We got off the Sky Ride and got cotton candy as we soaked in the twinkling lights and energy of summer nights at Cedar Point.
Everything else at Cedar Point
Hmmmm… I feel I should tell you there’s more than roller coasters at Cedar Point. The park has 72 rides, only 17 of them are roller coasters.
There’s more than roller coasters?
There are the thrill rides, built to give you butterflies as you spin around: Scrambler, the flying swings, Matterhorn.
Cedar Point has two Dodgems rides — one for big people and one for kids (Joe Cool’s Dodgem School). A little family secret, we always ride the Dodgems at theme parks — and we try to pick a car based on our personal Hogwart’s house colors! Yes, this obsessive Hufflepuff always tries to get the yellow car. Ellie, the Ravenclaw, gets blue. Rob, my Gryffindor, gets red, of course. We spend three minutes ganging up on each other and laughing hysterically!
The water rides. You can get tickets for Cedar Point Shores, the waterpark adjacent to Cedar Point. Or, you can cool off on one of the park’s two water rides. Rob’s not big on water rides, so we skipped them this time around, but I think they’re fun even if he doesn’t!
And then there are Cedar Point’s midway staples, the Sky Ride and the carousels.
In fact, Cedar Point has three “carousels” of sorts.
The Midway Carousel is the grand dame, built in 1912 and moved to Cedar Point in 1946. It’s the oldest ride at the park and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Kiddy Kingdom Carousel (also on the National Register of Historic Places) is located near the Midway and geared more for kids, but big people can ride too.
And then there’s the Cedar Downs Racing Derby. Built similarly to a carousel, but with a horse racing theme, this historic 1920 ride has entertained guests at Cedar Point since 1965. We ran to it just before the park closed to catch a ride, and laughed so hard I had tears in my eyes. For the record, Ellie’s horse won. And, she ranks it in her top five rides at Cedar Point.
Kids’ rides at Cedar Point
The park has two children’s areas: Kiddy Kingdom (opened in 1970) and Planet Snoopy (opened in 2008). Combined, they provide 18 kids’ rides, plenty to entertain little ones all day long. There are several Peanuts themed shows at the park and character meet and greets throughout the day, too.
Compared to Kings Island, there isn’t as much shady space for families, but it’s a lot better than it was the last time we visited.
How’s the food?
Cedar Point leans toward traditional theme park fare of hot dogs, burgers, pizza and fries. There are some fast casual restaurants, and the park offers dining plans.
We didn’t get a dining plan, but if I was to go again, I’d get the single meal plan which includes a main dish, a side and a drink for each of us. The park offers other dining plans, too, and worth considering if you plan to be at the park from open to close. For only $31.99, you can get a main dish and side every 90 minutes all day long!
With so many dining options, we looked for something a little different and tried the loaded mac ‘n cheese at Sky Ride Refreshment. Ellie and I split the chicken and bacon mac ‘n cheese, which was pretty good. The chicken was bland, though. The pulled pork mac ‘n cheese was more flavorful, thanks to the tangy barbecue sauce drizzled across the top. The restaurant staff here was disorganized, thogh, and they let our order sit until it was cold. Not the best meal I’ve ever had.
Budget travel tip: Be sure to download the Cedar Point App before you go! We downloaded it to keep track of Steel Vengeance wait times, but then we discovered the coupons. We got BOGO coupons for beverages, soft pretzels and cotton candy. For a family of four who likes to snack, those were a great budget stretcher.
**I don’t know how Cedar Point issues those discounts, so don’t count on them. But, if you have the app, check for money saving offers throughout the day!**
We closed out the day with a funnel cake — my absolute favorite theme park treat. No coupons, but it was hot, fresh and crispy, and worth every penny!
My kids finally got to experience the thrills of the park. They got to see how mesmerizing the midway is after dark. And they got to ride Steel Vengeance. This was a day for our personal record books, one filled with treasured memories and fun moments to last a lifetime — or at least until the next big adventure!
Some bonus Cedar Point Tips to help you save!
Cedar Point is located at 1 Cedar Point Drive in Sandusky, Ohio. If interested in a vacation package that includes accommodations, park tickets and/or water park tickets, check the website.
- Purchase tickets online — they’re a lot cheaper than at the gates. If you get a hotel vacation package, tickets will be included.
- Decide if you want to purchase fast lane or fast lane plus passes. One thing to note, while these passes cut wait times, they do not eliminate them. Fast Lane Plus riders still waited 30 minutes to ride Steel Vengeance. We went on a Thursday and rode everything at least once without the passes.
- Decide on a meal plan if you want one.
- Check hotel savings sites to get the best deals on accommodations close to Cedar Point!
And there’s a lot more to see in Sandusky! We took a week to explore the area, and even my skeptical teen admitted that Sandusky is a cool place! Check out these great ideas near Cedar Point: