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New ride at cedar point, ‘Gatekeeper’ soars over entrance


Rollercoaster enthusiased ride the Gate Keeper at Cedar Point. Each train can hold up to 32 riders.

When Cedar Point decided to add a new roller coaster this summer, they wanted to build something record-breaking.

“We didn’t ask for just something,” said CEO of Cedar Fair Entertainment Company Matt Ouimet. “We asked for something special.”

Cedar Point unveiled its new wing coaster called Gatekeeper this summer during the media day on May 9—completely revitalizing the entrance of the park.

“Coasters are what we are all about here at Cedar Point, and we are very proud of our lineup,” John Hildebrandt, vice president and general manager of Cedar Point, said. “We were the first park to build coasters to exceed the 200, 300 and 400 foot limit. Coasters are in our DNA, they are our passion and they are what we do here. I also think we are pretty good at redoing entrance gates.”

The location of the ride portrays the name of the coaster in Gatekeeper.

“At one point I just had to stop, because everyone was just going a zillion miles an hour, and I just looked around and everyone within earshot of me I said, ‘think about what you’re doing,’” Ouimet said. “’Then think about the role you are playing. We are the team that will forever change the front of the park.’”

The changed entrance was designed for incoming guests to hear the riders scream over top of them, Ouimet said.

Gatekeeper is only the fifth wing coaster built in the world. The design of the coaster sits the riders on either side of the track with nothing above or below the riders. The design is only manufactured by Bolliger & Mabillard, a Swiss roller coaster design consultancy.

This is the third coaster the Swiss firm has produced for Cedar Point, including Raptor and Mantis.

“This is unique, it’s fantastic,” a representative from B & M said. “It’s like flying like a bird.”

Despite being a Swiss based firm, B & M does all its construction and fabrication in Batavia, Ohio, and all the companies hired for the final assembly were from Ohio.

“Personally I’m an Ohioan, born and raised, and this an Ohio institution being the second oldest in the United States,” Hildebrandt said. “We have deep roots here, so to keep things in Ohio was a really big deal.”

Gatekeeper currently holds the records for fastest (67 mph), longest (4,164 ft.) and tallest (170 ft.) wing coaster in the world, but its main feature is that of the “keyholes” it takes riders through.

“I got to the keyholes and I can’t tell you what I said,” Oiumet said jokingly.

The keyholes are a pair of standing pillars with long rectangular holes that the coaster glides through during its barrel rolls. They are intended to be a tight fit for the trains.

“Statistically speaking, it’s a record breaker,” Rob Decker, corporate vice president of Planning and Design for Cedar Fair Entertainment Company, said.

“When you get to the top, it’s actually an inversion and you are 170 feet, and that is the tallest on the planet. With no track above you and no track below you and you are out on the wing, what do you do at that point? Scream.”

Gatekeeper also brings another unique element to the park. Instead of a drop or a hill to ride down, the first lift hill drops you as you rotate 180 degrees into an inversion in which you go upside-down and glide in the direction you first came.

With the new coaster, Cedar Point is expecting a increase in attendance.

“Some of our very best attendance years have been with big roller coasters,” Hildebrandt said. “It’s not a science or an absolute given that when you put in a new coaster you’ll have a big year, but it happens more often than not.”

Gatekeeper’s opening is the first coaster to be built since Hildebrandt took his position.

“Big coaster years are different; the whole staff gets energized by it,” Hildebrandt said. “It’s current, it’s out of this world, and if you’re an employee that makes you feel good.”

Cedar Point still boasts 16 roller coasters, as Gatekeeper replaced Disaster Transport, which is tied for the second most worldwide. The Sandusky amusement park has been named the best park in the world for 15 years in a row and hopes the addition of Gatekeeper will keep that streak going.

Cedar Point isn’t resting on their laurels however, as they have potentially planned something else in the near future.

“Just to tease you, and I’m really not suppose to,” Ouimet said. “We gave Rob [Decker] another challenge. More to follow.”

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