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Some Twists and Turns for Cedar Point: Wicked Twister to Close in September
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Wicked Twister, at Cedar Point theme park in Sandusky, Ohio, is closing, with final rides on the unique coaster planned for September the 6th. Having given over 16 million rides since it opened in 2002, all park spokesmen will say about the closing is that it is occurring to prepare “for future park improvements.” Back in 2001, the 215-foot ride drew large crowds, maintaining its title as the world's fastest and tallest double-twist impulse coaster. But Cedar Point has often reinvented itself with new rides and attractions. In 2014, it was the revamped Gemini midway, which included a rebranding of the Jr. Gemini Roller Coaster; 2015 brought the stand-up Mantis coaster's revamp as Rougarou, a floorless coaster. Then in 2016, the brand new Valravn came to the park, bringing a first to the park's western section with its new dive coaster. And 2018 saw Steel Vengeance emerge as a revamped version of the original Mean Streak. Steel Vengeance towers over the park at a 200-foot height. Also there was Gate Keeper, located near Cedar Point Beach, which occupied this waterfront area along with the Disaster Transport and Space Spiral rides.

According to park spokesman Tony Clark, new details about the ride's closing days and what comes next will be available at a later date. However, there will soon be “fun details to share,” as the park's blog states. “For the next 31 days, we hope you have a chance to be a part of that ridership history and take one last launch on the world's first record-breaking, double-impulse, five-time-LIM motor-launching, screeching teal and sunburst yellow steel behemoth.”

The ride has a relatively small footprint, and if other rides nearby also closed or were relocated within the park, a new area could arise. Construction for a major new coaster would likely take until 2023. However, Cedar Point did not make it clear whether this ride was going to be completely done away with or whether it would be revamped or relocated within the park, or at another of Cedar Fair's parks.

Years back in 2017, the idea of moving Wicked Twister to California's Great America seemed like a plan, but due to building codes, the idea was scrapped. One possibility for a placement within Cedar Fair outside of Cedar Point itself is Worlds of Fun. The theme park does not have a launch coaster and hasn't added a new roller coaster attraction since 2009.

Wicked Twister was created by Intamin. It's an inverted coaster which launches guests back and forth in direction five times. The ride uses linear induction motors and was the first impulse coaster that twisted on both ends. The ride was one of seven such Intamin impulse coasters that are in operation today.
It was quite cutting-edge when it opened. In fact, Cedar Point was the only amusement park to have three coasters over 200 feet tall at the time.

Cedar Fair had the Magum XL, Millennium Force, and then Wicked Twister, with the tallest being the 310-foot Millennium Force. Today of course, Valravn and Steel Vengeance have been added, allowing the park to keep its record of having more coasters than any other park that are over 200 feet in height. Wicked Twister offered a speed of 72 miles per hour and also presented a panoramic view of the beach from its top height. It's been a wicked ride.

Meanwhile, the park's parent company Cedar Fair, has a plan to bring an esports arena to the area. A company press release calls it a potential “beacon” for gaming and esports, able to host up to 1500 spectators.

And in other Cedar Fair news, attendance is rebounding across the board in the second quarter of 2021. Financial results are still behind that of 2019, with so many park openings delayed this season. However, Cedar Fair saw an attendance of 3.4 million during the three-month period that ended on June 27, 2021.  That makes for a considerable rise from a rather scant 38,000 who visited Knott's Berry Farm before it closed due to the pandemic during the second quarter of 2020, while still remaining behind that of the same period in 2019. Pent up demand for theme park adventures should change that, and soon.

According to Cedar Fair President and CEO Richard A. Zimmerman, the momentum for park attendance is growing. Total attendance for the five-week period that ended August 1 represented nearly 90% of same-day 2019 levels of attendance.

Zimmerman says, “Our team did an excellent job of managing…allowing us to return most park operations to full capacity without the need for guests to make reservations.” The parks also were able to minimize labor shortages through seasonal associates that meant regular operating schedules at most U.S. Cedar Fair parks. “As park restrictions have been relaxed and capacity expanded, attendance is now approaching 2019 levels, particularly on our busiest days.”
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