Ohio amusement parks hope to bounce back during the 2007 summer season.
"The weather hurt last year," said Bryan Edwards, Cedar Point spokesperson. "It was cool, rainy and dreary."
But, with Cedar Point unveiling it's new thrill ride, Maverick, park officials expect visitors, rain or shine.
This $21-million, Western-themed coaster features a 95-degree first drop, two launch areas, two 360-degree corkscrew rolls, one 360-degree heartline roll, eight airtime-filled hills, one 400-foot-long tunnel, 10 banked turns, from 62 to 92 degrees and a total of 4,450 feet of track length. The speed of the first drop is 57 mph while the second is about 70 mph. The ride can accommodate about 1,200 riders per hour and sits on 5.5 acres.
"The construction on Maverick is on schedule," Edwards said. "It's in the final preparation stage. Things like fencing and cement. The testing will be done soon. There are some procedures you can't do until the ride is moving."
Edwards said construction crews worked hard all winter. "I came out here a couple times and the crews were working in the freezing weather."
Cedar Point staff have a good feeling about 2007.
"I'm excited," Edwards said. "This is going to be a good year for us.
"The interest in Maverick from coaster enthusiasts has been overwhelming. They like all the different elements."
Cedar Point opens May 12.
Edwards said the park will be ready for opening day and added the May 12 opener isn't much later than normal.
"No, it just depends when that first Saturday falls," he said. "There's no real magic formula."
"The chain restaurant Chick Fil-A will open by the Maverick as will the chain restaurant Panda Express by the Millennium Force," he said. "And we will have all-new live shows this year.
"The maintenance crews are busy putting the cars back on the tracks and the food service crews are busy freshening up their areas," Edwards said. "Human resources is busy processing new employees and the landscapers are super-busy now."
Edwards said another minor, but important, change this summer is the park's smoking policy.
"There will be four or five shaded, designated smoking areas," he said. "There will be no smoking in line or in the kids' area. That's in accordance with the new law. We will try to accommodate our guests who do smoke."
Edwards also expects a solid year for Cedar Fair's Geauga Lake & Wildwater Kingdom located in Aurora.
Geauga Lake features more than 40 rides and attractions, including eight roller coasters and a 17-acre waterpark. This park opens for the season May 26.
Geauga Lake will offer two new shows this season and has completely renovated a restaurant, as well as added two new dining options. The park has also adopted the same smoking policy as its sister park, Cedar Point.
"We are very excited about the upcoming season," said Bill Spehn, vice president and general manager of Geauga Lake & Wildwater Kingdom. "These new additions and upgrades will not only improve the overall guest experience at Geauga Lake, they also show our commitment to making Geauga Lake & Wildwater Kingdom the perfect summertime family destination."
Other changes for the summer include new paint jobs on coasters Head Spin and Texas Twister. Three rides, X-Flight, Steel Venom and Bel Aire Express will be removed from the park. Renamed Firehawk, X-Flight has recently been introduced at Kings Island near Cincinnati, while Steel Venom will be relocated to another Cedar Fair park at a later time.
Kings Island will celebrate its 35th anniversary this season. The addition of Firehawk will bring the park's roller-coaster total to 13. That entourage includes The Beast, Son of Beast, Flight of Fear, Vortex and Rugrat's Runaway Reptar.
The Firehawk takes riders 115 feet in the air and five inversions at speeds of more than 50 mph, giving the riders the feeling of human flight.
Cedar Fair's Kings Island opens for weekends starting April 21. Daily operations begin May 23. Kings Island's waterpark, Boomerang Bay, opens May 26.