Cedar Point has never been a den of mediocrity. Though recent history points towards skyline shifters like Top Thrill Dragster and Millennium Force, perhaps even Arrow’s penultimate creation in the venerable Magnum XL-200, it is easy to forget that Cedar Point has been the home to several other record breakers.
At its debut, Gemini, Cedar Point’s lone racing coaster, was the tallest roller coaster in the world. The park’s first looping coaster, Corkscrew, was the first in the world with three inversions, Mean Streak was tallest and fastest among woodies, and perhaps important only to coasterphiles, the Jr. Gemini is the first roller coaster designed by the legendary Intamin. Intamin’s most recent coaster based foray at Cedar Point is Maverick.
Maverick is not the tallest of the coasters that soar over the once wooded peninsula of Lake Erie. It is not the second tallest, third, or fourth either. It is the tenth, at one hundred and five feet. It is not the longest, shy of that mark by several thousand feet. It broke no records at its debut, and it is the sixth coaster from Intamin at the park. Really, all Maverick has going for it is that is quite simply the best ride at Cedar Point, an opinion shared by virtually everyone waiting in line to ride, even as the fragile beast lay broken.
Yes, broken. While my foray last year to the Point was Maverick free, as was the first day of this particular two day venture, line related in both cases, this time I had promised The Coaster Critic a review of Maverick. I told our group, the normal wife, daughter and Lukas team bolstered by friends Maggie and Greg, that no matter the line, I was riding Maverick. Fate, it appeared, had other plans.
We arrived the second morning about twenty minutes before park opening, Lukas and I raced across the park to Maverick, Greg and Maggie stuck in the regular people waiting area, and we rolled in to see…nothing. Maverick was down. We asked the ride op what was going on, he of course didn’t know, and then a bunch of folks as dumb as us asked the same thing, how in the world was this teenager going to know exactly why a twenty million dollar machine with several hundred thousand parts wasn’t working? We stacked up at the que, rider after rider running to meet disappointment, and when Greg and Maggie showed up we left our spot at the front of the makeshift line to wait with them. About a minute later, a sign turned and we walked into the queue.
The lines the day before, and at the trip the year prior, had stood at about two hours, with midday being even worse. That’s a hard nut to crack, especially when Millennium, Top Thrill and pretty much everything else is running an hour or less. Now, allowed into the Maverick que about a half an hour after park open, the line was non-existent. We raced through the empty rails, up the stairs and stopped dead, Maverick’s trains in clear view. A group of goth folks passed us in the exit, with them came a storm of cursing. Maverick was broken. Again.
I try to be a positive person, I really do, and normally that comes out pretty ok. Now, stuck waiting for a ride that might not open that day, or who knows, maybe ever, reality set in and so did a thick funk. My friends, ever mindful of the fragile persona of the burgeoning coaster journalist, decided that mocking me and the situation would be the best possible entertainment as we waited for Maverick. Good enough friends to give me static, and wait with me for a dead coaster, we were rewarded a few minutes later. More quitters had left, and Maverick was open for business.
She loaded like no ride I’ve ever seen, two separate trains at a time, right before the launch area. Not like Top Thrill or other launch coasters where the time spent loading exceeds that of riding, Intamin went out of there way on this one to maximize riders, and it works.
The restraints are like those on Fahrenheit, Storm Runner, Intimidator 305 and Kingda Ka, thin, soft over the shoulder pieces with thick tubes of foam that lock over the hips and waist. To put it simply, my absolute favorite over the shoulder pieces, miles ahead of Arrow and even a fair clip past a B&M OTSR. Lukas and I made it a point to mention to both Maggie and Greg that it was unnecessary to hold on while wearing such a harness. Hoo boy.
There are many coasters that can have their teeth lessened thanks to youtube or Robb Alvey DVDs. Maverick is not one of them. I have watched POV footage of Maverick more than any other coaster before riding; and the video does it no justice. You’ve probably seen the video. No other coaster, save for The Beast is as poorly represented on digital media as Maverick, and Maverick leaves The Beast in the dust.
A terrain coaster with three inversions and two launches, Maverick is the only coaster that has ever shaken me so hard without ever scaring me. I trusted the restraints, I did and do, but my goodness, no coaster that I’ve ever ridden has ever offered such a concerted effort to throw me from its back. I will say this and say it firmly, no looping coaster that I have ever ridden has offered airtime this wild, and no coaster I have ever ridden has an experience as varied as Maverick. Dual launches, spraying water, tunnels, inversions, airtime galore, Maverick has it all.
To put it simply, Maverick really is up to the hyperbole, it is quite literally the wildest ride I’ve ridden. My silicone coastin’ plugs, made by KAOS body jewelry for the big eared among us, have seen me through three seasons of coasters. Diamondback, Kraken, Fahrenheit and numerous others have had no quarrel with my jewelry. Maverick threw them in a lake.
Maverick is the kind of ride than can be polarizing, it is violent on purpose, the train really does feel like it might tear off the tracks, whether on an airtime hill or a banked turn that changes at the last second. I love Intamin, but this is a now ride, if this thing, perfect in its current state ever does loosen up, it will be dangerous. I trust Cedar Point to keep it safe. A terrain coaster wins again, and yet it’s still a surprise. Even in the land of giants, height is immaterial.
I rank Maverick a ten out of ten, and use it as a great reason to help my platform to elect a top ten looping coaster list. Maverick is unranked, yet three of its brothers rank in the Golden Ticket Top Ten. I’m here to tell you, Maverick is better than all of them, challenged only by Magnum, and Millennium and Top Thrill are a far skip behind.
So how is it that a coaster at such a prestigious park, with lines four times as long as the second highest ranked coaster in the world goes unnoticed? My group wanted to ride all day, but the lines just wouldn’t allow it, even on a day when everything else was a half hour wait or less. Are hypers unjustly ruling the rankings? Time will tell. Final Rating 10 – (Superior)
Check out this official POV video from Cedar Point:
Note – This video was filmed by professionals with permission from the park. For safety reasons, please DO NOT take a camera on a roller coaster.
Maverick is rated ‘IN’ for Intense. It’s a 4 out of 5 on my Thrill Scale for of its speed and loops.
What’s Your Take?
What do you think of Maverick? Do you agree with Aric’s rating? Leave a comment below. Images courtesy of Coaster Image.