November 23, 2014

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Roller coaster enthusiast excited about new ride

SANDUSKY — He hasn’t even ridden GateKeeper yet, but Eric Gieszl predicts Cedar Point’s newest thrill ride is destined to rank alongside Top Thrill Dragster, Millennium Force and Maverick as the park’s best roller coasters.

“They have really been high-quality,” he said. “They really stand out. I consider them some of the best rides ever built.”
Gieszl knows of what he speaks.

He is the creator of the detailed ultimaterollercoaster.com website that sports a wealth of information about the expanding world of roller coasters, other thrill rides and theme and amusement parks across the country.

Gieszl assessed the new ride after watching the animated point-of-view videos posted by Cedar Point.

“It’s living up to expectations even from a distance,” Gieszl said.

Seating 28 passengers on two “wings” projecting out from a central frame for each of its three bronze-and-purple trains that travel a light blue steel track, GateKeeper is part of a $30 million investment for 2013 that includes a major facelift of Cedar Point’s main entrance plaza.

Gieszl couldn’t make the trip for Thursday’s debut of the ride from his Austin, Texas, home, but he definitely plans to get to Cedar Point sometime this summer to check it out in person.

Gieszl has experienced the similar Wild Eagle winged coaster at Tennessee’s Dollywood Park in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains.

Gieszl already is calling GateKeeper iconic because of the manner in which it dominates Cedar Point’s new entrance by passing above and to either side of the newly designed plaza.

GateKeeper is Cedar Point’s 16th roller coaster and first since the $25 million Maverick opened in 2007.

Since then, the park has made other investments ranging from the $10.5 million Shoot the Rapids flume ride in 2010 to the 300-foot tall Windseeker swing ride in 2011.

Cedar Point opens for the season Saturday.

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or sfogarty@chroniclet.com.