It’s Halloweekends time at Cedar Point!

As a child growing up in the Midwest, Autumn always meant the same traditions. Sundays spent raking the leaves from the yard, visits to cider mills, and an annual October trip to Cedar Point amusement park in Ohio.

Cedar Point. . .in October? Yes! If you live in the Midwest, you probably know that Cedar Point stays open on weekends through November 1. If you didn’t know, you’ll want to plan a trip now because, while night can be cold, hours are limited, and not all the rides are open (including, of course, the water rides and the Soak City park), the lack of crowds makes this the perfect time to get your roller coaster fix.

For the whole month, the park is open from 6pm to midnight on Fridays, noon to midnight on Saturdays, and 11am to 8pm on Sundays (except for October 11 when it’s open 10am-10pm). And with those reduced hours come reduced prices on Friday nights and Saturdays after 4pm. Daily admission is normally $44.99, but during those times it drops to $29.99 per adult.

During Halloweekends most of the park’s major coasters like Millennium Force, Raptor, Magnum, and Blue Streak are all open, though some of the smaller attractions are closed. The park is decked out for Halloween with zombies, crypts, monsters, and pumpkins scattered around, and there are haunted houses of varying scare factors, a Halloween parade, and costume contests for kids.

But the best part is that, rather than waiting up to 2 hours for your favorite coaster like you will in the peak of summer, you’ll rarely wait more than 30 minutes to move through the line during Halloweekends. At many times, especially when it gets a bit chillier late in the season, you’ll zip through in just a few minutes. You get more coaster time for less money.

Cedar Point is one hour from the Cleveland airport and Sandusky, where the park is located, is serviced by Amtrak and Greyhound. There are several hotels located just outside the park gates and in the town of Sandusky ranging from around $70 to $200 per night.

Going to an amusement park? It’s probably cheaper than last year

Here’s a direct quote: “It would be crazy to spend full price to go to Disney right now,” said Mary Waring, founder of” I found this tidbit in a Practical Traveler article in the New York Times about cheap travel options for a Disney vacation and more.

Whether you’re looking for multiple night stays at a Disney resort or a one-day ticket to an amusement park, the deals have become cheaper than ever. Seven night stays can be had for the price of four. What I found interesting is how Disney’s price reduction is affecting hotels around Orlando. Three-star hotels are as cheap as $56 a night. For people who want to go to Walt Disney World for only one day, I’d check out this option. I’d rather stay at an outside the parks hotel in order to explore the area. There’s more to Orlando than resorts.

Other money saving deals include $50 off for swimming with the dolphins at Discovery Cove and child admission prices for adults at SeaWorld, Busch Gardens and Aquatica if you book online at the Worlds of Discovery Web site a week before you go.

The article also pointed out that Six Flags amusement parks will be cheaper this summer as well. Personally, I perked up at the $43.99 for Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio. This is the end of the season price from last year and cheaper by $1 than the ticket price in 2005. We usually go to Kings Island near Cincinnati because it’s generally cheaper and the water park is included. This may have us rethinking our amusement park strategy. Maybe we’ll do both.

There are also similar deals in California. Bottom line. Do research before you settle on the price.

Geauga Lake Amusement Park Bites the Dust

Here are is an amusement park I’ve never been to, but I am sad it is closing. Partly because it holds memories for my husband’s family, and partly because it is an indication of how history does change things. It’s an era gone by.

Geauga Lake, at least the ride section, has seen its last season. Waterparks, like malls that look like small towns, are in in the U.S. (I don’t quite get why people don’t go to a real small town to shop instead of a mall that looks like a town. Pet peeve.)

Wild Water Kingdom that adjoins Geauga Lake has grown and grown in the past few years as the crowds on the coasters have diminished. Too bad. Founded in 1888, Geauga Lake is one of the oldest amusement parks in the United States. It started out as a place for picnics. In 1889, when a steam carousel was added, its role as an amusement park to entertain the masses was on it’s way. In its 100th year attendance was high, but Cedar Point, also in northern Ohio, has been competition it couldn’t keep up with. From what my relatives have said, Geauga Lake was a perfect place to go with kids because lines were not long and the rides were just the right size for the younger set.

I’m wondering what will happen to all the rides? Once when I was writing an article on Christmas light displays in Ohio, I interviewed a man who had bought the huge wooden soldiers from Coney Island (Ohio’s Coney Island) in an auction. Coney Island closed as a major amusement park in the early 70s and Kings Island became home to some of its rides. This photo is from Geauga Lake Today. If you go to the site, you’ll find a gallery of vintage postcard shots.

Two New Roller Coasters with Top Thrill Factor

There are two new roller coasters opening this summer with a thrill factor rating of 5, according to the American Coaster Enthusiasts. A 5 means that you’re in for a hair-raising treat that is unique from other coasters’ offerings.

The Flying Turns is a bobsled ride of sorts. Styled after a roller coaster that was popular in the 1930s to 1950s, this ride is a remake. Two people sit with one in front of the other in one car that is joined with four others. The cars then zoom down a wooden track that circles in various configurations for two minutes. The thrill partly comes from it’s rarity. This is the only coaster like it. Head to Knobels Amusement Resort in Elysburg, Pennsylvania to try it out, although, I’m not sure if it’s open yet. It is supposed to open this season though.

The other top thrills coaster, Griffon, is found in in Busch Gardens Europe, Williamsburg, Virginia. The park’s Web Site has a clip advertising it with a horror film type voice that finishes the description with “The only way down is face down.” It’s also described as “the world’s tallest, floorless dive coaster.” Just look at the photo. The dive part comes from the 90 degree angle decent. The floorless part might be because you sit with your legs dangling. Somewhere along the three minute ride there are two inverse loops that are patterned after the stunt of a World War I German fighter pilot. Leave your sunglasses behind.

The other top new coasters to open this year, according to the enthusiasts, are: Tony Hawk’s Big Spin (see post) Thrill factor: 2; Mystery Mine (see post) Thrill factor: 4; and the Maverick (see post) Trhill factor: 3.

Saving Money at Amusement Parks

In the past two weeks my daughter has headed to Cedar Point (with the school percussion ensemble), Kings Island (with her track team) and Fort Rapids, an indoor amusement park (for an end of the 8th-grade bash) and my five-year-old son wants to know when it’s his turn. He has a point, but there’s the cost to consider. Because my daughter went on school trips, she didn’t pay full price. Now, we’re searching out some other deals for us.

There are some. If you want to head to an amusement park this summer, before you pull out your wallet to pay full price at the admission gate, check out some of these money-saving options.

Buy your tickets on-line or look for deals at grocery stores. Here is a link to Cedar Point’s discount ticket information. Cedar Point is located in Sandusky, Ohio. One way you can save money is to get 14 other people to go with you. For groups of 15 or more, you can save more than $10 a ticket. We have done this before. Once at Kalahari Water Park, also in Sandusky, we found out that if we had a birthday party we could all get free pizza and a drink along with discount tickets. It was no one’s birthday, but we’re not picky.

Kings Island, located between Columbus and Cincinnati has discount tickets available at Kroger grocery stores and online right now. The online price is for advance sales so you can’t buy these on the same day you’re going. Plan ahead. For a great deal on food, add the all you can eat barbeque. Last year we had a friend who had discount tickets through work. The barbeque was included. It was a lot of food and good. Other grocery stores around th U.S. often have discounts–so do banks. Ask around.

Right now, on the Universal Studios Hollywood Theme Park site, you can buy a one day ticket and get the second day free. Or you can try Rahim Rahman’s method in the picture. Lots of luck with this one. I’d let him in.

Here are four Web sites to help you find discount tickets near you. I found the above deals by looking on the park’s sites and poking around.

For more discount ideas, check out: How to Save Money at Amusement Parks. Now, all I have to do is remember my own advice.