GateKeeper (roller coaster)
GateKeeper train in the giant flat spin element
|Soft opening date||May 9, 2013|
|Opening date||May 11, 2013|
|Type||Steel – Wing Coaster|
|Manufacturer||Bolliger & Mabillard|
|Track layout||Out and back|
|Lift/launch system||Chain lift hill|
|Height||170 ft (52 m)|
|Drop||164 ft (50 m)|
|Length||4,164 ft (1,269 m)|
|Speed||67 mph (108 km/h)|
|Capacity||1,710 riders per hour|
|Height restriction||52–78 in (132–198 cm)|
|Trains||3 trains with 8 cars. Riders are arranged 4 across in a single row for a total of 32 riders per train.|
Fast Lane Plus only available
|GateKeeper at RCDB|
Pictures of GateKeeper at RCDB
GateKeeper is a steel roller coaster located at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio. Designed by Bolliger & Mabillard (B&M), it was the fifth Wing Coaster installation in the world. The ride opened on May 11, 2013, on the most successful opening weekend to date in the park's history. GateKeeper features the highest inversion in the world, with its 170-foot (52 m) Wing Over drop. It has broken several Wing Coaster records, including those for height, speed, track length, drop height and number of inversions. The coaster has a 170 ft (52 m), 40-degree inclined lift hill with a 164 ft (50 m) drop and features two support towers with keyhole elements that the trains travel through. Its top speed is approximately 67 mph (108 km/h).
Construction began in September 2012 and took roughly eight months to complete. The park built a new entrance plaza featuring the keyhole towers as the centerpiece. The roller coaster replaced Disaster Transport and Space Spiral, both demolished during the summer of 2012, bringing Cedar Point back to its former total of 16 roller coasters. It was Cedar Point's first new roller coaster since Maverick debuted in 2007, and the third B&M coaster in the park following Raptor (1994) and Mantis (1996). In 2013, GateKeeper was the most frequently-ridden roller coaster at Cedar Point, and it ranked 28th among steel roller coasters in the annual Golden Ticket Awards poll from Amusement Today.
Discussions about a new roller coaster began under former Cedar Fair CEO Dick Kinzel in 2011, who credits his successor Matt Ouimet with the project. The first concept of GateKeeper was created at the 2011 International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) Expo. On April 24, 2012, Ouimet said at an Erie County Chamber of Commerce meeting that there would be $25 million in capital expenditures for Cedar Point in 2013. On May 30, 2012, the Sandusky Register reported that a memo written by Ouimet to Cedar Fair's board of directors on February 15, 2012, stated that a new Wing Coaster code-named "CP Alt. Winged" would be introduced in 2013. It also mentioned that the new coaster would set Wing Coaster records for drop, speed, and length, and that it would have a "Front Gate Statement" explained as a strong presence at the entrance to the park. In addition to traveling over the front entrance, part of the track would also cross over portions of the parking lot. Details claimed the ride would be 170 feet (52 m) high, and that both Disaster Transport and Space Spiral would need to be removed to accommodate the new attraction.
As part of Gatekeeper's marketing campaign, Cedar Point released several teasers on their "OnPoint" blog. Posters scattered throughout the park and on Cedar Point's website included taglines such as, "How do you recover from a Disaster?", "WildCat is no match for this creature" and "Not even a Jumbo Jet soars like this!" Each poster had a black background with five blue wings, hinting at the ride's logo. Annie Zelm, a marketing representative for the park, stated that some of the clues on the website were intended to mislead readers. On August 3, 2012, Cedar Point launched a countdown clock on their Facebook page, letting the public know when the next major announcement was scheduled. The page said, "We can't keep it locked away much longer... Join us outside the Main Gate at 3:30 pm on August 13, where all we've kept hidden will be set free!"
On August 13, 2012, Cedar Point officially announced GateKeeper with specifications that confirmed the report leaked earlier by Sandusky Register—a 170-foot-tall (52 m) Wing Coaster that would be manufactured by B&M. The announcement included a Halloween Haunt-like creature speaking to guests atop the main gate at the park's main entrance. A trademark application was filed for the name GateKeeper the same day. Rob Decker said, "GateKeeper is truly an innovation in thrills. Every twist, turn and near-miss element was created exclusively for Cedar Point." Following its completion, the total investment in the new coaster was $30 million.
In its first complete test, the roller coaster completed its first full-circuit ride on April 4, 2013. Hundreds of tests were conducted prior to inspections and approval for operation. On April 10, Cedar Point launched an online auction in which bidders could bid to become one of the first 64 people to ride GateKeeper after it opened to the public. The Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital and United Way of Erie County each had 32 seats available in separate auctions, and proceeds were shared between the organizations. Media day for GateKeeper was held on May 9, and the ride debuted to the public on opening day, May 11.
On July 13, 2012, Cedar Point announced the closure of Disaster Transport and Space Spiral. Disaster Transport closed on July 29, 2012 and dismantling began on August 6, starting in the back of the building. Space Spiral was demolished on September 12, 2012 by imploding the base and letting the tower fall towards the beach. Construction of GateKeeper started in mid-September and the first footers were poured on October 2. Approximately 200 footers were dug, each about 6 feet (1.8 m) deep. The first pieces of track were delivered on October 23 and the installation of the track and supports, starting with the station, began on November 5. The lift hill was topped off on November 30. A construction update on January 7, 2013, said that approximately 40% of the ride's structure, including the Wing Over Drop, Immelmann and Camelback elements, had been completed. The first pieces of the two keyhole towers arrived on January 23, and the first keyhole tower was erected on January 29. On February 27, 2013, at approximately 2 pm, the final piece of GateKeeper was put in place about two weeks ahead of schedule.
Building the coaster took about eight months, and nearly 100 workers from four engineering companies worked on the project. Sherrod Brown, a United States Senator from Ohio, praised Cedar Point for using local companies for the job. A.A. Boos & Sons did the groundwork, including the footers and cement pouring. Tony Ravagnani Architects designed, engineered and installed the two keyhole towers. The electrical work, including the lighting, was done by Firelands Electric. The station and gift shop were built by Bert Witte Contractors, S.A. Comunal installed the plumbing and air systems and Lew’s Construction built the park's new entrance plaza. About 12 million pounds (5,400,000 kilograms) of concrete was used for the ride.
Entrance and queue
GateKeeper's entrance plaza is located along the beach next to one of Wicked Twister's towers. A sculpture with the GateKeeper logo is in the center of the plaza. The queue runs parallel to the beach, under the lift hill and station. Once under the station, riders can choose which side of the train they would like to ride. GateKeeper uses the Fast Lane queuing system; visitors can buy a wristband that allows them to wait in a shorter line.
After leaving the station, the train turns 180 degrees to the right, then begins to climb the chain lift hill at 40 degrees. Once the train reaches the top of the 170-foot (52 m) lift, it enters the first element called the "Wing Over Drop". The train rotates 180 degrees before descending 164 feet (50 m) in a half loop. During this drop, the train reaches 67 miles per hour (108 km/h)—its maximum speed—and riders experience about 4 Gs. After leaving the first drop, the train immediately enters an Immelmann loop almost directly under the lift hill. After the loop, the train turns right into the only camelback hill, which is 105 feet (32 m) high. Riders experience about two seconds of weightlessness on the hill. Next, the train goes through a giant flat spin, followed by a zero-g roll which features two keyhole points as it passes through two 100-foot (30 m)-tall towers. The train then returns to the ground and goes through an inclined dive loop, which is the turn-around point of the roller coaster. Next, the train rotates 360 degrees in an inline twist, which passes the two towers. The train then turns slightly left before entering the mid-course brake run. The train drops to the ground before ascending again and enters a 360-degree downward helix. The train then traverses a small hill before turning left into the final brake run which leads back to the station.
GateKeeper's entrance and station are located near Wicked Twister, Troika and maXair. The ride covers 3.5 acres (1.4 ha); it initially runs parallel to Lake Erie then travels through the parking lot, over the main entrance then turns around in front of Blue Streak. As it passes through the main entrance plaza, it passes through two 100-foot (30 m)-tall towers that form Cedar Point's entrance gates.
GateKeeper is a Wing Coaster model manufactured by Swiss roller coaster firm Bolliger & Mabillard. It is Cedar Point's third B&M roller coaster; the park also has Raptor, an inverted roller coaster, and Rougarou, a floorless roller coaster. GateKeeper was the fifth Wing Coaster in the world and the third one built in the United States following X-Flight at Six Flags Great America and Wild Eagle at Dollywood.
GateKeeper operates with three open-air steel and fiberglass trains, each with eight cars of four seats each, with two on each side of the track. Each train holds 32 riders and the ride has a capacity of about 1,710 riders per hour. Riders are restrained by flexible over-the-shoulder restraints and interlocking seat belts and riders are required to be between 52 inches (130 cm) and 78 inches (200 cm) to ride. Because the seats are on the side of the track, a cantilevered steel arm is used to support the wings. The trains are painted Sunset Gold with Zenith, Meteor, and Orion Gold accents. The fourth row of each train has extendable harnesses enabling large passengers to ride. The front of each train is shaped to resemble the head of a griffin. The griffin's eyes and the outside seats of each row incorporate LED lighting, a first for a roller coaster at Cedar Point. The LED lights on the trains recharge while the trains are in the station. Unlike the other B&M coasters at Cedar Point, the station's floor does not drop before the trains dispatch, as guests are required to climb into the seats while boarding.
GateKeeper's tubular steel track is 4,164 feet (1,269 m) long and the lift is approximately 170 feet (52 m) high. The track is Azure Blue (dark blue) and Strata Blue (light blue), and the supports are white. There are 102 track pieces, each weighing approximately 7,500 pounds (3,400 kg). Unlike Raptor and Rougarou, the track and supports are filled with sand to reduce the noise as the ride traverses the main entrance. The track and supports were manufactured by Clermont Steel Fabricators in Batavia in southwest Ohio.
Clermont also manufactured the two keyhole towers. Each tower is 100 feet (30 m) tall; 25 feet (7.6 m) is the concrete foundation and 75 feet (23 m) is steel. At the Great Ohio Coaster Club holiday tour, Ed Dangler—Cedar Point’s Director of Maintenance and New Construction—stated the original plan was to have the towers' supports encased by an outer shell; however, Cedar Point went back to B&M, and decided to build a steel structure to serve as the keyhole element and the supports. Each half of the tower weighs about 65,000 pounds (29,000 kg).
GateKeeper broke several world records. Among Wing Coasters, it became the longest and fastest, featured the longest drop, and contained the most inversions. It also set a new record for having the highest inversion of any roller coaster in the world, surpassing Volcano, The Blast Coaster at Cedar Point's sister park, Kings Dominion.
GateKeeper has received mostly positive reviews from the media and public. Some riders complained about the shoulder restraints becoming too tight while sitting in the brake run at the end of the ride. Others praised the near-miss elements; one woman said, "It feels like you're going to get your knees chopped off and your head chopped off." Many guests also praised the smoothness of the ride and how the renovated main entrance is very appealing. On GateKeeper's opening weekend, Cedar Point achieved its most successful opening weekend in the history of the park, due to the popularity of GateKeeper.
On July 17, 2013, GateKeeper's millionth rider received $500 to spend at the park, a VIP tour of the park and exclusive access to GateKeeper for the rest of the 2013 season. The park's spokesman Bryan Edwards said, "We are giving approximately 1,600 rides per hour. It has definitely been a huge success for the park. Our guests love GateKeeper." It finished the season with just over 2.1 million riders, the most of any ride in 2013. GateKeeper also helped Cedar Fair to achieve record revenue, record attendance, record distribution and record stock pricing in 2013.
In 2013, GateKeeper ranked third in Amusement Today's Golden Ticket Award for Best New Ride behind Outlaw Run at Silver Dollar City and Iron Rattler at Six Flags Fiesta Texas. It also debuted 28th on the list for Top Steel Roller Coasters, making it the first time ever that Cedar Point had six steel roller coasters in the top 50.
|Mitch Hawker's Best Roller Coaster Poll: Best steel-Tracked Roller Coaster|
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to GateKeeper (roller coaster).|
- Official website
- GateKeeper documentary – From Dreams to Screams
- Official front gate webcam[permanent dead link]
- GateKeeper at PointBuzz
- GateKeeper at Coaster-Net
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