Cedar Point's GateKeeper Wrenches Screams of Delight From Its Victims: Adrenaline Is King

Humans love adrenaline. It's so sought-after that companies even make a living helping humans deliver this naturally occurring substance to their brains and bodies. With that in mind, let's explore one way you can get your fix: a roller coaster.
GateKeeper 8 photos
Photo: Bolliger & Mabillard Inc.
Let's face it, we love being thrilled, scared, and having our screams squeezed out of us, and amusement parks like Cedar Point know this. After all, they've been making a business out of delivering thrills since 1870, not 1970, 1870, and is considered the "second-oldest operating amusement park in the U.S."

It's also here that you'll find the GateKeeper, a steel roller coaster that was only one of five in the world when built and also included the highest inversion at that time. That was May 11, 2013, and over nine years later, this ride is still going strong, with only three insignificant safety incidents over the course of its life: gusts of wind and some issues with the chain lift. I feel it's safe to say that this one is worth exploring.

Well, if you want to take a ride on the GateKeeper, you have two options: either head over to Cedar Point and pay the entrance and ride fees, or, through the magic of the internet, activate the full-screen option, and play the video below. Once you've had a look and feel for this ride, come back to the text to get to know it a bit better.

Photo: Bolliger & Mabillard Inc.
Now, when this ride was thought up, it was done so specifically for Cedar Point; no other winged coaster features the same twists, turns, suspensions, and drops as this one. As for the minds and hands that eventually designed and built this machine, it's the crew over at Bolliger & Mabillard, a rollercoaster design and fabrication team out of Switzerland, responsible for countless coasters since its conception in 1988.

If you happened to watch the video below, you've gotten a solid feel for what the ride may be like, minus the lost lunches and sweaty palms. But you couldn't figure out from the video just how high and fast you were riding. In the GateKeeper's case, the peak height that you'll experience is no less than 170 feet (52 meters). But at this height, you'll also be experiencing a half-loop maneuver. As for how fast you'll be riding around, 67 mph (108 kph) is the top speed that will be attained during the experience. Doesn't sound too life-threatening to me.

Nonetheless, words can be deceiving as I, too, had a look at the video, and please let me point out that I found myself all tensed up after the viewing. Everything starts off beautifully, overlooking the park and great lakes, and suddenly, you're dropped into an inversion that leads to a loop that inverts you once again to be upright.

Photo: Bolliger & Mabillard Inc.
It's then onto a large hill, helping you pick up speed for the next twisted loop, only to thread you through needle-hole support struts (the gates) that give you a feeling that you may hit your head against them. Sure, the latter idea sounds a bit farfetched, but this ride does have a height limit of 78 inches (198 centimeters) for a reason; those are some very tight squeezes.

And this isn't the only time you're led to feel like you're hitting something. After a few more twists and turns, the GateKeeper comes back, pulling you through keyholes once again, only to end your experience with a G-crunching turn before hitting the launch ramp from where it all started. You can breathe now. While the entire ride is 2 minutes long, the high-speed action is only around a minute and 30 seconds long, with the first part of that clock allocated to the lift.

At the end of the day, you can experience this ride for free from your couch or pay $85 (€87 at current exchange rates) to get into Cedar Point. But, no matter how you look at things, you'll enjoy a $30 million (€30.9 million at current exchange rates) experience. That's how much Cedar Point dished out to get this puppy up and running and pulling thrills out of its visitors.

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About the author: Cristian Curmei
Cristian Curmei profile photo

A bit of a nomad at heart (being born in Europe and raised in several places in the USA), Cristian is enamored with travel trailers, campers and bikes. He also tests and writes about urban means of transportation like scooters, mopeds and e-bikes (when he's not busy hosting our video stories and guides).
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