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Cedar Point bans cellphones in Steel Vengeance line

July 24, 2018

Cedar Point bans cellphones in Steel Vengeance line

SANDUSKY, Ohio – Like to play on your cellphone while waiting to ride your favorite roller coaster? Better come up with a new way to pass the time while standing in line for Steel Vengeance, Cedar Point’s newest record-breaking ride.

The park has banned cellphones from the line of Steel Vengeance, an effort to prevent injuries and lost items on the roller coaster, which flips riders upside-down four times.

The new policy went into effect last week, and is being enforced by park employees monitoring the line, according to Carsten Anderson, who runs the Cedar Point fan site, CPRundown.com.

A new sign at the entrance to the ride states: “Absolutely no cell phones on Steel Vengeance! All cell phones must be left in a locker or with a non-rider. No cell phones in line!” The sign shows a pile of destroyed phones and other lost items.

Said Cedar Point spokesman Tony Clark: “The new signs reinforce our loose article policy and ensure that guests are able to leave the park with their personal belongings, including cell phones – the item that is lost most frequently.”

He added: “Our ride associates will remind guests that loose articles are not permitted in line or on the ride, as they always have.”

Related: Steel Vengeance stakes claim as best roller coaster at Cedar Point (and beyond)

Anderson, of Avon Lake, said he was at the park on Sunday evening when several riders were escorted out of the line to put their phones in a nearby locker. They were permitted to rejoin their group in line after dropping off their phones, he said.

Cedar Point has long prohibited the use of phones while on rides. However, a quick search of YouTube will show you how often that policy is violated. Coasters are regularly halted mid-hill to retrieve phones from rule-breakers who are attempting to take photos or videos while they ride.

Up until now, the park seemed relatively content if phones were securely tucked inside a pocket or fanny pack while the ride was operating, a policy that allowed visitors to play on their phones while they waited in line. The park even promotes the use of phones during long waits, creating a game called the Battle for Cedar Point, to be played on the Cedar Point phone app.

It’s unclear why Cedar Point is taking this action now, more than two months after Steel Vengeance debuted at the park.

Anderson speculated that it might be related to a well-publicized injury at Kings Dominion, a Cedar Point sister park in Virginia, where a woman was hit by a cellphone on Twisted Timbers, a ride similar to Steel Vengeance. Both Steel Vengeance and Twisted Timbers were built by Rocky Mountain Construction, an Idaho company that transforms old wood coasters into wood-steel hybrid rides.

Steel Vengeance is a makeover of the ride formerly known as Mean Streak. Rocky Mountain Construction made the ride higher, faster and longer, and added four inversions.

Anderson said he is not aware of any injuries due to cellphones on Steel Vengeance. The coaster, however, does seem to pull more out of pockets than other rides at the park.

Dennis Speigel, president of International Theme Park Services, a Cincinnati-based consulting company, said the problem of loose objects on rides is not new for parks, but it’s getting worse, as more guests carry phones, and rides become more intense.

He pointed out that Cedar Point’s Corkscrew, the world’s first coaster with three inversions, had to deal with dropped items when it was built in 1976, long before the proliferation of cellphones.

Universal Parks, he said, now require riders of some intense coasters to pass through metal detectors to make sure they’re not carrying cellphones, keys or other items.

“It’s probably the most effective way to do it,” he said. “There will be people who, if they’re not scanned in some way, just won’t give [phones] up. They’ll sneak them on the ride.”

In addition to metal detectors, Universal provides free lockers to hold phones, keys and cash.

Cedar Point charges for its lockers – which has caused some guests to complain on social media that the new no-cellphone policy is just an effort to extract more money from visitors.

“Nice money grab,” wrote one fan, on Twitter. “What’s next, a charge for bathrooms?” wrote another.

Cedar Point charges $2 for two hours of locker use, or $10 for an all-day, “movable” locker.

Anderson said he supports Cedar Point’s new policy: “Their No. 1 priority is for safety. I see why they’re doing this. Steel Vengeance is one crazy and intense roller coaster.”

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