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Cedar Point removing WildCat roller coaster

8:11 PM, May 2, 2012   |    comments
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SANDUSKY -- Cedar Point thrillseekers will have one less roller coaster to scream on this summer as the WildCat will be removed from the park.

The announcement came Wednesday on the amusement park's website, which states the WildCat "was coming to the end of its useful life."

The WildCat gave its final ride at the end of the 2011 season because park officials say it will be removed from the park prior to 2012's upcoming opening day on Saturday, May 12. The roller coaster will be sent to a recycling facility.

Photos: Cedar Point during the offseason

Luminosity, a new night show that debuts June 1, will light up the night sky in the area near WildCat, which is now being dubbed Celebration Plaza.

"With the desired expansion to Celebration Plaza, coupled with the low ridership and increased maintenance costs, Cedar Point has decided to accelerate the removal of the ride," the park's announcement declared.

Read fan reactions regarding WildCat's closure

Annie Zelm, a spokesperson for the park, says the decision to remove WildCat was one that happened within the week.

While many Cedar Point fans are hoping a new ride will be placed in WildCat's small location, Zelm says its spot will most likely be used to include extra seating for the Luminosity show.

WildCat has already been removed from CedarPoint.com's list of attractions.

"This expansion (of Celebration Plaza) is one of several initiatives that will beautify the park midways and enhance guests' experiences," the announcement says. "Additional improvements include state-of-the-art lighting packages on Giant Wheel, Millennium Force and Power Tower, a new sound and lighting system along the park's Main Midway and the re-painting of the Millennium Force and Blue Streak roller coasters."

The WildCat, which sits directly across from the Iron Dragon roller coaster, first opened at Cedar Point in 1970. The 85-second ride featured four-passenger "cars" that raced along the purple and yellow-green structure at speeds up to 40 mph.

Throughout its time at the park, WildCat roared with nearly 27 million rides.

Several riders were hurt on the WildCat in 2008 and 2011 when some of the cars collided. None of the injuries sustained were serious, but the accidents did shut the ride down temporarily.

Cedar Point once held the record for having the most roller coasters at one amusement park with 17. With the removal of WildCat, the park now trails the current record-holder -- Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, California -- by one.

But don't fret, fans. Cedar Point says they remain "committed to being the roller coaster capital of the world. New roller coasters, rides and attractions will always be a part of Cedar Point's future."

New this year at Cedar Point is Dinosaurs Alive, a $5 upcharge attraction near Millennium Force featuring 50 animatronic dinosaurs. Also making its debut for the 2012 season is a new mat racing water slide at Soak City, Dragster H2O.

Photos: Dinosaurs invade Cedar Point

The last time Cedar Point opened a new roller coaster was in 2007 when Maverick was unleashed.

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Online: Cedar Point www.cedarpoint.com

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