SANDUSKY -- Summertime screams aren't that far away because Cedar Point is readying to blast open on Saturday, May 12.
A few weeks ago, we stopped by the Sandusky thrill park for an exclusive sneak peek at their new attraction for 2012 -- Dinosaurs Alive. It's a massive walk-thru exhibit featuring 50 animatronic dinosaurs on the grounds surrounding the Millennium Force roller coaster.
At the end of March, park spokesman Bryan Edwards said crews were way ahead of schedule with the dino attraction's installation thanks to Mother Nature's warm-winter kiss.
Photos: Dinosaurs invade Cedar Point
"The ground hasn't frozen solid as we say and there's no snow that's impeding our progress," he explained. "We've actually been able to pour concrete sooner than what we would normally do in the past and get elements of the attraction done ahead of time."
Dinosaurs Alive, which will debut during the park's opening day, wasn't the only thing to benefit from the warm winter. Crews got an early jump on giving Millennium Force a facelift in year two of its three-year repainting project.
"We're painting a lot of the area over by Dinosaurs Alive," Edwards said of Millennium Force. "Pretty much from that second hill, that second overbanked turn, all the way out to the island and then back off the island. That's another project that we've been able to get done ahead of time because of this unseasonably warm weather. Obviously you can't paint in the snow and the sleet and the rain, so the weather has really helped us get ahead of that project as well."
Photos: Cedar Point during the offseason
The Blue Streak, located at the front of the park, has also been given a fresh coat of new paint, which Edwards said "looks incredible."
Edwards, who has worked at the park for 21 seasons, said he can't recall a single winter that was quite so unseasonably warm.
"Even the bay and the lake haven't froze over completely. I remember back many years ago when I was a little boy, the lake would always freeze over; you'd go ice skating on it. This past winter has been unlike any other that I've ever experienced here."
Other changes coming for the 2012 season:
- Luminosity, a new night show, debuts on the main Midway near the Iron Dragon.
- Dragster H2O, a new mat water slide, will have guests racing each other at Soak City.
- Cedar Point is bringing back its original recipe for their french fries.
- New lights on the Giant Wheel, Millennium Force and Power Tower will illuminate the iconic Cedar Point skyline.
- For an extra fee, guests can enter the Fast Lane, which will get them on some of the most popular rides at the park without waiting in the long lines.
- The giant laser show screen has been removed, offering a never-before-seen view of Millennium Force from the Midway.
Online: Cedar Point, www.cedarpoint.com