SANDUSKY -- When Cedar Point officiallyunveiled the Gatekeeper winged roller coaster Monday afternoon, there were many people who already knew the secrets.
Several days prior to the park's announcement of the new 2013 attraction, accurate image renderings of Gatekeeper and its logo were posted on multiple forum sites like PointBuzz.com. The forum writers had screencaptured the photos of Gatekeeper when they were apparently brieflyvisible on Cedar Point's website.
"It's certainly a challenge to keep anything like this a secret because there is so much interest in it," says John Hildebrandt, Cedar Point's vice president and general manager. "And that's wonderful. It's great to have people talking about us and feeling that passionate about our product and our rides. I love it."
The image renderings of Gatekeeper weren't the only spoiled info about the new attraction. In May,a leakedmemoindicated that Cedar Point would be building a winged coaster for 2013.
"Any time you have an announcement of this magnitude and an investment of this magnitude, it is very difficult to keep it all entirely under wraps because you have so many people who are involved in it from the very start," park spokesperson Annie Zelm says.
While hoping to give park guests a surprise with announcements like Gatekeeper, Zelm saysthey do recognize that some information could end up out of the bag early.
"It's not always a bad thing, in many cases," Zelm continues. "It just gets people more excited, and it adds, I think, to the intrigue of what's coming. We don't necessarily look at it as a failure, we just look at it as, 'Hey, people are talking about us.' And ultimately, that's what we want, right?"
Several weeks prior to Gatekeeper's unveiling, Cedar Point wasteasing the new ride by offering up little hints to generate extra buzz.
"We often will have teaser announcements that we'll make. We'll just put little hints on the website," Zelm says. "Sometimes they're clues that may throw people off and we did play around with that with Gatekeeper. We did throw out some clues there that basically led them to nowhere. But we just have fun with it and we hope that our guests have fun with it, too, because that's really what we want. We want to just keep driving the excitement and getting them thinking about the future."
Zelm also says it's flattering there are loyal fans excited to spend so much time seeking out the latest information before anything is made official.
"We're very very excited that people love us so much that they're willing to watch our website at perhaps all hours of the day to find out what's happening or what's coming. We look at that as a good thing."
Gatekeeper, which is set to debut in May 2013, will be the tallest and longest winged roller coaster in the world. The ride, which lasts 2 minutes 40 seconds, will take thrillseekers along 4,164 feet of twisted light blue steel track near the front of the park.
As far as the ride's logo is concerned, there were actually two for Gatekeeper when it was announced. One features a red-eyed, golden eagle prominentlylocated in the middle hanging over the title, while the other logo has the creature removed completely.
"The eagle-head logo was kind of a special commemorative logo that will not be necessarily part of the ride sign," Zelm says."But it will be something that we use now and then, for instance, when we're debuting the ride."
To make room for the new attraction, Cedar Point is permanently removing the Space Spiral observation tower, which will make its final ride around Labor Day, and therecently closed Disaster Transport indoor roller coaster.
In addition to erecting Gatekeeper for 2013, the main gate will be completely revamped, all of which is estimated to cost $30 million.
Gatekeeper will be the first new roller coaster at Cedar Point since Maverick was unleashed in 2007.