ALLENTOWN, Pa. — Popular rides have come and gone over the years at Cedar Point, but have you ever wondered what happens to a roller coaster once it leaves the park?
Well, sometimes they are demolished, but sometimes those rides are simply sent to other amusement parks to live on and delight new crowds of fun-seekers.
Now, I spent a ton of time at Cedar Point growing up, and in the mid-1980s, there was a particular thrill ride that openly dared Northeast Ohio children to rush to The Amazement Park and experience sheer terror firsthand, should we be so brave.
Debuting in 1983, the Demon Drop was a 10-story, free fall, drop tower ride that stood sentry right at the front of the park, welcoming visitors and quickly establishing itself as one of Cedar Point's signature rides. It thrilled riders for over 20 years, during which time Cedar Point kept growing (as it tends to do).
Eventually, the once-dominant attraction found itself literally overshadowed by newer, taller, and faster rides. By the time it dropped its last car, Cedar Point estimates that the Demon Drop had given roughly 19 million rides.
But all good thrills must end, and in 2009 she was dismantled and removed from the park, never to be seen again.
But wait, what’s this?! It recently came to my attention that the Demon Drop, in fact, lives on. Where? Why at Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom in Allentown, Pennsylvania, of all places.
After figuring out where that was and realizing it was just over six hours away, I somehow managed to convince my bosses to let me to spend an entire work day driving to Allentown so I could ride a theme park attraction that I enjoyed in my youth, because I believed that was something our audience would like to see. Next thing I knew, I was cruising through the lush, windy Pennsylvania mountains on my way to a date with destiny. Demonic Destiny.
Once inside the park, public relations and communications manager Ryan Eldredge explained I am not the first, nor the last, to make the pilgrimage to ride the Demon once again.
"It's nostalgia, right?" he summised. "It's something you rode as a kid in the '80s or the '90s, and so it's just bringing back memories."
In fact, I even ran into a gentleman named Steven Strange who had traveled to Allentown from Canton with his family—wearing a classic Demon Drop tee, to boot.
"That was the main thing we always went to Cedar Point to ride," he explained, "and so I just wanted my kids to experience the same thing."
Then it was my turn to ride, and let me tell you, she hasn't aged a day—despite the fact that the park employees who strapped me into the ride were not even alive when this machine was created. Nevertheless, it was great to see we're both still kicking, and partying like its 1989.
More from Mike Polk Jr.