And so an era comes to a close. One of the most famous wooden roller coasters in America has shut down, as of September 16th, 2016. While it may not have been loved by many, there's no denying that it'll be a little weird coming to Cedar Point and not being able to ride the big giant wooden coaster in the back.
Mean Streak came to life on May 11th, 1991. When it opened, it was the tallest wooden coaster in the world. At a cost of 7.5 million dollars, it stood as an icon for Cedar Point, as one of the largest roller coasters out there. Period. With over 5,000 feet of track, speeds up to 65 mph, and a ride time that exceeds three minutes, it's no wonder people were such a fan of this ride! Mean Streak stood for innovation and was a must ride at the time.
Fast forward 25 years, well...Mean Streak, frankly, isn't that great.
A few years after its opening, a trim brake was installed on the first drop, killing a lot of the speed you used to receive. The ride has also gotten rough. Very. Rough. There have been several attempts of retracking it, but it just hasn't seemed to make a whole lot of a difference. For this reason alone, Mean Streak rarely has many in the queue. In fact, on the average day at Cedar Point, Mean Streak isn't more than a station wait.
I've experienced this coaster twice. Both times I rode in the front row, which is known for not giving as bad of a ride, as it tends to run a bit smoother the closer you are to the front. So while I may not have found it to be terribly rough, I found the layout to be rather lackluster. The pacing isn't great, and most of the ride seems to be devoted to unexciting turns, as it slowly loses its speed. One verb I've heard tossed around when describing Mean Streak is 'boring,' which I find appropriate.
It isn't uncommon for people to hate on this ride. In the coaster community, many call it one of the worst roller coasters in existence- which may be a bit harsh, but there's no denying that Mean Streak isn't the most pleasant of experiences. Because of its unpopularity, I don't think too many will miss it.
The last time I rode it was in July of 2016. That was also the last time I'll ever ride it, because just a month later, the announcement came that Mean Streak was going to close- for good.
While there are certainly some people out there who are sad about this, most enthusiasts I've talked to have actually remained pretty optimistic. The reason? Three letters- R.M.C.
One of the most popular trends we're in the midst of is the practice of transforming old, wooden roller coasters into new steel hybrids. Rocky Mountain Construction of Idaho has taken the amusement industry by storm through these impressive creations. We've seen the conversion of 7 wooden coasters in North America, most of them in the Six Flags chain. Each redo brings in a ride that not only is smooth, but will often incorporate steeper drops and sometimes even inversions.
Now, there is no guarantee that this will come to Mean Streak. We have yet to see an RMC creation in the Cedar Fair chain (the company that owns Cedar Point), but it is possible that Mean Streak could be the first.
This past summer, visitors to the Point would find these around Mean Streak:
Survey markers surrounded the coaster. Little pink dots could also be found on many of the rides footers. Speculation holds that the pink dots may mean the removal of those specific footers. If that is indeed the case, then we would only see the removal of part of the coaster, which lines up with the RMC theory.
But if it so happens that is won't get renovated, what will be the future of the once great Mean Streak?
To put it bluntly, it'll be demolished.
I think most people would rather see a renovation, as it would hearken back to Mean Streaks past, as well as use part of the already existing structure. Removing it would mean a blank slate- a large plot of land to be used for Frontiertown and future attractions. But truthfully, we won't really know what's going on until an announcement is made.
Until then, all we can do is wait. Mean Streak has given its last rides, and has been buried in Cedar Points very own Cemetery, where it will join other past rides, like Mantis and Disaster Transport.
For those interested, I've attached below a sort of 'tribute' video to Mean Streak, featuring footage on its last day in operation, as well as the following day. We also get to hear from some enthusiasts on what they'd like to see replace it. If you have a few minutes to spare, I assure you, it's worth your time.
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