Winter Chill Out is an event held on the third Saturday of February each year at Cedar Point!
The event gives guests the opportunity to see the park in the winter and look at the construction happenings. Lunch, a gift, and a presentation with park employees including a Q&A are also included with the tour.
All tickets were $50 dollars and were sold at the end of November last year. They sold out in around a week. The event benefits A Kid Again, an organization providing vacations and trips for families with children who have life-threatening conditions. The park this year raised over $60,000 for the organization. All ticket sales benefit the organization.
I got up early and got everything ready for the park. Once I arrived at the park (just on-time) I got a lanyard, map and brochure, and hat (the gift for the ticket donation).
Once inside the park, I got a few photos and videos of the front of the park. That included the midway and specific rides, plus media of Hugo’s Italian Kitchen’s construction.
I skipped the presentation at the Jack Aldrich Theatre because I knew that the new 2019 information would be discussed during the presentation. I ended up being right.
I stopped at Tour Stop #5. There, guests were able to see the Park Services Warehouse behind Chickie’s and Pete’s. The park has its truck that is purposed to powerwash the midways. In addition, they also have a small machine that looks kind of like a vacuum. It is used to scrape up gum from the park’s midway. Cleaning materials plus other things that the park needs is stored in this building. The Pirate Ride used to be housed in the building and you can still see the track marks on the floor.
I then took more photos and videos near Blue Streak and in that general area of the park.
I went to Melt Bar & Grilled to get hot chocolate and to warm up. At this point in the day, hands were very cold without gloves. Later in the day, you did not need them.
After, I went to Tour Stop #2 which was the Coliseum Ballroom Costume Shop. In this building and small shop, the park drafts costume designs and make them. The park employee in the shop told us about the process of planning a new show. The park usually knows a year in advance if they are getting a new show. Once the theme is determined, by corporate or by the park (sometimes the park gets to decide, sometimes not), they draft ideas for costumes. The employee passed around papers of images and fabric that were drafted during planning for a show. Once the costumes are finally made, they are fitted onto the actors to make sure they look and fit right. Changes are made to make sure it is right for the show. Once all individual actors are fitted with the costumes, they perform the show with other Live Entertainment employees. It includes the Sound and Light Director, Producer, and other important people part of the show. Changes are made to lights, sound, positions of objects, and costumes to better capture the intended feel of the show.
I took lots of photos and videos in Planet Snoopy and near GateKeeper and WindSeeker.
Then, I went to Tour Stop #7 which was Linen Services. In this building, all laundry is processed for Quaker Steak & Lube, Castaway Bay, and everywhere on the Cedar Point property. I got to see the large laundry machines used to process hundreds of pounds of laundry. The park has a computer system to send chemicals to the proper machines when they are needed. There are different machines to do just about everything – wash, dry, iron, and folding clothes, towels, or sheets. It is quite an impressive building!
I got photos and videos near Corkscrew and Power Tower of the midway.
Next, I went to the presentation. At the presentation, everyone learned a lot of things about the 2019 season and beyond. In addition, Q&A was held to answer questions. This is what I learned:
- Hugo’s Italian Kitchen: New for the 2019 season, will replace Midway Market. It will feature fresh pizzas, hand-crafted pasta, and other Italian food. It is named after H. John Hildebrandt, the former general manager of Cedar Point.
- BackBeatQue: This restaurant will be located next to Magnum where Witches’ Wheel was located. It will feature all different kinds of food with barbecue. There will be no indoor seating, it will all be outside the restaurant. There will be Live Entertainment outside the restaurant.
- Steel Vengeance: Steel Vengeance is currently undergoing some normal maintenance around the ride to keep it in the proper condition. In addition, it will receive pouches on the trains to put cell phones in. Guests will no longer have to purchase a locker. They also revealed during the Q&A session that the reason they did not allow phones anymore was because of how many were lost. In the beginning months of the coaster, 30 phones were lost per day. That was more than any ride in the park combined.
- Food: During the Q&A, the park said they are trying to improve the overall guest experience. The park will release more gluten-free, vegan, and other options to better suit the needs of guests.
- Themed Areas: During the Q&A session, the park said that since FrontierTown’s upgrade and Forbidden Frontier (expected to do very well) are benefiting the park, they will start theming different areas of the park to make them unique.
- Paddlewheel Excursions: Someone asked if it would be returning. The park said it would not.
- Logo: The park is introducing a new logo for its 150th Anniversary. It will appear all over the park and will be released at the end of this year.
- Merchandise: The park is selling new merchandise this year with the Forbidden Frontier logo and Frontier Festival apparel.
- Frontier Festival: This will replace Brew and BBQ and will better fit family needs. Crafts, activities, food, and live entertainment will craft the event and better make it unique for FrontierTown (guests will be able to tell a festival is happening).
- Forbidden Frontier on Adventure Island: Forbidden Frontier will be opening this year. The park showed us renderings of the new area. Food, activities, and unique experiences will make up the most themed area in the park. A bridge will connect the water and the entrance will be near the Shoot the Rapids building still left standing.
Once the presentation concluded, lunch was served in the Lakeside Dining Room.
It included vegetables, chicken breasts, salad, chili, mac-and-cheese, brownies, cookies, and soft drinks.
Once I finished lunch, I moved on to the other tour stops in the park.
I went to Tour Stop #8 which is the Cedar Point Maintenance Shop. That is where some of the coasters are tested and repaired to prepare for the upcoming season. I got to look around (I had already been in the building before) and see a demonstration of ride sensors and computer systems.
I then went to Tour Stop #9 which was in Breakers East Conference Center. There, merchandise could be purchased for the upcoming season. Always Cedar Point, John Hildebrandt’s book, could be purchased. He was there signing copies of his book.
I got my copy of the book signed. I had already finished it before the event. He said that it took him 2 years to write it, with breaks in between. He mainly wrote most of it during the winter of 2017 and 2018.
I passed Top Thrill Dragster and that general area, getting media along the way.
After that, I took photos and videos around the midways of the park. I walked near BackBeatBBQ, the park’s new restaurant. I got media of it and surrounding attractions/sights.
My final location was Tour Stop #10 which is the Cedar Point Sign Shop. In this location, signs are crafted and designed. Props for HalloWeekends and for the park are stored and created. I had already been in the building but new signs appeared since then. I got media inside the building and everything got to take a small card. On the cards were posters of rides but the name was changed as a joke.
I then walked into FrontierTown for media and then to the Frontier Trail to get more.
I stopped in numerous locations in the park to get more photos and videos before I left the park.
Once I left the park, I headed to the Cedar Point Amazement Shop where maintenance is done on other coasters. That includes Steel Vengeance, Raptor, Cedar Creek Mine Ride, Corkscrew, Iron Dragon, Magnum XL-200, Woodstock Express, and Wilderness Run. Other coasters from the same companies were already finished.
It was cool to get to see the shop that is only used during the Winter. Once the park opens for the season, it is not used. All maintenance happens in the location that is inside the park.
The park purchased the building around 4 years ago, and it was an abandoned car dealership.
That concludes my day at Cedar Point for the Winter Chill Out event. I had an amazing time.
The only other location I did not see was Tour Stop #6 which is the Engine House where the park’s trains are kept to complete maintenance. I had already seen the building and did not have time to see this location.
As for thoughts of the event, I really liked the self-guided tour. It made it more unique. It allowed for more opportunities which would not have worked with a large group.
Final Score: 10/10
I really enjoyed the event this year and I highly recommend it. I hope the park keeps the self-guided tour option next year.