The tripadvisor website has come out with its ranking of the best amusement parks in the world. Universal Studios Islands of Adventure — a park that the kids and I hit multiple times back in the ’90s, a few decades and no doubt a number of new attractions ago — got the number 1 ranking, and the Disney parks, both in the United States and abroad, fared well.
But as I scanned the list, I couldn’t help but notice an obvious omission: Cedar Point, on the north coast of Ohio. It’s not only not in the top 10, it’s not in the list of the top 25 parks in the world at all. To find Cedar Point, you have to go to the ranking of parks just in the United States and click down to find “the Point” coming in at number 18. It ranks behind parks I’ve never heard of, like “Santa’s Village” in Jefferson, New Hampshire, “Knoebels Amusement Resort” in Elysburg, Pennsylvania, and “Bay Beach Amusement Park” in Green Bay, Wisconsin — none of which look all that exciting, frankly, from the photos that accompany the rankings.
For most amusement park aficionados, and particularly roller coaster buffs, Cedar Point is one of the premier destinations in the world. In fact, some people say it’s got the best collection of roller coasters and other thrill rides, anywhere. If you go to Cedar Point on a fine, blue-sky summer day — and if you love coasters, it’s basically a requirement — you’ll see cars and RVs from across the country in the parking lot and hear every kind of language being spoken by visitors. And many of those visitors will come back, year after year. Can “Santa’s Village” say the same?
It all goes to show you that you should take rankings with a grain of salt, and exercise your own judgment based on your own interests. Want to hang with elves? “Santa’s Village” no doubt is right up your alley. Want to experience the “It’s a Small World After All” ride until the annoying theme song is permanently seared into your brain? Go the Disney route. But if you want to go somewhere where there are great roller coasters, old and new, at every turn, and get your adrenaline supercharged as you rush along at 60 m.p.h. and do loops and circles and deal with serious g forces? That’s where I’d go, and that means getting to the Point.