Roller coasters are the backbone of many amusement parks, and the Cedar Point Iron Dragon adds unique flair and a graceful ride to this park's central lagoon.
About the Iron Dragon
The creation of the Arrow Dynamics roller coaster manufacturer, the Iron Dragon first opened in 1987. In 20 years at Cedar Point amusement park it has thrilled more than 34 million riders along its 2,800 foot track. The coaster's unique suspended design - a roller coaster style that is growing rarer each year as parks demolish older rides - provides a swooping, swinging ride with quick dips and luxurious curves in the center of the park's peninsula.
The Iron Dragon rises to an initial height 76 feet above the ground, while its second lift system halfway through the ride raises the trains to 62 feet. The ride reaches 40 miles per hour and lasts just over two-and-a-half minutes, during which time riders are treated to a close up view of the neighboring Mantis stand up roller coaster. The second half of the ride is the most exciting, as the trains dip perilously close to the park's lagoon, swooping in an intricate pretzel knot pattern that weaves around both supports and other sections of the track. In that final section, riders also weave around classic fountains and through billowing clouds of fog, adding even more excitement to the thrilling finale.
Because many amusement park guests are unfamiliar with the suspended roller coaster design that the Cedar Point Iron Dragon has, they may at first be hesitant to ride the unusual coaster. Younger riders, in particular, may be nervous when they see the coaster cars swing beneath the track, and they may need reassurance that the ride does not have any inversions or loops. Riders who enjoy waterslides, wave swingers, and other rides with similar motion will also enjoy the Iron Dragon's unique swooping flight.
Cedar Point: Iron Dragon Riding Tips
The key to a great flight on the Iron Dragon is knowing how to properly ride the coaster. The ride normally runs three trains simultaneously with seven cars each; the front car offers an unparalleled view of the drops and curves, while the rear car offers more intense swinging motion. Riders must be 42 inches tall to ride the coaster, making it a great option for novice riders. The coaster does not have seat belts, but rather personal over-the-shoulder restraints with silver grab bars keep riders secure.
Take Along Items
Riders can take small items - games prizes, backpacks, etc. - on the ride with them. The enclosed cars have ample leg room to store small items (no glass is permitted), particularly in the front of each car. Backpacks cannot be worn during the ride - they must be stored on the floor of the car. Expensive electronics are not permitted on the ride unless stored securely in a padded case.
Iron Dragon Closures
The Iron Dragon is one of the few rides that close for the nightly 10 p.m. laser light show; the coaster stops admitting riders as early as an hour before show time to ensure that everyone can ride before the show begins. On days when the park is open later than 10 p.m., the coaster will reopen a few minutes after the show once the pyrotechnics officials have certified its safety (several fireworks launchers are located near the coaster).
The Iron Dragon, like all steel coasters, also closes in case of inclement weather, and it may close in heavy rain even without lightning because the covers that protect riders from metal shavings and grease from the overhead track may fill with water and need to be emptied.
Best Time to Ride
The best time to ride the Iron Dragon is early or late in the day when many riders are queuing up for the park's larger rides. Many times, riders may find no line at all, allowing them to pick and choose exactly where they would like to ride with a minimal wait.
Behind the Scenes of the Iron Dragon
As one of the park's older roller coasters, the Cedar Point Iron Dragon has a rich history of pleasing riders. The coaster was initially a crimson red track with tan support columns, but for the 2004 season its fading paint job was refreshed with a brilliant red and gold color scheme. Because the coaster twists through the trees in the center of the park, it offers a relatively isolated and peaceful ride experience, unlike other coasters that are adjacent to crowds along their entire length.
One complaint that many riders have about the Iron Dragon, however, is that its shock absorbers can be rough when it reenters the station at the end of a cycle. Riders need to understand that those shocks are computer controlled and that the ride operators cannot make the ride smoother - the air pressure simply needs to equalize.
The Cedar Point Iron Dragon is a classic feature of the park and a favorite ride for both beginning and experienced riders. With an elegant flight path and unique character, the Iron Dragon is a great ride to enjoy on any summer's day.