millennium_forceEarlier this week, I spent my day diving 310 feet at 93 miles per hour inclined at 82 degrees, virtually a high speed game of chicken with the ground.


Well, it really wasn’t a game of chicken.  I was on the Millenium Force, the world’s fastest rollercoaster ride, at Cedar Pointin Ohio and while my brain thought I was going to go headfirst into the ground, the track–thankfully–was there to pull me out.  If you’ve never heard of Cedar Point, then I can explain it in a short sentence: it’s the Mecca of Rollercoasters.  If you like rollercoasters, there is no need to go anywhere else.  Hallelujah, and praise the Adrenaline of Physics!

Which leads me to the inspiration for this AR app–the Amusement Park Helper.  Products are solutions for problems and in this case, my problem was two-fold.  The first is, while this was my third trip to Cedar Point, I didn’t always know the best route to the next rollercoaster.  A simple overhead map that I could tap showing my desired destination and also the camera could lead me the way using landmarks would be helpful.  A walking time would also help me plan the next location. 

The second problem is the length of the line.  The best coasters (Millenium Force, Magnum, Maverick, Raptor and the Top Thrill “OMG” Dragster) often have long lines.  To maximize the number of rides, it would have been handy to know the line length and current status of any of the rides in the park.  We often didn’t bother with the Maverick because it was in the back of the park and we didn’t want to walk fifteen minutes to find out it was a two hour wait. 

There are a lot of other features the APM could have: track the rides you’ve taken, number of feet you’ve travelled on coasters, interesting facts about the rides, number of feet walked during the day and the nearest bathroom for when a seagull unloads a dive bomb on you (yes, it did happen, thankfully at the end of the day when we were leaving). 

If Layar, Wikitude, SREngine or Nokia’s “Point and Find” were looking for locations with lots of high density usage points to make their apps shine, I would pick the Cedar Point amusement park.  They have huge customer base and plenty of reasons to be accessing the smartphone during the trip due to hours of waiting in lines (well worth it though). 

And for the fellow rollercoaster enthusisits out there, when you visit Cedar Point, take a ride on the Top Thrill Dragster.  I promise you going 120 mph in less than four seconds is worth the wait. 

Just don’t eat before you get on.


Thomas K. Carpenter

Thomas K. Carpenter is a full time contemporary fantasy author with over 50 independently published titles. His bestselling, multi-series universe, The Hundred Halls, has over 25 books and counting. His stories focus on fantastic families, magical academies, and epic adventures.

  • You should try the Cedar Point Ride Watch App! It gives you real time status updates of ride times. I used it last Sun (8/1/10) and it was really accurate. We never waited more than 1 hour for any rides and rode Dragster, Raptor, and Maverick with about a 30 min wait or less on each. You usually can never find these less than an hour.

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