Breaking this down in a few segments:
Cedar Point has multiple hotels on site with the most preferred being Hotel Breakers. This historic hotel's beach is the site for the swim start and perfect for families as well as it is nestled right inside the park. The hotel has many different type of room options and with the "different types" comes definitive layers of comfort. I have always chosen to stay in the Bon Air Section of the hotel. The three story "historic area" that had to be retrofitted for modern day electricity and doesn't have elevators. Here is my review on Trip Advisor. I personally don't mind staying in this area... for approx ~$100/night, the hotel meets all my needs and keeps me close to the action for the tri and close to the park for my family. The hotel also has an archade, free cheap coffee in the morning and an indoor pool plus 3 restaurants. Book early BUT know they have a one night cancellation penalty if you need to cancel.
If you want nicer accommodations for a cheaper price, you can check out the other hotels. My parents have stayed at Breakers Express which is like a Holiday Inn right by the front entrance of the park. This requires you to drive into the park (therefore paying if you don't have an athlete wristband) but the rooms are newer and nicer. This year, Breakers Express would have been the same as Breakers due to the changed swim but normally, the convenience of Breakers Hotel makes it worth staying there.
I have been going to Cedar Point since I was a little girl. And growing up in Ohio, one of my fondest HS memories was skipping the monday after prom to go to Cedar Point. Sorry, i digress. Anyways, for the athletes doing the full or half that want to get some time in the park, i strongly recommend coming in Friday night in time to do the evening on the rides. Each year, it is notably slower that evening with limited to no lines for all the rides. The sun also is setting or down by the time you are in the park which is great b/c you are not schleeping around in the heat.
|GateKeeper wait Friday night (less than 5 minutes), it was almost an hour on Saturday|
|If you wear compression socks in the park, you won't be the only one which will decrease funny looks from non-triathletes|
LAST MINUTE RACE PREP
Make sure you hit up the swim practice. Great to practice the course and they have a swim clinic in the morning too. Also remember to give yourself plenty of time to rack your bike and see the pre-race meeting. If you need anything race specific that you can't get at the expo, there is a Dicks Sporting Goods and Target
(in same complex) about 10 minute away: 4020 Milan Rd, Sandusky, OH 44870
FOOD OPTIONS AT CEDAR POINT
There are plenty of restaurants on site and 3 inside Hotel Breakers and a gazillon snack stands around the park. TGI Fridays has been a staple every time we have visited b/c it is on site and I love the grilled chicken salad they have. Perkins and Tomo are also inside breakers and great options. Definitely recommend bringing water, gatorade and snacks with you and keeping in room. This saves you money and all the family can bring them into the park if they want. Word of the wise: Subway (right next to Breakers) is a traditional subway but VERY expensive. In fact, we have gone there twice and both times the sandwich artist said "now you know a 6 inch will cost you xx dollars" can't remember the exact amount but that statement is a good indication that don't do $5 subs. in fact, i do remember thinking about ordering a salad and she said it would have been 13 bucks...yikes!
Main places to consider if you want to stay on site: Perkins, TGIF, Tomo, Midway Market and Famous Daves. For those that have Dietary Restrictions, it does appear like Cedar Point will try to work with you and makes recommendations for specific foods meeting specific requirements.
also **if you want to drive off the island, there are a dozens of restaurants on Milan Rd**
As i have never been a spectator, i am going off of what my family has told me and what I have seen on the race course. Regardless of the location (planned or back up swim), there are great views of the swim start where you can get right up in the action. The planned start is on the beach so shorter people might struggle seeing if you aren't right at the plastic gated area but you can always go a bit farther out (i.e. like 10 feet) and see them enter the water from an angle. After you see your loved one make their way out, you can either start walking over towards transition or stay in that area if they are doing the full and want to try to get a glimpse of your athlete making the first lap. (My parents tried to do this in 2011 but as everyone looks the same, the return on your investment of waiting might not be worth it as it is a lot of staring down people in similar looking wetsuits and your loved one probably won't even know you were watching. Also, they don't run up on shore so you will be trying to spot them about 50 feet away)
Once you make your way over to transition (approx a .8 mile walk on the beach), you can either stand right by the bikes or near the finisher chute. My family stayed on the beach and then traveled up to the bikes as i was exiting the water.
Bike Course- if you look at the course map, there are plenty of places you will be able to find to pull over and stop to cheer at. I have always considered the people that track their athletes on the bike super dedicated and pretty awesome. So, if you want to be in this "awesome" category, consider taking a ride and trying to spot your loved one! Two main cheering spots i saw on the half were two rest stops: the rest stop around mile 10ish and the other in a little downtown area. (not sure if you can really call it is downtown but it is one of the last rest stops before going back to transition for the half.
Run Course- Again, the run course is laid out so you are able to see your loved ones pretty easy. the course runs through the "downtown" area and lots of zigzags out and back so you should have no problem parking and then viewing your athlete. I personally saw one family (with distinct signs) 8 times during the bike/run. I told them as i was about to head back over the bridge toward the finish that they should win super fans for the day.
Finish Line- Unlike many other races, REV3 encourages athletes to run across with the families/support team as it really takes a village. Make sure you are there at least 30 minutes earlier than your athlete. i know that feels like a long time to stand around and wait anxiously but better than missing them. There will be music and a lot of energy at the finish and you will also be able to cheer on others on their way to the chute.
So, thats it... my Cedar Point wisdom... hope it helps! Happy Training/Happy Racing!