Hello everyone and welcome!
I thought I'd make the effort to write a trip report for our recent vacation driving around the Northeastern States visiting parks that I'd first found out about by watching a VHS some of you probably remember on here called "Coaster Expedition Volume 1" waaaay back when.
Along with my very patient and long suffering girlfriend Hanna (who's from Finland hence Finglish in the title), we finally made it and had a blast at all but one of the parks. Just a little background, we've been to Florida twice and the LA/Vegas area in the past 5 years so we've done the parks and rides that most tourists would visit. This was our first trip out of "la la land" and into the real USA so to speak.
Our ambitious itinerary:
June 9th - Arrive NYC
June 10th - NYC/Coney Island
June 11th - Dorney Park/Hershey Park
June 12th - Knoebels
June 13th - Niagara Falls/Presque Isle State Park/Waldameer
June 14th - Cedar Point
June 15th - Kennywood
June 16th - Washington D.C.
June 17th - Kings Dominion
June 18th - Busch Gardens Williamsburg
June 19th - Six Flags America
June 20th - Six Flags Great Adventure
June 21st - Six Flags Great Adventure/Depart
Some of you may be thinking how the heck did you do that all? I know, it was a bit nuts but we generally didn't have to drive more than 3 1/2 hours at a time, hotels were prebooked in strategic locations and I just spent a lot of time planning and researching online which I happen to really enjoy, sad maybe but true. Hanna started to get a little fed up with having to change hotel all the time but midway through the holiday I think we just got used to it. It also gave us the chance to try out several hotel chains for future visits.
There were some parks where we would have liked a second day, and luckily we managed a second visit to SFGAdv before our flight home. The Six Flags season pass has to be the biggest bargain ever, if only the Cedar Fair pass was as cheap.
Final point before I get on with the TR, this was an AWESOME time to visit. Sure, there were some school groups, but apart from our day at Cedar Point (which in all honesty wasn't that busy, I just think it's one of those parks that will always draw a crowd because of it's fame), I can't recall having to queue more than 15 mins on average at the parks we visited. There were some exceptions but I couldn't believe our luck. Minimal queues, late openings and no closures through the week, perfect.
It'll take me a while to write up each day, partly because I have to somehow remember what we did. One of the side effects of such an ambitious trip! I'll try to keep them to the point as much as possible. Apologies for the often poor quality of the pictures, they're taken from shaky video footage shot by yours truly.
Day 1 - Arrival and NYC
"Good morning ladies and gentlemen and welcome to this Continental flight to....uh....United flight to Newark".
The cabin crew still think this is Continental. It is a little confusing, let's keep our old color scheme but take the United name. To be honest the food was better when it was Continental, but the IFE is still the same and extensive. Gimme United over Virgin Atlantic any day! Enjoyed Chronicle and Star Trek along with some Family Guy.
Flight arrived on time, minimal queue at immigration but having been to the States 3 times now in the space of a year, they stare at us with deep suspicion. Awkward pause..........stamp stamp. Bags, hire car and off we go!
Stopped at Target for out usual bits and bobs before checking into the Candlewood Suites Jersey City, a great location to be close enough for easy access via PATH to Manhattan but far enough to actually get a decent nights sleep. Newport felt a lot like Canary Wharf here in London, a modern 2nd financial district removed from the madness. This hotel was 2/3 of the price of anything we could get across the water and with free parking I couldn't complain. I don't think driving into Manhattan and finding a place to park would have been the most relaxing start to the holiday.
I know you've all been to NYC already so I'm not going to go on and on and on and on about the places we visited. After we checked in, caught the PATH train up to 23rd Street for Shake Shack at Madison Square Park. Unfortunately not only was it a Saturday afternoon but there was some uber-crazy BBQ festival on so no juicy burgers for us right now.
We walked north and checked out Grand Central Station, didn't find Bruce Willis in a cloak so headed west to Times Square. Visiting Times Square makes me realise why I see so many dissapointed faces at Piccadilly Circus everyday.
Day 2 - NYC/Coney Island
Had a much needed good nights rest after the craziness of Times Square. The only issue coming from the UK is waking up ridiculously early. After some early morning TV and repetitious warnings informing us of the crowds expected for the Puerto Rican Day Parade we headed out to the PATH train for our trip up the Empire State.
Off to Coney Island we go, via the D train I think it was. A reasonably long ride through some interesting neighborhoods.
We enjoyed Coney Island. We weren't there to do all the rides, nothing really caught my attention. I think the travel fatigue was setting in again and I regret not going on the Wonder Wheel. The main thing I went there for was the Cyclone and I really enjoyed it. The re-tracking has probably helped it out a bit as I didn't find it too bad, sat in the back of the front car. Entry is a little steep but it's a thrilling ride which is always a pleasant surprise for a coaster this old.
We continued walking along the boardwalk and all of a sudden I noticed something a little strange, I wasn't sure if it was the travel fatigue setting in but of all of a sudden we found ourselves in RUSSIA BY THE BEACH?
After Coney Island we headed back on the tube/metro/subway to Brooklyn Bridge and made the epic walk across. Okay it wasn't too epic but it was flippin' hot so exhaustion set in and marathon/spare battery mode took over.
After our tiring walk across THAT bridge, plus a wonderful refreshing meal of cow and cocaine juice at Shake Shack (which I'd rate higher than In-N-Out and Five Guys but a little under my unpopular favorite Fuddruckers) we made our way, zombie-like, to the free tourist ferry for cheapskates like us, the Staten Island Ferry!
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