CP or Bust: Trip Planning Advice Needed

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CP or Bust: Trip Planning Advice Needed

Postby boldikus » Mon Jan 19, 2015 8:37 am

So if you've ever followed my park/coaster blog (link in signature) you'll know my bro-in-law and I are both thrill junkies and now that its 2015 we're starting to plan out some trips for this year. Both of us have been to Hershey but not together and he has not been since Skyrush opened and I need to get him on that (like me, he is a big Intamin fan).

Also, neither of us have done Cedar Point. (*audible gasps*) Yeah, I know. So its a must. While I'd like to get to SFNE or SFMM for the two new RMCs sometime this year, part of me wants to wait for the hype to die a little before we attempt that. So Cedar Point is our goal, and if we're doing Hershey, we are thinking why not throw Kennywood in the mix since it's right along the way, seems kinda low key, but has a pretty decent line-up, imo (hello Phantoms Revenge!) and we can make it a three-park-stop road trip.

Anyway! Here are some options we are exploring and I'd like some advice and opinions. We are looking at doing this either Memorial Day Weekend (May 21st-25th) OR the weekend after (May 28th-June 1st). Nothing is set in stone, nothing booked, this is all very early planning but here's our potential plan of attack:

THURSDAY - Leave Philly @ 8am, get to Hersheypark @10am for opening (2 hr drive w/ no traffic), and enjoy all day Thursday since we both agree its an all-day park. Stay the night in Hershey - likely not on site since it'll be way cheaper at a budget motel and we just want somewhere to sleep before the long drive to CP and stopping at Kennywood the next day.

FRIDAY - up early, check out, drive to Kennywood (3 hr drive) to get there by opening @ 11am and enjoy the park til late afternoon/evening. For us will more or less be credit stop. We do like unique flats, but mostly just want to do the coasters. Am I underestimating that we can do this in an afternoon on a Friday? Since we're only leaving ourselves 6-7 hours here, will potential rain kill this day completely? We'd leave Kennywood by 6pm latest, and head off to Cedar Point to arrive by Friday night (another 3 hr drive), and our hope is to stay on site - since we can walk right over to the park - hopefully get the early morning/late night ERTs. etc etc.

SAT/SUN - Enjoy the hell out of Cedar Point.

MONDAY - Check out and drive the 7 hours back to Philly.

So my questions are:

- Memorial Day weekend at Cedar Point. Even with Fast Lane, is this completely moronic to attempt? Will we need to book a room to stay on site right away? Do they typically sell out for big holiday weekends? Are we idiots to not absolutely consider doing this the weekend AFTER Memorial Day?

- Kennywood's rain/weather policies?

- Suggestions on hotels near Hershey NOT on site? Same with CP - we'd like to stay on site there but other close/cheap options are nice.

Any other trip related advice/suggestions more than welcome. You guys, imo, are the experts at this and I know certain board members did very similar trips to this last year.

Sidenote: We ABSOLUTELY will be budgeting in skip-the-line/flash/fast lane passes at every park so we're not so concerned about that or the ability to do everything in a certain time. I refuse to travel to somewhere other than my home park and wait in lines all day. We want two full days at Cedar Point due to the fact that neither of us have been, there's obviously so much to do (and re-ride what we like) and also their weather/rain policies. Thanks and any help and advice is appreciated, TPR folks!

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Re: CP or Bust: Trip Planning Advice Needed

Postby coasterbill » Mon Jan 19, 2015 8:49 am

You'll be fine going to Cedar Point on Memorial Day weekend. We go on Labor Day weekend every year and don't even get Fastlane (though we go for 3 days). If you go for 2 days and get Fastlane Plus then you're golden. Do you have a Platinum Pass? If so make sure you take advantage of early entry at 9AM. If you don't have this then I'd suggest staying on-site.

You can get a good hotel in Sandusky - Milan for basically nothing so we never stay at the Cedar Point hotels. I'm sure it would be awesome but if you stay back by I-80 you're 15 minutes from the park in a decent hotel for $50 or $60 bucks (in most places I would never go to a hotel room that's 50 or 60 bucks but in that part of Ohio hotel rates are really low for some reason). It's also a safe bet that all you'll want to do is go to the hotel and crash so I wouldn't bother on a hotel room with a lake view that you'll never get to look at because you'll be running around the park. That's just me though... that's all about your personal preference.

I've never been to Kennywood so I can't be any help there but it seems like you're all set to have a great time at Cedar Point. Enjoy!

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Re: CP or Bust: Trip Planning Advice Needed

Postby Brassinthegrass » Mon Jan 19, 2015 8:50 am

Definitely go the next weekend after memorial day! I did that last year and it was a great time.

If I could suggest one change, I would drive to Kennywood at night in the same day you're at Hersheypark, then you can sleep in a little bit in the morning, because you know you're going to be up late at night anyway. This is the way my cousin and I do it when we do trips, and it works out quite well to wake up, go to breakfast at Perkins, and hit the park with minimal driving in the morning

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Re: CP or Bust: Trip Planning Advice Needed

Postby coasterchitchat » Mon Jan 19, 2015 9:00 am

Here's my advice for Cedar Point:

1) Go May 28th- June 1st. The park is less crowded then.
2) When going on Maverick , do NOT even think about going in the Fast Lane Plus line. The ride has horrible capacity and even the FL gives you 45 mins lines.
3) If you want a good alternative to Hotel Breakers, try Lighthouse Point. For my suggested dates, it's only going to be $438 for the cheapest option. It seems pricey, but you get WiFi, basic needs, ERT, a 2 day ticket with waterpark (call to ask what the dry park price is for a cabin).


I have no answers to Kennywood or Hershey, but enjoy my home park! PM/email me if your need any other advice.
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Re: CP or Bust: Trip Planning Advice Needed

Postby boldikus » Mon Jan 19, 2015 9:03 am

Brassinthegrass wrote:Definitely go the next weekend after memorial day! I did that last year and it was a great time.

If I could suggest one change, I would drive to Kennywood at night in the same day you're at Hersheypark, then you can sleep in a little bit in the morning, because you know you're going to be up late at night anyway. This is the way my cousin and I do it when we do trips, and it works out quite well to wake up, go to breakfast at Perkins, and hit the park with minimal driving in the morning


Personally I am thinking the weekend after might be a better option because 1. everyone just took a vacation the weekend before and 2. hotels will be cheaper and parks generally less crowded. Both assumptions on my part, so correct me if this is not usually the case.

As far as driving night vs morning, we just figured since Kennywood seems like the shortest amount of time we'd need at the three parks we are going to hit, we could squeeze the driving in both in the morning and evening on Friday and not have to worry about travel at all on Thursday and just enjoy Hershey and crash right after, and then on Saturday morning we are already @ CP so we can just get up, eat, and go riding.

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Re: CP or Bust: Trip Planning Advice Needed

Postby boldikus » Mon Jan 19, 2015 9:17 am

sorry for the double post

coasterbill wrote:You'll be fine going to Cedar Point on Memorial Day weekend. We go on Labor Day weekend every year and don't even get Fastlane (though we go for 3 days). If you go for 2 days and get Fastlane Plus then you're golden. Do you have a Platinum Pass? If so make sure you take advantage of early entry at 9AM. If you don't have this then I'd suggest staying on-site.


We do not have CF passes at all, we both have 6F season passes but obviously will do us no good on this trip lol. The only other CF park I plan on visiting is Dorney and thats close (aka spontaneous) and cheap (if we buy online). We are thinking of doing Coasting For Kids @ Dorney so that might just be our one day there this year which, if I understand, will work out to be essentially free for us if we manage to raise the funds from friends/family/etc.

So, if we have no CF passes and decide to stay on site, just so I understand this, we do get early access to the park because we are staying on site, correct? And I guess depending on a room package we can get park admission included for the two days? We would get FastLane just because, but I don't see any other season to get a season pass since this and Dorney will be the only times we'd use it all year.

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Re: CP or Bust: Trip Planning Advice Needed

Postby coasterbill » Mon Jan 19, 2015 9:25 am

If you don't have a Platinum Pass then I highly suggest staying on-site. Early entry is awesome... you get in at 9am and the lines are all 15 minutes or less. They'll usually have Gatekeeper, Raptor, Millennium Force, Maverick and Iron Dragon open (and some flats) but basically as the hour goes on more and more rides start opening so the list of rides usually ends up being larger and I expect Rougarou to be added as well. Don't waste your time with Dragster though... this never seems to open early. Even with Fastlane, take advantage of early entry (and if you enter from the resort gate don't be worried about the enormous line for early entry... they chew through that line in 5 minutes tops).

There are a lot of tips like "start at the back first and don't ride Raptor or Gatekeeper in the morning" that I'd normally give you but with Fastlane plus you can do whatever you damn well please. I guess my only general park tips are

1) Sit in the front of Dragster even though the line is long. Unlike Kingda Ka this ride is good everywhere but the front is the best by a wide margin.
2) Sit in the front of Raptor because it will only add like 1 or 2 trains to your wait and it's awesome.
3) Front seat left wing on Gatekeeper is the best. If you ride this ride and find it "rough" then ride it again in the front and you won't have a problem.
4) The train and the Sky Ride are your friends because this park is huge and by the end of day 2 you'll be pretty exhausted. Sky Ride chews through the line in no time because they run a million cars so don't worry about the line being all the way down the ramp.
Last edited by coasterbill on Mon Jan 19, 2015 9:32 am.

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Re: CP or Bust: Trip Planning Advice Needed

Postby coasterchitchat » Mon Jan 19, 2015 9:28 am

boldikus wrote:
So, if we have no CF passes and decide to stay on site, just so I understand this, we do get early access to the park because we are staying on site, correct? And I guess depending on a room package we can get park admission included for the two days? We would get FastLane just because, but I don't see any other season to get a season pass since this and Dorney will be the only times we'd use it all year.


Yes, if you stay onsite, you get early entry. Room packages do include tickets for two days with water park included. However, if you call and ask for no water park ticket package, you can save some money as the water park is not worth visiting.
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Re: CP or Bust: Trip Planning Advice Needed

Postby boldikus » Mon Jan 19, 2015 9:31 am

^ ^ Good to know as we are not huge water park folks.

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Re: CP or Bust: Trip Planning Advice Needed

Postby GwaziBSRider1 » Mon Jan 19, 2015 10:04 am

Kennywood Advice:

-First thing's first: the park opens at 10:30 AM, and the rides open at 11! There WILL be a crowd starting to form at 10:15 to enter the park, and almost everyone will head to Sky Rocket.
-You absolutely CAN do this park on a Friday morning/afternoon. The do have a "fast lane" system called "VIP Coaster Tour," but I have no idea how much it costs or how it works.
-Their weather policy is incredibly bizarre and very inconsistent. It used to be extremely lax, but it has tightened significantly in recent years. I would keep an eye on the weather before making the visit. If the forecast says heavy rain all day, I'd pass. Kennywood has been known to close the entire park because of bad weather.
-Hotel options around the park are VERY slim. The closest hotels are in Downtown Pittsburgh. Luckily, following your original plan will negate this.
-Buy your tickets at a Giant Eagle supermarket location. There's one less than a block from the parking lot entrance. Just go up to the desk where they sell the lottery tickets. They rarely ever run out of tickets, and the savings is usually about $20-25/ticket.
-Don't miss all of the historic rides! Kangaroo, Auto Race, and Noah's Ark are all the last of their kind in the world. Whip, Turtle, and Garfield's Nightmare are some of the last of their kind as well.
-Capacity on most rides are TERRIBLE. A few examples: Phantom rarely ever runs more than one train, Ghostwood Estate has a pre-show, and Noah's Ark can only handle so many people inside at a time. The woodies and Sky Rocket usually all run two trains, but Thunderbolt sometimes runs one as well.
-Rides that will build the largest/slowest lines: All dark rides, all water rides, Exterminator, Racer, Jack Rabbit, Turtle, Paratrooper, Kangaroo, and Auto Race.
-Don't miss the Potato Patch! They have some of the best fries you will ever get at a park. It WILL have a large line at lunch time, but it is very much worth the wait. All of the other food is mostly mediocre.

Tips to avoid the crowds:
-If arriving before/at 10:30 opening: Line up as close as security will let you to the gate before opening. Dart right to the booth and quickly make your way to Sky Rocket (you can't miss it, it's immediately to the right as you exit the tunnel). Then, head left out of the exit, past the Gran Prix and go right to the Phantom. Make a right out of the exit and go ride Exterminator. Get your fill of the Phantom until Noon and walk through Noah's Ark. Go to Turtle and continue around the park riding Thunderbolt, Ghostwood Estate, Auto Race, etc. in that direction until circling back to Sky Rocket.
-If arriving for 11:00 ride opening: Ignore Sky Rocket for now and go to Phantom or Exterminator instead. Follow the other guide (you may have to ride a few other rides before Noah's Ark opens at Noon).

I know this is a lot of information to digest, but I hope it helps!
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