East Coast/Midwest road trip 2018

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East Coast/Midwest road trip 2018

Postby hoppedup » Tue Oct 24, 2017 8:33 am

I rediscovered my lost love of coasters on a recent trip to KD and BGW (last coaster ride prior to this was Thunder Road at Carowinds in 1995). Looking to take my 15YO daughter on a coaster tour next summer. I like to plan far in advance, but am willing to change itinerary mid-trip.

Here's what I have so far, heading out from Greensboro, NC taking 10-12 days:

Six Flags America
Six Flags Great Adventure
Dorney Park
Knoebels
Hersheypark
Kennywood*
Cedar Point
King's Island
Kentucky Kingdom*
Dollywood
Six Flags Over Georgia*
Carowinds*

*parks we may drop due to schedule/time issues

I know this is an ambitious list and may need to be trimmed. We may add King's Dominion since it is on the way depending on day of departure and the fact that we have Platinum Carowinds passes for next year. We are mainly looking to ride coasters and skip most, if not all, flat rides/water rides. So we may be able to do two parks in a day (Dorney & Knoebels looks like an easy double dip?)

Will we need to FL to get all the coasters at CP or KI in one day if we hit mid-week late August?
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Re: East Coast/Midwest road trip 2018

Postby SharkTums » Tue Oct 24, 2017 10:56 am

hoppedup wrote: So we may be able to do two parks in a day (Dorney & Knoebels looks like an easy double dip?)


You're going to have to wait for another credit whore to come by and help you then! The idea of doing Knoebels as a half day because of their credit line up is pure sacrilege to most people on this board. Throw in Dorney that same day and it's like a super insult!

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Re: East Coast/Midwest road trip 2018

Postby robbalvey » Tue Oct 24, 2017 11:15 am

Yeah that kind of a death march, credit run trip isn't my thing. You probably won't get a lot of help from us, to be honest, because it's not the way to like to do trips. See, we actually *LIKE* visiting theme parks and will sometimes take a day, even more to explore a park and do everything a park has to offer. This "run in, get the credits, run out" mentality is not something we are into, sorry!

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Re: East Coast/Midwest road trip 2018

Postby hoppedup » Tue Oct 24, 2017 11:30 am

No worries. I guess I should have lurked here for a while before I posted. We're just really excited about coasters.
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Re: East Coast/Midwest road trip 2018

Postby coasterbill » Tue Oct 24, 2017 12:31 pm

I totally agree with Robb and Elissa. I'll try to help, but a lot of my "helping" is going to be trying to convince you to re-think your plan. I'll break this down the best I can.

Six Flags America
Honestly... go ahead and death march this park. If you want to ride nothing but coasters and then bail then go for it. You could even try to combine this with Kings Dominion or go the same day you leave from Greensboro, but beware the Washington DC traffic if you do that as it can really screw you up and the EZ Pass Express Lanes won't be heading your way in the afternoon if it's a weekday. Even if you don't plan to use them, this will f*ck you up royally. If you leave at night after work and get there at park open feel free to ride the coasters and bail and get to Great Adventure early.

PS: You sound like a total credit whore so you might be interested in this... I won't recommend kiddy credits because that's pathetic, but on the way to Great Adventure if you get off of exit 4 on the turnpike there's a wild mouse literally right there (like RIGHT THERE, like 2 minutes out of your way round trip) at Funplex Mount Laurel. Clementon is nearby too but it's expensive and it sucks.

Six Flags Great Adventure
If you're only there for one day budget for Flash Pass. Personally though I would plan to be there the evening of the day you go to Six Flags America and maybe even the morning of the day you go to Dorney. This is a coaster park mostly, but don't miss the Safari or Zumanjaro. They have other cool rides too like Justice League (have you ridden one?), Houdini, the Skyway from the world's fair and America's only remaining parachute drop.

Dorney Park
It's Dorney, so nobody would be offended if you hit this place quick and bail BUT if you don't ride Demon Drop and Thunder Creek Mountain then you're skipping 2 of the 3 best rides in the park. Ride Steel Force in row one so it feels like you're riding a roller coaster and not sitting on your couch at home for the duration of the ride. Be sure to check out their new chicken tender stand next year. It's going to be amazing.

Knoebels
If you're the kind of person that wants to visit Knoebels (the greatest place in the history of the world) just to ride the coasters and leave then you should spend most of the day at Dorney riding Steel Force like a loser because that's what you deserve. :lol:

All (sort of) kidding aside, no. Knoebels is a full day park. Go on a hand stamp day. Ride EVERYTHING. Eat EVERYTHING. Here's a trip report I just wrote if you need inspiration. Here's a pierogie map. Knoebels has some of the best "park food" of any park in America, they have the best carousel in America (and you can catch brass ringy dingy ding-a-ling dings), they have 2 of the best classic dark rides in the world, they have THE BEST bumper cars in the world, they have THE BEST flyers in the world, they have a great flume, one of the better drop towers in America, Downdraft which is wonderful, a great Paratrooper, possibly the only Satellite and Looper rides in America, an awesome slide that totally shouldn't exist in America, and a 1001 Nachts ride that's apparently so good that some crazy b*tch married it. It's a full day park, if you're just going for the coasters you're completely missing the point.

Hersheypark
I don't really have any tips here other than to ride Coal Cracker and check out the Chocolate Tour.

Kennywood*
Who the f*ck would go to Kennywood and only ride coasters? WTF? I feel the same way about this one as I do about the Knoebels one. Maybe you can afford to get there a little late and leave a little early so you're not death marching from Knoebels and to Cedar Point but spend most of the day here.

Cedar Point
Budget for Fastlane, MAKE SURE you get there for Early Entry (since you have a Platinum Pass).

King's Island
This park often closes the last week of August mid-week so watch that when planning this trip. This is another park that offers Early Entry, though not on the same scale that Cedar Point does (it's generally on 2 major rides, check the website for details as they switch them throughout the year). You'll never be able to get there at a reasonable time from Cedar Point if you stay until close, and you'll need to if you're trying to cram it into one day. Personally I'd spend a full day at Cedar Point, then stay near the park and go back to Cedar Point the next morning for early entry to get more rides in on Steel Vengeance, Maverick, Millennium Force, Valravn and/or Gatekeeper and anything you might have missed. Leave whenever you want and head to Kings Island for some rides that night and spend the entire next day. If you can, try to go to Kings Island on a day with a 10:00 close because Beast night rides are amazing. This plan costs an extra day but makes your days at Kings Island and Cedar Point much less stressful and depending on crowd levels might save you money on Fastlane at one or both of the parks since you now have extra time.

Kentucky Kingdom
This is not a full day park at all, so you have a few options with this one. I know between the drive from Kings Island and the drive to Dollywood you'll have about 6 hours of driving and I've factored that in but I would either...

1) Spend the morning at Kings Island and go for early entry to get more rides in.

2) Stop at Cincinatti's Coney Island on the way to Kentucky Kingdom. It's cheap and they have a coaster but more importantly they have fun flat rides and a Rock O Plane. They also open late (usually around 11am or noon) and the idea of sleeping in after so many crazy days might be pretty appealing by this point). You can do Kentucky Kingdom in like 2-3 hours if you're not doing the waterpark and this is a park where you're not wrong at all to just hit the coasters and bail.

3) Go to Kentucky Kingdom early and bail early so you can get to Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg early and check out all of the awesome local attractions.

By the way, Kentucky Kingdom has an out of state special that includes 2 days admission and free soda. You don't need 2 days admission, but it's infinitely cheaper than actually buying a regular one day pass. You need to buy it at the gate and present your North Carolina drivers license.

Dollywood
If you seriously go to Dollywood and only do coasters you should be ashamed of yourself. I normally hate shows, but their shows are amazing. See the shows. Also, ride Slidewinder, Daredevil Falls, the train, Barnstormer and Drop Line.

I have no advice for the last two. You probably go to Carowinds all the time so you don't need tips and I've never been to SFOG.

My only other advice is to budget a lot of time to get through northern Virginia because DC traffic is hell on earth and if you don't already have one, get an EZ Pass. You can also get an NC Quickpass since it has interoperability with EZ Pass and (if you ever make a road trip down south), Sun Pass.

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Re: East Coast/Midwest road trip 2018

Postby hoppedup » Tue Oct 24, 2017 1:07 pm

Thank you, coasterbill. I am guessing that a credit whore is like a ticker in disc golf or craft beer (two of my passions), as in someone who plays a course or tries a beer once just to say they've had it, never to revisit. Not my intent at all.

Before this year my last coaster ride was Thunder Road at Carowinds in 1995, my last visit there. My daughter went this year with a youth group and asked if we could go back. I offered to go to KD and BGW instead so she could try some new coasters and I could see some new parks I never made it to as a kid. We did Dominator first and I realized that coasters had changed a lot since I last rode one. We rode every coaster (except Intimidator, one and done) many times that day. We also rode a few other things but decided we really liked the coasters and focused on those the following day at BGW.

We spent all day at BGW as well and rode every coaster multiple times. It was overcast and drizzly and there were no lines. I think we rode Gryffon the most at 11 times. We actually caught a show as well during a 90 minute thunderstorm break. My daughter is 15 now and I'm not sure how many more trips she will be wanting to make with dad in the future as she gets older, so I was trying to pack in as many coasters as possible for this trip. I will certainly consider any suggestions made here and maybe even split it onto two trips or pare the park list down.

I hadn't thought about doing afternoon/following morning visits. thanks for that thought. That would work fine at CF parks and Six Flags as we will probably get gold passes for them as well.

Skipping KD is basically all about missing DC traffic. We may leave on Thursday afternoon to cruise through DC around 8-9 p.m.

I will probably take Carowinds and SF Georgia off this trip list as those will be easy to do full day combos from Greensboro. That would make a more reasonable 10 parks in 10-12 days. Thanks again for the feedback.

Also, she has talked me into Scarowinds this Saturday, so wish me luck. The reviews make it sound very crowded.
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Re: East Coast/Midwest road trip 2018

Postby robbalvey » Tue Oct 24, 2017 8:00 pm

^ This info sounds very different than what was originally posted above. That's a good thing. It also sort of goes to show that, when people want advice on trips it's probably best to give as much information as possible. We get asked questions all the time like "What are the best parks in the US to visit?" or "What are the best rides at Disney to hit?"

And I always answer back "It really depends on the type of person you are and if you give us more information about you, we can probably help more."

Your original post made it sounds like you were more of a credit whore, meaning run in, get on all the coasters once, and leave.

Glad to hear that isn't your intent.

Anyway, I'm going to move this into the main forum so maybe you can get some help from other people as well...

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Re: East Coast/Midwest road trip 2018

Postby larrygator » Tue Oct 24, 2017 8:31 pm

The drive from Cedar Point to Kings Island is a huge drag after a full day at Cedar Point. When I was in my 20's and 30's or when I had a second driver it was easier. So I would plan not to be at Kings Island at opening and to plan for FastLane, and coasterbill's advice about hitting up Kings Island for Early Entry on a second day before heading to Kentucky Kingdom fits into this strategy.

Of all the parks you mentioned Six Flags America and Dorney Park are the ones with the least memorable coasters. Any type of coaster at those parks you will be able to find a better type at another park you are visiting. Superman at SFA might be the only coaster at the those two parks that you might consider riding more than once. Joker's Jinx looks unique, but it is the same exact layout as Flight of Fear (at Kings Dominion and Kings Island). Therefore, you can spend less time at these parks. As coasterbill stated Kentucky Kingdom has two phenomenal coasters but you also don't need more than 3-4 hours at the park

The volume and variety of coasters at Great Adventure, Hersheypark, Cedar Point and Kings Island make them whole day parks. Knoebels, Kennywood and Dollywood can also easily be full day parks because there is so much to do at these parks outside of the coasters. Hersheypark and Dollywood also offer preview plans where you can sample the parks for a few hours the night before your day visit to the park.
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Re: East Coast/Midwest road trip 2018

Postby hoppedup » Wed Oct 25, 2017 1:47 pm

Thanks for the tips, guys! Should be a great trip. We will plan on full days at all the parks recommended for that. I pulled the trigger on Gold Season Passes for SFoG today so we will probably go pick them up in November. Looks like six coasters will be running then.

Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster in Gatlinburg looks cool. Anybody ever done that one?
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Re: East Coast/Midwest road trip 2018

Postby ytterbiumanalyst » Thu Oct 26, 2017 4:50 am

This sounds like it could be an utterly epic trip. Assuming you're taking two weeks off work to do it, I'd go ahead and stretch this out to 16 days for a more relaxed vacation and a better experience. I'd also skip Kings Dominion amd Carowinds on this trip, because they're both so close to you that each can be done on a weekend trip. Definitely do those, just separately.

Get a Six Flags America Gold season pass if you don't have one already, as it'll be cheapest there.

Day 1 (Sat): Drive to SF America, have fun, drive to NJ or as far as you can get depending on traffic and how long you stay at SF America.
Day 2 (Sun): Finish driving to NJ if needed, SF Great Adventure. Get a Gold Flash Pass. Do the Safari.
Day 3 (Mon): Go back to Great Adventure, go straight to El Toro, ride it non-stop until the other park guests figure out it exists.Leave and go to Dorney, plan about 3 hours there, then continue on to Knoebels. You can camp there if you like camping; otherwise, there are hotels about a half hour away.
Day 4 (Tues): Knoebels! This is the best park on your itinerary. Get a handstamp, spend all day there, ride everything. Get some pierogies, they're the best I've ever had outside Poland.
Day 5 (Wed): Go back to Knoebels, but get tickets this time. See the free museums, ride whatever appealed to you most the previous day, leave mid-afternoon for Hershey. Get to Hershey about an hour before the preview plan begins and go through the Chocolate Factory Tour. Once the preview plan begins, go into the park proper and ride Skyrush and all the low capacity coasters.
Day 6 (Thurs): Hershey all day. Be happy.
Day 7 (Fri): Drive to Kennywood, stay all day. Be happy.
Day 8 (Sat): Drive to Erie, go to Waldameer for a couple of hours, drive on to Cedar Point, and make your own "preview day." Ride the coasters at the front of the park because the lines will be short when you get there in the late afternoon/early evening.
Day 9 (Sun): Early entry to Cedar Point, stay all day. Probably gonna want Fast Lane +.
Day 10 (Mon): Early entry to Cedar Point, stay until about noon, then head out to Kings Island. Get to Kings Island around 5 (yeah, it's a long way between the two, took me about 4 1/2 hours), then ride a couple of things and wait for nightfall. Ride the Beast at night, it'll blow your mind.
Day 11 (Tues): Early entry to Kings Island, stay all day. May need Fast Lane +.
Day 12 (Wed): Early entry to Kings Island, then Kentucky Kingdom. Drive to Jasper, Indiana, and have dinner at Schnitzelbank.
Day 13 (Thurs): Holiday World. Probably not an all day park if you're not into waterparks. Four great coasters, and the second best service of any park on your trip, behind Knoebels. Drive part of the way to Pigeon Forge that night.
Day 14 (Fri): Finish driving to Pigeon Forge, ride the mountain coasters, do tourist trap stuff, get to Dollywood for the preview.
Day 15 (Sat): Dollywood all day. Probably gonna need Time Saver Pass. Don't miss the shows or the museum. Eat cinnamon bread. Be happy.
Day 16 (Sun): Drive back home exhausted and depressed that you have to go back to work after all this fun.
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