Yes, I can confirm that you have the correct "avoid Washington" route to Williamsburg from Frederick MD. Follow US-15 Southbound all the way to Warrenton, then follow US-17 Southbound to Fredericksburg VA.
If you do decide to go from Hershey to Fredericksburg VA in the evening and you have some money to spare, you can take the fast route through Washington. In the evening, the I-95 HOV / express lanes that go all the way to Garrisonville VA will be open in the southbound direction. The tolls on those lanes, as well as those that go both directions on the I-495 loop, vary depending on how much traffic there is. Heck, if you leave Hershey in the early evening, you will likely end up around Washington after rush hour, and you might not even have to use the express lanes at all.
Also, don't use Mapquest, use Google Maps instead. You'll get real-time traffic info too.
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bill_s wrote:^^-- I'm talking about south of I-495 express lanes
It's currently well after rush hour, with most traffic headed into DC so you should be sitting pretty if you're headed south right now but instead it's an absolute disaster zone per usual because the HOV lanes are closed in that direction.
AndrewA86 wrote:This is the updated trip based on all of your recommendations.
I like it! You basically avoid the busy times at every single park with this plan since you're spending your weekend days at Waldameer (where it doesn't matter), Conneaut (which is an abandoned wasteland), Dorney (which is Dorney) and Carowinds which gets crowded, but not THAT crowded and the longest lines are for rides you don't care about anyway.
The only rough part of this is really that drive from Hershey to KD assuming you don't try to get to Carowinds at park open (which you really don't need to worry about... take your time).
The only thing is, why would you stay in Allentown on Monday night? I know people don't like hotel hopping but just hotel hop. It takes 5 minutes to check in and less to check out. Keep your stuff in the car. Knoebels closes at 6:00 that day. Why would you leave yourself with a 2 hour drive in the morning for no reason? Just drive to Jackson, you'll have an early night and you can sleep in (or you can be a whore and go to iPlay America and ride the SBF Spinner and then still sleep in in the morning).
The other option (and what I would probably do) is to flip Monday and Tuesday. You don't need to stay at Dorney until park close. You can leave mid afternoon and have time to ride everything with a metric f*ck ton of re-rides since the park will be empty and you'll get to Great Adventure at a reasonable time, then the next day you could take advantage of the early close at Knoebels to go to Hershey using their free preview plan and get some rides in since they're open 4 hours later than Knoebels is and that would mean your next day would be less stressful and you could leave an hour or two before they close to make that drive to KD more manageable.
If you do that, that would be a good time to ride Laff Trakk. Get in line right before close. If you're not a credit whore, just skip Laff Trakk. It has an absurd line all day that's usually around 60 to 90 minutes and it's a clone of a ride you would have just done at Waldameer that you probably waited less than 10 minutes for. Don't bother rope dropping it, it will already have a huge line in the morning because of Early Entry.
PS: The only park where you'll need a skip-the-line pass on this trip with those dates is probably Great Adventure. You'll be fine with regular Flash Pass. Hershey's pass sucks but it might be worth getting if you're a credit whore who wants to ride Laff Trakk or if you just want to get in a bunch of re-rides. It's not essential though.
A.J. wrote:If you do decide to go from Hershey to Fredericksburg VA in the evening and you have some money to spare, you can take the fast route through Washington. In the evening, the I-95 HOV / express lanes that go all the way to Garrisonville VA will be open in the southbound direction. The tolls on those lanes, as well as those that go both directions on the I-495 loop, vary depending on how much traffic there is. Heck, if you leave Hershey in the early evening, you will likely end up around Washington after rush hour, and you might not even have to use the express lanes at all.
Agreed. This is great advice if you end up driving to Fredricksburg late at night. Late at night or early afternoon on a weekday is really the only time I would suggest going this route though. PS: You need an EZ Pass. Otherwise you'll have no option to jump in the express lanes.
I like your idea of flipping Monday and Tuesday, I'm going to do that. I am not a credit whore and couldn't care less about riding Laff Trakk. I believe it was you who said I should ride Backlot early at Kings Dominion, I wasn't even planning on riding it. I've already been on it at Kings Island and and I've been on some merry go rounds that are more fun. Maybe some people would think I'm a credit whore because I'm going to Conneaut Lake, but I love sketchy wooden coasters. Which is also why love your idea of Camden park. But back to Hershey, if they have a preview and it's free that is definitely something I will do. Then I could possibly leave Hershey early on Wednesday and get to Fredericksburg that night. And if Hershey is really busy on Wednesday I can still drive to Frederick. MD and then take the 2.5 hour trip around DC traffic to KD. I like both options.
Now I have some concerns about the Six Flags Flash Pass system. They have 3 levels, regular, gold and platinum. You say I will be fine with the regular but all that does is reserve my spot based on the actual wait time. I don't see how that helps unless I'm allowed to make multiple reservations. If that's not good enough can I upgrade to a higher level?
^^-- that map's not fair, Friday before Christmas. I wouldn't try Friday afternoon either. Anyway my point was indeed moot for this trip because I assume he wants to get to the park at opening and yet not get up at 5 AM or earlier (I don't need that stretch of road to know that). If for some reason someone wants to get through the DC area at a more reasonable day time I'm still convinced it's possible, of course night (short, 8 PM - 6 PM or so) is best.
AndrewA86 wrote: Maybe some people would think I'm a credit whore because I'm going to Conneaut Lake, but I love sketchy wooden coasters. Which is also why love your idea of Camden park.
Don't set your expectations high for Camden Do not skip the Whip at Camden Park, one of of two left in the US that run as they were intended to run. Devil's Den (at Conneaut) and Haunted House (at Camden Park) are the only two gravity powered dark rides in the US. Although it was done 6-7 years ago, the facade of Haunted House was repainted in traditional Bill Tracy style.
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I was kind of thinking of a similar trip next year and I also live in the Detroit area (Ypsilanti), but I would lean slightly more south:
Saturday 1: Leave early in the morning, go to Waldameer and Conneaut Lake, then drive east Sunday 1: Dorney Monday: Knoebels, then Hershey late in the day Tuesday: Hershey, then SFGAdv late in the day Wednesday: SFGAdv, leave mid-afternoon toward Hampton Roads (using US 13 to avoid DC entirely) Thursday: Busch Williamsburg Friday: Kings Dominion Saturday 2: Carowinds Sunday 2: Dollywood (I work afternoon shift M-F, so I could leave PF and get a hotel north of Cincinnati/Dayton and still make it to work on time)
I could drop the western PA parks, as those (and Kennywood) could be done in a weekend trip (if that were to happen, Hershey and Dorney would be swapped, with HP moving to Sunday and DP moving to Tuesday [Knoebels would remain Monday])
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AndrewA86 wrote:Now I have some concerns about the Six Flags Flash Pass system. They have 3 levels, regular, gold and platinum. You say I will be fine with the regular but all that does is reserve my spot based on the actual wait time. I don't see how that helps unless I'm allowed to make multiple reservations. If that's not good enough can I upgrade to a higher level?
Basically with regular you will double your rides for the day. Basically reserve the one ride then wait in line at another to maximize it.
Gold in my opinion is almost worthless as you need to do math constantly to figure out how to maximize it.
Platinum is pretty much the way to go especially if you don't plan on coming back to the park for sometime. It's pretty much ride when you want. I used it on a BAFF day at Great America and with the deduction I never waited more then 10 minutes before being let in.
Whichever route you go, remember these things. One, never buy in advance, you never know if it will be a rain out or completely dead. (Though again, some like to maximize and still get it.) Two, while you can't reserve multiple rides at once, remember this: As soon as they scan your bot, you can choose another ride. For platinum that usually means going from one ride to the next.
Hopefully that helps. (And if you buy in park, there is a small discount with a season pass.
With Platinum Flash Pass, basically yes. You're not allowed to just stay on the ride; you'll need to check in with the Flash Pass line person each time. But once that person scans your pass, you can reserve a new ride. Since the Platinum reduces by 90%, you'll probably have a 3-4 minute wait on the next ride. So you have them scan your pass, reserve the same ride again, get on the ride while simultaneously queueing for your next ride, then go right back around again, and the pass will probably allow you to check in right away. Note that the same trick is available for regular and Gold too, but since Gold is only reduced 50%, and regular not at all, likely you will have some time before you can re-queue.
AndrewA86 wrote:Can you marathon with the flash pass?
No, but you might get lucky early and late in the day at SFGAdv and if no one is waiting for your row you can re-ride. Or if you get out of the row on the exit side, you can move into an empty row if available. Just double check with the ride ops, because the park has been none to change the policy at times.
It is not unusual to get at least 6-10 rides in a row on the same train if you head straight to El Toro first thing after the rope drop. Ole!
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