30 Parks in 16 days: Overview

Associated parks:
None

Saturday, June 14, 2003 8:15 PM
My 2003 USA/Canadian tour has come to an end. Covering 5,203 miles in 13 US states and 2 Canadian provinces, we visited 30 parks in just 16 days! The trip itinerary is posted below. I hope to get trips reports of each day up shortly, and will update/add park guides and reviews to my website over the next few weeks, if anyone wants to view the photos.

Overall, it was a great tour, but very hectic. I am no stranger to traveling, but this was no holiday, it was a mission. I had worked very hard to ensure Top Thrill Dragster would be my 400th coaster, but it was down all day, and so it ended up being Wicked Twister instead. We were supposed to be visiting 32 parks, but the weather was so bad at times, we had to abandon 3 parks, but managed to sneak another one in at the end of the trip.

Number of people on tour: 3
Number of parks: 30 (17 of which were first time visits)
Number of days: 16
Number of rainy days: 10
Number of coasters ridden: 134 (77 of which were first time rides)
Total mileage: 5,203
Number of states: 13 + 2 provinces
Number of countries: 2 (USA and Canada)
Number of Funnel Cakes: 1 each
Total Cost: approx £1,200 ($2,000) per person*

*includes flight, car hire, car parking, road tolls, food, accomodation, and park admissions.

Best Steel Coaster: Superman: Ride of Steel (SFNE)
Best Wooden Coaster: Phoenix (Knoebels)
Most enjoyed park: Knoebels
Least enjoyed park: La Ronde
Biggest surprise: Silver Comet (Martin's Fantasy Island)
Biggest disappointment: Top Thrill Dragster being down

Day 1: Mon May 26

Flew from London Heathrow to JFK New York. Arrived 12.25pm. We had planned on visiting Rye Playland and Astroland, but due to rain we decided to head on straight to Virginia.

Parks - none
Miles - 338
Weather - rain (New York)
Overnight: Ruther Glen/Carmel Church, VA

Day 2: Tue May 27

Parks - Paramount's Kings Dominion (8 hours)
Miles - 12
Weather - AM cloudy, PM rain
Crowds - light
Best Ride: Hypersonic XLC
Overnight: Ruther Glen/Carmel Church, VA

Day 3: Wed May 28

Parks - Busch Gardens Williamsburg (4½ hours), Paramount's Kings Dominion (2 hours)
Miles - 170
Weather - AM partly cloudy, PM sunny
Crowds: light
Best Ride: Apollo's Chariot
Overnight: Doswell, VA

Day 4: Thu May 29

Parks - Six Flags America (4½ hours), Six Flags Great Adventure (2 hours).
Miles - 320
Weather - AM partly cloudy, PM rain (SFA) cloudy (SFGAdv)
Crowds: light (SFA), medium (SFGADv)
Best Ride: Nitro
Overnight: Neptune, NJ

Day 5: Fri May 30

Parks - Six Flags Great Adventure (4 hours), Safari (1 hour), Casino Pier and Funtown Pier (1½ hours), Steel Pier (20 mins)
Miles - 100
Weather - AM sunny, PM some rain
Crowds: heavy (SFGAdv), light (piers)
Best Ride: Medusa
Overnight: West Atlantic City, NJ

Day 6: Sat May 31

Parks - Gillian's Wonderland Pier (30 mins), Playland's Castaway Cove (1 hour), Morey's Piers (2½ hours)
Miles - 220
Weather - AM cloudy, PM some rain
Crowds: light
Best Ride: Great white
Overnight: Lancaster, PA

Comment - Despite staying in Lancaster, we did not visit Dutch Wonderland as we thought it was too expensive to ride one coaster.

Day 7: Sun Jun 1

Parks - Williams Grove (1 hour), Lakemont Park (1½ hours)
Miles - 450
Weather - AM cloudy, PM some rain
Crowds: none
Best Ride: Skyliner
Overnight: Danville, PA

Day 8: Mon Jun 2

Parks - Knoebels (4½ hours), Hersheypark (3½ hours)
Miles - 100
Weather - sunny
Crowds: moderately busy but short lines
Best Ride: Phoenix
Overnight: Hershey, PA

Day 9: Tue Jun 3

Parks - Idlewild and Kennywood.
Miles - 250
Weather - rain
Crowds:
Best Ride:
Overnight: Pittsburg, PA

Comment: Coasters not running due to rain so we didn't go in either park. This was a watse of a day and meant that we would not be able to visit SFKK on Thursday.

Day 9: Wed Jun 4

Parks - Kennywood (4½ hours), Wyandot Lake
Miles - 350
Weather - cloudy
Crowds: medium
Best Ride: Phantom's Revenge
Overnight: Mason, OH

Comment - Arrived at Wyandot Lake at 6pm to find it closed due to cold weather. It was supposed to close at 7pm, which would have been enough time to ride the one coaster.

Day 10: Thu Jun 5

Parks - Paramount's Kings Island (5 hours), Wyandot Lake (1 hour)
Miles - approx 320
Weather - sunny
Crowds: medium (PKI), none (Wyandot Lake)
Best Ride: Beast
Overnight: Sandusky, OH

Day 11: Fri Jun 6

Parks - Cedar Point (6 hours), Six Flags Worlds of Adventure (6 hours)
Miles - 170
Weather - sunny
Crowds: heavy (Cedar Point), medium (SFWOA)
Best Ride: Millennium Force
Overnight: Sandusky, OH

Day 12: Sat Jun 7

Parks - Conneaut Lake Park (2 hours), Waldameer Park (1 hour ), Martin's Fantasy Island (2 hours)
Miles - 330
Weather - cloudy
Crowds: none (CLP), heavy (WP), none (MFI)
Best Ride: Silver Comet
Overnight: Niagra Falls, Ontario

Day 13: Sun Jun 8

Parks - Six Flags Darien Lake (3 hours), Seabreeze (2½ hours)
Miles - 320
Weather - AM sunny, PM storms (6pm)
Crowds: medium
Best Ride: Superman: Ride of Steel
Overnight: Toronto, Ontario

Day 14: Mon Jun 9

Parks - Paramount Canada's Wonderland (4½ hours)
Miles - 309
Weather - AM cloudy, PM some rain
Crowds: light
Best Ride: Wild Beast
Overnight: Cornwall, Ontario

Day 15: Tue Jun 10

Parks - La Ronde (5 hours), Great Escape
Miles - 284
Weather - sunny
Crowds: heavy
Best Ride: Vampire
Overnight: Lake George, NY

Comment - the crowds were so hideous at La Ronde we left and tried to slot in Great Escape. Arrived at the park at 6pm, just as it was closing.

Day 15: Wed Jun 11

Parks - Great Escape (2½ hours), Six Flags New England (2½ hours)
Miles - 284
Weather - AM rain, PM cloudy
Crowds: light
Best Ride: Superman: Ride of Steel
Overnight: Havervill, MA

Comment - SFNE was deserted so we decided to leave early and get an extra park in.

Day 16: Thu Jun 12

Parks - Funtown Splashtown USA (1 hour), Canobie Lake Park (2½ hours)
Miles - 407
Weather - sunny
Crowds: heavy
Best Ride: Excalibur

Comment - Flew home from JFK to London Heathrow at 11.30pm.

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Coaster Grotto - Save your Top 20 Coasters and Track Record Online!
*** This post was edited by Grant 6/15/2003 12:18:31 AM ***

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Saturday, June 14, 2003 8:28 PM
Wow.

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--Maddie--
"yes I am on the online street team"
Wha? Online. . .street. Online. . . street.

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Saturday, June 14, 2003 8:35 PM
Holy insane trip!! Then again, I live in the US, so making a trip like that would be too much to think about :p

And I have no idea when I'm going to Europe, but as it won't be for a long while, I'm not to concerned with the number of parks I'll hit :)

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Saturday, June 14, 2003 8:49 PM
What no Dorney Park in Allentown PA?

You could have add Talon, Steel Force, Hercules

and 6 more coasters to your count

I would try add MIA and SFGRam on the trip.

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Sunday, June 15, 2003 4:57 AM
Wonderful trip report. It sounds like you have your planning down to a science.

Impressive.

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Without the chaindog, you'd never get up the lifthill...

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Sunday, June 15, 2003 5:45 AM
Grant, I met two guys from Britain around the time you were at PKI and they really wanted to get on Taxi Jam, but the operators of the ride wouldn't let them. The two guys stopped me walking back from break thinking I was a rides supervisor and I went over and talked to the ops on Taxi Jam about the situation and they did let them on. I was just wondering if that was you guys or someone else. There was a group of enthusiasts from Britain at the park a couple days ago and a group from France yesterday, so it was fun talking to them as well.

I'm glad you had a nice trip even if you missed a few parks and key coasters. It just gives you reason to come back and visit!

-Danny
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Coaster Insomniacs

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Sunday, June 15, 2003 8:56 AM
Wild Beast a favorite at PCW? What a surprise. :) One of the most underrated woodies in existance.

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Never Has Gravity Been So Uplifting.

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Sunday, June 15, 2003 9:12 AM
That sounds like an awesome trip. Sorry about the rain though. It has been raining basically all month where I am. I look forward to the trip reports! 2,000 per person actually sounds a little cheap to me.

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-Sean Newman
*** This post was edited by SFgadvMAN 6/15/2003 1:14:10 PM ***

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Sunday, June 15, 2003 9:34 AM

Koaster King said:
Grant, I met two guys from Britain around the time you were at PKI and they really wanted to get on Taxi Jam, but the operators of the ride wouldn't let them. The two guys stopped me walking back from break thinking I was a rides supervisor and I went over and talked to the ops on Taxi Jam about the situation and they did let them on. I was just wondering if that was you guys or someone else. There was a group of enthusiasts from Britain at the park a couple days ago and a group from France yesterday, so it was fun talking to them as well.

I'm glad you had a nice trip even if you missed a few parks and key coasters. It just gives you reason to come back and visit!

-Danny
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Coaster Insomniacs


Yes, Danny that was me. I was the one wearing the "X" cap. Thanks for your help getting me on Taxi Jam, it was my 398th coaster. As I said, I desperately needed to ride it so No Thrill Dragster could be my 400th coaster - little did I know it was going to be down (hence the "no" thrill).

The Rollercoaster Club of Great Britain were in the park a few days ago, so that must have been them.

I was wondering if "Scooby's Ghoster Coaster" is up and running yet. Guest Relations kept saying it was going to open, but it was still closed when I left the park at 4pm.

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Coaster Grotto - Save your Top 20 Coasters and Track Record Online!

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Sunday, June 15, 2003 9:39 AM

twj said:
What no Dorney Park in Allentown PA?

You could have add Talon, Steel Force, Hercules

and 6 more coasters to your count

I would try add MIA and SFGRam on the trip.


I did Dorney Park in 2001, and since they've not had a new coaster there since then, we decided to give it a miss.

I did MIA and SFGAm in 2002. I rode S:UF at SFGAdv, so I wasn't particularly bothered about the one at SFGAm.

I would have liked to have added more parks, but since I wanted to be at Coastermania on the 6th to get my ERT on Disaster Transport, my options were restricted.

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Coaster Grotto - Save your Top 20 Coasters and Track Record Online!

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Sunday, June 15, 2003 1:19 PM
That must've been an insane trip.

Grant, I noticed Cedar Point is no longer #2 on your top 10 park list. What happened?! If it's soely due to TTD being down, then I just have to shake my head...

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"If we knew how safe roller coasters were, we'd lose their thrill" - Daniel Keller
*** This post was edited by 3r1c 7/20/2003 2:35:01 PM ***

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Sunday, June 15, 2003 4:19 PM
Grant, I thought that might have been you with the X cap. It's no problem about helping you guys out, any time. I'm glad you caught me, because you would have been waiting a whole lot longer if you wanted a supervisor to come since there wasn't one for HB Land in the park at that time, lol. I convinced the ops at TJ to let you guys on and they understood the whole "enthusiast" thing, especially since you were from Britain. I hope they didn't give you any problems after that. Was the other guy with you an enthusiast/on Coasterbuzz too? Later!

-Danny
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Coaster Insomniacs

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Sunday, June 15, 2003 5:48 PM
That sounds like fun! I wish I could convince the wife to take a run like that, but after doing 8 parks in 10 days, I don't think she's too keen on doing it again any time soon :( . Funny, our trip ran from May 29 to June 7 and kinda went in the opposite direction as yours, with CoasterMania being the stop that everything was built around.

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Eastcoaster Field of 64

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Tuesday, June 17, 2003 8:48 AM
Holy crap. You rode more coasters in 2 weeks than I've ridden in 27 years.

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A day is a drop of water in the ocean of eternity. A week is seven drops.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2003 10:32 AM
Wow! What a trip. Sorry about the Dragster being down, you'll just have to come back next year. :)

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Lets go Drag racing.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2003 10:29 AM
Grant,

While I've known for sometime how insane this trip was going to be, just reading that overview of it made my jaw drop (again!). I've read some of the TR's about your day at various parks (such as LaRonde -- yikes!) and it sucks that the weather didn't cooperate more for you. But in the end, it sounds like you had an amazing time and got to ride a crapload of coasters you hadn't been on before!

But I'm still beating you. ;) j/k

Now I need to check out some more reviews from your trip!

Joe

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Top Thrill Dragster -- The most intense, unbelievable, and spectacular fifteen seconds on any coaster, anywhere, ever.

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