Kings Island, Mason, Ohio, USA
Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio, USA
Darien Lake, Darien Center, New York, USA
Holiday World, Santa Claus, Indiana, USA
Kentucky Kingdom, Louisville, Kentucky, USA
Six Flags Great America, Gurnee, Illinois, USA
Six Flags Over Georgia, Austell, Georgia, USA
Six Flags Great Adventure, Jackson, New Jersey, USA
Kings Dominion, Doswell, Virginia, USA
Carowinds, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA
Six Flags New England, Agawam, Massachusetts, USA
Six Flags America, Largo, Maryland, USA
Busch Gardens Tampa, Tampa Bay, Florida, USA
Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Williamsburg, Virginia, USA
Hersheypark, Hershey, Pennsylvania, USA
Knoebels, Elysburg, Pennsylvania, USA
Lake Compounce, Bristol, Connecticut, USA
Alabama Adventure, Bessemer, Alabama, USA
Dorney Park, Allentown, Pennsylvania, USA
Fantasy Island, Grand Island, New York, USA
Quassy, Middlebury, Connecticut, USA
Waldameer Park, Erie, Pennsylvania, USA
Seabreeze, Rochester, New York, USA
Sesame Place, Langhorne, Pennsylvania, USA
SeaWorld Orlando, Orlando, Florida, USA
Beech Bend Raceway Park, Bowling Green, Kentucky, USA
Fun Spot America, Kissimmee, FL, US
Luna Park at Coney Island, New York, New York, United States
Fun Spot America, Orlando, FL, USA
UPDATE: The final park update has been added along with my estimated final-ish costs for the trip, in the comments.....
For the past 10 months, my friend and I have been planning this huge trip and we actually pulled it off and had an awesome time doing it. Is it for everyone? Of course not. Is it for some? Obviously, yes, as we did it and loved it. Will I do another trip of this magnitude involving so many amusement parks? Probably not.
In preparation for this trip, we've been watching for sales on tickets and season passes since last fall. In the end, I've ended up with 9 season passes. As far as total cost goes, it's hard to put an exact number on since so many season passes were purchased and the cost per visit goes down every time I use one. As far as expenses incurred while traveling including gas, hotels, tickets still needed and food, the two of us each spent about $1,000. With season passes, I would roughly estimate about $1,200 went towards this trip, alone...maybe...lol. One thing I highly recommend against is booking rooms in advance. Do not lock yourself into a crappy park and don't force yourself to leave a good park. If you do choose to reserve rooms, make sure you can cancel up until that day. Weather may suck, so, you might want to stay an extra day, or , you may just want to skip a region and move on. Having freedom to do whatever you want while on the road eliminates much stress. The schedule changed MANY times during the planning and even changed a few times during the trip. During this trip only 2 things were absolute...when we were leaving and when I had to get back to work.
Rather than making one huge post, especially since this laptop likes to crash when I hit submit, I will post recaps of each day in the comments. Hopefully you don't get too bored. There are also daily Facebook Live videos that were shared or on my page. Ross Hudson from Northville on there.
Anyways, hope I don't bore you too much...lolLast edited by zoug68, Tuesday, August 13, 2019 10:42 AM
Something to note, right away, is that after counting the possible parks for the trip and number of coasters available, we were hoping to hit 30 parks and 200 different coasters.
Day 1-3, June 28-30 Kings Island, Kentucky Kingdom/Holiday World, Kings Island.
Day 1 started with me working until 2 and then leaving from Detroit and heading south to visit Kings Island for the first evening. Originally, these parks were going to end the trip but at the last minute, we added them earlier due to Carnivale being at Kings Island then and we would have missed it. So, we got there and had a really good time. My friend, Luke, and I hit 4 coasters that night and hung out with a couple we had met from an amusement park nerds page on Facebook. The Carnivale parade was very impressive. So many performers throughout the park for this. Ended the night with an extremely boring night ride on the Beast. SOOO overrated, especially compared to the rides the next night at Holiday World. Anyways, fun time at KI.
Day 2 started at KK. I really enjoy this park. We got there just before opening and got several rides on Lightning Run without leaving my seat. After that, we got several rides on Kentucky Flyer and Storm Chaser. Really love those 3 coasters and think many other parks should get rides like LR and KF. Of course, to help our count, we had to hit T3 (ugh), Thunder Run (ok) and Roller Skater. We also took advantage of the water park a little bit. The water coaster is crazy and the 121 foot, 70 degrees trap door body water slide is even crazier. That's steeper than Gemini, but almost as tall...INSANE!. We were there until about 2 and then headed to Holiday World.
We arrived at Holiday World around 2:30 and had an awesome day from start to finish. The wood coasters are fantastic as is Thunderbird. The Legend is top 5 for me, but, The Voyage moved back to number one during the trimless night rides during HoliWood Nights, earlier that month. The awesome thing is is that, even with the trims on, it still is my number one in a virtual tie with Skyrush. Luke and I went to Holiday World last fall and he thought the park and coasters were ok, at best. Boy, did his opinion change, completely. The Legend, which had hurt his side a year earlier and made him wish it would burn down, moved up into top 5 of over 200 coasters and night rides on The Voyage moved it to his number 1, just ahead of El Toro. All in all, Holiday World is my number 3 park. Hersheypark is number 1 and Great Adventure is my number 2.
Day 3 had us back at Kings Island on the way home. Another great day there and we managed to pick up the remaining credits.
Days 4 and 5 had me back home adulting before leaving for 19 days on day 6.
To be continued.....Last edited by zoug68, Wednesday, July 31, 2019 2:03 PM
Sounds like a great start! I understand your thoughts about reserving hotels ahead of time. I'm guilty of being like Clark Griswald. I normally have everything planned out. But I do like the occasional trip where I am not locked into any plan.
The downside to NOT having reservations is the possibility of not finding a room when needed. There have been a few times when I was on a trip and couldn't find a room because some event was going on in the area and everything was booked. Once I got to Tampa to find out a major convention was going on and had to drive about 30 minutes to find a room.
When you have a job where your vacation time is limited, you have to try to pack in as much as possible. My last big trip was several years ago when we had 2 weeks and we drove from Ohio to California. Coasters were limited being November. The trip was more of a Famous Dave's trip with a few coasters thrown in. In that 2 weeks, we drove about 6,500 miles and hit about 25 Famous Dave's locations.
Although trips like this can be exhausting, I actually enjoy the adventure! They make for some great stories! You look back on them and think "what the hell was I thinking?!".
Jerry - Magnum Fanatic
Famous Dave's- 206 restaurants - 35 states - 2 countries
Day 6 and 7...July 3rd (my 51st birthday) and 4th. Cedar Point, Cedar Point/Waldameer.
Day 6 started with me working my last day before the 19 day portion of the trip began. I packed enough of everything except very light colored t-shirts for this brutally hot trip. Fortunately, there are plenty of places to stop to buy anything we needed. We even trhrew a futon mattress in the back of the Tahoe in case we wanted to nap while the other drove or if we actually had any nights where it might be cool enough to sleep in there and avoid a hotel. Spoiler alert, there were only 2 nights that that happened and it had more to do with the distances between parks rather than just feeling like it.
Anyways, we got to Cedar Point around 6, I think. I got one of my included meals and got many of the credits in that I thought might be more difficult to get in the next morning. Love Steel Vengeance! I think I even got a 2nd meal in. Ended the night with back row on Steel Vengeance.
Day 7 had us back at CP for several hours. Most of the rides had very short lines except for Raptor. I, fortunately, got in line for it just as early admission was ending. At that point, they started giving half of the seats to FL users. CP, by far, has the absolute worst "fast pass" system of any park I have ever visited. Absolutely ridiculous that they double the regular wait time. This is a huge reason I, most likely, will no longer purchase any Cedar Fair season passes until they cut down on how many seats go to FL users. Needs to be 1/3 or less. I will probably just opt for single day tickets that include parking, admission and all drinks for $40. Anyways, enough ranting about the Veruca Salt pass.
After leaving CP, we were scheduled to hit Conneaut and ride the Blue Streak. Instead, we opted to spend more time at Waldameer and are very happy we made this change, especially after hearing that a friend had just rode the Conneaut Blue Streak and it screwed up his back.
Waldameer is a great park. I had been there once and only had ridden Ravine Flyer II then. Luke had never been, so, I knew RF II was going to surprise him a little...and it did. We both loved this ride. While there, I hit a major milestone...coaster number 200...The Comet...LOL! We also rode Ravine Flyer 3 (dorks) and Steel Dragon. I have avoided spinning coasters since I can't handle spinning flat rides. I gotta say, I loved SD a lot. We started in a backward facing seat and I was completely surprised by how intense this coaster was. So much fun. I didn't realize, until later, that Laff Trakk at Hersheypark is a very toned down clone of this. After closing the park with many more rides on RF II, we headed towards Buffalo so we could rest up for our most ambitious day of the trip....
Day 8, July 5th Niagara Falls/Fantasy Island/Seabreeze/Six Flags Darien Lake.
Super busy day that turned out to only be rushed a tiny bit. I expected it to be worse. Turned out to be amazing. Lol
We started the day by getting to the New York State Park of Niagara Falls a few minutes before 9am which is the time they start charging for parking. We were there for Cave of the Winds which I had done before, but Luke had not. I will say that I'm a big softy when it comes to Niagara Falls and seeing its power and how tiny we all are in the grand scheme of things. This place could wipe any of us out and it would just keep going. So, Getting up close in personal on the wood decking really makes me respect nature even more. Such an awesome tour and I can't recommend it or Maid of the Mist more highly. Luke REALLY enjoyed this stop. We got to be there for 2 hours since Fantasy Island is 15 minutes away and didn't open until 11.
Fantasy Island needs serious work. We only went because it was right there and because the 2019 Apex pass we bought at Indiana Beach last fall was supposed to be good there. They found my pass in the system, but couldn't find Luke's until we got Indiana Beach on the phone and they confirmed things. This park has potential but has a long way to go. We had to wait about an hour for Silver Comet to open up, so, we did the biggest nerd thing of the trip and rode Doggie Dog while waiting. I felt like a total dork. Fortunately, Silver Comet opened shortly after. A fun ride, but a little rough. I rode it a few times. Luke got to be deputized after the dueling scene in the Western portion of the park. Like I said, the park has potential, but was the worst park of the trip.
Next up was Seabreeze. While driving there, we ran into a really strong storm, but by the time we got there, the rain had cleared up. This is one of those parks where you can be a full admission which includes rides or you can buy a spectator pass and then buy tickets to ride. Also, if you are there just to get credits and can get them done in less than 15 minutes, they will refund you the spectator fee. Apparently, if it rains long enough, they give free rides for a while to everyone. I ended up getting to ride Jack Rabbit twice for free. I gotta say, this was one of the most impressive coasters of the trip or anytime, for that matter. It's been operating for 99 years, straight, the longest of any coaster in the US, at least. I was expecting some lame, rough and short ride. Boy, was I wrong. It was far from any of those things. This ride is awesome. I ended up riding 3 times and hit the other 2 coasters, twice. Another surprisingly good coaster there is Whirlwind. This is a clone of Steel Dragon and Laff Trakk. Wow! What an awesome view from the top. Very similar to the view fro the top of Ravine Flyer II. Boy, did this ride pack a punch. Way more intense than the clones we rode. SUPER fun! The bobsled ride was pretty fun and very unique. I will definitely be going back to Seabreeze and spending a couple of more hours there along with giving the next park, Six Flags Darien Lake more time.
Darien Lake was our 4th and final stop of the day and I gotta say that I am really glad that it is part of the 6 Flags chain so I can use my membership there in the future. This park is HUGE. To get from one side of the park, around the water to the other side is a very long walk. It's really nice. Predator was rough but decent. Viper, the Arrow looper was more fun than I expected. Tantrum was fun except the op smashed my junk while checking the restraints. The SLC went down, darn it and the launched Motobike ride kept breaking down. The thing that surprised me most was Ride of Steel. I had ridden the mirror image of it at Six Flags America and did not like it, at all. Ride of Steel was FANTASTIC! I'm pretty sure it's top 10-15 for me. First, best thing I noticed was that it didn't have the shin bars that Superman. The second thing is how much ejector air there is on this version. It really feels like it's trying to buck you off of it. I could not believe how awesome this ride was. I didn't even care that it only has one train. The wait was totally worth it. I REALLY LOVE this ride. On paper and in the POV's, it looks lame...there is even some ejector as you go into the helices. Just writing this is making me want to go back.
Between the 3 awesome visits we had on this day, it was probably ONE of my favorites during this trip. I just can't get over how much fun we packed into that one day!....
I will say that I'm a big softy when it comes to Niagara Falls and seeing its power and how tiny we all are in the grand scheme of things. This place could wipe any of us out and it would just keep going.
I get the same feeling around any marvel of nature. Niagara Falls, Grand Canyon, the ocean.
Day 9 and 10, July 6th and 7th Quassy/Lake Compounce/SF New England, SF New England/Coney Island.
These were a couple of crazy days. I can't even remember sleeping, but I am pretty sure I only got a nap in between Darien Lake and Quassy.
We only stopped by Quassy because it's really close to the other parks and Wooden Warrior is a really fun little family Gravity Group coaster.
The next stop was Lake Compounce. I had been there twice before and didn't care for the park other than Phobia, which I love. I ended up getting $25 tickets and that's the ONLY reason we stopped. Boulder Dash needs re-tracking. The best part of that coaster is the double up that replaced what was the worst portion of that ride. If the rest had new wood, I would probably love it. Wildcat, in spite of all of the work they did to it a couple of years ago is still pretty awful. Unfortunately, Phobia was down which made the boomerang the best ride in the park that day. That's pretty sad coming from someone who has 4 wooden coasters in his top 6.
Next was SF New England. Really nice park. Only got 2 rides in that evening due to a storm that came in. Since we only had Coney Island and siteseeing NYC planned for the next day, we ended up getting a room close to SF since we were really enjoying the park and they had way too many credits to lose if we wanted any chance of reaching the 200.
This is when the scariest part of the trip happened. I ended up going online to find a nearby hotel. Travelodge was cheap enough so, we went with that one. When we pulled up to the hotel, it looked abandoned. The lawn looked like it had been brush-hogged a week earlier and was ready to be baled into hay. There was siding removed and dumpsters out back that looked like they had been renovating but ran out of money. I was REALLY nervous. So, after driving around the entire U-shaped building, we stopped in front of what appeared to be the main entrance.. The strange thing was, it looked extremely nice on the inside. Granite floors, beautiful chandeliers and nice furniture complete with flowers. When I went in, I said to the receptionist, whose desk was near the crystal clear pool that kids were playing in, that the inside does NOT match the outside. She replied that many guests have said they felt like they were being punked... Very strange place. Looks like they ran out of money while remodeling this huge hotel. Anyways, we made it out alive.
So, we headed back to SF and had an awesome time. Many good coasters there. My favorite being Wicked Cyclone. The coaster I don't get the hype for is Superman. The restraints suck and it feels like many of the transitions were cut short. it was better than the experience I had on it during 2016, but, I'll take Ride of Steel over Superman, any day.
By the time we got out of there, we were going to only have 90 minutes at Coney Island since they closed at midnight. When we got to CI, we parked really close to Thunderbolt. I had heard mixed reviews on it...I don't remember ever reacting like that on anything except for maybe Skyrush. Thunderbolt was super extreme, but super fun...I couldn't wait to ride it again, later. The Cyclone is all the way on the other side of the park but was well worth the walk. Very fun ride. POV's don't do it justice. Rode the spinning wild mouse and the Steeplechase launched coaster. They were ok. But, the star there to me is Thunderbolt. I couldn't believe my reactions on that crazy thing.
Another fun day. Hot, but fun...Last edited by zoug68, Thursday, August 1, 2019 10:10 AM
Day 11, July 8th, Sesame Place/Six Flags Great Adventure
The main reason I found a platinum pass that was good for 15 months which was good for preferred parking and admission to all SeaWorld/Busch parks was due to Oscar's Wacky Taxi. After sleeping in the truck at a service plaza on the NJ turnpike, we stopped there to pick up the hard season pass card which has Oscar the Grouch on it (coolest season pass, EVER) and to finally ride this family Gravity Group coaster that I've heard is actually quite fun. I was not disappointed. We rode it a few times and ended up with some of the dumbest pictures ever taken on a coaster, so, of course, I had to buy them. Unfortunately, the light mist kept them from opening Vapor Trail. This is a really nice park. Where was this place when I was a kid.
After and hour there, we headed to my 2nd favorite park, SFGAdv. We started our day there by FINALLY going to the water park. From the drive in, it looks like it needs work. Once in the park, you realize that this is one gigantic water park. The lazy river even has several exits so you can use it as mass transit, which you may need to. It's just crazy how big it is considering how far north it is. Very fun water park. Loved it.
As far as the dry park goes, I love this park. Does it need some beautifying? Yes! At least they repainted Superman. Much better look for being right next to the parking lot. As always, the operations were really good and we got many rides and re-rides on as much as we wanted. The food at the restaurant near the log flume is really good. Nitro is really a great B&M hyper. Kingda Ka is awesome but only in the front seat. Unlike Dragster which is really smooth no matter which seat you choose, Ka gives me a headache in any seat BUT the front seat. My favorite ride here which is also in my top 6 is El Toro. What an amazing ride. As with all of my other visits, I got to end the day by sitting my butt on El Toro for an hour straight.
Another awesome day down. Rain only cost us a ride on Vapor Trail. I'll live...lolLast edited by zoug68, Thursday, August 1, 2019 10:12 AM
Day 12 and 13, July 9th and 10th Dorney Park/Knoebels/Hersheypark, Hersheypark.
These were 2 awesome days. Dorney Park is a really pretty park. Unlike my last visit there this past fall where operations were some of the worst I had ever experienced, anywhere, this year they were really good. Very fun visit. Rode all of the coasters which are very good AND rode Thunder Canyon. That ride was spinning more than most flat rides. That and White Water Landing were fun and necessary. We stayed for about 4 hours and then headed to Knoebels.
I know many of you are wondering how I can spend only a short time at Knoebels...easy, most of their flat rides would make me puke and I really only enjoy Phoenix and Twister. Those are 2 awesome woodies. Funny thing is, I actually prefer Twister. Such a cool layout. I also rode Flying Turns and Impulse. Impulse is fun, but also a one and done. Flying Turns is more cool to look at than the ride it gives. We left there around 5:30 to get to Hersheypark for the free preview which starts at 7:30pm since Luke does not have a season pass there.
Hersheypark is my number 1 park. Hopefully, the new entrance has some of the charm the last one had and I hope it doesn't feel like a strip mall. So, anyways, my pass got Luke $20 off his admission which was good that night and the next day. I can't remember exactly what we rode that night, but I do know I rode my other number 1 coaster for nearly an hour straight. Luke didn't care for Skyrush last year but it's now in his top 5, I believe. I can't get enough of this ride, and to prove it, I got there for early entry, the next morning, and sat on it for 75 minutes straight. Also marathoned it for an hour at the end of the night. My second favorite coaster there is Lightning Racer. I really wish Cedar Point would get the bigger version of this. Got all of the credits there plus made good use of the water parks. I Absolutely love this park. My favorite food to eat there is the smoked chicken and macaroni and cheese that is sold in the valley. I love this place so much that I've already bought the King Size season pass for next year. Such a great park with a really great collection. Hopefully, they fix Wildcat, soon.
Another couple of awesome, but hot days done.Last edited by zoug68, Thursday, August 1, 2019 10:11 AM
I'm enjoying your reviews and share you opinion about Twister, preferring it to Phoenix too.
tall and fast but not much upside down
Day 14, July 11th, Six Flags America
While on the way to Baltimore, after closing Hersheypark and getting to the hotel near Six Flags America, I realized that when I had checked into the hotel in Hershey, I had slipped my driver's license and one of my credit cards into the key card sleeve, thinking I would use it to carry my id around in but left it sitting on the dresser. Oops! Called the hotel and they didn't find it...UGH!. Fortunately, I have plenty of other credit cards AND had an expired driver's license with me AND it worked as ID to check into the remaining hotels.
Now, about SFA....This is one of the parks that was added, last minute and that was due, mainly based on the awesome ride we got on Ride of Steel at Darien Lake. It wasn't really out of the way and all it was going to do was make the drive from Atlanta to Orlando a little bit tougher...ok, a lot tougher, but, even though I had remembered Superman being a lousy ride, Ride of Steel gave me slight hope. Well, it was still as awful as I remembered it. I don't understand how. Anyway, the lap bars suck, it's slow and there is very little airtime compared to RoS.
As far as the other rides we managed to squeeze in before the torrential downpours came, Roar and Wild One are really fun. Batwing is much better than I remember Nighthawk being and was probably as good as Firehawk. I can take or leave it. It was hot enough while there, like most days on this trip, to make me take advantage of the water park. It's a pretty decent one. Nice combination of slides and pools. I think I am just going to do a summary of water parks in a separate post.
Unfortunately, we only got the 4 credits. At least my Diamond Elite membership got me 50% off of an umbrella...lol
Day 15, July 12th, Busch Gardens Williamsburg
This is a park I had never visited and was one of my most anticipated parks on the trip. This was another visit to a park that accepts my Oscar the Grouch, Sesame Place platinum pass and gives us preferred parking. Don't be too jealous. lol.
Walking in, the parking is really gorgeous. Just absolutely beautiful and the rest of the park is no different. As far as parks outside of Florida goes, this is definitely the prettiest.
As far as the rides go, they have a really good collection. I really enjoyed Apollo's Chariat, Tempesto, Invadr, Verbolten but hated Alpengheist. The cobra roll, except for the one on Silver Bullet, is the worst element ever put on a B&M invert. The first 2 rides were fun though it kinda dies a little too soon. The 3rd ride completely ruined it for me. My necked smacked in both inversions in that awful cobra roll...never again.
Now, getting back to the good things. The biggest surprise to me, especially since I've ridden Valravn and Sheikra, was what an awesome coaster Griffon is for any type of coaster. This ride is fantastic. So many airtime pops and the drops were excellent. It ended up being my favorite ride in the park.
One of the other things I was looking forward to here, based on what I had experienced at SeaWorld Orlando and BGT, was awesome smokehouse or bbq food. While I didn't find it to be AS good as what was served in the FL parks, it was still better than what is offered in most other parks.
Something that happened here, later in the day, that seemed to happen more often than I can remember, was them shutting down rides due to inclement weather though the sky was clear as could be. The storm that DID come didn't hit for almost an hour. Maybe there was lightning a little too close. This happened at around 8:15. We sat at the storm in their "festhaus" type of building. That place is huge. Around 9:30, the rain stopped so we started heading to the front of the park. at around 10, we happened to be near Griffon, so, I stopped to take pics. Just then, as if planned, the fireworks show began and was in line with my shots of Griffon. By the time I got done taking pictures there and along the paths leading to the exit, I think I might have been the last guest to leave the park. I wasn't really in a hurry since KD was on the schedule for the next morning.
Even with the rain and heat and Alpengheist, this was another awesome day on the tour.
When you started to say the scariest part of the trip was a Travelodge near SFNE, I immediately remembered my experience back in 2011. The lobby certainly didn't have granite floors and flowers, and the pool was more classic Pepsi than crystal, so I had to look it up to see if it was the same place. Nope; the one we went to is now simply called Travel Inn.
Our room was so dirty my friend and I didn't even take our shoes off and we left in less than an hour. Among other issues, the room appeared to have been treated for bedbugs, but they didn't do a great job vacuuming up afterward. The front desk person said "no no no bugs in any of my properties," but since I'd gotten the room free with reward points, I didn't argue with her and we went to the Candlewood down the street. On the plus side, at check-in she sold us a cheap SFNE ticket (which we could only pay for in cash...?), so it wasn't all bad.
Day 16, July 13th, Kings Dominion and Carowinds
I know some of you are reading this and thinking WHY would he put KD and Carowinds both on the same day. Well, I had been to both in 2016 and Luke had just been to them 2 weeks earlier. While I enjoyed some of what these parks offered back then, I didn't feel the need to spend a whole day at either and wanted to get to the southern parks, plus, we squeezed in SF America.
So, anyways, we got to KD and were early enough to get the closest parking spot to the gate. With the very limited amount of time we had, I definitely wanted to get early admission for Twisted Timbers and we did. Very fun coaster. Rode it a couple of times. After that, we hit everything else except Dominator by 2 pm. We even rode I-305 3 times. Grizzly is not great and the 3rd car, I think, on one of the trains looks all wobbly .very strange. I-305 is really fun except for the one transition that smacks my neck into the restraints. all in all, we had a great time, got everything in and were done by 2pm...on a Saturday. Shortly after we left, the storms came in, anyways.
So, from KD, we started the 5 hour, 325 mile drive to close Carowinds. It turned out that the storms had just ended before we got there just after 7. Perfect timing...many empty spaces in the parking lot.
It turns out, my plans for visiting Carowinds was my biggest mistake of the trip. First, let me get my biggest complaint of this park out of the way. I don't know how they train the ride ops on Intimidator to check restraints, but, in the 2 times I've ridden this ride, once in 2016 and again on this trip, the ops have obnoxiously tightened these B&M clamshells to a point where the Skyrush restraints feel like pillows resting on my legs in comparison. They don't even do this on Fury. I have never had anyone put so much of their weight onto a restraint to tighten it. Total a-holes work that ride.
Fortunately, they have Fury and Afterburn, but, I had no idea how much I was going to enjoy Copperhead Strike. After getting 6 credits in, I was just going to save CS for closing, assuming the line would be huge and would just ride Fury until 9:50 and then head for CS. Fortunately, the Fury line was actually longer than just the stairs, so, I ran to CS since I wasn't sure how to get there and got into the empty station at 9:50. Went for the 2nd to the last row. My expectation was that this was going to be a step above a family coaster and hoped it would be fun.....I gotta say that this coaster blew me away. I laughed and screamed my head off all 3 times in a row I got to sit on this thing. What an absolutely fun ride. I was completely surprised and was so happy that with the extremely short time we were there that I ended up getting more rides on it in 10 minutes than many get in one day.
Another big surprise, and one that I wish I had stayed to watch longer rather than getting tortured on Intimidator, was this musical group that was performing in Harmony Hall. I only stopped in there to eat. BTW, the broccoli salad is amazing. While eating, this group that does swing versions to current songs started performing. They were awesome! I could listen to them all night.
What a great day. I know it sounds stupid with how we planned it, but, the rain actually helped us get in more rides than if we had only gone to one park or the other. Of all the Cedar Fair parks I've been to, Carowinds is really the only one I have any huge desire to get back to. It looks much nicer than I remembered. Very nice park!Last edited by zoug68, Friday, August 2, 2019 2:00 PM
I've been enjoying reading about your adventures and admire your stamina. At first I thought that you must be under 30 to have enough energy to visit so many parks in such a short space of time but when you mentioned that you just turned 51 I was really impressed. I know I couldn't do it but then I'm about to turn 68; still, I doubt that I could have done it at 51. Everyone I know from the coaster enthusiast community shares my opinion of Skyrush, which is that it's almost unrideable due to a major design flaw in the restraints, so your slant is a very different one. As to Alpengeist, that was my 1st invert and initially I hated it but that was because I'd never been upside down on a coaster much less ridden below the track and it came as a shock; on subsequent visits I discovered that I like this coaster a lot, cobra roll included. Batwing was my 1st Flying Dutchman and I'll have to reride it to see how well it's holding up; Nighthawk had become awfully rough when I rode it last year so I skipped it this year. Copperhead Strike, like Time Traveler, is executed to near perfection. Oh, and I too prefer Twister to Phoenix.
Day 17, July 14th, Six Flags Over Georgia
This was another new park to both Luke and me. I was really looking forward to riding Superman due to the terrain it was designed for, Twisted Cyclone, for obvious reason and Goliath, because I had heard so much good about it.
At this point of the trip, while I was still trying to get in as many credits as possible, I was getting to the point of enjoying more of what the parks had to offer besides just the coasters.
We started out by heading directly to Goliath since we had been warned operations at this park might be awful. While things could have been better, I was totally fine with the way things went here. Goliath was really fun in the back, but, this is definitely a front seat coaster. super fun, especially for a B&M hyper-sleeper. Superman was better than the others due to it being closer to the ground than the clones. Great American Scream Machine was fun, especially listening to the people in front of me crying about how rough it was. Blue Hawk sucks. I can't imagine riding it with the old restraints. Georgia Scorcher, Batman, Mindbender, Dare Devil Dive and the others were all pretty good or great. Twisted Cyclone was awesome.
A highlight of the day was teaming up with a kid to torture people in the water park who were coming up onto Paradise Island. We were horrible and had an awesome time behaving like brats.
During a brief period of rain, we ended up getting in line for Justice League near a bunch of the Koaster Kids. Very nice bunch of future nerds. LOL!
While operations here weren't outstanding, I still got to ride everything I wanted and had an awesome time. Something people need to keep in mind, when it's 95 degrees out and you are having a hard time having fun under these conditions, imagine trying to work in them. Ugh! I am willing to forgive slower operations when it's this miserable out.
Very nice park. I recommend visiting it.
Only 1 week left at this point...ONLY!...lol
Another big surprise, and one that I wish I had stayed to watch longer rather than getting tortured on Intimidator, was this musical group that was performing in Harmony Hall. I only stopped in there to eat. BTW, the broccoli salad is amazing. While eating, this group that does swing versions to current songs started performing. They were awesome! I could listen to them all night.
My only gripe is that the volume is too loud. I can't even talk to my family seated next to me while they're playing.
I am enjoying your trip reports. It takes a lot of energy to pull that off and I know I couldn't talk my wife(as you and I have chatted about,) into ambitious plans like that. Good reading. Thanks!
Day 18, July 15th, SeaWorld Orlando, Fun Spot Orlando, Fun Spot Kissimmee,
So, after leaving SFoGeorgia, we ONLY had to drive 450 miles, overnight to close Georgia and open SeaWorld Orlando. Now, the Florida parks were always a POSSIBLE option...the other possible option, with an equal number of miles during the trip, was hitting the 3 parks in Missouri. After having visited the 4 parks in Florida we might hit on this trip, I opted for quality. As far as weather concerns went, it didn't really matter whether we went to the Midwest or to the south. Research showed EVERY visit on the trip was going to be met with awfully hot and humid weather. So, the SeaWorld and Fun Spot parks won out.
After leaving Georgia, we started our 8-9 hour trek to Orlando. What a long drive...lol! It just went on and on forever...lol. Just a note for those who have toll road transponders, they don't work on the Florida Turnpike and they only take cash or they give you a bill for $3.25 that has to be paid within 10 days or you receive a $100 fine. DOH!
Arriving in Orlando with only 3 hours until SeaWorld opened, we stopped at Walmart, did a little shopping and then took a nap on the futon mattress that was in the back of the Tahoe. Obviously no point in getting a room.
We get to SeaWorld with our Sesame Place passes and they give us our preferred parking pass, which is awesome. I just gotta say, I LOVE this park. I think it ranks #4 behind Hersheypark, Great Adventure and Holiday World. It's not as though they have the greatest collection of coasters, though it is a decent one, but this park, with all of it's sea creatures, makes me feel like I'm on a tropical vacation unlike any other. I have a half sleeve tattoo of ocean-life, so maybe I'm a little biased. The food in the smokehouse there is my favorite of any park I've been to. The all-day dining pass, which includes a huge meal every hour, is around $32 with the discount from the super-awesome, Oscar the Grouch, Sesame Place Platinum Pass. This park is why I lost 20 pounds before going on this trip. I knew I was going to be eating a lot here and at BGT the next day. It was a good thing I did because I ate like a pig.
As far as the rest of the park goes, It's just awesome. The landscaping, the aquariums, the queues, and so on are just amazing. I can't get enough of this place. Of course, we had a storm come through, so, we had to force ourselves to use the meal plan, AGAIN. Darn it! This storm was a pretty big one, but it didn't last long. Right after, the heat came back so we got back in line for the Infinity Falls. Met an awesome family who was visiting from England, so, Luke felt right at home talking to them since it's where he's from.
During the day, Kraken and Atlantis had no wait while Manta and Mako had ok waits. Manta is my favorite ride there. Between the queue going through and aquarium and the ride just being awesome, it's definitely my favorite ride at SeaWorld and 2nd favorite in Florida. Kraken is my 2nd favorite at the park. It would probably be my favorite floorless coaster if the drop were a little more intense. I just love how this thing goes below ground level so many times which allows it to keep higher speeds. My least favorite coaster is Mako. Everything before the mcbr is fantastic. Everthing after it is pointless. I rode it several times in December and thought it was running sluggish due to the cold...nope, it's the same when it's warm. Too bad.
After getting as many rides as I felt like getting in, I really wanted to experience more of the sea life exhibits. The main thing being the Shamu show since they are ending them soon. We ended up in the second row of the 8:30 show and got drenched. One of the whales even spit in my face. It was awesome. Much better than when we got drenched during the Christmas show back in December and it was only in the 60's. After that, we headed to the other stadium for the Electric Ocean show. This show left us stunned. I just couldn't believe what I was seeing for the end of the night show at an amusement park. If you are going to be at SeaWorld, soon, don't miss this show.
Even with the rain and the heat, this was my favorite stop on the trip. I can't wait to get back in December!
Oh, and we still had 2 more parks to get to...lol
After we left SeaWorld, we headed to Fun Spot Orlando to get a ride on Freedom Flyer and the awesome GCI family coaster, White Lightning. Now keep in mind that we have a season pass for FunSpot that we got for $75 and had already used back in December AND, FSO is only a few minutes from SWO.
We got our 2 credits in and rushed to the truck so we could get to the best coaster in Florida, after taking a few Excedrin pills to prepare myself for it...lol
Fun Spot Kissimmee has 2 coasters that we would ride, Rockstar and Mine Blower. Rockstar is a spinning wild mouse and Mine Blower is an AWESOME Gravity Group coaster. With just over an hour to ride, we got to the park and got our wristbands validated there and headed to the rides.
Mine Blower is INSANE! The transitions are tight and fast, plus it has an inversion. I LOVE this coaster. It is getting a little rough, so, I hope FSK keeps up on maintenance Did I mention that I LOVE this ride. After we rode it once, we headed to Rockstar, just to get the credit but with no expectations since we rode it in December.
OMG! I knew we needed to sit to one side to get more spins in, but, I didn't expect it to spin so fast and for so long. These spins were stronger and lasted longer than most Tilt-a-Whirls. Just watching spinning rides normally makes me nauseous. Somehow, I loved this thing. If you want more spins, make sure the heaviest people go in first and all the way to the far side. Wow! After doing that once, I ended the night with another 6 or so rides on Mine Blower, my favorite coaster in Florida.
Fortunately, after driving the entire night before, we got to stay in a hotel only a few miles away before hitting BGT the next morning.Last edited by zoug68, Wednesday, August 7, 2019 9:09 AM
Days 19 and 20, July 16th and 17th, Busch Gardens Tampa and Alabama Adventure.
After catching up on some sleep, we used our Sesame Place Platinum passes that we paid $165 for back On October 1st which are good until the end of this year (15 months) to get preferred parking at BGT. The thing is, preferred parking is not necessarily a great thing at this park due to the long walk to the car. It's probably easier for some to just park close to a tram stop in the regular lot but, there was a great reason for being in preferred parking that day.
Of course, it was ANOTHER hot and humid day on this trip...almost everyday was in every state we travelled. While I LOVE SeaWorld more, this park is only slightly below it. I think I rank it number 5, overall. I just love the whole atmosphere of the landscaping, the rides, the food and the animals. Just another awesome place to spend a day or two. Especially for those of us who get snow in the winter time. We ended up hanging out with a local couple we met through a group on Facebook for most of the day. Very nice people.
We rode Cheetah Hunt first which seemed more fun than back in December. Then we went onto Montu. This is what Raptor SHOULD be. Such a fantastic ride. My favorite in the park. The ending corkscrew is my favorite element. Awesome when a coaster has an awesome finale to remember it by. Kinda how Steel Vengeance and Lightning Run end with bunny hops into the brakes. Very memorable endings. LOVE that in a ride.
Another great ride there is Scorpion. Much better ride than it looks. Very fun. Sheikra is about as good a Valravn, but not even remotely close to as AWESOME as Griffon. Lightning was in the area around 5:30 and lasted until around 9:15. Since we had the all-day dining, we definitely stayed until the end to take advantage of it.
We got back to the truck, which was parked very close to Montu, at around 9:30 and changed into clean clothes since we sweated our butts off all day. At 9:35, a random Montu train cycled. Since we could see lightning off in the distance, we figured they were just getting ready to park the trains for the night. At 9:40, another train dispatched, but this time, there was screaming during the first drop.
So, after changing into clean clothes, we bolted into the park. Running from Montu to the front gate and back to Montu is a long way, especially with the humidity and also having just turned 51. All of the rides were opened. Luke wanted as many rides on Montu as he could get. I wanted the same, but stopped at Cobra's Curse for the credit. It is actually a fun ride when there is no wait. After that, managed 2 re-rides on Montu.
Such on awesome ending to what could have been a meh day. We were soaking wet, again, from sweating. Fortunately, our next hotel was a REALLY nice HoJo in Ocala. It was strange because it was the nicest place we stayed at but it was also the cheapest. $48, including taxes.
The next day was our longest drive without hitting a park, BUT, we still managed to get another, Alabama Splash Adventure. Close to 500 miles from Ocala but we still need to stay in Nashville after which was another 200 miles.
Before the trip, I had contacted Alabama and asked if I would be able to use my Holiday World Platinum pass for entry. Dan Koch replied and said, yes, I would. Awesome! They have another one of the coasters I was looking forward to on this trip...Rampage!
Our first ride was at the back and was rough but kinda boring. So, we gave it another shot in the front seat. I really liked it a lot. Rode it several times during the hour we were there. The park is decent, but needs to add more. Not sure how that will go in that state. Anyways, had a good time and left to finish the rest of the 700 mile drive.
We got to Nashville and rested for what would be our most grueling day of the trip..and it wasn't even heat related.
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