A tough East vacation choice

Monday, July 10, 2006 2:49 PM
Here's a tough choice. We plan trips one year in advance... my family and I. We're going to East US... we will be in the Harrisburg area and Baltimore/DC area. We then have the choice of going to Pigeon Forge or Norfolk/Virginia Beach. The decision has been left up to me, the coaster enthusiast. We are definitely going to hit Hersheypark, and we only have time in our schedule for one other park. What should it be? Our options are
Six Flags America
Busch Gardens Europe
Dollywood
Remember this is for '07 season. We are a family that has someone in basically every age group... I want to ride Dollywood's new Mine Ride, but I also want to ride Big Bad Wolf and Apollo's Chariot badly. I also want to sample a Vekoma Flyer (Batwing). We have been to Dollywood once, and REALLY enjoyed it. So... help me out here...
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Monday, July 10, 2006 3:00 PM
Depends what you want to settle for. If you want quantity over quality, then go to SFA. If you want quality over quantity, then go for BGE.

As for Dollywood, I wouldn't bother with it much unless you were heading through that area. It's quite a ways from the other 2 parks you mentioned. It's a bit pricey for what you get, too.

Personally, I'd suggest BGE.


coastin' since 1985

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Monday, July 10, 2006 3:10 PM
Acoustic Viscosity's avatar Between BGE and Dollywood, I would go to BGE since it seems you haven't been there.

AV Matt
Long live the Big Bad Wolf

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Monday, July 10, 2006 3:23 PM
eightdotthree's avatar I would go for either Busch Gardens Europe or
Dollywood. Seems like BGE is your best bet, if your lucky whatever they haven't announced will be good!
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Monday, July 10, 2006 6:39 PM
Dont forget BGE is getting a new coaster in 07 too (was just there and the sign over the Le Mans enterance has a talon with a slogan that involves "dropping in" so it looks like its a B&M Dive Machine.)

Never been to Dollywood, but BGE is my favorite park this side of the Florida border, you will not be disapointed with choosing that choice. Also dont forget Williamsburg is home to Water Country USA waterpark and Colonial Williamsburg historical renactment area and Jamestown, Yorktown and VA Beach are near by.


2017 Trips: WDW, Dollywood, Cedar Point, KI, SDC, BGW, BGT, SWO, Universal Orlando

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Monday, July 10, 2006 6:49 PM
eightdotthree's avatar The whole family will have a great time at BGE, seriously a great park. My gf and I go every spring for a weekend. The park is usually dead then so we can ride everything with little wait, in the summer the place is packed so plan accordingly. You can't go wrong there IMO.
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Monday, July 10, 2006 6:56 PM
rollergator's avatar

Touchdown said:Dont forget BGE is getting a new coaster in 07 too...

Dollywood *is* a really sweet park, but you KNOW that, LOL. Great for all ages! :) BGW is really awesome too, and TOTALLY fits that bill as well. BGE? Not so sure where that even IS...hehe. ;)

I think the new '07 Dive Machine ;) would probably tip the scales that way for me *if I were in your position*.

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Monday, July 10, 2006 7:55 PM
There was a similar forum topic to this recently, and I think it was Mamoosh who said not to plan a year ahead. His reasoning was pretty solid because most of the time you don't know everyone park's plans for the following year. In this case though, you already know two of the plans now. The wildcard right now is SFA, because anything can happen. Next year could be a park buildup--or teardown. No one knows.

As always though, what makes you happy? Does the thought of no wooden coasters at a park make you sad? Then don't go to BGE and head to DW instead. Do you like more advanced flat rides? Again, head to DW. But realize that DW is way off the beaten path compared to your other alternatives.

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Monday, July 10, 2006 8:42 PM
rollergator's avatar I am *guessing* that RedZone has decided to give SFA a fightin' chance. Bully for them, I think they'll be happy with that decision....provided that they can get what they need from the park. This is one that had better show a turnaround, and fast. The PROBLEM with that thinking, IMO is that it's WAY easier (and quicker) to earn a BAD rep than it is to CHANGE one...

Daniel (can I call you Daniel, LOL), seriously, be a LITTLE patient with SFA, but get the RIGHT mgt. in place and stick with 'em, and you'll be rewarded. My "batting average" is pretty decent...see, I even know football... ;)

How's this apply? Might wanna consider the idea that SFA may not be *visitable* after '07...it's a consideration... :-/

*** Edited 7/11/2006 12:43:55 AM UTC by rollergator***

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Monday, July 10, 2006 9:24 PM
SFA is almost all cloned coasters. DW would only be one new coaster credit for me, but I've never been to SFA or BGE. I trust Mamoosh but we do have to plan a year ahead for purposes of a family member in Virginia who is in Congress and has a tight-fit schedule. Off-topic, but can you swim in the beaches in/around Virginia Beach? It's a bit north so I wasn't sure.
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Tuesday, July 11, 2006 12:17 AM
^Water is still quite warm, I noticed no difference in temperature between VA Beach and the Carolinas (ie the Gulf Stream is still just off shore.)

2017 Trips: WDW, Dollywood, Cedar Point, KI, SDC, BGW, BGT, SWO, Universal Orlando

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Tuesday, July 11, 2006 2:03 AM
Austin, since I don't know your track record, why would you care if some of the coasters at SFA are cloned or not? Just remember, our Roar was first and is different from its California offspring (several people have told me they're not exactly the same), so that would only leave six coasters that have exact copies. Two of the rides--Batwing and S:ROS have only have one copy, with SFA's version of S:ROS being a mirror image.

Two-Face only has two other clones. Joker's Jinx is the grey area. Some would consider Poltergeist its only stateside clone (the third outdoor version Mad Cobra has been relocated to a new park in China and is currently SBNO until the park opens), while others would throw the two Flight of Fears in there, and unfortunately the good one of those is closed. But obviously, the SLC and the Zamperla kiddie coaster can be found at many parks. *** Edited 7/11/2006 6:10:17 AM UTC by Intamin Fan***

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Tuesday, July 11, 2006 2:22 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

Intamin Fan said:
Austin, since I don't know your track record, why would you care if some of the coasters at SFA are cloned or not?

Probably because he has or can ride the clones very easily. Even if I hadn't ridden an SLC ever, I wouldn't consider it a highlight of SFA because I could ride one in 10 different places. Apollo's on the other hand, I can only ride in one place.


Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

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Tuesday, July 11, 2006 7:27 PM
Andy's right... why would I want to ride the same rides I have already ridden where at BGE I can sample the more rare coasters like an Arrow Suspended, B&M Hyper, the tallest inverted, and some sweet-ass interlocking loops?

I forgot about King's Dominion, but I don't want to go there. It just doesn't look thrilling, even HyperSonic... I'm already going to Hersheypark too.

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Tuesday, July 11, 2006 7:49 PM
Never been to Dollywood, so I will exclude that from my post, although I must admit it is a must-do for me in the near future...

That aside, BGE without a doubt, with or without the new ride. It may only have 4 coasters now, but all are high quality. Not to mention a beautiful park with great food. I also liked Darkastle. SFA on the other hand, if some of you enjoy this park, more power to you, but I was very underwhelmed.

Also, Kings Dominion was not among my favorite parks, but definitely worth a visit, IMO. I loved Volcano. Either way, I'm sure you will be happy. Besides, don't worry, you will love hershey, definitely top notch!

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Tuesday, July 11, 2006 8:53 PM
john peck's avatar Well, with a Hersheypark trip already in the works, and with the closer proximity, I would just hit BGE early and you could always go to SFA at night... or even PKD.
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Wednesday, July 12, 2006 12:34 AM
Austin, but that's the thing; you never said what you've ridden and without a track record it's a little hard to recommend things to you. I think you've already made your mind up so why did you start a topic asking for advice? How exactly is a B&M hyper rare when there are just as many Intamin hypers and Morgans in the lower fourty-eight? If you were to count the Canadian Golitath, that would give you one more B&M hyper than the others.

I also don't get the part about KD not looking thrilling. Have you ever been there? That would be a solid no. Four woodies, the only U.S. Mack Bobsled, the only Intamin launched suspended full-circuit coaster, the first S&S air-launched coaster, the tallest Intamin drop tower, Tombraider Firefall and a huge kiddie section. But hey, it's your money and you've already made up your mind. *** Edited 7/12/2006 4:35:24 AM UTC by Intamin Fan***

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Wednesday, July 12, 2006 1:18 AM
rollergator's avatar With better care for their wood, KD would be SO much better. Shame to have THAT much wood, and the best of it is the kiddie. Like, hmmmm, all the other former Paramount Parks (offer not valid in CA).
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Wednesday, July 12, 2006 9:41 AM
One thing I learned about planning trips...

While seveal parks may be in one part of the country (i.e. the East Coast, the Mid West, etc) it doesn't necessiarly mean that they are close to each other. Sometimes they can be in the same state and still be hours apart (i.e. Kennywood in Pittsburgh PA, Dorney Park in Allentown PA... your Olrando Theme parks and the now defunct Miracle Strip Amusment park in Panama City FL... etc).

Not sure of your location, Austin the Ninja, but while Hersheypark, BGE and Dollywood seem like they are in the same location (i.e. East US), there are alot of miles that separate them. Starting at Hersheypark (in of course, Hershey PA), and heading south on either interstate I-95 or I-81, travel times (with NO traffic) are about as follows: SFA = 3 hrs, PKD = 4 or 4.5 hours, BGE = 6 to 6.5 hours, Dollywood = 12 hours. While they are all on the east coast... Dollywood is still a good driving day away from Hershey. I live 40 minutes SW of Hershey, and I certainly don't consider Dollywood a "near by" park... It's certainly a 3 day journey (Day 1 = 12 hour drive there, Day 2 = Day at park, Day 3 = 12 hour drive home)

I've found out that the best thing to do when planning a "Coaster Vacation" is sit down with a map. Pick your most desirable destination, and then plot from there, picking parks that are the most "reasonable" to travel to.

In all honesty... If I were travelling from the west, I would break the East up into a few "zones".

New England: Funtown (Saco ME), Canobie Lake (Salem NH), SFNE (Agawam MA), Lake Compounce (Bristol CT), Rye Playland (Rye NY)

Upstate NY: SFDL (Darien Ctr NY), Martin's Fantasy Island (Grand Island NY), Marineland (Niagra Falls ONT), Sea Breeze (Rochester NY), The Great Escape (Lake George NY... though this could arguably be put into New England)

Eastern Pennsylvania and MD: Hersheypark (Hershey PA), Dorney Park (Allentown PA), Knoebels (Elysburg PA), Dutch Wonderland (Lancaster PA). (Lakemont in Altoona, Del Grosso's in Tipton and Kennywood in Pittsburgh might also be considered in here... but Kennywood... as well as Conneaut Lake and Waldamere are geographically closer to the Ohio area than they are Eastern PA).

Jersey: SFGrAdv (Jackson NJ), Morey's Piers (Widlwood NJ), Clementon (Clementon NJ) (SFGrAdv and Clementon are not all that far from PA either).

MD & VA: SFA (Near Washington DC), PKD (north of Richmond VA), BGE (Williamsburg VA)

The South: Carowinds (Charlotte NC), Dollywood (Pigeon Forge TN), SFoG (Austell GA), Lake Winnie (Rossville GA), Vision Land (or what eve its prsent name is) (Bessemer AL).

Florida: Orlando Theme parks, Boomers (the Hurricane) (Dania FL), BGA (Tampa FL), Wild Adventures (Valdosta GA... though this could be considered in "the South").

If I were travelling and found myself wanting to desperately to go to a park in one of those Zones, I would consider all parks in the same Zone before I would think about jumping to another park in another Zone.

Depending on how long you have, you might be able to hit two zones.... NJ and PA... New England and NY... The South and MD & VA... etc...

I've found out a few vacations ago... remember to include realistic TRAVEL time (including rest / refuel / food stops) and DOWN / RELAXATION / REST time... not just PARK time. It will make your trip a whole lot more enjoyable... a vacation rather than an "ordeal".


"Yes... well... VICTORY IS MINE!"
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Wednesday, July 12, 2006 9:51 AM
BGE, hands down. Its a good family park (and just a beautiful place, in general) and has a handful of top-notch coasters.

SFA has had issues from day one (back when it was called Wild World). The park has sputteringly made strides here and there over the years and SFA has injected it with coaster-clones, but I still wouldn't put it on a serious "to-do" list. (you may want to consider replacing that option on your list with PKD)

Its true that its hard to shake a bad reputation--I grew up 20 minutes away from WW/SFA and virtually nobody I knew ever bothered going there. And I guess that reputation still lingers for me...they'll have to do A LOT of improving to overcome the general public sentiment of the past 20 years or so. *** Edited 7/12/2006 1:52:54 PM UTC by brunus76***

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