Advice for summer trip ideas

Saturday, January 24, 2015 12:58 PM

Now that we’re well into 2015, I was wondering if the Coasterbuzz community could give me any advice pertaining to my potential travel plans for the upcoming season. More specifically, my questions lie with two parks: Holiday World and Canada’s Wonderland.

I noticed that HW’s HoliWood Nights is on May 29-30 and I was wondering if anyone who has previously attended this event could let me know if the crowds are comparable to those that gather for Coastermania at Cedar Point? I’m not a fan of the 1,000+ crowds of entitled enthusiasts that congregate at CP for this event and usually skip it. I noticed that Coasterbuzz is having its own event at HW on August 29 and as I’ve enjoyed Beastbuzz the past two seasons, I’m leaning towards this date more. Would there be any evening ERT planned to get those vaunted night rides on Voyage, Raven, (and Thunderbird)?

My questions regarding CW are: does this park feel significantly different from Kings Island in terms of attractions? They share many similar rides i.e. Windseeker, Vortex/The Bat, etc. However, the coasters that aren’t similar to KI appear to be underwhelming IMO and their unique flat rides look a bit too spinny or forceful for my tastes. From viewing pictures online, CW does seem to have a lot of natural beauty but I’m not sure if that alone makes up for the lackluster lineup of rides.

Also, I’ve never been to Canada (but have visited Europe) despite living my whole life in Michigan. Strange, I know. This leads me to question if one needs to find an ATM upon entering Canada to have hard currency in hand or is it easy enough to just use plastic the whole time? Does CW accept U.S. currency or should I have loonies & toonies (or my Visa) at the ready? Finally, does the wait to cross back into the U.S. take a great amount of time or does that vary based on date/time of day of crossing and security precautions in place at the time of re-entry?

Thanks for any and all input that you may have.

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Saturday, January 24, 2015 1:22 PM

Canada accepts credit card everywhere.

I personally find it's good practice to have a bit of local currency, because you never know when you might need it, but I don't carry much.

Crossing from the US to Canada is usually quick. Going the other way can take minutes or it can take hours (and I mean hours... I waited three at one point I think).

Canada's Wonderland feels very different to Kings Island. If you're going up that way though I'd suggest you take another day and visit the Pipeline Coaster at Wild Water and Wheels. It's not a major thrill ride by any means, but it's cool and it's utterly unique at this point.

Marineland is worth a few hours too – though it's probably not on your way if you're travelling from Michigan.

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Saturday, January 24, 2015 1:25 PM

Well I do know that they do accept US currency. Also, when crossing back in the US, make sure to leave early in the MORNING. When I was entering, it was 2pm, 1 hour on a bridge. Leaving, it was 10am, 10 minutes on the same bridge. And this bridge is the Rainbow Bridge in Niagra. Just a little quick advice.

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Saturday, January 24, 2015 3:18 PM

As for your holiday world questions, Holiwood nights is nothing like coaster mania.The crowds are far less and it's a really good time and you get to meet a lot of other really decent enthusiasts.

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Saturday, January 24, 2015 3:53 PM

CW accepts American currency, but I'd make sure to have some Canadian currency in hand, in case I stopped at any local shops/restaurants etc while in Canada. They may not accept US currency, or may accept it at an exchange rate that they determine.

As a Michigan resident, you can get an Enhanced Drivers License, which would be all you would need to enter and leave Canada.

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Saturday, January 24, 2015 6:11 PM

I'm gonna say Canada's Wonderland is a *little* Kings Island-y. Remember, they were built around the same concept by the same company. There's International Street, and a wagon wheel layout for the rest with various Lands represented.
CW is a pretty park (it didn't used to be, but it's grown up nicely) and one place where they really excel is flats. You'll find themed versions of the Top Scan, UFO, Calypso, Skylab, and Giant Jump rides to name a few of the rarer rides. But flats are often not a coaster enthusiast's cup of tea and it sounds like you fall into that category. But for me it's a reason to go.
The wooden coasters there are just so-so, but I'm sure you've heard of the outstanding B&M hypers and for most here those are the reason to go.
As the third in a chain of new built parks, I think CW takes a page from both KI and KD. Each one overlaps with it's Canadian sister in some ways.

As for HoliWood Nights/Coastermania, I share your sentiment regarding the crowd that shows up at CP. I haven't been to that event in years, I finally couldn't stand it. But I live close enough to CP that I can make good use of slower times at the park and don't have to deal with that nonsense. Tek's comment about the HW event is true.
On the HW website there's a tentative schedule of events and I think you'll be pleased with the ERT.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015 12:43 PM

I'll add that the Canadian border agents are so much nicer to deal with than their U.S. counterparts. I've always felt welcome when entering Canada, coming back home is a different story.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015 3:04 PM

Canada's Wonderland is really beautiful and IMHO has a lot more to offer than Holiday World. Leviathan is reason enough to go. For the past two years I've hooked up with other bloggers to write a best ride of the year experience piece and while I had fully expected Goliath at Six Flags Great America to be my best ride, it wasn't. Leviathan surpassed it. Behemoth was also a treat and while some of the other rides were so so, it was a nice setting and a pleasant place to be. The fact that the park accepts USD was also a plus. I do like Holiday World a lot; I just happen to like CW more. If travelling by air, CW is especially convenient; it took me about 20 minutes to drive from Toronto Pearson to Vaughn as opposed to 45 to drive from Evansville Regional Airport to Santa Claus.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015 3:54 PM

I slightly remember my traveling-to-parks-for-purposes-of-riding-coasters-for-a-week-straight days, and I don't think I'd want to go back there again. I'm a completely different person now, and while I enjoy stopping at amusement parks, or spending a few days at a destination park, I just don't think I could go back to the multiple parks in a few days as possible thing.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015 7:48 PM

For those who dislike crossing boarders, BOTH Countries like it as much as you do (I've talked to agents from both sides). That @$#&!! 9/11 changed everything. The days of "Citizen of what country? How long do you plan to stay? Anything to declare? Move along!" are GONE. :(

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015 8:42 PM

I live 10 minutes from the border on the Canadian side. In the past we used to cross weekly. The bridge is no big deal. To be fair it can be an hour wait from time to time. But usually 15 mins or so. The biggest thing we try to avoid is crossing on Buffalo Bills game days. Other than that never give it a thought. One thing to consider is there is 3 crossings. The peace bridge, which is in Buffalo. Most of you would get directed to that bridge and it's usually good. The one I like to avoid is Queenston, Lewiston bridge. There is a 3rd bridge called the rainbow. It's in Niagara Falls. For whatever reason GPS will never take you to this bridge. But it is usually a safe bet. There is also a border buddy app you can download. It will have up to date wait times for all 3 crossings going both ways. Very helpful for the locals. If you have any specific wonderland questions, just ask. I have had a season pass there since 2008. I know the place inside and out. Not renewing this year because we moved out of the Toronto area and closer to the border. Hope everything works out well.

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Thursday, January 29, 2015 4:45 PM

slithernoggin said:

As a Michigan resident, you can get an Enhanced Drivers License, which would be all you would need to enter and leave Canada.

You could do that. But you should get a passport---and then you should use it as often as you can!

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Thursday, January 29, 2015 11:31 PM

Well, yes. But maybe some people only want to go to Canada. :)

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Friday, January 30, 2015 2:48 AM

Brian Noble said:

You could do that. But you should get a passport---and then you should use it as often as you can!

Canada's Wonderland isn't that good.

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Friday, January 30, 2015 8:21 AM

I don't think he was implying that you should use the passport strictly for the purpose of going to Wonderland.

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Friday, January 30, 2015 8:52 AM

I was trying to be funny.

(they can't all be winners)

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Friday, January 30, 2015 9:15 AM

I should have known.

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Friday, January 30, 2015 9:35 AM

It's just assumed that we all understand the implication is to travel the world. But it's an enthusiast site. With enthusiast mentality.

It struck me as funny to think that someone reading that probably thought, "Wow. Canada's Wonderland must be a really good park!"

...and then I posted.

That's how my mind works.

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Friday, January 30, 2015 9:43 AM

Maybe he wants to for LA Ronde.... also a joke.

Wonderland is a great overall park. Great for families especially. As far as for thrill seeking enthusiasts... it's OK at best. Coaster line up although bountiful, is far below average. Just so many horrible-bad coasters. Yeah they have nice flats.. but no one travels half a day drive for flats.

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Tuesday, February 3, 2015 10:12 PM

Thank you everyone that contributed some info on this thread. I’ve decided that I will go ahead and register for HWN at Holiday World as it sounds like the event attracts a more relaxed crowd and has generous food/ERT. I haven’t been back to HW since my one and only visit in 2007 due to being mildly disappointed with the hype surrounding both the park itself and the Voyage. However, I was early in my enthusiast life cycle and I’ve recently become more appreciative of the overall park experience (not just coasters) and not concerned at all with gaining credits and all of that stuff. It gives me comfort that some folks on here are like me in that I could only take 1 or 2 laps of Voyage at a time before I needed to take a break. I’ve become a bigger fan of a coaster’s re-rideability and comfort than pure intensity so I think I’ll be pleased with Thunderbird as I’m a huge fan of Gatekeeper and wing coasters in general.

As for Canada’s Wonderland, I think I’m going to opt out of visiting this park due to my previously stated reservations or at least until one more major coaster is built. I believe that CW will build an inverting steel coaster in the next few years that is comfortable, reliable, and high capacity which I don’t believe the park currently has in its lineup. It appears to me that CW has two great main attractions in the B&Ms but a weak undercard of mediocre coasters especially when compared to Kings Island. Maybe when I finally decide to pay a visit, I’ll combine it with an excursion to downtown Toronto or Niagara Falls so that I get a little more out of the adventure if CW isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

I do want to comment that I did have a passport but let it expire in 2013 as I hadn’t been overseas since the one time I used it in 2003. I would probably go ahead with the enhanced driver’s license that MI has arranged with Canada to cross the border. The only other thing that I’d have to be prepared for when visiting the Great White North is figuring out that whole entirely logical metric system of measurement. Isn’t knowing that 5,280 ft = 1 mile easier to remember than 1,000 m = 1 km, or is it just me?

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