Early Bird Or Night Owl?

When it comes to visiting parks, which do you prefer? First ride or last ride? Being there when the gates open, or having the gates hit you in the ass on the way out? Or are you there from open to close?
Night owl. Mornings suck.
Early bird. The kids aren't consistently able to do late nights and still be functional the next day. If the park's hours are shorter (close at 9 or before) and we are staying the night, we'll often open/rest/close.

matt.'s avatar
Frankly I've had way too many days at parks where I've gotten there an hour early, gotten on all my rides halfway through the day, and then done my best to kill half the day just to get some night rides.

So both. If I'm at a park I've never visited I still want to get there as early as I can. But if I'm at a park I'm familiar with I'm being better about going late.

I prefer the last ride. I'm a night owl through and through. However, I also prefer to be there when the gates open, AND have them hit me on the way out.
I like night-better rides, cooler temperature, better atmosphere. It's rare that I arrive at a park for opening.

"Would you like to buy a photo of you boys enjoying the Line Ride?"

Well, rushing to (The Big Coaster at whatever park, let's say Goliath SFOG) at open and getting on the first train or two is awesome, but so are night rides. I call that a wash.

But I have bad ADHD, so I'm an open to close guy. Doing it at the Point next Sunday.

matt.'s avatar
Having ADHD might as well be part of the unofficial coaster enthusiast by-laws.
Start early, open the park and stay 'till the end. If I need a break, it's in the afternoon.

To being an "us" for once - instead of a "them".

Good thread.

Well I do both but Im definately a night owl when it comes to power riding and being in the mood.

Last year at Kennywood we showed up before opening to get first rides on Phantom but it wasn't until six that I was absolutely enjoying myself, wanting to ride again and again and actually loving Thunderbolt, A coaster I formerly found overrated on my previous visits.

Something about walking around baking in the hot sun detracts a little from the nirvana you can actually experience at parks if the conditions are right.

Chuck, who honestly hasn't had a daytime ride on Timbers I've actually loved and its my #2

Even if I haven't been to a park before, 10am or 11am is about my starting point. I know we had to get a couple of time extensions at the hotels on my recent midwest amusement park/tourist trip. We were averaging six hours a day of driving according to my navigator and co-driver gowithgravity, so there were days where it was hard to get moving early in the morning. I think with most parks, you can look at the lineup and figure out how early you need to arrive.

So I definitely like the end of the night better--particularly for the lighting, although I do have my limits. Beastbuzz (and yes, we were warned) definitely tested those limits, but at least I had plenty of downtime in the picnic pavillion and in the theatre later that night before we kept on riding. Besides, The Beast at night was the perfect "Red Bull" alternative:)

matt.'s avatar

Charles Nungester said:
and being in the mood.

Oh, in this case, definately at night. All though I've been known to do a few nooners in my time.

Definitely a night owl,I can never seem to get to SFA around opening but usually end up staying about a half hour past closing depending on how long the wait for supes is for that all important final ride of the night.
coasterqueenTRN's avatar
Usually I like to get there first thing, but if it's a park I usually frequent I will leave early or leave and take a nap and then go back for some night rides. If there is an event going on I will leave during mid-afternoon and then return later that evening. Or stop riding for a while, explore a new park, leave, and then return later that evening.

It really depends on how I feel, but staying in a park from open till close can wear you out FAST. I rarely stay at ANY park from open till close. The best thing about the events is you can get the morning ERT's out of the way, explore the park a little, then leave for a couple of hours. Later that evening you can return right before nightime ERT refreshed.

I can't really tolerate the crowds or the lines. If it's a coaster I haven't been on yet then I will wait in line, but usually nothing over an hour or two. Like I said it depends.

Yeah, I'm spoiled. ;)


*** Edited 7/21/2006 11:51:24 PM UTC by coasterqueenTRN***

CoastersNSich's avatar
Night owl. Most of my visits to KI have been for the last few hours of operation, since I live 20 minutes away. There's just a lot less hustle and bustle to get in and to rides then at first thing in the morning. Not to menton guests slowly leaving the park and the lowering of temperatures - and not having to mess with sunblock. This was REALLY true when they had the lame 10 am gate opening April-June, but it's better now.

Dental Plan! Lisa Needs Braces.

matt. said:

Charles Nungester said:
and being in the mood.

Oh, in this case, definately at night. All though I've been known to do a few nooners in my time.

Leave M:TR alone, hes mine! :)

Definitely BOTH for me, especially when traveling.

I like to be there BEFORE the gates open, ride all day, and spend the end of the operating day marathoning on my favorite coaster/s in any given park, which is always a woodie or a hyper.

It is not uncommon for me to ride the ENTIRE ride package of a park, with at least 2 or more laps on each coaster, and MULTIPLES on any woodies or hypers the park may have, eat a meal, and see some shows, ALL before the sun goes down. In smaller parks with smaller coaster counts and ride packages, is is not uncommon for me to get TWO complete sets of the entire ride package before dark.

Then after sunset, I consider it the "night session", and I "start over", figure out how much time I have after dark before closing, and figure out a "strategy" regarding what I most want to ride after dark.

One reason I like Halloween and Christmas events so much is I can often get 2 or more night rides on EVERY coaster in a park, PLUS night rides on ALL or MOST of the remaining ride package. (log rides, train, antique cars, flats, etc)

I consider an operating day at a park to be like a movie. You DEFINITELY don't want to miss the ending, but if I get their even just a few minutes late in the morning it nags at me and I feel like I am "missing something".

An exception is at a "home park", where sometimes half days are better than no visit at all. In that case, I prefer the closing half of the day, for night rides and cooler temps. I did not ever visit a "home park" on a day that I could start at opening but would have had to leave before closing.

As annoyed as I can be when I miss a "gate opening" or "rope drop", it would be MUCH more disapointing to have to leave when there is still fun going on, so if I could only pick one or the other I'd have to pick the night rides.

To be honest, I don't think in my entire life I've EVER walked out of a park before it closed. NOT EVER. In my world, that would be SACRILEDGE!

With my new home parks in Orlando, when I can do a full day at the parks I pick a park to be my "main park" that day. I arrive at that park before opening and do every attraction in that park. If I have time left over, I repeat favorites until the night entertainment finale and/or closing time takes place.

If another park has later hours than my "main park" that day, I often "park hop" after the first park closes to keep the fun going. But I never leave the first park before it closes. I like to really FOCUS on the park I've selected for that day and give it the attention it deserves for a full day visit, where I can really get into the vibe of what that park is about, the story it is telling, get my finger on its pulse.

Usually my "park hops" in central Florida end with me in the Magic Kingdom. This is because its my favorite park in the area and also because it is usually open the latest. I've even had park hops there after doing Busch Gardens in Tampa from open to close, the difference in operating hours between the 2 parks was that drastic!

Even on just a short 1 hour park hop to MK, I've often seen Wishes (fireworks), got a night lap on Big Thunder Mountain and or Splash Mountain, got on 2 or 3 Fantasyland dark rides, then got in the Space Mountain queue right before closing. On nights with two Spectromagic parades with the last one at the 11 PM closing time, after riding Space Mountain I could still usually make it to the end of the Spectro route before the parade did.

Of course I also love doing full days in the Magic Kingdom as well. During the Easter week which is supposed to be so crowded and miserable, by getting there for opening and using Fastpass I still got on every attraction in the park before sundown. And with the midnight closing, I got repeats on most of the attractions again after dark! Some of my BEST visits at MK were during the Easter rush, because the extended hours and my mastery of the BRILLIANT Fastpass system MORE than made up for any larger crowds!

When eligible for Extra Magic Hours, I've had days at the MK that began at 7 AM and ended at 3 AM! And I was STILL into it after 20 straight hours!

In addition to being an "open to close parkie" who doesn't like breaking up my day between two parks on the road, I also like doing MULTIPLE days at each park I visit, especially the larger "regional theme park" types.

I sense that many enthusiasts are sort of like rock bands who hit a park for a few hours or a full day before heading for their next stop the next day.

I am more like a baseball team, a circus, or a musical ;) I arrive in town to do a "residency" or "series of dates" at a park, usually 2 or 3 full days but sometimes more. And EACH of those days are ALWAYS open to close!

I love doing it this way because even though my park and coaster count is less than it could be, I feel like every single park visit I've had while "on the road" is very high in QUALITY. And I feel like I've been a PART of every park I've visited, that I got into a groove with it, had my finger on its pulse, got its vibe. Usually by the time I leave town I have solid full-day strategies in place for each park. And a lot of the ops remember me from year to year, even in parks I just visit for 3 days a year. It's almost as if each park I visit is my "home park", at least while I'm there.

One thing I can safely say I am definitely NOT is a "credit whore". You will NEVER see me abort a park visit "in progress" before the end of an operating day to get a kiddie coaster "credit" an hour or more out of the way, only to find out after getting there that there is a max height limit!

The hobby for me is a lot less about numbers and more about spending quality time with the parks and coasters I do get to visit.

Frontrider *** Edited 7/22/2006 1:28:30 AM UTC by Frontrider*** *** Edited 7/22/2006 6:01:32 AM UTC by Frontrider***

I like the night becuase I have my "Midnight Rush". The last two hours the park is open I hit as many coasters as I possibly can. I sprint from every coaster to the next and never take a break. I have my entire path figured out while I am waiting in line for the coaster. So becuase of this challenge I set for myself I love the night. In the morning I'm more slow passed and take each coaster as it comes.

The Only Thing Worst Then Dieing, Is Living And Having Nothing Worth Dieing For.
When I go solo...it's first one in - last one out.

When I go with the family it's get there by 11:30 and leave at 5 PM.

If we are on vacation, I will do the family thing, go have dinner, hang by the hotel pool and then return solo for evening & night rides.

Lately, I feel that even when I go by myself and it's a very hot day, I would love the hotel swim / afternoon nap option.

If I only have a hlaf a day or a few hours I run over to Rye Playland or Adventureland for a quick fix.

Someone mentioned this in another thread, but as much as I love being part of the "Running of the bulls," I find that even when I'm first on line, within seconds, the throngs are passing me and I am out of breath. (Perhaps incentive to get in shape).

Here's To Shorter Lines & Longer Trip Reports!

I'm a night owl by nature. Amusement parks are one of the few things that can (sometimes ;) ) get me going early in the morning, though.

"You seem healthy. So much for voodoo."

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