SFGAdv, SFA, PKD, BGW, Hershey, Knoebels, Dorney, Lake Compounce and SFNE.
We'll also be stopping off at New York City for 3-4 days, Washington for a day and probably Boston for a day.
However, I could do with a little advice:
First off, out of the parks I'm visiting, are there any general hints / tips you could give me? Particularly,
> Are there any coupons / discounts around at the moment?
> Any tips for avoiding queues (i.e. FastLane? other options) and general park strategies?
> Are there any rides which I should do which are often over-looked?
> Do any of the coasters have a 'best row/seat'? (Sounds like a dumb question, but if anyone was visiting the UK, I'd advise you to ride Nemesis in the front row!)
I'll be driving down from SFGAdv to SFA/Washington and was wondering if Clementon Lake Park is worth a visit? I'm not really 'credit-hungry' but if J2 (or Tsunami) is worth a quick stop, and is on the way, I'd like to do it. Also does New York City have any coasters I should try to do? Is Coney Island Cyclone worth a ride?
In general, are there any non-coaster 'must-do' activities/attractions in NYC, Boston or Washington (other than the obvious sight-seeing)? Any often over-looked things I should visit? I may also be stopping off at Hartford; anything out of the ordinary to do there? And are there any other towns/cities/places which I should consider visiting which could fit into my trip?
Sorry for the question onslaught, but any info you could give me would be really, really appreciated! Thanks a lot!
All Six Flags have Fastlane in one version (Q-bot at Gadv. and NE) or the other (ticket-based at A).
Check with the unofficial fan sites, as well as, the park's own sites about what rides are a must and what might be forgotten. Off the top of my head, I can't think of anything that you would miss out of any of those parks without trying really hard except for the Houdini twins at NE and Gadv. Seeing as your from the U.K. I'm guessing you've been on your fair share of Mad Houses already.
As for must rides, everyone seems to be in agreement about Hi Speed Thrill Coaster and the Haunted House at Knoebels. Typhoon Sea Coaster at SFA is quite unique considering the only other one is at Blackpool Pleasure Beach.
Generally with the Intamin mega-coasters, front row and back row are best in my opinion. Skull Mountain at Gadv. must be ridden in the back row. You'll find out why!:) Any floorless coasters you come upon (3) should be ridden in the very front to get the full effect of the foot chopper, although I don't remember them allowing you to pick your own seat at SFNE for Batman. Two-Face at SFA should be ridden in both the fore and aft positions if you're into heavy g-Forces.
The main thing I look at when planning a trip is how late the parks are open on certain days. Some parks are open late every night and others are open late only on the weekends, so if there is a wooden coaster that I want to make sure to get a night ride on, I arrange the trip to maximize night rides. For instance, I would go to Lake Compoiunce on whichever day will offer the latest night ride on Boulder Dash.
Since your trip is scheduled for July, the parks are likely to be open later during the week, where as in May and June, they often close early during the week, so you should have much more options for maximizing your night rides. I went on a very similar trip a few summers back, and it was a blast. Have a great time!
Long live the Big Bad Wolf
Best discounts for Hersheypark are at Giant Food Stores. You can buy tickets there, not just get coupons. The tickets are $29.95 ($10 discount) for regular adult admission. There is a store in Hershey on Cocoa Avenue (Route 743 about a mile south of the park), and several others in the Harrisburg area. Those are the stores closest to the park.
Some of my favorite "not as well known" tourist attractions around eastern PA include:
Eckley Miners' village (sort of between Knoebels and Dorney) an entire old mining village has been turned into a museum,
Yuengling Brewery in Pottsville, American's oldest, a very upclose tour of a working brewery (including free samples),
Amish Country in Lancaster County (south of Hershey), though at times you'll see more tourists than Amish.
I would also recommend Musikfest in Bethlehem (not far from Dorney), but that's in August, after your trip.
All of those would be good side trips for a few hours on the way to or from a park. Also don't overlook Philadelphia for things to see and do.
When you decide to go north, you may want to look at a route that would take you out I-64 and up I-81. In Charlottetsville, VA you can see the home of President Thomas Jefferson, you can see also spend some time at the Manasas/Antietam/Monocacy/Gettysburg Civil War Battlefields. I haven't spent much time at most of those but I have spent a little bit of time at Monocacy and thought it was interesting how that one battle saved Washington, D.C. from falling into the hands of the South.
While in Williamsburg, spend a day or two going through Colonial Williamsburg. Williamsburg has been restored pre-American Revolution. You will probably get a kick out of how us American's tell the story of how we claimed our Independence. :)
A day at the park is what you make it!
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