Help Needed with East Coast Trip

Thursday, May 19, 2005 6:44 PM
Hi- I'm planning another coaster tour of USA and am travelling over from the UK in July to do the East Coast Parks. We're spending about 16 days doing:

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!
-Alex

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Thursday, May 19, 2005 7:09 PM
Hershey has $6-off coupons available at Burger Kings. I'm assuming that there are more dump-bins of these coupons available at other fast food restaurants. PKD has money off with a Coke can, where you tell they printed the cans early because it's still called Tomb Raider the Ride instead of Tomb Raider Firefall. I don't know about the others, but fast-food restaurants are generally a good place to start.

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.

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Thursday, May 19, 2005 8:52 PM
Boy, you are covering a lot of ground here in one post. The one tip I will give is to buy a Six Flags season pass at the first SF park that you go to. You can then use it to get in the other SF parks.
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Thursday, May 19, 2005 8:56 PM
To add onto the previous post, buy the pass at America or NE because its $20 cheaper than at Gadv.
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Thursday, May 19, 2005 10:13 PM
Make sure to try the Coney Cyclone. You can take the subway to the park and buy individual rides. It's a must. Also; try to avoid the major parks on Sunday and Fridays would be my only tip for cutting down on lines. If you choose to use FastPass-type systems, that's up to you.

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!

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Thursday, May 19, 2005 10:36 PM
You should be able to find Dorney discounts at a local Burger King or Wendy's. Last year there were discounts available for Lake Compounce at a nearby Subway.
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Thursday, May 19, 2005 10:42 PM
Bumper cars at Knoebels!!! I'm sure all will agree now that I brought this up. I don't ride bumper cars anymore because they are boring in the new, "safer" light fiberglass vehicles. Knoebels still runs the old, old-fashioned heavy steel cars where there is a collision everytime you hit somebody, WHAM! Very addictive, makes you remember back to when they were so cool and fun as a kid (for me, the 80's).
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Thursday, May 19, 2005 11:09 PM
Ahh, I thought of something that could be easily missed–Corkscrew Hill at BGW–a 3D ride simulator in the Ireland section of the park.
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Friday, May 20, 2005 12:19 AM
General rule is that all the parks will be less crowded on weekdays than weekends. Knoebels offers the all-day ride pass on weekdays, or if you decide not to stay all day, you can buy 10 dollar books of tickets for 9 dollars (or 5 for 4.50).

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.

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Friday, May 20, 2005 5:25 AM
I think the best deals on tickets are usually found online at the "official" park websites like Six Flags, Dorney and Kings Dominion. I liked Jim's suggestion of purchasing a season pass for the three Six Flags parks your going to. If you can work in SFNE or SFA first in trip you could probably save a substantial amount of money (example, $65 season pass bought at SFA used one day at the three parks would come out to $22).

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. :)

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Friday, May 20, 2005 6:31 AM
Thanks guys, all really useful tips... I was planning on a Six Flags pass, but I'm hitting SFGAdv first, so will have to pay a bit more- should still work out a lot cheaper anyway.
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Friday, May 20, 2005 9:31 AM
One more thing you might overlook-the free Chocolate Factory Tour which is to the left of the main parking lot at Hershey. Sure it's no longer the real deal, but the Epcot-like-ride is still fun, and you still get a small (they had to cut down on the size) but satisfying candy bar at the end.
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Friday, May 20, 2005 11:18 AM
^ And it smells much better too.
The one thing I'd recommend is to do Chocolate World before hitting the park, then putting the stuff you'll inevitably buy there in the car (in a nice cool place). Or else leave the park a bit earlier. I've found out the last couple of times I've been at Hershey is that Chocolate World closes at the same time or even before the main park. I think it closes at 9. So upon leaving the park, we find out that CW is already closed. I would think they would stay open maybe half an hour after the park closes just to catch all the people leaving, but I guess they have their reasons.
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Friday, May 20, 2005 5:22 PM
Thanks again for the info-- Is Clementon Lake Park worth a visit to ride their woodie, J2 (Tsunami)?
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Saturday, May 21, 2005 2:44 AM
I would definitly buy a SF season pass if you're going to hit 3 while here. That will not only save you ca$h, but be convienient. Also, buy your PKD tix online. Doubtful that you'll find much of a coupon with more off than what they offer for online.
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