Help needed with Illinois/Indiana/Kentucky trip in '04

Thursday, January 8, 2004 4:49 PM
I'm sure that there are plenty of you out there that can help me with this one, so now is the time to make your voices heard!

In addition to a western PA road trip next spring, I am planning on making a trip to visit some parks that I've been meaning to get to for quite some time... Holiday World, Indiana Beach and SFGAm, to name a few. Looking at an atlas, it seems to me that it would be wise to fly into Chicago, hit SFGAm, Indiana Beach, Holiday World and SFKK before flying out of Louisville. Either that, or fly into Louisville and then do everything in reverse.

How long a drive is it between each park? Any recommendations when it comes to hotels? Are there any other parks that make sense to add? Kings Island? The Wisconsin Dells (so many wooden coasters in 2004)? How far is Michigan's Adventure?

I'm open to any suggestions!

Thursday, January 8, 2004 5:09 PM
MapQuest is your friend.

But offhand, I'd say from O'Hare to Indiana Beach, we're talking at least 3 hours, then 4 hours from there to Holiday World, and about 90 minutes from HW to SFKK. From SFKK, it'd be about 4 hours to PKI. Michigan's Adventure, you should hit from Chicago if anywhere, but it's in the middle of BFE compared to the others.

All I've got to say about hotels is, don't stay at the Holiday Inn Express in Tell City, IN. I've stayed there twice, and they've royally screwed up my reservations both times.

Thursday, January 8, 2004 5:19 PM

If it were me, and it were my first time visiting most of these parks, I'd have to say start out in Chicago with SFGAM, the largest of the parks you've mentioned (except for King's Island) Do that on Day 1. Big Chief's would add a good 6 hours of Driving (there and Back) and with all the other places you're hitting I'd have to say I doubt it'd be worth it. Save that for another trip and do
Adventureland, Arnold's, Big Chief's, Noah's Ark and Little A-Merrick-A (and SFGam again).
This trip, stay focused.
so Day 1: Preferably a Tuesday: Fly in, go to SFGam all day. It'll be a 4 hour drive to Muskegon (since you do want to hit MI Adventure this trip) so drive halfway and stay in SouthWest Michigan for the night.

Day 2: 1-2 hours drive to Mi Adventure. Get there before they open, hit the coasters, and maybe enjoy the waterpark briefly. Don't dawdle, though, as you've got a 4 hour drive to Monticello, IN where you'll be hitting Indiana Beach tonight. It's open till 11, so as long as you're there by 6 you'll have plenty of time. You'll be spending the night in Indianapolis tonight, so you still have another 1.5 hours of driving

Day 3: Since you did those 2 in one day, you have a day to do King's Island, as it's only 2 hours from Indianapolis. No need to feel rushed, you've got the whole day to enjoy the park. When you've had your fill, go ahead and drive to your hotel in Louisville, an hour and a half away, where you'll be spending your next two nights (finally, some regularity in your life)

Day 4: Now it's time for a little decision making. If it were me, I'd go ahead and drive right past SFKK on to Santa Claus, IN. A 1.5 hour drive. It's Friday, and while this means you'll be going to SFKK on a Saturday, fear not, there's a trick. Today will be a better day to enjoy Holiday World (Note: If you'll be going one of the weeks in the summer when HW is open till 9 or 10 on Saturday night, go ahead and do SFKK on Friday. A rule to live by is never, ever pass up night rides at Holiday World)

Day 5: You spent the night back in Louisville after a life changing day at Holiday World. SFKK will be busy today, but it won't bother you. Why? You'll be buying a stack of Fastpasses for $1 each, mocking those waiting in line for an hour for Chang and T2. If you're lucky you'll get to ride both Lola and Stella, and you'll be sure to use all your leftover Fastpasses for ThunderRun (just check your lap bar and seat belt mid ride, trust me)

Plan an evening flight, and since you're right next to the airport, you'll have no trouble getting there. Now go home, and TAKE A NAP. *** Edited 1/8/2004 10:25:24 PM UTC by ThemeDesigner***

Thursday, January 8, 2004 5:32 PM
Rob - call Indiana Beach now and ask about rates for their penthouse suite at their hotel. It overlooks the midway and has a private entrance. I stayed there in 2002 and had a's great if you can afford it ;) But even if you can't afford the penthouse staying on-property is a great way to experience the park.

As for more specific info, e-mail me!


Thursday, January 8, 2004 5:33 PM
You could ask me. I did a similar trip last year, and it was "wonderful" (in quotes). ;)

Thursday, January 8, 2004 11:23 PM

Den said:
MapQuest is your friend.

From SFKK, it'd be about 4 hours to PKI. .


Speaking of Mapquest being your friend, the site says its about 121 miles between SFKK and PKI.

If it takes you 4 hours to drive between these parks, you must be using a horse and carriage. :)

*** Edited 1/9/2004 4:24:05 AM UTC by Chitown***
Friday, January 9, 2004 5:09 AM

ThemeDesigner said:

If it were me, and it were my first time visiting most of these parks, I'd have to say start out in Chicago with SFGAM
1. Big Chief's would add a good 6 hours of Driving (there and Back) and with all the other places you're hitting I'd have to say I doubt it'd be worth it. Save that for another trip and do
Adventureland, Arnold's, Big Chief's, Noah's Ark and Little A-Merrick-A (and SFGam again).

You do realize that the Dells is really nowhere near Adventureland, right? You're looking at about six hours from Altoona to Wisconsin Dells, while Gurnee to Wisconsin Dells is less than three.

Additionally, as Chitown pointed out, PKI and SFKK are really only about an hour and a half apart.


Friday, January 9, 2004 10:12 AM
If you start your drive fairly early and take breaks for breakfast, the driving is fine. I'd say:

SFGAm-IB = 2-3hours
IB-HW= 3-4hours
HW-SFKK= 1 hourish
SFKK-PKI= 2-3 hours

We came over from the UK to your fine country :) and I'd say that if you're going to PKI you'd might as well tag Cedar Point onto that list. But if not, Stick to SFGAm-SFKK.

SFGAm is awesome and 2 days might be a good idea... I like IB, to amazing CCIs and likewise at HW, plus an outstanding water park, and although SFKK is IMO not amazing, it does have Chang ;).

For those parks here how we did it, we stayed at cheap travel lodges, such as Sleep Inn etc.:
Day 1.) Fly into Chicago, SFGAm, stay at Lake Bluff
Day 2.) SFGAm, stay at Lake Bluff
Day 3.) Drive to IB, drive and stay at Pittsburgh
Day 4.) Drive to HW, drive and stay in the centre of Louisville
Day 5.) SFKK

That worked pretty damn well! Good luck, have fun!

Friday, January 9, 2004 10:24 AM
Just to confuse everyone...wanted to remind trip planners of the time zone weirdness between Indiana and points east.

In the summer months, Indiana and Illinois are on the same time...and it's an hour *later* in Kentucky and Ohio. So you *gain* an hour driving from PKI to HW.

Don't get all wrapped up in Daylight Savings'll only give you a headache.

Happy trip planning!


Friday, January 9, 2004 10:25 AM
If it takes you 4 hours to drive between these parks, you must be using a horse and carriage.

I'm Amish, didn't I mention that?

Actually, the 4 hours is from SFKK to my house in Columbus... d'oh... subtract 90 minutes for the time to PKI.

Friday, January 9, 2004 10:32 AM
The only park that I havn't been to in that bunch is Big Chiefs. I wouldn't bother going out of the way to MIA unless you REALLY REALLY out there, to get to MIA you have to go on the glorious limited access highway that slows to 30 m.p.h. every fifteen miles for some poodunk town. And Honestly IMHO MIA is not worth the hassle, even if ST is pretty good. I think you probably are correct in flying to Chicago, and then going to IB, then Holiday world and SFKK, but something tells me that it isn't real cheap to fly out of Louisville, plus what are you doing about a car, rent a cars charge you money, unlike U-Haul if you leave it in a different office. At least they did 2 years ago.
Friday, January 9, 2004 10:35 AM
Den: Mapquest has proven not to be my friend in the past... when I used it a year or so ago for directions to a concert on Long Island, it left me at the end of a residential cul-de-sac about ten miles away from the venue! I still use it for approximate driving times, but I prefer to talk to people and find out what they suggest I do as far as driving.

ThemeDesigner: I was contemplating the idea of adding Michigan's Adventure but was wondering if it was feasible or if it was too out-of-the-way and would make the trip too long (I try to keep costs down and preserve precious vacation time by keeping trips to four or five days). Since you recommend doing MA and Indiana Beach in the same day, I assume that I could be done with MA in a few hours? I'd skip the waterpark... I'd rather spend the time on coasters or save the time for an extra hour or so at IB.

Moosh: How much does that penthouse room go for? It sounds like a cool idea ;)

eyeamthu1: I would love to get back to CP, but we were there in 2002 and we'd rather hit parks that we've never been to, hence the reason for considering PKI. We'll probably get back to CP and SFWoA in 2005, when one (or both) or those parks add a new coaster and when LeSourdesville Lake reopens (fingers crossed).

Friday, January 9, 2004 11:23 AM
As a reminder, any driving between SFGAm and points south must take into consideration the nightmare that is Chicago rush hour. It can add an hour or more to your drive time.


Friday, January 9, 2004 11:42 AM
coasterkid: I am really "on the fence" when it comes to MA. I have always wanted to go and ride Shivering Timbers, so that would be the main reason for me doing so. I'm not sure if I want to spend the time it takes to get out there and then come back to the area which I want to spend time in (IB, HW, PKI, SFKK and SFGAm), but then again, I'm not sure what other opportunities I would have to get to MA.

I have never had a problem with dropping off a rental car at a different location. Each time we go to Florida, we always fly into one airport and leave from another, and I don't ever recall paying a surcharge. Unless, of course, that is because we stay in the state of Florida.

Friday, January 9, 2004 12:17 PM
Rob - to be honest I don't know the total cost of the penthouse suites as I did not handle the reservations for that portion of the trip. I'd suggest calling the hotel directly.


Friday, January 9, 2004 12:18 PM
They still do one-way fees at most rental companies. Like you said you stayed in-state. (Not to mention a big state for tourism.)

For a 1 week Avis rental from Ohare to louisville it would be $306 (363.82 after taxes and surcharges) but the same car for the same time period returned at ohare would be 140 (167.94 after T&S)

For Hertz it's $315 ($376) for one way and $148 ($178) for local.

For Dollar, it's $203 ($242) and $122 ($147). *** Edited 1/9/2004 5:19:11 PM UTC by redman822***

Saturday, January 10, 2004 6:50 PM
Just a question...when does sfkk open for the season? I have been checking ther web site for ages with no dates listed yet.
Sunday, January 11, 2004 11:27 AM
Crazy horse, SFKK usually opens the first weekend in April...
Sunday, January 11, 2004 12:26 PM
I would consider hitting the Dells first, and then making your way down from there. With a new S&S woodie coming, and a great collection of CCI's at Big Chief's, I think its a no-brainer to hit the Dells instead of MI. Unless you could do both...
Sunday, January 11, 2004 1:45 PM
Do they charge you mileage on car rental? I had to rent a car 4 months ago (didn't want to) but I noticed they put down a milage limit of 150 miles per day. Do they do that due to age restrictions (I'm 23) or is it due to fact I was using it for personal use and not vacation use? I have a trip planned in my mind for the future and will fly into Chicago, go up to Wisconsin, Minnesota, then down towards Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, then back to Chicago. Will they restrict my milage or is it unlimited milage? Thanks.

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