Park your car across the street after following the extremely helpful yellow arrows with the Kennywood Logo, then crossover the pathway to buy a ticket, pass through the tunnel, and then either turn left or turn right. It really is that simple:)
If you like steel, turn left to take you up to where Phantom's Revenge and Exterminator are (it will also put you near Thunderbolt). If you like classic woodies, go right to pick up Jack Rabbit and Racer. Have you checked out their website yet? I'm sure it's got a lot of good information for you to answer almost any question you would have.
It's a great park with a lot of variety and history. I think you'll have fun.
I'm feeling stragely diplomatic today, so I'll give you the slap-you-in-the-face honest answer: you don't need a plan. Kennywood's not big enough and doesn't attract big enough crowds to require a "game plan" in order to hit everything. I've ridden literally every non-kiddie ride in the park on a "busy" Saturday before sundown. Enjoy your day!
Exterminator generally has the longest lines so you might want to ride this early before the park gets too crowded. It is located at the back of the Lost Kennywood section. Phantoms Revenge can have long lines if it operates with only one train. This has been happening more lately because of computer and chain motor concerns. I don't know if the problem has been fixed yet. Raging Rapids has long lines on hot afternoons. I don't know about Swing Shot's lines but this ride does have good capacity. Otherwise the lines are generally reasonable (anything from a walk-on to 30 minutes depending upon the ride and time of day)
As for the food, You will quickly discover that this is not Six Flags. Small Fry's in Lost Kennywood is a good lunch choice with the famous Potato Patch Fries and Chicken Strips combo. There are many other good choices in the park as well.
One more thing, stay after dark! This park is so beautiful when the lights come on and rides on the coasters at night are awesome. *** Edited 6/24/2006 12:01:48 PM UTC by Arthur Bahl*** *** Edited 6/24/2006 12:03:23 PM UTC by Arthur Bahl***
Do they still have the ambiguous closing time? They did three years ago. So in other words, they might kick you at 10pm, or they might kick you out at 11pm depending on weather and crowds.
I totally forgot about the Thunderbolt no single rider policy, because of the lack of seat dividers that would probably lead to huge bruises or worse at the end of the ride. If you can't find someone to ride with, go up into the station and announce that you are a single rider to a load op. They will then make an announcement to get you another single rider.
For Exterminator, except to feel like you waited the longest you ever have for a ride. Remember, you're waiting for a Reverchon (now Zamperla) spinning mouse. If you've ever ridden one outdoors, you know how crappy the capacity is. It's not unusual to wait in the full outside queue, and the full inside queue. It does have a much better payoff though then the outdoor versions:) *** Edited 6/24/2006 2:45:47 PM UTC by Intamin Fan***
The no single rider policy on Thunderbolt was in response to a ride fatality that occurred on this ride about a year after the ride opened. With that intense helix, no seat dividers, and a bar that locks in a single position, it is not difficult to imagine how this happened.
Kennywood adopted this policy rather than change the trains in order to to preserve tradition. The NAD flyer trains were carryovers from the Pippin and are true classics. Thunderbolt remains an ACE classic coaster. *** Edited 6/24/2006 2:55:01 PM UTC by Arthur Bahl***
While everyone has made good suggestions I just say go in and immerse yourself in the park. It's a very nice park with some good old time rides like the Turtle, Kangaroo, and Noah's Ark.
If they are running one train on Phantom and Thunderbolt when you get there, chances are they will add a second train later on. I went last Friday and went to Phantom first. They only ran one train while the line stretched out onto the bridge. They added the second train later. Same goes with Thunderbolt.
Swing Shot is the new ride and I think it's much better than Skyhawk. You get slightly longer swing time and you don't have those bulky clips like Skyhawk does. Plus KW staff is quite fast with the intervals.
Jack Rabbit is my favorite wood coaster there. It may look simple but that double dip is fantastic.
When we went last Friday, we got there at opening and rode Exterminator first. It took another 15 minutes after riding before Phantom opened, then we just worked clockwise around the park since crowds appeared to be low.
By the time we made it to Racer (around 2 pm) there was a 30 minute wait, and same for Jack Rabbit. We had to leave by 4:30 pm, so I missed out on the Whip and Kangaroo, but if you plan to stay until dark, you should have no trouble riding everything.
Aero and Swingshot were down, although Swingshot opened around 4-ish.
Intamin, it was that way when I was there last year. Late afternoon/ early evening they announced the park would remain open until 10:30. That was on a Thursday in August. But I did notice there was a large influx of people after 5. So I suppose they gage how large the twilight crowd is, then set the closing time accordingly.
The gates open at 10:30, and rides start to open around 11:00. If you arrive right when the gates open, I'd suggest queuing for Phantom's Revenge first, as the ride accumulates a decent line fairly quickly, and two-train operation only begins when the wait is 30+ minutes. After riding PR, ride PittFall and Exterminator in Lost Kennywood. PittFall only operates three sides (12 riders per cycle), and Exterminator doesn't have great capacity; these rides tend to have long lines for the remainder of the day. While you're in the area, swing past Swing Shot (no pun intended)--the ride has been running only one side for a good part of the season; if this is the case, this ride will also have a large line later in the day. From there, work clockwise around the park, starting with the Thunderbolt and going from there.
Unlike parks such as Cedar Point, Kennywood starts many of their rides with a minimum of cars/trains/boats, adding more vehicles as the lines grow. You may see slightly longer lines around noon; however, things will pick up as the rides transition into full-capacity operation. Aside from Exterminator, all of the coasters at the park keep their lines moving when operating all available trains. If it's a warm day, the three water rides will start seeing lines almost immediately. If you don't mind getting wet in the evening, hold off your water rides until then--the lines on Log Jammer, Raging Rapids, and Pittsburg Plunge are almost non-existent after dinnertime (keep in mind, however, that the water rides will close around 8 or 9).
The park's food stands offer typical amusement park fare. The Parkside Café, a cafeteria-style restaurant, is the park's only indoor eatery. (Not air-conditioned.) The Potato Patch is the park's famous french fry stand, offering nothing but fries (with your choice of toppings) and drinks. Don't be surprised to see crowds of people 10+ deep waiting for fries during peak eating times. Coasterbuzz members have suggested visiting the Patch during an off time in order to avoid soggy fries. Keep an eye out as you walk around--there are a handful of "specialty" stands, such as Mexican, Gyros, and Sausages scattered around the park.
I agree with Touchdown, I love the Kangaroo! And just like many people said, the park isn't THAT big but I would do Exterminator and Pittfall first. Phantom's lines never get THAT long, as least when I have been there.
Actually I have always seen Racer and Jack Rabbitt's lines to be longer, but they are not too bad.
And yes, you have to ride in the back seat of the Rabbit, and NO holding onto the bar during the double-dip.
Potato Patch fries.......cheese, bacon bits, garlic salt. Some people like gravy.
Just take your time and take it all in. Aero 360 is a funky ride. That is NOT to be missed.
The "preferred" parking is $5 I think? It's worth it.
Most of all, just have fun! Every aspect of Kennywood is worth it. You will love it! The Kennywood arrows pointing to the park help A LOT, especially for a newbie. It's very easy to get lost in and around West Mifflin, trust me. ;)
*** Edited 6/25/2006 7:19:06 PM UTC by coasterqueenTRN***
Unless you are going to be running back to your car five times in the day, or the park is slammed the preffered parking is silly. You are paying less than most parks, but why pay to park when its free!