How far is too far to get to a park?

Lord Gonchar's avatar

Jeph said:

Secondly, out of curiosity, why are you so down on Kings Island?

Just not a big fan of the place. Best times I've had there were the Coasterbuzz events. All before we moved out here. Was pretty excited to have KI as a 'home' park. But it just never clicked. We just don't have a lot of fun there.

The best way I can describe it is that while nothing there outrightly sucks (SOB excluded in it's SBNO state), there's nothing outstanding there either (maybe Diamondback). There are no highs or lows - just a lot of middle of the road entertainment.

We haven't been there in over two years now. Our last visit was for the debut of the Snoopy Starlight thing back in 2010.

My fun fact is that I've visited the park 15 times from 2004-2010 and still haven't ridden all of the coasters.

My son has been bugging us to get back now that he's passed 54 inches and can ride Diamondback. We'll see. With CP getting a new coaster next year we'll probably end up with Platinum passes in 2013. Then again it says a lot that we get passes for our home park based on what the park 3 hours north does.


Vater's avatar

Lord Gonchar said:
while nothing there outrightly sucks (SOB excluded in it's SBNO state)

Just a small nitpick: SOB improved considerably around June 2009.

Interesting, Gonch. I can understand where you're coming from. For example, I wouldn't put a ride like Flight Deck or Adventure Express in my top 10, yet I view them as great Arrow suspended and mine train coasters. They do have a stand-out steel and wooden coaster though, at least as far as enthusiast lists are concerned. If the Beast roughness was a concern with you, it's as smooth as can be this year.

I guess what I really like about Kings Island is the tree-filled atmosphere and general park beauty. The park atmosphere is a polar opposite of Cedar Point, so it kind of gives me the best of both worlds. Also, Kings Island really comes to life at night. I can't quite pin it, but everything that seems mediocre at Kings Island in the afternoon is just awesome at night.

So, when your son is of proper age, I'd recommend returning to Kings Island and hitting the second Friday night Haunt in September. There should be low to moderate crowds, an incredible atmosphere, great haunted attractions, and all the rides without waits in the dark suddenly seem awesome. This is at least what made me realize that it's close to my favorite park the last 3 years in a row.

Last edited by Jeph,
CoasterDemon's avatar

Sorry, you are all wrong.

The correct answer is 12,451 miles. That's half way around the world. If you surpass that, you should have went the exact opposite way. Google maps is your friend.


Billy
Raven-Phile's avatar

I won't drive very far these days, especially on a day trip. If I'm more than a couple of hours away, I'll need to stay the night. I prefer to camp or stay at a cabin or something like that where the park is a part of the trip, but not the entirety of it.

I just drove 9 hours to Saratoga Springs, NY to spend a weekend camping and seeing my favorite live act, but even that almost killed me and I wish I'd taken a couple of extra days and broken the trip up until shorter drives with overnight stays along the way.

Lord Gonchar's avatar

Jeph said:

I'd recommend returning to Kings Island and hitting the second Friday night Haunt in September. There should be low to moderate crowds, an incredible atmosphere, great haunted attractions, and all the rides without waits in the dark suddenly seem awesome. This is at least what made me realize that it's close to my favorite park the last 3 years in a row.

Enduring Haunt crowds is one of my least favorite KI things.

Done KI's Haunt twice, both times ran into unbearable crowds. Waiting ridiculous lengths of time for what felt like - again, I'm forced to use 'middle of the road' - haunted attractions.

As far as Hallwoeen goes, our area (Columbus, Dayton, Cincy) has some terrific independent haunts that blow away anything the theme parks do.


Friday is your friend at Haunt, especially if you don't care about the actual haunts that much. I had two rides on Flight of Fear the Friday night I went where I was quite literally the only person other than employees in the building. Even Diamondback was nearly a walk on the entire night once the haunts opened. And even after the haunts opened, I still did about half of them with little to no wait at all. Saturday...oy, Saturday was a completely different beast, and I did very little that day.


Original BlueStreak64

Lord Gonchar's avatar

maXairMike said:

Friday is your friend at Haunt, especially if you don't care about the actual haunts that much.

Just wanted to quote this. :)

Seriously though, I know what you're saying. But honestly, if I'm indifferent on the coasters - riding them more (or more easily) holds little value.

I'm ok with the fact that KI isn't for me. You guys don't have to convince otherwise. Maybe the next big addition will be something I can get on board with.


Meh, I'd say waiting in long lines for what you consider mediocre rides and haunts would possibly kill the park off the map. Now walking on everything, you have lower expectations. You didn't waste an hour of your day on the ride, so everything it delivers is just syrup.

Anyway, I'm going to wrap this back into the thread topic. Maybe I haven't visited the right parks yet, but take Canada's Wonderland and Kings Dominion as an example. I drove 6-7 hours for CW and 9-10 hours for Kings Dominion vs the 2.5 hours for KI. I enjoyed my time at both of these parks very much, but I felt they were also filled with mediocre coasters and a couple hits. While the drive to get to the parks and area they were in was very different, the park atmospheres felt eerily similar to Kings Island.

So, after finishing CW and KD, I felt satisfied, but I felt KI did everything those parks did, and I preferred KI's couple hits. So, the question became: Would I drive 6-7 hours for Leviathan and 9-10 hours for I-305 / Volcano again when I could drive 2.5 hours for Diamondback / Beast?

Probably not. But, combine the coaster hits from multiple park stops and go with some fun people, and the answer is definitely yes.

Lord Gonchar's avatar

Multiple parks changes the dynamic a lot.

I should point out that my post about the furthest I'd drive is based on the assumption that you're spending time hitting many parks.

Just needed to clear up that I wouldn't drive even close to 9 hours if we're talking one park. When I say that I usually mean a week-long trip hitting 4-7 parks as part of a greater road trip scenario.

One day at one park?

I wouldn't drive more than an hour-ish for a day trip.

Beyond two hours, there has to be multiple days or multiple parks involved. For instance, I have no problem with 3 hours to CP, but we always do at least two days.

I guess I could best sum it up as 1-2 hours per day, per park up to the point where flying becomes more time efficient without blowing the budget.

Last edited by Lord Gonchar,

The farthest I've driven was from my home in OH to the old Elitch Gardens in Denver. It was the final few weekends before they were to close for good and I wanted to get the credits before they were torn down.

On an occassional basis, I do drive to Florida for parks. I love to drive and have no problem in planning a long road trip to do some coasters.


Jerry - Magnum Fanatic
Famous Dave's- 206 restaurants - 35 states - 2 countries

While you were in Denver did you hit Lakeside for the Cyclone Credit?


This Isn't A Hospital--It's An Insane Asylum!

We don't travel long distances just for a park. The longest we have ever traveled is 3.5 hours for Kings Island, and that involved an overnight stay. With Cedar Point 1.5 hours away, that makes the best travel time for a day trip. Waldameer is a good day trip park, Kennywood involves an overnight stay. We just don't enjoy long drives anymore unless it is for vacation.

We do enjoy parks with other attractions around them. BGW (Williamsburg, VA Beach) Canada's Wonderland (Niagara Falls), and Hersheypark is a must stop on the way home from Ocean City.

When I was in college, I made at least one "day trip" a year to Holiday World, which was roughly 6 hours each way. We swore that off after collectively having no recollection of about 40 miles of I-75 driving home one night.

Then there was the time a group of friends and I left Toledo at 5 PM and arrived in Orlando at 10 AM the next morning, stopping only for gas/snacks. According to the GPS, our total time spent stopped was less than 20 minutes the whole way down, with the same person driving the whole way. I did pick up about 11 hours of the drive back home though.

Contrast that with this past weekend, where I did Holiday World with a stay in Nashville the night before and Louisville the night after, and yet I still feel completely beat two days later. This getting older thing kind of sucks.


And then one day you find ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun

^^^I did not hit Lakeside. My main goal was to hit Elitch's coasters before they were lost. I was there for about an hour and half before heading back. This was on a Saturday evening. I then stopped at Adventureland in Des Moines Sunday afternoon and was back in Ohio Monday by 2:30 so I could go to work.

I still want to go back out to hit Lakeside. Hoping to next year.


Jerry - Magnum Fanatic
Famous Dave's- 206 restaurants - 35 states - 2 countries

So you really did drive all that way for 1 park. The irony is that Lakeside is only about 10 blocks from the old Elitch, IIRC. You could have had a very long drive for 1 park and the shortest drive for a 2nd. :)


This Isn't A Hospital--It's An Insane Asylum!

Twiz's avatar

We went to cedar point which was about a 10 hour drive

I would like to add another question to the mix, with regards to as Gonch put it, experience: How far is too far to go BACK to a park? The reason I ask that is when my wife and I first got our Cedar Point passes back in 2001, we weren't that familiar with other parks. Sure we'd been to Kings Island and Geauga La...errr Six Flags Ohio, but we never went really out of our way to go anywhere.

So in 2002 we decided we were going to hit Dorney since it was a CF park, and on our way back to Cleveland we'd go to Kennywood.

The initial drive for us was about 7 hours, which isn't the worst day of driving in my life, but its still long nonetheless. We found Dorney to be nice, but it wasn't Cedar Point. I think we, or perhaps it was just I, that kept trying to compare one CF park to another. We did have a great time there, and again the next day at Kennywood.

Fast forward to 2010. My track record is now well above 100, my park visits was now up into the mid-20's, and with that I've learned that each park is it's own entity. Again, its now 2010, and the Intimidator coasters have just been built and so we felt it was time for another trip. Initially our intentions were to finally go to Hershey, in addition to driving south to the CF parks, but finances got in the way and it actually became more feasible to drive the extra couple of hours and finally go back to Dorney instead. Incidentally, we were then able to snag a few hours to visit Knoebels, so the extra distance traveled didn't seem so bad. Since our last visit there, Dorney had installed Super-Steel-Voodoo-Possessed and Hydra, so there was at least something new to do there. Again, we had a good time, and again it was a part of what turned out to be a 6 day/5 park trip.

Now just a few weeks ago, my wife and I visited a friend of ours whom we used to work with who now lives in Philadelphia. We were only there a few days, but I decided that I was going to go off on my own back to Dorney since it was only about an hour away from where we were staying. This time, to be honest, I was pretty bored. I had ridden all the coasters by 11:30am and really there were no lines the whole day. Now that I've gotten a bit older, I'm not 'likes to marathon guy' anymore. So riding Talon eleventy billion times that day wasn't in my plans. Five or Six were plenty for me...and that also could have something to do with "experience" as far as riding inverteds go. Is Talon just "another" inverted now? Since '02, I'd added Alpengeist, Montu, Fire & Ice, and Afterburn to go along with Raptor, and Talon, albeit a really fun ride, just wasn't what had remembered in '02.

I guess to summarize things, I now have no ambition to make the 7 hour drive, or even the hour drive from Philly if we visit our friend again. It's just not a park that's going to bring me back with one addition or possibly even two. If anything, I'm finally going to visit Hershey, and then drive the extra hour or so past Dorney and visit SFGAdv.


Michael McCormack

Very interesting question!

In my current car, i will happily do the 3½ hour trip to Alton Towers from home and back in a day, from park open to park close.... but i won't justify the extra 45 minutes to reach Blackpool Pleasure Beach, it just tips it a bit too much to guarantee i'm going to safely awake for the return drive, we have to stay for a couple of days - hey, it's the coast, you need the extra couple of days to allow for the adjustment to beachtime - well, that's my excuse anyway :)

That said, if going to Alton Towers we will always stay for a night or two if finances allow so we can hit the shops somewhere between here and there on the way up or back!! And in the AT area is a few good restaurants as well, and plenty to do of an evening, so a mini-break is always an attractive option.

Our other near major park, Thorpe Park, is only an hour and fifteen away depending on traffic as it's straight round the M25, a road that had a song written about it, it's that bad. Especially in morning rush hour. It's so bad that when we go to TP we tend to leave a whole hour earlier than necessary and get some breakfast at a restaurant near the park...

Edited to reply to Michael:

And that's my case in point - we hit Lightwater Valley a few years back, and unless we are passing within a 15 minute detour of the place we will not go back. On the flipside, Oakwood in Wales we would go an hour out of the way for.

Last edited by Barry Wellington,
Timber-Rider's avatar

Hey Barry Wellington

Want to have real fun? Drive from Grand Rapids, Michigan to Gurnee Illinois to visit SF Great America. It's good until you get to 80/90, and absolute hell driving through or around Chicago. Sometimes you can make the trip in 4 or 5 hours. But, just one traffic tie-up can turn into a 7 or 8 hour drive.

I have tried taking 94 north through Chicago, and the 294 toll road, and both come with their own little unexpected delays. I find that driving through at around 4 in the morning, and stopping at a service plaza or rest area for a couple hours of napping helps. Otherwise, driving in or around Chicago is a nightmare.

The 80/90 going to Cedar Point from Michigan could be classified as a thrill ride all by itself.


I didn't do it! I swear!!

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