I am planning a trip for sometime next summer with a friend of mine. We will be visiting almost 20 parks, some being major, and some being just small pay-per-ride parks. I would start in Iowa, go pick up my friend in Illinois, and then continue along to Pennsylvania. Some of the more major parks are: Geauga Lake, Kennywood, Hersheypark, Dorney, and maybe SF Great Adventure. There are a bunch of little places along the way and the total number of coasters would get up to about 65. I was wondering, is that to much to handle in one trip? I mean, it doesn't sound too hard right now to me but I don't know how much of a toll it will take on me once we start the trip. Has anyone else taken a big "amusement park trip" like this? Did you finish it and have the best time of your life, or did you cancel the trip halfway because it was just too much? Any tips would help, thanks!
I think it all depends on the person. Personally speaking, I love doing big trips like that. I have done quite of few of those trips during the last 5 years and I always look forward to more.
Having the right people to travel with is a HUGE plus. I have made my mistakes in the past and found out rather quickly that the right people make all the difference in the world.
My advice would be to not put yourself in burnout mode. If you feel like the fun is not happening, take a break. The more and more you do trips like this, the more you can build up a stronger tolerance for what you know you can do. If this is your first trip, it might be a lot for you to handle, but then again, if you breeze through it, you will know what you can and can't do.
You definitely have my respect on this undertaking. My dream (eventually) is to take an entire summer off (standard amusement park season.. May - October) and hit all the majors - Disneys, Paramounts, Six Flags, Cedar Fairs, and Buschs, and also as many other smaller parks as possible in one summer. Figuring 2 days for the majors, except for Dorney, Hershey, and Great Adventure (I'm already fairly familiar with them due to my location)
I did my first "big" trip (14 parks in a week) this past summer and had a great time. We had previously warmed up with a smaller one the year before (6 parks in a week) and had no problem with that. The only way to really find out if you can "handle" it is to just go for it. That or if you have doubts, scale it back a little bit. The key for the big trips I've taken is to have a good schedule. If it looks comfortable to me on paper, then I'm pretty confident that I can handle it. The more trips you do, the more you will be able to get a handle on yourself and how you can handle certain things (like driving long distances). Like Sean said above, traveling with the right people is also a huge bonus. Make sure they are of the same mindset as you (AKA, Coaster Crazy);)
The big question I have is how long are you trying to get this all done in?
One thing I like to do is add other things to do into my I plan. I am from Kansas City, so when I planned my CP trips I made it around the Royals schedule, Since I also love basball. one year I saw the roayls play in Detroit, the next year I saw them in STL on the way to OH and saw them in Cleveland. It worked out great.
just make sure you have a schedule and don't just take off. make a plan. you don't have to stick exactly too it. but it always helps to have something to adjust off of if you need a break or want to do something else. it is a lot easier to skip something than it is to find something when you are bored.
We made a trip to Ohio and Pennsylvania last year including CP, GL, PKI, Hershey, Dorney, Knoebels, Kennywood, Waldameer, ... which was about 70 coasters in total. We planned 16 days for our trip, and it was one of the best holidays i ever had. I think it does not depend on how much you do, but on how much you and all the ones that are with you like to do it.
I like to relax a day after one bigger park before visiting another to resume the things we've done and seen. But on such trips these days are sometimes not possible.
And i'm totally with ZambeziZinger - the best thing i would suggest to do is take your time, make plans and enjoy the trip. And if you don't like it, then quit your plans for a few days and do whatever you like ...
Sounds ambitious. Enjoy it before you get tied down like the rest of us peons.
My advice for any vacation is stay healthy. The best way to do that is to eat healthy (eat those veggies!) and get adequate sleep. My vacation days tend to be adrenalin-packed theme-park commando-style, but I can cope by forcing a 'rest day' on every third or fourth day. A rest day doesn't have to be completely void of activities, but it shouldn't be packed with excitement. It could include sleeping in, doing a bit of shopping, visiting a small pay-per-ride park, and even driving to the next city (less than 4 hours). If you're like me, it's impossible to have a rest day at a major theme park.
A 7-day theme-park commando vacation Disney World killed me on day 4 -- I got a flu bug so bad I couldn't go further than the hotel pool for an entire day (an incredible waste of an Ultimate Parkhopper ticket). The same thing happened to my wife when we attempted a fast-paced vacation in Cancun. We'd rather not just hang out by the beach or pool, but when you're sick, there's not much else to do.
You might have a problem since there is such a great distance to be travelled, driving all those miles can egt very exhausting.Last sumemr I did a long trip, it was supposed to be 10 parks in 10 days but we skipped one park and didn't have enough money for the last park. Our Itinerary was HW, DW, SFOG, Visionland, SFNO, SFAW (skipped), SFOT (2 day), SFFT. I started getting really tired and pissed off at SFNO, mostly because I was tired and it was 100 degrees out in New Orleans and all the rides sucked so we decided to leave only like 2 hours after arrival. Factors you NEED to factor in: How big the park is, the travel time between parks, the temperature & overall weather (if it is 95 degrees out with 80% humidity you will get worn out very quickly), how long you spend at each park (if you do a full day at a big park be prepared to be a bit exhausted the next day.
When ever possible use a skipping the line technology. That damn Qbot was able to get as multiple rides at all of the coasters @ sfOG when the lines for superman, georgia scorcher, Geogia Cyclone and Mindbender were well over an hour for over half the day.
I agree with most of what has been said here. I've done a number of very intensive trips. It is possible to absolutely cram things together, but this simply will not work on a longer trip, as sooner or later you will burn out and enjoyment will go down. I'd work on the basis of a rest day at least once a week, and by rest day I mean no parks at all.
Having said that, my 2005 itinerary has thirteen parks in eleven days with no rest days... I hope it doesn't prove to be too much. My craziest plan of all though is also on the 2005 itinerary, where I'll be hitting nine parks in a weekend :)
Everybody hit most of the main points, but I do want to reiterate that your plan must be flexible. Schedule yourself more time than is necessary at each park, so if something happens, you have a little extra time to play with. There is nothing worse than getting through a whole trip and regretting not getting to do everything that you wanted to do. It can be so easy to just skip something that at the time doesn't seem like a big deal..but down the road, you will wish you had done it. Additionally, scheduling more time than is necessary at each park will allow you to compensate if there is a period of poor weather.
And who knows, you may find a park that you really like and want to spend more time there. Good luck and have fun!
Thanks for the great responses. I'm planning on giving the major parks a day each, and the little parks I will cram a few into a day each. The entire trip should only last about 10 days. Do you think that one day will be enough for the major parks that I listed? *** Edited 1/4/2005 6:37:44 PM UTC by jw***
I think it would be the "non-park" issues that could prove to be most frustrating. Driving, hotels, laundry and other necessary evils. A couple of recommendations or things to think about...
Travel light. You probably don't want to lug a couple of big, heavy suitcases across several states for a few weeks (or longer). Assume also that you'll be adding to your baggage as you go picking up souvenirs, shopping, etc.
That being said, like Mom always says, make sure you have something to wear for just about every kind of weather. But if you do travel light, be prepared to do laundry a few times along the road. Allow yourself the time and money to do the wash. Make sure to find places you could do laundry wherever you decide to stay.
Lodging-- Do you want to stay in (and drive to) a different place every night? Or would you prefer to stay in a place somewhat central to several parks and use it like a hub. You'd avoid having to check in and out every day and also packing and carrying everything along with you.
*My local plug here* I would recommend travelers visiting the eastern PA parks to consider a 2 or 3 night stay in the Pottsville or Pine Grove area. You'd be within an hour of Dorney, Hershey, and Knoebels, and not much further to Dutch Wonderland or Wms Grove. I suggested to the director of the local Visitor's Bureau that they develop some kind of special package for parkgoers in the local hotels and motels. And that was way before I ever found this place and saw all you crazy people who travel all over creation to ride coasters!
If you're familiar with one particular lodging chain, use them. They'd probably be able to set you up all along the way. Plus most of them have some kind of benefits programs, so sign up for one and you could rack up plenty of points.
Travel hint. You're traveling through PA? Be aware that our state motto is "Road Construction- Single Lane Traffic Ahead." And the state animal is the orange traffic barrel. Just kidding, but be prepared for construction on our beloved highways.
As was said in other posts, be flexible and have contingency plans in place. Check out what else is in the area of the parks in case, God forbid, you get a rainy day. You don't want to be stuck in a motel room all day watching TV. Check the websites for the tourist agencies in the cities or counties you'll be visiting for other things to do in case of bad weather, or on a day of down time.
Finally, have fun, take lots of pictures, and be prepared to write a really long TR when you get back.
The only thing I can add is don't save a large park for last. On our last big trip we did 8 parks that included CLP, BGW, SFA, PKD, HP, KW, SFWOA, CP and after not having to wait in lines pretty much the whole trip we were totally bummed at CP. We pretty much hit the credits my daughter needed after reaching the 54" mark and left because we were bored from standing in hour+ long lines.
So I would say try and make your last day or 2 a little more laid back.
Have a great trip. :)
Frank, who thinks you should also find Moosh's thread about travel tips to help you plan your trip.
I'd like to know how much one of these trips will cost. I'd love to do one, but I am not well-learned in the financial side of things. How much do these trips go for? I know it depends on where I go, but what are some ballpark figures?
Last year I did a trip put on by RideWorld and it was great. We hit 9 parks on 8 days. The best part about the trip was that I paid the fee for the trip (it was only like $600 for hotel and travel, and another $400 for food, entrance tickets and other spending money), and that was it. I only had to worry about getting to and from the starting location. They planned the trip, booked the rooms and drove the entire time (while I slept or watched a movie). This year they are putting on a trip again and I'm for sure going on it. Also we got some "special" treatment (Thanks SFNE and Hershey!)from a few of the parks because we were a group of coaster nerds. The link below will give you info about this years trip in the Midwest. *** Edited 1/4/2005 11:08:27 PM UTC by Mark Burleson***
sirloindude, all I can say is season passes are your friend. That and having someone to travel with to share expenses with.
It all depends on your spending habits though. If you are really cheap and don't eat much and don't buy anything at the parks, you can do it pretty cheap. I personally will spend a little extra for a nice meal or a bug free bed to sleep in, but that is just me. If you're under 21`you save a considerable amount by not having any evening refreshments. :)
Do you trust your friends to drive your car? I trust my friend very much with my car, and I can't tell you what a big relief it is to hand off the keys to someone else when I'm exhausted, as I've done on many of our trips (although nowhere as adventurous as yours). I'd also make sure you have a good navigator (which my friend is). It only takes one week of the "Amazing Race" to figure out how mad people can get at each other when there's a lack of navigation. *** Edited 1/4/2005 11:50:36 PM UTC by Intamin Fan***
Do you trust your friends to drive your car? I trust my friend very much with my car, and I can't tell you what a big relief it is to hand off the keys to someone else when I'm exhausted, as I've done on many of our trips (although nowhere as adventerous as yours). I'd also make sure you have a good navigator (which my friend is). It only takes one week of the "Amazing Race" to figure out how mad people can get at each other when there's a lack of navigation.