Input needed for trip to: HW, DW, & KW!

Wednesday, April 5, 2006 11:05 PM
Hey everybody,

The spring fever has set in after snow hits OH here in April, and I've began planning a summer road trip. I'm not sure it will top the epic east coast trip report I wrote on here last summer, but I'm hoping it will come close! Here's the plan...I'm doin' the "W's" (HW,DW,&KW)...I encourage any suggestions or tips you may add to it: the trip will originate from Chicago...heading south to begin with Holiday World. My first visit here was last summer and I had a absolute blast. Raven and Legend were great, and you all know why I'm making the trip this year ;) Does anyone know if there is a discount ticket that you can buy after like 4pm and it gives you the next day as well? I thought we did this last year, but I don't see it on the website. Hmm...I'd like to do the day and a half thing, but I think I could settle for one day as well.

From there we'll be heading SE to Dollywood....which will be a first. From what I've read, I'm pretty excited about this visit--I'm hoping that Thunderhead can live up to the hype! It sounds like an overall nice park with super theming and a pleasant atmosphere. Any tips that DW veterans can offer would be greatly appreciated. How about the lodging around this area? Is it safe to do a priceline? Does anybody know of a good "mountain coaster" (one of those rides you sit on a scooter with a brake and cruise down a hillside in a concrete trough) in this area? I have yet to try one and am hoping that a fun one fits into this itinerary!

From there it's essential for us to head to the ocean...mostly likely gorgeous Hilton Head, SC...our favorite region. After this visit, this is where some ideas are really needed. The plan from the beach is to make the long stretch up to Kennywood. I'm tempted to visit BGW, but considering I was just there, and that really takes us out of the way to Kennywood (although it was great), I'm thinking against it. What are some interesting stops (amusement or non-amusement park related) between the beach and Pittsburgh? I was at KW when I was young and The Steel Phantom still had its loops. I was enthralled with the park, especially the Jack Rabbit, and I can't wait to see it again!

The rest of the trip is pretty straight forward...a trip back on the turnpikes to Chicago where we will probably stop at GL and CP with our WOF passes. This trip is tentatively set for late May or early to mid-July...which time do you think would be better? Let the season begin already!


Thursday, April 6, 2006 1:51 AM
Perhaps you should hit up Myrtle Beach while you're out that way.

You're likely to get better park hours in June (open later), so I'd opt for that, but even better would be to plan your trip to coincide with a certain event at a certain park on your list. You're bound to get the best rides of the season at said event. And on your way down to Dollywood, stop at Beech Bend!

Thursday, April 6, 2006 7:17 AM

Gottarideit said: Does anyone know if there is a discount ticket that you can buy after like 4pm and it gives you the next day as well? I thought we did this last year, but I don't see it on the website

That part of the website hasn't changed ... head over to the Ticket Discounts page for details about our After-4 pm Pepsi can discount. Next Day tickets are $19 per person.

We also have discounts if you're a CoasterBuzz Club member.

Enjoy your visit!


Thursday, April 6, 2006 7:33 AM
Ahh yes....thank you, Paula. That's what we did last time and it worked out great! Can't wait to visit :)
Thursday, April 6, 2006 8:40 AM
Ski Ober Gatlinburg in Gatlinburg (south of Pigeon Forge) has an alpine slide.

Does anyone know where I can get discount coupons for DW and KW? I will be at DW on on 4/28 and KW some time in May? Too bad HW wasn't open 1 week earlier, or I would have gone to HW too. :(

*** Edited 4/6/2006 12:43:32 PM UTC by Mtbiker99***

Thursday, April 6, 2006 8:56 AM
I spent a week in the Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg area of Tennesse 2 years ago. I had a great time. I visited seveal local attractions. I love to hike so naturally I spent some time on the trails in the Smokey Mountains.

There is a cable car in Gatlinburg that takes you to a place called Obergatlinburg. That is where you’ll find the Alpine Slide.

There is not much to stick around for in Obergatlinburg other than to take a look around for awhile, but I thought Dollywood was a beautifull park. I took the park at a slow pace and enjoyed the scenery. There was quite honestly not a lot to ride when I went but they have built some new rides since and the coasters they have are quite wonderfull.

Saturday, April 8, 2006 3:34 PM
Great! I'll be sure to check out Obergatlinburg while I'm in the area. The alpine slide sure looks like fun. I just checked out the GG photos of the Voyage...WOW. I cannot wait to experience that! I'm still looking for fun things to do between South Carolina and Pittsburgh, and any park tips/things not to miss at DW and KW (since it's been awhile) Thanks!
Saturday, April 8, 2006 4:06 PM
Depends on the route you take from SC to the Burgh. I was visiting a buddy in SC last summer (and Carowinds of course ;) ) and let me tell you, the drive home was the most boring, uneventful drive I've done in a long time. The route I took was I-77 through Charlotte, up to the 19 crossover to I-79, so most of my trip took me through West Virginia. There's really not a whole lot to do in West Virginia other than "outdoorsy" stuff, but I'm not sure if that's what you're looking for. You pass relatively close to Virginia Tech while you're in Virginia if you're a Hokie fan =). If you take this route, you'll end up passing pretty close to Carowinds depending on where you get on I-77, so you could add that to your itinerary. Time-wise, this was about 10 hours from Latta, SC (about 1 hour inland from Myrtle) to my door just west of Pittsburgh.

If you want a more eventful trip from SC to Pittsburgh, take the coastal route, like up I-95. You're going to hit a LOT more traffic, but that's because you're in an area where there's a whole lot more to do. You'll even pass PKD and probably SFA if you're interested, not to mention the sights in D.C., Baltimore (inner Harbor rocks!) and Philly (which actually puts you relatively close to Wildwood, NJ and SFGAdv ... relatively = couple of hours). This route will probably force an extra day on your trip though between things to do and the traffic, not to mention you're going around your elbow to get to your hand as far as Pittsburgh goes.

Either way, if it's been a while since you've been to Kennywood, the traffic patterns around there are probably going to look pretty different to ya. Email me at if you'd like some directions, I hear that I give pretty good turn-by-turns that will get you to the park without a whole lot of trouble. There's a whole lot of construction going on in the area too that'll get in your way - major restrictions on I-70 due to bridges collapsing, major reconstruction on one of the main bridges that lead to Kennywood ... ahh PennDOT =)

As far as once you're IN the park ... there's not really a list of what not to miss at Kennywood cause you probably won't miss anything. A "crowded" day at Kennywood usually doesn't even come close to a mid-range day at other parks. If you wait 30 minutes for the Phantom, it's unusually packed. Just take your time, take in all the sights and don't miss the cheap food (cheaper than outside the park in some cases!) The only bad days at Kennywood are when some of the larger quad-A schools, one of the real rough inner city schools, or one of the two largest companies in the area (UPMC, Giant Eagle) have their picnics at the park. But, if you post the date you're coming to the park once it's finalized, there are some folks hanging around here who could let you know if you should bump it one day to avoid one of those picnics.

Have fun, and again, feel free to email me if you need directions or any other tips.

Edit: forgot to mention, I'm not a baseball fan, so I don't know when it is, but the All Star game is in Pittsburgh this year. That might be somehting that could influence the date of your trip. I hear it's going to be quite the party down at PNC Park even if you're not a baseball fan! (I just like going for the fireworks ;) )
*** Edited 4/8/2006 8:19:15 PM UTC by Impulse-ive***

Saturday, April 8, 2006 4:55 PM

Thanks so much for all your help! I will definitely be in contact with you once I solidify the dates and from what direction I'll be approaching Pittsburgh...those "turn-by-turn" instructions will be much appreciated. As I remember, Kennywood was a bear to find...even with all those yellow and black arrows in the hillsides ;) I'll be sure to post the date of the potential KW visit here to ensure no mass crowds/rough groups to ruin the experience. I know what this is like, as it's happened at my homepark, SfgAm a few times now.

My choice would certainly be to take the coastal route back up, however this would probably end up being a repeat of last summer's trip to BGW, SFGAdv, SFA, etc. I'm not going to rule it out yet though. The PCW detour intrigues me...I'll certainly have to keep that in mind. Anybody have some comments about their experiences at PCW? Do Hurler, Top Gun, and Vortex make it worthwhile? Any other particular outstanding attractions here? PCW is a park I really haven't heard much about. However, you confirmed my fear of a long boring drive from SC to Burgh ;) Our drive last summer from DC to Columbus was plenty long.

Once again, I appreciate your feedback!

Saturday, April 8, 2006 6:45 PM

How are the crowds at KW on SAT May 13 and SAT May 20th?

Saturday, April 8, 2006 9:19 PM
I'm not sure of the dates, I don't have any contacts at the park this year, so you'll have to wait for one of those on this board to stumble in here to find out. Either that, or go over to KP Connection (a Coasterbuzz "sister" site for Kennywood ... check links).

PCar was pretty good. I was there on a hellaciously hot day (well over 110 with the heat index). But, the coaster selection was well worth the heat. Top Gun was amazing, one of the best, most powerful coasters I've been on. Let's say, a lot more like Batman than Alpengeist. Really good interaction with the terrain too. I love the Hurlers although some don't. I rode Borg on the West coast and much preferred it to the "Mk II" version of the Flying Dutchman, so despite the incredibly long line with no shade, it was fun. I was too overheated to wait for Vortex, so can't tell ya there. Carolina Twister or whatever the Arrow is called was fun too, sort of unexpected. Their version of Racer is good as always too. Worth the stop, just be warned, if you're there on a Saturday, lines WILL be incredibly long, and one of the longest will be to get into the park.

No more of those yellow arrows to follow either ... at least, not along most of the good routes to the park ...


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