My husband and I plan on attending PPP this year and were wondering if anyone who's attended stayed at the new Holiday Inn Express in Bloomsburg? It opened last year and has a 3 star rating.
I was also wondering how far away Kennywood is from Knoebels? We were thinking in flying in to Pittsburg on Friday and flying out Monday. Our plan is to visit Kennywood on Sunday. If it's a 5 hour drive than we'll skip it and will fly to an airport closer to Elysburg.
Let me preface this by saying I've never driven from Kennywood to Knoebels. I'll let others chime in with their experiences. But as I see it the issue is that there is no direct route. To go east from Pittsburgh you either go north to I-80 or south to the turnpike. I suppose you could also head due east to Altoona and take I-99 up to I-80.
Yahoo maps gives a mileage/drive time of 242 miles and just over 4 hours using the northern I-80 route. When I go to PPP I usually fly into Newark unless on Jet Blue, then I fly into JFK. From Newark it's about a 2 1/2 hour drive to the park, slightly more if I hit a Friday rush hour or constuction.
As for hotels I've stayed at the Pine Barn Inn [very nice but pricey], the Red Roof Inn [a step above Motel 6] and the Hampton Inn [fairly new and nice] all in Danville. I've also stayed at the Glosser Motor Inn about 5 miles south of the park. While it's convenient as the closest hotel it makes Motel 6 look like the Ritz, lol.
^I looked at Hershey Park's October schedule and they are not open the earlier part of that month (bummer). That would have been an alternative. I'm not really interested in Dorney. Kennywood is a park I have been wanting to visit since I was a kid. In 1976, I learned about the Thunderbolt and that it was rated on the top 10 coaster list by Dr. Robert Cartmell in a 1974 issue of The Smithonian. I never got to see that article since our public library didn't carry that magazine. So, that coaster has remained a sort of mystery for me (the Jack Rabbit and Racer as well).
Four hours is not a big deal driving Sunday from Bloomsburg to West Mifflin since the park opens at 7pm. I'm worried about Friday night and how late our flight is and what the driving would be that evening going out of Pittsburg. Sounds like we will have to schedule an earlier flight. So, it sounds that it is interstate driving only? If that's good. I'd rather take that than taking off roads which can make a trip longer.
I'm also concerned in how crowded Kennywood will be on Sunday. It's only open from 7 to 11pm. Has anyone been during that time? And are Sunday's a popular night for locals to attend a Halloween event?
I want to avoid Jersey not only because of the traffic but also because that is a lousy airport. We had a terrible experience flying out of Newark in 2000 and last year flying in to O'Hare for HN. I really don't want to repeat that.
Anyone know of good places to stay at close to Kennywood? I'm talking about 4 star hotels. I'm badly allergic cigarette smoke and pet smells. I get sick quite easily from both.
Phantom Fright Nights at Kennywood are really fun, but can get quite busy and not all of the park is open at that time of the year, though traditionally, that particular Sunday evening is only moderately busy. Fright Nights can be quite scary, too, as the whole park is transformed into a large 'scare zone' for Halloween. The day that you are planning to go is usually part of an all day 'private' fund raising day for a local hospital that's open to the general public by selling advance tickets. It's not listed on their calander yet, but is listed on the hospital's website http://foundation.mwrif.org/. If that event occurs that day again this year, the park actually opens at 1:00pm and they usually sell tickets at the gate the day of the event, so you actually might get to experience Kennywood for more than just 4 hours at night. The hospital sells advance tickets by mail, also. Keep checking their website, as well as Kennywood's, for more details later this year. Just be warned that this event gets quite busy, especially if the weather is nice. Although the schedule of rides to be open this year during the fall isn't listed, usually all of the major coasters will be open, though in 2005, the Racer was closed for maintenance and re-tracking. Many of the park's flat rides, all of the water rides, and other family rides (like Garfield's Nightmare, Turtle, and Grand Carousel) are usually closed for the season.
As for getting to and from Pittsburgh from Knoebels, it's not all interstate travel, but a good bit is. I've found taking US 22 east to Altoona, then I-99 to I-80 to be the best route. Usually, it's about a 4 to 4.5 hour drive from Pittsburgh depending on traffic. *** Edited 3/25/2007 12:43:21 PM UTC by Brother Dave***
Yes, Ridefest at Lakemont, sponsored by the Southwestern PA Region of ACE, is offered on the Sunday after Knoebels' PPP. The park is essentially closed for the season then, but both Skyliner and Leap the Dips are operational just for the ACE members who attend. A few other rides may be operational as well, including the Chance Toboggan coaster and Li'l Leaper Herschell kiddie coaster. It all depends on what is still assembled and operational. There's also a nice lunch offered at the nearby Casino banquet facility that used to be a part of the park years ago. It's a nice, very exclusive time in a park. You could easily work in both Lakemont and Kennywood, especially if you're only interested in the coasters at Lakemont. You should pre-register for Ridfest to guarantee food. Also, it's about a 2 hour drive between Lakemont and Kennywood via US 22.
^I looked up Ridefest at ACE's site and didn't see it listed as one of the upcoming regional events for October. Sure they're having one this year on that Sunday? How far a drive is Lakemont from Elysburg? Sounds like Lakemont's closer.
I think we'll catch Kennywood another time when we can have ERT on the coasters. And will fly in Philly.
It's almost certain that Ridefest will occur. It's just that details aren't known yet, and probably won't be known until later this summer. By the way, Lakemont is less than a 2 hours drive from Knoebels, but in the opposite direction of Philly. It's about midway between Pittsburgh and Knoebels.
Yeah I just learned that fact by locating a real map of PA.
So, I think flying in on Thursday and doing Kennywood Friday then driving to Elysburg Saturday to do PPP and attending Ridesfest Sunday is the right way to go. It's nice that Lakemont is right on the way to Pittsburg.
I'm soooo glad I don't have to worry about any of this. :) (Well at least the lodging for PPP part.)
One other thing to watch when traveling-- if Penn State has a home game the same weekend as PPP, you'll encounter lots of traffic Saturday morning on I-99/220 all the way from Altoona to State College. Even if you take 79 North to 80 East, you'll run into traffic as you get close to State College.
^That's the best thing I would do, Lisa, since you are not interested in Dorney or the Jersey/Northeast parks at this time.
Besides Knoebels, Kennywood is a MUST DO! Since most of us go on Friday evening (and get a group rate if there are enough of us) I would advise flying into Pittsburgh Thursday to get used to the time change and rest up a bit, maybe even do something in Pittsburgh that night.
I went to Ridefest once on my way back from Knoebels and had a GREAT time! If I remember correctly they didn't really announce the event until a few months before the event. It's strange that their October schedule isn't up on the website. If for some reason there is no Ridefest (which I am sure there WILL be) there is always a stop by Idlewild, which IS open on that Sunday and another not-to-be missed park if you have time. It's also near Pittsburgh.
*** Edited 3/26/2007 9:16:02 PM UTC by coasterqueenTRN***