I'm planning a large trip this August to the Midwest (Dollywood, Holidayworld, Kings Island, SFGAm, MI Adv, Cedar Point, Geauga Lake, Kennywood) and I wondered if anyone could give me an idea of what sort of lines to expect at some of these parks on weekdays in the later days of August (Aug 14th-24th to be exact). I've searched for TRs, but most I can find are either from early August or weekends in late August, and I know, at least based on my local parks, that there can be a big difference between weekday crowds early August vs. late August. Any advice, comments, or suggestions would be appreciated... *** Edited 4/17/2007 6:33:14 PM UTC by Coaster Lover***
My friend loves to refer to August as "Guilt time". That's right, little Suzy and Tommy haven't been to a park yet, and Mom and Dad feel guilty from all the kid's pestering. After all, they've only seen the ads for the parks a five-hundred times times by then.
I would at least expect CP, SFGAm, and PKI to be absolutely mobbed (Kennywood as well), and that would be during weekdays. As for HW, you might have to fight for an inch of property to stand upon in Splashin' Safari if you like waterparks. I doubt the themepark side would be that crowded.
What I don't know (and since this is your trip you do the research), is when the kids go back to school. That could totally change everything I just mentioned.
I have been to just about all of these praks before in early August and late August. I wouldn't worry too much about it, except for the waterpark lines. I went to Holiday World on the last Saturday before Labor Day last summer, and the waterpark was packed, but the line for Voyage was only about 15 minutes. :)
I'd avoid Saturdays at the big parks if at all possible though. Should be a great trip though.
Michigan Passed a law las year not letting the kiddies go back to School until after Labor Day. Most other Midwestern states go back at the end of August. Personally I skip the entire month of August going to parks around here, the only time worse would be over 4th of July.
Personnaly I would push for the END of August or Even the FIRST of September.
Depending on what you want to do, August can be a decent time at Midwest parks. For example, at KI, I was there in August a few years ago on a 90+ degree day. The park was empty and I literally walked on to just about everything. But, the waterpark was packed. I had the same situation at Dorney a few years ago as well. The park was empty but the waterpark was packed. A lot will, of course, depend on exactly hyow hot it may be.
CP might be a bit different, as the water park is a separate admission.
Most of the schools start up the week after we get back from our trip... we tried to have the trip spill into the first week of september, but found too many of the parks we were planning on going to only had weekend hours at that time, and we planned on hitting most of our parks on weekdays.
Most of the parks I'm going to on weekends I've planned at least two full days, I'm more concerned for the parks that I haven't been to and have only planned one day at (Dollywood on a Monday, Holiday World on a Wednesday, MI Adv on a Tuesday, and Geauga Lake on a Friday)...
We'll be at Holiday World Wed August 15th (avoiding August 4 and 11 as you recomend)... according to your calendar, you should be open, hopefully the 6pm closing time is indicitive of a slightly slower day than a day with an 8 or 9pm closing time. As much fun as it would be to go to the waterparks, we're mainly going on this trip for the coasters, the dark rides, and the flats, so we'll be staying in the "dry" parts of the parks for the most part... hopefully getting lots of rerides on Voyage, Mystery Mine, Thunderbolt, Millennium Force, Raven, Thunderhead, Raging Bull... you get the picture...
It seems to me (judging by the availability of timeshare exchanges in MI, WI, TN, and a few other places) that the later in August you go, and the farther south you are, the better. I can't touch anything in MI or WI until September with my low-season trader. Gatlinburg starts opening up about mid-August. For comparison, Branson starts opening up even a bit sooner in august, and Orlando is wide open the entire month. Williamsburg looks like Gatlinburg, and is even just a bit tighter.
This makes sense as it follows the school calendars. Northern schools seem to end later in June and start later in August/September than their southern counterparts.
One counter-intuitive tip: Cedar Point is apparently in God-fearing country, because Sundays there are often real nice. *** Edited 4/18/2007 3:00:07 PM UTC by Brian Noble***
Im pretty sure that the reason northern schools dont start until Late August/Early Sept and end in late May/Early June is because most of the older schools up in these parts do not have AC and starting/ending a week or two earler/later risks having 5 year olds inside brick buildings with small windows when the temp outside is in the 90s and the humidity is 100%. While that may still happen, its much less likely to happen then late June/early August.
Kennywood has a number of ethnic and community picnics during the summer months. Italian Day and Polish Day are especially packed so unless you are going for the special ethnic events, avoid these two days, one of which is normally in August. You might want to contact the park to find out what events are taking place on a particular day so that you can get an idea of how busy the park will be.
Interestingly enough, 4th of July week isn't exceptionally busy at KW. That is because many families in the area go to out-of-town destinations around that time. In addition, many of them have already been to the park in May or June during the school picnics that take place then.
Kennywood opens daily from mid May until the next-to-last week in August. *** Edited 4/18/2007 10:37:39 PM UTC by Arthur Bahl***
We're hitting Cedar Point on a Tuesday and a Wednesday, and we were there just a few years ago, so we're mainly there to ride what was either closed when we went, or what hadn't opened yet (TTD, Wiked Twister, Maverick, Sky Hawk, Max Air)... so not so concerned with Cedar Point... though I wouldn't complain about lots of rerides!