PA and NJ Trip Planning Advice

Tuesday, May 16, 2006 4:14 PM
Everyone has been so helpful and full of great advice in the past that I have to get your opinions on this upcoming trip.

My Aunt, who is turning into a coaster nut, is flying from Albuquerque to here in Michigan. Last year we did CP and PKI and a great time was had by all. This year we were planning on visiting Kennywood Saturday and spending half a day(I can't wait to get her on PR) driving towards Allentown and spending the night. The next day we'd visit Dorney Park, leaving there and driving towards Jackson NJ, sleeping and visiting SFGAD the next day(Monday). Of the 3 parks, I have only been to Kennywood and can't wait to go back.

Now here's where it gets interesting. Steel Force at DP is down which is really throwing a wrench in our gears. Not having to worry too much about hotel rooms( I get pretty fat discounts) no reservations have been made yet. My last minute thought is should we skip DP and head over to SFAM? I'm a hyper fan who hasn't experienced S:ROS so I'm leaning that way. Isn't traffic horrible in that neck of the woods, being so close to D.C.? We got stuck in it one year on the way to BGW and it really was horrid.

Now on to SFGAD. I know we won't be getting on Ka or El Toro(ouch ouch) so do you think one day is enough? I had planned on 2 days there but I'm thinking with Ka down, El Toro not being open yet and being at the park on a Monday maybe one day will be enough time. We don't care about flats, shows or Bugs Bunny. ;) I'm thinking one day with Flashpass(sorry dexter!) might be worth it versus spending the money on another night at the hotel.

I'm going to try like crazy to get her down to Holiday World before she leaves, but that will be a day trip and might not happen due to my work schedule.

Any opinions will be greatly appreciated. Thanks for reading! :)

Tuesday, May 16, 2006 4:31 PM
I think Great Adventure could be done in one day, but if it were my first time again I think I would want at least a day and a half. It is a neat place at night.

DC will have some bad traffic, but probably no more than an extra hours worth.

Dorney even without Steel Force is nice park, where SFA is an ok park. How about Hershey or Knoebels?

Tuesday, May 16, 2006 4:55 PM
I visited Hershey last year and loved it. My Aunt's requirement was that we go somewhere that I haven't been to yet. I had to talk her into Kennywood since its "On the way" so to speak.

She likes big steelies, so Knoebel's would be a hard sell. I'm still in the process of talking her into Holiday World. ;) I can recommend that park because I've been there but can't say the same for Knoebel's.

Speaking of DC traffic I just realized we'd be arriving in the area around 10-11 the evening before so that's a good thing. We'd just have to deal with it once in the morning.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006 5:36 PM
The plot thickens. I just got off the phone with Dorney and they are pretty sure SF will be running this weekend. The told me to check back on Friday so it really will be a last minute decision. Yikes! ;)
Tuesday, May 16, 2006 5:40 PM
How soon are you taking this trip? If really soon, then SF being down would make a difference.

Also, from what I'm reading, you're going to drive from MI to Kennywood, spend half a day, then drive to/toward Allentown? That sounds like a lot of driving for one day. West Mifflin to Allentown is a good five hours. There's also major construction (again) on I-78 west of Allentown, but if you're going through on a weekend, it might not be that bad as far as delays.

Travel-wise, Kennywood-Hershey-GAdv works out better since you don't have to travel as far from KW to HP as you would going to Dorney. And it's not that far going from Hershey back to the Turnpike to head east towards Jersey. It's up to you whether or not to hit HP again. But traveling from so far away, given a choice I'd do Hershey over Dorney. Especially if Dorney's big boy isn't operating. HP= 10 coasters, DP = 4 operating (not including kiddies).

As much as I'd recommend Knoebels, I think it's a bit out of the way of the other parks you're planning on visiting.

Other factors to consider:

1) Are you a passholder for either CF or SF? If yes, go to whichever park for which you can get in free (Dorney or SFA).

2) Check the schedules for both Dorney and Hershey. Into early June, both parks run on shortened schedules even on weekends.

Whichever parks you choose, have a great time!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006 5:53 PM
Yes, the trip is very soon. We are leaving this Saturday(the 20th). I'm a CF passholder but my Aunt isn't. Is it safe to assume we can find discount tickets or coupons on the way to Dorney for her to use? Someone from Great Adventure told me they have buy one get one free coupons at McDonald's.

Hmm now you got me thinking of Hershey again. Stormrunner blew me away! I better get back to Yahoo Maps and RCDB. ;)

Tuesday, May 16, 2006 6:12 PM
I was at SFGAdv on Saturday and got on all the coasters in the park in half the day. (KK, ET, RT were all down, but you know that :)) Lines were pretty short, got on S:UF first thing and didn't wait, that was the longest line that I saw later in the day at about an hour. Nitro was at about half an hour, Medusa twenty minutes for the front. B:TR's crew was having issues, but it'll probably be doing better by the time you go. The Chiller's line was short, but Batman went down right when we got in line and stayed down the rest of the day. :( All in all, I think that since you want to do just coasters and since KK & ET are down you can definetly do it in one day. :)
Tuesday, May 16, 2006 8:30 PM

macho nachos said:
I'm a CF passholder but my Aunt isn't. Is it safe to assume we can find discount tickets or coupons on the way to Dorney for her to use? Someone from Great Adventure told me they have buy one get one free coupons at McDonald's.

I haven't seen such coupons at McDonald's and I can't remember Dorney ever having such discounts in recent years (the biggest coupon I have seen is $16 off admission last year).

Dorney has no discounts early in the season because admission is $24.99 now, then for Memorial Day weekend (Saturday and on), the price goes up to $36.95 which there might be discounts for.

I would choose Hershey over Dorney as well. Dorney is a nice park but I think Hershey has a much better coaster collection (quantity and quality). *** Edited 5/17/2006 12:32:06 AM UTC by YoshiFan*** *** Edited 5/17/2006 12:32:49 AM UTC by YoshiFan***

Tuesday, May 16, 2006 8:50 PM
Gadv can be done in one day w/ a fast lane pass but probably not without. Being that its a Monday you might but it would be hard. I did the exact same trip last year at the same time (KW,Hershey,DP,SFGA,SFA, KDOM, &BGW) SFa we didi all the rides in half a day but, was not a very good park at all. Also do not let S:ROS be a deciding factor for yuo. We were lucky to get on it first thing after testing before it was down for most of the day(and from I've heard it's not real reliable) same with Batwing. If you get the chance try to do HP (although you've already been there) out of our entire trip it was by far the best park we went to besides BGW.
Tuesday, May 16, 2006 9:55 PM
I would seriously consider disobeying her and taking her to Hershey, its seriously one of the best parks out there. Besides she made that rule so that you could also enjoy the trip so if you would enjoy going back to Hershey then why not go there?
Wednesday, May 17, 2006 12:45 AM
Thanks for the input guys. I didn't know that S:ROS wasn't very reliable. That coaster would be the deciding factor as far as visiting that park for sure. Can anyone else chime in concerning its up or down time?
We've got a few days until everything is set in stone so I'm not really worried, we'll have a good time no matter what.
Wednesday, May 17, 2006 6:35 AM
Took my first trip to SFA two weekends ago and thought it was a great little park. SRoS wasn't unreliable, just they only had one train operable, the other was in pieces. They had some issues with Joker's Jinx, but other than that, things ran well all day, and the park was a nice, friendly place, although horribly laid out and themed!

For that trip, we went from Pittsburgh to SFA Saturday morning, stayed in Baltimore. Did Baltimore -> Dorney -> Hershey -> Pittsburgh in one day and while that was a whole lot of fun, and we got on everything, the drive was so/so.

I didn't read too close so this might not be good advice, but if you're worried about Hershey vs. Dorney, and you're hitting one at open, why not hit both? I've done that multiple times on my way out to SFGAdv from Pittsburgh. If you get to Hershey at open, you can usually get on everything and see some sights by 2:30 or 3pm, leave for Dorney, be in Dorney by 5, get on everything be out of there by 8 and you're only an hour from SFGAdv. Just another thing to think about. And yes, that schedule works even on Saturdays as long as it's before school is out and before Wildwater Kingdom is open.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006 9:01 AM
I've been to SFA 20-25 times an i think twice I've seen then run 2 trains on anything other than Wild Ones.

I too would go to Hershey. I know you've been there but its a great park!! As for Dorney, I'm not a big fan but if you wanna go there then go for it. Your looking about an hour an half from Dorney to SFGADV. Also I'd take the turnpike all the way out.

Have a safe an fun trip!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006 9:29 AM
Beware the Batman crew at GAdv, that ride is run so amazingly poor I hesitate to get in line for it even if the line seems like a walk on.
Wednesday, May 17, 2006 11:05 AM
Hershey is a good bet. Operation-wise, they have very little problems (avoid Comet like the plauge until dinner time, though).

If you're coming in from Kennywood, and are credit-hungry, stop by DelGrosso Amusement Park in Altoona. Kevin and I did it last weekend. It's on the way toward Hershey, and they have a Crazy Mouse and Wacky Worm. Free parking + 40 minutes to park and do the coasters and a few flats, and also get some good food. It's a nice way to break up the trip. *** Edited 5/17/2006 3:08:47 PM UTC by Arson***

Wednesday, May 17, 2006 11:34 AM
But here's the problem: even if Steel Force was operating normally since the beginning of the season there is no guarantee it will be the day of your visit. Unforseen or unscheduled maintenance, bad weather, or other circumstances could close the ride and you would not know it until you got to the park.

That's why I plan a trip to visit a PARK, not for a specific RIDE.

Anyway wherever you go have a good time ;)

Wednesday, May 17, 2006 1:30 PM
If you want to hit as much as possible, I guess it's feasible to do Hershey and Dorney in one day. Especially if you're only interested in riding the coasters. My impression is you'd be visiting this/these parks on Sunday.

Only downside is that Hershey's hours are 10-8pm and Dorney is 10-7:30 this coming Sunday. So that might be a bit rushed. Neither park is open on Monday.

Now, to throw another hook into the pond. Hershey is open till 10 on Saturday night, and I know they offer the free preview deal. So... if you were to get to Hershey after 7:30 Saturday night, and buy tickets for Sunday, you could ride the rest of Saturday night for free. Even in 1 1/2-2 hours, you could easily get rides on LR (both sides), Wildcat, and get into line for SR (before they cut it off), if not more.

Then you could hit the rest of Hershey early Sunday, head to Dorney and get that in before it closes. Hey, this idea of planning other people's lives is really fun! :)

Wednesday, May 17, 2006 1:43 PM
SFA S:ROS has two trains avalible now it ran both trains last weekend. The crew is still slow. It went down multipule times both days. The other coasters not counting Roar are running better than usual. Batwing is running two stations pretty consitantly.
Wednesday, May 17, 2006 3:44 PM

macho nachos said:
Thanks for the input guys. I didn't know that S:ROS wasn't very reliable.

I wouldn't let the bad experience of one individual decide whether or not S:ROS is reliable. There are a lot of factors to consider when deciding whether or not a coaster is reliable or unreliable.

S:ROS has been running everytime I've been to the park this season. Yes, up to this point it's been pretty much one train operation. The blue train is back but it wasn't completing the circuit in time on Sunday so they had to back it off. Not that it made much difference, the park was pretty dead anyways. A problem with a proximity sensor on Saturday was the reason they red train was backed off on Saturday.

Batwing has been running two trains, two stations in the afternoons and occassionally all day.

If you go to SFA, make sure you ride S:ROS after dark. That's when S:ROS shows it's true power.

Wild One is a great wooden coaster, not real bumping but watch the kick to the right after the double down on the return leg.

Overall, The park is at it's best in years under new management.

*** Edited 5/17/2006 7:45:20 PM UTC by coasterguts*** *** Edited 5/17/2006 7:48:27 PM UTC by coasterguts***

Wednesday, May 17, 2006 4:10 PM
I'm a HUGE (like way too huge) Dorney fan, but man - it'd be awfully tempting to pass up Allentown for a shot at the third hill on S:ROS at SFA. (come to think of it, using my personal preferences, the coaster line-ups at the two parks are very comparable)

Then again, I've been to Dorney a million and one times, so that sweet, sweet third hill on S:ROS is a little more exotic for me. :)

Don't think you could really go wrong either way.


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