planning PA trip for spring...many ?s

Sunday, October 12, 2003 8:01 AM
OK guys.....help me out here.

we want to go on a trip to PA parks in 2004. Kennywood, Knoebels, and Hershey.

what i want to know are the following things...

how close together are the parks? is it possible to drive from Illinois and do all three parks in seven days?

i mean, isnt KW pretty close to the Ohio border and Knoebels not too far from there?

are there any good, cheap places to stay in between oh say, KW and HP or Knoebels and HP?

my BF and i have been talking about making this trip for a few years now and we have another couple interested in going too. so any tips/pointers you guys withPA experience can give us would be greatly appreciated.

AND of course we'll stop at CP on the way back!!


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mela en coiamin Legolas...
it aint the size of the arrow, its what you do with the bow

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Sunday, October 12, 2003 9:01 AM
Go to KW,HP, And Kneobels in that order. Between KW and HP it's 200 miles and another 75 will bring you to Kneobels. You could do those parks in 3 days! I don't know about lodging since I live in NJ but PA is pretty cheap maybe no more than $75 a night.
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Sunday, October 12, 2003 9:24 AM
Kennywood is in southwestern PA. From there it's about a four hour drive to Hershey, and one hour past that to Knoebel's (and Dorney if you're interested.)

If you have seven days, may I suggest:

1)Kennywood

2)Drive towards Hershey, stopping at the half way mark, where Lakemont Park is located. Lakemont can be done in a couple hours, a ride-all-day is about 6 bucks, and they have the oldest operating coaster in existence. It's the world's best rest stop. Continue to Hershey, and get a room at the cheap and very clean Red Roof Inn right off of the Hershey interchange of the turnpike, about 4 miles from the park.

3) Hershey

4) Dorney

5) Knoebel's

That's not too rushed of a schedule, with two days left over for rainouts or if the place was too busy.

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Sunday, October 12, 2003 9:50 AM
Be sure to get into Hershey early enough to go to the park at night the day you arrive. They have a "preview" pass that allows you for full admission to the park for the last 2-3 hours of the day and then get in free the next day.

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I dont care what anyone says Magnum is better then MF, which is better then TTD!

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Sunday, October 12, 2003 11:22 AM
no Dorney. sorry, but that is the stomping ground of our ex-friends and we want to avoid any run-ins at all cost...

thanks for the suggestions so far!! any more?

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mela en coiamin Legolas...
it aint the size of the arrow, its what you do with the bow

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Sunday, October 12, 2003 12:07 PM
No offense, but that's a pretty sad excuse not to go to a park. What are the chances of seeing some people you know in a park with a few thousand guests?

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I'm a loser.

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Sunday, October 12, 2003 12:11 PM
i admit, it IS pretty sad. but it is my choice not to go there. and seeing as we ran into these "people" at CP once, its not impossible.

they are at Dorney every weekend and almost every day when the brats are not in school. i'd say the chances are pretty high.

and Dorney never interested me all that much anyways....

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mela en coiamin Legolas...
it aint the size of the arrow, its what you do with the bow

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Sunday, October 12, 2003 12:29 PM

That is a pretty weak reason to avoid a park, especially when it has something as amazing as Talon. The chances of running into someone is very slim. I know from personal experience, there were a few times this year I was at Dorney, and was keeping an eye out for the mythical Gonchar. I was there some days that he confirmed that he was, but I never found him.:)


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Eastcoaster
Rideworld

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Sunday, October 12, 2003 12:37 PM
I would hold off on Dorney untill 2005 anyways.

If you do do Lakemont, which I highly recommend, then you should also do DelGrossos, the oft forgotten park just down the road. It is a quick and easy stop, and they have great food, making it a great stop for lunch. Parking and admission is free too.

For Knoebels, consider camping. Campsites are cheap, and cabins are resonable. There are also some very nice B&B's in the area. Here is a nice listing of ones in the area.

Hershey has a ton of hotels in the area, from cheap to very pricey. I myself recommend the nearby Comfort Inn. Very nice, with an indoor pool to boot. I also got it through Priceline once for under $50, but that is hit or miss.

Whatever you do, enjoy your visit, and remember to hit up some of those smaller parks, they are so worth it, and there are a bunch of them too.

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The Phoenix, its Schmecktacular!

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Sunday, October 12, 2003 12:48 PM

geneticfreak said:

I know from personal experience, there were a few times this year I was at Dorney, and was keeping an eye out for the mythical Gonchar.


Yeah, and now I'm in Pittsburgh :(

Sadly, the last chance I have to visit Dorney is this Saturday and that's still a long shot. I'll be there for the new floorless in 2005.

I understand LadyLegolasGreenleaf's reasons for avoiding the park, I guess - but to do the Kennywood, Hershey, Knoebel's thing and not be interested in Dorney proves just how underrated that park really is.

As far as advice, I'd head into Pittsburgh and do KP, head over to Hershey. From there head to Knoebel's. Cut back I-80 to hit CP on the way back as you mentioned. (if you did have a change of heart, throw Dorney in between HP and Knoebel's ;) )

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www.coasterimage.com
Dorney Park Visits in 2003: 17

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Sunday, October 12, 2003 3:12 PM
thanks for the B&B listing, Black 7!!

when the female half of theother couple comes by this weekend for our monthly drinking night, i will show it to her and see what we can come up with...
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mela en coiamin Legolas...
it aint the size of the arrow, its what you do with the bow

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Sunday, October 12, 2003 3:42 PM
The KW-Lakemont/Del Grosso/Knoebel's arrangement sounds good, but if you're going back on I-80, make the stop at Conneaut Lake (near Meadville) and maybe even Waldemeer. Conneaut Lake is a fantastic little historic park with a neat old hotel to boot.
Just a suggestion.......

And don't forget to check for discount coupons (even from AAA) before you go....

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Sunday, October 12, 2003 5:43 PM
Agreed about the Conneat/Waldameer comment. They're worth stopping at if you can swing it.

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--Greg, aka Oat Boy
My page
"Friendship -- more lasting than love, more legal than stalking."

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Sunday, October 12, 2003 7:23 PM
Yeah, if you have a week here (as it seems you do)... and you have an aversion to Dorney, a few smaller parks would definitely work.

Lakemont and DelGrosso's (formerly Bland's) can easily both be done in a few hours for under $15.

Conneaut and Waldameer are only about an hour apart. They, too, can be done in an afternoon. (I'd suggest spending a day at Conneaut, but I'm assuming you're on a limited timeframe and anyhow, you'll be lucky if Conneaut even opens for the 2004 season.)

The only PA parks that you should definitely allot a whole day to are KP and HP. The Hershey suggestion is right on, too. They'll let you in the evening before for free if you buy tomorrow's admission.

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Sunday, October 12, 2003 8:19 PM
I can kind of understand your adversion to Dorney. To me, it's a rather bland park compared to the others on your trip. Let's look at it this way: Steel Force vs. Phantom's Revenge. Hands down PR. The mice at KW and HP vs. the mouse at DP. Again, no contest. Exterminator rocks, and HP's mouse is too sick for words. Thunderhawk at DP vs. any of the wood coasters at the other parks. Again, I wouldn't make the trip for just Thunderhawk. The one thing Dorney does have that makes me jealous though is a Skyscraper upcharge attraction.
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If someone makes a post and you post-quote it right beneath it, you're wasting bandwidth. Think before you press the button.
*** This post was edited by Intamin Fan 10/13/2003 12:19:34 AM ***
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Monday, October 13, 2003 12:51 AM

Lord Gonchar said:


Sadly, the last chance I have to visit Dorney is this Saturday and that's still a long shot.


I'll be there Saturday with the nephew. We'll see what happens.

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Eastcoaster
Rideworld

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Monday, October 13, 2003 5:29 AM
Throwing my two cents in... (and respecting your decision to not go to Dorney)...

Depending on where you are comeing form in IL, it is an 850 mile drive to Hershey PA. If I were in IL and planing this trip, this is what I would do...

Leave on Sunday. Use Sunday and Monday as driving days, getting to the Harrisburg / Hershey PA area on Monday afternoon. Check in to a hotel and get settled in and then take advantage of the "Preview Plan" at Hersheypark (as mentioned above) on Monday evening.

Spend Tuesday at Hersheypark.

Tuesday evening, stay at the same hotel. Make the 1 to 1 1/2 hr drive to Knoebels on Wednesday. Spend Wednesday at Knoebels.

Thursday gives a few opportunities.

1) If you have kids (or if you want to ride CCI's first coaster), Dutch Wonderland in Lancaster PA is not all that far from Hershey.

2) head west toward Pittsburgh (and Kennywood) making stops at DelGrosso's, Lakemont, and Idlewild (again, especiallly if you have kids).

3) Head directly to Kennywood (a 4 hour drive from Hershey area) and spend a day at Kennywood.

On Friday, if you have taken option 1 or 2 on Thrusday and have not yet done Kennywood, spend the day at Kennywood. If you went to Kennywood on Thrusday, make a drive up to Erie PA and hit Waldamere and Conneaut Lake. You can either stay in the Pittsburgh area again on Friday night or you could stay in or around Erie.

Saturday, make the drive (about 10 hours if staying in Pittsburgh on Friday) back home.

A few things to keep in mind...

1) Not much in the way of lodging around Knoebels... but Hershey area is not that far from there. You could easily use Hershey area as your "base of operations" for the Hershey / Knoebels leg of the trip. Hershey / Harrisburg area offers plenty of places to stay.

2) From past experience, the Hampton Inn in Monroesville (just east of Pittsburgh) is where I would recomend for lodging on the Kennywood part of the trip. Good quality, decent price, an Outback ("No Rules, Just Right") attached and acts as "room service" for the hotel.

3) Your plans are to hit three major parks, each requiring a day (Hershey a good full day depending on crowds)... you can plan on the smaller parks (DelGrosso's, Lakemont, etc etc etc), but leave this as a buffer. If you are exhausted, or if you hit bad weather, your daily schedule could get thrown off.

4) Plan on weekdays for the three major parks. Hershey can be a mad house on weekends. Knoebels is busier on weekends, but still not bad, however on weekdays you can get the POP wristband (only available on select weekends in spring and fall.

5) You said you were planning on a spring trip. Depending on how early in spring, make sure that you CHECK THE PARK SCHEDULES. Not sure about Kennywood, but Hershey and Knoebels do not start daily until a few weeks into their operating season. Also, during the early part of their season, when they are open on weekdays, their closing times may be early.

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Half of the people surveyed agree, half disagree and another half are unsure.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2003 5:18 AM
i have to say, SFLAKE, you really seem to know your stuff!!

you have obviously done this paritcular trip before!

i will be printing these out to use as my friend and i plan the trip for the four of us.

any good golf courses around any of the parks? one of our group is NOT a park fan but wants to go for Gettysburg and Golf...

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mela en coiamin Legolas...
it aint the size of the arrow, its what you do with the bow

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Tuesday, October 14, 2003 5:58 AM
If you are going to hit Lakemont Park and at all interested in trains, as some enthusiasts are, I would stop and see the Horse Shoe Curve. It is just outside of Altoona and is really neat, if your a railroad buff. It might take maybe 2 hours at most out of your schedule.

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2003 Parks: Cedar Point, SFWOA, Kennywood, PKI, MIA, SFGAM, SFKK and HW.
Still deciding where to go in 2004.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2003 6:20 AM
Well then, that solves your delima for that off day...

Stick with the three parks you first mentioned, give the others a miss this time, and listen to your "non park fan" friend...

Tuesday = Hersheypark

Wednesday = Knoebels

Thursday = listen to your non park fan friend and go to Gettysburg. Read up on the subject... Get a licensed battlefield guide to show you around (I believe their average tour is two hours), and then if you see anything that you want to explore more, go back and visit after the tour. Don't forget the Cavalry Field 3 1/2 miles east of town (where George Custer fared much better than he did 13 years later at the Little Big Horn)... and 3 1/2 miles east of town and the "First Shot Marker" where Lt.Marcellus Jones, also from Illinois, borrowed a troopers carbine and fired off what is reported to be the first shot of the battle. Great places to eat in town... Dobbin House (a bit expensive and fancy, but GOOD!), Farnsworth House, or Gingerbread Man. Now, to tie this into a park related item... you could also visit the remains (what is left of them) of the defunct Fantasy Land (mainly a kiddie park themed to Mothergoose)... the overflow parking for the Gettysburg NMP Visitor Center is the old parking lot for Fantasy Land.

Friday = Kennywood

One of the best parts about living in this area of PA... 40 minutes from Hershey (hockey and coasters) and 40 minutes from Gettysburg....

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Half of the people surveyed agree, half disagree and another half are unsure.

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