Trip help:SFGRam, Mt. Oly, VF, IB

Going to said parks in a week and a half. Looking for any advice for these parks. Cheap tickets, ways of doing the park, motels to stay away from, ANYTHING useful.

I read someone state how bad the traffic is going through Chicago. I will be leaving on a Sunday morning from Toronto, Canada. I'll be driving to VF on the sunday. How bad will the traffic be. Any alternate roots I should take besides mapquest directions?

Anything you can think of, don't hesitate to reply.


Top 5 wood: 1.Hades 2.Voyage 3.Boulder Dash 4.Avalanche 5.Legend
Top 5 Steel: 1.Maverick 2.Fire Dragon 3.Batman 4.Raptor 5.Ice Dragon

I have heard that Viper at SFGA is awsome and is on my 08 calender(when I get my license), but you are in for a great trip.

Bolliger/Mabillard for President in '08 NOT Dinn/Summers

sws's avatar
I'm not sure which day you were planning on visiting ValleyFair! - Sunday or Monday. If Monday, you may run into a school day at the park and it will be full of school age kids. VF is in Shakopee - a southern suburb of the Twin Cities. Traffic should not be a problem. The most popular rides at VF will be Renegade, Wild Thing, Extreme Swing, and Steel Venom, and High Roller to a lesser extent. These will be the longest lines, although none should be that bad if it's not a Saturday, plus it's early in the season. I would go straight to Renegade when the park opens, and get a front row seat. I would definitely check VF's website to make sure the day you'll be at the park is not a school event day. Enjoy - it should be a good time.

Went to the park last year Labor Day weekend. It's a great little park that you could easily due in a day if the weather holds. Keep in mind that Excalibur will be open later than the rest of the park.

Stay at the Sofitel in Minneapolis. Depending of when you go, you can probably get a room for $99. Not bad for a four star hotel.


Stay at the hotel that is owned by Mt. Olympus. Your admission to the park and all of the water attractions they run are included. Head to Hades first and get a few laps in on that. Dive to Atlantis has extremely slow operations, might want to hit that early too. Definitely check out the go-kart tracks.


I don't have any hotel recommendations since I live near the area. Get there when or before the park opens and head left to Superman. This is by far the slowest moving line. If the line for the front isn't long, go for it. Then head to Ragin' Cajun, another slow loader. Most other rides are pretty good people eaters. Definitely hit Raging Bull, Viper, and Deja Vu if it is open. But don't count on that.

Indiana Beach

Crowds shouldn't be bad at all. Consider staying there. The rooms are of a low quality but you can't really beat the location. Hoosier Hurricane is a good ride, Cornball Express is even better. Ride lost coaster facing backwards, much better experience. Tigg'r coaster has no restraints at all. Thought I would mention that. Also, I am a huge fan of Den of Lost Thieves. I'm sure it's seen better days but I had alot of fun on the ride. Check their website for some good deals on tickets. For instance, Wednesdays are buy one get one free with a CVS receipt.

Hope this helps!

Forgot to mention to avoid the Dan Ryan Expressway at all costs. If you hit the Chicago area in the middle of the day traffic shouldn't be all that bad. Be prepared to pay through the nose on tolls if you take I-90, I-294, or I-80. *** Edited 5/23/2007 2:23:50 AM UTC by mulfdog***

If you don't have SFGAm tickets yet you can use the promo code "MYCOKEREWARDS" or "COLDSTONE" to get $35 tickets. My advice for that park would be to head to Superman as soon as the park opens then to deja vu (it should open this weekend). Some must rides are Whizzer, Raging Bull, and Viper. Have fun on your trip.

There are two types of people in the world. People who like coasters and idiots. (new forums have been added)

WildStangAlex's avatar
I have been to all those parks but Valleyfair!

Indiana Beach is fun, but if you are expecting a theme park, you will be in for a surprise. It is basically like a carnival stuck in the 70's! Tig'rr and Galaxi are both kinda neat and have some fun to them. Lost Coaster is great backwards or forwards. Hoosier Hurricane is OK, but lacks the major airtime of Cornball Express. I would suggest an all-day waterpark and themepark ticket for $30 or something, cuz you get to stay the entire time. We stayed at the IB Campground, which was very well kept.

Mt. Olympus is great for what it is. Basically you are walking into a go-kart fun center with a waterpark and a few roller coasters. The best ride is by far Hades. Parking is free, which is nice. You can stay at a variety of hotels and motels that include tickets as part of your package, so be sure to call on that. That is about all I can say for that park.

SFGAm is my home park so I am very biased about many things there. I would have to disagree with coasterkid92 about the order in which to ride. From my experiences, Viper never has a wait immediately upon opening. So do this. Enter the park to the right of the Columbian Carousel (as to head to Hometown Square). Turn right at Aunt Martha's Boarding house and go for SW territory. Hit up the Viper with no line. After that do the Raging Bull and Giant Drop with very little waits. If Deja Vu is open, do that next, otherwise continue in a counter-clockwise fashion, but skipping Demon, Rajin Cajun, and S:UF. (So go to Am. Eagle (red is better), V2, Batman, and Whizzer.) You should be able to get on Demon quickly anytime during the day. If lines are short for Rajin Cajun, you can do that. My advice for S:UF is get in line 10 minutes prior to park closing. That way you don't waste too much of your park time waiting for it, and if you are in line, they will let you ride even after closing. Any hotels in the area are decent, but the Grand Inn is right outside the park. Also, 1 mile down Grand Ave. to the west you will find a HUGE mall called Gurnee Mills full of all kinds of outlets and restaurants and even a Bass Pro Shop.

Hope you are able to use some of my advice!

"We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us."
-Joseph Campbell

sws's avatar
I forgot to mention that right now cans of Mountain Dew in this area are advertizing $10 off on a ticket for ValleyFair!

WildStangAlex said:

You should be able to get on Demon quickly anytime during the day.

Wrong! Demon is the 2nd most popular ride in the park, and is having an amazing year. The past few weekends Demon has had a 90min wait, over Raging Bull's 45min wait. Demon tends to clear out by the end of the night, It is a before 11:00am ride or after 8:30 pm ride. I highly recomend the after 8:30pm ride.

After your done at Mt. Olympus be sure to check out Avalanche at Timber Falls.
I have to assume that you are starting from east to west. Making VF your last park.

I can't say anyting about IB yet until after I go there in June.


There is no real easy way to get through Chicago. But by all means stay away from the rush hour times. Otherwise bight the bullet and go past downtow on 94. Enjoy the scenery.

My experience has always been good there. Superman will be the longest wait so get that out of the way. Whizzer is also a good day starter. RB is really fun but trimmed. I would have to say Viper is my fav there. AE races a train backwards (not realy news). Demon is a good Arrow for what it's worth. Watch your ears on IW. Good luck with DV being operational. And the O.G. BTR is as intense as ever. If it is a hot day, most of the crowd will be in the waterpark and will free up the rest a bit.

There are plenty of hotels in the area or nearby in Waukegan. Last time there I stayed at the Holiday Inn just across 94 (west) from the parks and on the same road as the main entrance (#132). It wasn't cheap but very nice and very close.

Mt O:

The Dells can get very hectic in the summer. Gridlock traffic and lots of people. I would not consider spending the night there just for MtO and TF. Stay the extra night at wherever you end up in Chicago and make a day stop on the way up to VF. That is if you are only going for the coasters. Shakopee is only another 4 hours away.

Also on the way to the Dells, check out Little-A-Merrik-A. It is a neat little place and not too far out of the way.


Check the web site for hotels. Another suggestion is the nearby casino Mystic Lake not far south of the park which has a hotel.

If buying anything to drink on the road in MN, Pepsi products are providing $10 off admission. So buy a can of Dew or something.

sws pretty much took the words out of my mind so have a good time in MN. Don't forget to hit the Mall of America for their 2 coasters.

Thanks for another great season, VF!

I believe Super Americas (MN gas stations) have VF discounts too.
Thx for all the advice. Thought I'd throw some more info out.

Sun-Drive to Valley Fair from Toronto.(More advice on Chicago driving would be great)

Mon-Valley Fair and M.O.A. plus maybe drive to Mt Olympus.(VF is only open like 10-5)

Tues-Drive to Mt. Olympus if I haven't already, Mt Oly and Timber Falls.

Wed-Mt Oly plus drive to SFram


Fri SFGram plus drive to IB

Sat-IB and drive home.

I plan on buying a SF season pass cause I will be going to SFGrad for Toro later in the year. Also I have a Cedar Fair Maxx pass, so I will get in to VF for free. Should have mentioned both of those in the first post. Sorry.

I will be leaving around 5-7am on Sunday. I'm mostly worried about hitting gridlock in Chicago, there and back.

Top 5 wood: 1.Hades 2.Voyage 3.Boulder Dash 4.Avalanche 5.Legend
Top 5 Steel: 1.Maverick 2.Fire Dragon 3.Batman 4.Raptor 5.Ice Dragon

Oh god, I just noticed that on the 4th of June its one of the parks school days. So I am sure it will be packed. The park is open till 8 though. Should I hit mall of america first then hit VF so I have rides after 4pm(will it be less busy then? do the kids leave at like 4 or 5?) or hit the mall after the park at like 5pm?

Top 5 wood: 1.Hades 2.Voyage 3.Boulder Dash 4.Avalanche 5.Legend
Top 5 Steel: 1.Maverick 2.Fire Dragon 3.Batman 4.Raptor 5.Ice Dragon

WildThingNative said: AE races a train backwards (not realy news).

AE doesn't run backwards at all anymore.

There are two types of people in the world. People who like coasters and idiots. (new forums have been added)

sws's avatar
If ValleyFair! is having a school day, there will be alot of kids there. Generally the school buses will leave the park late afternoon to return to school. In past years, I've picked my kids up back at the school ~5pm after returning from VF. The park should start emptying out ~4-4:30.
^^ Those Heathans! Why Not?

It was more interesting that way.

Anyhow, BamBam, that means you are going north around the lakes?

I don't know how mapquest advisied you to go through Minneapolis, but my advise is when comming into the Cities, take this route to VF:

35 south

35W south

694 west / becomes 94 west

169 south through the western suburbs.

there will be a few stop lights at the 494 junction, continue south from a few miles. Then you will cross the MN river. If you look to the right you might see the park.

Take the exit right after the river bridge onto 101 west.

That will take you to the VF gates.

Thanks for another great season, VF!

Kick The Sky's avatar
Sunday is definitely the best day to get through Chicago. Another thing you could do is avoid Chicago altogether and hit IB first. After leaving IB, take I-74 through Champaign and then take I-39 up into Wisconsin. I live in the Milwaukee area and have used this a few times (even though it is more miles) and have found it to be a quick and painless way around Chicago, especially if you are going to central or southern Indiana.

Another option, this one a bit pricier, is to go through Detroit, drive to Muskegon, and take a ferry from there to Milwaukee. Then from Milwaukee, take i-94 right up to Minneapolis. The ferry ride will give you a chance to recharge the batteries. Here is their website...

Certain victory.

I am a west Michigander and have been through Chicago multiple times on the way to these places. So far advice is good. As far as avoiding traffic good luck, i don't know if there is ever not traffic in Chicago. Definitly avoid the Dan Ryan, suck it up and pay the tolls (50 cents or so in what seems like every 3 miles). Scenary is ok on the DR if you have never been through the city but i think it is even better driving by O'Hare. If the wind is from the west the approach end is the freeway side and aircraft cross the freeway at about 500ft.

The parks will be interesting, don't think they could all be more different. SFGAm is one of the nicer SF parks. S:UF is usually pretty packed, if your lucky you will get two trains operations. Hit Vu if it is open, usuallly doesnt make it all day. Viper is hit or miss, had sweet days on it, others, not so nice. Raging Bull IMO is a bit of a waste, nice smooth ride and alot of my non coaster friends love it but in all honesty it doesnt really do anything. Batman is always a pleasure and actually moves people through the line, imagine that.
Mt.O is pretty cool. Go-Karts are very unusual but fun, Hades obviously a must. TIP FOR CYCLOPS: one time you have to ride in the very last seat.
IB, aaaaa, dont expect much. Rides will surprise you they are not to bad, HH and CB express are kind of fun. Other than that it is a year round carinval, and be careful on the walk bride over, if it is still standing.

rollergator's avatar
I *got* the love for the guy with one eye....that thing is SWEET! :)

This trip is LOADED with really good wood. I've even heard that Cornball is "back". L-A-M-A's Meteor should be ready *sometime* soon.

Definitely, if you want to ride Dive to Atlantis, WATCH carefully and queue up *immediately* when you see them getting ready to open. Loved the park (and I'm one that thinks the mono-theming comes off well). :)

You still have Zoidberg.... You ALL have Zoidberg! (V) (;,,;) (V)

Acoustic Viscosity's avatar
^Wow, not a fan of Indiana Beach you are. IMO, Indiana Beach is by far the highlight of this itinerary. If you like traditional parks, you will LOVE Indiana Beach. Not sure how you couldn't.

AV Matt
Long live the Big Bad Wolf

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