US Theme Park location map?

Friday, December 17, 2004 6:12 AM
I'm planning a few trips over to the US from the UK over the next couple of years, aiming at hitting as many US parks as possible. Since i know nothing about US Geography and state positions, etc, is there a map of the USA showing the state lines and theme park locations so i can plan my trips?

Every place i know of lists the parks by state, but doesn't actually have a map showing where they are!!!

Any ideas?

Barry

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Friday, December 17, 2004 6:18 AM
rcdb.com has a tool that tells you where any theme park in any state is. Just go to the website and then click on tree view under the search bar. A regular U.S. state map could then show the position of the states and where the cities of the amusment parks are. Also the websites of the theme parks usally tell you where they are. that's the best advice I can give.
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Friday, December 17, 2004 7:09 AM
That's how i used to plan my trips in the past. You have to have an imagination which part of the US (East, West, Middle) you want to go and the major parks you want to hit.
And then just use rcdb.com -
they have this cool tool that tells you the distance from park to park.
Then just mark those in any map of the US you have and connect them to your round-trip. Worked very well for me the last years in CA and OH/PA.
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Friday, December 17, 2004 8:09 AM
Barry,

Once you've got the city and state, you can use mapping software to plan routes to get yourself from place to place. A no-charge example is www.mapquest.com. This allows you to enter a beginning and ending address, and it produces detailed driving directions. A product that I use is Microsoft Streets and Trips 2005, which costs approximately 40 US dollars. Using this, I can enter beginning and ending points (usually an airport) and a number of intermediate points (usually amusement parts and motels). The software then plots the route and can produce maps in many different formats as well as driving directions. I use this software all the time in planning trips like this, and I don't know how I could ever get along without it, especially when I try to optimize the use of my time on the trip. Unfortunately, the software cannot predict bad weather that can disrupt even the best plans.

Merle

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Friday, December 17, 2004 8:23 AM
As far as maps go, here's a start:
http://www.cedarfair.com
http://www.sixflags.com/pick_a_park1.asp
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Friday, December 17, 2004 8:51 AM
Excellent - most helpful all!!!

I'm planning to take a couple of two-week trips in the next couple of years - weekends are reserved already for shopping only - i hate crowds!!!

Cheers to everyone!

Barry

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Friday, December 17, 2004 9:00 AM
Best advice:

1) get a map of the entire US -or- maps of the Eastern US and Western US. Most map companies produce these. Some may actually have certain larger parks marked.

2) Look up the city location of each EXISTING park in each state on RCDB. Then look up each city in Mapquest or some other on line map / direction site.

5) Mark your map with those locations.

Okay, not the most scientific in today's internet driven society, however it works. I just finished up marking a map like this a few days ago. Parks get green dots to mark them. Next I am going in and mark light houses with blue dots (my wife likes light houses), and then I am going to mark other points of interest we would like to visit in red. Should make vacation planning really easy. Concentrate on areas with lots of green, blue, and red dots.

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Friday, December 17, 2004 10:22 AM
I'd stick with Pennsylvania and Ohio...perhaps a taste of Indiana and possibly Tennessee for good measure.

Better yet, go to RCDB and look up CCI and GGI installations and map out the shortest route between all of them. ;)

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Friday, December 17, 2004 11:56 AM
IAAPA has a list of members organized by state, with a map included. There are lots of small members mixed in with the big parks, so you may need to wade through the list. It's a decent way to start, though.

http://208.254.25.40/US.htm

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Friday, December 17, 2004 12:07 PM
Or just use some sort of mapping software (like Microsoft Streets & Trips) - not only can you mark all the parks and get a graphical representation of where they are, but after you have them marked you can get directions with driving times, etc with a click of the mouse. Lots of options for customizing your maps - you can label the points so you don't forget which point is which park.

Something like this (it only shows parks I've been to)

Or this - we have a friend moving to Texas in a few months, so like any good enthusiast, I plotted the parks for a potential visit. :)

I'd say this is the easiest way to map unfamiliar territory. Get addresses off RCDB and official park sites. Plop them onto the map. Decide what looks good. Have the program give you directions. Enjoy!

(also good for plotting out/finding hotels, restaurants, other points of interest, etc.)

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Friday, December 17, 2004 12:13 PM
Gonch....don't bother with Kiddie Park of SA unless you actually have a kid with you....no amount of begging or pleading will get you onto that kiddie coaster...:(

Just a little tip from someone who's "been there, done that"...;)

edit: Sandy Lake, OTOH, no issues at all...beautiful place, *original Pretzel dark ride*, and the Rock-O-Plane....awesome! :)
*** Edited 12/17/2004 5:14:48 PM UTC by rollergator***

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Friday, December 17, 2004 12:17 PM
Right now, it's just a list of places we could go (not necessarily would go), but I should have the kids with me :)
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Friday, December 17, 2004 12:24 PM
The older ACE Ride to Guide from 1991 has such a map. It's a little bit dated, but is a good starting point if that is what you want. A 3 edition set is available from ACE.
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Friday, December 17, 2004 12:39 PM
I use a system similar to SLFAKE. I live in Ontario, just an hour from the New York border, so I used a map of the Northeast states and provinces to mark amusement parks within a day's drive. I did my mapping in the summer with an American Motor Association map, a jiffy marker and locations from an old Tim O'Brien book (The Amusement Park Guide, 1998?).

To get a perspective on the scope and scale of parks, I marked each amusement park with a small X, then put concentric rings indicating the size and scope of the park. (I put 5 rings around Cedar Point.) With this map, I've coordinated several long weekend trips to upstate New York, Pennsylvania, and northern Ohio.

IMO, North America has four worthy pockets of great theme parks:

  1. southeast Pennsylvania / southern New Jersey (major parks within 2 hours of Dorney Park include Hersheypark, Six Flags Great Adventure, and Knobels Grove);
  2. Ohio / Western Pennsylvania (Cedar Point, Kennywood, Geauga Lake, and Paramount King's Island are all within 4-5 hours of each other);
  3. central Florida (4 Disney parks, 2 Universal parks, Seaworld Orlando, Busch Gardens Tampa, and Cypress Gardens); and
  4. southern California (2 Disney parks, Knott's Berry Farm, Six Flags Magic Mountain, Universal Studios, Sea World San Diego, and Legoland).

There are other great parks on this side of the ocean, but IMO, they are stand-alone theme parks without local partners or competitors worth visiting. I'll also admit that I'm also geographically biased -- I've never been to any theme parks south of Pennsylvania that weren't in California or Florida. Despite the lack of neighbouring attractions, Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Holiday World and Schlitterbahn Waterpark are on my 'do before I die' list.

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Friday, December 17, 2004 12:50 PM

Bazzanoid said:

I'm planning to take a couple of two-week trips in the next couple of years - weekends are reserved already for shopping only - i hate crowds!!!


You've got the right I idea, but I highly recommend visiting seasonal parks on weekends in May before Memorial Day or in September after Labour day. The weather is great and the crowds are much less than what you will find on weekdays in July or August.

However, before Memorial Day (May 30, 2005) and after Labour Day (September 5, 2005), waterparks are usually closed.

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Friday, December 17, 2004 12:55 PM
I like Gonchar's idea of mapping software, and if I would have any software like that on my machine, I would be using it in stead of my paper map and colored magic marker method. Basically, we are doing the same thing... but he's "high tech" and I'm "low tech".

One other note:

I've marked every park from RCDB with any coaster lareger than a "kiddie". Not saying that all of these are "must go to" parks... many aren't. But if we are travelling from point A to point B and the route comes close to one of these marked parks, it would be a shame to miss it.

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Friday, December 17, 2004 1:12 PM
Yeah, it's the same thing. Where you use color coding and greatwhitenorth has the concentric rings, I can just add the park info (address, coasters, notes) to the box under the park name.

It's really easy and Streets and Trips (not plugging the Microsoft stuff, it just happens to be the one I have) retails for something like $40. You could easily get it cheaper.

Another nice feature is construction info. You just click a button and it updates showing any consrtuction and potential delays along the route.

I believe the newest version works with GPS on PDA's if you're into that sort of thing. Just migrate the trip info over and let your PDA show you where to go.

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Friday, December 17, 2004 2:54 PM
Streets and Trips on a laptop is THE enthusiast's friend.

Well, it's the traveller's friend in general, but in this case, I'm a traveller because I'm an enthusiast, so we'll run with that.

Flying somewhere for a short trip and not taking the laptop? Generate a custom Pocket Streets map for your destination in Streets and Trips, and load it up on your PocketPC PDA.

Um, yes, I'm a geek. Was there any doubt?

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Friday, December 17, 2004 9:13 PM
http://coastergallery.com/search/search.html theres an other map with a bunch of parks.
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Friday, December 17, 2004 10:39 PM
www.americanmidway.com also has a map and TR (hasn't been updated since 2000, however).
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