Waldameer or Darien Lake for the 4th of July

Thursday, July 2, 2009 8:01 PM

We are still trying to decide which park to go to for the 4th of July.

We will be heading to Wheeling,WV to drop of the dogs before our heading out on our latest coaster weekend.

One plan has us getting to Waldameer at 7:00PM on Friday night then driving to Darien Center that night. Going to Darien Lake on the 4th and then getting up early on the 5th and driving to Toronto and Canada's Wonderland for the day and the morning of the 6th before heading back to Wheeling and then to home.

Plan 2 would be spending the night in Wheeling and driving up to Waldameer on the 4th before the park opnes, then heading up to Toronto and skipping Darien Lake.

The second plan will save us about $250 and give us more time at Waldameer, but obviously 1 less park and 7 less coasters.

What would you do?

Is 3 hours from 7:00 pm to closing enough time to enjoy Waldameer on what could be a busy friday night?

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Thursday, July 2, 2009 8:12 PM

If your goal is to ride as many coasters as possible go to Darien Lake. If your goal is to actually enjoy your evening stay at Waldameer. IMHO Waldameer is a vastly surperior park to Darien Lake in every way (coasters, ambiance, etc).

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Thursday, July 2, 2009 8:30 PM

Hard for me to say skip Darien since we hit it and rode the coasters. But really it is not a very fun park. We were there the first time the last year of SF ownership and then again last summer. Both times it was ride the coasters and head out. Waldameer is a much more enjoyable time and RFII is special. Did you skip Seabreeze in Rochester on purpose? That is another small gem.

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Thursday, July 2, 2009 9:23 PM

No, we did not skip Seabrezze on purpose, I didn't even know it existed. The focus of this trip in reality is Canada's Wonderland. Since we will be driving though Erie, hitting Waldameer seemed like a no brainer. Darien Lake was not far off the path to Toronto was the reason that we thought about including it.

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Thursday, July 2, 2009 10:40 PM

Don't forget Martin's Fantasy Island. IMO, Silver Comet can be just as good if not better than Ravine Flyer 2.

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Thursday, July 2, 2009 11:26 PM

DaveStroem said:
Darien Lake was not far off the path to Toronto was the reason that we thought about including it.

I think it is!! Honestly, that drive was a lot further than I thought it would be...plus, Toronto traffic is kind of bad during the day, especially heading towards the city and there's potentially construction as well.

Where are you staying on Saturday night?? I went to Toronto twice last year (and CW 7 times) and I would never dream of attempting CW unless I was staying close by, except if you want to get up early (which I don't!).

Btw, while Moosh wasn't as enamored as I was, I LOVED Darien Lake (minus their POS Arrow looper, and of course hang-n-bang's are what they are).

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Thursday, July 2, 2009 11:39 PM

Friday:

Drive to Waldameer and get the discounted evening tickets. Ride till park close.

Drive to Batavia, NY ( 2 hours 18 minutes) spend the night at the Holiday Inn.

Saturday:

Hit Darien Lake, spend the night at Holiday Inn Batavia.

Sunday:

Get up early and head to Toronto (2 hours 32 minutes)

Hit Canada's Wonderland

Check in at Holiday Inn Express North York.

Monday:

Head back to Canada's Wonderland till about 2:00 PM

Drive to Wheeling with a stop at Primanti Bros in Pittsburg for dinner.

I might consider heading up to Toronto on Saturday night but I figure that going through Niagara Falls on the 4th of July about the time they are doing fireworks would be a nightmare. If we could get there before and find a parking space I would consider this. But I could just see getting up there and being stuck a customs for an hour with firework traffic.

Last edited by DaveStroem, Thursday, July 2, 2009 11:43 PM
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Thursday, July 2, 2009 11:41 PM

If your after Canada's Wonderland, then Darien Lake has little to nothing that CW can't offer the similar to. Waldameer, however, is home to the amazing Ravine Flyer II (the back at night is sick!), a decent waterpark, and fireworks. Personally, I find Waldameer's to be the best in Erie because of their duration as well as spectacular viewing area in front of Steel Dragon. Also, for a smaller park, Waldameer's flats, dark rides, and log flume are far better than DL's. The best part is that Waldameer is also subject to slow 4th of July's in which I know from experiences.

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Friday, July 3, 2009 6:19 AM

DaveStroem said:
Sunday:

Get up early and head to Toronto (2 hours 32 minutes)

Hit Canada's Wonderland

Check in at Holiday Inn Express North York.

Monday:

Head back to Canada's Wonderland till about 2:00 PM

Drive to Wheeling with a stop at Primanti Bros in Pittsburg for dinner.

I might consider heading up to Toronto on Saturday night but I figure that going through Niagara Falls on the 4th of July about the time they are doing fireworks would be a nightmare. If we could get there before and find a parking space I would consider this. But I could just see getting up there and being stuck a customs for an hour with firework traffic.

I think the 5th in the morning would be busier, but I guess since you're at CW for 2 days it really won't matter. Good luck man!

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Friday, July 3, 2009 8:24 AM

Well, remember that the 4th of July is a holiday here not in Canada. It is just another Sunday to them. At least that is my thought. From what many people on another tread stated that CW is not at all dependent on US business.

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Friday, July 3, 2009 9:04 AM

You will definitely not need a full day at Darien. You could easily do Darien and Seabreeze in one day, they are about an hour or so apart.

We are doing a similar trip but starting at CW for a day and half. A day at Seabreeze and Darien. Ending with a full day at Waldameer. I personally would take a full day at Waldameer over any amount of time at Darien.

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Friday, July 3, 2009 11:26 AM

I agree. I could spend all day at Waldameer and have a much better time. I am not crazy about Darien Lake at all. I have been there twice and am in no hurry to go back. Actually I would much rather spend a whole day a Seabreeze than Darien. :)

-Tina

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Friday, July 3, 2009 11:44 AM

Yes, yes, yes!...start your day at Darien Lake and end your evening at Sea Breeze. Jack Rabbit is a fun gem and after one ride on their unique and hella-fun Bobsleds and you'll be glad you stopped at the park. And yes, I said "hella" in 2009...deal with it! lol

I was in the area over last year's July 4th. We hit Canada's Wonderland, Marinelane, Centreville Park, Ontario Beach, Martin's Fantasy Island, Darien Lake, and Sea Breeze. Sea Breeze was by far the best park by a very, very wide margin. Skipping it would be a shame.

FYI, since you said you didn't know it existed I have to ask: do you have the roller coaster database bookmarked? RCDB.com has a great function in which you can select a park (say, Darien Lake) and find other parks in the area. The site is my #1 research tool when planning trips.

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Friday, July 3, 2009 12:28 PM

Yes, I do have it bookmarked. I unfortunately have to also consider the budget and time allowed. We are doing this because it is a rare 3 day weekend for us.

One of our goals is to get to over 100 coasters for the year. The fact that darien lake has 7 was a major factor in deciding to go here.

I have also have learned that what I want out of a park and coaster is not always the same as other folks. For example I had an absolutely fabulous time at SFA. While others reports that I have read were less then positive.

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Friday, July 3, 2009 12:40 PM

That's cool. Still, you can easily do both Darien and Sea Breeze in a single day. That's three more credits at Sea Breeze to get you closer to 100...four, if you ride kiddie coasters!

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Friday, July 3, 2009 12:42 PM

Overall if you HAVE to choose I'd recommend Waldameer over Darien Lake, but if you can hit em both (Not on the same Day) then go for it.;)

I flew up to Erie last year to attend the GOCC Gathering at Waldameer, from there I made my way to Buffalo and visited Darien Lake, Seabreeze, Canada's Wonderland and Martin's Fantasy Island.

Waldameer has the best Wooden Coaster of the lot, followed by the ones at Martin's Fantasy Island and Seabreeze. The ones at CW were running :(ROUGH:( when I visited them last year. Give yourself AT LEAST one hour to cross the border from the USA to Canada and back. The days of "Citizenship of what Country?, How long do you plan to stay?, Anything to Declare?, Move along!" are LONG GONE!

Last edited by Regulus, Friday, July 3, 2009 12:58 PM
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Friday, July 3, 2009 12:52 PM

Never been to Waldameer, but found Darien and Sea Breeze to both be good but in different ways. Darien had S:RoS (RoS now) which was excellent and I actually really liked their arrow looper. Predator was unique (in a bad way) and everything else was meh (Boomerang was down, SLC was bad). At Sea Breeze I didn't get much out of their coasters (save the spinning mouse) but it's just a nice and fun park. It has "charm."

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Friday, July 3, 2009 5:24 PM

I agree with Moosh about rcdb.com. It has been invaluable when planning some of my trips! It's extremely helpful when you start the initial planning. :)

-Tina

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Friday, July 3, 2009 6:04 PM

^^Boo, Andy. SeaBreeze was incredible. The bobsled was amazing, the tunneled Miller totally classic, fast and fun, the flats, everything. LOVED the place. Still doesn't make it "on the way" for Dave's trip.

Ride of Steel is really the redeeming feature at DL (but Motocoaster was down all day last year when we visited).

MFI was really cool, Silver Comet was another very solid small-park CCI.

Waldameer was fantastic before RF2, now it's...well, it's in the event planner for two weekends for now.

Regardless of claims about Dragon Mountain, the only real reason to go to Marineland (other than the perfectly-placed S&S tower) is for the sea life. ;)

Last edited by rollergator, Friday, July 3, 2009 6:08 PM
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Friday, July 3, 2009 6:58 PM

^I enjoyed the sea/wildlife, scenery, tranquility and S&S tower more than anything else. :)

-Tina

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