Finally got some vacation time coming up (Oct 6th-ish), and am looking into some parks within a days drive to visit. My home park is BGE, PKD doesn't do it for me like it used to. Cedar Point is my number one (not sure what the crowds are like early Oct.), but anyone had some great experiences in Penn. (Dorney, Hersey), Maryland's SFA, Jersey's SFGA? Just trying all the angles for an overall good weekend; thought you guys could lend some knowledge/experience.
Dorney is a great park but I'm not sure if I would reccomend driving all that way just for it because you can easily ride every coaster, and all the flats you want including re-rides on everything in less than half a day at the park, mostly because lines are basically non existant in the park.
Hershey is in fact closed that weekend. Open the following three weekends (Fri-Sun) for Hersheypark in the Dark. Except for the water rides (including Roller Soaker), it looks like everything is scheduled to be open (in the past they often kept Midway America section closed for HP in the Dark).
Knoebels is closed for the season, with the exception of PPP coming up sometime soon (not going, so not sure when).
Weekend of Oct 6, only Dorney, SFA and SFGrAdv will be operating.
PPP is october 7. Dorney will be open from 6 -11PM on October 6. Dutch Wonderland will be Open October 7 & 8th (As Will Dorney) SFGAdv Will be Open October 7,8 AND the 9th! (It looks like SOMEBODY out there gives the kids a Day off of School for Colombus Day (That's about as rare as a Blizzard in Florida!) I will be in Pennsylvania and New Jersey that weekend. My Iternerary goes as follows:
October 5 Fly to Philidelphia.
October 6 Independance Hall/ Liberty bell/ Uss Olympia AM - Dorney Park after 6 PM.
October 7 PPP at Knoebal's
October 8 Breakfast at Twin grove Park, then on to Dutch Wonderland
October 9 SFGAdv
October 10 Fly home to Florida
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Knoebels will also be open 12-5 on Sunday the 8th. Just to mention another park, although it probably doesn't fit with your plans is Kennywood (it's still a NE park).
I think Borntocoast has a pretty good itinerary. I'd suggest a stopoff at Chocolate World before hitting Dutch Wonderland on Sunday just to say you were there. (BTW is Hershey totally closed that w/e or is there a buyout?)
If you have time, you might want to check out Twin Grove Park too. I don't know if the rides are still open, but the campground and restaurant still are. That's only a few miles off of I-81 if you're heading from Knoebels toward Harrisburg.
With regards to Cedar Point, the crowds are hit and miss, go on a Sunday it will be dead. Saturday it entirely depends on the weather forcast the closer it is to 75 and Sunny the more packed it will be.
I visited Chocolate World on my last Visit to Hershey in June of 2000. If it weren't closed I would have definately included it in my Iternerary, as it is I'll just have to save it for a future trip (Ditto for Clemington, I was there in 2000 to ride their now SBNO Jack Rabbit :( , Someday I'll have to add J2 to my List. ;) ) As for Twin Grove Park, I'll stop there for Breakfast the morning after PPP and see what's there before I make my run to Dutch Wonderland.
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^^^So if you showed up in a brown shirt and pants that day, you might be able to get in? :)
Born, I was just suggesting C-World as an along the way thing, since they just revamped it this year. I'm not sure how you plan on going from Elysburg to Lancaster, so it might or might not be on your way.
Since I'll be Overnighting in Hazleton during PPP I'll probably take I-81 to US 283. I'll be spending most of the Day in the Lancaster area that day, In addition to DW I plan to do my Christmas Shopping while I'm there. Hopefully there will be a Store that specialises in Amish Handicrafts. (Since 1986 I've done my XMAS Shopping while on Vacation. I'll find a Store that sells Locally Made Items and dole them out as gifts in December. ;) ) I'll do Hershey again in a Future Trip!
I usually do a big roller coaster road trip at this time of year (Canadian Thanksgiving long weekend). I've visited PA in the fall a few times.
Dorney really gets into the Halloween spirit. It's a lot of fun, especially with peanut characters and "the great pumpkin".
SFGAdv has a lot of Halloween stuff, but it's also very crowded. People queue for hours to go for a hay-ride, which appears to have good effects, based on the fireballs I saw from Nitro. But this park requires a Q-bot on a crowded day.
Hersheypark is also good. Too bad it's closed for you. One of the most unusual halloween activities I've seen is the Zoo America nocturnal exhibits, free with Hersheypark admission.
Knoebels -- their halloween festivities are minimal until after dark. But riding those woodies in the pitch black is thrilling, and the antique car drive-through displays are better than displays at other parks. Also, during PPP and the Covered Bridge Festival, virtually every carny food vendor in PA has a booth at Knoebels. Deep fried goodness everywhere!
Borntocoast, only problem with the shopping is that the genuine Amish craftsmen and shops will not do business on Sunday. Yeah, they're serious about keeping the Sabbath. You might be able to find some "English" stores that carry items made by the Amish and Mennonites that will be open on Sunday. But even a lot of them close on Sunday in deference to the Amish.
BTW, Check into this as an alternate route---->
From Hazleton, 309 South, 443 West, 895 West, 61 South to Reading, 222 South to Lancaster to 30 East to Dutch Wonderland. It's not interstate highway, but I think you can shave some time and mileage off your trip.
I was thinking the Same Thing about the Amish, Bear. The towns in the area are probably rife with "Blue Laws". (Hey, if that's their thing so be it!) I may have to find something else to stuff everyones Xmas Stockings. I may be able to get something a DW but I'll have to look carefully. (If I want something that was made in China I'll buy it if I ever visit China!) If push comes to shove there will probably be a Craft Shop at SFGAdv. Where there's a Will there's a way! ;)
BTW I'd be going out of the way to go to Pine Grove, Pa from Allentown. I'll hit the Restaurant at Twin Grove Park on Sunday Morning instead of Saturday Morning. It's more of a Direct route from Hazelton to Pine Grove to Lancaster than it is from Allentown to Pine Grove to Elysberg!
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