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Chadster's Vacation Adventures: Final Edition!


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^I was too but apparently they can't bring roosters into the city like they used do, ironic eh? Another thing of note, they were selling turkey legs, but I don't recall any chicken being served except for one BBQ vendor.


The cock haus fully approves of the rooster festival.


These reports always soothe me a little: What you've in superior parks we've in superior carnivals...

Which is exactly why I coming to Germany within they next two years!

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So this Memorial Day weekend I thought it would be nice to not only remember those service men and women who have paid the ultimate price or who active or veterans, but to also list my 10 most favorite parks thus far.


I'm not going to rank them as I don't really rank parks, but I do have parks that I like for various reasons and today I share those with you. So in no particular order, here goes!



1. Morey's Piers - Of all the seaside amusement parks I've been to, Morey's is #1 on my list. Spread out over multiple Piers they have a cheesy carnival atmosphere with a wide degree of varying rides that's just plain fun. Reasonable pricing, tons of food options on the boardwalk, it's a great place to spend a day and night, or couple with the beach for full weekend of mid week break from the rat race.



A great family friendly place.


Rides for everyone. The coasters may not be the greatest but they are fun, even their SLC isn't all that bad!



2. Busch Gardens Williamsburg - Here is a park than combines culture, a few animals, great rides, and kick ass operations for the ultimate experience. I have found the staff friendly, good food and plenty to keep you busy for the day. Superb landscaping and friendly folks have me wanting to go back to try out their newest attractions. If you plan a visit, be sure to addon the Coaster Tour, it's well worth the $


Missed my Photo Trip Report on this park? Clicky



View from atop Griffon looking at Ness


Two stellar B&M's.



3. Wonderland Amusement Park - Wonderland reminds me of my childhood park, Bell's, and for that it makes my favorite park list. The park features several old school attractions with a laid back atmosphere and a Bill Tracey dark ride knock off. They also have one of the few remaining original Himalaya's in the country


Missed my Photo Trip Report on this park? Clicky



1970's small town amusement park feel.


Biggest reason Wonderland is on my favorite park list.



4. Six Flags over Georgia - Probably the best overall Six Flags park in the chain and certainly the friendliest folks. The park is well maintained and listens to their customers. SFOG features a decent coaster collection of various sizes and variety not to mention they have more than a few flat rides!


Miss my Deep South Bash report? Clicky



Wheelie - Best. Enterprise Wheel. Evar.


They have actual ride themeing!




At least it looks good! Actually with the hand me down trains it's not bad!



5. Dollywood - What's not to like about Dollywood? Excellent food, the best arrow anywhere, a kick butt GCI, and now Wild Eagle! Don't forget about their reasonably priced virtual queue system!


Want to see my Trip Report on Dollywood? Clicky








6. Kings Dominion - I can't put my finger on why I like this park, I just do. My last visit, however, found the queue's full of trash and a general feeling of maybe not being safe, but that's just one time of many so I brush it off. Decent ride collection, plenty of flats, and a water park included make this a great destination while in the D.C. area.



They put on awesome fireworks shows.


Dominating Dominating Dominating



7. Knotts Berry Farm - Simply the best park in the Cedar Fair Chain. The folks are friendly, nice selection of flat rides, history, and save for pointless express, coasters. If you have not been, you are not an enthusiast.


Want to relive West Coast Bash 2012 at Knotts? Clicky!



Blows all CF parks out of the water. Why? They give a damn.


Monty - best shuttle loop around.



8. Busch Gardens Tampa - If you could combine the operations of BGW with BGT you would have the ultimate park. Animals, exhibits, good food, good rides, and a very scenic park make this a top destination in the country.


Relive Busch Gardens Bash Here!



Well kept grounds and tours that take you out in to the wild.


My #1 B&M Invert.


9. Silverwood - A very well rounded park with two great woodies, good flats, neat water park and one of the few places that have been able to keep a GIB running!


Check out my Silverwood Photo Trip Report! Clicky



Excellent Wood


It looks innocent, but it will kill you.


10. Lakeside - If I had to rank parks, this would be in the top 3. I absolutely love the Art Deco all throughout the park, the nostalgia really takes you back. Is it a little trashy? Yes and no, the park is clean but it's old, and that give it character. The lighting worked on all of their rides which was a huge bonus as not many of the large parks really pay attention to that detail. On my visit a storm was rolling in which added to the atmosphere of riding the coaster, seeing the park lit up and lightning off in the distance. It was pure love. On my next visit to Denver this year I will be by passing Elitch and heading straight to Lakeside.


Want to see more Lakeside? Clicky



Surprisingly some really good wood!


Awesome art deco park!



I hope you enjoyed this look back at my 10 favorite parks. Chadster's Vacation Adventures is going on hiatus for the next good bit. A return to air date has not yet been determined but will be packed full of rarely seen parks. For those that want to follow me as I travel this summer I will introduce a special Facebook page in the next few days so be sure to come back for the link!

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Out of the parks I've been to on your list, I have to agree that they are one of the best. Dollywood, Busch Gardens Europe and Africa, along with Six Flags Over Georgia. SFOG is definitely not my favorite SF park in the chain, but it does have positional, I could have visited on a bad day. And it's weird, but I have to agree with you about Kings Dominion. On my visit, the park seemed kinda trashy, but I still had fun. Most of the rides had a full queue, but I waited through them, and all the rides were just fun!


PS - I hope to make it to Morey's Piers sometime soon!

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I'm glad that my home park got the #4 spot. It really is a great place, and they take southern hospitality seriously. I agree with you on Wheelie, my favorite flat ever! I believe the reason why the park is like it is because of the fact it isn't owned by the company but instead by the same partners that own SFOT.

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I hope everyone has enjoyed this thread over the last few years, I've certainly enjoyed traveling and seeing the country!


If you wouldn't mind, to show your appreciation for the countless hours that go into creating the reports and videos for your enjoyment, donate $5 to my Give Kids The World fundraising page. It would mean a lot.


Thanks so much and check back later for a link to follow me semi-live on my next travel adventure!

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Travel on Chad! There are a few notable / surprising omissions. At least one - Knoebels - you've yet to visit. This classic belongs on your list. So does Kennywood I'd wager. Seems your kind of place. Been there?


I too adore the Busch parks. They are close to perfect, focused not on numbers but quality attractions.


My personal list would include IOA / Uni Orlando as a single entity. Same reason - top notch coasters, but backed up by amazing dark rides.


Your listing of Dollywood and SFOG is adding to my anticipation. August can't come soon enough.

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I was weighing Kennywood as a top contender but in the end I think I need to give it one more visit to really appreciate it's awesomeness as the day was plagued with tons of schools crowding things up. Perhaps this time next year both of those parks will squeeze there way in.


I too am looking forward to August, still on flight patrol but hope to have that sealed soon.



So, want to follow me live on this weeks 8 day epic travel adventure? I've setup a special facebook page for just he occasion! Of course I'll be back in a few weeks with full updates as per usual with foto's not published on the facebook page so keep checking back. Oh and subscribe to this thread, it's worth it




Looking forward to seeing some fellow TPR peeps this week, watch out, here I come!

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If you weren't following me live, you probably missed the foto below, but thats ok, I forgive. I also posted a few more in the Silver Dollar City thread. If you don't want to miss me semi-live this week check out my special Facebook for when I'm on the go!


I'll be back here in a few weeks with more amazing content including a visit where JoJo and I met up with the big man at the Azoosment park, we were pleasantly surprised by what's going on there!


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Coming up this Monday, I have a special treat for everyone - Behind the scenes of the Big Mike Roadshow at the Azoosment Park! Find out all of secrets and hard work that goes into the popular production including the ducky game. Get Excited!

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Looks like I'm back for a few weeks and to celebrate we start with a special "behind the scenes" episode of 'The Big Mike Roadshow'


I had rearranged a departure date for my upper Mid-America trip to be able to meet up with Big Mike and Megan at Santa's Village Azoosment Park just outside Chicago. JoJo met me at my hotel and off we went hitting just about every Memorial Day parade in town setting us back about 5 minutes from the targeted arrival time.


So after getting a hard time for being late, in we went were Kurtis (G$ Kurt) immediately yelled out for Big Mike recognizing the bright shirt. Kurtis really did seem to be everywhere and gave us the low down on the park. The firetruck and motorized cars were new for this year and they have future expansion plans. I wouldn't count on the water park re-opening as after years of neglect while the park was closed it would be an expensive venture, but do expect that great things could be coming to that area soon.


The park itself is clean and vibrant, the staff were all friendly, and the zoo adds that little something the park needs to keep the kids entertained, and most importantly, in the park. Santa, as mentioned in Big Mike's report, has been at the park for the last 25+ years playing Santa (when the park was closed he was at Holiday World) and is full of park history as well as history of all the Santa themed parks. For instance he told us the park was a duplicate of another one in NY but not originally owned by the same person.


Bottom line guys, the park is waaaaaay better than the horror stories I've read before it closed. The new team is dedicated to making the park a success and fits the families with small children niche that very few regions have. So if you have younger children you should without a doubt take them to the Azoosment Park, you won't be disappointed.


And now, I present, Behind the Scenes of the Big Mike Roadshow!


P.S. If you want to see my entire photo collection on this park Click.


And here we are just a tad late, kinda like this PTR ;)


On the way to back to the credit (hey we aren't stupid, we didn't want to encounter long lines!) we stopped off to pet a turtle.


Big Mike always gets ride sign photos, just in case Larry might need them.


The Big Mike Roadshow uses two cameras just in case one malfunctions.


And this is what everyone was taking foto's of.




Wait, nope, the whore is in the front seat...well maybe the back seat too, you decide and let us know.


The roadshow getting on ride foto's


Hey Guys, How is Your Ride?


Kurtis operated the ride personally for us! #Likeaboss Well, actually he is one, hmmm need to come up with something for that, maybe #likeapeasant ?


This is what it looks like if you sit in the front seat, the back of a head.


So it was time to move on and hide some ducks. There was a duck somewhere between here...


...and here. Did you find it?




All of the employees were telling us we HAD to ride the firetruck and the motorized cars, both new for this year. Little did they know what they had just done. Afterall, we are CTPR members ;)




This is the POV of that famous pose. Looked familiar to me in many aspects.


After "the pose" Big Mike demo'd the proper way to handle your hose.


Then it was off to the fire, running code complete with lights and sirens which helped clear the way to roll up on our target! Oh did I mention we had the attraction to our selves? ;)


Using proper hose handling techniques as shown in the video, I helped the team to put out the FIRE!


This is where video was being shot! Look ma, I'm on T.V. On second thought, you might not want to...


After the fire was out we still had enough for a second round of water fighting.


Admission to Azoosment Park: 16.95; Ride on Firetruck: Free; Look of our ride attendants face: Priceless.


Still not sure about this...


New for this year, motorized cars! They did a top notch job on this attraction.


Might get wet on this ride?


Off on their voyage.


Oh crap, firetruck, now we know why we might get wet...


Taking pictures for the PTR: #likeaboss.


Alert! Nut Allergies ahead!


Spider scene.


the "I really don't want my own spider scene" scene.


We got to feed the mini horse courtesy of Megan. Dude knew when she pulled out the quarter that he was about to get fed.


Feeding time!


I like turtles.


Next it was time for a sleigh ride.


Smile for the birdie!


and here are the birdies!


Megan wanted to slide, like really bad, so why not. Only problem was the kid behind her was getting a little upset it took her so long to slide down!


Red Herring time! Did you spot the pink ducky?


They also have this cool bird thingy where the birds are not afraid of you.


Why? Because you can feed them! We all got treated to nuts attached to sticks. As you can see, the birds would fly right to you!


I Triple Dog Dared him.


Before we left, Jo had to try out the Angry Birds game. She chose her Angry bird and launched him into the TNT, but sadly it didn't explode :(


All in all we had a funtastic time at the Azoosment park. Thanks to Kurtis and the entire management team for taking time to talk to us about the parks history and where they hope to take the park in the future!

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As part of my Mid America Adventure I made a stop by Indiana Beach to check out the park just in case it closes I had high hopes going into the day and was pumped up to visit the park as it's my "type" of park. Unfortunately my visit fell a tad short of my expectations as I felt it was missing that Morey's Piers feel I was expecting. Operations were also slow on my visit with Cornball dispatching about once every 8 minutes.


But not all was a total disappointment, the YoYo is VERY good and I got my first ever VALLEY while riding a coaster! Would I visit again, sure, I'd give it another try, after all, I really wanted to fall in love with the park, it just for some reason didn't happen.


So lets move on and see some photos shall we? But wait, not enough photos for you? Click your mouse here.


And we have arrived! Actually I guess it should be I have arrived as there is no "we" anymore.


Anyway I arrived just as the park gates were opened as heavy rain was forecast for the afternoon.


Pretty sure it's supposed to have water in it.


First up, the Galaxy. Note: Beepers are not allowed on this ride, however loose object appear to be allowed...


Looks safe.


Hi tech ride control system looks safe.


Ride car looks....safe. I honestly thought I was going to die as the entire way up the lift the car was bouncing, thumping, and vibrating. I braced for my life but surprisingly it smoothed out, whew.


Next I thought I'd try the scrambler, but was denied because I was a single rider. They claim the ride manufacture says single riders are not allowed...WTF?!?! So after declining a ride with 12 year old girls (for obvious reasons) I moved on to the next best thing.


The Flying Bobs. I actually liked this ride a lot as they ran it bobs out. Get it, bobs out, ha ha.


Ummm, looks safe?


Car 1: "OMG, what IS that?"

Car 2 Girl: "I can't believe you"

Car 2 Boy: "It wasn't me I swear!"

Car 3: Dammit! Quit busting ass!


After not being open when the park opened, I ran over to the Lost Coaster, where I was able to find it.


Apparently trains go in the cave and are supposed to come out the other side.


To do that, they go up the hydro lift which was actually one the best parts of the ride as I had no clue what held the thing in place on the way up.


Our train went in...


But we didn't come out! We VALLEYED in the tunnel!!!


Holy Crap we are really stuck in here! They had a mechanic waiting on the train when it rounding the corner inside the cave to try and give it a push but no go!


Can I get out this way! We actually begged for an evac but we didn't get it. Reinforcements were sent in and they pushed the train up the incline and over the hill....off we went, only to valley again!!


So what was up? The wheels were over lubed, too thick and caused the bearings to not turn freely. Yeah, I'd hated to have been that guy.


So after the totally awesome valley, it was off to try this out.


State law says you have to be 54" to ride.


From the platform I found this mess.


And then turned around to see this mess.




Double train!


Your obligatory carousel shot.




Acceptable amount of wetness. Probably the shortest flume outside of the one at Frontier City that I've been on.


After getting wet, I went to check out Steel Hawg, interesting ride, that's for sure, pretty fun too.


Must have a NERD SHOT!




Yuuuup! Best. Yo Yo. EVAR!


Nice speed on the Himalaya. Looks like they took the background from a Reverchon and painted over which is too bad as those had some quality artwork.


Oh yeah, the Falling Star was sort of SBNO


Can't forget about the 10 foot gap in the restraining mechanism drop tower! Not bad at all.


On the way out I found this "Featured on Food Network" Taco Stand. Not exactly believing them I looked it up on my phone to find it was featured in about a 30 second block as the best taco...on the boardwalk maybe. I tried it, it was ok. Cheese whiz, pre-cut and bagged lettuce, standard taco meat, nothing amazing, but it was cheap.


And with that, I walk on to my next Adventure. Any guesses as to where that will be?!?!

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I've been to this park twice, and my first visit in 2000 was so much better than my second visit a few years ago. It just doesn't seem like the new owners care as much about the park as the old ones did. Lots of closed rides, pokey operations, and a real lack of energy compared to the first time I visited. I still ahd fun, but the place just seemed kind of "off". It still has one of the best locations for a park ever, and I hope it stays open for quite some time.



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I've been to this park twice, and my first visit in 2000 was so much better than my second visit a few years ago. It just doesn't seem like the new owners care as much about the park as the old ones did. Lots of closed rides, pokey operations, and a real lack of energy compared to the first time I visited. I still ahd fun, but the place just seemed kind of "off". It still has one of the best locations for a park ever, and I hope it stays open for quite some time.




Quoted for truth as I couldn't have summed it up any better. It's a shame as like you said, the parks is in a great location, is full of potential, and close to hundreds of thousands of potential patrons.


Hmm, are you going north or south next?


I'm thinking....North

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