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CP or Bust: Trip Planning Advice Needed


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So if you've ever followed my park/coaster blog (link in signature) you'll know my bro-in-law and I are both thrill junkies and now that its 2015 we're starting to plan out some trips for this year. Both of us have been to Hershey but not together and he has not been since Skyrush opened and I need to get him on that (like me, he is a big Intamin fan).

 

Also, neither of us have done Cedar Point. (*audible gasps*) Yeah, I know. So its a must. While I'd like to get to SFNE or SFMM for the two new RMCs sometime this year, part of me wants to wait for the hype to die a little before we attempt that. So Cedar Point is our goal, and if we're doing Hershey, we are thinking why not throw Kennywood in the mix since it's right along the way, seems kinda low key, but has a pretty decent line-up, imo (hello Phantoms Revenge!) and we can make it a three-park-stop road trip.

 

Anyway! Here are some options we are exploring and I'd like some advice and opinions. We are looking at doing this either Memorial Day Weekend (May 21st-25th) OR the weekend after (May 28th-June 1st). Nothing is set in stone, nothing booked, this is all very early planning but here's our potential plan of attack:

 

THURSDAY - Leave Philly @ 8am, get to Hersheypark @10am for opening (2 hr drive w/ no traffic), and enjoy all day Thursday since we both agree its an all-day park. Stay the night in Hershey - likely not on site since it'll be way cheaper at a budget motel and we just want somewhere to sleep before the long drive to CP and stopping at Kennywood the next day.

 

FRIDAY - up early, check out, drive to Kennywood (3 hr drive) to get there by opening @ 11am and enjoy the park til late afternoon/evening. For us will more or less be credit stop. We do like unique flats, but mostly just want to do the coasters. Am I underestimating that we can do this in an afternoon on a Friday? Since we're only leaving ourselves 6-7 hours here, will potential rain kill this day completely? We'd leave Kennywood by 6pm latest, and head off to Cedar Point to arrive by Friday night (another 3 hr drive), and our hope is to stay on site - since we can walk right over to the park - hopefully get the early morning/late night ERTs. etc etc.

 

SAT/SUN - Enjoy the hell out of Cedar Point.

 

MONDAY - Check out and drive the 7 hours back to Philly.

 

So my questions are:

 

- Memorial Day weekend at Cedar Point. Even with Fast Lane, is this completely moronic to attempt? Will we need to book a room to stay on site right away? Do they typically sell out for big holiday weekends? Are we idiots to not absolutely consider doing this the weekend AFTER Memorial Day?

 

- Kennywood's rain/weather policies?

 

- Suggestions on hotels near Hershey NOT on site? Same with CP - we'd like to stay on site there but other close/cheap options are nice.

 

Any other trip related advice/suggestions more than welcome. You guys, imo, are the experts at this and I know certain board members did very similar trips to this last year.

 

Sidenote: We ABSOLUTELY will be budgeting in skip-the-line/flash/fast lane passes at every park so we're not so concerned about that or the ability to do everything in a certain time. I refuse to travel to somewhere other than my home park and wait in lines all day. We want two full days at Cedar Point due to the fact that neither of us have been, there's obviously so much to do (and re-ride what we like) and also their weather/rain policies. Thanks and any help and advice is appreciated, TPR folks!

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You'll be fine going to Cedar Point on Memorial Day weekend. We go on Labor Day weekend every year and don't even get Fastlane (though we go for 3 days). If you go for 2 days and get Fastlane Plus then you're golden. Do you have a Platinum Pass? If so make sure you take advantage of early entry at 9AM. If you don't have this then I'd suggest staying on-site.

 

You can get a good hotel in Sandusky - Milan for basically nothing so we never stay at the Cedar Point hotels. I'm sure it would be awesome but if you stay back by I-80 you're 15 minutes from the park in a decent hotel for $50 or $60 bucks (in most places I would never go to a hotel room that's 50 or 60 bucks but in that part of Ohio hotel rates are really low for some reason). It's also a safe bet that all you'll want to do is go to the hotel and crash so I wouldn't bother on a hotel room with a lake view that you'll never get to look at because you'll be running around the park. That's just me though... that's all about your personal preference.

 

I've never been to Kennywood so I can't be any help there but it seems like you're all set to have a great time at Cedar Point. Enjoy!

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Definitely go the next weekend after memorial day! I did that last year and it was a great time.

 

If I could suggest one change, I would drive to Kennywood at night in the same day you're at Hersheypark, then you can sleep in a little bit in the morning, because you know you're going to be up late at night anyway. This is the way my cousin and I do it when we do trips, and it works out quite well to wake up, go to breakfast at Perkins, and hit the park with minimal driving in the morning

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Here's my advice for Cedar Point:

 

1) Go May 28th- June 1st. The park is less crowded then.

2) When going on Maverick , do NOT even think about going in the Fast Lane Plus line. The ride has horrible capacity and even the FL gives you 45 mins lines.

3) If you want a good alternative to Hotel Breakers, try Lighthouse Point. For my suggested dates, it's only going to be $438 for the cheapest option. It seems pricey, but you get WiFi, basic needs, ERT, a 2 day ticket with waterpark (call to ask what the dry park price is for a cabin).

 

 

I have no answers to Kennywood or Hershey, but enjoy my home park! PM/email me if your need any other advice.

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Definitely go the next weekend after memorial day! I did that last year and it was a great time.

 

If I could suggest one change, I would drive to Kennywood at night in the same day you're at Hersheypark, then you can sleep in a little bit in the morning, because you know you're going to be up late at night anyway. This is the way my cousin and I do it when we do trips, and it works out quite well to wake up, go to breakfast at Perkins, and hit the park with minimal driving in the morning

 

Personally I am thinking the weekend after might be a better option because 1. everyone just took a vacation the weekend before and 2. hotels will be cheaper and parks generally less crowded. Both assumptions on my part, so correct me if this is not usually the case.

 

As far as driving night vs morning, we just figured since Kennywood seems like the shortest amount of time we'd need at the three parks we are going to hit, we could squeeze the driving in both in the morning and evening on Friday and not have to worry about travel at all on Thursday and just enjoy Hershey and crash right after, and then on Saturday morning we are already @ CP so we can just get up, eat, and go riding.

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sorry for the double post

 

You'll be fine going to Cedar Point on Memorial Day weekend. We go on Labor Day weekend every year and don't even get Fastlane (though we go for 3 days). If you go for 2 days and get Fastlane Plus then you're golden. Do you have a Platinum Pass? If so make sure you take advantage of early entry at 9AM. If you don't have this then I'd suggest staying on-site.

 

We do not have CF passes at all, we both have 6F season passes but obviously will do us no good on this trip lol. The only other CF park I plan on visiting is Dorney and thats close (aka spontaneous) and cheap (if we buy online). We are thinking of doing Coasting For Kids @ Dorney so that might just be our one day there this year which, if I understand, will work out to be essentially free for us if we manage to raise the funds from friends/family/etc.

 

So, if we have no CF passes and decide to stay on site, just so I understand this, we do get early access to the park because we are staying on site, correct? And I guess depending on a room package we can get park admission included for the two days? We would get FastLane just because, but I don't see any other season to get a season pass since this and Dorney will be the only times we'd use it all year.

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If you don't have a Platinum Pass then I highly suggest staying on-site. Early entry is awesome... you get in at 9am and the lines are all 15 minutes or less. They'll usually have Gatekeeper, Raptor, Millennium Force, Maverick and Iron Dragon open (and some flats) but basically as the hour goes on more and more rides start opening so the list of rides usually ends up being larger and I expect Rougarou to be added as well. Don't waste your time with Dragster though... this never seems to open early. Even with Fastlane, take advantage of early entry (and if you enter from the resort gate don't be worried about the enormous line for early entry... they chew through that line in 5 minutes tops).

 

There are a lot of tips like "start at the back first and don't ride Raptor or Gatekeeper in the morning" that I'd normally give you but with Fastlane plus you can do whatever you damn well please. I guess my only general park tips are

 

1) Sit in the front of Dragster even though the line is long. Unlike Kingda Ka this ride is good everywhere but the front is the best by a wide margin.

2) Sit in the front of Raptor because it will only add like 1 or 2 trains to your wait and it's awesome.

3) Front seat left wing on Gatekeeper is the best. If you ride this ride and find it "rough" then ride it again in the front and you won't have a problem.

4) The train and the Sky Ride are your friends because this park is huge and by the end of day 2 you'll be pretty exhausted. Sky Ride chews through the line in no time because they run a million cars so don't worry about the line being all the way down the ramp.

Edited by coasterbill
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So, if we have no CF passes and decide to stay on site, just so I understand this, we do get early access to the park because we are staying on site, correct? And I guess depending on a room package we can get park admission included for the two days? We would get FastLane just because, but I don't see any other season to get a season pass since this and Dorney will be the only times we'd use it all year.

 

Yes, if you stay onsite, you get early entry. Room packages do include tickets for two days with water park included. However, if you call and ask for no water park ticket package, you can save some money as the water park is not worth visiting.

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Kennywood Advice:

 

-First thing's first: the park opens at 10:30 AM, and the rides open at 11! There WILL be a crowd starting to form at 10:15 to enter the park, and almost everyone will head to Sky Rocket.

-You absolutely CAN do this park on a Friday morning/afternoon. The do have a "fast lane" system called "VIP Coaster Tour," but I have no idea how much it costs or how it works.

-Their weather policy is incredibly bizarre and very inconsistent. It used to be extremely lax, but it has tightened significantly in recent years. I would keep an eye on the weather before making the visit. If the forecast says heavy rain all day, I'd pass. Kennywood has been known to close the entire park because of bad weather.

-Hotel options around the park are VERY slim. The closest hotels are in Downtown Pittsburgh. Luckily, following your original plan will negate this.

-Buy your tickets at a Giant Eagle supermarket location. There's one less than a block from the parking lot entrance. Just go up to the desk where they sell the lottery tickets. They rarely ever run out of tickets, and the savings is usually about $20-25/ticket.

-Don't miss all of the historic rides! Kangaroo, Auto Race, and Noah's Ark are all the last of their kind in the world. Whip, Turtle, and Garfield's Nightmare are some of the last of their kind as well.

-Capacity on most rides are TERRIBLE. A few examples: Phantom rarely ever runs more than one train, Ghostwood Estate has a pre-show, and Noah's Ark can only handle so many people inside at a time. The woodies and Sky Rocket usually all run two trains, but Thunderbolt sometimes runs one as well.

-Rides that will build the largest/slowest lines: All dark rides, all water rides, Exterminator, Racer, Jack Rabbit, Turtle, Paratrooper, Kangaroo, and Auto Race.

-Don't miss the Potato Patch! They have some of the best fries you will ever get at a park. It WILL have a large line at lunch time, but it is very much worth the wait. All of the other food is mostly mediocre.

 

Tips to avoid the crowds:

-If arriving before/at 10:30 opening: Line up as close as security will let you to the gate before opening. Dart right to the booth and quickly make your way to Sky Rocket (you can't miss it, it's immediately to the right as you exit the tunnel). Then, head left out of the exit, past the Gran Prix and go right to the Phantom. Make a right out of the exit and go ride Exterminator. Get your fill of the Phantom until Noon and walk through Noah's Ark. Go to Turtle and continue around the park riding Thunderbolt, Ghostwood Estate, Auto Race, etc. in that direction until circling back to Sky Rocket.

-If arriving for 11:00 ride opening: Ignore Sky Rocket for now and go to Phantom or Exterminator instead. Follow the other guide (you may have to ride a few other rides before Noah's Ark opens at Noon).

 

I know this is a lot of information to digest, but I hope it helps!

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This is why I love this board, you guys are freaking awesome, keep em coming!

 

edit: I'm thinking the good thing about our plan is if it looked like heavy rain all day on Friday (Kennywood) we could just skip it entirely and head to CP early since we could have the nighttime/evening park admission included (if we stay on site). Also, after doing some pricing it looks like a room for us @ Breakers is cheaper Memorial Day wknd than the weekend after. I don't know why, but according to the site it is.

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Have you ever been to Kennywood?

 

we went last June for the first time as part of our Coaster trip thru Penn.

 

so here's my advice.

 

forecast was 90% rain on the day we went (but we went anyways, as that was the day we budgeted for it in our schedule). Not a drop of rain all day, but it DID keep the crowds away all day.

 

we did not make use of any "skip line" at Kennywood - as I said, crowd was light the day we were there due to forecast. BUT there were two exceptions: Phantom's Revenge, and Exterminator.

 

I followed the advice from a Pittsburgh regular here, and upon entry to the park from the tunnel, took an immediate left and we headed towards Exterminator (an indoor spinning mouse). As we were passing Phantom's revenge, they were just starting to open up the line, so we just went ahead and got in it. We ended up being on the 2nd car of the day, and tho we had planned to ride it again later that day, the line got HUGE (as someone else noted, they were only running one car). . so I was glad we got it out of the way first.

 

after exiting Phantom, we went to Exterminator. . and despite it being far back in the park, and not one of the "marquee" rides? The line was still a good 20 minutes just after Park opening.

 

so yeah. . knock out Exterminator and Phantom's Revenge first.

 

2) wait in line for Kangaroo. Even tho the ride looks like a glorified Sizzler, and a little lame? so, so much fun and worth the queue.

 

3) don't miss Garfield's Nightmare. . it's "hidden" behind shops across from the Candy pavillion (near Skyrocket) and you have to go up steps and over a bridge to get to it. It's cheezy, but a good indoor 3D dark ride.

 

4) LOVED LogJammer. .one of our favorite flumes on our trip. Same with the Whip and Bayurn Curve. . don't miss em.

 

5) Potato Patch fries were good, but we didn't care for the deep fried Oreos that others rave about at this park.

 

6) take the train ride. . it runs along the river, and you pass a ton of signs showing Kennywood history. Very interesting.

 

7) the Woodies are all good, in this order: Jackrabbit, Racer, Thunderbolt. . but all are worth your time.

 

8) Skyrocket is completely skippable. We rode it on the way out of the park and agreed that it was just "ok" and if there had been a line, we would have wasted our time.

 

 

we felt Kennywood was an all-day park, and even being mostly light crowd, we still spent a good 8 hours here.

 

we stayed at the Waterfront, only 10 minute drive away (and Kennywood offers free/cheap parking, so that wasn't an issue at all). I'd recommend this place. It was comfortable, the area is much developed (it's a shopping center called the Waterfront). . . and it's MUCH safer than staying right next to Kennywood -- which is NOT in the best of neighborhoods, sorry to say.

 

here's the info from the hotel we used:

 

http://hamptoninn3.hilton.com/en/hotels/pennsylvania/hampton-inn-and-suites-pittsburgh-waterfront-west-homestead-PITWHHX/index.html

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Bert brought up a great point about the Exterminator. I don't know why I didn't list it as one of the rides that gets a huge line. For example: in its first few seasons, it was NOT uncommon to see it have three or four hour waits! Fun fact: Idlewild's Wild Mouse was originally purchased to be the Exterminator, but management didn't think it would fun in the dark.

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Have you ever been to Kennywood?

 

we went last June for the first time as part of our Coaster trip thru Penn.

 

I have not, and I remember reading your report about KennyWood, etc last year and was hoping you'd also respond to this (in addition to locals/those with insider tips, etc) so thank you!

 

This trip started as an idea for a road trip to Cedar Point, since neither of us have been, and once I visited Hershey in October and did Skyrush, its all I've talked to my bro-in-law about since we both love airtime and Intamin. Last time he was at Hershey was when Fahrenheit went up and the park has a really nice collection otherwise in Storm Runner, Great Bear, SDL, the GCI's (I liked Wildcat, sue me!) etc. I also need the Trailblazer and the boomerang creds and I missed Comet too so I definitely want to get back.

 

Anyways, as we were talking about it the idea came up to do Hershey, and head to CP for a few days. We thought "why not stop at Kennywood for a quick credit run on the way? It's right on the way." And so here we are.

 

My main concern @ the park is Phantom. I think it looks amazing. Sky Rocket also looks awesome, even for its size. The woodies are also must-dos, imo. I know Exterminator has a buzz about it but Ive done one spinning mouse and hated it (Ragin Cajun @ SFA). I don't really like most mouse to begin with and hate tea cups with a fiery passion and to me its a combo of the two.

 

We are into some flats too I just don't like anything that spins too much (or at all depending on the day). Bayurn Curve is a huge MUST - loved that ride as a kid, haven't been on one since. Thanks so much for all the advice so far, you guys rock.

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Have you ever been to Kennywood?

 

we went last June for the first time as part of our Coaster trip thru Penn.

 

I have not, and I remember reading your report about KennyWood, etc last year and was hoping you'd also respond to this (in addition to locals/those with insider tips, etc) so thank you!

 

This trip started as an idea for a road trip to Cedar Point, since neither of us have been, and once I visited Hershey in October and did Skyrush, its all I've talked to my bro-in-law about since we both love airtime and Intamin. Last time he was at Hershey was when Fahrenheit went up and the park has a really nice collection otherwise in Storm Runner, Great Bear, SDL, the GCI's (I liked Wildcat, sue me!) etc. I also need the Trailblazer and the boomerang creds and I missed Comet too so I definitely want to get back.

 

Anyways, as we were talking about it the idea came up to do Hershey, and head to CP for a few days. We thought "why not stop at Kennywood for a quick credit run on the way? It's right on the way." And so here we are.

 

My main concern @ the park is Phantom. I think it looks amazing. Sky Rocket also looks awesome, even for its size. The woodies are also must-dos, imo. I know Exterminator has a buzz about it but Ive done one spinning mouse and hated it (Ragin Cajun @ SFA). I don't really like most mouse to begin with and hate tea cups with a fiery passion and to me its a combo of the two.

 

We are into some flats too I just don't like anything that spins too much (or at all depending on the day). Bayurn Curve is a huge MUST - loved that ride as a kid, haven't been on one since. Thanks so much for all the advice so far, you guys rock.

 

I did NOT like Exterminator, but Nick loved it.

 

Yes, it's a spinning mouse, but it's really well themed. The kicker for me tho is it really IS so dark? you don't know when the drops are coming. Something my back didn't care for, but as I said, Nick LOVED it.

 

if you do Phantom's Revenge and Exterminator back to back, you'll come out along the strip of rides along "Kennywood drive". . so you can also knock out the Whip (classic), Yoyo (classic), Himalaya, and Bayurn Curve, before you head back to Screaming Swing and Black Widow (the honking HUGE frizbee)

 

then headed towards potato patch you can knock out Turtle (classic), Noah's Arc (classic), Thunderbolt (classic). . lol, noticing a trend . and the Ghostwood estate's type shooting dark ride.

 

The whole park is full of classic rides -- the area near Jackrabbit(. . OMG. .that double dip drop?. . the videos online do not do it justice. . ass out of seat the whole way down!) -- that's where you'll find Paratrooper, Kangaroo, Racer, as well.

 

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I stay at either the Mecca Motel or the KOA for CP.

 

Both are dirt cheap around $40 a night. The KOA you have to bring your own sheets, pillows and it has no heat. The bathrooms are in the middle of the campground along with the showers. The showers are stalls that are private.

 

The Mecca is also another option. This is where I usually stay. Its cheap, clean and has a TV. It does have A/C and heat. The bathrooms are super small along with the shower. It's not that nice but you are there to sleep, that's it.

 

I have also stayed at the Budget Host Inn right up the road but it's like $70 and not that much nicer. I'd save the $$$ and stay at one of the two that I mentioned above.

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if you do Phantom's Revenge and Exterminator back to back, you'll come out along the strip of rides along "Kennywood drive". . so you can also knock out the Whip (classic), Yoyo (classic), Himalaya, and Bayurn Curve, before you head back to Screaming Swing and Black Widow (the honking HUGE frizbee)

Bro already said he wants to do Black Widow, he wanted to ride the version @ Kings Island but my sister would not ride it with him. I think I would try it if I felt up to it. We both love the Screaming Swing so we'd hit that for sure too.

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I did a similar trip on my honeymoon, which was a couple years ago. Kennywood was by far the most fun my wife and I had even though it is a small park. Cedar Point overall had the best coasters and Hershey had more of them, but Kennywood was just so darn fun. Phantom's Revenge is also a unique ride out there and out of every coaster out there, it's the one I'd chose to ride again if given the chance. I was actually really disappointed in Hersheypark overall, though its worth noting I went there before their wing coaster was installed. For an historic park it had a very corporate feel, and while a lot of coasters there were decent enough, the only one that was really exceptional was Lightning Racer. I'm sure others have better opinions of Farenheit and Stormrunner, but I found Kennywood had far more worth going out of the way for amongst their small but historic and unique collection of coasters along with their great flat rides. My time was much more enjoyable at Knoebel's.

 

At any rate I found a good strategy for Hershey was to bust it all the way to the back of the park and work my way forward. The park is very linear and rides like Wildcat and LR will have almost no wait early in the day. Farenheit's capacity is terrible, so expect to wait a while for that no matter when you go. You may try hitting that first and then going to the back, it's on the way anyway.

 

My wife and I stayed in Harrisburg, just about 15 minutes I think from the park. There were some affordable hotels right off the interstate on the exit to Hershey.

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The advice I can give from my three day Cedar Point trip in August...

For early entry, we stayed at Breakers Express. It's a good bit cheaper and you get all the benefits, but you don't get the full on site experience, if that's what you're looking for.

Go through the Marina gate at opening. Short walk to Millennium, get one or two rides, then go to Maverick for one to two rides, then do what you choose at regular opening. This seems to be the best chance to get re-rides with no waits.

 

Get at least one night ride on Millennium Force. Get in line at closing, wait it out. I was lucky enough for the last train of the night in row 18. That ride, in the last row at midnight, is my number one coaster experience of all time. It's not nearly as special during the day. Just make sure you get a Millennium night ride.

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I would go the weekend after. You won't want to go to a park anywhere near a holiday weekend.

 

I feel like this is going to be a stupid decision due to crowds, but since if we go then we'll all have to take less time off from work, it looks like we are actually going Mem Day weekend as of right now. It's also seeming cheaper to stay on site that weekend.

 

Phantom's Revenge is also a unique ride out there and out of every coaster out there, it's the one I'd chose to ride again if given the chance.

 

It looks very unique to me and an all around fun ride. From the looks of it Sky Rocket looks right up my alley and the woodies like like good classic rides.

 

I was actually really disappointed in Hersheypark overall, though its worth noting I went there before their wing coaster was installed. For an historic park it had a very corporate feel, and while a lot of coasters there were decent enough, the only one that was really exceptional was Lightning Racer. I'm sure others have better opinions of Farenheit and Stormrunner, but I found Kennywood had far more worth going out of the way for amongst their small but historic and unique collection of coasters along with their great flat rides. My time was much more enjoyable at Knoebel's.

 

I've only spent an evening at Hershey and did 7 of the coasters (missed Comet, one side of Lightning Racer, the boomerang and the mine train) and enjoyed all of them, even Wildcat. Skyrush to me is alone worth another visit, as are the others. I really liked the park itself as well and want to spend a whole day. As I said bro has been but not since 2009 and we really want to get up together so why not make it a stop on the way to CP.

 

My wife and I stayed in Harrisburg, just about 15 minutes I think from the park. There were some affordable hotels right off the interstate on the exit to Hershey.

 

Good to know. Any other suggestions around here are welcome. We looked at a few places like Days Inn nearby but we'd like to keep it really cheap since we are just going to be crashing and heading out early to head towards Kennywood.

 

For early entry, we stayed at Breakers Express. It's a good bit cheaper and you get all the benefits, but you don't get the full on site experience, if that's what you're looking for.

 

Can anyone break down the difference in the two? Are we talking like a pool? Continental breakfast type stuff? Wifi? If we can get early entry or late night ERT by staying on site I'm willing to pay for that. If we're doing this trip I want the full CP experience. Breakers is what's getting renovated correct? We priced out rooms there for Mem Day weekend and while it isn't exactly cheap it's what we're leaning towards right now.

 

Go through the Marina gate at opening. Short walk to Millennium, get one or two rides, then go to Maverick for one to two rides, then do what you choose at regular opening. This seems to be the best chance to get re-rides with no waits.

 

Sounds like a nice morning cup of coffee to me.

 

Another question - I know CP is kind of its own little universe and there isn't much else around right there but are there nearby places to eat within walking distance or a short drive? I'm wondering about eating all weekend. I'd hate to be subjected to park food for two days straight. We'll definitely bring some stuff for the room - snacks, etc but if we wanted to go for like drinks and food at some point is there "better" places in the park or very close by?

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Can anyone break down the difference in the two? Are we talking like a pool? Continental breakfast type stuff? Wifi? If we can get early entry or late night ERT by staying on site I'm willing to pay for that. If we're doing this trip I want the full CP experience. Breakers is what's getting renovated correct? We priced out rooms there for Mem Day weekend and while it isn't exactly cheap it's what we're leaning towards right now.

 

Hotel Breakers: You're on the peninsula, which is a heavy bonus not having to drive to and from the parking lot every day. You can just wander in and out of the park to your heart's content. They also have a few different restaurants inside of the hotel like TGI Friday's and a Hibachi place. There's also indoor and outdoor pools and a guests-only beach area. The Breakers is quite expensive (especially now with the remodel), but I've always enjoyed my stays there.

 

Breakers Express: You're off the peninsula, but you're still considered to be on-site. I think there's a shuttle that goes between the park and hotel, but if you decide to drive, you'll have to pay the parking fee. Since you're not on the peninsula, you have more freedom to eat at other restaurants in Sandusky (more info below). It's a nice hotel and will save you a lot of money compared with the Hotel Breakers. If you do stay in this hotel, I'd recommend parking in the Soak City lot and coming in the entrance by Magnum.

 

Another question - I know CP is kind of its own little universe and there isn't much else around right there but are there nearby places to eat within walking distance or a short drive? I'm wondering about eating all weekend. I'd hate to be subjected to park food for two days straight. We'll definitely bring some stuff for the room - snacks, etc but if we wanted to go for like drinks and food at some point is there "better" places in the park or very close by?

 

The immediate area around Cedar Point's entrance has a handful of restaurants (I'd recommend the new Quaker Steak and Lube inside of Castaway Bay), but if you drive south on US-250 (the main road from the OH Turnpike), there are plenty of options around the Sandusky Mall. There's the typical fast food as well as most of the larger sit-down chains like Ruby Tuesday and Buffalo Wild Wings. If you're a big breakfast type of person, I highly recommend the Breakwater Cafe located at the on-site Sandcastle Suites hotel. Their breakfast buffet is one of the best I've ever had and the price isn't too bad. They'll even comp your parking.

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^All is correct, but you get free parking at Breakers Express. If you're on a tight budget and dont need to sleep on the peninsula, you get what you need. It doesn't sound like you plan to take midday breaks or explore the hotel, so Breakers on the peninsula probably isn't necessary for the price, but it is a great experience from what I've heard. If budget isn't a big issue, go for it. Cedar Point is a hell of a lot of fun.

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What I did not mention is that we're likely going as a foursome - me, my bro-in-law, my sister, and my lady. All of us love coasters but the missus and my sister may want to take it easy and not go crazy hard riding like me and bro will want to do. So that is why we'd like to stay on site and why I asked about the other things to do as far as restaurants, etc. We can split up if they want to go drink/eat or do the beach or pool or whatever while we're doing rides. Or vice versa (tho I predict bro and I will ride as much/often as we can, we're already kinda freaking out that this trip is actually materializing).

 

Anyways, yes we are trying to keep the budget as small as possible but I think we're feeling like if we're gonna do CP on Memorial Day weekend to just go all in and stay at Breakers.

 

Great advice so far on CP and KW, still hoping some folks chime in on budget hotels near Hershey. Once again its why this board and its members are so awesome, you all will make this trip so much easier and likely better than if I didn't have this resource. Viva la TPR!

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