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First ever visit to the USA from a Dutchy, roadtrip May 2016


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Greetings!

 

My name is Ben Blom, 25 years old and living in the Netherlands.

 

Been reading this website for what feels like a decade but only bothered to submit now

 

This year, i'm going to the states for a roadtrip through most of the east-coast for almost a month!

 

I have never done something like this in my life, and it took almost 2 full months to plan the whole thing.

 

I have created a roadtrip in 'Polarsteps' wich is a website where you can share your trips, and i would love to share it with you guys.

 

You can view it here: http://www.polarsteps.com/BenBlom/15349-rollercoaster-tour

 

I would love to hear your thoughts on this trip, is there anything you would change? And can you maybe advise me in park-layouts, what to hit first etc.?

 

The trip itself is written in Dutch, so most of you wont make any sense out of it but i hope you get the idea .

 

Ben.

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I only looked over this quickly but it sounds like an awesome trip!

 

I know you are probably tight on time, but if possible, parks I would look into squeezing in are Six Flags Over Georgia (and you could even stop at Lake Winnie as it would be right on your route heading north. Most of Carowinds coasters are pretty mediocre but I know you probably want to go for Fury but I would really consider adding SFOG, very solid lineup and Goliath and Mindbender are both amazing), Kentucky Kingdom (about an hour and a half off your route I believe but with 2 coasters that are well worthwhile), Knoebels (It's worth it), and maybe even Waldameer and Conneaut Lake Park between Cedar Point and Kennywood (but that would probably be decently off route and require a full day between Cedar Point and Kennywood). I may be forgetting something but those seem like options close to your route that would be REALLY hard to pass up on.

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If you're going to Six Flags America and you're not going to Knoebels then you're doing something horribly wrong.

 

I looked briefly at the itinerary and sat back and waited for this response.

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I would DEFINTELY say only do 1 day at Carowinds (there is not that much to do there, most of their coasters are mediocre, and the lines usually aren't bad), and do the next day at Six Flags Over Georgia, then head to Dollywood. SFOG is just over 3 hours from Carowinds, and Dollywood is just over 3 hours from SFOG. Like I said, if the timing was right you could even stop at Lake Winnie (if you enjoy small traditional/classic amusement parks. Very Americana with a solid 1960s woodie, handmade 1920s boat chute into the lake, last of its kind Fly-o-Plane ride from the 1940s) on your way up to Dollywood.

 

Also, this is a matter of opinion of course, but I would cut the 2 day parks to 1 day (as long as you are there the entire day and would get a fast pass if the lines were long) and cut Cedar Point to 2 days, and add the other parks I mentioned to the trip. You could even potentially add Holiday World maybe.

 

Regardless, sounds like a great trip!

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I agree with others that you could add Knoebels and a couple of other nice, smaller parks like Holiday World, Indiana Beach by minimizing your 2-3 day visits to parks like Kings Dominion (1 day), Kings Island (1 day), Carowinds (1 day) and Cedar Point (2 day).

 

Have fun!

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Your choice of photo for Charlotte is a bit...odd. If that's what you're expecting it to look like, you're in for a surprise.

 

That trip looks like a LOT of driving, so I hope you're prepared for it. A good analogy for Europe is that you're driving from Amsterdam to Moscow, and back. Things are very far apart in the US, and although that's less true in the East, it's still true. Especially on the segment Cincinnati to Dollywood to Charlotte, you'll be driving through some very sparse areas. That segment is probably also the most beautiful scenery of the whole trip, though, and very much worth it.

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Holy crap that's a long trip.

From my experiences, you can do one day at Carowinds (big park but surprisingly short lines), two days at Cedar Point, one day at Kings Dominion (again, surprisingly short lines) and one day at Hersheypark. If you get the gold flash pass, you can manage one day at Six Flags Great Adventure without much issue. Though I have yet to visit Kings Island myself, I've heard in some places that it can actually be doable in one day, but that's safest to do with a fast lane Plus. Also, it seems to be your route is kind of inefficient by ending at New York City because you're going south to Williamsburg and all the way back north, though honestly I don't feel like putting in that effort to validate my claim. Assuming you haven't booked hotels and bought tickets, and assuming that you want to and are able to keep the trip at 29 days, I'd recommend:

 

Day 1: Fly to Orlando

Day 2: Busch Gardens Tampa

Day 3: Sea World Orlando

I highly recommend to do both Fun Spot parks in Orlando and Kissimmee (the former has better coasters, the latter has the world's largest skycoaster) either of these days.

Day 4: Drive to Charlotte

Day 5: Carowinds

Day 6: Dollywood

Day 7: Drive to Beech Bend (Bowling Green, Kentucky) in the morning, visit the park in the afternoon and then drive to Santa Claus, Indiana at night.

Day 8: Holiday World

Day 9: Kentucky Kingdom

Day 10: Kings Island with Fast Lane Plus, get a hotel somewhere in Columbus, Ohio for the night (about the halfway point-ish from Kings Island to Cedar Point) to split up the drive.

Day 11: Cedar Point

Day 12: Cedar Point

Day 13: Waldameer, drive to Buffalo, New York

Day 14: Darien Lake

Day 15: Canada's Wonderland

Day 16: Drive to Montreal, and either do stuff in the city or go to La Ronde for the evening.

Day 17: La Ronde for a full day

Day 18: Great Escape

Day 19: Six Flags New England

Day 20: Quassy Amusement Park in the morning for a couple of hours, Lake Compounce in the evening

Day 21: New York City

Day 22: Six Flags Great Adventure with Gold Flash Pass.

Day 23: Knoebels

Day 24: Kennywood

Day 25: Hersheypark

Day 26: Six Flags America

Day 27: Kings Dominion

Day 28: Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Day 29: Fly out of somewhere between Williamsburg, Virginia and Richmond, Virginia.

 

For my own trip, I chose hotels that were roughly halfway-ish between destinations so I wouldn't have to drive super late at night or super early in the morning. That's something that I would recommend you to consider. Also, I really like driving.

 

Anyone else feel free to make suggestions to my alternative as well. I promise I won't throw my computer across the room in rage if someone comments that my way isn't the best method.

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Your trip looks pretty cool for the most part. I was going to recommend something and then read this quote which sums up my recommendation.

If you're going to Six Flags America and you're not going to Knoebels then you're doing something horribly wrong.

 

Also I'm surprised your not including Universal Orlando or Disney World (or at least two days at Universal) unless you're planning those for a future trip.

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^^That is a full trip. The only thing I would suggest to change in your itinerary is to move Kennywood to day 13 in between CP and Waldameer and then push everything back a day. I think that would have a better flow and less driving than going from Knoebels to Kennywood to Hersheypark. Unless this person would want the Leap the Dips credit at Lakemont.

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Wow guys thank you SO much for all the replys!

 

Your right, 1 day in Carowinds is enough and i should go to Knoebels.

 

Tbh i didn't knew the park much and didn't think much of it but after reading all your suggestions i think i should do it .

 

I don't really know what to expect que-wise so i took the safe route. Maybe i'll change a day or 2 but our flight tickets are already booked so NY must be the endgame.

 

I just really want to enjoy my time there, and maybe i wont visit some parks ever in my life again!

Thats why i visit a park like Kings Island for 2 days, then i can fully enjoy the whole experience and not get rushed.

 

I know its a lot of driving, but my dad and i LOVE driving in the Netherlands and we don't mind stopping and enjoying the scenery.

 

I will keep you guys updated, and probably post ALOT of pictures for you guys to enjoy!

 

Can you guys recommend some 'cheap' places to eat like a McDonalds but not so 'fast-food isch'?

 

Thanks again.

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Can you guys recommend some 'cheap' places to eat like a McDonalds but not so 'fast-food isch'?

Its worth looking through this thread for some must-do food stops (some cheaper than others): Good Eating Outside of Theme Parks

 

Otherwise, generally: Keep your eye out (or search with GPS device) for Waffle House. Really cheap, really good breakfast food & sandwiches, open 24h. Other reasonably worthwhile, totally random, food chains of various styles you may end up near (I'll let you look them up for details): Panera, Chipotle, Steak n Shake, Biscuitville, Red Robin, Famous Dave's, Buffalo Wild Wings, TGI Friday's. There is an extremely popular gas-station/convenience store chain that sells excellent sandwiches and coffees, all over New Jersey, called Wawa. Pennsylvania has a similar chain called Sheetz.

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There are tons of great food options, but for road food and things you will see signs for on the interstate, I would suggest:

 

Chipotle

Subway (I prefer Firehouse subs but I don't know how common they are and there are more Subways than McDonalds in the U.S. They are on every exit basically!)

 

For fast food that isn't McDonalds I would suggest Cookout. It is extremely cheap and has traditional fast food options but with a very expansive menu and the quality is much higher than the average fast food joint. I have never had a bad experience with their food and you can't beat the price.

 

Dunkin Donuts actually has some food options I really enjoy.

 

Chick-Fil-A is always a great option too! High standard of service compared to most fast food.

 

Skyline Chill is everywhere in Cincinnati including inside Kings Island. It's great for a more "cultural" option (for what little culture you will find in fast food haha)

 

Steak n Shake is pretty good for a fast food diner.

 

Waffle House is a fun fast food experience in my opinion.

 

As for gas station snack stops, Wawa, Sheets, and even Racetrack have some awesome options for real food.

 

 

Like I said, the options are endless but those come to mind.

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Wow, in the netherlands we have MC, Burger King and maybe 10 subways, thats it .

 

I will put your options on our 'where to eat' list. Thanks

Yeah, if there's one thing you'll see absolutely everywhere in the US, it's fast food. Especially on a road trip, since there will be signs by every Interstate exit showing you the options available there, and even small towns will have at least a couple.

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Your trip looks pretty cool for the most part. I was going to recommend something and then read this quote which sums up my recommendation.
If you're going to Six Flags America and you're not going to Knoebels then you're doing something horribly wrong.

 

Also I'm surprised your not including Universal Orlando or Disney World (or at least two days at Universal) unless you're planning those for a future trip.

 

We are saving the Universal parks and Disneyparks for another trip. This time i'm going with my Dad and we want Thrill over Theme .

 

Over a few years i will go back with my girlfriend and want to visit the more 'Theme'parks since my GF doens't like coasters as much as i do.

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By the way, speaking of food it's a great idea to eat before going to the parks and if possible wait until you leave to eat dinner as it will save you a ton of money.

 

There are 2 exceptions though, Knoebels and Dollywood. These parks have unbelievable food so just go on an empty stomach and eat everything.

 

At Dollywood absolutely, absolutely, absolutely eat the cinnamon bread at the grist mill (the building with the waterwheel) and I suggest Lillian's for lunch or dinner.

 

At Knoebels I wouldn't even eat a meal, just keep eating throughout the day. The must-eats are Caesari's pizza... This will have a long line but there's a reason for that, the Pierogies (make sure you get them by the Alamo at the front of the park, not from anyone else) and the ice cream waffle sandwich. Tri Taters are pretty good too, they have them at the place with the spinning roof over by the Paratrooper. By the way, DO NOT MISS the bumper cars or flyers at Knoebels. Basically every flat they have seems similar to the ones other parks have but just assume the version Knoebels has is running a much better cycle and is a much better ride. Most American corporate parks run crappy programs on their flat rides but Knoebels will restore your faith in flat rides.

 

You're welcome.

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By the way, speaking of food it's a great idea to eat before going to the parks and if possible wait until you leave to eat dinner as it will save you a ton of money.

 

There are 2 exceptions though, Knoebels and Dollywood. These parks have unbelievable food so just go on an empty stomach and eat everything.

 

At Dollywood absolutely, absolutely, absolutely eat the cinnamon bread at the grist mill (the building with the waterwheel) and I suggest Lillian's for lunch or dinner.

 

At Knoebels I wouldn't even eat a meal, just keep eating throughout the day. The must-eats are Caesari's pizza... This will have a long line but there's a reason for that, the Pierogies (make sure you get them by the Alamo at the front of the park, not from anyone else) and the ice cream waffle sandwich. Tri Taters are pretty good too, they have them at the place with the spinning roof over by the Paratrooper. By the way, DO NOT MISS the bumper cars or flyers at Knoebels. Basically every flat they have seems similar to the ones other parks have but just assume the version Knoebels has is running a much better cycle and is a much better ride. Most American corporate parks run crappy programs on their flat rides but Knoebels will restore your faith in flat rides.

 

You're welcome.

 

Check the mailbox for a commission check from PA.......

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I did a 6 week coaster tour through the US in 2014. I think you need more rest days if you are driving and spending all day in parks. Maybe cut down on driving time by booking a flight from Cleveland to Richmond and skip Kennywood. You don't want to burn yourself out so much you miss one of the more important parks.

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