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Let's keep this thread simple! Top 5 parks you've been to, and Top 5 parks you wanna go to!

 

We have a 'bucketlist rides thread' and a 'favorite/least favorite park' thread but we don't have a thread where TPR members can blab about their top parks and the parks they want to visit the most.

 

Let's keep it interesting! No lists with just park name and no detail! That's a cop-out and its lame. Explain at least two(or more) things you love about each of your favorite parks and two (or more) reasons why your bucketlist parks are so desirable to you.

 

My goal here is to find out about parks our more seasoned/traveled members are interested in as I likely won't know much about them, and for people to gush about the reasons why they love their favorite parks. Your favorite parks should be parks you've visited, or else you'll sound like a lame-o.

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Top 5 Favorite Parks

 

1. Hersheypark

Chocolate and coasters whats not to love? In all seriousness out of my regional parks Hershey imo has the most perfect line-up. I like every coaster that I've ridden here (fyi that does not include Laff Trakk, the kiddie coaster, or Sidewinder) and at only a little over two hours away I love that I have that Intamin trio so close to home. Skyrush and Storm Runner are both top 10 coasters for me, and the supporting lineup is rock solid from Fahrenheit and Great Bear all the way down to SooperDooperLooper. Even Wildcat is decent in spite of what whiny babies say. The park is well-kept, charming and smells great. I still have yet to even try the zoo or Chocolate World. Hoping to make a visit this fall.

 

2. Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Goddamn what a beauty this park is. No park even comes close. Their B&M trio is top notch imo and just being in the park is an experience. Love the skyrides, the food, the atmosphere and the endless beer flowing every which way you look. It's truly a big giant beautiful beer garden that someone went and put a bunch of great coasters in. It would be my absolute favorite if they got some Intamins inside the place. lol

 

3. Cedar Point

Very little charm or personality, but a coaster enthusiasts wet dream. This is basically the park I fantasized about as a little kid drawing coaster in my torn-up notebook, come to life. It also contains the best coaster that I have even ridden, and they may very well be installing the coaster that could unseat Maverick. We shall see.

 

4. Six Flags Over Georgia

My favorite Six Flags park. If you could snap your fingers and make all the DC comics themeing and incessant advertising go away, you could be fooled into thinking this is not a SF park. Gorgeous terrain park with a thick canopy of trees over most of it. Well placed rides, and all around good rides to boot. Acrophobia is one of my favorite drop towers, and Goliath, Mindbender, Superman, are all awesome and the supporting cast is solid as well. I love the mine train here. I am so stoked they are (probably) getting an RMC, Cyclone is perfect for it.

 

5. Kennywood

The longer its been since my one and only visit, the more trip reports I read about the park, the more I really want to go back to Kennywood. God I wish this park wasnt 6 hours away. Another awesome lineup of rides with a rather unassuming coaster lineup (unless of course you're one of these loony preservationists) until you actually ride them and discover they all offer something unique and are all solid to amazing rides. Phantoms Revenge is top 10 for me, that airtime over the last 4-5 hills with those restraints is otherworldly. Also Jack Rabbits doubledown.

 

Honorable mentions: Six Flags Great Adventure, Kings Dominion, Moreys

 

Top 5 Bucketlist Parks

 

1. Busch Gardens Tampa

Mainly because I have been dying to get back to Florida since my last visit in 2012 to Key West. I loved BGW last year and it made me want to visit BGT even more. The coaster line-up looks ridic w/ Cheetah Hunt, the B&Ms, Falcons Fury all looking particularly tasty. This is also an easy park to get my other half to go to as she's already interested in checking out the animal stuff, and would likely do most if not all of the thrill rides here, as sometimes its not easy to get her on certain things.

 

2. Dollywood

Another park that seems to me to have a particularly solid line-up of rides. That the food and atmosphere get high marks is a big plus. Dolly herself has always been interesting to me, as a non-country fan but who grew up on 80s movies like 9-to-5 -- she's like totally-not-celeb-normal-person but she then looks like a damn fembot. (lol) I've also never really been to this part of the country and would be interested in checking out the Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. Also, Lightning Rod, duh.

 

3. Knoebels

I know, I know. I live so close but I'm a city boy and Knoebels is out in Bumblef*ck, PA. I can get there, the stars just haven't aligned with me and this park. I'm ashamed to even admit it to most enthusiasts as they look at me in shock. Do I even need to list the reasons? Phoenix, bumper cars, flyers, pierogis, Bill's incessant nagging, etc.

 

4. Six Flags Magic Mountain

This park wouldn't be so high on this list if I didn't have lifelong friends that live in L.A. and have been bugging me to come visit for years. I'd also love to get back out to Cali and a visit to L.A. would be my first. I'd love to see how the park compares to Great Adventure. There are also quite a few rides I'd love to try, notably Twisted Colossus, Tatsu, Full Throttle, Superman, Lex Luthor, and Revolution. Being a SF passholder also certainly makes it more appealing, though it seems from most accounts I'd be looking at a platinum FP.

 

5. Knotts

I know if I visit SFMM I'll definitely be squeezing Knotts into the trip as well. As an Intamin fanboy not as into Ka and Dragster as I am Storm Runner, I'd love to try Xcelerator - definitely a coaster near the top of my list. The flume looks amazing, Ghostrider looks great, and even a (supposedly) bad B&M invert is still a B&M invert. I really need to do a Knotts/SFMM trip bad.

 

Honorable mentions: Kings Island, SWO, SFDK, Liseberg, Alton, Phantasialand, Everland, SFOT/SFFT, Gröna Lund.

Edited by boldikus
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^^ I've heard things have improved at SF Magic Mountain, but I think you'll really prefer Knotts. I'm really surprised you haven't been to Knoebels.

 

I don't put anymore effort into keeping track of what I've been on aside from the easiest way possible for me, which is going to cheesy coastercounter.com and plugging in my states. According to the site, I've been to 23 parks and have ridden 185 coasters. Out of all of that crap:

 

1) King's Island - It's about 5 hours away, which makes it feel far enough to be special, but close enough to make a short and cheap trip. I love their coaster line-up, with Beast being my favorite wooden coaster, Diamondback being my favorite hyper, and Banshee is probably my favorite invert. They also have a collection of coasters I love to ride at least once, being The Bat, Adventure Express, Stunt Coaster, Flight of Fear, and Mystic Timbers. The atmosphere is definitely corporate, but a neat, clean, well manicured vibe is present throughout the park. Most of all, I love their FL+, which makes me yell F*** Cedar Point, as it takes only a couple minutes from decision to ride to being on the ride. No BS merges halfway through the queue and even on a Saturday October Haunt I can get on any coaster in less than ten minutes during the busiest times. Honorable Mentions to why I love this park: Equipped with a Starbucks, Yuengling on tap with no beer prison, Log Flume, Train, Drop Tower, Giant Frisbee, Eiffel Tower, Entry Midway with fountains, Did I mention FL+?

 

2) Busch Gardens Williamsburg - This is a CLOSE second, if not my favorite. Where KI probably edges out BGW for me is convenience, being a short flight or 12 hours away vs. a quick road trip. None of the roller coasters would be favorite rides for me on their own, but complete with their themes and settings they're all great. I love just being at this place and taking in the views and atmosphere. I don't usually eat park food, but I never want to leave this park when I'm there, so the food is respectable enough to stay. Other pros: Beer everywhere, with no beer prison, wine tours, animal shows since we don't like watching thespians... Our favorite flume is here, Le Scoot, is here as well. Cons: No Hyatt under an hour drive, which is where we stay for free.

 

3) Carowinds - This park doesn't offer much, but what it does offer, being Fury 325, Afterburn, and Intimidator, is enough for me. Those are really the only rides I care to ride and that's almost an advantage. The park has a mixture of a fresh corporate vibe combines with areas which have a ton of charm. Carowinds is good looking enough to enjoy on my own time, while enjoying a few Yuenglings and not feeling pressured to ride a ton of coasters due to only three coasters being on my radar. On top of all of that, we really enjoy the Charlotte area and our favorite wing place it 5 minutes from the park. Of course like other non Cedar Point Cedar Fair parks, FL+ allows you to laugh at all of the paupers as you stroll right to the station. Cons - The drive through the non scenic, but hilly and twisty mountains, sucks. Also, no flume or train to break up the coaster monotony.

 

4) Cedar Point - What's no to love about a park that has Millennium Force and Maverick right on the beach? I actually enjoy the refreshed modern feel to this park. This park offers a coaster variety that has a lot of everything. The resort allows you to stay right on the property, grab early entry into the park, and it offers the convenience of not having to carry a bunch of BS in your pockets. This park is also within an 8 hour drive, which is tolerable. Cons: To me, the amount of coasters is almost overwhelming and you feel guilty if you don't ride everything. FL+ sucks at this park compared to other CF parks, as we waited 20+ minutes behind hordes of other FL+ users on a normal operating day during our last visit. The resort and the FL+ can make for a very expensive trip. Also, no flume here.

 

I don't care to keep track past the parks which immediately come to mind and all of the above are subject to change any given year depending on how much I visit and specific experiences. Other parks popped to my mind for 5th favorite, like Kentucky Kingdom (convenience, price, atmosphere), SFGam (convenience, Chicago Style Pizza nearby, coasters), or Sea World Orlando (atmosphere, animal shows).

 

I can tell you my least favorite parks are SFMM (dumpy, California, staff sucked), Dollywood (no beer, coasters, everyone loves them, holier than though attitude), Worlds of Fun (despite 75% of the park being beautiful the coasters are all luke warm making this place boring AF while leaving me starving for more),

 

My bucket list is as follows:

 

1) Kennywood - This park appears to have a ton of personality and I want to ride Phantom and the ancient wooden coasters badly.

 

2) Knoebels - Again with the character combined with loads of nostalgia. I'd love to spend a couple days at this time capsule.

 

3) Hershey Park ( see the NE trend?) - The atmosphere seems quirky, but charming. I'd love to give thigh crush a try.

 

4) Canada's Wonderland - I've had such fun experiences at CF's other large parks that I'm sure CW will contain more of the same formula. Leviathan and Behemoth look really fun.

 

5) SF Great Adventure - I haven't been to this park for almost 20 years. I'd like to spend a couple days in between Nitro and El Toro.

 

Honorable overseas mentions: Alton Towers, Europa Park, and Liseberg. I don't know if I can ever responsibly spend the kind of money to travel overseas just for roller coasters, so if I ever go to any of these parks it will be all about timing and convenience during overseas culture trips.

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I've been to about 35 parks and ridden around 200 coasters, don't keep an exact count. Also not going to include Disney Parks in my favorite's list to keep it at least a little bit interesting:

 

Favorites;

 

1) Hersheypark: Amazing lineup of rides, well rounded, one of my top 5 steels in Storm Runner, great classics that got me started on coasters back in the day like Comet and Sooperdooperlooper, in a really cool town with a great resort, a lot of interesting history, and good golf, plus Chocolate World and the zoo add an extra dimension on top.

 

2) Cedar Point: Awesome location on the peninsula, great resort in Breakers, and the ride lineup speaks for itself. Millennium Force is my favorite coaster anywhere, combo of location and layout can't be beat.

 

3) Busch Gardens Tampa: The 3 B&Ms are reasons number 1 2 and 3 for why this place is great. Montu is a top 5 steel for me. Never even been there with Cheetah Chase or the new spinner but they could only make it better. The animal exhibits are also really high quality. Wish they still had Rhino Rally but still plenty of cool ways to see the animals.

 

4) Knoebels: Phoenix first and foremost. The setting in the forest and the atmosphere with the campground and classic lineup of flats really transports you back and I love it.

 

5) Lake Compounce: Boulder Dash. Number 1 wood coaster for me and only ride that comes close to competing with Millenium Force for me. Park has an amazing setting on the Lake, a lot of charm, and the best Halloween event I've been to.

 

Just missed: Six Flags Great Adventure, Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Six Flags Fiesta Texas, Kings Dominion

 

Bucket List;

 

1) Tokyo Disney Resort: Big Disney fan and these parks are considered by many to be the best theme parks in the world.

 

2) Shanghai Disney Resort: Followed the construction of this resort from the start so am really interested in checking it out.

 

3) Dollywood: Mixture of coasters, natural setting, food, and resort option makes this really appealing to me.

 

4) Silver Dollar City: Same as Dollywood minus the resort option.

 

5) Kennywood: This park seems right up my alley with great setting, and lineup of old and new rides.

 

Just Missed: Pretty much every European park. Liseberg, Europa Park, Efteling, Port Aventura, Phantasialand are the main ones that stick out

Edited by prospekt88
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It was fun to sit down and think about this (since I never really have). I haven't been to as many parks as others on this site, but here's my list anyway. I didn't include my home park (Kings Dominion) because that feels to easy.

 

Parks I've been too:

 

1. Cedar Point. Oh, yes, the Mecca of roller coasters. To date, the only park to make me look out and audibly gasp as we drove up. Just like Disney has it's magic, CP worked it's magic on me. The setting on the peninsula is beautiful; riding Gatekeeper in the morning with the light bouncing off the water, Millennium Force while the sun sets, TTD shooting up into the dark sky. The views you get are beyond stunning. Watching all of the rides running, rushing and roaring by...I had to give up my visit to CP this year to go next year, and I'm glad I did. Next June cannot come soon enough.

 

2. Busch Gardens Williamsburg I feel spoiled having this park and KD within two hours of where I live. Even though we only get down to BGW once a year, we tend to make the most of it. The B&M Trinity kicks butt every time, the food is awesome, the skyline is beautiful, and the river...The park screams beauty. I could go on all day how gorgeous this park is. Did I mention Apollo's Chariot?

 

3. Kennywood When I lived in Pennsylvania, I had this park within an hour and a half's drive, but I never went. Having gone now, I'm mad I haven't gone sooner. The line-up at this park is awesome. The way the coasters run with the terrain gives them such a unique touch (and a ton of airtime). Hopefully the next time I go, I can spend more time there than the half-day I did.

 

4. Kings Island Having visited just over a month ago, I sit here today regretting leaving the park early the day we went. Mystic Timbers was such a great ride, Diamondback was fun, and the duo of Banshee/The Bat is awesome. I could ride Banshee all day. I'm definitely looking forward to the day I go back.

 

5. Knoebels This park has a lot of personal ties to me, as I've been going since I was about five years old with my extended family. I never realized how special this place was until I started exploring this hobby. Phoenix is enough to get me to travel, but there is so much more. The gravel walkways, the trees, the openness...and Fascination.

 

Honorable Mention: Hersheypark. I've gone twice, but the hours I've actually spent there accumulate to about five. Still waiting for my day trip till I can say for sure.

 

Parks I want to go to:

 

1. Great Adventure El Toro. Should I say more? Kingda Ka and Zumanjaro. Also, the safari.

 

2. Dollywood Two different times I've tried to going to this park, and both times did not work out. The Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg area looks beautiful and with so many things to do, I look forward to the day I can go.

 

3. Knotts I have this weird fascination with Knott's and Montezooma's Revenge, which also happens to be on my coaster bucket list. The style of the park is eye-catching, as well as Knott's Scary Farm. I've always wanted to go...

 

4. Fuji-Q/Nagashima Spaland Dodonpa is at the top of my coaster bucket list, as is Steel Dragon 2000. I'll get to Japan, eventually.

 

5. SFOG Like Dollywood, there were many times I've tried going, but life came and postponed it. It seems like a fairly nice park, and Mindbender is more than enough to get me interested. And with RMC rumors swirling around Georgia Cyclone, I'm hoping to get a visit here soon.

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Favorites

 

1. Magic Kingdom (and the other three WDW parks):

 

I know it's not fair to include these absolutely perfect parks, but I've been to each a multitude of times and they just never get old. Magic Kingdom is one of my favorite places to be on Earth. All the rides there are great, but the Haunted Mansion is the best ride at any park anywhere, hands down. Hollywood Studios is second, Epcot is third, and Animal Kingdom is fourth. Hollywood Studios is going to be absolutely amazing after all the updates, and same for Epcot. I haven't seen the World of Avatar yet, but it looks pretty cool, too. Magic Kingdom just needs special recognition. I don't consider these parks the same as Six Flags or Cedar fair parks, which is why they're not listed as my favorite in my signature.

 

2. Busch Gardens Williamsburg

 

When somebody asks me what my favorite park is, I say BGW. I've been to this park so many times, and I've had a near perfect experience each time. It has my favorite coaster, Griffon, and is the most beautiful park in the country. The coaster lineup is almost perfect (give me my Intamin). Also, Aplengeist is the best invert. Fight me. I love BGW, and I wish I could have put it first, but WDW is on another level. This is by all means my favorite park, but WDW is my favorite place to be. Either way there's no denying how awesome BGW is.

 

3. Dollywood

 

I've only been here once, but it was so memorable that Dollywood has to be third. I was going down to South Carolina from Pennsylvania to visit family while my dad was deployed in Pakistan. It was me, my brother, and my mom (who has southern roots). They had a place for my dog to stay, and we could even leave to park to walk her then go back in. I just thought this park perfectly captured what I love about the south. Not to mention how awesome the coasters are. Add that to a charming dark ride, a cool water coaster-type thing, a unique selection of flat rides, and great themeing and landscaping, and you have one of my favorite parks.

 

4. Cedar Point

 

There's no superb theming or landscaping, but it's charming because it gives off that old park feel, while still seeming up to date and modern. The coasters are something else. Maverick, Millennium Force, Raptor, Gatekeeper, TTD, Magnum, and Rougarou are all so much fun. There's another coaster at every turn. That and the views of the lake make it really great. Fast pass is absolutely worth it, by the way. It's an enthusiasts dream, and I couldn't help but love Cedar Point.

 

5. Hersheypark

 

It would be higher if it wasn't my home park and I hadn't been there so much. Skyrush is an airtime machine, Fahrenheit is like a Eurofighter on crack, Stormrunner is the coolest and weirdest Intamin around, and Lightning Racer is my favorite GCI. Not to mention Laff Trakk, Great Bear, and the possibility of RMC Wildcat make this park worth coming back to. Plus it's not bad looking by any means. I've just been to this park so many times that it's not as special as it is to some other people.

 

Honorable Mentions: Universal Orlando, Islands of Adventure, Six Flags Great Adventure, Kings Dominion

 

Bucket List

 

1. Six Flags Magic Mountain- I NEEEEEEED IIIIITTTTT

 

2. Disneyland Parks- I feel like I'd prefer WDW in a lot of ways, but Disney Parks are Disney Parks

 

3. European Parks- Europa Park, Heide Park, Phantasialand, Port Aventura, Thorpe Park, Alton Towers, Liseberg

 

4. Kings Island- My parents used to go there all the time in the 80's

 

5. Kennywood- I'm only three hours away and I've lived up here for 6 years but I still haven't gone

 

Honorable Mentions- Six Flags Great America, Six Flags New England, BGT (technically I've been but I was too young to ride anything but Scorpion)

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This is honestly really tough. There are so many great parks, many of which are nothing alike and it makes ranking them almost impossible. It's a fun idea though, so I'll try my best.

 

Top 5 Favorite Parks

 

1) I mean...

 

For the most part, compiling this list is difficult but there's nothing difficult about this one. This hobby is about having fun and I can't think of a park that's more fun than Knoebels. Everything about this place is perfect, they have some of the best coasters in America, they have the best flat ride lineup of any park in America, they have the best amusement park style food of any park in America, they have a great setting... A+ For Knoebels.

 

2) Cedar Point

Yeah, this is the fanboy answer but it really is a great place. Between the world class coaster lineup, amazing location and resort atmosphere, great alcohol policy and party atmosphere it's a hard park to beat.

 

3) Busch Gardens Tampa

I love animal parks and this park is really the perfect blend of a great animal park and a great coaster park. They have the 2 best old school B&M's in America and a pretty great dive coaster. Throw in the most terrifying drop tower possibly ever, a great Schwarzkopf and Intamin, a Log Flume and a Von Roll Sky Ride and this place is pretty much tailor made for me.

 

4) Universal Orlando Resort

Technically this is 2 parks, but our visits are always taken with 1 day park to park tickets so I really think of Islands of Adventure, CityWalk and the Studios park as one park. If you want to see me gush about this place, check out the 2 part trip report that I just finished yesterday.

 

5) Dollywood

This was a tough one. There a lot of parks I considered putting here... Sea World Orlando, Six Flags Great Adventure, Busch Gardens Williamsburg and others but Dollywood barely edges them out. Dollywood's theming feels more authentic than the theming at any other park in America and it's easy to fall in love with the place. Throw in the great coaster collection (which includes one of the greatest wood coasters ever built), awesome food and spectacular Christmas event and this is easily one of the best parks in America.

 

Bucket List Parks

 

1) Alton Towers

I really don't give a sh*t about the park, I just want to ride Nemesis. It's been a bucket list coaster for me since I was a kid and it was plastered all over the Travel Channel. Anything else at this park that ends up being cool is a bonus. I'll admit that it's slightly less appealing without it's log flume, but in the end it's all about Nemesis anyway.

 

2) Liseberg

An Intamin wood coaster, awesome looking frisbee, crazy multi launcher, super cool Schwarzkopf, cool Log Flume and now a giant dive machine? Sounds like heaven on earth.

 

3) Silver Dollar City

I love Dollywood so this park seems like a place I'd really enjoy. The coaster lineup looks really impressive (and it looks like it's about to get even better) and the thought of a cave tour serviced by a funicular style railway being included with all of that just makes this place seem totally awesome.

 

4) Kennywood

I have no idea how I haven't been here yet. Every year I think of doing a Kennywood trip on a weekend where we go to the park on Saturday, hitting the Duquesne Incline Sunday morning and then going to a Sunday afternoon game at PNC park (which looks like one of the nicest baseball stadiums in America) yet somehow we still haven't made it happen even though it's an easy weekend road trip.

 

5) SeaWorld San Diego

Not only do I love Sea World, but they have a Sky Ride over the bay that you can bring beer on. I mean... what else do I need to say?

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Well, let's give this one a go. It was tough to select five parks in each category, and even tougher to rank them. But I think this list is fairly accurate.

 

Top 5 Favorite Parks

 

1) WDW - Magic Kingdom

For me this park is indeed “Magic”. The moment when you look down the Main Street and see the castle just fills me with happiness. The park has a great ride selection, particularly Space Mountain is such a fun rollercoaster, and when the darkness sets in and fireworks lights up the sky it’s hard for me to think of a better place to be. Honorable mention goes to EPCOT.

 

2) Liseberg

A couple of superb rollercoasters, scenic location, an abundance of games and some of the best operations I’ve ever seen outside of Disney makes this one of my absolute favorite parks. Seriously, on my visits Balder has been either walk-on or had a very short queue and they still had 5-6 operators on the ride and both trains running.

 

3) Busch Gardens Tampa

One of the best steel coaster collections in the world! Enough said!

 

4) Six Flags Great Adventure

One of only two Six Flags parks I have been to (the other one being SFNE), and for me this park is all about the rollercoasters. It’s really hard to beat this rollercoaster collection, with El Toro being my favorite rollercoaster of all time!

 

5) Hershey Park

The combination of a beautiful scenic park and great collection of rollercoasters puts this one into my top-5 list.

 

 

Top 5 Bucketlist Parks

 

1) Cedar Point

I don’t think this one requires any additional information.

 

2) Tokyo Disney Sea

It’s no secret that I’m a Disney fan, and for me a visit to this amazing looking park is one of my dreams! Just being in the park and taking in the surroundings looks like an amazing experience!

 

3) Europa Park

Possibly the best park in Europe? I don’t know, but I would sure like to find out!

 

4) Phantasialand

Awesome theming combined with some fantastic looking rides. With the addition of Taron this park should be high on anyone’s bucket list.

 

5) Kennywood

I actually had a really tough time coming up with a 5th park here, as there are so many great parks to choose from. Dollywood, Silver Dollar City, Kings Island, Kings Dominion, BGW, Efteling, Alton Towers, etc.... However I decided in the end to go for Kennywood, as the parks offer something no other park does with their collection of classic wooden coasters. Plus, Phantom’s Revenge looks f**king amazing!

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Great topic to spread some positivity- I'll definitely participate!

 

Favorite

1. Islands of Adventure - Walking into this park for the first time floored me. Amazing areas to this park - great dark rides, great coasters (well, at least when there were coasterS), great food. I just have amazing memories here. One of those parks that reconfirms my passion for theme parks.

 

2. Cedar Point - Like many others before me, Cedar Point was my first exposure to theme parks away from my home. When I think of the form, 'Heaven,' the view from CP's causeway comes to my mind. It's a perfect park to me. Maverick, Millennium Force, TTD, Magnum... every coaster they have is great. I could go here everyday and never get bored. I love this place

 

3. Universal Studios Japan - I went to this park when I was by myself in Japan for the first time. I stayed at a tiny hotel with bamboo floors across the street from the park. It was a strange mix of culture shock and familiarity. I can say that this park is run so smoothly and is gorgeous and unique. I had an incredible, unforgettable time. Plus Flying Dinosaur is insanely good.

 

4. Busch Gardens Williamsburg - I really loved the vibe while walking around this park. The setting is serene and the coaster line-up is stellar. When I think of BGW, I think of the vine-covered castle walls in the Ireland section and I miss this place so much. I can't wait to get back here!

 

5. Disneyland - Nostalgic answer for sure. Growing up is SoCal, you go to Disneyland. Without this park I wouldn't be into this stuff every day of my life. This park isn't perfect or anything, but it's definitely magical - Especially when you're a kid.

 

Honorable Mentions - Dollywood, Knoebel's, Magic Kingdom, BGT, Nagashima.

 

Bucketlist

1. Liseberg - An Intamin Prefab, a Mack LSM, and a B&M Dive Coaster... What else can be said? I NEED to get to this park!

 

2. Tokyo DisneySea - This park looks breath-taking and I've heard just about 2 million amazing things about. Add in that I love Japan and I love Disney.

 

3. Phantasialand - The mix of h e a v y theming into adult-sized coasters sounds like a dream come true. Taron and Black Mamba are some bucketlist coasters for sure!

 

4. Alton Towers - This park holds a lot of mystery to me. When I first discovered the internet as a youngin, I saw pictures of Alton Towers and couldn't quite wrap my mind around this place. Everything looked like a spooky forest filled with crazy coasters. I am sure that it's a lot different than I imagined as a child, but it's one of those places I NEED to experience.

 

5. Port Aventura - Something about this park always interested me. To have a giant B&M Hyper towering over B&M most-inverting old-school looper is such a sight! And then two Intamin launchers, a few CCI woodies, and great theming all around? Hell yeah! Plus This park is like right on the Mediterranean. Definitely Bucketlist!

 

Honorable Mentions - Europa Park, Efteling, Mirabilandia, Warner Bros Australia, Hong Kong Disneyland

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I haven't been to many places so this is easy.

 

1. Six Flags Great Adventure. I love this park so much, I wish it was my homepark. El Toro my very well be the best coaster ever built, Nitro is amazing, Kingda Ka in the front row is an experience of a lifetime, and the park also has a very good lineup supporting those 3. The ride lineup in general has improved over the past few years. I also can't stress how awesome the safari is. It may take 2 hours out of your day but if the park isn't busy it's well worth it. The operations are great too. (except those bums over at Bizarro) It may lack charm of other Six Flags park like SFFT or SFNE but I absolutely love the place.

 

2. Six Flags New England. I may be slightly biased, I've lived within 5 minutes of the park my whole life but this park has grown so much over the years. Obviously the park has that amazing top 2, Superman the Ride and Wicked Cyclone. Superman is so close to my heart because it's the coaster that started my love for this hobby and there was a point in time where it was the only thing in the park worth riding. But since about 2011-2012 this park has hugely stepped up its game. The park always looks nice and clean, they keep the landscaping looking nice, and it has the New England charm that I love (obviously, since I'm a New Englander) The ride lineup has drastically improved as well, there aren't as many empty flat ride plots as there used to be and they're filling those holes up. This park is about a coaster or 2 away from being elite imho.

 

3. Carowinds. I know people aren't going to agree with this placement behind two Six Flags parks. I liked the place don't get my wrong but it was really missing something that I can't put my finger on. Apart from the top 3 Carowinds' lineup is kinda bad and I would say the top 3 is good not great. I thought Fury was massively overrated, I've never been so disappointed getting off a ride before. Intimidator is good but doesn't hold a candle to Nitro. Afterburn is undoubtedly amazing, such an underrated coaster. Then after that the lineup isn't good. Nighthawk and Vortex are among the worst coasters I've ridden and then everything else there is Meh. The operations were great but I didn't find them to be that much better than Great Adventure. Good park just not as great as people say imo.

 

4. Great Escape. I haven't been here since 2011 so I don't remember much but, I remember Comet being very fun and the park looking great and being very clean. It may be owned by Six Flags but it doesn't feel like a six flags at all.

 

Bucket List

 

1. Cedar Point. Duh.

 

2. Hershey. Skyrush is one of my top bucket list coasters and the rest of the lineup looks very good

 

3. Kings Island. A friend of mine was there 2 weeks ago and talked it up big time. I was already intrigued on going to this place but I'm chomping at the bit now.

 

4. Busch Gardens Tampa. I really want to go to both Busch Parks and this one ride wise looks the best of the 2

 

5. Kings Dominion. I305 is the top coaster on my bucket list. My friends and I have been trying to put together a weekend trip to this place so hopefully soon.

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Its funny I almost included honorable mentions but decided to keep it a clean 5, but then everyone else included honorable mentions so I just edited my original post. Good lists so far, everyone!

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5. Port Aventura - Something about this park always interested me. To have a giant B&M Hyper towering over B&M most-inverting old-school looper is such a sight! And then two Intamin launchers, a few CCI woodies, and great theming all around? Hell yeah! Plus This park is like right on the Mediterranean. Definitely Bucketlist!

 

Damn, I really should have included this instead of Sea World San Diego. It's on my bucket list, I just totally blanked on it.

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5. Port Aventura - Something about this park always interested me. To have a giant B&M Hyper towering over B&M most-inverting old-school looper is such a sight! And then two Intamin launchers, a few CCI woodies, and great theming all around? Hell yeah! Plus This park is like right on the Mediterranean. Definitely Bucketlist!

 

Damn, I really should have included this instead of Sea World San Diego. It's on my bucket list, I just totally blanked on it.

 

What's funny is that I went to SWSD last night with a buddy and had a couple of beers (They're actually selling local craft beers and not just Anheuser-Busch products!) while walking around the park and was considering putting it on my list, too -- It's a fantastic park! Manta is a seriously underrated coaster in our community too. I'm sure you'd love this park!

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Top 5:

 

1. Cedar Point - The endorphin kick of seeing the skyline, circling perimeter road around the peninsula, then entering through the resort gate next to Magnum's lift hill that I got as a kid sixteen years ago still comes flooding back every time I visit. The lakeside setting and all the great views it allows makes the absence of theming irrelevant. The atmosphere is simply the nicest of any major corporate park in the US. CP has more of my favorite coasters than any other park, but it's also more than just the sum of its best rides. It's the only park of its class (i.e. not a Universal/Disney/Europa) to feel like a true destination resort.

 

2. Silver Dollar City - The best combination of a relaxed, yet all-encompassing theme and a diverse lineup of thrilling rides that I've seen. The coaster collection is growing, yet not huge, and I can re-ride the ones they have again and again without tiring of them. I feel 100% in the present moment at this park. No need to rigorously plan or fret about getting things done even though there's so much to do. Dollywood is obviously similar (and I haven't ridden Lightning Rod), but SDC's atmosphere and coasters were more satisfying overall.

 

3. Busch Gardens Tampa - Pretty clearly the best set of B&Ms out there if you ask me. Kumba is still the best looper B&M has built. Everything about it is perfection and Montu and Sheikra are very close. Some of Intamin's best work too with Cheetah Hunt being one of the most fun and unique coaster's around and Falcon's Fury. Great landscaping and setting with a better fusion of animal exhibits and rides than Disney's Animal Kingdom.

 

4. Hersheypark - The second highest concentration of my top coasters after Cedar Point and home to my #1, Skyrush. The vibe here from staff, food, and cleanliness is well above what you can expect from Six Flags and equivalent to the best Cedar Fair parks. Some people hate it, but I actually like the odd, convoluted layout. This park has a distinct character to it you don't normally see at parks with such a high quantity of coasters.

 

5. Knoebels - It's tough for me to give much insight that isn't already common knowledge since I've only spent a half-day here. The woodies are great (and Twister is highly underrated) and so are the flats. Everyone knows about the classic Knoebels charm and all the great food. I need to go back for a full day next year.

 

Bucket List:

 

1. Phantasialand - Perhaps the most well-themed and quality over quantity coaster lineup out there. Taron and Black Mamba speak for themselves and Chiapas looks like it might be the world's best water ride. I'm going on a Euro mega-trip in August and spending two days here.

 

2. Europa Park - The world's most well-rounded park? Looks like it! There isn't one coaster that appeals to me the way Taron does, but the park as a whole just might be unmatched. Going for two days in August.

 

3. Liseberg - Three bucket list coasters in Helix, Balder, and Lisebergbanan to start, and apparently some of the best of just about everything else on top of that. Love how it's in the middle of Gothenburg on a hillside.

 

4. Efteling - Like Europa, probably no elite coasters, though the ones they have still look great. Really looking forward to the shows (which I never say about parks, ever, ever, ever...) and dark rides and fantasy forest theming. Going in August.

 

5. Tokyo Disney Sea - Some say it's the best park in the world. Maybe it is. I'm just too much of a pure coaster enthusiast to make it my top bucket list park. That doesn't mean I don't think everything about the place looks absolutely stellar.

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FAVORITES

 

1. Busch Gardens Williamsburg: Absolutely deserving of the most beautiful park Golden Ticket, this is a park that you can just walk around, taking in the atmosphere, and still have an awesome day. I love the theming and extra details the park puts in to take the experience a little bit higher. Good collection of coasters and, of course, the excellence of DaVinci's Cradle, their sweet Flying Carpet ride.

 

2. Hersheypark: For being a corporate park it sure didn't feel like one during my visit in 2005 but I fell in love with the place. The entry, Tudor Square, sort of has a Busch Gardens Williamsburg vibe and that's before you even get into the park. From what I remember the park seemed quite laid back. Storm Runner is my favorite ride there but I've been wanting to get back to ride Skyrush.

 

3. Six Flags Great America: Probably the most diverse Six Flags I've been to with a solid collection of coasters and flat rides. I'm in the very small minority when I say that Raging Bull is my favorite steel coaster. Last visit was in 2012.

 

4. Kings Island: I'm lucky to be only 3.5 to 4 hours from this awesome park that just continues to get better. Diamondback, Beast, Banshee - 'nuff said.

 

5. Six Flags Over Georgia: Beautiful park and another solid collection of coasters. Plus they have Acrophobia, my favorite drop tower.

 

WISH LIST

 

1. Six Flags Over Texas/Fiesta Texas: I've been wanting to check out the Texas parks and thanks to thrillrider's recent trip reports these two are really calling out to me.

 

2. PortAventura: The first time I saw a POV of Dragon Khan I've wanted to ride it and now that it has Shambhala It makes the park more appealing to me.

 

3. Europa Park: A park that is highly praised from everyone that's been there, it looks stunning in all the photos I've seen of it. Plus I'm intrigued with Blue Fire.

 

4. Phantasialand: I just want to see the magnificent theming in person, plus there's Taron, Chiapas, Black Mamba to check out too.

 

5. Alton Towers: Nemesis is so highly regarded as an old school invert I'd like to check it out plus it seems to have a unique set of rides due to the height restrictions there.

 

HONORABLE MENTION

 

Six Flags Magic Mountain: Not sure if this should count since I was there in 2001 but X2 has been at the top of my bucket list.

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Favorites

 

1. Cedar Point

More than anything because it occupied the number slot on the coaster bucket list for so long and they kept adding coasters I wanted to ride. It was on the life bucket list. You can spend days and never even bother with riding a flat. Love having the view of the lake on three sides.

 

2. BG Williamsburg

My wife isn't a coaster fanatic and she can enjoy this park. The kids have favorite coasters here, I have favorite coasters here. It is just really nice and relaxing and feels vacationy without traveling all the way to Orlando and feeling pressed to get my money's worth.

 

3. Hershey

Great coasters, something for everyone close to each other. A lot of great family memories. Chocolate.

 

4. BG Tampa

I like having the animal exhibits by the rides and along the paths. Cheetah is a good example of a coaster not having to be the biggest, tallest, fastest to be fun. But, the park does have some of those too. Maybe having SFA as my home park makes me appreciate the landscaping at the BGs more.

 

5. Lake Compounce

This was a tough call between SFNE because of (Superman and Cyclone) and Kennywood but right now I am putting LC there. Boulder Dash and just how it is tucked in between the hill and the lake. I am also counting the sky ride. Pinks hot dogs. Not having to lug refillable cups with me, instead, just free drinks is tough to beat.

 

Bucketlist

 

1. Knoebels

It seems as though this circumstances are going to cancel the planned trip there again. I want to graze and ride and repeat.

 

2. Dollywood

I was there when it just had shows and like a blacksmith and a glassblower. It has gotten better and better and I have only been back through that part of the country once since then.

 

3. SFMM

It has several ride credits. My then fiance and I flew out to LA and went all the way down to Tijuana and back. We then went to Napa Valley and back. We just couldn't fit it in. Driving back to LA I did drive right past it. It was a call between Disneyland, Knotts, and SF and we went Disney.

 

4. Carowinds

325. Lived in Charlotte for a year. Figured I would always have the opportunity, but I moved.

 

5. SF Fiesta Texas

Iron Rattler. Most of my family worked in a stone quarry in NY. The idea of a park inside of a quarry just seems so cool.

 

I stayed in North America and didn't consider the Disney/Universal/Sea Worlds. Setting and missed opportunities seems to guide my preferences. I guess what's great is that once one of these bucketlist parks is crossed off another will be added.

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Favorites

 

1) Disneyland- It may be smaller than the Magic Kingdom, but I prefer the ride selection at Disneyland and there's something magical about visiting Walt's park. Yes the pathways get very congested, but despite being a Disney park lines never seem to exceed 60 minutes for anything and I know how to game the Fastpass system to maximize my day. Indiana Jones is the best dark ride I've been on, Splash Mountain is the second best flume after it's big brother in Florida, and they have the better of the Space Mountains. Then there's the dark ride collection, the ability to meet the Disney characters, etc. This is everything a theme park should be.

 

2) Knoebels- A stark contrast to Disneyland, Knoebels is everything an amusement park should be. Phoenix is my favorite wooden coaster and Twister is another great ride as well. The park has the best flat ride collection anywhere, mixing it with rare classics and modern thrillers. And they all run amazing cycles (fast and long). They also have one of my favorite flumes, an amazing dark ride, a great setting, Fascination, and the best overall food collection of any park. Seriously any food item there is guaranteed to be great.

 

3) Cedar Point- The park with the best roller coaster collection has to be on this list. Cedar Point has the renowned Intamin collection, some great B&Ms, a really good wooden coaster, Magnum, and some really nice flat rides. And this is before they add what looks to be one of the best RMCs. The park also has one of the best settings (unless the water pipe bursts) and has good operations.

 

4) Magic Kingdom- More well-planned layout and crowd wise than Disneyland, the Magic Kingdom has just a slightly worse ride collection and much of the same magic that makes Disneyland special. For a week vacation, I'll take Walt Disney World but for a one day trip I prefer Disneyland.

 

5) Busch Gardens Williamsburg- This park is one of the most beautiful around and has an amazing coaster collection to go with it as well. Apollo's Chariot, Griffon, and Alpengeist are all smooth and fun coasters that are super reridable. The park is lacking in the flat collection, but makes up for it with some good shows, excellent food, and a nice water ride collection.

 

Honorable Mentions- Dollywood, Holiday World, Universal Orlando, Hersheypark

 

Bucket List Parks

1) Tokyo DisneySea- I love the Disney parks and it seems to be a general consensus among enthusiasts that this is the best one out there. They have some of my favorite rides from the US in Indiana Jones, Tower of Terror, and Toy Story along with the epic looking Journey to the Center of the Earth. Every image of that park looks straight from a movie and too nice to actually be a theme park.

 

2) Universal Japan- I'm a fan of Universal Orlando and this looks to have many of the rides that makes Florida great with the addition of Space Fantasy, Holiday Dream, and Flying Dinosaur. Plus the park looks like a beauty.

 

3) PortAventura- Like the two parks above, every shot of the park I have seen has been nothing short of amazing and they have a great roller coaster collection to back it up. Honestly this looks like Busch Gardens of Spain in terms of the ride collection.

 

4) Alton Towers- The great setting and how cleverly the park has built thrill rides with a tight height restriction has made this park one I've always wanted to visit. Nemesis easily looks like the star, but the rest of their coaster collection looks quite impressive too.

 

5) Silver Dollar City- I loved Dollywood so I figure Silver Dollar City would be up my alley. Much of the theming that made Dollywood great seems to be shared with Silver Dollar City and they also have a RMC that will probably run when I visit.

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Top 5 parks that I've been to

 

1. Cedar Point - This park is the Mecca for me. It's not just the coasters, it's the flat rides, the beach, the resort feel, but mostly the coasters. Maverick, Dragster, and Millennium are all among my favorites of all time, and they have a seemingly endless supply of very good coasters behind them.

 

2. Knoebels - There's something special about this park that I haven't been able to replicate anywhere else. I think it has something to do with Phoenix, The Flyers, and the food. I could ride Phoenix for days and not get bored.

 

3. Magic Mountain - I don't think the top tier coasters compare all that fondly to Cedar Point, but this park has more depth than any other in the market. I love Twisted Colossus, Full Throttle, Tatsu, and X2.

 

4. Phantasialand - Out of the three parks in Europe that I visit, this is my favorite. Every coaster in the park was better than I expected it to be, with the exception of Taron. That said, Taron is a great coaster, and compares favorably to most I've been on. A lot of airtime, a lot of fun twists and turns, and a long ride time. Add in the European charm, the dark rides, the themeing, and you've got yourself firmly in the top 5!

 

5. Kings Dominion - This was a really tough call. Europa Park is better in a lot of ways, and Kings Island/Carowinds could both be argued. I only had one day at Kings Dominion, but the combination of coasters, landscape, and lack of lines made it one of the greatest I've ever had at an amusement park. I rode I-305 many times, and it's arguably my favorite coaster (I go back and fourth with Maverick).

 

Parks I'd love to visit

 

1. Silver Dollar City - I've been meaning to go here.

 

2. Hershey Park - Skyrush + ridiculous coaster collection.

 

3. Port Aventura - Probably won't happen for a while...

 

4. Six Flags Great Adventure - Maybe first. I drove past it once, and I've been sad about it ever since.

 

5. Dollywood - If they ever got an RMC that worked, I would be there in a second.

 

-- HM - Busch Gardens WilliamsTampa

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Something screwed up my posting my lists here - so I am going to just list them, without description...

 

"Fave 5 I Have Been To..."

 

1. Tokyo Disney Sea

2. Grona Lund

3. Europa Park

4. Tokyo Disneyland

5. Cedar Point

 

"Bucket List 5..."

 

1. Dollywood

2. Silver Dollar City

3. Shanghai Disneyland

4. Animal Kingdom

5. Six Flags Fiesta Texas

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Top 5 Favorite Parks:

1) Dollywood- Located in the Smoky Mountains, Dollywood provided me an experience like no other. Great theming, great reliance on nature's beauty, and even some sections of the park that didn't even feel like an amusement park! Of course Lightning Rod was broken down, but at least I got to try what is now my favorite sugary sweet… Cinnamon Bread!

2) Kings Dominion- For a Cedar Fair park, I was pretty darn impressed at how clean and beautiful Kings Dominon was both of the times I visited. Every ride had a fresh coat of paint, almost every walkway provided natural shade, and there wasn't a single coaster that I disliked (at least out of the ones still operating). Can't wait to go next year to try out RMC Hurler!

3) Busch Gardens Tampa- I'm certainly a huge fan of the coaster collection, especially Kumba and Montu. Falcon's Fury is also the best drop tower I have ridden, and even though it's scenery isn't as beautiful as its sister park in Williamsburg, it's still stunning to look at. Too bad I had a cold when I visited, otherwise it could land higher on the list.

4) Animal Kingdom- Before 2017, I probably wouldn't have thought twice to put this in my top 5. However, Pandora was incredibly immersive, and Flight of Passage may just be in my top 10 rides I have ever ridden. Even better than more than 95% of the coasters that I've ridden! Along with the new night show Rivers of Light, tons of animals, beautifully sculpted landscaping, and my second favorite WDW attraction, Everest, this is by far my favorite park in the resort.

5) Six Flags Great Adventure- I've visited this park twice: once as a GP in 2011 and as an enthusiast visiting its first Holiday in the Park event in 2015. Although my 2011 experience wasn't very impressive, my 2015 trip was very charming with some solid B&Ms, fantastic light displays, and overall great charm.

 

Top 5 Bucket List Parks:

1) Cedar Point- Pretty obvious. The coaster collection is just so good! And the location is very stunning! Sure can't wait to visit this park!

2) Phantasialand- This looks like the best themed park in the world, with the most creative lands. Although Europa Park seems like a good competitor for Phantasialand, the latter has a better collection of rides I would actually want to go on, such as Chiapas, Taron, Black Mamba, Talocan, and Mystery Castle. The 2018 attraction, F.L.Y., also looks pretty cool.

3) Liseberg- I'm a sucker for flat rides, and Liseberg has a pretty good collection. The coaster collection also looks great with rides like Balder, Helix, and Lisebergbanan.

4) Kings Island- Considering its sister park is my number 2 favorite, I certainly can't wait for the day I visit this park with its amazing coaster lineup and natural beauty.

5) Holiday World- This park has a fantastic trio of world-class woodies, not to mention the best wing coaster and one amazing water park. The park also has some great charm and a very wonderful theme.

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Top 5 Visited

 

1. Busch Gardens Williamsburg Being from Virginia my parents always told me as a kid this park was the better of the two parks in the state and I find that to be correct I feel so lucky to have this park in my home state because it's absolutely fantastic. The coaster lineup is solid, the atmosphere and theming are great, Curse of DarKastle is amazing, and I just love it everytime I go. I won't lie though when I first rode Apollo's Chariot at age 7 it scared the sh*t out of me.

 

2. Islands of Adventure Ugh. I wish I rode the Dragons when I went the one time I did in 2003. This one might take a hit on my personal list solely out of anger towards Comcast but hey this post is not about that. I went here when I was 11 and it was the only time I went and the park was amazing and I remember it so fondly. All the theming, spider-man, the water rides, love it. Excited to actually see the Harry Potter section IoA has even though I've already been to Diagon Alley.

 

3. Universal Studios Florida I've been here twice in the 1990s when I was way too young and then again in June 2016. I will say the attractions are incredible. Transformers, Gringotts, and the Mummy all amazing rides. I also really liked Men in Black. Too fat to ride the Rockit back then unfortunately. But I really like the atmosphere of the place as well and I am incredibly excited for Super Nintendo World.

 

4. Dollywood I have not ridden Lightning Rod yet and I have a feeling that once I ride that incredibly awesome adrenaline rush of pure insanity that that RMC coaster is Dollywood may become my #1 or #2. Dollywood is amazing. The atmosphere and food (cinnamon bread ) are all amazing features to compliment a fantastic lineup of coasters and decent flats. Barnstormer is one of my favorite non-coaster rides I have ridden. Thunderhead is my #2 wooden coaster, Wild Eagle is a cool fun ride, Mystery MIne is really unique and the only Euro-Fighter I have ridden, and Tennessee Tornado is just pure intensity. All of these things combined plus Drop Line, and Lightning Rod just have me itching to get back to this amazing place. Love love love LOVE Dollywood and I wish it was closer to me since I moved to Fredericksburg from Christiansburg three years ago. Granted I do have i305 and soon an RMC down 95.

 

5. Cedar Point I mean it's like an island of amazing roller coasters, lots of them and great flats surrounded by Lake Erie. I have yet to ride Maverick, Dragster, Gatekeeper, Rougarou, Valravn, RMC Mean Streak, and Blue Streak because almost all of those weren't there yet when I went except Dragster and Blue Streak. Millennium Force, Magnum, and Raptor were all amazing rides when I went though. Dying to go back.

 

6-10: HP, SFGAdv, KD, SFFT, SFOT.

 

Bucketlist Parks

 

1. Six Flags Magic Mountain A polarizing choice to be sure but it has 19 roller coasters and I want to ride all of the non-kid ones. Now. Need to get out to California one of these days.

 

2. All of the Disney World Parks The only disney owned park I have ever set foot into is Typhoon Lagoon. It's Disney World I want to experience all of it. Especially once STAR WARS LAND opens!!!

 

3. Busch Gardens Tampa It has Montu, Kumba, Cheetah Hunt, SheiKra, animals, an insane drop tower and I want to experience all of those things.

 

4. Alton Towers Nemesis. Enough Said.

 

5. Holiday World The Voyage, Thunderbird, Amazing water coasters, free soda. I've always wanted to go to this place.

 

Runner ups: Kings Island, SFNE, Silver Dollar City, SFOG, SWO. SFGAm, KBF, Knoebels.

Edited by CoasterAuditor
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Parks I've visited: Carowinds, Cedar Point, King's Dominion, Lake Compounce, Nickolodeon Universe at MoA, SFFT, SFGAdv, SFNE, SFoG, SFoT, Universal Studios Florida & Islands of Adventure, Valleyfair

 

5) Six Flags Great Adventure - yeah... the park is kind of trashy, the scenery is basically nil, and the crowds can be brutal. But this park has El Toro, and that roller coaster is so perfect to me that it could be the only ride in a park and that park would still make my top 5.

 

4) Lake Compounce - my first ever "small park" experience, and it was a blast. From the ease of parking, to the cozy layout, to the lack of crowds. This place feels like a friend's backyard... who happens to have one of the most amazing coasters ever made inside it. Boulder Dash is an absolutely incredible ride that could not fit more perfectly with the park.

 

3) Six Flags Fiesta Texas - without question the best "park" of the six flags parks I've visited. The quarry setting is beautiful and totally unique. The way they've incorporated the coasters into the terrain feels like something straight out of Roller Coaster Tycoon. When I visited, Superman Krypton carried the park, and now that they've added Iron Rattler among others, I've got to imagine this park is getting even more awesome.

 

2) Universal Studios - never thought I'd say this, because until I experienced it, I always thought theming was overrated and only coasters mattered. On my visit, The Incredible Hulk was closed and I was still absolutely blown away by this incredible park. What they've done with Harry Potter World is magical, pun somewhat intended. They've truly brought a fantasy to life and created an alternate universe inside the park. Even waiting in line is fun. I dream of a coaster-centric park that puts a similar effort into their theming and world building. Can you imagine?

 

1) Cedar Point - the most magical place on earth for a coaster enthusiast. Driving up the peninsula and seeing the surreal skyline of so many coasters is like being transported to a dreamland. It almost doesn't seem real when you first see it.

 

Bucket List:

 

5) Disney World - Again, never thought I'd say this because I've never been interested in their coasters, or lack thereof. But Universal Studios really opened my eyes to how much fun quality theming can be. Whenever I have kids, I'm sure I'll bite the bullet and drop a couple grand on a family vacation here.

 

4) Busch Gardens Williamsburg - I'm normally not the biggest B&M fan, but this park sounds beautiful.

 

3) Holiday World - Ever since I saw that first Voyage POV 11 years ago, I've been fascinated by that ride. The fact it has two other legendary wooden coasters, and the fact wooden coasters are far and away my favorite coasters, makes this place sound pretty darn perfect.

 

2) Hershey Park - Fun fact, of all the parks I haven't visited, this park has more Top 100 coasters from Mitch Hawker's poll than any other. The rave reviews of the atmosphere only add to it.

 

1) Dollywood - I've always wanted to visit this place because it seems like such a friendly, well run park. Now that they've added what looks like one of the best coasters in the country, I'm feeling like this is becoming more urgent. Its secluded location in the middle of the country, pretty far from any major airports or other driving destinations, makes this bucket list status more tempting.

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Top 5 Favorite Parks

1. Tokyo Disney Sea

I had three very brief visits during the 2015 Japan trip. Back then I wasn't even a theme park fan but that view as you enter the park took my breath away! And later at HKDL when I rode Mystic Manor again I found Shiriki and Mr. Hightower in that S.E.A. picture, I was so intrigued that I actually got off my lazy a$$ and did some research. That's how the Disney magic struck me and I started to become a theme park person. The other reason why I loved that place is that everything just seemed so original and elegant without any corner cutting, it's like they absolutely didn't have any budget issue and let the park designers go crazy on even the tiniest details.

 

2. Disneyland

Yes, it is small as hell and it becomes a clusterf*ck as soon as the attendance goes above 20,000. But Disneyland is just charming and it makes me feel like Walt is still there overseeing everything at the park. There are some negative aspects of the SoCal Disney fans but inside of the park, I absolutely love how most of the people are locals and generations of their families have been going to Disneyland. It gives that park a unique feeling that while it is a destination, it has that charming neighborhood-like personal and warm feeling to it. Unlike at MK, the overall atmosphere at Disneyland feels much more relaxed to me. And because the park is small and landlocked, WDI had to be very creative about the ride designs and that lead to some fascinating genius solutions.

 

3. EPCOT

This is a park that grew on me every time I go there. The first and second time I went there was during IAAPA and within the short night visits, I wasn't able to slow down and appreciate just how amazing that park is, didn't even ride Spaceship Earth! And then the third time was during spring break and I spent three days at WDW, I just found myself wanting to skip re-riding some E-Tickets at other parks and simply spend time chilling and walking around EPCOT. The food quality is eye-opening and I love how in the world showcase, the perfect mix of inauthenticity and authenticity makes me wish the real thing I saw at some of those actual sites were the EPCOT version.

 

4. Silver Dollar City

First of all, Outlaw Run is there. Second of all, Powder Keg is there, Third, great staff, relaxed atmosphere and good theme.

 

5. Cedar Point

The breathtaking skyline that made me freeze on my seat the as we were approaching there the first time. Excellent roller coaster collection. Great operation for an amusement park. The only setback is the food quality, otherwise, it would be my 4th favorite park.

 

Honorable mentions in order: DCA, WDW Magic Kingdom, Tokyo Disneyland, Universal Japan, Busch Gardens Tampa, Islands of Adventure.

 

Top 5 Bucketlist Parks

1. Hershey Park

Skyrush, Storm Runner, Lightning Racers, and cheap chocolate!

 

2. Phantasialand

It looks like the park designers are trying their absolute best on everything they are doing based on the photos and videos I have seen. I personally feel like their high thrill coasters look better themed than the Universal ones. Taron is very high up my bucket list.

 

3. Efteling

Pretty much the same reasons as Phantasialand, I would love to see how that park is considering that it shares some similarities with Disney's castle parks.

 

4. Disneyland Paris

It is the last Disney resort left for me. I would love to check out the sort of in-between rides that are improved from the original BTMR, Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean but not yet Big Grizzly Mountain, Mystic Manor or Shanghai Pirates. Not to mention the gorgeous DiscoveryIPland.

 

5. SFGAd

El Toro has been my dream coaster for a long time and I'm even surprised I haven't been to that park yet. It is close to NYC which means I can spend some time in NYC as well!

 

Honorable mentions in order: Port Aventura, Kings Dominion, Liseberg, Alton Towers, Gröna Lund, Busch Gardens Williamsburg.

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Top parks:

1. Disneyland

This is far and away the best theme park I've ever been to. I have never been treated so much like royalty as I have at this park. I didn't deserve any special treatment--I just bought a one-day park hopper with no other extras--but everyone there was totally committed to my having a great time. Pirates of the Caribbean is the best dark ride I've ever been on, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is the best mine train, and the whole park just has so much to do. I will be back when Star Wars Land is complete.

 

2. Dollywood

This is the bigger, better Silver Dollar City, with significant improvements over the original. Lots more coasters, same friendly people, great food, second best waterpark I've ever been to, and CINNAMON BREAD! The DreamMore Resort is amazing, especially for the price, and the Smokey Mountains are incredible.

 

3. Silver Dollar City

My local park, the first theme park I ever went to, and one of the best anywhere. So many great memories here, and so many we're still making with our kids. The world's best roller coaster, Outlaw Run, is here, along with the best non-Disney mine train, the most kickass family coaster, and the best floorless B&M that has floors. The food is great, the Christmas festival is spectacular, they have an actual cave that you can tour right underneath the park included with admission, free parking, and CINNAMON BREAD.

 

4. Holiday World

The world's first theme park is also one of the best independent parks anywhere. The absolute best waterpark and Voyage would be enough of a draw, but what I really like is that everything is included. Will Koch used to say that once a guest entered, he never wanted them to take out their wallet again. Like Silver Dollar City, they have free parking, but they also have free sodas, sunscreen, tube rentals, and fudge*.

 

*Free fudge only valid during Holiwood Nights. Worth the event ticket by itself.

 

5. Knott's Berry Farm

The jewel of the Cedar Fair chain, this is also the world's first theme park. Yes, both Holiday World and Knott's claim the title, and I like them both enough that I don't want to choose sides. There are a lot of unique rides here, including a stagecoach ride. Ghost Town is a wonderful place to hang out, while Ghostrider, Xcellerator, amd Silver Bullet are all top notch rides. Montezooma's Revenge is one of a dying breed of Schwarzkopf shuttle loops, the Calico Mine Ride is a Disney-level dark ride, and Timber Mountain Log Ride is the world's best log flume. Add to that great food, the chance to shoot a frickin' laaaaazer beam at a mechanical squid, and BOYSENBERRY EVERYTHING, and you'll have a great time here.

 

BUCKET LIST:

Okay, fair warning, this list might just be slightly biased, since I am taking a trip next week to all of these parks. This will be basically what I'm most looking forward to doing.

 

1. Knoebels

This is the reason for my trip. The legendary Phoenix, the unique Flying Turns, pierogis, and skyride up the mountain, all while camping in the Appalachians.

 

2. Hersheypark

Skyrush! Chocolate! Fahrenheit! Chocolate! Storm Runner! Chocolate! Riding three different shot towers for some reason! Also, chocolate!

 

3. Six Flags Great Adventure

The world's tallest roller coaster, and the world's best RMC that isn't an RMC. The last parachute ride, a safari, and Nitro at night. My first attempt at one of those S&S flippy coaster things. Joining the Cult of Skull Mountain.

 

4. Morey's Piers

I've never been to a legitimate beach boardwalk. Looking forward to pizza, beer, Great White, and finding out whether their SLC and Boomerang are actually as good as their reputation. Riding Coasterbill's favourite log flume.

 

5. Dorney Park

Demon Drop, Thunder Creek Mountain, Talon, Hydra, and Chickie's & Pete's.

Edited by ytterbiumanalyst
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