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Well, I realized I don't actually go to theme parks very often. Of course, there might be some monetary reasons, but I've decided for my incredibly belated New Year's resolution to go to more parks. So please help me! My only requirement is that it's in America, because I can't afford that high of airplane fare.

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What kind of things do you like?

 

Do you want heavily themed parks with dark rides? Do you want extreme coasters? Do you want a more relaxing park? Do you like shows? Do you like animal experiences? Do you like slammin' perogies? Are you traveling with kids?

 

I feel like we need more information to really help you out. There are tons of parks out there and they're all very different and they appeal to different tastes.

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Knoebel's

Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Cedar Point

 

are must do's - as are these parks still on my bucket list:

 

Dollywood

King's Island (for the Beast)

Six Flags Magic Mountain

 

and very good, and well worth the trip:

 

Busch Gardens Tampa

Disney Parks (of course)

Six Flags Fiesta Texas

Six Flags Over Texas

Six Flags Over Georgia

King's Dominion

Carrowinds

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Use the app 'Hopper' to help get track flights for cheaper airfare. The combo of Knoebels and Hershey is a great mix that shouldn't be missed. Kings Dominion + Busch Gardens is as well.

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Also, realize to save on your ticket costs, you can get season passes that work at multiple parks in the same chain. If you're planning on visiting a lot of parks, you might decide to visit a lot by the same company, making the pass worth it.

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Knoebel's

Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Cedar Point

 

are must do's - as are these parks still on my bucket list:

 

Dollywood

King's Island (for the Beast)

Six Flags Magic Mountain

 

and very good, and well worth the trip:

 

Busch Gardens Tampa

Disney Parks (of course)

Six Flags Fiesta Texas

Six Flags Over Texas

Six Flags Over Georgia

King's Dominion

Carrowinds

 

I second this list, but I must add Kentucky Kingdom and Holiday World. And as for my views on CEDAR POINT I consider this park the Mecca of amusement parks. You haven't lived unless you spent at least a day of your riding life inside "American's Roller Coast". Can I get a "Amen" for that?

 

"Amen! Now please come back to bed. I miss you terribly."

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Silver Dollar City and Dollywood.

 

Disney World.

 

For parks I've heard of but not been to yet, Carowinds and Cedar Point seem like they'd be super fun, particularly if you're into coasters.

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Just for some quick context, I'm probably traveling alone, and I'm pretty much open to most types of parks. I love themed parks like Disneyland (my childhood theme park) with dark rides and the like, as well as parks like Cedar Point (example, I've never been to but probably should) with many rollercoasters.

Oh, yeah, I should probably tell you guys my park list:

Disneyland

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

Universal Hollywood

SFMM (see a pattern?)

SFDK

CA Great America

Disney World

I also have a Six Flags season pass, so I'll most likely hit the SF parks first (despite how they aren't as good as others, but cash is cash)

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^ Well, if you ever get over to the Seattle area (Wild Waves, etc.) be sure to include a drive over the border

(we're roughly 3+ hr's drive, incl.the border, from SEA), and check out Playland(PNE), w/Coaster and a great

flat rides lineup, including an intense StarFlyer, The Beast w/two seating directions to choose from (!), and such.

 

http://www.pne.ca

 

Just suggesting.

 

p.s. And of course in the Portland/Oregon area, there's Oaks Amusement Park,

and Enchanted Forest, two really great parks, with great rides and attractions!

TheBeast.JPG.e816572d13fa740ac9e4bab5b1aa08ed.JPG

The Beast at night.

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These are my favourites:

 

Disneyland

Knott's Berry Farm

Six Flags Fiesta Texas

Silver Dollar City

Holiday World

Kings Island

Cedar Point

Dollywood

Hersheypark

Knoebels

Six Flags Great Adventure

Morey's Piers

 

Somewhere in that list should be something for you.

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I shall add my name to the list of Knoebles lovers. That's probably the park that in my opinion, you do need to go to at some point in your life. It's quite a trek from where I assume you live, but it's worth it.

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If you plan on visiting Six Flags Over Texas and have a Six Flags Pass or Membership. There is a small park just a short 3 hour drive north called Frontier City located in OKC. It's a small park but it's a Six Flags park with one them Wild West. The park doesn't have much in the way of marquee coasters just a small collection of coaster a couple are vary rare coaster credits like Diamond Back Arrow Looping Shuttle coaster that was the top half of Lightning Loops and Silver Bullet a Schwarzkopf prototype Looping Star coaster. It was the first Looping Star and the only one with the one time Ejector air in the course. The park is also the birthplace of the modern day Gunfighter Stunt Show and the longest running Stunt show in a themepark. 61 years going strong.

 

OKC in general if you are here has several very unique museums and attractions. The American Banjo Museum, The national Racing Pigeon museum The Oklahoma Rattle Snake Museum and some more traditional very down to earth museums like The National Cowboy Heritage Museum. Also The Oklahoma City Zoo one of the nations largest zoos. The city also has the Wheeler Ferris Wheel that came from The Santa Monica Beach Boardwalk and has been showcased in many movies, TV shows and Music Videos. It was bought off Ebay in a Charity Auction. If you are feeling adventurous their is very large adventure theme park right in the downtown area called Riversport Adventure one of the main attractions is a very large White Water Rafting course.

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Cedar Point is the starter pack. Most people new to the game absolutely love it. Try to stay at Breakers resort for the full experience. This is a two day park. Budget for Fast Lane Plus.

 

Trying to be unbiased, here are some other big dogs as far as coaster count/quality go:

Hershey Park (PA) (Has a resort for a unique experience)

Carowinds (SC/NC)

King's Dominion (VA - One hour from Busch Gardens Williamsburg)

King's Island (OH - Cincinnati area. Few hours from Cedar Point)

Canada's Wonderland (Toronto)

Knott's Berry Farm (Assuming you've been)

Six Flags Great Adventure (NJ)

Six Flags Over Texas (TX)

Six Flags Great America (Chicago)

Six Flags Magic Mountain (Assuming you've been)

Six Flags Over Georgia (Atlanta)

Busch Gardens Williamsburg (VA)

Busch Gardens Africa (Tampa) (Close to Orlando)

 

Other Noteworthy Theme Park Experiences, some of which are less coaster oriented:

Silver Dollar City (Branson)

Dollywood (Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg)

Holiday World (Especially if you're into wooden coasters and one hell of a water park)

Knoebels (Close to Hershey Park. Very few coasters, but very unique)

Six Flags Fiesta Tex (Few hours from Six Flags Over Texas)

Sea World Orlando (A few really good coasters and a ton of marine life entertainment)

Kennywood (Pittsburgh)

Lagoon (Utah)

Kentucky Kingdom (Louisville)

 

Most of these are parks that any coaster buff would like to check off of their list.

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A lot of it depends on what sort of experience you're looking for. For a more adult-oriented and historical experience, I'd say Coney Island for the Cyclone and the Freak Show as well as the general people watching as well as drinks at Ruby's and Nathan's hot dogs. (If you aren't getting drinks at Ruby's, you're doing it wrong though the Freak Bar is pretty good too.) If you want boardwalks but less New York, there's Seaside Heights and if still too much New York for you, there's Wildwood (but keep in mind you're trading New York for Philadelphia). For a more family-oriented and wholesome experience, Knoebel's is a great one-two punch with Hershey though you could easily do two days at either park. A lot of it depends on your geography and willingness to travel as well as what sort of experience you're interested in.

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First, KNOTTS, KNOTTS, KNOTTS, KNOTTS! It's in your home state and I see you haven't been there; get to it! It happens to be one of my all time favorite parks and my second favorite CF park to CP.

 

Then, in roughly this priority:

Cedar Point

Kings Island

Kentucky Kingdom ($40, awesome rides, half-day commitment at most, and an hour from KI = no brainer)

SFGAdv (El Toro )

Dollywood (SDC is a good alternative)

Hershey

Knoebels

BGT

BGW

Kings Dominion

Carowinds

SFOG

WDW (again)/USO [low on priority because of expense, but if you can afford it these should be at the top of your list]

 

The CP/KI/KK trio and BGW/KD and Hershey/Knoebels dous are particularly legendary, but regardless, putting them together helps also make it more realistic. I tried to make my list very specific because otherwise I could list off every park with an RMC or one or two stellar coasters and that would be half the major parks you see thrown around on this site daily, defeating the purpose. I also excluded an "other considerations" list for the same reason, but by no means think anything wrong of any park I didn't list. I highly encourage you find your way out to the other parks I abstained from this list, but if you had only months to live and wanted to know exactly what parks to visit this is what I'd give you.

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Since you're on a budget just come up with a general list and then be patient and hunt for deals. Follow sites like the Points Guy and Scott's Cheap Flights and check Google Flights a lot. Don't forget to be clever and check prices from Vegas too if you don't mind driving a few hours (I assume you're in Southern California). That will open up a world of possibilities for cheap sh*t flights to the east coast (and Cleveland... hint hint).

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