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Pennsylvania Trip Planning


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Alright, so my parents confirmed that we could go on a Pennsylvania trip this July, either over 4th of July weekend or the weekend after. To make it a long weekend, they stated that it would be 5 days, which I presume is 2 days of driving and 3 days of parks.

 

My current itinerary is

Day 1: Drive to Pennsylvania

Day 2: Dorney Park and Knoebels

Day 3: Hersheypark

Day 4: Kennywood

Day 5: Drive home

 

We might add an additional day at Six Flags Great Adventure, but we haven't discussed how likely that would be yet, so for now I'm just working with the current five.

 

Any early advice on how this can be improved?

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If you're spending a full day at a Parques Reunidos park but cutting the best park on the trip short so you can whore Dorney then yeah, I have an idea on how you can improve it.

 

You need to work on your priorities.

Edited by coasterbill
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^ Agreed. Honestly, I'd skip Kennywood and Great Adventure in order to stretch for more time at Knoebels and Hersheypark (Dorney can still easily just be done in a few hours). Kennywood and Great Adventure are both gonna add a lot of hours of driving, taking up time that you don't really have.

 

This may be more reasonable:

 

Day 1 - Drive

Day 2 - DP in morning, Knoebels in afternoon/evening

Day 3 - Knoebels in morning/afternoon, drive to Hersheypark in early evening for Preview entry.

Day 4 - Hersheypark

Day 5 - Drive

 

Personally, I'd still recommend cutting DP in favor of more time at Knoebels, especially if you'd be paying for entry into DP, but if you already have a pass, then I get it. I'd only start considering adding more parks if the length of the trip can get extended.

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totally agree with:

 

1) more time at Knoebel's (Dorney is completely skippable, even tho we had a decent time there)

2) preview night at HersheyPark - you can knock out the high wait coasters the evening before your trip, and spend a way more relaxed day the next day.

 

but. . . . I think it would be a real shame to skip Kennywood. . . they not only have some really great and classic wooden coasters (Jackrabbit/Racer/Thunderbolt), but also Phantom & Steel Curtain (and Skyrocket, if yer into that). . but really, Kennywood's collection of classic (and rare) flats, is seriously not to be missed.

 

hell. . even without the coasters, i'd still go to Kennywood for Kangaroo, the Bayurn Kurve, Noah's Arc, and great cycles on paratrooper & whip. (and the smell in Garfield's Nightmare )

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How far away are you coming from? Why can't you drive day 1 AND do Dorney or Knoebels? Parks don't open till 11 I drove all the way across the state, was there before opening and did Knoebels till close with my 8 year old son. Maybe I am a homer but I wouldn't skip Kennywood personally. You could even slam Kennywood and be done by afternoon and drive home.

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He's 16 and presumably not doing the driving. I'm also sort of assuming that the rest of your family doesn't want to spend the entire time driving around whoring coasters. I don't know your family... maybe I'm wrong, but if things start to get cut back because they want to do non-coaster stuff I'd stick to a minimum of one full day at Hershey and one full day at Knoebels. Everything else is gravy but don't cut in to either of those, especially not for Dorney.

Edited by coasterbill
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I essentially added Dorney because they have a couple B&Ms plus a Hyper which is why I'm really only planning on staying there for an hour. Plus, since I don't know when I'll come back to the East Coast, I might as well knock it out now, since it's easy to complete.

 

Kennywood, as much as it might not be a great park, it's my first time and they have a ton of intriguing rides, plus it's been on my bucket list ever since I first became an enthusiast in like 2012 (Phantom's Revenge really caught my attention early on). My parents would love to visit Kennywood as well because of it's large collection of classics like Noah's Ark and Jack Rabbit.

 

Same goes for Great Adventure. If my parents are willing to add a 6th day for us to do it, I'll take advantage of it. I'm getting my drivers license really soon and will be taking care of some driving, especially since my parents are nice enough to be taking me on this trip.

 

So it's sounding like a better itinerary would be this, although it doesn't include Kennywood or the additional Great Adventure day

Day 1: Drive out

Day 2: Knoebels all day (MAYBE Dorney)

Day 3: Philadelphia culture + Hershey's Chocolate Tour and Hershey preview night

Day 4: Hersheypark

Day 5: Drive home

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^^ This, coupled with the fact that he's presumably got a 12-hour drive ahead of them (Aurora, IL, to Hershey is 11 hours, not counting stops) is why I suggested cutting Kennywood. I personally like Kennywood a lot, but unless the trip is elongated, I just don't see how it can reasonably fit in there. I'd much rather take my time and enjoy everything Knoebels and Hersheypark have to offer over three days than try and cram a third park in there like that.

 

EDIT: Saw your new post. I don't disagree, if you get the time, GAdv and KW are great parks to visit, you're just going to have a really reduced return on your investment (both time and money) if you try and cram it all in that time frame.

 

Not to be that guy, but you're young - if you want to make it back out to the East coast, you will, you'll have more opportunities to better influence this as you get older. Don't fret trying to do it all at once!

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^ Oh no you're absolutely right, I'll probably get back out there sometime soon. I guess I'm just excited that I'm finally making it out east for the first time and make the most out of it.

 

Thinking about it, it probably is smarter to save Kennywood for another time, and maybe couple it with Cedar Point, Waldameer, and other such nearby parks.

 

New itinerary, and one I'm happiest with

July 2: Drive out to Pennsylvania

July 3: Six Flags Great Adventure and maybe some Philly culture with fireworks at Penn's Landing

July 4: Knoebels and Hershey preview night (Dorney Park is a fat maybe right now, but if it happened it would be for like an hour on this morning)

July 5: Hersheypark, full day

July 6: Drive home (saving Kennywood for Coaster Con with Cedar Point in 2021)

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I'm stuck between Hershey preview night and Dorney Park but as of right now scales are tipping towards Hershey since Dorney has gotten such a negative response from everyone who has helped. Otherwise, does the itinerary look good that I posted above? (taking Dorney out of the list, that is)

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No. It actually looks even more insane than the first plan. You're trying to get around Philadelphia and Jersey on a holiday weekend and acting like these places are all right next to eachother.

 

This is what I would do.

 

July 2: Drive out to Pennsylvania

July 3: Knoebels All Day because this is the only day you'll be here where pay-one-price wristbands are available. All day means all day. Don't go to Dorney.

July 4: Philadlphia culture day and fireworks. Leaving the city will possibly suck hard. Getting back in will be hilariously awful. Just stay and enjoy the city. Pre-reserve some tourist sites because they'll be busy and don't even try to drive. I think Indepence Hall requires some planning but I don't remember how it works. Ask Boldy for cheesesteak tips.

July 5: Hersheypark, full day

July 6: Drive home

 

I know you won't listen but that's what I would do. You're also breaking up the theme parks since you're going with your family and they probably don't care. If you add another day then go to Great Adventure. Even the non-park people in the group will like it because of the Safari.

Edited by coasterbill
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Not a bad plan, though I am wondering, which tourist sites should be must-hit on the culture day?

 

Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell are right next to each other. . but you need timed tickets (they are free). . but either try to reserve online WELL ahead of your trip - you're going on a holiday weekend!!! or you can try lining up when the visitor center opens (also right next to those two).

 

Betsy Ross house and Ben Franklin's grave are near there too, BR house is basically a tourist trap (we loved it, but we like crap like that).

 

I'd also HIGHLY recommend the museum, behind the Rocky Steps.

 

It's a fantastic museum that many don't go into - they just go for the steps and the Rocky Statue. . but the museum has some excellent works in it (including one of Van Goh's "Sunflowers") and will be dead. When we went, the museum admission also included admission to the Rodin museum up the street (with free transportation between them). .that's worth a look, as it has casts of both "the Thinker" and "Gates of Hell" on display. . rare to see them outside of Europe.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rodin_Museum

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Another advantage of that plan is that Knoebels is actually closer than anything else on the itinerary by 60-90 minutes from the west so it makes the drive a little more bearable on day one.

 

I'll say this. If you start driving the night before and get a hotel you'll probably get to the Knoebels area at a reasonable hour the next day as long as you're not the kind of family that does horrible things like stop for a sit-down meal in the middle of a road trip or stop for the bathroom every hour. On that night, Dorney will be open until 10. Nobody will want to go there because they've been in a car all day and it's an hour and a half each way to go to the world's "okay-est" amusement park but if on that night your parents are willing to let you take the car or one of them is feeling especially generous then whatever... go and get it out of your system. You won't need Fastlane and you'll ride everything in 2 hours. Otherwise, know what flights from Chicago to Trenton are often $20 on Frontier and if you wait a few years to go to Dorney it doesn't matter. It's not like they're going to get anything new or change anything at all between now and then.

 

TL;DR: If it doesn't cut into your Knoebels time then just go, but don't subject anyone else to it. Your family will hate you forever.

 

Is Leap the Dips opening this year? How has no one recommended cramming another park in and getting that credit?

Because no sane person looked at that itinerary and said "You know what this needs? More sh*t crammed into it!".

Edited by coasterbill
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Is Leap the Dips opening this year? How has no one recommended cramming another park in and getting that credit?

Because "cramming another park in" means driving all the way out to Altoona when he's in eastern / south-central Pennsylvania. It's a two to two-and-a-half hour drive from both Hershey AND Knoebels, and close to a four-hour drive from Philadelphia. Plus, if you're going there from Hershey or Philadelphia, you're paying PA Turnpike money and that's a torture I wouldn't wish on anyone.

 

Unless you're from around there, Altoona is really only "useful" to traveling as a pit stop between State College and Pittsburgh. Trust me, I'm originally from Pennsylvania and still travel back there often.

 

You can avoid tolls AND expose yourself to a little culture (ahem) by sticking to PA-283, US-30 and US-202 instead of taking I-76. It will take longer but you'll save some money and might enjoy the detours.

 

Do NOT try to drive out of Philadelphia on the night of July 4th, you will perish in flames. Find a hotel, bite the bullet on parking, and just stay put. You'll be happier.

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^ Don't worry, I'm not planning on it. Our current itinerary has a full day in Philadelphia on the 4th, and better yet, we found a great deal on a hotel that has a great view of the Delaware River, so we won't have to go anywhere that night.

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Depends on your preferences. My daughter and I pretty much only ride coasters. Knoebels is definitely the coolest park ever, we spent 5 hours there with multiple rides on Phoenix, Twister, and Impulse. If you like flats and want to enjoy great park food, give Knoebels at least a full day.

 

We did Knoebels during the day and then did the preview at HP that night. Which was key as it was pouring in Hershey the next day, so we bailed and went to SFGAdv. We did all the major coasters at HP (except the Boomerang) at least once with multiples on Storm Runner and Skyrush in the 2.5 hour preview.

 

I really liked Dorney. I think the coasters were all great and there were no lines to speak of when we were there.But we have CF platinum passes. I would probably skip it on your trip if you don't have passes. If somehow you end up traveling from directly from Knoebels to SFGAdv and have a CF pass, you could drop in Dorney and credit whore very quickly. There is a HoJo and a Holiday Inn across the street. Otherwise, follow the conventional wisdom here. It's usually solid advice. The lineup at Dorney is unlikely to change anytime soon.

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^ Oh no you're absolutely right, I'll probably get back out there sometime soon. I guess I'm just excited that I'm finally making it out east for the first time and make the most out of it.

 

Thinking about it, it probably is smarter to save Kennywood for another time, and maybe couple it with Cedar Point, Waldameer, and other such nearby parks.

 

New itinerary, and one I'm happiest with

July 2: Drive out to Pennsylvania

July 3: Six Flags Great Adventure and maybe some Philly culture with fireworks at Penn's Landing

July 4: Knoebels and Hershey preview night (Dorney Park is a fat maybe right now, but if it happened it would be for like an hour on this morning)

July 5: Hersheypark, full day

July 6: Drive home (saving Kennywood for Coaster Con with Cedar Point in 2021)

 

Once you add actual dates this changes everything, unless you can change the dates. I would not go to an amusement park on July 4 at all and add that it's a Saturday :facepalm:, unless it rains all day or something. Knoebels is a better choice than most for that day but Dorney might be best, but that 1 hour becomes all day. Gr Adv will be hell all 3 days. Hershey would best eve. of 7/2.

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Based on what he's posted in the Facebook group (which you should all join if you haven't already) he has a much better plan now and isn't going to a park on July 4th but in all honesty, Dorney will be dead on July 4th just like it is every other day. I'd imagine that once Wildwater Kingdom closes and leading up to the fireworks the park gets "Dorney Crowded" where the Hydra line is like 15 minutes or something but the dry park will be a ghost town for most of the day just like every other day.

 

I've also been to Great Adventure on the 4th of July with beautiful weather and it was dead, but that park is unpredictable. I wouldn't be shocked if everything has a 5 minute wait that day and I wouldn't be shocked if everything was 1-2 hours. I've given up trying to make sense of that place and it's my home park.

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