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Hello,

I am new and excited to be here and finally found like-minded people.

So I always loved theme/amusement parks, not the least all the thrill and adrenalin you get from all the different rides. In the past years, I have visited 1-2 max per year such parks and always had a blast, now I want to step my game up to visit them more often, at least 1 time per month if possible.

I have put to my goal to experience new rides instead of the same 3 good parks I have access to in my country.

Now, I have a couple of questions about how to start:

What is your ritual or what are your go-to things to do when first looking for a new park and then when you arrive there, how do you start, which places do you visit first of a park? Do you think it's a good idea to go blind inside any park, like just book the ticket online and not inform yourself beforehand about all the attractions? Also, when you have ridden all the good attractions, do you select a fave of them all to ride again, with different seat positions this time, to see if it feels better?

I am glad to receive any answer!!

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Welcome!  I'm still fairly new here myself, but I've found these boards to be a great source of information before visiting a new park.  It looks like you may be based in Germany; unfortunately I haven't been to any parks in Europe, but I think the experiences I've had in America should be pretty applicable to Europe as well.

When looking for new parks, I use sites like coast2coaster or RCDB to help find new locations.

Before visiting a new park for the first time, personally I like to inform myself of the attractions and read some past trip reports from other users.  There's a thread for pretty much every park on this forum, check out the index here

I always like getting to the park early (30-45 minutes before opening), you can knock out a lot of rides fairly quickly during the first few hours of the day before crowds pick up.

The first attraction I'll ride at any new park really depends on what's there.  If there's a world-class attraction, I'll usually cave and go ride that first in case it breaks down or closes unexpectedly.  If there are no standout coasters, usually I'll hit rides with lower capacity first (like a Gerstlauer spinner or a wild mouse) as lines for these rides can get pretty slow later in the day.

Yes, I would absolutely encourage rerides on your favorite attractions.  Definitely try out different rows/seats, certain coasters can offer very different experiences in the front vs. in the back.

Hope that helps 😎

 

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16 minutes ago, dankeykang said:

Welcome!  I'm still fairly new here myself, but I've found these boards to be a great source of information before visiting a new park.  It looks like you may be based in Germany; unfortunately I haven't been to any parks in Europe, but I think the experiences I've had in America should be pretty applicable to Europe as well.

When looking for new parks, I use sites like coast2coaster or RCDB to help find new locations.

Before visiting a new park for the first time, personally I like to inform myself of the attractions and read some past trip reports from other users.  There's a thread for pretty much every park on this forum, check out the index here

I always like getting to the park early (30-45 minutes before opening), you can knock out a lot of rides fairly quickly during the first few hours of the day before crowds pick up.

The first attraction I'll ride at any new park really depends on what's there.  If there's a world-class attraction, I'll usually cave and go ride that first in case it breaks down or closes unexpectedly.  If there are no standout coasters, usually I'll hit rides with lower capacity first (like a Gerstlauer spinner or a wild mouse) as lines for these rides can get pretty slow later in the day.

Yes, I would absolutely encourage rerides on your favorite attractions.  Definitely try out different rows/seats, certain coasters can offer very different experiences in the front vs. in the back.

Hope that helps 😎

 

Thank you so much for this answer.

This helped out a ton!! and yes, parks in europe, especially germany, are really top tier, especially Europe Park and the Expedition GeForce in HolidayPark, cant talk about all other countries in europe, need to visit their parks all step by step now.

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Before going to a new park, I make a list on my phone of any ride I'd like to experience.  I then figure out where they are in the park and figure out a plan for opening.

Typically, I go for the signature rides first in the event weather or maintenance becomes an issue.  If there's a super low capacity ride on the way and I can walk onto it, I'll knock that out on the way.

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If it is a big park or a park I may never visit again, I'll do some research and figure out a plan of action. This forum is a great resource for that. On my Cedar Point visits I knew to go to the Magnum gate and run back to Maverick and Steel Vengeance at early entry. I also knew that as a platinum passholder I could get FL+ for the FL rate. When I rediscovered my love for coasters in 2017 after a 22 year hiatus, I went to KD and BGW with no research whatsoever. That made Volcano a huge surprise because I had never heard of a launch coaster. Verbolten was also a big surprise. Had no clue about the drop track. We were lucky that we went on a Tuesday and Wednesday and a plan of action wasn't necessary. In general, I would definitely recommend doing research here for new parks.

If it is a smaller park or one that would be easy for me to visit in the future, I like to go in blind. I recently went to Seabreeze and had only ever heard of Jack Rabbit and it was the reason for my visit. That made Bobsleds a pleasant surprise. Same with Knoebels. Phoenix was a revelation and is in my top 5 coasters. I knew nothing about it going in.

I find most of the parks I visit here on TPR. I get comments on park t-shirts all the time. Twice in the last two weeks I had someone comment on KI shirts. They were Ohio natives who couldn't believe I had been there and asked how I'd heard of it. 

I almost exclusively ride coasters. So for new parks I like to go in and ride all the coasters once and then do re-rides based on my favorites. I like to try out front, middle, and back seats and both sides of a train.

You didn't ask but I usually wait until I'm in the park and after I've gauged the crowd to buy fast lane passes. I have no qualms dropping $100+ to get more rides, especially at far away parks and those I may never visit again. I went to Kennywood and the line for Steel Curtain was 2h 15m. I walked straight back to the front of the park and plunked down $123. I lapped the folks in line about 8 times before moving on to another coaster. They had a sign-in sheet for the fast passes and I was only the third name on the list.

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generally?  I go into a park blind, and don't do much research other than reading a few Trip Reports to familiarize myself with opening times, and/or what rides might have the lowest capacity (so look for advice when to go to them).

 

I really like the "discovery" aspect.. so what I tend to do is to just wander the park, stopping at attractions/rides, as I pass them and if interested hop on.   Then I move on to the next thing (tho if something is really good, I'll ride it twice while there). . .otherwise, I move on, and try to go back later to ride it again.

I did that in Japan really, but I admit I also benefited greatly by being there WITH a group of folks from TPR, several of whom had been to the parks before, and could point me in the direction of things not to miss.   Tho still, for most part experienced the parks as I wandered thru them.

(tho I did know about the El Dorado Carousel and it's great historical value at Toshimaen well before I got to that park, so made sure I got to ride it - even tho I was the only one in the group I was hanging with wanted to ride it.. so I went off solo to get a couple of rides on it)

hope this helps?

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I'm a big planner so I'll do a ton of research, buy whatever fast pass tickets they have, and hit up the rides that are most important to me first followed by low capacity rides I'm interested in. I also try to look if they have any signature food item to try.

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@hoppedup, the only problem with waiting until getting to the park to make the decision on Fast Lane/skip the line pass is that many parks are selling out on a regular basis. Personally that's not a risk I'm willing to take. 

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35 minutes ago, Mike240SX said:

@hoppedup, the only problem with waiting until getting to the park to make the decision on Fast Lane/skip the line pass is that many parks are selling out on a regular basis. Personally that's not a risk I'm willing to take. 

Good point you have!!!!

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I really research a new park. Nearby hotels, attractions and eateries. I like having a plan of attack on what coasters to hit in a certain order. I usually like buying fast lane ect. 

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Hey and welcome to the world of rollercoasters. 

My way to visit a new park is usually to stress everyone out because I am afraid to arrive late, than feeling excited when I see the first rollercoasters from afar and when I arrive at the parking lot I start panicking because I am afraid to end up at the end of a queue. This is also why I can never remember where we parked the car, I am just too excited to focus on such things. 

Seriously now. I live in Cologne and even Mannheim is an awesome starting point to visit Parks, especially in France and the BeNeLux. My main advice would be. 

1. When it comes to major rides I would check in forums or park pages if they are running. It would be a shame to drive for 3 hours when the major coaster is closed due to retracking for example. 

2. Be sure to be on time when the park opens, especially now with Covid-Restrictions in Germany for example.

3. I usually visit parks counter clockwise and start with major rides in the back of the parks when the crowds are still queueing for rides near the entrance. This does not work in every park.

4. For parks you visit in the high season (local holidays for example) I would even buy fast lane passes when the journey was longer. If I was to travel to the US during spring break I would do so in order not to miss any coasters. Or I would even plan 2 days for a park. 

5. Share your passion. Build a network with people who like your hobby. When I was 18 local forums helped me to plan trips and to get to parks. Of course you should always be careful and when you are under age always ask your parents. 

6. Don't be afraid to visit parks alone. I know a lot of people don't like it but I even went to Orlando on my own when I was 24 because no one I knew had the money to go there. If you feel comfortable doing so, do it. I like traveling on my own and there is no shame in doing so. 

7. Calm your FOMO. Even if it is hard if you miss a major ride, it is not the end of the world. There are some parks you will visit twice or even more often. 

8. Check the plan and the homepage. Some parks have cool dark rides that hide behind inconspicuous entrances. At the same time try to avoid spoilers. Never watch the Kärnan or Mummy POV before riding them. I am still avoiding Gringotts POVs. 

9. Travel responsibly. Respect local culture and nature. Try to travel as eco-friendly as possible. 

I guess the advanced mode is checking which season pass offers you the best possibilities for new parks or parks in your area, I haven't figured this out yet. Before Covid it was always good to check Groupon for good offers for parks like Toverland, Heidepark and others. 

Have fun and take care. 

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If I don't know about the major attractions, I'm not going to want to go to a park. Have too tight a budget to just wing it. Have only sprung for fastpass once in my life (CP) but haven't made any trips this year. Strategies are essential since most distant parks are more crowded than my local ones (frankly the local parks tend to be a better experience, but there's an excitement to something new). 

First thing is figure out the trip. Parks up to 4.5 hours away I now do as day trips. The one time I didn't, didn't sleep for crap. My next 2 likely parks are a bit of a problem in that regard being a bit too far away. When I did CP, traveled all day and got 4 hours (6-10) in the evening of the first day. My mistake was not planning to stay until close (8) the next day, despite getting FL+. Although it can help with the trip plan, the awkward part about splitting your visit to 2 partial days is fastpass and ticket costs. Most of my trips have been to chains where I have a pass therefore.

Then I read/watch trip tips and spend time on Google Maps satellite view.  

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Welcome to the forums! Glad that your here! This is a really great place to learn and share your thoughts on parks, and the people on here are amazing so don't hesitate to reach out!

I live in a coaster desert...so visiting a park is a big deal for me, and it often takes a bit of planning effort for me to get there, so I approach new parks a little differently.

I've researched and made a "bucket list" of sorts of parks I want to visit starting with "A" list parks (Dollywood, Busch Gardens, Silver Dollar City, Cedar Point, etc.), "B" list parks (Kings Dominion, Carowinds, Great Adventure, Kentucky Kingdom, etc.), and so on. I rank them not necessarily on how "good" a park is or what rides it's famous for, it's almost entirely based on how badly I want to visit a park. This way, when an opportunity to "escape the coaster desert" arrives I already kinda know where I want to go.

I'll then do a bit of research on the park, including what the major rides are, where the best places to eat are, etc. I really like this forum for that purpose, because if someone posts a trip report you can usually learn a lot from that, or you can just ask and more than likely you'll get a lot of great suggestions. This forum really is a wealth of information, so use it!

When I actually get to the park (GET THERE EARLY!!!! That's like the number one rule of avoiding lines at parks for me, get there early and stay late if you can), I almost always hit the low capacity rides first. Find out which rides these are (you can usually tell or if not ask, someone on here will know!) and hit them early. For instance, when I went to Dollywood last week I choose to hit Mystery Mine first (SPOILER ALERT: Lightning Rod was closed) because by I knew it had one of the lower capacities in the park. Or at my home park of Silverwood, I'll book it to the back of the park and hit the wooden coasters first thing because I know I can get 2-3 rides on each before the crowds make it back there, and make long lines with the park's "semi-famous" one train ops. This strategy might not work for every park, depending on how the park is set up, but for me it works.

Next, I'll work my way around the park in a systemic way riding rides, with the goal to be avoid walking across the park an unnecessary number of times. I generally don't buy skip the line passes, but they are probably a good idea for big parks on weekends or holidays, or if your in a pinch for time or your not in the mood to wait in line. So if I encounter a line for a ride than I'll either suck it up an wait in it, or come back later if I have time.

I do rerides then on rides I like or if there's a short line. My rerides tend to be spontaneous, sometimes I'll do it again right away, sometimes I'll come back later.

My biggest piece of advice is this: soak in the park. Many parks, but particularly the higher end ones, have thousands of little details and rides sprinkled throughout the park that take a bit to find sometimes. Take some time as your walking around and enjoy all the sights, sounds, and smells of the park. I've found it greatly adds to the park going experience, and it helps you to really appreciate a great park (and note what you don't like about a not so great park). I would strongly discourage a "get the credits and go" visit to a park, I've found it really short changes you in the long run.

Hope this helps, and enjoy going out there and riding stuff!

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I don't have much else to add that hasn't already been said. However, like @swfan1988 said above, don't rush! I would say this is especially true when visiting multiple American parks on a single trip. This country is enormous and driving/flying between parks (especially the further west you go) can take away huge chunks of your day.

Also, allow yourself flexibility for weather, potential ride closures, etc. Some parks may truly only need 0.5 days or 1 day, but if you're visiting a major park for the first time I would almost always recommend 2 full days if this is your single chance and you know you won't be back for a while.

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Before going to a new park that I don't know, I always check the park's website. 

In the website, I check for park hours, refurbishment schedule (meaning check which rides will be closed on the day of the visit), complete map of the park, any seasonal events taking place (like Halloween, Christmas), directions to reach the park , shows and parades, whether the park has an official app on the mobile etc.  

After that, I always make reservation for tickets, so I can go directly to the entrance gate once I arrive. When making reservation, I check for extras that can be added on my purchase, like paid line-jumping (Ex. Express ticket in Universal Studios, Flash Pass in Six Flags) and dining deals. 

Things I buy in website depends whether the park is easily reachable or takes a lot of time to arrive. If the park is easily reachable, like local theme parks, I always go for a general entry ticket with no extras. On the other hand, if the park is in foreign country or so far away, I always buy extras like VIP ticket so I can have best experience, while making reservation on hotel if I think I need an extra day. In addition, I always check for weather forecast so I don't ruin the day by the rain or inclement weather. Finally, I check for facilities in the park, like restroom, phone recharging service etc. 

Oh, about phone recharging service...it is the facility that my local theme parks provide. You have to drop some money to use it, but it fully recharges smartphones, so phone battery doesn't go dead in the park. 

On the day of the visit, arriving at the gate early is theme park survival tip 101. I always rush to the popular rides so I can ride it with less wait time, and after that I look at the map and take some time to determine next ride that I will be riding on. Due to my personality of being shy and not much being a talker, I prefer ordering food in kiosks and mobile. If there is any show or parade that I want to watch, I go to the spot early so I can get a best view. Then, I have fun until the park closing time. 

This is how I visit the new parks. 

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One thing I don't think anyone mentioned is considering the psychology of the crowds when its rope drop time and a park opens. Most people are generally going to ride/experience attractions as they see them. This means that the rides at the front of the park get long lines right away and the rides at the back of the park get long lines later in the day when the crowds work their way back there one ride at a time. Now your particularly circumstances (ex. having flash pass/fast lane) or park circumstances (brand new ride in the back of the park might cause crowds to rush there first instead, unreliable ride might be worth going directly to to make sure you get a ride, etc) can change this, but it is a good and reliable rule of thumb overall. 

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3 hours ago, abovethesink said:

One thing I don't think anyone mentioned is considering the psychology of the crowds when its rope drop time and a park opens. Most people are generally going to ride/experience attractions as they see them. This means that the rides at the front of the park get long lines right away and the rides at the back of the park get long lines later in the day when the crowds work their way back there one ride at a time. Now your particularly circumstances (ex. having flash pass/fast lane) or park circumstances (brand new ride in the back of the park might cause crowds to rush there first instead, unreliable ride might be worth going directly to to make sure you get a ride, etc) can change this, but it is a good and reliable rule of thumb overall. 

Nice to know!

In my known parks, i usually run whenever the park entrance opens to the hyper coasters i know are the best to get at least 2 runs in. After that, it will usually be full, so i rush to the other hyper coaster at somewhere the end of the park and do the same. After that, i decide what to do lol.

But i will keep your method in mind whenever i visit new parks!!

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