Ohio - NY 2018 Roadtrip

June 2018 - 8 parks, looking for advice :)
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Re: Ohio - NY 2018 Roadtrip

Postby robbalvey » Wed Nov 01, 2017 1:19 pm

Oh, I do have a piece of NYC advice for you: So many tourists love to go up to the top of the Empire State Building because it's iconic and everyone does it. BUT... most "locals" will tell you that the "Top of the Rock" is the better view of NYC if you're interested in an observation tower. From Top of the Rock you can get a great view of Empire State Building as well as things like Central Park. It's also usually much less crowded than ESB as well. Just something to think about if you're considering doing touristy stuff.

What shows are you interested in seeing on Broadway? It's a very different experience that the West End and ticket prices are usually much higher. As someone who is very much into theater, I can probably help in some ways with that if you have an idea of what you want to see.

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Re: Ohio - NY 2018 Roadtrip

Postby Brassinthegrass » Wed Nov 01, 2017 1:32 pm

I have a great post from my
Major 8 day trip I did a few years ago with the same idea (only backwards) complete with hotels and I think restaurants. When I get home I’ll share it with you!

Edit: here you go!

www.themeparkreview.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=70554&hilit=8+days+90+coasters

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Re: Ohio - NY 2018 Roadtrip

Postby prospekt88 » Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:10 pm

I just want to repeat what Bill said... there's no reason hang on to the rental car while in Manhattan.

One thing I would even recommend would be to drop the rental car off at Newark on your initial drive to Manhattan, and then take the same public transportation from Newark to Penn Station that Bill recommended you take but in reverse. Newark is pretty much on the way from SFGadv to Manhattan and that way you'll completely avoid city driving and can get familiar with the route. Also, while I can't speak towards hotel rates in Manhattan since I've never needed one, something near Penn Station would serve as a good sort of base camp to set out and see the sites from. Plus you wouldn't need to drag your luggage onto the subway or into a cab at all if you stay near the station.

Regarding Wednesday, June 20th...As someone who lives in New York and went school down in Virginia I did that drive down I-95 countless times, and I would say it is not a bad idea to give yourself a full day. Especially towards the end of an exhausting trip like yours. I wish I was being dramatic when I say it can take you anywhere from 4-8 hours.

Only other thing I'd say is I've been to Busch Gardens a few times on the weekend and still was able to get the entire park done easily. So if you're looking for a more relaxing beach day I would maybe recommend doing that on the Monday and Busch on the Sunday. Obviously weather plays a factor but if its a hot weekend day in June the beach will probably be mobbed compared to that Monday. Just something to consider if you want a more pleasant day at the beach.

Should be a great trip overall though, enjoy yourself!

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Re: Ohio - NY 2018 Roadtrip

Postby Your_Torpedo » Thu Nov 02, 2017 2:50 pm

Hi everyone,

Thanks for all the info, so much to digest! I certainly came to the right place for some advice :)

I definitely think we'll be dropping the car off for those last two / three days to save pennies, just looking to see what will be the best way round to do things - e.g drop off car and head to Coney Island or leave CI til the last day when we fly back at 10pm?
The NY portion of the trip I've honestly done zero research into as I always intended to do a separate NY holiday with a road trip towards Chicago taking in some North East parks and figured we'd spend a good 4/5 days in NY then, doing it 'properly' (Statue of Liberty, Niagara Falls etc etc). The BF does want to do Empire State but i'd heard about top of the rock from friends who've been and i'm slowly talking him out of it. My only request is Coney Island and a show and top of my list is Book of Mormon which i've wanted to see here in London for years but may as well see the authentic version while we're there. This isn't a total must though, i'm super chill about the NY part as I know I'm intending to come back and do it again with more time & money.

My Coney Island / Atlantic City interest can be blamed on my upbringing. I grew up in Blackpool by the beach, piers and Blackpool Pleasure Beach so have a nostalgia for boardwalk type places with lots to do (zero interest in the sand / sea portion if i'm honest.) I'd looked into Atlantic City and saw it was a dive but we both love Vegas and casinos so wasn't sure if it would be another thing to add on as apart from Nashville and the days in Pigeon Forge we aren't going to be able to have a night to 'go out' as it were. (Nobody likes to drive with a hangover...) I also wouldn't stay at a Trump property if you paid me.

Really sad to hear that my travel day on the 20th could be a hellish drive, but I had factored in 5-6 hours so knew it was one of the longer travel days. Glad I know about the traffic in advance to try and somewhat prepare. I've been reading through the SFGAdv thread most of yesterday and have pretty much talked myself into going there the evening of the 20th as well as 21st due to 1) Schools letting out and park being busier than i'd first anticipated. 2) It's one of my dream parks on this list along with Cedar Point and I owe it more than one day. 3) I've just seen there's a safari and want to ensure I have time for this and all the incredible rides.
(I was considering dropping my Virginia Beach rest day to dedicate more time to SFGAdv on this basis but this was when I thought I could buy a season ticket for $72 with free parking but I have just seen that I would need to pick it up in person this season rather than next June :( )
Re: not adding more park days as it will turn into a death march, I'm hoping that an extra evening at SFGAdv could alleviate some of that pressure and as Coaster Bill pointed out we'd only be driving that long ass drive to go sit in a hotel room so may as well visit that evening if it's open until 9/10. SFGAdv is the one park I have budgeted Flash Pass for as it saved our life at SFMM in 2015. The sheer size and heat of that park took it out of us just getting to the coasters let alone queuing for them. (Per your advice though this is something we'll judge on the day rather than buy in advance).

Glad to hear both Dollywood and Busch can be done in a day, (and hopefully a preview at Dollywood night before). They look stunning with some incredible rides, and would love to give them more time but if the majority can be hit in the morning with a more leisurely afternoon then that would be fab as I do want to catch shows in both. I've seen a few people mention on this forum that Sundays can be a quiet day at the parks due to Church attendance etc, is this correct? We're not huge Church goers in the UK so Sundays while less busy than Saturdays are still busy compared to weekdays but wondering if this will make a difference with the schools off and if it is worth switching the days round for KD & 'Virginia Beach' rest day...?

On the same thought would it be worth rearranging our rest day to hit KD, BG first and take the route through Maryland and Delaware to SFGAdv to avoid the DC congestion or does it work out to be a similar time? I'm thinking that as we're taking a travel day from CW we could add on an evening at KD before a full day the next day... I hadn't considered when first planning this trip that the Platinum Passes would allow me to stretch some parks to 1.5 days if we arrived early enough / set off later on travel days. Hoping this will actually ease the 'death march aspect' of it as we'd only be driving those days anyway. I'm going to volunteer to do the majority of the travel day drives so BF can get some rest in the car.

So with some tweaking the new itinerary is looking a bit like this:

Monday 4th June - Fly into Cleveland Hopkins. Pick up hire car, drive to CP Express hotel.
Tuesday 5th June - Hit Cedar Point at 9am - 8pm (I think those will be the midweek opening hours + ERT)
Wednesday 6th June - Cedar Point 9am - 6pm, drive 4 hours(ish) to Kings Island.
Thursday 7th June - Kings Island 9am - 8pm (Again a rough guess on opening times, and factoring in ERT), drive to KK that evening (2 hours)
Friday 8th June - Morning at Kentucky Kingdom until 2pm. Possible trip to Holiday World & drive on to Nashville. (3 hours)
Saturday 9th June - Day & night in Nashville - (JD Distillery also moved to this day due to no alcohol sales on Sundays :( )
Sunday 10th June - Drive to Pigeon Forge. Dollywood preview.
Monday 11th June (My Birthday) - Dollywood, full day.
Tuesday 12th June - Rest day / Pigeon Forge Activities (Alpine Coaster, Zipline, Lumberjack shiz)
Wednesday 13th June - Smokey Mountain NP day (Rafting / Hiking etc)
Thursday 14th June - Drive to Carrowinds (4 hours) (Head to CW for a few hours that evening if time).
Friday 15th June - Carrowinds, full day. (9am-8pm estimate with ERT)
Saturday 16th June - Travel day to Kings Dominion (Something like 6 / 8 hours) Evening at KD if we get time.
Sunday 17th June - Kings Dominion Full day, (9am - 8pm estimate with ERT)
Monday 18th June - Buschgardens Williamsburg.
Tuesday 19th June - Virginia beach* rest day - Possibly drive closer to SFGA in the evening unless drinking.
Wednesday 20th June - Drive [rest of way] to SF Great Adventure (4-8 hours) Visit park after 6pm-ish.
Thursday 21st June - SFGAdv, full day. (10am-9pm?)
Friday 21st June - Drive to Newark, drop off hire car. Drop off bags at hotel. Rest of day & night in NY.
Saturday 22nd June - Full day in NY (See a show, tourist shiz)
Sunday 24th June - NY? fly back at 10pm Newark to London.


So some slight additions with adding extra half days to CW / KD & SFGA but these aren't set in stone and can definitely be played by ear. If we are simply too exhausted from the drive then we can just go out for dinner and head to bed to unwind before a full day at the park the next day. If I take the bulk of the driving on the travel days it should give the BF enough rest and hopefully mean i'm not running around like a mad person the following day trying to ride every single thing. Plus it gives us a couple of hours to get our bearings for the next day. Only parks where this won't be possible are Kings Island and Busch Gardens so hopefully i'll get lucky with sticking with one day there and the crowds won't be too busy. I've switched Kings Dominion to the Sunday but still not sure quite how to order these 3 days yet (17th / 18th / 19th) and if weekend / week day will make a difference with the schools being out anyway.

Thanks for all the info and suggestions re: hotels. I'm currently looking into them and their loyalty schemes etc. My max budget is no more than £100 / $132 per night, but obviously Pigeon Forge and NY will be more expensive so it all needs to balance out. £75 / $100 would be ideal.

Thanks again, honestly you guys have been brilliant!

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Re: Ohio - NY 2018 Roadtrip

Postby bill_s » Thu Nov 02, 2017 5:43 pm

As to the 1.5 day idea, there's also the possibility of 2 half days. Doesn't work well with fastpasses though.

As to staying on site, sounds nice but frankly I'd probably go back to the hotel a while in the middle of the day even if it was 15 minutes away.

I can't remember if any parks such as KD are actually open later than 8 by that time, and they took down their schedule and haven't posted a new one.

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Re: Ohio - NY 2018 Roadtrip

Postby larrygator » Thu Nov 02, 2017 6:11 pm

The traffic around Washington DC can be neutralized. I have taken this route at least a dozen times and the projected timing is accurate. It takes 45 minutes longer than if there was no traffic on the route going closest to Washington DC. But as has been said, unless you are driving through Washington DC between 10PM - 4AM there will be delays along the Interstate 95 route.
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Re: Ohio - NY 2018 Roadtrip

Postby coasterbill » Fri Nov 03, 2017 7:17 am

Sorry to post again, I don't want to totally take over the thread but I figured I'd chime in on a few things from that last post.

Your_Torpedo wrote:The NY portion of the trip I've honestly done zero research into as I always intended to do a separate NY holiday with a road trip towards Chicago taking in some North East parks and figured we'd spend a good 4/5 days in NY then, doing it 'properly' (Statue of Liberty, Niagara Falls etc etc). The BF does want to do Empire State but i'd heard about top of the rock from friends who've been and i'm slowly talking him out of it. My only request is Coney Island and a show and top of my list is Book of Mormon which i've wanted to see here in London for years but may as well see the authentic version while we're there. This isn't a total must though, i'm super chill about the NY part as I know I'm intending to come back and do it again with more time & money.


Robb is 100% right about Top of the Rock. I prefer it to the Empire State Building since the lines are shorter, the walls up top are glass and not obstructive metal fencing and actually having the Empire State Building visible in the background gives you much better pictures since it's really the icon of New York.

That being said, if you DO want to do Empire State, do it at night (the later the better). We live about 60 to 90 minutes north of New York City so we rarely do any of the tourist stuff there, but a few years ago after a Rangers game at the Garden we had the idea to go up in the Empire State Building around 10:30 at night. It was amazing. No security line, no ticket line, we were up in 10 minutes. We've since done this again with Brit's parents and once again there was no line at all. Additionally, it's absolutely stunning at night. If you want to go up during the day though I do strongly suggest Top of the Rock. It's so much better. If he insists on the Empire State Building and you don't want to wait for hours, do it at night.

PS: Since you mentioned the Statue of Liberty, if doing it on this trip is even a thought, try to book it EARLY. You can't book beyond April 2018 yet but they're sold out until the new year. They fill up really early.

Your_Torpedo wrote:On the same thought would it be worth rearranging our rest day to hit KD, BG first and take the route through Maryland and Delaware to SFGAdv to avoid the DC congestion or does it work out to be a similar time? I'm thinking that as we're taking a travel day from CW we could add on an evening at KD before a full day the next day... I hadn't considered when first planning this trip that the Platinum Passes would allow me to stretch some parks to 1.5 days if we arrived early enough / set off later on travel days.


It's tough to say. The major advantage to this is that you could go to Ocean City, MD instead of Virginia Beach (which is SO MUCH, and I mean SO MUCH) better since there's way more to do there. If you want to go to a beach town, you'll be disappointed in Virginia Beach. Since you don't really want to go to the beach or in the water you'll basically never even see the beach in Virginia Beach. Everything cool is set at least a block back behind giant hotels. You'll forget the ocean is even there and you might as well spend an extra day in Pigeon Forge (except Pigeon Forge is way more fun and has way more to do than Virginia Beach).

Ocean City has way more to do, is a much cooler place, they have an actual boardwalk and t's loaded with great stuff. They also have some coasters mixed in (though don't get too excited, it's a Pinfari party), a fun classic amusement park and an awesome old school haunted mansion at Trimper's. More importantly, they have Seacrets which (with apologies to the Starboard... I love you guys, I really do) is the best beach bar on the east coast and possibly in America. If your boyfriend wants to relax, then you need to take him to Seacrets where you can sit on a giant floating couch thing and get drunk all day (or at the tiki bar, or in the karaoke bar, or on the beach, or under a lighthouse, or in the night club, or on the dock... it's like Disneyland for alcohol. It's like ten bars all in one). :lol:

Aside from that, another advantage is that you get to drive over the 23 mile long Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel which is super cool. It's a tourist attraction in itself.

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Re: Ohio - NY 2018 Roadtrip

Postby Mike240SX » Fri Nov 03, 2017 8:07 am

I second the motion for Ocean City over Virginia Beach. Seacrets is awesome.

I'd be wary of the route suggested above; US-301 is under pretty major construction right now in Delaware which will probably not be done by the time of your trip.
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Re: Ohio - NY 2018 Roadtrip

Postby mckayj93 » Fri Nov 03, 2017 8:16 pm

Hi! I live in Nashville, Tennessee and maybe can help on your itinerary between Nashville to Pigeon Forge. I recommend the suggestion of adding in Holiday World to your trip on your Kentucky Kingdom day. Both places are the same distance from Nashville with very little traffic. I find Holiday World's dry park better with generally better clientele. Definitely take advantage of the out of state or the TPR deal for those parks. From Nashville to Pigeon Forge is a fairly scenic drive on I40. If I was you I'd take the scenic way in, that would allow some National Park Sightseeing. Take Interstate 140 all the way to Townsend. This allows you to bypass downtown Knoxville. Very scenic route, great local places to eat lunch before entering National Park. From there take Little River Rd through National Park (Don't miss Cade's Cove). This brings you to Sugarlands Visitor Center at Gatlinburg (5 miles from Pigeon Forge). If you do this you will cover the western 3rd of the park and miss some backtracking on further exploring. Most people find Townsend a better place to raft because there is much less people. Other must see's are the Roaring Fork Motor Trail, Newfound Gap, Clingmans Dome. If you want suggestions on hiking trails I can help, there are tons of varying levels of difficulty. Since it looks like you'll be in Pigeon Forge a while, I'd do Dollywood's enter after 3pm deal and get the next day free. Great value considering Dollywood is open til 10pm most summer days. If crowds look crazy the full day you can always buy a Time Saver for fairly cheap. Most of Pigeon Forge is a tacky mess, but there is some good things in the area as well besides Dollywood. Lots of great local restaurants such as Old Mill, Pottery Barn, Alamo, Apple Barn, and tons of pancake houses lol. If you decide to do hotel instead of cabin, I've stayed at almost every Wyndham property in town, and there are also a lot of really cheap and nice mom and pop hotels in town. I second the thought of sticking with a certain hotel chain, I'm a fan of Wyndham. Like Coasterbill said, Wyndham and Choice are your best options for having a range of budget options as well as having a property to stay at everywhere you go. Let me know if you need more info about Wyndham, but the short version is Baymont, Wingate, Microtel, Wyndham are always fairly consistent, Ramada, Days Inn, HOJO, Super 8 can be ok if you check TripAdvisor first. Reward redemptions might be quicker if their system is played right. Any property can be redeemed for the same amount of points, so you could get 1-2 really nice places in NY or near the end of your trip. Thats a lot of info but happy to help!
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Re: Ohio - NY 2018 Roadtrip

Postby larrygator » Fri Nov 03, 2017 10:43 pm

Mike240SX wrote:I'd be wary of the route suggested above; US-301 is under pretty major construction right now in Delaware which will probably not be done by the time of your trip.


Good catch, I meant to highlight the second route (not the third route) I've personally never driven that third route and mistakenly highlighted it, the proper recommendation is highlighted now.
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