East/ Mid Atlantic Trip thoughts

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Re: East/ Mid Atlantic Trip thoughts

Postby pryonisys » Thu Dec 21, 2017 7:06 am

Only part I'll mention is the Detroit to Waldameer/Conneaut Lake Park. It is doable, but it is still 4.5 hours of driving to get from Detroit to Erie, which isn't the worst thing in the world. Waldameer is busiest on Saturdays from my experience, but should should be fine as long as you're not doing the water park. Unless it's really warm that day I wouldn't recommend the water park anyway, Erie in late May can still be quite cold. Glad to see that you planned for Conneaut Lake Park on a weekend, they're only open Friday - Sunday last I knew, so if this is your plan it could work for that leg of the trip.

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Re: East/ Mid Atlantic Trip thoughts

Postby coasterbill » Thu Dec 21, 2017 8:22 am

People have different preferences and tolerances when it comes to driving, and often I tell people that they're being too aggressive but giving yourself an entire day plus (if you drive even 45 minutes from Carowinds to your hotel) to Detroit is a cake walk for a lot of people, including us. If anything, I'd take a 50 minute detour and go to Camden Park that day since you have time to kill, it breaks up the drive and when the hell else would you ever be in the area with the opportunity to actually go there? It's not a park worth going out of the way for, but you don't really have to.

That said... you know what drive I don't have the tolerance for? As others have said, the one from Great Adventure to Busch Gardens. I used to do this drive weekly and still do it all the time (unfortunately), so trust me on this... it's the worst.

If you leave Great Adventure at park close on a Wednesday night and drive to Baltimore, that in itself is a late night. Don't do that.

First of all, staying in a city if you're not actually visiting the city is a waste of money since the hotel probably won't have free parking, check-in will probably be a process in a large hotel (and you'll be exhausted with no patience for it) and the room rates will be expensive. Don't stay in a city. Stay between Baltimore and Washington if you go this route.

If you do this as you're planning to, you'll accomplish nothing by doing it because the worst part of the drive will be ahead of you in the morning (though DelDot seems to be taking that as a challenge and f*cking up the section of road between the Delaware Memorial Bridge and I-95 in an amazing fashion so I guess you'll have at least bypassed that).

Anyway, with this plan you'll wake up on a Thursday morning traveling with Washington DC rush hour traffic which is some of the worst in the country. Once you pass DC, you'll be on I-95 with the Express Lanes closed in your direction as they'll all be headed into the city that time of day which will leave you on a 3 lane road with no option to use the EZ Pass Express lanes in an apocalyptic traffic hell-hole longing for the sweet embrace of death.

You probably won't get to Busch Gardens until the afternoon and you'll be super pissed off when you get there.

I have 2 thoughts on how to fix this.

1) Flip Great Adventure and Dorney. This adds about 60 miles of driving and you backtrack a bit, but you can leave Dorney mid afternoon and drive to at least Fredericksburg without issue. Make sure you AT LEAST get to Fredericksburg.

2) Go to Great Adventure Sunday (and get a Flash Pass), go to Dorney on Monday (it'll be dead even though it's a holiday), go to Knoebels on Tuesday (which is a wristband day... with your plan it would not be and you would have dropped a ton of money), go to Hershey on Wednesday (which won't be nearly as crowded as it would have been on Monday) and go to Kings Dominion on Thursday.

Hershey closes at 8:00. If you want to drive a lot that night, drive to Fredericksburg via 81-70-270-495-95. You'll be there by 11:00 and then you can sleep in since you're only 40 minutes from the park. If you don't and you'd rather get up early and do a lot of driving in the morning, take 81 to Winchester, then take 50 to 17 to 95. It's a longer route if there's no traffic going the other way, but there will be if you don't plan to get to Fredericksburg Wednesday night. This route bypasses all of the DC traffic so you can just get a hotel whenever. Map them out a little though since a lot of that drive does take place in Bumblefucktucky.

PS: You can also switch Hershey and Knoebels. That means more driving, but more time to do it since Knoebels closes at 6 (and it's still a wristband day). You would also then be able to take advantage of the Hershey preview plan on Monday if you leave Dorney early which you might as well... because I mean... it's Dorney. :lol:

You won't have a problem with crowds at Kings Dominion or Busch Gardens on a Thursday or Friday. Don't backtrack like you had planned. There's no reason to do that. Don't buy a skip the line pass at either park. Go to Kings Dominion on Thursday and Busch Gardens on Friday.

At KD, ride Volcano, Backlot Stunt Coaster and Flight of Fear as soon as the park opens. After that, lines won't be an issue.

At BGW, ride InvadR early and save Loch Ness for later. Aside from that, lines won't be an issue unless you ride Le Scoot (in which case, ride it really early or really late).

You have a long drive to Carowinds, but it's fine if you don't get there until the afternoon or late morning so take your time. It's a Saturday, but lines probably won't be that bad. They rarely are at Carowinds except for the mouse and the flyer. Fury is a capacity monster.

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Re: East/ Mid Atlantic Trip thoughts

Postby SharkTums » Thu Dec 21, 2017 8:38 am

I agree with Mike, I don't think it's possible to make it from Detroit to Erie in four hours unless you're Elon Musk and on a rocket of some sort.

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Re: East/ Mid Atlantic Trip thoughts

Postby ytterbiumanalyst » Thu Dec 21, 2017 9:59 am

AndrewA86 wrote:ytterbiumanalyst- I thought about moving it back a week, but aside from Sunday, and Monday would it matter in terms of crowd size? Plus I'm now planning on hitting Dorney on Sunday, which puts Knoebels on Memorial Day like you suggested, and Hershey on Tuesday. Maybe Dorney will be busy on Sunday, and if really busy I don't mind getting fast lane.

Whoa, wait a second. Don't do Knoebels on Memorial Day. The suggestion was for the Monday after Memorial Day. Knoebels doesn't sell wristbands on Memorial Day, and you want to visit it on a wristband day. Trust me on that. Don't go visiting the best classic amusement park and shortchange yourself.

And don't get Fast Lane at Dorney. There are way more entertaining ways to pointlessly blow a wad of money.

AndrewA86 wrote:As for this gold pass, is it like the Cedar Fair platinum pass where you can get into all Six Flags parks? Because I am also planning on going to Great America in Chicago at some point next year and I will going to Atlanta for work in July. So I figure I can make some time for Six Flags Over Georgia.

It's basically like the CF Platinum Pass except that instead of all the perks chainwide like CF does, Six Flags won't give you discounts or anything outside the park where you bought it. Just free admission and free parking.
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Re: East/ Mid Atlantic Trip thoughts

Postby prospekt88 » Thu Dec 21, 2017 1:42 pm

I did plan on getting a flash pass at Great Adventure. I want to ride the best coasters multiple times, and El Toro 4 or 5 times. Would I get to do that on a Wednesday with a flash pass? Thanks for the heads up on the DC traffic. As I am typing this it's 8:00 AM and mapquest says that it should take less than 4 hours from Baltimore to Busch Gardens when taking traffic into consideration. It also gives an alternate route that would take less than 4 hours by taking 301 the Crain Hwy east of DC and getting on 95 north of Richmond. Is that realistic?


Under 4 hours seems very optimistic, but I'm not gonna say it's impossible. Obviously it all depends on traffic that particularly day, and you won't be leaving at 8am I assume, you'll be leaving right around the 6 or 7 AM rush into DC. I still really think you should do Kings Dominion before Busch Gardens. Yes you can easily do what you're asking at Great Adventure on a Wednesday with Flash Pass. But if you are doing a full day there after getting in late the night before from Hershey, then driving to Baltimore that night, then leaving the hotel at 6am to even have a shot at getting to Busch by 10am, that seems pretttty brutal. It is your trip though haha. Plus you will literally see KIngs Dominion on the side of I-95 and drive past it while knowing you still have an hour plus to get to Busch Gardens if there's no more traffic. When i305 pops up over the trees and Kings Dominion is already open for the day good luck driving right on past it haha.

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Re: East/ Mid Atlantic Trip thoughts

Postby coasterbill » Thu Dec 21, 2017 1:47 pm

... and you'd be driving past it for no reason since neither park will be that crowded on a weekday regardless of whether it's a Thursday or a Friday. Even on a busy day, Busch Gardens is loaded with high capacity coasters that rarely get lines. Only 3 of their coasters will get lines unless you ride Loch Ness in the morning, and 2 of them are fun but sort of forgettable so if you knock them out in the morning you'll be fine. Verbolten is the only coaster where you might have to suck it up and wait... but even then the line won't be THAT bad.

I'd be more worried about lines at KD anyway. I305 won't be a problem, but rides like Volcano, Backlot, Flight of Fear, Avalanche, the Flyers, Delirium, the fan-f*cking tastic log flume, Dominator and most likely Twisted Timbers can build up sizeable waits on busy days.

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Re: East/ Mid Atlantic Trip thoughts

Postby bill_s » Thu Dec 21, 2017 6:17 pm

AndrewA86 wrote: I did plan on getting a flash pass at Great Adventure. I want to ride the best coasters multiple times, and El Toro 4 or 5 times. Would I get to do that on a Wednesday with a flash pass?


I wouldn't be surprised if you could do that without a Flash pass the following Wednesday, although I don't know what June crowds are like there. Most of June is often dead on weekdays at parks here.

coasterbill wrote:That said... you know what drive I don't have the tolerance for? As others have said, the one from Great Adventure to Busch Gardens. I used to do this drive weekly and still do it all the time (unfortunately), so trust me on this... it's the worst.
[...]
Anyway, with this plan you'll wake up on a Thursday morning traveling with Washington DC rush hour traffic which is some of the worst in the country. Once you pass DC, you'll be on I-95 with the Express Lanes closed in your direction as they'll all be headed into the city that time of day which will leave you on a 3 lane road with no option to use the EZ Pass Express lanes in an apocalyptic traffic hell-hole longing for the sweet embrace of death.

You probably won't get to Busch Gardens until the afternoon and you'll be super pissed off when you get there.


While it wouldn't meet the goals, you'd be better off in that situation just waiting out rush hour, hit the Beltway around 10:00. You'd still be noon getting to KD and later to BG but wouldn't be pissed off. But to meet goals, yeah you'll want to be anywhere south of the Beltway with a reasonable hotel before morning. (I wouldn't worry about going the opposite direction than Express lanes though, that's preferable.)

go to Knoebels on Tuesday (which is a wristband day... with your plan it would not be and you would have dropped a ton of money),

Seems to me it would be better to do that than go to a Six Flags park on those days.

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Re: East/ Mid Atlantic Trip thoughts

Postby coasterbill » Thu Dec 21, 2017 8:56 pm

^ Preferable to what? :lol: :lol: :lol:

I've never once driven on that stretch of road without the express lanes and not sat in traffic. In theory it sounds good since that implies that most people are heading the other way, in practice it means you only have 3 lanes now and you're in for a world of sh*t with no option to pay your way out of it. :lol:

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Re: East/ Mid Atlantic Trip thoughts

Postby bill_s » Thu Dec 21, 2017 9:18 pm

^^-- I'm talking about south of I-495 express lanes, can't speak about north of DC mostly except 270 is fine late morning and my Sunday day trips to Great Adventure have been good due to getting off the road early until late. The problem is it doesn't work if you want to get through all that and arrive at KD or BGW around 10 AM. But I'm sure you could do it it from Dumfries.

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Re: East/ Mid Atlantic Trip thoughts

Postby AndrewA86 » Fri Dec 22, 2017 6:17 am

Again, thank you everyone for the comments and suggestions.

For those of you questioning the 4 hour trip from Detroit to Erie, I live about 20 minutes south of Detroit. So a 4 hour drive from the actual city of Detroit to Erie is probably not possible, but from my house it is, I've done it...

This is the updated trip based on all of your recommendations.

Saturday June 2nd: My house to Waldameer Park and Conneaut Lake. Drive 2 hours (or further) east after Conneaut Lake and find a hotel.

Sunday June 3rd: Dorney Park, and stay in Allentown.

Monday June 4th: Knoebels, then drive back to Allentown hotel.

Tuesday June 5th: Allentown hotel to Great Adventure. After Great Adventure drive towards Hershey and stay somewhere off I-76 past Philly.

Wednesday June 6th: Hersheypark, then drive to Frederick, MD and stay the night.

Thursday June 7th: Frederick to Kings Dominion: yes your warnings about DC traffic have been well received... Mapquest gives me an alternate route west of DC to Kings Dominion... the directions are the following:

coasterbill... I'm hoping you can give me some feedback here as you seem to know the area very well...

South on 15 through Leesburg

Right on Lee Hwy

Left on Vint Hill Rd

Right on 603 (Greenwich rd). That turns into 806, and then 616.

Right on Hartwood Rd

Left on 17 (Warrenton rd)

Then merge south on I-95 toward Kings Dominion

Mapquest says that will take about 2 hours and 35 minutes.

The other option is to drive the 3+ hours from Hersheypark to Fredericksburg and then have a short drive to Kings Dominion in the morning. Which I could do as I have drove to Kings Island, stayed the whole day, and drove back home the same night many times...

Friday June 9th: Busch Gardens

Saturday June 10th: Carowinds

Sunday June 11th: Home with a pit stop at Camden Park... yes I love that idea!

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