Trip help

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Trip help

Postby MikeJames » Sun Feb 18, 2018 6:47 pm

Hey all, I'm mike and I've been reading this forum for about 2 years. I'm planing 2 amusement park trips and I'm hoping to get the same great feedback that this forum has offered to so many others.

Ok, so on trip 1 I'm looking to do the week after Easter, and I'm looking to visit great adventure, SF America, kings dominion, Busch gardens, Carowinds, and Dollywood if I have time. But I've been to Dollywood multiple times before and I've never been to the other parks, so if I don't get to Dollywood it's no big deal.

So this is a rough draft of my trip.

Sat 3/31 drive from home (Detroit area) to the great adventure area and stay the night

Sun 4/1 (Easter Sunday) to to church like the good catholic boy that I am, then do great adventure and stay the night somewhere between great adventure and SFA.

Mon 4/2 do SFA and stay the night somewhere between SFA and Kings Dominion.

Tue 4/3 do kings dominion and stay somewhere between kings dominion and Busch gardens.

Wed 4/4 do Busch gardens and stay somewhere between Busch gardens and Carowinds.

Thu 4/5 do Carowinds and stay somewhere between Carowinds and Dollywood.

Fri 4/6 do Dollywood and stay in the area.

Sat 4/7 drive home.

Sun 4/8 recover

Mon 4/9 continue my miserable everyday routine

I figure I am leaving myself enough time for changes if for example the weather isn't cooperative on one of the days. If that happens I figure I can cut out Dollywood.

Ok, so what I am looking for help with..

1. Specific hotels to stay at. im really looking to spend as less as possible here but still get a clean room. And with this I'm comfortable driving 2 hours after I visit a park and 3 to 4 hours in the morning before visiting a park. Price is the main concern but I would like to keep my driving within those parameters.

2. A general idea of how busy each park will be.

And

3. Specific places to eat within each park.

Thanks. I know I said 2 trips, but I think its best to concentrate on this one and ask for help on the 2nd one later.

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Re: Trip help

Postby steamedturtle » Sun Feb 18, 2018 7:32 pm

I think it's a lot of driving, but since your every day life is miserable, I understand why you want to pack in as much as possible. :) I don't think it's an impossible amount of driving; just don't underestimate how tired you might be after a day at a park. Except for your drive to SFGadv, and your drive home, it looks like your longest drive is 5-6 hours between BGW and Carowinds. That's a lot, even when your break it up between driving a few hours after a day at BGW. My first piece of advice is to structure your trip so that the absolute bulk of your driving is in the morning, and not after a day at a park. It looks like you've already considered this by not wanting to drive more than 1-2 hours after a day at a park, but I'm just saying.

As for where to stay, I'm a huge fan of Airbnb. I never stay in hotels anymore. It's a little more effort, but it's worth it. But I know it's not for everyone. You can usually find a room to crash at for a third of the price of a hotel room, or a nice house or whatever to yourself, for the same price as a hotel room. However, there are good tips for getting affordable hotel rooms, like joining rewards programs.

On the day you go to SFA, I recommend knocking out the whole park in 2-3 hours, and then heading to KD for the rest of the day. If you go to SFA on Monday morning, you'll have the park to yourself, and be able to make it down to KD before traffic gets bad. Win-win.

As for food at parks, I'm excited for the new mac and cheese place at KD, but no one's actually tried it yet. BGW has some great food. My favorite is the smokehouse - specifically the smoked chicken.

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Re: Trip help

Postby DirkFunk » Sun Feb 18, 2018 7:57 pm

MikeJames wrote:Hey all, I'm mike and I've been reading this forum for about 2 years. I'm planing 2 amusement park trips and I'm hoping to get the same great feedback that this forum has offered to so many others.

Ok, so on trip 1 I'm looking to do the week after Easter, and I'm looking to visit great adventure, SF America, kings dominion, Busch gardens, Carowinds, and Dollywood if I have time. But I've been to Dollywood multiple times before and I've never been to the other parks, so if I don't get to Dollywood it's no big deal.

So this is a rough draft of my trip.

Sat 3/31 drive from home (Detroit area) to the great adventure area and stay the night

Sun 4/1 (Easter Sunday) to to church like the good catholic boy that I am, then do great adventure and stay the night somewhere between great adventure and SFA.


You're getting a Q-Bot, right? Because otherwise you're gonna have a lot of problems squeezing in everything at Great Adventure in during a partial day. You'll be staying in Bordentown probably, 25-30 minutes away. If you leave in the AM from Detroit, you could try to do an Easter Vigil on Saturday night (Jackson's church says it's at 8PM) too rather than do the 9AM Easter mass that's gonna last 90-120 minutes in Jackson.

Mon 4/2 do SFA and stay the night somewhere between SFA and Kings Dominion.


Definitely possible. Your biggest issue is dealing wth traffic getting out of the DC area here. I'd actually think that staying until close is the best option. That or leave at like 1PM.

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Re: Trip help

Postby prospekt88 » Sun Feb 18, 2018 8:05 pm

That's doable but definitely an ambitious trip. I would do the full length drive from Great Adventure to Kings Dominion on 4/2, just making a couple hour pit stop at Six Flags America. That will be a very long day but at least you get to spend your days at Great Adventure and Kings Dominion without making any drives that morning or night. That entire stretch of I-95 is a pain in the A$$ so I'd say just rip the band-aid off real quick and get it all done in one day. Then you could even stay at the same hotel around those two parks for two nights each. That would give the trip a little bit more of a relaxed feel and you'd still get everything done. So it'd be

4/1: Wake up near Great Adventure. Park Open to Close. Stay at same hotel near Great Adventure
4/2: Drive from Great Adventure to Kings Dominion with pit stop at Six Flags America.
4/3: Wake up near Kings Dominion. Park Open to Close. Stay at same hotel near Kings Dominion.

For food I really like Trapper's Smokehouse at Busch Gardens. That's the only place that really sticks out to me out of the parks I've been to.

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Re: Trip help

Postby 3Mutts » Sun Feb 18, 2018 8:36 pm

Definitely possible however try to time your drives through major cities like Philly, DC and Baltimore at night others its going to be traffic hell with spring break on I 95 and all the people driving to Florida. Also take I 80 through PA, I 76 is major truck route, a toll road, and goes through Pittsburgh (and since you dont want to go to Kennywood its best to avoid Pittsburgh all together) I 80 on the other hand goes through no major cities and is free to travel on.
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Re: Trip help

Postby MikeJames » Mon Feb 19, 2018 1:05 pm

steamedturtle wrote:I think it's a lot of driving, but since your every day life is miserable, I understand why you want to pack in as much as possible. :) I don't think it's an impossible amount of driving; just don't underestimate how tired you might be after a day at a park. Except for your drive to SFGadv, and your drive home, it looks like your longest drive is 5-6 hours between BGW and Carowinds. That's a lot, even when your break it up between driving a few hours after a day at BGW. My first piece of advice is to structure your trip so that the absolute bulk of your driving is in the morning, and not after a day at a park. It looks like you've already considered this by not wanting to drive more than 1-2 hours after a day at a park, but I'm just saying.

As for where to stay, I'm a huge fan of Airbnb. I never stay in hotels anymore. It's a little more effort, but it's worth it. But I know it's not for everyone. You can usually find a room to crash at for a third of the price of a hotel room, or a nice house or whatever to yourself, for the same price as a hotel room. However, there are good tips for getting affordable hotel rooms, like joining rewards programs.

On the day you go to SFA, I recommend knocking out the whole park in 2-3 hours, and then heading to KD for the rest of the day. If you go to SFA on Monday morning, you'll have the park to yourself, and be able to make it down to KD before traffic gets bad. Win-win.

As for food at parks, I'm excited for the new mac and cheese place at KD, but no one's actually tried it yet. BGW has some great food. My favorite is the smokehouse - specifically the smoked chicken.



Hey, thanks for the response. I think I will be ok with the driving. I go to cedar point and kings island all the time. CP is 2 hours and 15 minutes, and I always drive there and back in the same day. Kings island is 4 hours and I always drive there in the morning, and drive back the next day. None of my days are any worse than that. But if I do get tired I can always cut out Dollywood and push everything back a day.

Thanks for the Airbnb recommendation. I'm not sure that's for me. I used to work at a hotel so I know how to swing a good deal.

As for SFA, that's not even a Half day park? I usually like to hit every coaster for the credits and then the best flats, and then re-ride the ones I really like. And speaking of traffic in the DC area, I was thinking of bypassing DC altogether by taking the Crain hwy south and paying $6 to go over the bridge. Mapquest says it will add 30 minutes to the trip but I'm thinking/ hoping I won't run into too much traffic going that way.

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Re: Trip help

Postby steamedturtle » Mon Feb 19, 2018 1:33 pm

MikeJames wrote:As for SFA, that's not even a Half day park?


I mean, it's whatever you make of it. But I think your time will be best spent by making it a pit stop. And the only flats there I enjoy is Voodoo Drop, and Rodeo.
Last edited by steamedturtle on Mon Feb 19, 2018 2:04 pm.

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Re: Trip help

Postby MikeJames » Mon Feb 19, 2018 1:49 pm

DirkFunk wrote:
MikeJames wrote:Hey all, I'm mike and I've been reading this forum for about 2 years. I'm planing 2 amusement park trips and I'm hoping to get the same great feedback that this forum has offered to so many others.

Ok, so on trip 1 I'm looking to do the week after Easter, and I'm looking to visit great adventure, SF America, kings dominion, Busch gardens, Carowinds, and Dollywood if I have time. But I've been to Dollywood multiple times before and I've never been to the other parks, so if I don't get to Dollywood it's no big deal.

So this is a rough draft of my trip.

Sat 3/31 drive from home (Detroit area) to the great adventure area and stay the night

Sun 4/1 (Easter Sunday) to to church like the good catholic boy that I am, then do great adventure and stay the night somewhere between great adventure and SFA.


You're getting a Q-Bot, right? Because otherwise you're gonna have a lot of problems squeezing in everything at Great Adventure in during a partial day. You'll be staying in Bordentown probably, 25-30 minutes away. If you leave in the AM from Detroit, you could try to do an Easter Vigil on Saturday night (Jackson's church says it's at 8PM) too rather than do the 9AM Easter mass that's gonna last 90-120 minutes in Jackson.

Mon 4/2 do SFA and stay the night somewhere between SFA and Kings Dominion.


Definitely possible. Your biggest issue is dealing wth traffic getting out of the DC area here. I'd actually think that staying until close is the best option. That or leave at like 1PM.



What's a q-bot? Fast lane system? I'm going to great adventure on Easter Sunday. According to their website they are open from 10:30 to 9pm. That's not a partial day, and I've been told the park will be completely dead on Easter. Is that not true?

Thanks for the Easter Vigil idea, I'm going to do that.

As for the DC traffic. Like I said in my other response I am planning on not going through DC at all. I'm going to take the crain hwy south and pay $6 to cross some bridge into Virginia. Mapquest says it will take me 30 minutes longer to get to KD, but if traffic is as bad as people say then it looks to be a decent detour.

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Re: Trip help

Postby WolfBobs » Mon Feb 19, 2018 1:49 pm

I like booking hotels on hotels.com. Couple reasons: decent reviews, easy (IMO) to search areas and find options in all price ranges, but the biggest draw for me is they have giftcards! I now usually tell friends and family members to buy me giftcards for travel, such as hotels.com, southwest.com, etc. Makes long coaster trips like these a little easier on the wallet when other people gift the hotel nights for you!

I booked hotels for a similar trip, but almost in reverse and I was able to find 2.5-3 star rated hotels for 45-65$/night. 3 of those nights paid for with gift cards.

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Re: Trip help

Postby hoppedup » Mon Feb 19, 2018 2:00 pm

I mostly stay at Wyndham Hotels because that's where I have the most points. I stayed at a Knights Inn in Glen Allen for $38.52 (taxes included) last August after KD. Then we stayed at a Super 8 near BGW (304 Second St.) for $40.85 (taxes included) the next night after BGW. If I did a KD/BGW combo again, I'd probably just do the Super 8 for two nights b/c it's just about an hour between the parks. They were definitely nothing fancy, but were clean and quiet enough for me and my daughter. We have two 10 day trips planned this summer and SFA is getting a half day on the first one, hopefully on a Saturday.

I also recommend the Trapper's Smokehouse at BGW. We split the sampler and seemed like a good amount of food for $16 at a theme park and it was delicious. We sat on the patio and had views of Griffon's dive drop.

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