aueft's Philadelphia Labor day week trip plans

Plans and (eventually) trip report for trip later this year
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aueft's Philadelphia Labor day week trip plans

Postby aueft » Sun May 12, 2019 9:54 am

I am going to try to do the trip report thing again at the end of the summer in August / September. The idea is that I will take advantage of Labor Day (I need the extra day due to not having accrued much vacation time at my new job) and visit Philadelphia and the nearby major theme parks and other weird attractions that week.

I figure that I am probably going to travel alone which will be lame as always, so it will make it more interesting if I put my planning process / progress here for feedback. Right now I just have plane tickets and a general outline of my plans:

  • August 28, Wednesday : Fly into Philadelphia
  • August 29, Thursday : Mummer's Museum, Car Rental, Six Flags Great Adventure
  • August 30, Friday : Knoebels
  • August 31, Saturday : Hersheypark
  • September 1, Sunday : National Watch and Clock Museum, Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery, American Treasure Tour Museum, Return Car Rental
  • September 2, Monday : Philadelphia's Magic Gardens, <Other Philadelphia Stuff>, Fly out of Philadelphia

Is there anything obviously wrong with my outline so far? Are there any obvious attractions in the area that I am missing? I'll post major planning updates as I go along, and I will eventually put my trip report on this topic at the end of summer.

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Re: aueft's Philadelphia Labor day week trip plans

Postby BDD27 » Sun May 12, 2019 11:40 am

If you can make time for Dorney it's worth a stop too, it's not the biggest park but the lines are always short and they have a decent lineup, plus the last first gen intamin free-fall in the US

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Re: aueft's Philadelphia Labor day week trip plans

Postby Canobie Coaster » Sun May 12, 2019 12:24 pm

If you have a SeaWorld Platinum Pass, you'll pass right by Sesame Place. Oscar's Wacky Taxi is a legitimately great coaster.
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Re: aueft's Philadelphia Labor day week trip plans

Postby bert425 » Sun May 12, 2019 5:35 pm

one day is really not enough for Knoebels, and your plan doesn't really allow for you to take advantage of the preview night option at HersheyPark - lest you shorten your day even further.

if at all possible? I'd swap what you have planned for Saturday with what you have planned for Sunday.
In other words, Saturday morning, get some extra Knoebel's time in - enjoy breakfast in the park on Saturday.

then go do the National Watch and Clock Museum, Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery, American Treasure Tour Museum in the afternoon, and head to Hershey Park to enjoy preview night on Saturday evening (where you will be able to hit a lot of coasters/rides with very little wait).

Sunday, full day at HersheyPark (including stuff in Chocolate town), then head back to return the car in the evening.

yes, it would make for a lot of driving.. but would be worth it (at least to me).

as to Dorney, it's an ok park, and we enjoyed it - in particular Talon, and the Demon Drop (1st generation drop tower). . . but Hydra is just so-so (even with that "jojo roll" out of the station), Steel Force is just kind of "meh".. and honestly, Possessed without the holding break? I'd rather just ride Wicked Twister. So in my opinion, you're not really missing anything if you skip it. . .tho we did enjoy our 1/2 day there.

in Philly I *highly* recommend the Ben Franklin Institute (a very hands on science museum).. we spent full day there, as well as the Rodan museum, and - of course - the Liberty Bell/Independence Hall. . . but you DO need to get tickets for those (they are free, but the tickets are timed entry).
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Re: aueft's Philadelphia Labor day week trip plans

Postby Mike240SX » Sun May 12, 2019 6:32 pm

Note that Philadelphia International Airport is a good 15-20 minute drive from the city itself. Uber/Lyft or a taxi will be at least $25 either way. With all the driving you're doing, it might make fiscal sense to get the car at the airport and return it there at the end of the trip.

Depending on when you can fly in on Day 1, you can probably knock out some of your Philly culture stuff that first night.

Don't forget to go grab a cheesesteak at either Geno's (if you like sliced steak) or Pat's (if you like chopped) when you're near the Mummer's Museum. Some may call them tourist traps and direct you to some crap like Tony Luke's (if you like a ton of pepper) or Jim's on South (if you like more bread than meat and cheese), but Geno's is my go-to.

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Re: aueft's Philadelphia Labor day week trip plans

Postby boldikus » Mon May 13, 2019 6:51 am

Mike240SX wrote:Don't forget to go grab a cheesesteak at either Geno's (if you like sliced steak) or Pat's (if you like chopped) when you're near the Mummer's Museum. Some may call them tourist traps and direct you to some crap like Tony Luke's (if you like a ton of pepper) or Jim's on South (if you like more bread than meat and cheese), but Geno's is my go-to..


If a cheesesteak is on your Philly bucketlist go to John's Roast Pork. Go to Joe's. Go to Cosmi's. Go to Campos. Go to Delassandros/Chubbys. Go to Phillips. Go to Tony Lukes. Go all the way out to the northeast to go to Steves. But for the love of god don't go to Pats/Genos OR Jim's. It's nice he pointed out that they are tourist traps because it saves me the trouble (but I'll add that all three are absolutely disgusting and if you go at the wrong time you'll wait an eternity and regret your decision).

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Re: aueft's Philadelphia Labor day week trip plans

Postby michaellynn4 » Mon May 13, 2019 7:13 am

This may be a bit sacrilegious, too, but roast pork sandwich > cheesesteak. If you really want to do the Philly experience, get the superior sandwich.

Looking at your list, I don't feel as if you've properly factored in travel time between your stops. For example, you want to to the Mummers Museum AND drive to Great Adventure in the same day, THEN drive the three hours to Knoebels? Are you only planning on doing a couple hours at Great Adventure and driving through the night, or driving out the next day and losing some time at Knoebels?

If you've factored the time already and are okay with the distances, fine, but want to make sure you're considering it. It's the Northeast - make sure you factor in traffic time as well, especially if you do any driving around rush hour.
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Re: aueft's Philadelphia Labor day week trip plans

Postby aueft » Mon May 13, 2019 8:33 pm

Thanks for all the replies guys!

Unfortunately, I let my Busch Platinum Pass expire already, so I don't think Sesame Place will be worth the stop, and I'm don't think that Dorney has enough of the variety that I look for in parks.

I didn't know about the Free Extra Hours at Hersheypark. I might try to flip around my vacation to take advantage of it. However, this would mean that the Great Adventure visit would get moved from Thursday to Sunday, and I am most worried about crowds at that park:
  • Thursday : American Treasure Tour, Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery, National Watch and Clock Museum, Hersheypark
  • Friday : Hersheypark
  • Saturday : Knoebels
  • Sunday : Six Flags Great Adventure

I'll take a look at the museums mentioned. I looked at the Ben Franklin Institute briefly, but I had figured it was a science museum and might skew a bit young for me. I'll definitely check out the other museum recommendations though.

Yeah, I know that I am kind of stiffing my time with Six Flags Great Adventure, but I tend to get a little frustrated with Six Flags parks pretty quickly, which is why I wasn't going to give it a full day. Moving Mummers to Monday is definitely an option, though.

Usually when I have a 3-hour distance between attractions, I stop somewhere in the middle at a hotel for the (late) night before waking up early to continue driving. I'll admit that it is not the most relaxing way to vacation, but so far it has worked.

Is Philadelphia's downtown car friendly? I figured that taking public transit during my city day(s) would be preferable due to traffic and parking irritations.

I'll definitely take a look at those sandwich places once I lock down plans further.

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Re: aueft's Philadelphia Labor day week trip plans

Postby Canobie Coaster » Mon May 13, 2019 9:00 pm

One note on Knoebels is that they do not usually offer a pay-one-price wristband on Saturdays and Sundays. You can look up the date you want to visit in advance to see if it's offered. I would recommend that park on the Friday as originally planned because you will want to ride everything.
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Re: aueft's Philadelphia Labor day week trip plans

Postby bert425 » Mon May 13, 2019 9:36 pm

aueft wrote:Thanks for all the replies guys!

I didn't know about the Free Extra Hours at Hersheypark. I might try to flip around my vacation to take advantage of it. However, this would mean that the Great Adventure visit would get moved from Thursday to Sunday, and I am most worried about crowds at that park:
  • Thursday : American Treasure Tour, Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery, National Watch and Clock Museum, Hersheypark
  • Friday : Hersheypark
  • Saturday : Knoebels
  • Sunday : Six Flags Great Adventure

I'll take a look at the museums mentioned. I looked at the Ben Franklin Institute briefly, but I had figured it was a science museum and might skew a bit young for me. I'll definitely check out the other museum recommendations though.



here's the info on the HersheyPark preview:

http://www.hersheypark.com/tickets/free-extra-hours.php

basically, the night before your full day, you present your ticket and get in 2 1/2 - 3 1/2 hours before the park close.
that TYPICALLY translates to almost walk ons for any major coaster/ride you want to hit.. you really can knock out a ton of riding in those 2+ hours.

as to Franklin Institute, some of the exhibits *do* skew younger, but it's multiple floors with multiple exhibits on each floor. I was in my late 40's when we went, and my Spouse in late 50's. . and we *still* spent full day there, even skipping the exhibits targeted for kids, as well as skipping the 4D theater (tho we DID do a planetarium show in the basement).
Seriously, highly recommended, but let's see if any of the folks that live in Philly will 2nd my suggestion.
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