Written by Robert Niles
Published: August 24, 2004 at 7:05 PM
Dear Robert, I enjoy reading your reviews. Can you tell me what would be a great park to take my nine, 10 and 12-year-old thrill seekers? We have been to Busch Gardens and Kings Dominion in Virginia and Cedar Point in Ohio and after going to Cedar Point we can't find a worthy park through reviews.
Answer: On the east coast, I'd recommend Hersheypark and Kings Island, then after those, Six Flags Great America north of Chicago. You're right, none of those are as good as Cedar Point, but each has outstanding rides that will satisfy a thrill-seeker. At Hersheypark, you'd want to check out Storm Runner, the park's answer to Cedar Point's
Top Thrill Dragster. While this Intamin rocket coaster doesn't offer Dragster's immense height or speed, it does offer up something Dragster doesn't -- inversions.
Coaster fans have long marked Kings Island a favorite destination thanks to The Beast, which many consider the world's finest wooden coaster. TPI readers also give high marks to Flight of Fear, an enclosed Premier launch coaster.
Bob writes back:
Dear Robert, thanks for your reply. I have first class airline tickets to anywhere in the country. Would that give me any better options? We have been to Hershey and Dorney Park. They were OK. I agree it is tough to beat Cedar Point. Thanks again.
Answer: Well, first-class tickets anywhere? *That* opens up some possibilities.
I'd go Islands of Adventure at Universal Orlando if I could pick any park to visit in the U.S. The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, Incredible Hulk Coaster, the two Dueling Dragons coasters and Popeye & Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges are all world-class thrill rides there. If you get the two-park park-hopper ticket, Revenge of the Mummy and Men in Black: Alien Attack are a couple of fun rides at Universal Studios Florida next door.
If you prefer just coasters, go to L.A. and visit Six Flags Magic Mountain. The setting and customer service aren't as nice as Cedar Point, but X is a unique experience and the park's got almost as many coasters as Cedar Point. SFMM runs a lot of rides with one train, so it can be a frustrating visit, but for a serious coaster fan, it's a park you simply have to visit at some point.
I was hoping the site would give me more info as to where I can take my son for his first birthday. Do you have any suggestions as to where would accommodate an infant who is walking? Or should I wait to take him to any kind of an amusement park? Please contact me whenever possible. Thanks.
Answer: We've got a page for parents of kids under age five at http://www.themeparkinsider.com/toddlers. That's a good resource to start with when thinking about a theme park vacation. And last month, I wrote an article on celebrating birthdays in theme parks, so please take a look at that, too.
For a regular theme park visit, I'd recommend parents check out either Universal Studios Florida, for its Barney show and play area, or one of the SeaWorld parks. One-year-olds are tough to entertain at most theme parks, since they can't go on roller coasters or many other rides, and won't like standing in most lines.
Zoos are often better alternative for very young kids, especially if the zoo has exhibits geared toward youngsters. SeaWorld is the theme park most like a zoo, with the addition of many shows and a playground that toddlers enjoy.
I'd wait until a child was in kindergarten to take them to a Disney park, when they'll have the stamina to enjoy it. And I'd wait until my kid was eight or older to go to one of the coaster-heavy parks like Six Flags.
Hi there, I'm not sure if you're the man that can help me on this but it seems like I cant find the right resource for this. My name is Merrill and I'm trying to request information on how to get a job working in Disneyland or other Disney theme parks and a online application or through general delivery to fill out. If you can help me I would appreciate it very much.
Answer: Actually, we have had the answer to this question posted on our Vacation Tips pages for Disneyland and Walt Disney World. For jobs at Disneyland, visit Disney's careers Web site at http://disney.go.com/disneycareers/disneyland or call the casting office at (800) 766-0888. (For Disney World, just follow the WDW link above....)
We just returned from another wonderful vacation at Cedar Point. My kids are "ride freaks." We purchased season passes for my kids and my husband, also my sister's family. My sister and I are non-riders, We love to watch our families have fun, we would love it so much more if they offered a non-rider ticket. Because of the expense My sister and I only spent two days with our family, we purchased after five tickets on one day and the other day we drove to Detroit to the MGM Grand Casino, we had a great time together, however we would have much rather spent the day with our families. We would love for some of the large theme parks to figure out a way to offer non-rider passes. Our families are already planning next years trip toCedar Point (at a different hotel, but that is another e-mail). Thanks for reading my comment.
Answer: Long ago, Disney used to charge a relatively low admission price, but require folks to buy various tickets to get on any rides. They did away with that in favor of one-price-covers-all passports a couple decades ago, and all theme parks followed. That system's more convenient for people who like to go on a lot of rides, but it overcharges people like you.
Actually, a few folks at some theme parks have talked about bringing back that old Disneyland system, since it would both help keep wait times down on popular rides, and encourage more family visits... like in your situation. No one's committed to it yet, but it could happen in the future.
I am off to Florida for a two-week theme park holiday in September! Can I wear flip-flops of some sort or am I going to lose them on some of the rides? Is there somewhere to put your bag when you are on rides? Are there any football, baseball or basketball games going on in Florida in September and, if so, how can we get tickets? Please help us have a great holiday!
Answer: You can wear flip-flops, but you'll have to take them off on inverted or floorless coasters like Dueling Dragons and Kraken. On any ride that restricts what you can carry on, the parks will have lockers (usually free) near the attraction entrance where you can store your items.
There'll be plenty of college and pro football games throughout the state on September. Check http://www.ticketmaster.com for tickets. No basketball, though. The Devil Rays and Marlins will still be playing baseball in St. Pete and Miami. Check Ticketmaster for them, too.
Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom
Disney's Animal Kingdom
Disney's Hollywood Studios
Disney California Adventure
Universal Studios Florida
Universal's Islands of Adventure
Universal Studios Hollywood