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Vote of the week: How close do you live to a theme park?

2007-11-08

By Robert Niles: I'm declaring Mickey Mouse the winner of last week's vote. So we're moving on to a new topic, one day early, since I will be on the road Friday. (No theme park trip this time; sorry. So no trip report coming from me.)

But on the subject of travel... How close do you live to the nearest theme park? For the purpose of this question, let's assume that we're talking about major theme parks here... not local carnivals or "amusement parks" that include little more than a go-kart track or carousel.

Tell us your favorite personal theme park travel story in the comments.

Readers' Opinions

From Anthony Murphy on November 8, 2007 at 7:44 PM
Six Flags Great America for Me!

Or Six Flags St. Louis where I am now!

From Danny Melillo on November 8, 2007 at 8:00 PM
On a good day it would take me about an hour and a half- 2 hours, but I normally hit traffic so I voted 24. And my park is Six Flags Great Adventure.
From Keith Lowery on November 8, 2007 at 8:15 PM
Six Flags, Kings Island, Dollywood, and Kentucky Kingdom all within 4 hours or so. However, we never go anymore. We only go to WDW now. All the rest just dont compare.
From Greg Maxwell on November 8, 2007 at 8:14 PM
Well, I live two to four hours from theme parks. Darian Lake, HersheyPark, Dorney Park, etc..., but I usualy drive more than 8 hours to get to Busch Gardens Europe in Williamsburg.
From Robert OGrosky on November 8, 2007 at 8:25 PM
SFGAM is my home park, and if traffic isnt bad it is about a 40-45 minute drive. And usually when we go early in the morning traffic isnt too bad, but road construction has been a pain this year and will likely be the same next year.
From Gareth H on November 8, 2007 at 8:39 PM
5 minute drive to sctually park in Universal, I live close o the back so it takes about 2 minutes to drive right past Men in Black or Duelling Dragons. Also 15 minutes to the Disney resort.
From Robert Niles on November 8, 2007 at 9:01 PM
I live 20 minutes from Universal Hollywood now, but once lived across the street from the rear gate of Universal Orlando. (That was when I worked at - irony - Walt Disney World.)

My favorite theme park travel story was the time I drove from Walt Disney World to Disneyland, by myself, in two and a half days. One day, I promise, to do a full blog entry on that trip. Good times.

From Brandon Jackson on November 8, 2007 at 11:14 PM
Nashville Tn, since we lost opryland, my choices are Dollywood 3.5 hour drive, Ky Kingdom 3 hour drive, SF over Georgia 4 hrs..you know which one I made the drive to 3 times this year?? UNIVERSAL ORLANDO!
-Brandon
ps..Orlando is a 10 hour drive from Nashville, shows how much I love universal, I dont even give the other parks a thought.
From Deidre Dennis on November 8, 2007 at 11:45 PM
Shoot, we're way up here in Washington state and aren't near any amusement park, unless you count Enchanted Parkway or whatever they're calling it these days. That must be the reason why we get excited every time we get ready to take a vacation to a theme park, or why we get excited when we hear about new rides coming to a park!
From Missy Renee on November 9, 2007 at 4:39 AM
I am 10-15 minutes away from Busch Gardens Europe.
From Eric Malone on November 9, 2007 at 4:52 AM
I only live about two and a half, three hours away from Disney World, Universal and Sea World. Barring traffic on I-4, anyway. It's a convenient distance, really. I enjoy being so close to my favorite theme parks.
From Noel G on November 9, 2007 at 5:51 AM
For me living on the Gold Coast Australia, I am virtually on the back fence to Wet'n'wild Water world,

Movieworld is 3 minutes away by car northbound.

Dreamworld is near to 5 minutes away northbound.

Seaworld is near to 15 minutes away southbound.

From Gareth H on November 9, 2007 at 5:55 AM
Oh yeah, I'm 70 minutes from Busch Gardens Africa too.
From Mark Hollamon on November 9, 2007 at 5:56 AM
I feel I am very fortunate to live in Orlando and am only 15-30 minutes from any park barring a traffic snarl and now we take 429 to WDW, so that pretty much eliminates the traffic going there.

One of the things we like best is being able to go to a park just for a walk around or to have lunch, then if it is too crowded, just leave and do something else! It really makes our visits enjoyable and keeps the parks fresh for us!

From DICK KNOEBEL on November 9, 2007 at 7:53 AM
I AM VERY FORTUNATE. I LIVE RIGHT ON THE GROUNDS OF KNOEBELS. [THE NO-THEME PARK].
From vg fernandez on November 9, 2007 at 7:56 AM
i live in puerto rico. no theme parks!!!!
2 1/2 hours in a plane to orlando :(
From Mike Shirley Jr on November 9, 2007 at 8:05 AM
I currently live 45 min from Kings Island and work 5 min up the street. I used to live 20 min from SFGAM and 10 min from Disney's Animal Kingdom. Honestly, the best drive I've had when it comes to theme parks is driving home every night from WDW with the Magic Kingdom fireworks in my rearview mirror.
From Mitchell Botwin on November 9, 2007 at 8:47 AM
I love living in Orlando, we go to the parks after rush hour, go on rides, see shows, have lunch, see more shows and head home before rush hour. The best way to live.
From David Renteria on November 9, 2007 at 9:10 AM
About 5 mins from Universal, 15 from Disney World. I can't really complain. In fact, I'm going to the Magic Kingdom after work for dinner with a friend.
From Iris Hernandez on November 9, 2007 at 9:51 AM
I live in Jacksonville Fl, if I go directly from here to Universal or DIsney is about 2 1/2 hours, but I usually stay at my parents house and thats only a 20-30 minute drive. I was raised in Orlando and still consider it my home and i feel so lucky to have 7 major theme parks near me.
From Tyler W. on November 9, 2007 at 9:53 AM
Less than 15 minutes from BGE and I don't know how I could live any other way.
From Don Neal on November 9, 2007 at 11:05 AM
1 hr 45 mins from King's Island in Cincy, 2.5 hrs from Holiday World in Santa Claus, IN, and 3 hrs from Kentucky Kingdon. And 16 hours from Universal Orlando! :( LOL :D
From Lee Mak on November 9, 2007 at 12:38 PM
5 minutes for Coney Island's Astroland Park
1.5 hours to Six Flags Great Adventure

everything else is by plane only...sux

From Larry Zimmerman on November 9, 2007 at 1:35 PM
In fact I just got home from Busch Gardens Africa. Rode everything I wanted to ride in under 4 hours. No crowd, everyone smiling and in a mellow mood - this is why I moved to Florida! We're an hour from the Mouse, an hour 15 from Sea World, and we don't believe in Universal (but if we did, we'd be an hour 20 from there). Nine hours from SFGa, and we have to pass Valdosta to get there.
From Barbara Boyer on November 9, 2007 at 1:33 PM
15 minutes to Busch Gardens Europe and that is on a bad day (lucky me!)

90 minutes or so to King's Dominion and we go every other year.

We have driven to Hershey (7 hours) and Cedar Point (11 hours), Dollywood and Orlando.

From Monkey Penny on November 9, 2007 at 2:17 PM
I live in VA. I am 45 minutes from KD and 1 hr. and 45 min. from BGE. This is a wonderful place to be because both parks are fun (although BGE does things at a much higher level than KD). I consider both to be my "home parks". I am within 2 hours of Apollo's Chariot, Alpengeist, Volcano, Griffon, Flight of Fear, Grizzly, etc., and, soon, Dominator! My family has passes to both parks and we visit each 8-10 times each year.
From Victor Zolfo on November 9, 2007 at 3:12 PM
Universal Studios Hollywood is less than ten minutes from home, with Disneyland and Knotts about 30 minutes further. Ironically, when I worked at WDW, I had almost an hour commute each way!
From Claudine Deshaies on November 9, 2007 at 3:54 PM
I live about 1 1/2 hrs to 2 hrs from SFNE. Still, I flew to the Orlando parks this spring and drove 12 hrs to get to BGE in September. I didn't even go to SFNE at all. I guess it's a good thing I don't live too close to any park, I'd never get anything done aside from my actual job.
From John Quinteros on November 9, 2007 at 4:37 PM
I love how Disneyland is only an hour drive away (assuming there's no traffic).
From Tom Hall on November 9, 2007 at 4:41 PM
I used to live about 10 minutes from Kennywood, but only went there once a year during the School Picnic. I was terrified of the Jack Rabbit and the Pippin. Now, I get to go back there every couple of years to ride the Thunderbolt, the Jack Rabbit, and the Phantom. I'm going to try and get to Hersheypark and Dollywood this next summer.

I currently live in northern California, and live about 5 minutes from Six Flags Discovery Kingdom. They're putting in "Tony Hawk's Big Spin" coaster over the winter in time for a spring opening, so I'll be getting my season's pass soon. It's nice to have some decent coasters to ride so close to home - Medusa, Roar, and Vertical Velocity are pretty good.

From Karin S on November 10, 2007 at 8:20 AM
I'm an hour and a half (give or take a couple of minutes) from the Disney parks, Universal, Busch Gardens and Cypress Gardens (a forgotten gem). The parks are close enough to do in a day and far enough that staying for a weekend is an occasional option.
From Lawrence Smith on November 10, 2007 at 7:43 AM
I live 10 minutes away from Six Flags America. I'm about 1 1/2 hours from Kings Dominion & about 2 1/2 hours from Busch Gardens Europe & Six Flags Great Adventure. I actually hit KD, SFGA & BGE more than I do SFA. Me & my buddies usually only do SFA for some quick swimming & water rides.
From Robert L on November 10, 2007 at 9:17 AM
I'm fortunate to live near Daytona Beach so theme park access is only 75 minutes to Universal Orlando and another 15-20 minutes down I-4 to Disney World. Of course I-4 traffic dictates everything. Sometimes its better and faster to take a longer route even if you have to use your EPASS. Locals know what I mean.
From rick stevens on November 10, 2007 at 5:18 PM
I'm 15 to 45 min from Disneyland, depending on traffic. About the same for Knott's. Universal and Magic Mountain is about 45 min to an hour away. We can get to most of the San Diego parks within 2 hours.
From Erik Yates on November 11, 2007 at 5:56 AM
I live about an hour and a half away from Universal and Sea World. Three from BGT 2 and a half from WDW.
Traffic around there is always so terrible.
From Bruce Lane on November 12, 2007 at 12:25 AM
I made a slight error. I voted 'Have to fly,' but we do have two zoos within less than an hour's drive (Woodland Park and Pt. Defiance), and Canada's Greater Vancouver Zoo is only about three hours north.

Our nearest true-interactive animal park, in Bandon (Oregon), is about seven hours to drive and about four hours by air/drive (taking into account the trip to the airport).

The next nearest parks that I would truly consider "decent" are the two Mexican nature parks south of Cancun, which are about seven and some-odd hours away by air/drive.

I know that some may be scratching their heads over that one, considering that we're in Washington (state), and we have California in our path south. Let me explain: None of the California "theme" parks hold any further interest for myself or my wife.

Happy travels.

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