Theme Park Insider vacation makeover: A roller coaster trip across America
Published: December 15, 2009 at 11:17 AM
I have narrowed down the list of themeparks my partner and I want to go to and am in the process of planning the traveling around the parks and their locations, however I am still waiting for opening hours in 2010 for a few places - especially those parks in the northern part of the US. Therefore we are anticipating traveling for 4 - 5 weeks in May to June.
The current themeparks on my 'dream' rollercoaster tour are:
Cedar Point, Ohio
Kings Island, Ohio
Six Flags Magic Mountain, California
Six Flags Great Adventure, New Jersey
Six Flags Over Georgia
Busch Gardens, Virgina
Circus Circus, Las Vegas
I am also starting my rollercoaster tour on the Gold Coast in Queensland Australia to ride the Tower of Terror at Dreamworld (and add some local flavour!
I'm going to lean on you folks, Theme Park Insider's readers, for this one, especially tips on hotels, side trips and money saving tips around the parks. Here are the coasters I would pick for this trip, in the order in which I would drive to the parks. Note that I'm dropping Six Flags Over Georgia from the list, since its coasters are pretty much redundant to what you'll have found elsewhere on the trip.
But I am adding three Orlando parks, thanks to some top-quality original coasters at Universal Orlando. (See update below.) I've also skipped Adventuredome at Circus Circus in Las Vegas because it really only has the one coaster, Canyon Blaster, and I'd try to avoid any park where I could bag only one top coaster.
Also, rather than simply flying to LA and renting a car (which might be difficult, if not impossible, given the number of states and distance covered during this trip), I'm suggesting flying to three U.S. cities, then hitting parks in those regions of the country. This would be a three-stop "open jaw" itinerary, so check with a travel agent in Australia for help in booking the best airline deal.
The other option might be simply to buy an inexpensive used car in L.A. and use it to drive across the country and back, then selling it back to a dealer at the end of the trip. You'd need to do some research on reliability of various used U.S. car models first, though, as you wouldn't want to be caught paying for expensive repairs during your trip. (Or, finally, you could simply agree to take along a Theme Park Insider reader who'd be willing to drive you across in the country in exchange for being invited on this trip!)
Riddler's Revenge at Six Flags Magic Mountain
1. Fly to LA
- Déjà Vu
- Terminator: Salvation
- Riddler's Revenge
- Silver Bullet
2. Fly to Washington, D.C. (You could try Baltimore of Philadelphia, as well, to find the best deal from LA)
- El Toro
- Kingda Ka
- Superman: Ultimate Flight
- Lightning Racer
- Storm Runner: Vertical Horsepower!
- Magnum XL-200
- Millennium Force
- Top Thrill Dragster
- The Beast
- Flight of Fear
- Mystery Mine
- Tennessee Tornado
- Apollo's Chariot
- Loch Ness Monster
3. Fly to Orlando
- Dragon Challenge
- Incredible Hulk Coaster
- Hollywood Rip, Ride, Rockit
- Revenge of the Mummy
As for park tickets, buy a Play Pass for $54.99 online for Six Flags Magic Mountain. That will also get you in to Great Adventure in New Jersey, for no additional fee.
Consider buying a Platinum Pass to Knott's Berry Farm online for $160. This will get you into Knott's, Cedar Point and Kings Island, with free parking at each. That works out to about $53 per park. With the parking fee, if you can find one-day ticket deals online under $40 for each park, you might go with those instead of the Platinum Pass.
I wouldn't bother with the Platinum pass for the Busch and SeaWorld parks. At nearly $300 for the two-year pass, it's cheaper to buy one-day tickets for the two parks on this itinerary.
Get the online $99 7-day/2-park ticket for Universal Orlando, though.
Okay, it's your turn: Additions, suggestions and thoughts in the comments, please.
Update: Much better suggestions in the comments. In fact, I'm now suggested dumping the Orlando leg in favor of adding Holiday World and Kings Dominion to the midwest/mid-Atlantic leg of the trip. Read the comments for more.