It's time to start planning your 2017 roller coaster vacation
Is it time to start planning another big cross-country summer roller coaster roadtrip?
For a theme park fan, I suppose the answer to this question is always an emphatic "yes!" But practical matters often seem to get in the way of actually hitting the road for that big month-long trip to ride 30 coasters in half-a-dozen parks that we dream. I've been fortunate enough to have taken my family on several cross-country trips before the kids started college, but many, many coasters remain on my "never ridden" list. Too many.
That point became uncomfortably clear to me when I looked at our Top 10 roller coaster list that we publish along with other Top 10 reader rating lists for our Insiders. I've been on three of our listed coasters.
Three. And I'm supposed to be running this site. What an awful example I'm setting here!
So, clearly, it's going to be time to hit the road next summer. Where should I go? Based upon your collective ratings, my top two destinations ought to be Carowinds and Six Flags Great Adventure, as those are the two parks that have multiple highly-rated coasters I've not yet ridden. But, on an ideal itinerary, I should include stops at Canada's Wonderland, Kings Dominion, Dollywood, and Silver Dollar City, too. (I've visited Carowinds and Dollywood before, but the other four parks would be first visits for me.)
Now if you know anything about me, you might recognize the, uh, slight logistical problem with me roadtripping to these parks. I live in Southern California. Toronto, New Jersey, and North Carolina all are a bit of a haul from LA. But why let that be an excuse? We've driven to Vancouver, Maine, and Orlando on roadtrips before (okay, not all on the same trip), so we're not afraid of putting miles on the car. And with WiFi, or at least a strong cellular data connection, I can work from pretty much anywhere.
So let's plan on doing this. And by "us," I mean you, too! How many great roller coasters that you've been meaning to ride "some day" are still waiting for you? How many could you get to in a reasonable vacation this summer? Two? Five? Ten? More?
If you're going to pull off that summer coaster roadtrip of your dreams, the time to start planning it is now. And the way to start planning it is to think BIG. List all the coasters and parks that you've been wanting to visit at some point, with no thought of how practical it would be for you to get to them next summer. Planning is a process of editing as much as anything else. Start with the big list, then allow the practicalities of travel in your particular circumstances narrow your list to something manageable.
But start with the big list. Even if nothing comes from your effort, you will enjoy the time that you're going to daydream about riding coasters while you draft that big list. Then you can enjoy the time you spend putting this travel puzzle together, trying to envision all the various combinations of visits that would allow you to get to the maximum number of rides and parks in the time you have available next year.
So that you don't skip on the important work of dreaming big, I'm going to ask you to do some homework for me. Post your dream coaster/park vacation line-up here in the comments. Share with the rest of us what you'd love to do on a summer coaster vacation next year. Then read what others are posting, and if you've got any tips or advice (based on your experience) that could help them make that trip happen, share that as well.
It's time to start planning or 2017, theme park fans. So let's plan big.
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We're planning an Orlando vacation this year, and will be trying the refurbished Hulk as part of that. As for other thrill rides, we'll also have a season pass to our local Six Flags park, La Ronde.
There's a reason Disney AND Universal do so well - they don't fill the park with roller coasters - cheap attractions.
I'm going small this year, Only visiting SFGAm, Santa's Village, and Flying to Mexico and UK.
So Robert, when you said "let's do this" I thought you meant it literally. I got a little excited. I thought you were inviting all Theme Park Insiders to coordinate one big group roller coaster travel marathon with you. Now that would be a riot! Hellacious logistics for sure, but fun, nonetheless. I can see it now. One or two hundred of TPI's most dedicated fans and their families converging upon the continent's great iron parks, one after the other. What a summer...
That actually crossed my mind. But I'll leave to the community if people want to try to organize that!
For some of us, much is dependent upon economics. This is particularly true of those such as myself who are carless. (I can borrow a car to go to a park an hour away but to borrow one for a number of days would be a stretch.) So I basically end up visiting those parks to which the airfares are cheapest provided that there are attractions of particular interest to me. Next season I would really like to visit Waldameer just to experience Ravine Flyer II. Also would like to go to SFMM for all that park has to offer.
I'll refrain from posting my theme park bucket list here as it is about 3 pages long, but I will say that I've already got tentative plans for both 2017 and 2018. For 2017, I'm definitely doing a trip to Florida (finally...it was supposed to happen years ago), and I'm also planning a long weekend Houston/San Antonio trip and maybe one additional weekend trip. For 2018, a deep south trip (Carowinds, Dollywood, SFOG) is currently my priority, as is a return trip to Cedar Point. Of course, 2018 plans still have room to change, but I usually like to think two years out for major trips.
I won't be doing much traveling in 2017 due to life interrupting (although I am planning a quick trip to Charlotte because I haven't been to Carowinds since Intimidator was still under construction) but I got in an epic post-Labor Day road trip this year. Four new parks, four states & one province, plus the Cape May ferry, one county fair, and Niagara Falls to fill in the weekdays while the parks were closed.
Cedar Point should've your first choice!
I am an annual pass holder at Carowinds, so I can comment here. Fury is definitely a great coaster, as well as Intimidator. Cedar Fair has been putting money into the park, a nice water park expansion last year (still included in the gate price). Another park expansion this coming year. Yes, I wish it had more coasters, but I understand the economics of building the big ones; at least I can see the changes every year!
@Bobbie You NOT need a Car to visit Themeparks! Use Rome2Rio - search that on Google - You do long Distances mostly by Bus or Train - the mentioned Page is guiding you! Just put in the Name of the Parks you like to Visit - the Rest is done automatically! It shows you SEVERAL Options and how much it will be around. It also shows you where to get the actual Timetable and where to book Tickets. Usealy you pay LESS as rome2rio tells you. Use Train and Bus mostly - not Flights - in 10 of 11 Cases Flights cost you more - sometimes 9 times more! For shorter Distances where maybe no Bus is going you use Uber what is much cheaper as Taxi - rome2rio shows you also that Alternative if you scroll all the way down at a Page that looks like Taxi is the only Option! If you not see Uber use the App from Uber and put in the Town the last Bus is going too. The App tells you then how fare the next Uber is in minutes! You can just calculate the Price without Ordering. When actually Traveling you use the App to order. You not need Cash as it is automatically charged to your Credit Card.
Actually what 74.202 .... TALKED about is existing already in Parts inside of that Thread if you READ all....:
Holger - slightly off-topic, but your earlier "2017 Trip" thread is closed. Regarding using a Cedar Fair (CF) Platinum Pass purchased at another CF Park before you visit the Park where the purchase was made, I had a similar experience a couple of years ago. Platinum Pass for the following year was purchased on-line at CF "Park A". We then planned a trip to include CF "Park B", with dates prior to "Park A" opening for season. Phoned "Park B" Guest Relations and described the situation, and they had a ready solution. A special notation was made in a log at "Park B" that I was visiting between the dates of X and Y and that I would have to present my receipt (voucher, confirming e-mail) from "Park A". When I checked in at Guest Relations with my documentation, they checked their log, saw the notes that were entered by my original phone contact (he was not working on my visit day), and issued me a length-of-stay ticket valid for "Park B" ONLY. When I returned home and "Park A" opened for the season, I took my original confirmation paperwork there and processed my Season Pass there.
Sure all Threads get closed after 2 weeks or so but you still can read. And thats why I provide my Facebook Name Holger Halfmann to contact me Peter!
Rob this is what I did one year and it's totally possible with proper planning and timing.
It's as though fate has brought this post and my plans together. My best friend and I take an annual coaster trip we lovingly call "Coaster Thingy."
Here is how fare I'm with my planing of the PRE Tour to my 2017 Most of NE Parks Tour
Here the other Direction until MM:
i live in orlando and in june 2014 did 6 parks in 8 days. flew into harrisburg rented a car and did knoebels and hershey, drove to pittsburgh for kennywood, then on to cedar point (the only park i'd been to before), on to kings island and ended in holiday world. drove to lexington, ky and flew home from there. great trip...added nearly 50 new coasters to my list. highly recommend it as well as daily allowance of aleve to deal with the pain ;)
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