BGE - The park is starting to show it's age. There's been only one major park change since I've began getting season passes four years ago, and that was DarKastle. I know that they are aiming to become a tourist attraction park, but the reality is, most of their business comes from locals, and since they aren't trying to go thrill for thrill with King's Dominion, they really need to expand the options for the non-coaster riders who choose Busch Gardens because of it's themes, not because of it's rides. Speaking of which, things are starting to look really stale and tired around BGW, and the older areas of the park could certainly use some color.
Suggestions: A NEW CLOSER SHOW, a new country, 4 new non-coaster rides (and not midway rides...real rides, like Pirates of the Carribean or Space Ranger Spin), three new shows, a new sit-down restaurant, and a face lift (new paint and signs) for almost everything there.
PKD - Same complaint as always...figure out who you want to be. Are you a studio theme park or a roller coaster amusement park? Either way, the theming needs to be punched up. Also, the food at PKD sucks. Every place has the same burgers and fries menu. Offer some variety. Parts of the park look really dumpy, too.
Suggestions: 3 restaurants, some major themeing of the different areas of the park (congo, old virginia, etc...you'd never know you were in a specific "land" if you didn't see the name on the park map), a new roller coaster, and a night time fireworks show.
I did make a trip through the southeast to ride Goliath at SFOG. It's quite a good coaster, especially considering the small amount of space it actually takes up in the park and the fact it is a hypercoaster. The coaster has lots of airtime, but it just isn't quite as good as Apollo's Chariot or Nitro. I also his Paramount's Carowinds, which I hadn't been to in ages, and thanks to a well timed thunderstorm managed to get on all of the major coasters on a very busy Saturday. I also made a trip up to Jackson to visit SFGAdv to ride El Toro. When Six Flags announced the wooden coaster last year, I was incredibly skeptical. Heck, I was skeptical standing in line listening to it scream by like a jet fighter. The coaster sounds and feels nothing like a wooden coaster, but vaulted to the top of my best wooden coaster list for its amazing smoothness and unrelenting speed. Phoenix, sadly, has been finally trumped. I made a couple trips down to Williamsburg and Doswell for BGE and PKD. I was a bit disappointed in PKD's Italian Job Stunt Track, the park's fourth launching coaster, but the recent decline in season pass prices and addition of free parking to the passes makes the one hour drive a little easier to take. BGE is still my favorite park, and I'm really exciting to see the park's 5th roller coaster, Griffon, take flight next year. I'll obviously be re-upping my Platinum pass at the end of the year.
I made a couple of trips to Dan Snyder Land, AKA SFA, and realized that some things never change, but it's harder to find better deal than to spend $50 for a SFA season pass that is valid at all SF parks.
It was a pretty good year, but as I ofter do, I find myself looking ahead to the next year and the great stuff on the way. I will definitely be taking a trip next year to the midwest to hit Holiday World and probably Cedar Point to ride Maverick. I hope to take another trip down to Florida to hit the Disney and Universal parks. However, this season isn't over yet, and we;ve still got two months of some of the best times to go to theme parks with Halloween events, shorter lines, and cooler tempuratures.
1. Sea World Orlando 2. Universal Studios3. Islands of Adventure4. Magic Kingdom5. MGM Studios6. Six Flags Over Georgia7. Paramount's Carowinds8. Geauga Lake*9. Camden Park*10. Cedar Point*11. Coney Island (Cincinnati)*12. King's Island*13. Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom*14. Holiday World*15. Myrtle Beach Pavillion*16. Wyandot Lake/Columbus Zoo*
Of the new parks, I was most impressed with Holiday World. This gem of a park cannot stay obscure forever. The staff there was extremely friendly, the theming was pretty-well done, and the prices are some of the most reasonable in the business. Topping that off was the best coaster I rode this year: The Voyage. Yeah, it's that good. I think my enjoyment of The Beast was hindered because I had been on Voyage first. And let me point something out - prior to Holiday World, I didn't really care much for wooden coasters.
Park most in need of help - well, Camden Park and Coney Island both cater to a specific demographic. I think that both were charming smaller parks, but I felt the most kinship to Coney Island. Like its namesake in NY, this place is a shell of what it once was. Flooding of the Ohio River decades back destroyed much of what was a thriving amusement park. That said, the place was pretty crowded when we went (the wave pool area was extremely full), so hopefully they'll be able to restore the park to its full potential (though being 25 minutes from King's Island doesn't help).
Biggest disappoinment - Cedar Fair. We hit Geauga Lake first, and I hoped that what I saw there was indicative of a park in a state of flux - that CF had spent a lot of time removing the Six Flags theming and they just hadn't had time to install their own stuff there. Then we went to Cedar Point, and I realized that CF runs straight-out amusement parks with minimal theming. Cedar Point has a few areas that were themed, but if there aren't any attractions that tie into the theming then what's the point? Needless to say, I am extremely concerned about what's going to happen to the Paramount parks. If they remove all the theming, they're just going to end up with five more Geauga Lakes (though more profitable ones, at least).
Oh, and I went to Cedar Point in May and August, and MF was closed both times for maintenance. I guess that's a credit I'll just have to pass on, since I have zero intention of going back there anytime soon.
For my part, it's actually been a quiet year in terms of "theme" parks (zoos and oceanariums for us). My wife and I were fortunate enough to get down to Bandon, Oregon again, in mid-August, and visit our favorite wildlife park. This year, we got introduced to three very energetic cougar cubs, a lioness cub, and an assortment of ferrets, opossums, and an albino skunk named 'Lilac' that was so darn big she resembled a furry football.
We also, over the July 4th weekend, got up to the Greater Vancouver (BC) zoo. I got to spend some quality time with a young great horned owl, named 'Hagrid.' You could tell he was still a youngster because he had enough down on him to stuff a small pillow.
As it turns out, Hagrid's keepers (the folks who run the birds-of-prey show at the zoo) are running a series of one-day seminars designed to teach attendees the basics of falconry: How to handle the birds, how to fly them to a lure, etc. I'll be attending that course tomorrow (Sep. 4th), and will write more about it after I get back. I'm looking forward to seeing how Hagrid has grown up (he'll be into his adult feathers by now).
That's really about it for this year. Next year, however, around May, we're going up to Niagara Falls to do both Marineland Canada (just the animal-related stuff, no coasters for us due to physical limitations -- sorry, coaster folk) and the Toronto Zoo.
The only other thing I want to add is that I find the general topic of this thread ironic, in that the "off-season" is when my wife and I PREFER to do our zoo visits. We've both found that the best visits can be had just after the big season ends, but before the weather turns nasty.
And yeah, I value theming in a park. That's why I post at THEME PARK Insider, not Coasterbuzz, Pointbuzz, or kosterzrkool.com (okay, I made up that last one).
Now, do you have anything to add to THE FLIPPING TOPIC, Ryan, or do we have to read more of the standard issue "CP is heaven on earth" crap? That dog ain't hunting.
Not that England has any bad parks.
The worst park would have to be Cedar Point, since one person in perticular makes it sound worse every response he does.
I had planned to go to Cedar Point for a couple of days at the end of August, but I just couldn't get that excited about spending 16 hours in the car just to go visit one park that I've already been to. Furthermore, CP's top 2 attractions (TTD and MF) have had a fair amount of downtime this summer, and I would have been pretty ticked if I'd gone all that way just to have one or both not running (TTD was down when I went to CP last year). If you take away those two coasters, CP isn't much better than PKD, which is just an hour from home.
In the end, I figured that it would cost about the same amount of money to fly to Florida for 3 days, so I did that instead. I did Universal/IAO, SWO, and BGA and had a great time. None of the parks were very crowded since it was mid-week, and school is back in session in Florida.
My last day there was when Ernesto was starting to arrive, so when I went to BGA before flying out of Tampa, the place was deserted. The workers greatly outnumbered the guests, and even after a couple of hours there were only a few dozen cars in the parking lot. It was like having my own personal theme park!
None of the parks I did this year had any major new attractions (unless you count Italian Job as major), so I can't really count a best/worst new attraction. The Beast was my favorite ride that I hadn't done before, but it's certainly not new!
This doesn't really count as a theme park attraction, but I saw La Nouba for the first time, and it was fantastic. The tickets are fairly pricey, but if I had been in Orlando another night, I probably would have seen it twice.
Your foolish comments are getting on my nerves. CEDAR POINT ISN'T THE CENTER OF THE WORLD!
Saying that our opinions are pointless and mean nothing offends me very much. If our coments were pointless then this site would not have a comment system. You would do us all a favor by shutting up.
Sincerely,Everyone on Theme Park Insider
I also found Holiday World to be a very enjoyable park, with there new coasters The Voyage to be a excellant ride. They have 3 great wooden coasters but the park is lacking in other flats and shows.
I was able to achieve my goal for this year and really like the new parks I added.
Last year, I managed to take in the opening day of DarKastle at Busch Gardens, VA; a coaster marathon (twelve in five hours) at King's Dominion, VA (I was still riding last year); and the closing weekend for AstroWorld, TX (among others).I can say I had the best time at Busch Gardens.
I think Busch gardens has won "Best Theme Park" the past two years in a row -- taking over Disney for the first time!
This year, I've been working hard on video productions of my own. However, I did happen to take a spell on TheSteelEel at Sea World in San Antonio. This is also a Busch park. I had a great time (and didn't miss riding GreatWhite at all--I got to stand under the track and watch!!)
Since all the 70's movies are being re-made ... I wonder if there would be a market for re-making RollerCoaster!Hey, Rayn! Do you want the first ride?
Real theme park fans can love more than one park. We're easy that way, I guess. ;-)
Best rides, in order - Kraken (SW), Dueling Dragons (IOA), Montu (BGA), Mummy (USF), Spiderman (IOA), Kumba (BGA), Hulk (IOA). Kids liked Hulk and Kumba the best.
Best shows - Katonga (BGA), Blue Horizons and Odyssea (SW). The new Believe show didn't open until May so only saw rehersals.
Best restaurant - Mythos (IOA) - incredible!!
Biggest disappointments - Rhino rally and Scorpion (BGA), Jaws and Earthquake (USF).
Also went to our local MN park - ValleyFair! - fun day, short lines. Park openned at 10, but Wild Thing and Extreme Swing didn't get going until 1pm. I've heard that only one of the swings on Extreme Swing has been operational most of the summer.
As an aside, next August we plan on taking the kids (ages 13 and 15) on a 2-week tour of the Cedar Fair/Paramount parks in the upper Midwest - Michigan, Ohio, Penn, Toronto. Would be interested in hearing suggestions. And yes, Ryan, we are looking forward to spending a couple of days in heaven at CP. We'll hold a moment of silence by your grave.
While it seems almost everyone else has been slamming Six Flags this year, this SF guest has been extremely happy with the 2006 season.
I hope Six Flags' upper management gets to see this message; your efforts are very much appreciated!
Also on my 2006 list: Wild Adventures (Valdosta, GA) - although there were no major new rides added this year, this park continues to impress me with the theming and cleanliness, and lack of waiting lines.
All-in-all it's been a great year for Georgia's two big theme parks!
Trip 1: Weekend trip to some of my more local parks (I live in Toronto, Canada). I went to 6 Flags Darien Lake near Buffalo for half a day and bought a seasons pass to use at other 6 Flags parks later in the summer see trip 3, (Superman is very good, the rest of the park is alright), Martin's Fantasy Island near Niagara Falls for half a day(Silver Comet good the rest of the park so so), and Seabreeze near Rochester for half a day(Exellent spinning wild mouse coaster and traditional park vibe, rest of the park so so.
Trip 2: Took advantage of Canadian long weekend in August and lack of 1 in the US to venture further afield and hit some smaller traditional parks in western Pennsylvania. I went to Waldameer for half a day (Fun spinning coaster, nice family park), Conneaut Lake for a half day(Blue Streak is a very good wooden coaster, nice setting, the park seems to be in decline), Idlewild/Soakzone for half a day (Coasters are so so, good selection of traditional flats, the ride out to the park and scenery at the park are excellent), Lakemont for half a day (Another park in decline, but the Skyliner coaster is good and has cool location next to the baseball stadium), and spent an evening at Kennywood (Love the park vibe and the awesome Phantom's Revenge).
Trip 3: The big one! I just got back on Labour Day. Took off the week before the long weekend for 9 day park tour of US north east.
Knoebels 1 day (Good traditional vibe, the amazing Phoenix, great value). Hersheypark 1 day (diverse coaster/ride line up and chocolate Sweet!). Paramount King's Dominion 1 day (Volcano and Flight of Fear are good coasters, the rest of coasters are decent, but the flats could be better). Busch Gardens Europe 1 day (fantastic theming, great scenery, amazing Apollo's Chariot). I tried to go to 6 Flags America but it was closed, so I went to Morey's Piers, instead (good traditional family type atmosphere with some decent rides). Next, I did a pop in at Clementon to ride J2 (okay for a little neighborhood park) and then went to 6 Flags Great Adventure. They have an excellent coaster lineup (Medusa, Nitro, Batman, Superman, El Toro, and Kingda Ka), but lineups are huge. In a 7 hour period I only had time to ride 5 rides. My next stop was Dorney Park (Talon and Steel Force are good coasters and the rest of the park is alright). I had planned to stop in at Coney island, but since it was Friday of the long weekend, I figured I didn't need the added traffic aggravation and made a detour. The next day was supposed to be a great day heading to Lake Compounce to ride Boulder Dash and 6 Flags New England to ride Superman, but Lake Compounce was being cautious anticipating the remnants of hurricane Ernesto hitting the area and closed for the day. Luckily 6 Flags was open so I got to ride the king of steel Superman for the whole day, instead. This park is decent, but could use some additional flats and coasters. My final day I checked out Great Escape for a couple of hours. Other than the Comet which is very good, the rest of this park is quite bad. Finally, I went to La Ronde in Montreal. Goliath and Vampire are very good coasters and there is a good variety of flats, as well.
Now, I've just got to make a visit to my local park Paramount Canada's Wonderland and the summer will be complete.
Cedar Point park is often criticized for lacking good flat rides while having great coasters and PCW is the opposite. PCW has good flat rides, but is lacking in high thrill/signature coasters. So, I am hoping that PCW in particular will improve in the coaster area as a result of the take over.
This park is wildly popular with locals, leading to some seriously long line ups. I was there last season the final weekend before they closed for the winter and the line ups prevented me from getting to all of the decent rides in one full day of riding.
August is probably the busiest month at this park, so you should probably make every effort to research which rides in the park are must rides and get a game plan together using a copy of the park map to help minimize waiting times and moving around the park type inefficiencies.
Now, on topic, I hit my usual runs. Busch Gardens, King's Dominion, Cedar Point, etc etc. I was most disappointed with King's Dominion this time around; they shut down their Flight of Fear ride, and for like an hour they closed the entire selection of rides because a "storm was in the area." The sky was clear blue as far as the eye could see. That's the only complaint.