Beyond that, the friendliness of staff is comparable to Holiday World and Disney. The park's other attractions are so unique because Dollywood is not designed from the perspective of a theme park, but a representation of life in the region. The blacksmiths and various craftsmen (and women) and experts at their jobs. And the food. Oh my gosh, the food...
There are also a lot of overseas parks that have unique attractions that I see on-line but personally have not experienced..... and I'm not talking about the Disney or Universal Parks that are overseas.....lol (although those are nice).
Personally I loved Black Mamba, a new B and M invert, but Mystery Castle, a unique drop ride with absolutely incredible attention to detail in the theme, has to be one of the best attractions I've experienced.
Well worth a visit.
Europa park in Germany looks really fun. They kind of seemed like they copied disney in some rides but they make ride systems that disney uses.
Even Wicked! is worth driving 3,000 miles for.
Bert the Conqueror made his way to Lagoon to ride it for Travel Channel even:
Bert Braves Wicked!
Another park that I have become a big fan of is Kennywood. With it's blend of old school rides as well as its brand new one, Kennywood has that unique blend of small time amusement park with a very nice atmosphere and a decent coater count.
And keeping with the above "Bert the Conquerer" theme, he also visited the Stratosphere... and tried this new 'ride' where you pretty much tie yourself up, free fall DOWN the tower's side, and somehow land gently on the ground. Mad insane!
Are those rides worth traveling 3,000 miles for? Maybe not, but since it's in freakin' Las Vegas (after all) I'll definitely travel that distance for the whole shebang!
Futuruscope is a future themed park which consists mostly of Imax film theaters in all variations. Some of those variations are unique to Futuruscope. The 3 most unique attractions are: Two convex Imax. One of them uses an unusual technology for the 3d effect than usually (also with gasses, in case anybody gets his hopes up to much, just another type). An imax with an additional film below the viewer. If the standard is worth a 3000 mile trip, that one fails aswell. However, theres a lot to see within 3000 miles driving distance from there :-). Thanks to the excellent French high speed rail network which is an attraction on its own, the park is a short and relativly cheap trip from Paris for example. Theres a discount airline airport close by aswell. Caution note: The films in contrast to the technology to show them are somettimes real downers and never quite up to what one can would expect at Universal or Disney.
Other unique attractions: Hmm, always liked the bobsled type coasters from Mack. Mack built a couple off them across Europe. Not worth a long trip however. Never visited Deefteling or Parc Asterix myself. Just looking at the type of attractions, visitors numbers, and what others say, however theres no way Parc Asterix is all that interesting. De Efteling looks better maybe in the same category as Europapark, right below Disneyland in Europe. Those parks are not built to attract people all over Europe or the world with unique attractions, most visitors come from the region. Deefteling is good because they are the number one regional park in the rich dense populated Benelux region, Europapark is great because they basically have the market in the rich dense populated Baden Würtenberg/Suiss region alone for themself. Most visitors are local no overnightstay visitors, that rightfully expect to get the same attractions popular arround the world at home, sometimes with more sometimes with less local twist.
Just look at the numbers - the category difference is huge, thats why the second tier cant achieve much. Eurodisney did cost 4500 million to build so far, Europapark the second biggest in Europe 600 million. Maybe the asian non US franchise parks are more interesting, at least the TEA report suggests a couple of parks there have higher visitors than the non US franchise ones in Europe.
New at Knoebels for 2011 is a dark ride, for which Robert I sent you an article but you never posted it for some reason, any reply to that? From what I can remember, it was bought from a pier in New Jersey and was named The Golden Nugget. It's now going to be about coal mining and I believe it's going to be called The Black Diamond, but not sure on that. It's suppose to have some horror stuff to it too.
Knoebels has two world class woodie coasters in The Phoenix and Mister Twister. A new steel kiddie coaster was put in last year. They're still having trouble with the Flying Turns ride since it's a one of a kind type of ride and no prior designs to go by. From what I understand, there are no tracks for the cars to follow so it's sort of like a water tube ride without the water and your sitting in a special made vehicle. They hope to open it in 2011 but not sure.
There are plenty of great rides to be had from there world class steel bumper cars, considered to be one of the best bumber cars in the business. The Grand Carousel is also one of the best in the business and you can still catch the "Brass Ring" and get a free ride. Talk about free, how about free parking and only paying for the rides you want to go on!!! They have an all day hand stamp too.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot to mention their "cool spring mountain water" swimming pool. And the food, it's better than most park food you get at other parks. And only about 1 1/4 hours northeast of Hershey and 1 1/2 hours northwest of Dorney.
Bobby, formally known as Bob & Robert!!!!!!!
For coaster fans, all three of the park's featured coasters are unique and imminently repeatable. Furthermore, with its 42" height requirement, Powder Keg may well be the best family coaster in the nation.
Additionally, the park has an extensive array of rides from common midway pleasures to unique dark rides, intricately themed water adventures (Tom & Huck's River Blast is perhaps the finest "river battle" attraction in the world), and high flying thrillers like the GIANT Swing and Electro Spin.
As an added feature, the park itself is built above a natural cave that is in of itself a unique theme park experience, worth a tour during every park visit.
Finally, the shows at the park are always top notch, as are the crafting exhibits, and food offerings. Furthermore, the customer service is on par with what one would expect from a Disney park but with a slightly more personal, hometown flare. Throw in the fact that the seasonal "festivals" provide locals with incentive for repeat visits throughout the year, and you have a park that should be billed as the Disneyland of the Midwest!
"Way Too Much TV" is a 25 minute review of theme songs from the 50s through the 90's and the cast is hilarious, sing great harmony, and dance well. Its amazing as was "Down Home Country," "Signed, Sealed, Delivered," and "Don't Stop the Music." Plus we have a world class ice skating show every year and this year's "Snoopy Rocks on Ice" used the Peanuts characters and themes very well.
More information on the shows at Kings Island can be found at http://www.fansofkientertainment.com.
As far as the food, to each his own. Some people love their food, others don't. Just like all the other parks I've been to, some food is good and some is not and Disney is included also, as is Universal and Sea World. I've had bad food at all of them, but only somethings are garbage can worthy, just like at Knoebels.
This is not to say such a park isn't fun. But the experience is entirely different than an old fashioned park where you get to set the pace. Classic parks tend to be far more relaxing, because you aren't "programmed" so much.
Just 2 cents worth -- there is a difference, & sending someone to Kennywood as a "theme park" will only disappoint someone who's then expecting a Disney experience; sad thing then is the possibility of their not appreciating the uniqueness of a true classic park.
Voted #2 best kids park in the world by Amusment Today
Voted top 5 Park for families by National Amusement Park Historical Association
Ranked as one of America's beatiful Theme Parks
Even here in Pittsburgh it is overlooked. our Union picnic is there every year and we look foward to going each year. There is no "cutting edge" rides, but there is a relaxing wooded setting to enjoy with the family.
Knoebels Amusement Resort.
Not to far back it was known as Knoebels Amuusement Park with a simple change of park to resort. And I don't remember much themeing since it's set in the woods of northeast Pennsylvania.
Though i've never been...I'd have to say Cedar Point in Ohio would be a park worth braving a trip to Ohio for. I've always been intrigued about the amount and caliber of their roller coasters. Millennium Force, Magnum XL-200 and Top Thrill Dragster are rides i'm dying to get on.
A nice weekend in Cleveland at the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame and Cedar Point has been on my mind.
I now live in Tampa Bay, Florida, 30 miles from Busch Gardens and an hour from the Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resorts and SeaWorld Orlando. But visitors overlook The Holy Land Experience, which is a Christian-themed park. You won't fine any high-tech rides at either overlooked park I mentioned, but any of them is worth visiting!