We're mostly wanting thrill rides rather than shows or Disney theming, so have an initial list of: Cedar Point, Kings Island, Six Flags Magic Mountain, Knott's Berry Farm, Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, Six Flags Great Adventure, Busch Gardens Williamsburg.
We haven't been to the US and at this early stage it's seeming very overwhelming trying to work out how to get from park to park, where to stay ie at park resorts or perhaps a nearby city and just get transport to the park. We were trying to keep the parks somewhat bunched together rather than dotted all over the country, but it's still quite a trip. Even CP and KI both in Ohio are still quite a distance apart to work out the best way to visit both.
All suggestions on which parks we should skip or add to the list, the best transport to get to them, accommodation ideas etc would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
It can be done, though we will need a little bit of information about your group, like what type of transportation (car or air), budget range for this trip, etc.
Here is an example of what you cn do if you want to go across America. It is crazy, but if we can find a way to do it, you will have one greaat trip! I also reccomend throwing in some days in between to experience some other great American Destinations, but I am not sure of your budget or how much time you have!
Arrive via LAX (Los Angeles International Airport)-->Knott's Berry Farm-->Universal Studios Hollywood-->Six Flags Magic Mountain-->Fly from LAX (Los Angeles, CA) to Boston, MA-->Six Flags New England-->Six Flags Great Adventure-->Cedar Point-->Kings Island-->Kings Dominion-->Busch Gardens Williamsburg-->Carowinds-->Six Flags Over Georgia-->Busch Gardens Tampa-->Universal Studios Florida &Islands of Adventure
As you noticed, the USA is a very large place and 100s of miles between destinations is normal.
I realised after I posted the message I hadn't clarified our preferred travel plans. It's definitely not a road trip, we are wanting to fly between cities as much as possible, and then train/bus to the parks if it can be worked out. So any advice on this would be great. I am over 25 but my sister isn't and I'd rather not have have the worry of driving hire cars if there is another option that works in with our itinerary.
As for budget, we want to be comfortable are not too constrained by a budget. Having said that I still want to find value for money and we won't just be staying at the most luxurious places, however would consider paying higher prices for quality hotels onsite at resorts with benefits of early entry etc.
As for other things on the agenda, we were thinking of a couple of days in NYC, a few days around LA where we will most likely fly in to initially, maybe anything we come across near the parks we are planning to visit, Niagara Falls was thrown around, however the theme parks are our main reason for the visit.
-Fly Into Los Angeles for Knott's Berry Farm, Six Flags Magic Mountain, and Universal Studios Hollywood. Also make sure to see Hollywood and visit Santa Monica Pier (it even has a roller coaster!)
-Next, fly into Dallas, Texas. There you will find the first and original Six Flags, Six Flags Over Texas. there is also Sea World San Antonio, Six Flags Fiesta Texas, and Schliterbahn (one of the world's best and largest water parks) to the south of Dallas.
-After that, fly into Cincinatti, OH. Visit Kings Island and Cedar Point. However, Cedar Point is 3 hours away, though it would be crazy to fly there from Cincinatti. Maybe find some sort of bus that will get you there?
-Fly from Cleveland, OH to Boston, MA to visit Six Flags New England which happens to have the world's #1 roller coaster as voted by many, Bizarro.
-Fly From Boston to Mew York City. You can visit Six Flags Great Adventure located in New Jersey (only about 1 and a hlf hours away from NYC). Plus make sure to experience the incredible attractions and shows in New York!
-Fly From New York to Washington D.C. There you can visit Kings dominion and Busch Gardens Williamsburg, plus check out the Washington Mall (its not an actual mall, it is just fall of amazing american monuments).
-From Washington D.C., you can then fly to Orlando,Fl. Make sure to visit both Universal parks as well as Busch Gardens Tampa and Sea World Orlando.
-Depart from Orlando back to Australia.
-Los Angeles, CA: Knott's Berry Farm Resort Hotel: Very affordable, walking distance from knotts, and onsite restaurant!
Dallas, Texas: Not Sure
Cincinatti, OH: Great Wolf Lodge: Nice, all-suites, hotel with restaurants and an indoor water park. Plus very close to Kings Island and (I think) shuttle service to the park.
Sandusky, OH (Cedar Point): Breakers Hotel: A nice hotel with a variety of restaurants, spa, lake side with beach, and right at a park entrance to Cedar Point. If you stay here, you can enter the park an hour earlier than everyone else!
Boston, Ma: Not Sure
New York, NY: Westin Time Square: A very nice hotel located right in time square, a location with great accesability to the rest of the city, plus a great place to buy cheaper show tickets!
More will come later, I hope this helps!
www.themeparkreview.com is the one I know of, but I am certain that there are more out there.
It seems like this kind of thing would be something good to look into.
Keep in mind that even the best of touring groups won't hit the vast diversity of parks that you want to hit and the train system in the States sucks. If you would want to travel between cities, the best you could do would be Greyhound buses that will about triple your travel time.
There is also the problem that Orlando/Tampa is a full week of stuff to do, as well as another week for the Ohio/Pennsylvania area, and California could be done in about 4 days (although I would skip LA altogether if you are going to Cedar Point, Great Adventure, and Orlando.
A rental cars out of each hub are going to be essential for this trip.
Since you have 3 weeks. If you have a car, if you flew into Cincinnati, go to Kings Island. Drive to Sandusky (3-4 hours) go to Cedar Point. Drive to Pittsburgh for Kennywood (5-6 hours). Drive to Hersheypark or Dorney Park (about 3-4 hours). Drive to Six Flags Great Adventure (2-3 hours). Then head south and drive to Kings Dominion (3-4 hours). Busch Gardens Williamsburg (2-3 hours).....and then fly out of Williamsburg or Richmond to go to Orlando...that way you are seeing good parks without driving halfway across the country after every park.
In the case of Universal, you definitely want to stay on park property to get the front of the line passes and early entry benefits.
Niagra Falls is near Darien Lake.....but that is not a very good amusement park.
Anyway, to continue:
Orlando: royal Pacific or Portofino Bay Resort at Universal
Walt Disney World
Tokyo Disney Resort