What's your favorite theme park visit, all-time?

Tell about your best theme park visit, of all time. Try to set aside personal reasons, and instead tell about the trip that offered the best combination of rides, service, value and entertainment.

From Robert Niles
Posted January 4, 2002 at 5:57 PM
Okay, I'm in the mood to talk about something positive, during the "slow season." (Yes, I know Disney and Universal just came off the busiest week of the year. But it's slow going from now 'til spring.) So I offer this topic for discussion:

Tell about your best theme park visit, of all time. Try to set aside personal reasons, and instead tell about the trip that offered the best combination of rides, service, value and entertainment.

Mine would be my trip to Disneyland in August, 1990. I was on a two-week vacation between leaving my full-time gig at Disney World and starting graduate school. And it was my first trip back to California, and to Disneyland, since moving as a child in the mid-'70s. (I know, I said to avoid personal reasons, but this is just context, okay?)

Coming from the (at that time) rather ill-maintained WDW, the Jack Lindquist-era Disneyland was like walking into a training manual of everything a Disney park should be. I remember catching details in attractions like the Tiki Room and Haunted Mansion that I'd never noticed before in their poorly maintained Florida counterparts.

And Pirates! It was a revelation to see the story of Pirates of the Caribbean finally make sense, after years of loading people onto the abridged version.

The food was exquisite by theme park standards--I still get a hankering for the grilled trout and the Porterhouse at Big Thunder Barbecue. I never did get to the Blue Bayou on that trip, but the choices available at Disneyland on that trip put any theme park I'd visited up 'til then (or since then) to shame.

Try as I might, over two days I couldn't run out of new things to see and do--this, from a person who'd worked three years at the supposedly same park in Florida.

Today, I think Islands of Adventure is the best theme park going. But, to me, even Islands of Adventure can't beat the early '90s Disneyland. (I suspect that much of the venom that you see directed toward the Disney company today from theme park fans results from the fact that Disneyland today doesn't meet the standard it set a few years ago. And people don't like having their beloved theme parks cheapened or taken away.)

Thoughts? What's your favorite theme park visit of all time?

From Anonymous
Posted January 5, 2002 at 1:57 AM
My favorite theme park visit of all time was SFoG. i know what most of you think ewwww.but i am a teen of 15 and i love roller coasters i hated disney world.not recommended for teens my age and older unless you are a teen who doesnt like coasters
or thrill rides. my favorite ride at SFoG is prolly well i have two the scorcher and batman.Stand-up and an inverted coaster so awesome...so come on down to georgia ATLANTA where fun is and enjoy the rides at SFoG just outside of atlanta.may need to ask for directions.if not from here.not recommended for kids 7 or under unless ready for big rides and 54" or taller in height.but can come b\c if they are ready for big rides if they are 42" or taller can ride rides like mindbender and GASM and cyclone. some rides you only have to be 36" i think. thanx for taking the time to read my passage and enjoy your day on this site and maybe itll persuade you to go to SFoG.;)

From Anonymous
Posted January 6, 2002 at 4:49 AM
My best theme park trip was to Oakwood Park in Wales. It had a killer roller coaster called Megaphobia. The park had friendly and fun staff and the food was terrific.

Anyone whose been there must agree it's the alton Towers for Wales. :-)
P.S. Shame on you Robert Niles for not putting up my story about the future for Alton Towers. :-(

From Robert Niles
Posted January 6, 2002 at 1:23 PM
Ye, of little faith.

It's up now. (I wanted to get a link to Alton's ticket contest for Air in there, but I couldn't get to Alton's site yesterday.)

From Mr. D. T.
Posted January 6, 2002 at 4:50 PM
Left Behind: The Novel; Abridged or Unabridged? Take your pick.

Thanks for reminding me not to express personal reasons for my favorite visits to Six Flags, IIII mean, any theme park. I do have some good stoires I'd like to share for Orlando and Great America (excluding my personal stories of my employment years).

Six Flags quality and service may not comply with Disney standards, but I did spend a lot of time there. Usually, the attendance on the opening days of the season were low to moderate, but attendance was high last year; I'm sure everyone thought the new coasters were open, but alas, they were not. Weekdays would sure beat the heck out of weekends, since everyone is at work. I have to say that the lowest attendance is by the end of August Monday through Friday.

Disney had a light to moderate attendance crowd on the holiday season of 2000 (and a lot of the rides were walk-on), but when I went again in November 2001, the park was a tad busier. MK had no doubt a very high attendance when I went, with 40 minute lines. And for good reason: Sunday, Veterans Day, November 11. And for worse, they left Universal in the dust. "Hello, hello? don't ya wanna check Universal out??" Suprised to say, AK's river rapids ride was walk on when the waiting time claimed to be 15.

Our day at USF was so short on attendance, we were bored silly after doing Twister, BTTF, ET, and MIB. To make things worse, we wasted a half-hour across from ET listening to no-name jazz and swing waiting for that lame, half-hearted Animal Planet show!!! Apparently, that show needs all the help you can imagine!! And who is scared of bats when you know they don't come out during broad daylights? Boring show, pathetic and stupid theming, must I say more???

Now IOA had a grreeaat deal!
It was a quarter of 10, the day after Universal, and nearly NO ONE was in the park. We were the ONLY ones inside Cat In The Hat, and we saw nothing but open road by the time we walked inside the Lost Continent. Standing aside Mythos Restaurant facing the lagoon, I thought I heard the sound of someone laughing: Bluto's at his 'boat wash' across the lagoon! Even at high-noon, the only waiting time for the highlight rides was the chop chop chop chop to the ride itself (with the exception of Dr. Doom, which was 10 - 15 minutes). Date: Wednesday, November 14.

Most of the restaurants and stores at Portofino Bay were shut down, because of this. And the attacks on 9/11 caused them quite a few quiet-as-the-great-plains-in-the-middle-of-the-night days.

Disney got quite a boom tis past holiday season: MK's attendance was so high and massive, they had to shut the gates three times throughout the season! How's THAT for a day at the park?

From Jason Herrera
Posted January 6, 2002 at 6:02 PM
My all-time Favorite theme park visit, came in 1998, when I came to the realization that I could help save patrons lives, and reduce lawsuits, while watching a girl bleed out of her mouth after falling at Disneyland... it was at that point that I put FULL time effprt into my concept... and that visit will remain in my memory for the rest of my life....

From Robert Niles
Posted January 6, 2002 at 8:17 PM
Just a quick note: The reason I said to keep the personal reasons out was that I didn't really care about someone saying "My best visit was when I finally hooked up with this fabulous babe" or "It was the first time the fabulous babe and I went with our kids," etc. even though the park itself sucked. I wanted to keep the focus on the park.

Even a lousy theme park can be fun under the right circumstances. Hey, wait a minute, there's another thread right there....

From Anonymous
Posted January 7, 2002 at 8:53 PM
For me: Disneyland, Summer 1977.

I was 10 years old and my parents packed up my brother and I and took us on the proverbial family vacation to California. Along the way we saw plenty of incredible sights, including Carlsbad Caverns, the Grand Canyon & San Diego, CA. Finally we arrived in Anaheim. My parents played a trick on my brother & I...they didn't tell us we were going to Disneyland. At that point in the trip we hadn't even thought of Disneyland. My parents checked us into a hotel three blocks away from the park, and the next morning they tell us to get dressed because were going to visit an "old friend" of dad's!

When my dad turned into the parking lot of Disneyland, my brother & I from that point on till we left the park that evening was sheer nivana(speaking from a 10 year old's perspective here)!

Incredible...simply incredible! The best part was we got to ride Space Mountain when it was brand spanking new! The other rides that stick out in my memory are Pirates & Haunted Mansion!

Good memories I'll take to my grave...!

From Anonymous
Posted January 8, 2002 at 2:23 AM

From Anonymous
Posted January 8, 2002 at 12:17 PM
When my husband and I went to Cedar Point in July of 2000. I don't need to explain the wonders of Cedar Point to anyone here, I'm sure! Turns out we foun the optimal weather time for it, too. We're going again this coming summer, same time, but twice as long to the visit!! :-D

From Anonymous
Posted January 16, 2002 at 2:41 PM
My favorite memory is visiting Valleyfair Family Amusement in Minnesota every summer since I was about five years old. My mom would save up her money and take me and one of my friends to the park for a day. As a child I didn't pay attention to the cleanliness of the park. I just looked forward to the funnel cake and riding the kiddy rides. When I was in fifth grade I rode on the Corkscrew for the first time, which is the only looping coaster in the park. That ride changed my life. From then on I was hooked on riding rollercoasters. As the years went by the rides got bigger and better. Today they have the hypercoaster, Wild Thing. It stands at 207feet tall and even though I have probably ridden it over 50 times it hasn't lost it's thrill. Now that I'm 20 years old I've noticed that the park is always clean and the ride operators are friendly and well kept. I will continue to visit Valleyfair and one day I will bring my children there.

From phil power
Posted January 20, 2002 at 5:07 AM
Sorry I haven't posted here in ages due to schoolwork etc.But my favourit themepark visit was when I went to IOA in April of last year.It was my first time there and it was a lot better than expected.

From mike K
Posted August 16, 2002 at 7:33 PM
Cedar Point, hands down.

From Kevin C.
Posted August 17, 2002 at 8:06 AM
Universal Florida

From Anonymous
Posted August 17, 2002 at 12:31 PM
MY favorite theme park visit was to Islands of Adventure, everything was working(a miracle) and I met Hulk Hogan there

From Katie O'Connell
Posted August 18, 2002 at 9:46 PM
I have to say that my best theme park visit was when I went to SFMM. Even though X was closed, and I was ditched by the friends I was with, I had a blast saving my brother Denny's jacket from derailing the train on GoldRusher when it fell out of the train. It was his own fault though, because he was screwing around showing the people behind us how cool it was to drink a frozen lemonade and ride Goldrusher at the same time. That didn't turn out so successful. The lemonade went everywhere.

From Anonymous
Posted March 11, 2003 at 6:39 PM
Six Flags Great America

From Anonymous
Posted March 12, 2003 at 1:19 PM
well...it's a tie. Islands of Adventure in March of 2000...no big crowds, all the rides are great, the themeing is great, and the park staff do such a great job...friendly and help you get a full immersion in the whole "adventure" experience.

Road trip to Ohio in June 2002...Paramount's Kings Island...they have some of the greatest rides, and some great themeing as well...with the variety of rides they offer, and the great collection of woodies, this park just seemed so different from the other park experiences I've had...the whole free waterpark admission also adds to this!

From Ray Schroeder
Posted March 13, 2003 at 12:01 PM
I have 3.
My first visit to WDW as a Senior in High School way back in 1973. It was a dream come true. It was still magical and new back then.

On one visit to Universal Orlando we were selected to participate in the Mardi Gras parade.(Hint: about an hour before parade time hang around the NYC backlot area. That's where they ask people to be in the parade.) We were outfitted with costumes and masks. They assigned us to a float loaded with beads. It was a blast tossing them out to the crowd. They forgot to tell us to space ourselves. We ran out of beads half way through the parade.(Hint #2: Stand at the begining of the parade route. You're guaranteed to get a ton of beads.)

On another trip to Universal Orlando I was chosen to participate in the Alfred Hitchcock show. I was Norman Bates stabbing the woman in the shower. They put me in a wig and dress to look like his mother. It was alot of fun. I just wish they made a tape of my performance.

From Anonymous
Posted March 16, 2003 at 10:36 AM
Sorry about the anonymous posting but I forgot my password.
I have two very memorable theme park visits.
1) Visiting IOA in August 2001. First time IO had been there and was breathless at the sight and sounds of every island. The colour and the attention to detail was mesmorizing. I have returned a few times since and it has not last it's magic.
2) Disney Studios in May 2002. I had read about the who wants to be a millionnaire:play it attraction before going and thought it would be fun. I went to the show hoping but not expecting to get on the hotseat. Well the guy that was on the hotseat answered a question incorrectly and lo and behold seat 101(my seat)was called.
I did not do very well (answered the 32,000 point question incorrectly) but still had a blast.
After the show was done, cast members who had worked at that attraction were coming to waving hello to me, fellow guests would ask me if I was nervous and said I did well and that they hope to get on sometime.
Mix that with RNR and TOT and it made for a great day.
J to the K
Ottawa, ON

From Anonymous
Posted March 16, 2003 at 1:20 PM
My favorite theme park was walt disney world. I went there way back in 1988, when I was 7 years old. I went on It's a small world, the haunted mansion pirates of the caribbean, mission to mars, the mike fink keelboats the enchanted tiki birds the wedway people mover the jungle cruise If you can fly and many others. That was my fondest childhood memory.

From Steve Shaw
Posted March 18, 2003 at 9:02 AM
I have to go with the two Universal Florida parks in summer of 1999. All of us had a blast from riding The Hulk to Terminator. The only problems that occured during that time was that it rained the day we went to the Studios, and Spider-Man was too long a wait for us.

From Anonymous
Posted March 18, 2003 at 10:45 AM
Islands of Adventure Aug 2001. What a park !! The whole drive down from Maryland my 9 year old talked about meeting Spiderman. So first ride in the park was Spiderman. While we were in line he had his back turned to where Spiderman stood on a stand . To his amazement he turned and looked and there was his hero. He got his picture taken by the park employees for future promos and later on in the day Spiderman came up to my son and gave him an autographed S-man comic. He treasures it still today.

From Jason Herrera
Posted March 19, 2003 at 12:19 PM
My first trip ever, I believe it was 1987 Disneyland... My jaw dropping when I saw Matterhorn, and riding in a submarine! And watching a high diver jump like 5 stories down into a pool!!! I was in awe!

Can someone please chime in on this question.

Is it my imagination, or was there indeed a State Fair at Disneyland? What year? And was it a theme or a real state fair?

From Michelle Pilling
Posted March 20, 2003 at 3:05 AM
Walt Disney world
We had saved, for over two years, being a student.The moment we arrived at Disney, my heart was in overdrive, I cried, a childhood dream was being answered, been mad on disney for years, now 35 years old, bringing my own children, a dream come true. so much to choose from, did not know where to start, 5 day pass, was magic, started with disney MGM, rock and roller coaster, tower of terror. My favourite moment was watching my little 3 year old, see the Magic Kingdom, it made me cry again. Disney were ever you go, brings a smile to anyones face

From Michelle Pilling
Posted March 20, 2003 at 3:05 AM
Walt Disney world
We had saved, for over two years, being a student.The moment we arrived at Disney, my heart was in overdrive, I cried, a childhood dream was being answered, been mad on disney for years, now 35 years old, bringing my own children, a dream come true. so much to choose from, did not know where to start, 5 day pass, was magic, started with disney MGM, rock and roller coaster, tower of terror. My favourite moment was watching my little 3 year old, see the Magic Kingdom, it made me cry again. Disney were ever you go, brings a smile to anyones face

From Jeff Arons
Posted March 20, 2003 at 5:30 AM
Has anybody noticed that Coaster Enthusiast's link on his name goes to KANNi8L KL0wN's profile page?

What the hell is up with that? Half-assed web pages!

From Robert Niles
Posted March 20, 2003 at 10:58 AM
Coaster Enthusiast changed his name. It's the same person.

From Anonymous
Posted March 28, 2003 at 9:05 AM
Six Flags Great America

Hell Ya!

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