Zanstabar

Must-Do Theme Parks

29 posts in this topic

I'm planing on going on a trip sometime in the near future, and right now I'm trying to gauge where I'll be going and the travel costs. I'm definitely going to be doing either Disneyland or Walt Disney World, as well as Magic Mountain and Cedar Point. What are some other must dos? I've never really gone on a coaster pilgrimage, so I'm really new to this.

 

Any thoughts as to where I should go?

Edited by Zanstabar

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I can't stress enough that if you can get there GO TO DOLLYWOOD! Some people haven't even heard of or really know what it's about but I would put it up with Disneyland as one if the greatest parks I've ever seen! I was so blown away. Take two days and see every show and eat everything you can. 

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I've been to the Smokey Mountains before and it's definitely one of my favourite parts of the U.S. In fact, I really think most of the southern states can be really beautiful. I've only heard great things about Dollywood so it's definitely going on the list. 

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Knoebels is fantastic. One of the best "traditional" amusement parks in the world.

Also strongly recommend Hersheypark and Busch Gardens Williamsburg. While you're in the area Kings Dominion is very worthwhile too.

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Is this purely a Coaster pilgrimage?

Have you done any Disney parks before?

Disney parks are worth the trip - but Florida is going to need a heck of a lot more time to get around it all than California will - if Coasters are your aim, Cali can be done in a day, and 2 days will cover almost everything (i believe 3 is necessary) - WDW by all accounts requires far more time to 'do it right'.

Whilst you're based in LA, USH & Knott's are kinda a given, and each offers their own pros and cons (again - if it's purely a coaster pilgrimage - i'd say skip USH, but don't miss Knott's.

Cedar, Dollywood are also on my to do list, but I guess it depends on what sort of coverage you're going for. I'm frequently amazed at the mileage Gazza gets out of his trips, and know that I could never come close to that kind of endurance... so you need to work out precisely what you want and where. Everyone is going to have different suggestions, must-dos, and even 'theres a credit that's only a 10 minute detour off the highway that only costs $5' - for me - those kinds of "credits" aren't worth it... unless the ride itself is actually very good, and worth the stop...

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Is this purely a Coaster pilgrimage?

​Put it this way, I'm not wanting to be a credit whore, I just want to experience some of the best theme parks and coasters that I can't get here in Australia. Not to mention, if I'm nearby a famous landmark, of course I'm going to go check it out!

Have you done any Disney parks before?

Disney parks are worth the trip - but Florida is going to need a heck of a lot more time to get around it all than California will - if Coasters are your aim, Cali can be done in a day, and 2 days will cover almost everything (i believe 3 is necessary) - WDW by all accounts requires far more time to 'do it right'.​

​​I've done both Disney resorts before, but as we all know, things change in an instant. I haven't seen any of the new additions to DCA or stepped foot in the Florida Resort since 2008. 

Cedar, Dollywood are also on my to do list, but I guess it depends on what sort of coverage you're going for. I'm frequently amazed at the mileage Gazza gets out of his trips, and know that I could never come close to that kind of endurance... so you need to work out precisely what you want and where. Everyone is going to have different suggestions, must-dos, and even 'theres a credit that's only a 10 minute detour off the highway that only costs $5' - for me - those kinds of "credits" aren't worth it... unless the ride itself is actually very good, and worth the stop...

​Right now my goal is to try and map out where I can go and how much it will cost. This trip may be west coast, east coast, or even just all over. I'm also not too keen on just going for the "credits", but rather the experiences. For example, I couldn't give a rats if a park just half an hour down the road has a wacky worm, what I'm there for is to go on my first B&M Invert, or my first RMC. 

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-The SoCal parks are a great starting point, as are the Orlando ones...Just those alone are a great starting point, and you'll get to try most types of rides.

-Don't skip USH if you're just visiting SoCal....Harry Potter is opening in a few months.

-Someone mentioned Knoebels, but I really wasn't taken by it. It basically is like a gravel showgrounds with lots of flats, and a couple of good coasters. There's better family parks out there.

-Cedar Point is a long way from major cities, so if you're going that far, bundle it with Kings Island at least, which is 3h away.

-Cedar Point allow two days, because the park shuts down during storms, and one always happens due to the location, so you need 2 days as "insurance". And pay the $90 for fast lane plus, makes for an awesome day.

-And to that end, you can normally chain together several major parks that are reasonably close over a few days, and its up to you to figure how long you want the chain to be.

-Use coast2coaster.com set the slider to 4<>19 coasters and that bascially removes all the jumble off the map and shows the parks worth traveling for.

-I tend not to make stops for "credits", but if there's parks worth checking out on the way, I'll go. Eg I drove 440km from Niagara Falls to Cedar Point, but Darien Lake (Hypercoaster, Zamperla Motorbike) and Waldameer (Gravity Group Woodie) were on the way so obviously worth stops.

-Full days aren't always needed for many parks. You'll find many have the same rides, so trust me, you might ride a top spin one day, but then won't be bothered to ride another one at another park the next day.

 

Edited by Gazza

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^that's some damn good advice.

As for your answers to my questions - Since you've done Disney before, you can probably cut down the time you spend there. Sure you'll need some time to get through the additions to DCA, but DL itself hasn't changed 'too much' so you can definitely cut down time spent there. I'd still go for 2 days so you can be sure to catch the new WoC and Fireworks shows as I hear they're both well worth it (And if you're going within the next 12 months you'll catch the D60 celebrations too). I wouldn't miss Knott's, and as Gazza mentioned if you time it right USH would be worth the trip...

If you haven't done them before (or in a while) you could probably spend all your time in and around L.A. and still enjoy yourself immensely... just depends on how many days and how far you want to go - but check out some of the trips Gazza has done to get an idea of the pace he keeps... ;)

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I can't really make any suggestions as I haven't been overseas yet. But my dream holiday (which will hopefully happen sooner than later) consists of a trip to the Los Angeles region of the U.S and includes visits to Universal Studios, Six Flags Magic Mountain & Seaworld San Diego. And mayyyybe Disneyland, but tbh it's not high up on my list like the other parks are. 

Would also love to visit West Edmonton Mall in Canada one day too, and ride the Mindbender ??

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Yeah. Disneyland is pretty much on my list for any trip to the US. 

As a theme park enthusiast I don't know how anyone can not enjoy just spending a day even doing nothing in this park. 

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I can't really make any suggestions as I haven't been overseas yet. But my dream holiday (which will hopefully happen sooner than later) consists of a trip to the Los Angeles region of the U.S and includes visits to Universal Studios, Six Flags Magic Mountain & Seaworld San Diego. And mayyyybe Disneyland, but tbh it's not high up on my list like the other parks are. 

Would also love to visit West Edmonton Mall in Canada one day too, and ride the Mindbender ??

I'm not sure how familiar you are with Disney, but its more than just kiddy dark rides and Mickey Mouse.

You have....Indiana Jones, Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean....To name a few.

At California Adventure you have Radiator Springs Racers, California Screamin, Tower of Terror, Soarin Over California, Grizzly River Run, World of Colour etc.

 

What type of rides do you like?

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^absolutely.

In the recent 60th Anniversary launch, where the park was open for 24 hours straight, I tuned into several live webcams at both parks. I enjoyed just watching Main Street traffic go by, an occasional street performer or entertainment group - probably spent 20-30 minutes just watching the world go by...

Of course later I had alarms set to prompt me to tune back in so as to catch the Main Street Parades in both WDW and DL, and later - the fireworks over both parks also... Last time they did a 24 hour event - they had a webcam overlooking Fantasmic - which I made the special effort to watch also.

There's just something about the magic of a Disney park - you don't need to go on a single ride, or see a single show, and somehow, you can still enjoy a day just watching the world go by inside it's gates.

On my last trip to DL, There was a girl who had her leg in a very serious looking cast. Clearly - she wasn't riding anything. Her friends would walk her from smoking area to smoking area (there was about 3 we saw her at in the park) and she'd spend an hour or two sitting, enjoying the sunshine (and having an occasional cigarette) whilst her friends rampaged through the rides nearby. Given that they could have easily used her as an excuse to be backdoored in many of the attractions, she clearly enjoyed 'just being' within the park.

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Not a plant fan.

walking through a botanical garden would be the equivalent of listening to a 3 hour lecture on climate change.

disneyland is just magical, plain and simple, and really something that can't be quantified or explained until you step through the gates yourself

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Lol whoa, what did I start :lol::lol::P:P 

By all means, I'm not saying anything negative about Disneyland, I know its extremely popular and have heard all about how its this magical place to go to - since birth, in fact :lol:  I just meant that it personally doesn't appeal to me as much as some of the other parks do. Tbh I'm not really much of a Disney fan to begin with, that and I've not always been impressed with the way the company has portrayed itself (ie. suing/bullying childcare centers and other small businesses for alleged copyright issues - including against deadmau5, my favourite music artist) which I admit has left me with a bit of a sour impression of them. Then there is this latest situation with them laying off 250 of their tech workers and making them train their overseas replacements (ie. this and this) which I'm not impressed about.

So yeah, I admit that this has turned me off wanting to go to Disneyland a bit, but that's just my personal choice. Nothing against the park itself. I'm just happier to invest my cash in other ones which appeal to me more and that I don't hold somewhat negative views toward the owning company about.

 

Edited by OceanGirl

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I hear you on that - did both SoCal Disney parks a couple of years ago.  To sum up;

Indiana Jones: Down for maintenance, but heard it was good.
Space Mountain: Good but nothing special; had the Halloween overlay on it which I think ruined the effect.
Splash Mountain: Complete waste of time to ride.  Jump on board a log and travel through a cave full of old-world animatronics that shriek incomprehensibly at you.
Big Thunder Mountain: A fairly good coaster, but hardly a world-beater.  Themeing is nice, but not sure how much you care as you whip by it quickly.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Thought I got lucky when there wasn't much of a line for this.  I was wrong.  Most boring five minutes of my life.  I honestly looked for ways I could get off the boat early because I felt so annoyed that I was stuck on this thing when I could be doing something better.
Radiator Springs Racers: Legitimately a technical marvel - well worth it.
California Screamin: Quite a good coaster that is underpinned by a suitable soundtrack.
Tower of Terror: Okay, but nothing overly special.
Soarin Over California: Worth riding as it's something fairly unique and quite relaxing.
Grizzly River Run: No better or worse than most river rides you'll have been on.
World of Colour: A magnificent show well worth your time.
Fantasmic: An unexpectedly brilliant show.  Equally worthy of your time.
Main Street Fireworks: Well... they are fireworks.  Seen fireworks before?  You've probably seen this.
The Matterhorn: Nothing too special - not in the same league as Space Mountain, for example.

With this type of ride line-up most parks would flop, but the difference is the level of detailing put into each, usually through combination of soundtrack and scenery.  The park is visually beautiful, if somewhat spoiled by the hordes roaming through it at any given moment.  If you are the type of person who appreciates fine detail, scenery and immersion you'll like it.  If you spend a bit of time learning some of the back-story before you attend you'll get a lot more out of it.

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Nah.  First thing we did in the park was line up for a photo with Mickey.  Don't get me wrong - the park itself is really great, but with a couple of exceptions the rides just didn't have me coming away saying "that was exceptionally cool". RSR is one that did, for example.

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Lol whoa, what did I start :lol::lol::P:P 

By all means, I'm not saying anything negative about Disneyland, I know its extremely popular and have heard all about how its this magical place to go to - since birth, in fact :lol:  I just meant that it personally doesn't appeal to me as much as some of the other parks do. Tbh I'm not really much of a Disney fan to begin with, that and I've not always been impressed with the way the company has portrayed itself (ie. suing/bullying childcare centers and other small businesses for alleged copyright issues - including against deadmau5, my favourite music artist) which I admit has left me with a bit of a sour impression of them. Then there is this latest situation with them laying off 250 of their tech workers and making them train their overseas replacements (ie. this and this) which I'm not impressed about.

So yeah, I admit that this has turned me off wanting to go to Disneyland a bit, but that's just my personal choice. Nothing against the park itself. I'm just happier to invest my cash in other ones which appeal to me more and that I don't hold somewhat negative views toward the owning company about.

 

​See - I tend to take a lot of the Disney media outbursts with a grain or two of salt. The thing to remember is that they ARE a prime target so a lot of things that corporations do every day suddenly warrants interest because it comes out of the house of mouse...

If ABC Textiles and Manufacturing Co laid off 0.01% of their workforce`in place of a perfectly legal alternative - there is the possibility that this news might feature in the Backwoods Herald Weekly... But this gets shared around the world on facebook in 3.2 seconds... Because Disney.

I enjoy a lot of Deadmau5 music... Brazil (2nd Edit) was played at my wedding... but I wouldn't call Deadmau5 enterprises "a small business". Zimmerman himself has admitted the similarity, claiming 'disney fell asleep on that one'... by all accounts it sounds like they are both now working together on a reinvention of Fantasia - would that make you visit? ;)

As for the childcare centres and other small businesses - a company has a right to protect and defend it's intellectual property regardless of the size or identity of the infringer... but do I assume this means that you disagree with the current wave of litigation against individuals (clearly smaller than a small business) who download movies illegally? Because current production companies involved in such litigation include 20th Century Fox, Universal, Warner Bros, Paramount, Disney and Columbia (which also includes Sony)...

This would mean you don't visit Universal Studios parks, Village Roadshow parks, Six Flags Parks (WB Characters) either? So pretty much you've got Cedar Fair parks - except they use the Peanuts characters which is currently being produced into a film by 20th Century Fox.... you're running out of options!

Seriously though - you really can't blame a company for vigorously defending it's IP... 

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I've always wanted to do a giant theme park trip around the US. 

Something like this would be my dream holiday:

Disneyland/Disney CA/Knotts/Universal Hollywood/SFMM -> Kings Island -> Cedar Point -> SF New England -> SF Great Adventure -> Kings Dominion -> Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Maybe or maybe not with Orlando at the end, but I'd need quite a bit more time to tackle those parks on top of these.

But not gonna be able to afford it any time soon, and I don't really have anyone to go with since my family wouldn't be too eager to do something like this :P

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I enjoy a lot of Deadmau5 music... Brazil (2nd Edit) was played at my wedding... but I wouldn't call Deadmau5 enterprises "a small business". Zimmerman himself has admitted the similarity, claiming 'disney fell asleep on that one'... by all accounts it sounds like they are both now working together on a reinvention of Fantasia - would that make you visit? ;)

As for the childcare centres and other small businesses - a company has a right to protect and defend it's intellectual property regardless of the size or identity of the infringer... but do I assume this means that you disagree with the current wave of litigation against individuals (clearly smaller than a small business) who download movies illegally? Because current production companies involved in such litigation include 20th Century Fox, Universal, Warner Bros, Paramount, Disney and Columbia (which also includes Sony)...

This would mean you don't visit Universal Studios parks, Village Roadshow parks, Six Flags Parks (WB Characters) either? So pretty much you've got Cedar Fair parks - except they use the Peanuts characters which is currently being produced into a film by 20th Century Fox.... you're running out of options!

Seriously though - you really can't blame a company for vigorously defending it's IP... 

​I think you'll find that the deadmau5/Disney collaboration for Fantasia never actually eventuated, and probably never will. The only reason it was brought up to begin with was as a form of counterclaim evidence by Joel that Disney was well aware of him - and his logo - many years before they decided to take legal action against him. There hasn't been any recent news  that I am aware of in regards to that.

Funnily enough, they haven't had any issue with him previously trademarking his logo in 30 other countries :rolleyes: And he had been using it well before he became a globally recognised music producer. So he has a very legitimate counterclaim against them.

And I am all for companies defending their intellectual property, but when a giant such as Disney is picking on mere painted murals on the walls of small family owned childcare centers and claiming it is damaging their reputation/brand, it seems a little overkill to me. Certainly not comparable to that of downloading pirated movies/music, either... something which I can see could clearly do otherwise and have no dispute over.

There is also such thing as fair use of trademarked intellectual property.

Obviously this is something that I am sure we could continue to discuss/debate further, but I have a feeling that by doing so we are probably going to derail the topic even further than it already has been. Happy to do so in another topic if you like. But essentially I just wanted to explain my reasons for not prioritising a visit to Disneyland and also to stress that its nothing against the park itself. Just comes down to personal views :)

 

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Your personal views do not matter. Because Disneyland.

But seriously though - I share these conversations with my wife from time to time - She is a true convert. When I met her, she had no interest in theme parks whatsoever. Wouldn't even ride Scooby Doo! and hadn't been to a park since the early 90's with her family as a kid.

In less than 5 years, she's gone from that, to having favourite rides and favourite parks - even compares WHICH version of space mountain she prefers. We were married at a park and celebrated by riding a roller coaster between our vows and our reception... our honeymoon was 13 straight days of theme parks across two states of the US (and another week of other stuff)...

After explaining to her how you felt about Disneyland - she wanted me to tell you this...

 " I was kind of "meh" over disneyland. I didn't see the hype in it... but you don't understand DISNEYLAND until you've actually been there... then... you want to visit all of them! "

And I think many others here would agree with me on this point - SO MANY PEOPLE have no idea what Disneyland \ Disney World is - they think it isn't for them... but spend ONE DAY in any Disney park - and I promise your opinion will change. 

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