Which Theme Parks Should I Visit in 2013?

Coney Island - Theme Park TravelLast year, my plans changed from “Going for the Giga” up in Toronto, to a return trip to Chi-town for X-Flight plus a first time trip to Six Flags St. Louis. This year, there are three long distance trips that I’m weighing. It’d be great to do at least two, but realistically, I may only get to do one. It’d be great to get the take of my readers as I’m sure many of you have been to these parks and can speak to less known rides or factors that I’m not even aware of.

While I do not typically chase a higher coaster count and tend to go for quality rather than just re-riding a clone just for the credit, the total number of rides is a factor. A bigger factor is the number of marquee or signature rides that I’ll encounter. To me, this means coasters that are special either in terms of their reputation, uniqueness, or my own personal interest. Below I’ve listed each of the trips I’m considering:

Silver Dollar City + Worlds of Fun
I wouldn’t be racking up a ton of new coasters on a Missouri trip, but the variety and uniqueness would definitely be a draw. Worlds of Fun is a smaller park in terms of roller coasters, but it does look to offer some quality, or at least new experiences for me. I haven’t ridden a new B&M inverted coaster in years (Patriot). I’ve heard good things about the terrain woodie Prowler and hyper coasters (Mamba) and large woodies (Timber Wolf) are always a draw for me.

Silver Dollar City is home to one of the most anticipated new coasters of 2013. Outlaw Run looks amazing! Check out the latest Outlaw Run test videos. SDC also has a cool-looking B&M looper in Wildfire and a rare S&S air-launched coaster called Powder Keg.
Total Number of Coasters: 12
Number of Marquee Coasters: 7 = Silver Dollar City (3) + Worlds of Fun (4)

Six Flags Discovery Kingdom + Great America + Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
Superman Ultimate Flight - Six Flags Discovery KingdomNorthern California is another potential trip. Discovery Kingdom is one of the two Six Flags parks in the U.S. that I haven’t visited. The main draws would be 2012’s Superman Ultimate Flight. For a compact launch coaster, it looks really eventful and probably worth a considerable wait. SFDC also has V2 which looks a little different than other impulse coasters I’ve ridden and Medusa is the park’s B&M floorless looper with a rare sea serpent roll element.

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk would add some history and a small amusement experience. Parks like these are great for picture taking and sometimes you can find odd flat rides that have become rare. It’s not every day that you get to ride a coaster from 1924 (Giant Dipper) and by the time I get out there the park’s new spinning coaster Undertow should be ready.

Gold Striker - Californias Great AmericaCalifornia’s Great America offers Gold Striker, a new for 2013 woodie from Great Coasters International. There’s also Flight Deck, which is B&M’s first custom inverted coaster. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not, but either way, I’m intrigued. There’s also an extended Mega Disko at Great America that was formerly called Survivor the Ride. After a visit to Dollywood last summer, I have a new-found respect for these rides and this version has a longer track with a small hill in the middle.

Total Number of Roller Coasters: 16
Number of Marquee Coasters: 6 = SF Discovery Kingdom (3) + Great America (2) + SC Beach Boardwalk (1)
Other Noteworthy Rides: Tiki Twirl (Formerly Survivor: The Ride)

Canada’s Wonderland + Martin’s Fantasy Island + Marineland
Like a Cedar Point north of the border, Canada’s Wonderland is the largest theme park (in terms of roller coasters) that I Leviathan - Canadas Wonderland - New Roller Coasterhaven’t visited. The Toronto area park boasts 16 roller coasters and about 14 for adults. And there’s some quality and lots of diversity in the lineup too. From the unreal one-two punch of their hyper coaster Behemoth and their giga coaster Leviathan to Vortex their Arrow suspended coaster (which is a near extinct ride type).

I’ve been to Darien Lake and Waldameer a number of times, but I haven’t visited nearby amusement park Martin’s Fantasy Island. It’s small, but it does have a CCI woodie in Silver Comet. It made the Top 50 in the Internet Coaster Poll right after Santa Cruz’s Giant Dipper and The Beast!

Marineland’s massive Arrow terrain looper, Dragon Mountain, has always interested me. Even though it’s not highly regarded, I’ve always had a soft spot for lengthy terrain rides.

Total Number of Roller Coasters: 17
Number of Marquee Coasters: 7 = Canada’s Wonderland (5) + Martin’s Fantasy Island (1)+ Marineland (1)

A Few Stroller Pushing Trips Too
There’ll also be a number of drive-able family trips. We’re looking to visit Sesame Place, maybe Dutch Wonderland, and also Hersheypark. We’ll be in Atlanta and the family’s never been to Six Flags Over Georgia (just me), so we might squeeze in that park as well. And, I know that at least my older daughter will be interested in hunting dinosaurs at our home park’s new Dinosaurs Alive Attraction. We visit family in Virginia often and the kids haven’t been to my home park growing up Kings Dominion. Maybe we’ll check out the new Snoopy area that they’ve added.

Help Me Out
Which of the long distance coaster trips should I do? Are there non-coasters that I need to consider? Are there a few rides that are so bad they should be taken out of consideration? I’d love to get your feedback. Leave a comment below. [poll id=”98″]