Which theme parks will you be visiting in 2015? It’s always fun to see where people will be traveling to and what new rides might have helped them choose certain parks over others.
Carolina Cyclone at Carowinds

Visiting Theme Parks Close to Home

For me, the list is short. I’ll be visiting my home park, Carowinds for Fury 325. For now, that’s all we’ve planned. It’d be great to take the family to Dollywood. It’s not far from Charlotte and has really grown to quite an impressive regional theme park more along the lines of a Busch Gardens, than a Six Flags or Cedar Fair park.

Ghost Town in the Sky is a park I’ve always wanted to visit, but I’ll have to do more research. It looks like Cliff Hanger may never re-open and my family’s not big on chair lift rides. It looks like that’s the main way to the park as it sits on a mountain top in Western North Carolina.

Which theme parks are you visiting?
Need advice on where to go this year? Let us know what your plans are by leaving a comment below.

About The Author

Founder of CoasterCritic.com. My favorite coasters are B&M hypers and gigas. I'm also a huge fan of terrain roller coasters.

15 Responses

  1. DRU

    Six Flags America, Great Adventure, Hershey, Knoebles, Coney Island, Clementon park in NJ (for a nice looking Hybrid woodie), Skipping the Cedar Fair pass this year. Maybe a trip to Six Flags New England, with pit stop for Boulderdash of course.

    • Judy P in Pgh

      Watch out for the “nice looking Hybrid woodie” … Hellcat rattled my bones and landed somewhere in my bottom 10! We caught the first ride of the day, chatting with the maintenance crew on our way in. They said “only ride in the front!” I typically prefer to be in the back of the train and asked why they recommended the front. Apparently it was more of a warning than a recommendation! After a bone-jarring front seat ride, we tried the back where I just KNEW it would be better. Ouch! Flashback to Gwazi … OK, so maybe the middle was the place to be. Wrong again! I finally found the right place on lap #4 … taking photos from a bench near a refreshment stand while my partner, Mike, tried one more painful ride.

      Do a few laps on Boulderdash for me … it’s one of the best terrain coasters out there and packs quite a punch in the back seat. Like The Beast, it’s an amazing ride after dark! If you’re sharing a seat, be sure to protect your ribs. Elbows can be nasty weapons!

      • DRU

        Thanks for the heads up Judy. I figured it would be fast. The only other one I have done like this is Ravine Flyer 2 and I thought it was scary fast and kinda rough. (AWESOME!)

        Also after reading your plans for this season I have decided I want to be like you when I grow up! 😉

  2. Judy P in Pgh

    Joel, I live in Pittsburgh and I have had a season pass for Dollywood for the past few years, it’s THAT good! I have taken friends, family, former students and flames 😉 and all can have a great time at this park. I can’t wait to take my granddaughters, so if you make it there with your girls, I’d be interested in their reactions. I love the number of interactive areas they have for kids. 11 days and counting until I’m back on Thunderhead, whose crew is the friendliest of any I have ever experienced, Disney Parks included.

  3. Judy P in Pgh

    Dollywood pass, check. Cedar Fair pass, check. 6 Flags pass, check. Retirement on June 9, CHECK!!

    Spring weekends will include Dollywood, Carowinds, Knoebel’s, King’s Dominion and Great Adventure. June starts off with the Coasting for Kids coaster marathon … Dorney is my park of choice. At least 1 trip to Cedar Point in June is usually a given.

    I’m doing a weird summer trip this July … the roller coaster tour of Idaho, Oregon and Washington. Hey, I’ve gotta bag those states SOME time, so it might as well be while the “Love of My Life” is kayaking on the Salmon River, an adventure I have survived twice and don’t care to pay for ($$$$$) again. Silverwood in Idaho is the park I am looking forward to the most. On our way back to Pittsburgh, we will make our first ever stop at 6 Flags Great America. Tips and comments are quite welcome from anyone who has been there. The plan is to spend 1-2 weekdays there. I’m sure we will pass through Cedar Point either on the way out or back.

    Late July/Aug. usually include Canada’s Wonderland, King’s Island and a return trip to Dollywood once the locals are back in school. Dorney’s Haunt in Oct. is a favorite. You know, somewhere in all of this, I need to squeeze in Kennywood! I haven’t missed a single season since my first trip as an infant in 1959 that involved a ride on the merry-go-round when I was only a month or two old.

    Later in the year, I plan to take my Mom to Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm … payback for a heavenly car trip across the country way back when I was about 12. This time, we fly! The Matterhorn was my first ever steel coaster and Knott’s was the site of my first flume ride.

    Somehow, I’m supposed to squeeze in some whitewater kayaking, walleye fishing and downhill skiing … this could be interesting. Carpe diem!

  4. Matt McIrvin

    Welcome back! Didn’t know you had started posting again.

    We’re going to Universal Florida during the school vacation week in late April. Looking forward to the coasters there…

    And I’m sure we’ll be going back to Canobie Lake Park once or twice over the summer, as usual.

  5. rcr22

    For me, I will be paying Cedar Point a visit like every year. Then, this fall, I’d like to Six Flags Great Adventure for the first time! Speaking of which, does anybody have tips for me?

    • Judy P in Pgh

      It sounds like you are already familiar with Cedar Point. Great Adventure can be quite busy on weekends, so if that is when you are going, plan your “must do” rides in advance. El Toro is my absolute #1 coaster, so that is typically where I head first. If you like the back half of the train on wooden coasters, I recommend the last seat, right side for your first ride … lots of “exposure.” Kingda Ka gets long lines and is prone to shut-downs, so grab it when you can. Green Lantern is probably my favorite stand-up coaster and has large inversions that give the feeling of soaring. Superman is a typical flying coaster with no features that really stand out for me. Bizarro is in the back corner of the park and tends to have shorter lines than the others, but it is a long walk through the queue for re-rides. The nearby Runaway Mine Train is worth doing, plus it’s next to the skyride that will take you across the park and save some steps. Skull Mountain is a fun, relatively smooth indoor coaster (not a mouse). Its queue line is inside where it is cool … a nice place to be waiting during a hot afternoon. I do believe that starting mid-summer, Batman (inverted coaster) will be running it’s trains backward. It is short but intense, with tight turns and inversions when running frontward, so it should be exciting in reverse. Dark Knight is a noisy, jerky indoor mouse that I HATE, HATE, HATE. If you’re collecting credits, ride it once. Nitro is my second favorite in this park and sunset rides can be visually impressive, paired with some nice airtime. Last season, rumor had it that the “C” train was “running rough.” Enjoy your trips this year!

    • Coaster Hero

      I go to SFGA regularly, so I know what’s up 😛 . El Toro will pretty much have a 1 to 1hr and 30 minute line all the time. Bizarro is usually 20-30 minutes and if it’s crowded it can be up to 1 hr. Green Lantern usually has a long line, about 45 mins to 1 hr. Superman ALWAYS has a long line so be sure to get on that early (1hr 30 mins to 2 hrs, and on a super crowded day even more!) . Batman doesn’t have long lines anymore, but this season be prepared to wait a lot as it’s getting the backwards trains. Nitro ranges from a walk on to 1 hr 30 mins, and 1.5 hrs is the absolute most I’ve waited because Nitro has really great capacity and efficiency. (Definitely ride in the front-worth the wait!) Kingda Ka will always have a long line because of the hype and the records and such. (The least I’ve ever waited was 45 mins) It sometimes breaks down too, so it can be unpredictable. Expect to wait anywhere from 1.5 hrs to 4 hrs. Zumanjaro is a bit tricky. Take advantage of the single rider queue, as it drastically reduces wait times. Otherwise, it’s a long wait as the line moves very slowly.

    • dru

      Go now before the schools let out. If summer, midweek a must. Even then consider fast pass if you only have one day.
      If you get in the park early, line up for Ka early, you can get lucky with a quick line. If not early I would skip Ka if I were you. If you need to do it for comparison to TTD maybe hit it at the very end of the night. wait for front seat!
      I would do laps on Toro first thing because everyone is lined up for Ka.
      Nitro in the dark!
      Nitro and Toro deserve front and back seat rides.
      I would also not want you to miss Batman for the nostalga of a very early B&M, Very compact layout, good intensity. Backwards sounds fun, but i would worry about my neck.
      Superman (I would skip this one) Horrible line for a painful experience
      Zumanjaro It sounds like this drop ride has ruined Ka. They have to wait for each other to launch/drop. Adding to the horrible wait times.
      Lantern is the only standup I have done that is worth the longer wait time needed for loading a standup.
      Avoid raft ride, great ride, but it has the worst lines!

  6. Lilyruby

    I, too, want to be Judy when I grow up. 🙂
    My plans are rather modest in comparison: Carowinds (home park, season pass (- my first rides on Fury yesterday did NOT disappoint!!)

  7. Lilyruby

    So I accidentally submitted that last post before I was done….in addition to visiting Fury as often as possible (I live 2.5 hrs from Charlotte), I am planning a week-long trip in July to Knoebel’s, Hersheypark and Six Flags Great Adventure. Been to SFGA once several years ago, at the dawn of my coaster obsession – I thought then that El Toro was THE best coaster ever, definitely my #1 – but I must go back and see if that’s still true with many more coaster experiences now under my belt.
    Appreciate the info above on SFGA- I’d welcome advice and tips regarding Hershey & Knoebel’s (never been to either). Is this a good park line-up or should we try to head elsewhere?

    (And I must say I am happy to see Mr. The Coaster Critic back on the scene. 🙂 Your reviews have always been my go-to source for reliable coaster feedback.)

  8. Coaster Hero

    I’ll be going to Six Flags Great Adventure many times this year. (just bought my membership plus I live 1 hr away) Im going to King’s Dominion once or twice, and maybe Six Flags America and Six Flags New England. Also it’s possible that I could go to Hersheypark, and maybe even Canada’s Wonderland if I go to Toronto to visit family.

  9. JubblyJobbles

    Six Flags Magic Mountain, Valleyfair!, Worlds of Fun, Silver Dollar City, Six Flags St. Louis, Holiday World, and Indiana Beach are the sure things for the summer. There is an outside chance at Adventureland, Six Flags Great America, and Mt. Olympus/Timber Falls, although I might pass after I nearly cracked a rib on Pegasus last fall.

    Unfortunately, I miss Twisted Colossus, although my ADHD might not be able to stomach a 3+ hour wait. I am looking forward to SDC and Holiday World and, for both, I have planned the visit during the week in the hopes of missing ludicrous crowds.

  10. Judy P in Pgh

    When I went to Silver Dollar City in July 2013, you could purchase your park admission for the next day and get a few hours of evening “preview” time. I headed straight to the bottom of the hill to Outlaw Run and got numerous rides with only a cycle or two wait time in between rides. The queue line was open until the designated closing time. I was glad to have had that opportunity as at park opening the next morning, the crowds were all headed directly for Outlaw Run. Enjoy Renegade at Valleyfair … it is tied with Outlaw Run for my #10 spot out of 330 coasters.


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