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Sep 30, 2015
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Just curious as to where most of you been and what parks you feel deliver the best coasters. Being new to the whole coaster experience at the ripe old age of 37, I'm interested in traveling to a few more parks not in the area and would like to know what parks you've been to. This is probably a loaded question, I know. In looking, I've decided on a couple that I'd like to hit someday. Right now I think the short list is (in no particular order):

Hershey Park (couple hours drive from me)
Carowinds (short flight hop south or days drive)
Kings Dominion (season passes at the ready for next year)

Future:
Six Flags Magic Mountain (Twisted Colossus intrigues me)
Six Flags over Texas (Titan and others)
... more
 

Thomas

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RE: Best theme parks for coasters 2015

The problem is that all the best coasters are spread throughout several parks. Yes, Carowinds has Fury, but not much else. Cedar Point has a few good ones and a few mediocre ones. Hersheypark has a pretty good all around collection in my opinion.
 

Zachary

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RE: Best theme parks for coasters 2015

Hershey is, by far, the most well-rounded park I've ever been to. Even their small "filler" coasters are great examples of their respective genres.

Holiday World is the woodie capital with two great woodies leading up to the crown jewl of their collection: The Voyage.

Like Thomas said, there's no one great answer unfortunately. Every park has its pros and cons.
 
Sep 30, 2015
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RE: Best theme parks for coasters 2015

Zachary said:
Hershey is, by far, the most well-rounded park I've ever been to. Even their small "filler" coasters are great examples of their respective genres.

Holiday World is the woodie capital with two great woodies leading up to the crown jewl of their collection: The Voyage.

Like Thomas said, there's no one great answer unfortunately. Every park has its pros and cons.

We are definitely going to attempt to get up there this coming season for a day. It is maybe 2 hours from the door, much like KD. It looks like a fun place. And who doesn't like CANDY?? Local friends have mixed reviews about it, but I definitely like their lineup.
 
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horsesboy

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RE: Best theme parks for coasters 2015

I know what I am about to say will shock and even make some mad. But my opinion is if your close enough to BGW and Kings Dominion then you are close enough to try Six Flags America in the DC area. Batwing and Superman are well worth the trip and there others are not bad even if nothing special. My advice is go early summer on a weekday if possible at least this year it was a large discount and not crowed.
 

Zachary

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RE: Best theme parks for coasters 2015

I don't know enough about Hershey to tell you whether or not it's a miserable place in the summer, but when I hit Hershey in the fall a couple years ago, it was a delightful park.
 
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Nicole

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RE: Best theme parks for coasters 2015

I think an important question is whether one is looking at the park overall, or exclusively at their coaster collection.

I, too, love BGT, because of their fantastic animal experiences and great coasters. That said, there are probably better places to go, if you are only interested in thrill rides.

I surprisingly enjoyed Dorney a lot this Fall, and Caro has Fury, which is really worth the trip all by itself. Kings Island has a few good coasters, as well. I really liked the Beast, for example.

But I think I would provide a completely different list, if I were assessing the entirety of the park.

BTW, if you are really going to go down the coaster-whore route, I recommend this site.

I have not yet been to Hersey, but I hear great things about it. My plan is to go for a weekend next Fall and stay at the spa, which is supposed to be excellent, as well.
 
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RE: Best theme parks for coasters 2015

Zachary said:
I don't know enough about Hershey to tell you whether or not it's a miserable place in the summer, but when I hit Hershey in the fall a couple years ago, it was a delightful park.

Heat-wise it can be miserable in the summer but the good thing about that is that the majority of visitors are in the water park making the lines for the coasters and other rides very short. The only rides that had significant lines were Great Bear, Fahrenheit and Stormrunner and those were only 20 minutes long. Lightning Racer was usually a 2 to 3 train wait for either side.
 
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Apr 5, 2011
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RE: Best theme parks for coasters 2015

I agree with Nicole. One park that has a lot of different types of coasters might not be the same park with the best coasters overall. Carowinds has quite a few types, but a lot of them aren't that great.
 
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Sep 30, 2015
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RE: Best theme parks for coasters 2015

Well obviously we would be interested in the whole park, but also in the main attractions. Six Flags America, if it could be transplanted in a nicer place, would be a great park. I just don't like the location to be honest. But it is within a day trip option.
 

Zachary

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RE: Best theme parks for coasters 2015

So when I replied to strycker's thread the first time, I was on my phone. After posting and thinking about his question a bit more, I realized I could say considerably more than I did the first time around. So I jumped over to a computer and will list out all the park's I've been to and will judge each of them based on their collections alone. Parks will be color-coded green, yellow, and red based on my opinion of their lineup. Coasters I highlight at each of the parks are coasters I consider to be not only great, but also in some way unique. For example, there are Batman clones all over the country. They're good coasters, but I wouldn't ever count them as a highlight in a park's collection.

Anyway, hopefully this helps!

Busch Gardens Tampa
Great park, but their coaster collection isn't incredible- doesn't quite rival Williamsburg's in my honest opinion. Highlights here are Cheetah Hunt, Kumba, and Montu.

Busch Gardens Williamsburg
Great park with a stellar collection. Don't really need to defend it much to this audience, but the highlights here are Alpengeist, Apollo's Chariot, Loch Ness Monster, and Verbolten.

Carowinds
The worst Cedar Fair park I've ever visited. Unfortunately, it is also home to Fury 325- one of the greatest coasters I've ever ridden. Fairly mediocre collection otherwise. Highlights here are Fury 325 and Afterburn (RIP Thunder Road). Honorable mentions? Intrimidator Intimidator

Cedar Point
In contrast to Carowinds, this is the best Cedar Fair park I've ever visited. Is this the holy grail of amusement parks? No. Is it a great park? Yes. Highlights here are Blue Streak, Maverick, and Millennium Force. Only honorable mention I have for this park is GateKeeper.

Dollywood
Like Cedar Point, this is another park I'd consider overrated. It's an interesting park, but I wouldn't call it a great one. The sole highlight here in my honest opinion is Mystery Mine. Honorable mentions are FireChaser Express, Tennessee Tornado, and Thunderhead. I also have to say that Lightning Rod looks incredible. It is probably justification alone for a trip out to Dollywood in 2016.

Dorney Park
Dorney is a great park that's lacking a crown jewel attraction. It manages charm in the same league as Cedar Point but doesn't have the headliner it needs to put it on the map. This is the park I wish Fury had gone to. Highlights here are Hydra and Talon. Honorable mentions are Steel Force and Thudnerhawk.

Hershey Park
Ah, my favorite amusement park in the country. A must-visit in my honest opinion. Highlights here are Comet, both sides of Lighting Racer, Skyrush, Superdooperlooper, and Storm Runner. Honorable mentions go to Fahrenheit and Great Bear. I'm pretty sure Laff Trak belongs on the honorable mentions list as well, but I haven't gotten a chance to ride it myself just yet.

Holiday World
Another of my favorite parks and definitely the woodie capital of the world. It's also worth noting that Splashin' Safari is the best water park I've ever experienced. The highlight here is The Voyage. Simply a masterpiece. Honorable mentions go to The Legend and The Raven. Though I haven't experienced it personally yet, Thunderbird looks solid as well.

Idlewild
I love that Idlewild exists and I think it's an incredibly neat park to visit. You don't go for their coasters though. I'll give an honorable mention to Rollo Coaster though for being a little coaster that really surprised me. Fun little ride.

Kennywood
Another unique (and gorgeous) Pennsylvania classic. Like Dorney, it has a great base collection, but it needs that one big headliner. That said, I prefer Kennywood to Dorney. Highlights here are Jack Rabbit, Phantom's Revenge, and Skyrocket. Honorable mentions go to Exterminator, Racer, and Thunderbolt.

Kentucky Kingdom
There has been too much change since I've visited for me to judge this park, but Lighting Run and Storm Chaser both look like incredible additions. Plus, it sounds like Thunder Run is running better than ever.

Kings Dominion
GASP! Did I just list Kings Dominion as yellow? Yeah. I did. I like the park, but it feels like there are very large holes in its collection. The only highlight I have to give here is Intimidator 305. Honorable mentions go out to Avalanche, Dominator, Flight of Fear, Rebel Yell, and Volcano.

Kings Island
Kings Island is in the same place as Kings Dominion in my book collection-wise. I wholeheartedly believe Kings Dominion to be the better park though. Kings Island has a solid collection, but not a great one. Highlights are Banshee and Beast. Honorable mentions go to Bat, Diamondback, Flight of Fear, and Racer.

Knoebels
Another park with a collection that I'm uncomfortable judging right now. Knoebels has added three (!) coasters since I visited just a couple years ago. When I was there, their collection was far from diverse (it only consisted of two woodies), but I'd consider both of those woodies (Phoenix and Twister) to be highlight-worthy attractions. Incredibly intrigued by Black Diamond, Flying Turns, and Impulse. Looking forward to returning as soon as possible.

Legoland Florida
Legoland Florida is a neat family park, but, like Idlewild, you're not going to visit for its collection. I wouldn't say there's a highlight here, but I'll give honorable mentions to Coastersaurus and Dragon.

SeaWorld Orlando
Giving SeaWorld Orlando green while only giving Kings Dominion and Kings Island yellow is going to be a very controversial choice, I know, but it honestly accurately represents my opinions. I'd consider
 

Nicole

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RE: Best theme parks for coasters 2015

If we are looking at these holistically, here are my opinions in no particular order:

Bush Gardens Tampa: I love this park. The coasters and animal exhibits are great. I always do an animal experience, because they are fantastic. I really believe it is a better animal park than Animal Kingdom and the best coaster park I've been to in Florida. The shopping is really good, as well. Unexpectedly, I am a huge fan of Pantopia. The skyride is fantastic. It is lacking in flats and dark rides.

Dollywood: I have a very unpopular view of this park. I really disliked it. The rides were meh. It felt as if it was all molding and falling apart. The food is over-hyped. And the train seem just dangerous. It lacked any charm for me.

Dorney Park: Conversely, Dorney seemed very charming and well-maintained. They have fantastic flats and a few good coasters. I really enjoyed the park a lot. I have a passionate love of spider and monster rides, and their monster was the best I have been on, since BGW got rid of their spider.

Sea World Orlando: I like SWO for the same reasons I love BGT, but not quite as much. I do enjoy eating at Sharks. I also adore the penguins. And this is the only park where I will voluntarily see a show.

Kennywood: This park was great in a very weird way. I personally didn't love any of the coasters, because they were all about air-time, which isn't my bag. The flats were...classic, I guess? I loved their fun house and they had good food. Oh, and the Black Widow was fantastic. Also, they have the most charming train ever.

LEGOLAND Florida. I love, love, love this park, but that is because of my geekiness. The rides are all for children. In fact, the entire park is targeted at kids. But the Cypress Gardens sections is beautiful; the food is good; and I love playing at the LEGO areas. They do have a cute woodie and a really cool animal safari ride. the Dragon is a fun combination of a dark ride (with LEGO sculptures) and a kiddie coaster. Naturally, Mini-land is brilliant, if you like LEGO architecture.

Idlewild. I kinda didn't enjoy Idlewild very much. I can't really point to anything wrong with it, but I am not a small child, so I wasn't really in their target audience.

Carowinds. Caro has Fury. That is really all. They got rid of Thunder Road, for which they should be punished, as it was a great woodie. I found the staff to be rude; the food to be awful; the park to be unpleasant; and most of the rides to be adequate to bad. I did like Intimidator, but not as much as i305. Regardless, go for Fury.

Kings Island. I really liked the Beast. I always enjoy Skyline Chili. Nothing else really struck me one way or another. I do recall that they have a completely incomprehensible mine train. It is a good place to get credits, I suppose.

Cedar Point. CP has some good coasters and some awful coasters and some coasters that will do actual physical harm to your actual body. They have some very cool flats. Their racing carousel and Tiki Twirl really stood out for me. I personally love Millenium Force and Mavrick. Gatekeep is good. Mean Streak literally dislocated my husband's rib, before they put the brake on the drop (yes, I said that correctly). I will never forgive Cedar Point for Mantis, which should have been burned to the ground, instead of being converted into a mediocre floorless. Everyone should go to CP...and bring lots and lots of painkillers.

USO/IoA: I love Uni, but not for its coasters. The Harry Potter areas are fantastic. And I adore Seuss Landing. I don't get the Mummy love. Hulk was fine. They have some great dark rides.

Disney. Go for the dark rides. Go because you love Disney. Don't go for the thrill rides. Eating there can be a challenge (excluding Epcot), unless you really love chicken fingers and pizza.

Wonderland Park. I went to this crazy park when I was in Amarillo, TX on business. Everyone must go there. It is old school and has a crazy collection of old flats and coasters. It was just full of character.

I'm sorry. That was all completely stream of consciousness. I hope it made some kind of sense.
 

Zachary

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RE: Best theme parks for coasters 2015

When I replied to strycker's thread the first time today, I was on my phone. After posting and thinking about his question a bit more, I realized I could (and would like to) say considerably more than I did the first time around. So now I'm on a computer and will list out all the park's I've been to and will judge each of them based on their coaster collections.

Parks will be color-coded green, orange, and red based on my opinion of their lineup. Coasters I highlight at each of the parks are coasters I consider to be not only great, but also in some way unique and hence, worth visiting the park for. If a coaster is good but undeserving of the highlights listing, I'll list it under honorable mentions.

Anyway, hopefully this helps!

Adventure Park USA
If you're driving through New Market, Maryland stop in. It's a neat little place with two actual coasters (plus a kiddie coaster). That said, nothing here is worthy of specific mention. Given the rate at which they're growing though, maybe they have plans to up their game further in the future?

Busch Gardens Tampa
Great park, but their coaster collection isn't incredible. That said, it's easy for a credit seeker to happily spend a day on coasters at Busch Gardens Tampa. Highlights here are Cheetah Hunt and Kumba. Honorable mentions go to Montu, Scorpion, and SheiKra.

Busch Gardens Williamsburg
Great park with a stellar collection. Don't really need to defend it much to this audience, but the highlights here are Alpengeist, Apollo's Chariot, Loch Ness Monster, and Verbolten. Additionally, I'd put Griffon and into the honorable mentions category.

Carowinds
The worst Cedar Fair park I've ever visited. Unfortunately, it is also home to Fury 325- one of the greatest coasters I've ever ridden. Fairly mediocre collection otherwise. Highlights here are Fury 325 and Afterburn (RIP Thunder Road). Honorable mentions? Only Intrimidator Intimidator.

Cedar Point
In contrast to Carowinds, this is the best Cedar Fair park I've ever visited. Is this the holy grail of amusement parks? No. Is it a really good park? Yes. Highlights here are Maverick and Millennium Force. Only honorable mentions I have for this park are Blue Streak and GateKeeper.

Dollywood
Like Cedar Point, this is another park I'd consider overrated. It's an interesting park, but I wouldn't call it a great one. The sole highlight here in my honest opinion is Mystery Mine. Honorable mentions are FireChaser Express, Tennessee Tornado, and Thunderhead. I also have to say that Lightning Rod looks incredible. It is probably justification alone for a trip out to Dollywood in 2016.

Dorney Park
Dorney is a great park that's lacking a crown jewel attraction. It manages charm in the same league as Cedar Point but doesn't have the headliner it needs to put it on the map. This is the park I wish Fury had gone to. Highlights here are Hydra The Revenge and Talon. Honorable mentions are Steel Force and Thudnerhawk.

HersheyPark
Ah, my favorite amusement park in the country. A must-visit in my honest opinion. Highlights here are Comet, both sides of Lighting Racer, Skyrush, and Storm Runner. Honorable mentions go to Fahrenheit, Great Bear, and Superdooperlooper. I'm pretty sure Laff Trak belongs on the honorable mentions list as well, but I haven't gotten a chance to ride it myself just yet.

Holiday World
Another of my favorite parks and definitely the woodie capital of the world. It's also worth noting that Splashin' Safari is the best water park I've ever experienced. The highlight here is The Voyage. Simply a masterpiece. Honorable mentions go to The Legend and The Raven. Though I haven't experienced it personally yet, Thunderbird looks like it belongs on the honorable mentions list as well.

Idlewild
I love that Idlewild exists and I think it's an incredibly neat park to visit- just not for their coasters. That said, I'm going to give an honorable mention to both Rollo Coaster and Wild Mouse for being two little coasters that actually took me by surprise.

Kennywood
Another unique (and incredible) Pennsylvania classic. Like Dorney, it has a great base collection, but it needs that one big headliner to really put it on the map. That said, I prefer Kennywood to Dorney. Highlights here are Jack Rabbit, Phantom's Revenge, and Skyrocket. Honorable mentions go to Exterminator, Racer, and Thunderbolt.

Kentucky Kingdom
There has been too much change since I've visited for me to accurately judge this park, but Lighting Run and Storm Chaser both look like incredible additions. Plus, it sounds like Thunder Run is running better than ever.

Kings Dominion
GASP! Did I just list Kings Dominion as orange? Yeah, I did. I (of course) love the park, but it feels like there are large holes in its collection. The only highlight I have to give here is Intimidator 305. Honorable mentions go out to Avalanche, Dominator, Flight of Fear, Rebel Yell, and Volcano.

Kings Island
Kings Island is in the same place as Kings Dominion in my book collection-wise. I wholeheartedly believe Kings Dominion to be the better park though. Kings Island has a solid collection, but not a great one. Highlights are Banshee and Beast. Honorable mentions go to Bat, Diamondback, Flight of Fear, and Racer.

Knoebels
Another park with a collection that I'm uncomfortable judging right now. Knoebels has added three (!) coasters since I visited just a couple years ago. When I was there, their collection was far from diverse (it only consisted of two woodies), but I'd consider both of those woodies (Phoenix and Twister) to be highlight-worthy attractions. Incredibly intrigued by Black Diamond, Flying Turns, and Impulse. I suspect all three are likely worthy of honorable mentions if not better.

Legoland Florida
Legoland Florida is a neat family park, but, like Idlewild, you're not going to visit for its collection. I wouldn't say there's a highlight here, but I'll give honorable mentions to Coastersaurus and Dragon.

SeaWorld Orlando
Giving SeaWorld Orlando green while only giving Kings Dominion, Kings Island, and Busch Gardens Tampa orange is going to be a very controversial choice, I know. That said, it honestly accurately represents my opinions. I'd consider all three of SeaWorld Orlando's current coasters, Journey to Atlantis, Kraken, and Manta to be highlights. With the addition of Mako next year, I honestly think SeaWorld Orlando will end up with the best coaster lineup in Florida. No honorable mentions here because there's nothing left to list!

Six Flags St. Louis
Not a great park and certainly not a great collection. I don't have a single coaster to highlight for Six Flags St. Louis, but I'll give out a few honorable mentions: American Thunder, Batman The Ride, Mr. Freeze Reverse Blast, and Pandemonium. Mr. Freeze could have been a highlight for me, but unfortunately, it's basically a clone. It's a great ride, but I'd rather go to Six Flags over Texas and ride theirs.

Universal Studios Florida
Don't visit USF for coasters. Only highlight here is Revenge of the Mummy. Neither of the others are even worth mentioning. Love the park, but not for coasters.

Universal's Islands of Adventure
Of the two Universal parks in Orlando, this is the better for coasters, but it's still a bit of a snooze-fest. I don't have anything to highlight here honestly. Honorable mentions go to both sides of Dragon's Challenge and Hulk (presumably new Hulk as well?).

Walt Disney World: Animal Kingdom
The worst of the Florida Disney parks. No highlights here but I'll give an honorable mention to Expedition Everest for being a surprisingly solid coaster.

Walt Disney World: Epcot
No coasters here. Makes my job easy.

Walt Disney World: Hollywood Studios
Small park that's undergoing a major overhaul. Only coaster here, Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, would fall into my honorable mentions category. It's unique, but not really a very good coaster.

Walt Disney World: Magic Kingdom
Like all the other Disney parks, you don't visit for coasters. That said, I'll give an honorable mention to Space Mountain for being a flashback to a very different time in roller coaster history. Plus, it still manages to be a pretty fun ride.
 

horsesboy

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RE: Best Theme Parks for Coasters 2015

strycker said:
Well obviously we would be interested in the whole park, but also in the main attractions.  Six Flags America, if it could be transplanted in a nicer place, would be a great park.  I just don't like the location to be honest.  But it is within a day trip option.
I can understand your feelings about Six Flags that is part of why I suggest early summer. I we4nt the first week of June this year and the atmosphere in the park was a lot better than what many people have said. It was not crowded and most of the people in the park where school groups. It's defiantly not the nicest park and there is no reason to get a season pass as on visit will be enough but it worth it for Superman and Batwing They are both really neat rides.
 
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