My family and I just returned from an epic road trip! We went down to the North Carolina/South Carolina border, through Virginia, drove through New York to Niagara Falls in Canada, to Vaughn, Ontario, around to Sandusky, Ohio, before finally heading home. In all, we drove a little over 2,200 miles. Why? Roller coasters!!
Last year was our first year to get Kings Island Gold Passes as a family. As it turns out, our kids love roller coasters (and rides in general) as much as we do! So at the end of the season last year, we upgraded to Platinum. This allows you to visit all/any of the 13 Cedar Fair amusement/water parks as much as you'd like.
Earlier this year we made two separate trips, one to Cedar Point and one to Dorney Park in Pennsylvania, which we combined with a trip to Harrisburg, Hershey, and Gettysburg to learn more about the Civil War and for chocolate. The kids said it was the most delicious trip we've ever taken...ha!
However, this time we managed to hit 5 Cedar Fair parks in 10 days!
First we went to Kings Island on Thursday. This is only 30 minutes from our house, so we go to Kings Island at least 10 times a year. We had cousins in town and met up with them to ride some rides, including a couple of our favorites, Mystic Timbers and Diamondback. It was a great way to kick off our adventure!
On Friday we drove half way to Carowinds, arriving at the park on Saturday around lunch time. Carowinds is a fun park and has the tallest and fastest giga coaster, Fury 325. We were able to ride it at night and again during the day the next day. It was so fun! Another of our favorites there was the new Copperhead Strike. With the slow corkscrew beginning followed by a double launch, this one was so much fun...and so very smooth! With my son being able to ride everything and my daughter just under the 52" mark, we did the "rider swap" for all the taller rides. My son was super excited to ride everything twice...he's a lucky kid!! That said, there are still lots of roller coasters at the 48" mark. My daughter's favorite at Carowinds was the Carolina Goldrusher, a fun wooden coaster that dips under ground twice. My son loved the Southern Star, a rocking ship that goes completely upside down, and had to ride it twice! We all loved the Seasons of Cirque show and all the amazing talent in the show!
After two fun-filled days at Carowinds, we drove to our next stop, Kings Dominion. Kings Dominion is the sister property of Kings Island. It has a familiar feeling when you enter, including a replica Eiffel Tower straight ahead at the entrance. We were there on a Monday and Tuesday and a lot of local schools were already in session. This meant short waits and lots of ride time! At Kings Dominion we were all able to ride Twisted Timbers, their newest coaster. It was an instant hit with our family! In fact, we ended up riding it 4 times total! Apple Zapple right next door was another family favorite. We rode Intimidator 305 and wow!! That was a lot of fun. Also, I was not able to see for about 5 seconds after the first hill...complete blackout. I've never had that happen before! Of course, I had to try it again the next day to see if it happened again. Yep! Everytime. That is some serious g-force! This happened to my husband and son as well. Monster Jam was going on and we were thrilled to ride in Grave Digger! My son and husband were able to sit in the front seats next to the driver...such a cool experience! We decided to take the second afternoon to enjoy some water slides at Soak City. It was a nice and refreshing. The intertube slides were our favorite. And, of course, the wave pool. We ended the evening with our favorite...a couple rounds on Twisted Timbers.
After 4 straight days of rides, we took a break at Niagara Falls. My husband and I had both visited with our families when we were younger and it was a place we wanted to take our kids. We stayed on the Canadian side in order to have a view of the falls from our hotel room. We were close enough to walk down to see the falls. After our first walk down to the falls, we were ready for a late dinner. One of our favorite places to stop on our travels is the Hard Rock Cafe. Lucky us, it was connected to our hotel! We enjoyed dinner there with some of our favorites and enjoyed looking at all the rock memorabilia.
The next day we embarked on the Hornblower cruise and got right next to the falls, both the American and Horseshoe (Canadian) Falls. What amazing forces of nature to experience up close! We also did the Journey Behind the Falls, which allowed us to explore the tunnels behind the Horseshoe falls and the deck right next to them. Needless to say, we got wet! We also experienced Niagara's Fury, which steps you through some of the history of the falls and the has a theater experience to take you over them.
After lunch we headed to Canada's Wonderland. It was such a beautiful park! With a mountain behind the fountain, we really enjoyed the light and music show that ended the night. We were able to ride the newest coaster, Yukon Strike, which was definitely my favorite in the park. We also enjoyed Leviathan, the tallest and fastest coaster in Canada. The favorite family ride was Wonder Mountain's Guardian with it's 3D interactive riding and sudden surprise at the end...watch out for that dragon! Lumberjack was our favorite non-coaster ride. And the show Tundra: A Cirque Experience was truly a fun experience!
A fun side note...we had been anticipating the new ride announcement at Kings Island while we were on our trip. To watch it live from Canada's Wonderland was a fun moment! We are super excited to ride Orion in 2020!
To our pleasant surprise, we discovered that someone bought the Toys R Us brand in Canada and it is open for business! We had to walk through the aisles a few times over. There were two very happy children in our traveling party!!
After two fun days at Canada's Wonderland, we heading to Cedar Point, our last stop. It happened to coincide with National Roller Coaster Day. There is no better way to celebrate than at the Roller Coaster Capital!! We were able to ride Gate Keeper, Magnum XL-200 (the first hyper-coaster), and Gemini...as well as Maverick the next day. We were in line for Steel Vengeance, but did not get to ride. After an hour wait, we were about 2 rides away as storms rolled in and it was delayed for quite a while. We were bummed! However, we'll get to it one of these visits! We enjoyed the Sky Ride a couple times over the Midway and, one of our favorites, Cedar Downs Racing Derby!
Sunday afternoon we headed home.
It was an exciting week+ of riding, screaming our lungs out, giggling, and non-stop smiles. Can't wait for the next round!
Many have asked about our route...here is a map of our stops.
Our family collects magnets from our travels. It's fun to add to our Cedar Point collection!