The last several times I've been up to the park, it has been with my family, including younger kids. I've gotten to ride a few things, but never the bigger coasters and certainly not all of them.
So this trip was for "me." A buddy of mine and I went. We bought tickets online and decided to buy the premium all day dining pass. The weather was PERFECT, the park was not overcrowded, and we managed to ride just about everything we wanted without buying a FastLane or FastLane Plus. We also rode front car on everything except Iron Dragon.
We arrived at 9:05. We got a great parking place and got through the gate with no waiting. Historically, I thought they barricaded people along the midway until 10:00. This was not the case yesterday, so we walked back to Steel Vengeance arriving back there around 9:30. A small line was forming, but when the ride opened around 10:05 we were in good shape. We were off by 10:30. The locker system is clunky, but at least it is free. Here is a list of how we structured our day. Wait times are approximate.
Steel Vengeance--20 minute wait
Maverick--90 minute wait (two down times (one for illness and another mechanical) caused the wait to be a bit longer
Lunch @ Farmhouse Kitchen (great food!)
Mine Ride--15 minute wait
Gemini--20 minute wait
Magnum--20 minute wait
*We both decided to pass on the Corkscrew this year, but could have easily ridden it with a 5-10 minute wait.
Power Tower--10 minute wait
Ice Cream break
Millennium Force--60 minute wait
Rougaru--15 minute wait
Iron Dragon--15 minute wait
Burger and Fries from Coasters
Blue Streak--Walk on
Raptor--40 minute wait
Gatekeeper--10 minute wait
Took a stroll down the beach and around the Hotel Breakers
Maxair--had been down but reopened during our beach stroll
Valravn--had been down the entire afternoon but was back up and running with a 20 minute wait.
Pizza at Hugos.
Picked up some taffy on the way out the door at 10:00.
It was a really great day! I thought crews were operating efficiently--much better than last year when I went. Obviously everyday is different at the park--but this plan worked really well for us to get all the coasters in. We waited an extra 5-10 minutes max for front car seats (longest was Millennium at 15-20).
I enjoyed the freedom of "pre-paying" for food and drinks. Then I didn't have to worry about prices or think about whether or not I wanted to spend the money. Not sure I would do it again or for my whole family, but for a "spurge on me" trip, it was worth it.
I would have killed for that experience in May.
I think the dining plans are a must have. The food experience in general has gotten better over the years, and prepaying almost gives it an "all-inclusive" vibe. Also it allows you to basically have built in breaks because you get to eat every couple of hours.
How was Coasters, I think they redid the place and the burgers are supposed to be better. The last 2 times I went in past years was not good.
Been visiting yearly with my now wife to celebrate our anniversary since 2010. Proposed on top of Valravn in '17 during the Sunrise Thrills Tour. Proud owner of two bricks in the Legacy Walk and have a piece of Wicked Twister
We tried Coasters a few weeks ago. It's an actual, double-patty smash burger with a toasted brioche bun, now. It's good/better than it was, but the burgers are still made in batches, wrapped in paper "diapers" and sitting under heat lamps, so you risk getting one that's a bit past its prime.
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