Welcome to my Park Ratings Page! The following gives brief descriptions about the parks that I have been to, and I rated them on the following scale:
* = This park does not have any good rides and is not worth its cost.
** = This park is okay; it has one or two good rides, but did not really live up to expectations.
*** = This park is pretty good. It contains several good rides or one world class ride, and is worth going to once in a while.
**** = This park is very good; it has many good rides and is definitely worth a trip. It also is well worth its value.
***** = This park is EXCELLENT. Almost every ride there is fun and it has many world class rides. It is also well worth its price.
Also, plus signs (+) or minus signs (-) may be added, meaning that the park does not quite reach or is slightly better than a specific rating.
And now, here are the parks:
Rating = ***** +
Cedar Point is hands down the best park I have ever visited. Every roller coaster there is awesome (yes, even the Cedar Creek Mine Ride, Woodstock Express, and Jr. Gemini are good for their kind). Millennium Force, Magnum XL-200, Mean Streak, and Raptor make up four of my favorite ten roller coasters and are definitely world-class thrills. The park has so many rides that there are rarely long lines (except for Millennium Force, which is understandable), and the people are very nice. The park does not charge incredibly high prices to get in either. It has rides for every member of the family, and is a perfect vacation spot for families and thrill-seekers alike. No wonder Cedar Point is continually rated the best park in the world.
SIX FLAGS GREAT ADVENTURE
Rating = ***** -
Six Flags Great Adventure is very close to me, and I always get a season pass to it. Although many of GA's rides give bad whiplash (Viper, Rolling Thunder, Scream Machine, and Chiller), Medusa, Nitro, and Batman are definitely world class rides. Medusa and Nitro are some of my favorite coasters (as illustrated on my home page) and I think the park really needed the major expansion it got in 1999. Six Flags is fairly priced, but their parking price is kind of high, as well as their food prices. I also think that many of their steel coasters are good, but Rolling Thunder should not remain the only wood coaster there because it doesn't quite equal many other wooden coasters out there. But, overall, Six Flags Great Adventure is a very good park.
Rating = **** +
Hersheypark is a very good vacation destination. It turns out that Hersheypark is the opposite of Six Flags Great Adventure, when it comes to roller coasters. With the addition of Lightning Racer this year, Hersheypark has become a wood-coaster fan's paradise. But when it comes to steel coasters, the Great Bear, Superdooperlooper, and Sidewinder don't exactly shine in comparison to their fantastic wood coasters. Hersheypark has fair prices too. Lightning Racer, The Comet, and The Wildcat are all excellent wood coasters (although The Wildcat is a bit rough), and The Great Bear is pretty good. But Hersheypark seems to be more geared towards families than thrillseekers, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.
SEA WORLD ORLANDO
Rating = *** +
Although this rating may seem kind of low compared to the others, it's high considering that Sea World Orlando only has two rides that I have gone on (I haven't been on Kraken), a simulator, and "Journey To Atlantis", which is probably one of the best log flumes in the world. Journey to Atlantis is a dark ride/water flume/roller coaster with excellent theming. Sea World is also a great place for education and shows. The price is also reasonable, compared to the other Florida park prices. However, it is hard to grade a park that only has a few rides, even if one is easily world class.
UNIVERSAL STUDIOS ESCAPE
Rating = *****
Universal Studios Escape refers to the original Universal Studios Theme Park and The New Islands of Adventure. The original park is very good, with many excellent simulator rides, including "Terminator 2 3-D" and "Back to the Future". However, the new Islands of Adventure Park puts the old one to shame. The Islands' two coasters (or three if you count Dueling Dragons as two) are both world-class, and every one of the five islands has very good theming. The ride that sets this park apart from all others, however, is "the Amazing Adventures of Spiderman". It is the most technologically advanced 3-D simulator ride on the planet, and is very fun. The Islands also have three spectacular water rides: Dudley Do-right's Ripsaw Falls, Popeye and Bluto's Bilge-rat Barges, and Jurassic Park River Adventure. It is no surprise that Islands of Adventure is often among the top elites on the Best Parks List, rivaled primarily by Busch Gardens and Cedar Point.
Rating = **** -
I barely remember Knoebel's since I went to it so long ago. But I remember that they had cheap pricing and good rides. I especially liked their haunted house and The Phoenix, which is often cosidered one of the world's best coasters. I am eager to go on Twister II, which looks incredible. So I am basing this grade on memory.
THE MAGIC KINGDOM
Rating = **** +
The Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World is a magical place where families can enjoy rides of all kinds. Though some may consider the park to be kiddieish, I think that it has excellent theming and The Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Space Mountain, The Haunted Mansion, and Splash Mountain are among the best of their kind in the world. Like Hersheypark, The Magic Kingdom is geared towards families. But it will always be one of the greatest travel destinations in the United States.
Rating = **** +
Epcot is an amazing combination of excellent restaurants, good rides, and wonderful theming. Most of the rides are in Future World, while the restaurants are in the World Showcase section of the park. The rides were very good when they first came out, and are still very good. But, compared to the other thrill rides out there like Millennium Force and Medusa, they don't seem to thrill you as much. The incredible, delicious restaurants are what separate Epcot from all other parks in the world, actually, in my opinion. They also have what is hands down the BEST laser light show on Earth, called Illuminations. When going to Disney World, Epcot is definitely a park you do not want to miss.
Rating = ****
Of all the Disney Parks, Disney-MGM Studios hands down has the most thrilling rides. Tower of Terror, Star Wars, and the New Rock n' Roller Coaster are all very good. Disney-MGM Studios also has very good restaurants. But the only thing there that has any of the magical feeling that Epcot and The Magic Kingdom have is the laserlight show, funtasmic, which is greatly shadowed by Epcot's Illuminations. Don't get me wrong, this is a very good park. But Disney seemd to outdo itself with Epcot and Magic Kingdom being my favorite two Disney Parks.
THE ANIMAL KINGDOM
Rating = ****
The Animal Kingdom is a little better than Disney-MGM Studios and a little worse than Epcot and Magic Kingdom, bu that's probably because it's newer. Countdown to Extinction is really cool, and It's Tough to be a Bug has very good theming. This place seems to be, like The Magic Kingdom, aimed towards families, so there aren't too many thrilling rides. The food here is good, but not as good as the other Disney Parks. Finally, the lines are sometimes long, since it's a new park. But I think The Animal Kingdom is off to a very good start.
Rating = **** -
Morey's Piers have many rides for the three small areas they are, including two semi-world-class roller coasters:The Great Nor'easter and The Great White. Morey's Piers also have several good mouse roller coasters. This park is very geared towards families, containing many games, shops, and arcades. But the only thing that keeps this from being perfect is the cost of rides. Many small rides are 3 or 4 tickets, roller coasters are 7 or 8, and tickets are 75 cents each, so each ride is between 2 and 6 dollars. So, if you go on The Great Nor'easter and The Great White twice each, that's $24. Pay double that at most parks, and you can go on the ride all day. So Morey's Piers is definitely not "pocketbook friendly", but it is fun to go to for 2 or 3 hours.
ASTROLAND - CONEY ISLAND
Rating = ****
At one of the most famous addresses in the world, 1000 Surf Avenue, you will find a great park. No, it's not any Six Flags or Busch park; this park is different. And not really in a bad way. Though Astroland gets a rating of a 4 in my book, that's only because I went on 2 rides. Those rides, though, were some of the top rides I've been on - the Cyclone, my number 10 coaster as of this writing, and the Wonder Wheel. Both of these rides greatly surpassed my expectations. While I was expecting the Cyclone to be unbearably rough, it was much smoother than I suspected. I also expected the Wonder Wheel to either be boring or very scary, and fortunately for someone who is afraid of ferris wheels, it was neither. Though it may not equal its glory days of the early 20th century, Coney Island is still a great day trip.
Rating = ***-
Well, I visited Rye Playland after I visited Coney Island. I was expecting it to be somewhat similar: not too many rides, but the ones they had would be great. Well it turns out that neither of them really came true. Most of the rides were not very good. One coaster was painful, while the other was really tame, offering one single moment of airtime throughout the whole ride. My favorite ride there would have to be the Derby Racers, followed by the Haunted House. For me not to like coasters best is pretty bad, which is why this park didn't receive a great rating from me. I realize that this park is geared towards families, and so they do not try to have many thrilling rides, but I think they should have at least one more coaster. Hopefully they'll add one soon.
SIX FLAGS AMERICA
Rating = ***** -
I went to Six Flags America in the summer of 2001. Though my hopes for this park were the lowest of the three on my summer trip (the other parks being Paramount's Kings Dominion and Busch Gardens Williamsburg), I was happily surprised. Superman: Ride of Steel is well within my top ten list, and Batwing put up serious competition for Nitro for the number 2 spot (it lost, but only by a slim, slim margin; that's quite a feat when you consider that Nitro is twice the height and a lot longer than Batwing =P ). Roar was an amazing, wicked wooden coaster, and Wild One was a great ride for my little brother. Two: Face, though extremely disorienting, was also a fun ride.
My only complaint about Six Flags America was that many of the flat rides were closed on my visit. Their coasters easily made up for it (even though Batwing was closed on the first day), however, and getting in free with a Six Flags season pass was a very good bargain. I hope to visit Six Flags America again someday, and I would encourage anyone who has not visited to go within the near future. You surely won't regret it!
PARAMOUNT'S KINGS DOMINION
Rating = ***** -
After Six Flags America, I was greatly looking forward to a trip to my first Paramount Park. I was definitely not disappointed.
Honestly, my first instincts led me to believe that the only ride that had the slightest chance of beating Nitro and Millennium Force was Hypersonic XLC. (This was before my incredible ride on Batwing). Hypersonic proved to be slightly disappointing, actually, but the launch of this ride is truly unbelievable. Flight of Fear was fantastic with the new lap bars, Grizzly was truly wild, and riding backwards on Rebel Yell was very...unique =P
The big surprise, however, was Volcano: The Blast Coaster. On my first day at King's Dominion, I went in the second to last seat of Volcano after a 1&1/2 hour line. I got off feeling like it was what I expected, but I greatly looked forward to a great ride on Hypersonic. However, when the end of my 2nd day was approaching, I decided to head over to Volcano for another ride. This time I had the incredible luck of getting on the front seat of the last car of the night. Since it was nearly pitch black out, this ride proved to be extraordinary in every way, and may well have been the best single ride of my vacation (I gave an edge to Batwing, though, for uniqueness). I still haven't forgotten that amazing ride to this day. Go to King's Dominion, get on Volcano and Hypersonic XLC, and you surely won't forget your trip either.
BUSCH GARDENS WILLIAMSBURG
Rating = *****
Busch Gardens Williamsburg was the final park in my "Mid-Atlantic Tour". I anticipated it to be by far the best of the parks, perhaps not in thrills but definitely in overall park experience. Honestly, I was slightly disappointed with Apollo's Chariot and
Loch Ness Monster. However, Alpengeist and Big Bad Wolf lived up to (if not exceeded) their fame, and the theming and scenery of the park (especially in the new Ireland section) were truly extraordinary.
Unlike King's Dominion and Six Flags America, Busch Gardens proved that you don't always need extremely fantastic roller coasters to have an amazing park. I'm not trying to say Busch Gardens' coasters were bad, because they weren't bad at all, but the park's great flat rides, calm transportation/tour rides (i.e. the train and the chairlift), and atmosphere were its actual strengths in my opinion. I went to Busch Gardens on a Friday and a Saturday during July, which I feared might have been a practically suicidal move and would lead to an awful time at the park. However, my two days in Busch Gardens rivaled the other two parks with ease, and so I give this fantastic park a rating of 5 stars.
Rating = ****
I went to Dorney Park for the first time in August of 2001, eager to try their newest coaster, Talon. I went their with the common belief that Dorney was almost always completely empty, almost like a ghost town of parks compared to the crowds often seen at Great Adventure. However, it took about 45 minutes just to get in to the park. Not a good sign.
Luckily, Dorney's rides changed my viewpoint of the park completely. The infamous Hercules was not nearly as bad as I thought it would be; Talon was fantastic in the front and aweomse in the back too. Steel Force, though the lowest-ranking of all my hyper-coaster rides, was a smooth, fun ride, and Laser, Dominator, and Thunderhawk all proved to exceed my expectations. A few things bugged me a little bit while at Dorney, such as the one-train operation on Thunderhawk and Hercules, but I greatly enjoyed the fun, family atmosphere of the park. If Dorney gets a few more great thrills like Talon and Steel Force, I foresee it becoming among the top destination spots on the East Coast.