Summer is practically upon us, which means that theme parks are opening and new rides are being introduced. If you’re a coaster enthusiast, you want to ride EVERY roller coaster at the park you’re visiting… as many times as possible! But to do so, you will want to have a strategy in place before you even arrive at the park. Nothing is more frustrating to a thrill junkie than losing ride time.
1. Do your homework!
Before you even leave home, check out the website of the park you are visiting. Many will post the park map, which will give you the lay of the land before you even arrive. Find out where the coasters are located, along with any rides you want to visit. For big parks like Cedar Point and the Six Flags parks, being prepared before you visit is going to really save you time when you get there.
2. Be at the park when it opens.
If your favorite park is schedule to open at 10 a.m., be there, tickets in hand, at 9:15. Many parks will open their doors early to relieve congestion in their front gate areas. Even though you may be held in an entrance plaza, at least you’re in the park and at the front of the crowd once the park officially opens.
3. Start at the back of the park.
Yes, it’s tempting to blaze a trail to the newest coaster or to those near the front entrance. However, everybody else is going to do that. By going directly to the big coasters at the farthest side of the park, you’ll be guaranteed of a couple good rides before the remainder of the crowd makes its way back there.
4. Take a break at mid-day.
During the busiest part of the summer – weekdays in late July and early August, and every weekend – the park will reach critical mass by early afternoon. Lines are going to be long, especially on the mega-coasters and other thrill rides. This is a good time to take a break from your pursuit of coasters and enjoy an air-conditioned show, grab some lunch or even take in some of the lazier rides like the train. By early evening, the families with young kids and the out-of-towners will start trickling home, giving you more opportunity to enjoy some rides with shorter lines.
5. Stay until the park closes.
It makes for a long day, but coaster enthusiasts are a fanatical bunch! By the time the park closes at 10 or 11 p.m., crowds will have dwindled dramatically, giving you the chance to jump on a couple of coasters in your last minutes there. If you’re having a great time, be sure to tell the ride attendants – at the end of the day, they might just let you ride continuously if there are no lines!
So, coaster fiends, be prepared and pace yourself! A little reverse psychology will help you get in extra rides. Be ready for a long and fulfilling day… and an extended adrenaline rush!