With some of the largest expansions in theme park history and a year packed with new sporting venues and events, Orlando – Theme Park Capital of the World SM – is ramping up for another landmark year of new reasons to visit.
Six Flags parks around the USA will be offering Holiday in the Park, a celebration of the season on select days from November 19 to January 2.
In honor of autumn, 10 Best set out to find the best seasonal attractions: haunted houses, corn mazes, covered bridges, beautiful college campuses and escape rooms.
Every year, the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) rounds up visitor information from the top theme and amusement parks, giving us one of the sole measures in the industry of how each park does compared to its competitors. Click through the gallery to see the top parks, along with how many visitors each had in 2015, then read on for more analysis or compare them to last year’s rankings.
If you are planning a vacation before the kids go back to school, then I have the destination for you. The Drury Inn and Suites Orlando has everything that you could want when you are away from home. We were lucky enough to stay there just last week while traveling through the Orlando, Florida area.
The hotel is very easy to find as it is literally right off of the interstate. After driving for many hours this was a welcome site. We were greeted by the friendly staff as soon as we entered the lobby. Chris at the front desk was extremely helpful as he explained the amenities and how the nearby attraction shuttle service worked. The check-in process was smooth and quick. We found a parking space in the large lot (parking is free), got our bags, and dropped them off in the room.
What a nice surprise to see that spacious room! There was an amazingly comfortable bed (I need to get that mattress for my house), a work station area, and a large bathroom. Because we checked in around 6 pm, we were able to enjoy “Kickback” in the lobby area. We were given drink tickets for the bar and were able to eat from the free buffet. On that night they were serving baked potatoes, pasta, hot dogs, salad, and more. This is a definite perk! There were plenty of tables and the staff was helpful and friendly.
After enjoying “Kickback” we decided to use the free shuttle to Universal Studios Florida. The bus arrived right on time literally steps from the front door and the ride was only about 5 minutes. This was so much easier than driving ourselves. Because the buses are actually scheduled, there is no guessing when it might roll in. We used the free shuttle to return to the Drury Inn and Suites Orlando at the end of the night. It was a bit crowded, but manageable.
After a great night sleep (did I mention the awesome mattress), we headed downstairs for the free breakfast buffet. This was more than your typical hotel breakfast. There were hot items like scrambled eggs, waffles, sausage, and breakfast potatoes plus cereal, bagels, and more. Again there were plenty of tables to choose from. This was a terrific way to start the day.
Our stay at the Drury Inn and Suites Orlando was all that we expected and more. We have stayed at Drury hotels in the Midwest, but this was our first time using Drury Inn and Suites Orlando. I highly recommend it if you are traveling with the family, for business, or for a romantic getaway. You won’t be disappointed.
*We were provided a complimentary night’s stay during our review.
Heading to the East Coast? Not sure where to stay? Well, if you are going to the New Jersey/New York area, I have to recommend THE KENILWORTH in Kenilworth, NJ. Just 30 minutes from New York City, this is the perfect location for exploring the area. Literally right off of the Garden State Parkway, THE KENILWORTH was easy to find. (This was especially important for us after driving for 14 hours from the Midwest.)
When we entered the hotel we were greeted by the friendly staff. The lobby has a modern feel to it. It was very clean and sharp looking.
There is a lobby lounge that was quite inviting after a long drive. We were pleasantly surprised to be given 2 drink vouchers for The Trellis Bar. That was a nice perk for sure.
Parking was very convenient with plenty of spaces on both sides of the building. Our room was spacious with 2 beds, a small refrigerator, microwave, and television. The bathroom was very elegant.
We were personally impressed because we love the look of tile floor that looks like hardwood. It certainly had a modern style to it as well.
THE KENILWORTH also has banquet and meeting rooms, a business center, fitness center, and a laundry room. Because of its close proximity to New York City and the Newark International Airport, you simply cannot go wrong with a stay at THE KENILWORTH. A quick drive will take you to some of the most iconic tourist attractions in the United States.
Check out http://www.kenilworthinn.com to learn about various packages that can make your stay even more memorable. Try THE KENILWORTH…you won’t be disappointed.
Going into my relationship with my girlfriend, I could tell that there were many differences in the ways we were brought up. Most notably of which was the issue of Disney Parks versus Six Flags. She was surprised that it had been about 11 years since my last trip to Disneyworld, and I was surprised that she had never been to a Six Flags park. We each did the right thing and helped the other experience an integral part of our childhood enjoyment.
However, it wasn’t just the difference of which theme parks we went to as kids that set us apart, but also the methodology of which we took the trip. Her family had a very leisurely way of doing Disney, which involved staying at one of the many resorts in Orlando and getting Park Hopper passes for the whole trip. My trips were taken over the course of one day, taking every precaution to minimize cost and jam pack as much activity into the time frame as humanly possible. This was the approach that I tried to implement in our recent adventure to Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, Illinois.
To start, I thought I would quickly list off some tips I have for a Six Flags daytrip. We had the fortune of planning our visit on a Monday in the hopes of beating any large crowds that often gather on weekends. We left at 7:00 am to make the 3 and a half hour drive to the park that opens at 10:30. We showed up early so as to secure a parking spot close to the entrance. We packed our own food and snacks to leave in the car. By doing this, we could exit, eat and reenter without spending money on food inside. Simple things like fresh fruits, peanut butter sandwiches and chips work perfectly. We carefully scoped out lines all over the park and picked the ones that would have a reasonable wait time. We picked the overcast parts of the day to wait in lines with less shade. All these actions helped to optimize our time, and I’m sure they will do the same for you.
That being said, it’s time to talk about the park itself. Without a doubt the biggest attraction there right now is Goliath. This new wooden roller coaster recently set 3 different records, including for longest and steepest drop. This was our first coaster of the day, and the line was stretching even out of the front gate of the ride. We were surprised at how quickly the line progressed, so much that we only waited about 20 minutes for what we thought would be a 45 minute wait. It was an insane experience that actually turned out to be her favorite of the day. This thriller is a must try for everybody this summer, but only if you have what it takes to conquer the giant.
We then went on to experience all the other roller coasters of the park, including the old mainstays such as American Eagle, Batman, Raging Bull (my personal favorite) and many others. Our focus this trip was trying out every roller coaster, and we definitely managed that in one day. Now trying to fit in all the other rides in that span is a bit of a tall order, so maybe we’ll save that for another time. If you were planning on trying out every ride in one day, it would probably be in your best interest to invest in a Flash Pass, especially if you go on a weekend. It really comes in handy in the afternoon when most lines are longer.
The park closes at 8 pm, but after an eventful day, we decided to beat the rush and left at 7:30. The tradition in my childhood is that the entire group would go to a nice restaurant for dinner before making the drive home. We were fortunate enough to discover Mama K’s Pizza and Grille a mere 3 minute drive from the parking lot and had a tasty and affordable meal in a family friendly environment with a great atmosphere. Thus was a perfect punctuation on a fun and thrill packed day.
To plan your Six Flags experience at any of the 18 locations, go to www.sixflags.com. Season passes and discounts are also available now for the 4th of July weekend. Also coming up in September and October is Fright Fest, where huge scares and deals on admission can be found every weekend. Go online and plan your trip today!
The National Park Service turns 100 in August, but festivities marking the milestone are already underway around the country in many parks, historic sites and, yes, airports.