Do you have a "local park" you go to (not Disney/Universal)?

When I lived up in Maryland, we were maybe 20 minutes away from a Six Flags park. When I lived a little farther south in Virginia, I was 45 minutes away from Busch Gardens and an hour or so away from Kings Dominion. It occurred to me that I never spent time at any of those. My dad talks about going to Cedar Point in his youth, but I wonder about other people who have a “local park”. Do you go to it only when you know you can’t make a Disney trip or is it something you go to just because it’s a worthwhile experience? Or, like me, do you think that there’s no way the “local park” could compare and just skip it all together?

And for those who do go to their “local park”, what is it?

We used to and it was small but a local landmark until politics and underhandedness ran it out of town. Now our closest one is Frontier City in OKC which is a major line fest, they have no idea about park design. Beyond that there is Six Flags over Texas which I haven’t been to in forever because it again it seems like all you do is spend all day in line, and Worlds of Fun in KC which, last time I went, did a great job of queue management.

We have a season pass for Six Flags New England this year, which was called Riverside when I was a kid. (My kids hate it when I call it that, lol, like when I call DHS “MGM”.) We also have a smaller but still fun park called Lake Compounce near us that we may do season passes for next year. We like rides, so we are willing to overlook the fact that it’s a very poor substitute for WDW. So long as we go with proper expectations, we can enjoy it. The crowds, staff, and cleanliness all fall far below Disney standards. I am probably a snob, but there is a just a certain vibe in the crowd that is a bit on the trashy side.

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Yep, we absolutely love Knoebels in Elysburg PA. It’s about 2 1/2 hours from us. It’s very family friendly (they even let you bring dogs in the park), clean and just great for a day trip. We are going this Saturday in fact.

Another great thing about it is you don’t have to pay to get in. You only pay for the rides you want or you can get an all day bracelet. What we usually do is get a bracelet for my son and then my husband and I just get tickets because we take turns going on things with him.


We are season pass holders at Six Flags over Texas although we haven’t gone much lately.

I love local parks- but they aren’t vacations. We are at the boardwalk constantly. We’ve done storybook land every summer. Sesame place was fun-but my kids weren’t that excited about Elmo. We are planning on hershey soon. Dorney and six flags will be fun but we haven’t done them with the kids yet. We have a bunch of waterparks nearby too. I think it just keeps things exciting for the gap days in between school and camp!

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Agree. Boardwalk etc are fabulous but soo different :slight_smile:

Dolly wood for us. Love the atmosphere, shows (different for different seasons), rides, shops (many crafters who have been there for years) and mountain scenery. We have season passes.


Elitch Gardens in Denver. We’ve been a few times but it is no WDW! I believe that both DS and I developed our aversion to ever riding ToT because we rode the Tower of Doom at this park. :cry:

We usually take our oldest to Fiesta Texas at least once a year. Not much for the little ones to do there though. We absolutely love Schlitterbaun (waterpark) and will go for 2 to 3 days every summer.

We live 15 mins from Carowinds & have a season pass. Horrible theming & definitely not Disney. However it has some amazing rollercoasters & a pretty fun waterpark.

Hershey Park. It is less than an hour from our house. I had a season pass last year and went up several times. The rest of my family purchased passes again for this year. I have been too busy working to get up there yet this year. The coasters are great but it certainly isn’t Disney.

I’ve also been to Knoebels which isn’t too far away. It is a great park.

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Dh and I have a week without the kids (they are at “granny camp” lol) and are considering spur of moment trip to kings dominion for a day or maybe 2 since we couldnt swing a disney trip this time Any suggestions for the day? Places to stay (prefer nicer over cheaper since this is vacation replacement)? Thanks! Haven’t been to kd in about 20 years…

Our local park, Kentucky Kingdom just re opened this year after being closed for 5 years. We bought our season paesses and have more than got our money’s worth. We spend most of our time at the water park.
There isn’t any theming. They have the lowest capacity and slowest loading rides ever, but a nice kiddie area with tons of dumbo-ish rides. Sitting on my bench now while the littlest ride to their hearts content

Another dollywood.


Dollywood! They just added a resort hotel opening in 2015, and an ANNUAL PASS literally costs less than a ONE DAY ticket for Disney! They add new rides every year or two, and being a headliner new ride doesn’t mean you need to be a teenager with a stomach of iron to ride. Wonderful live and theater shows most of which change every year! Tennessee weather is mild most of the year and waiting lines are just not comparable to Orlando. Dollywood goes through several “Themes” during the year with different shows, decorations, music, food, etc. Festival of Nations, Barbeque and Bluegrass, Great American Summer, National Southern Gospel & Harvest Celebration, and Smokey Mountain Christmas all have a different “Feel” and make return trips really worthwhile. Festival of Nations is my favorite, with a close second being WinterFest with over 2 million LED lights and Christmas themed shows. Dollywood itself is also just the tip of the iceberg! MILES of attractions have grown up around Dollywood in Pidgeon Forge and it’s just a few minutes to Gatlinberg which has another set of stuff to see and do including the amazing Ripleys Aquarium! You could spend a week-long vacation in the area without even setting foot in Dollywood itself. A lot of people I know who live here get season passes every-other year, and go 4+ times each time they get a pass. Touring Plans staff please do yourself a favor - come to Dollywood/Pidgeon Forge/Gatlinberg for a week and see that there really is life beyond Disney/Universal!


We have season passes to Six Flags Great America new Chicago. We are only about 30 minutes away. It is a cheap form of entertainment as season passes were only $70 per person for the season. The kids enjoy the carnival type rides. Last year, my son started riding the big coasters too. We avoid eating there as the food is awful so we usually just go for part of a day. I went there a lot as a child so it is a good combination of good memories and a good way to spend some summer time together. We take it as that and don’t compare it to Disney.

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We have Magic Springs. A small-medium sized park with some decent rides and a pretty good water park. Silver Dollar City is about 3 hours away and is probably the best in the region.

I grew up near King’s Island near Cincinnati. We went often. In college, I was relatively close to King’s Dominion in Virginia. Now, we’re an hour away from a Six Flags, but I’ve never been. Too focused on Disney!

We live within an hour’s drive of Dollywood, so we are season pass holder to both Dollywood and the sister water park Splash Country. Season passes pay for themselves with two trips and a gold pass offers free parking and a 20% discount on food and merchandise. We try to get to Splash Country once a week in the summer and Dollywood at least once a season. Lately, they’ve offered Dollywood nights in the summer with a later close time so we can spend all day at Splash staying cool and head over to Dollywood for a few evening rides and terrific fireworks. It really is a great park and I can’t wait to see the new resort this summer. Although the size and scope aren’t Disney, the quality certainly is on par. The theming is all “country mountain” and it works well in the beauty of the Smoky Mountains. We feel very lucky to have a high quality park in our “backyard,” it helps me cope with our every other Orlando trips.