EPCOT

If you are ever in the Orlando area, then one amusement park that you may wish to visit is Epcot.  Epcot is part of the Walt Disney World theme parks and it is located on Walt Disney World Resort property in Bay Lake, Florida.  This park has been opened since October 1, 1982 and, as with all of the Disney parks, visitors are welcome any day of the year.  Epcot was the second of the Disney theme parks to open, following the Magic Kingdom.  Approximately 13 million guests visit Epcot annually.

The Epcot park is divided into two main sections.  The two sections are called the Future World and the World Showcase.  Future World includes the main entrance to Epcot, as this is where the Disney World monorail arrives with many of the park guests.  Spaceship Earth is also located in the Future World.  Inside the Spaceship Earth, visitors can enjoy an easy ride as they learn about the history of innovation.  In fact, most of the pavilions in Future World are dedicated to innovation, human interactions, advances in technology, and science concepts, too.

Guests can then adventure on to the World Showcase, where they can delve into the distinct cultures of 11 different countries.  In the center of the World Showcase lies the World Showcase lagoon, and around the lagoon, visitors can stroll through varying pavilions representing the countries of Canada, United Kingdom, France, Morocco, Japan, United States, Italy, Germany, China, Norway, and Mexico.  Each pavilion showcases the history, the culture, and the atmosphere of the country that is being represented.  Many pavilions are staffed with people that are from the country they represent, which makes each pavilion seem more authentic and interesting.  Regional foods are often served inside the pavilions, as well as retail establishments, historical data, and sometimes an interactive ride for guests to enjoy, too.

Epcot is host to a number of annual festivals that helps to attract visitors to the park.  Some of the festivals include; the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival, the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, the Epcot International Festival of the Arts, and the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays.  New Year’s Eve is also a very popular time in Epcot, as guests can enjoy unique entertainment and celebrations to help ring in the new year.

There are several hotels that are close to the Epcot park, although any hotel within the Walt Disney World Resort provides easy transportation to Epcot for all of the guests.  Some of the hotels that are in close proximity to Epcot include: Disney’s Riviera Resort, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, and Disney’s Port Orleans Resort.  From many of the resorts that are in close proximity to Epcot, guests may be able to spot the iconic Spaceship Earth or maybe even see Epcot’s nightly IllumiNations show and fireworks.

Epcot is definitely an interesting park, where one can experience the culture of many different countries, all within a short 1.2 mile walk around the World Showcase lagoon.  Visitors can also delve into the realm of human achievements and learn about the innovations that make life simpler for all of us, as can be found in the Future World section of the park.  Visitors can easily spend a full day, or two, learning and seeing all of the different things that Epcot has to offer.  Epcot is certainly a favorite among Walt Disney World fans.

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Kings Dominion

Kings Dominion is located between Washington, DC and Richmond, VA, in the smaller town of Doswell, VA.  It is an amusement park that is easily accessible to residents along the east coast, as well as travelers who are driving through the area.  This 400-acre park opened in 1975 and is owned by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company.  Kings Dominion has a “sister” park called Kings Island, which is located in Mason, Ohio.

As guests enter the main entrance of Kings Dominion, they are greeted by a 320-foot water feature called the International Street Fountain and a replica of the Eiffel Tower.  The Kings Dominion Eiffel Tower is 1/3 the size of the actual Eiffel Tower that is located in Paris, France.  Guests at Kings Dominion can have an amazing view from the observation deck of the park’s Eiffel Tower.  Underneath the Eiffel Tower, guests can be entertained with a variety of shows and musical events on the Grande Bandstand.

Kings Dominion is divided up into several different sections, such as; International Street, Old Virginia, Planet Snoopy, Candy Apple Grove, and Safari Village.  Additionally, a 20-acre water park can also be found in Kings Dominion, and admission to the water park, called Soak City, is included in the price of the park’s general admission.  Soak City is open from the end of May until September and guests can bask in the sun as they play in the water park’s wave pools or on a variety of water slides.

For roller coaster enthusiasts, Kings Dominion is home to a dozen different roller coasters.  The newest one is called Twisted Timbers and opened in 2018.  This roller coaster is 112 feet tall and reaches a maximum speed of 54 mph.  Twisted Timbers is a unique roller coaster because it is part wooden structure and part steel.  The tallest and fastest roller coaster in the park is called the Intimidator 305 and was built in 2010.  This roller coaster can reach speeds up to 90 mph and, you guessed it, it is 305 feet in height.  One interesting roller coaster, that you may want to check out, is called the Anaconda, which is located in the Safari Village section of the park.  This roller coaster runs partially underneath Lake Charles, through an underwater tunnel.  It opened in 1991, is 128 feet tall, and reaches speeds of 50 mph.

Kings Dominion opens every year in the Spring and operates regularly until September.  Additionally, Kings Dominion offers seasonal events, such as Halloween Haunt and WinterFest.  These fall and winter celebrations run mainly on the weekends through October, November, and December, as well as on New Year’s Eve, before the park takes a few months’ winter break between January to March.

Visitors of Kings Dominion can find many hotels in the area, for which to enjoy their stay close to the park.  Several hotels even offer free shuttle service to the Kings Dominion amusement park, so you will have no worries about traffic or parking fees.

Kings Dominion operates under the slogan of “It’s Amazing In Here”, and it truly is an amusement park that has a little bit of something for everyone.

This post is sponsored by Fredericksburg Pressure Washing.

Best Rides at Universal Park, Orlando, FL

Universal Orlando Resort is one of the most popular theme parks in the world. Based in Orlando, Florida, Universal is known for its incredible selection of heart-pumping rides. If you’re planning a trip to Universal Park in Orlando, be sure to grab a seat on some of the following best rides.

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

You can find Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter area of Islands of Adventure. The motion-based dark ride enters through the towering castle gates and then through the corridors and passageways of the infamous Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. You will then have the chance to soar high above the castle grounds with Harry and his friends.

Revenge of the Mummy

The Revenge of the Mummy Ride at Universal is an enclosed roller coaster that will leave you on the edge of your seat as you try to flee from the evil mummy. During the ride, you can expect the mummy to toss a variety of objects your way, from swarms of insects to fire balls. The ride feels so real you’ll believe that you’re actually in a horror film.

Despicable Me Minion Mayhem

Even if you don’t have kids in tow, you’re likely to be entertained by the Despicable Me Minion Mayhem ride. The computer-animated simulator ride at Universal Park begins in Gru’s home where you become an actual Minion. You’ll then go on an adventure through a villain’s laboratory with Margo, Edith, Agnes, and Gru racing along with you.

Men in Black Alien Attack

If you love the films, then you’ll enjoy the Men in Black Alien Attack ride at Universal. The interactive shooting game is based off of the 1997 movie and has been a fixture at Universal Park since 2000. During the ride, it will be your mission to shoot aliens with your laser gun. But be warned, they do zap back which can cause your car to go out of control.

Transformers: The Ride 3D

Experience the adventure of a lifetime while on Transformers: The Ride 3D. In the ride, you will need to help save planet Earth from Megatron and his Decepticons. To do this, you’ll go onboard your N*E*S*T vehicle and get help from Bumblebee and Optimus Prime.

Skull Island: Reign of Kong

You can find this next ride at Islands of Adventure. Based on the 2005 King Kong movie, the ride takes you on a journey into the jungle where prehistoric predators await. To get to the end of the ride you will need to brave the many dangers ahead of you and determine if the massive ape is your friend or foe.

Visiting Universal Park in Orlando, FL

Whether you’re excited to see The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure or any of the other top rides, you’re sure to have a memorable day at Universal Park. Be sure to arrive early so that you don’t miss out on a chance to go on all the best rides.

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Guide to Six Flags America in Maryland

A time like this last year, I decided to take some time off my roof installation duties to see what Six Flags America in Maryland has for tourists and families. The experience was exhilarating and worth one to write about. There are plenty of rides and activities your family can enjoy while visiting Six Flags America. Let’s have a deeper look at what’s available to explore.

Address and Driving Directions

Six Flags America is located on Route 214, Central Avenue, which is approximately five miles from I-495. It is a 30 min drive from downtown Washington, D.C. If you are coming from Baltimore and the Areas North, you may take I-695 to Exit 4, 1-97 South. Follow I-97 south to Exit 7,  then Route 3 South towards Crofton. Route 3 will become Route 301 South at the Route 50 intersection. Stay on Route 301 South for about five miles then Exit onto Route 214 West, Central Avenue.

What’s in Six Flags America

Six Flags America in, Maryland, has a lot to offer with 100 rides and shows and is the biggest water park in the Washington, D.C area. The amusement park has a couple of roller coasters such as Joker’s Jinx, Wild One and Superman Ride of Steel. Family rides include the Penguin’s Blizzard River, the Great Race and the traditional Tea Cups.

Roller Coasters

A visit to Six Flags America will have you experience the best of roller coasters. The height requirements vary for each roller coaster, with the rides requiring children varying. The best you can do is to check the specific guidelines that are posted at the entrance to each ride. There are tones one family rides that your small ones will enjoy, as well as attractions for daredevils who are looking for a thrilling adventure.

Shows & Trip Planning

Once you get at Six Flags America, you will find park maps available on Main Street as soon as you enter the park. They are also available at Guest Relations. You may visit the various pages on their website to find information on all their rides, shows and attractions, as well as local lodging.

There is nothing that provides a more lasting experience and memory than a great show. There are lots of musical performances with a wide range of memorable entertainments. For shows, you may visit their concert listing, entertainment page and events calendar. Performances are added throughout the season so be sure to check often.

Best Time to Visit

Every day is a great day to visit! However, if you are worried about long lines and crowds, you can plan to visit the park when attendance is not very high. Best would be weekdays during the summer or any other regular operating day during April, May, September and October.

For a good experience, ensure you buy tickets in advance. Purchasing a season’s pass will save on time and money. Visit on a weekday as the park is most crowded on weekends and public holidays. Arrive early to get the most out of your day.

Cedar Point

Cedar Point amusement park is located in Sandusky, Ohio, and it is the second oldest amusement park in the United States.  It follows behind Lake Compounce amusement park by 24 years; Lake Compounce opened in 1946 and Cedar Point opened in 1870.  The amusement park chain, Cedar Fair Entertainment Company, owns and operates Cedar Point, which the company claims as being their flagship amusement park.  Cedar Point is a 364-acre, interesting park that is filled with rich history, award-winning thrill rides, beautiful scenery, and so much more.

Visitors can enjoy Cedar Point from early May until early September, as well as on select weekends in October and early November, as part of a Halloween/Fall celebration called HalloWeekends.  On an annual basis, more than 3.5 million people visit Cedar Point.

Cedar Point, often referred to as “America’s Roller Coast”, has a whopping 17 roller coasters, which ranks the park as number two in the world for the number of roller coasters in a single amusement park.  The park with the most roller coasters is Six Flags Magic Mountain, which is located in Valencia, California, and has 19 roller coasters.  Cedar Point is unique in that six of its’ roller coasters are more than 199 feet tall, making it the only park in the world with that significant distinction.  Steel Vengeance is the name of the newest roller coaster located in Cedar Point.  It opened in 2018 and is 205 feet tall, with a maximum speed of 74 mph.  The oldest roller coaster in Cedar Point is called Blue Streak.  It is a wooden roller coaster and reaches 78 feet tall and goes approximately 40 mph.  Blue Streak was built in 1964.  Certainly, if you are a roller coaster fan, then Cedar Point is a great amusement park for you to visit.

While at Cedar Point, guests have a variety of places to stay, including the historic Hotel Breakers.  This hotel was built in 1905 and was most recently expanded in 1997.  Hotel Breakers has over 500 guest rooms and suites for guest to choose from, and this hotel lies in closest proximity to Cedar Point.  There are several other hotels available in the area, as well as RV parks and campgrounds, too.

Cedar Point amusement park is located on a peninsula that jets out into Lake Erie.  Also located on the peninsula is an outdoor water park called Cedar Point Shores, a mile long white-sand beach, an indoor water park called Castaway Bay, and a sports complex called Cedar Point Sports Center.  With so many things to do in very close proximity, visitors will not have a shortage of interesting things to do and see.  Cedar Point amusement park has 72 different rides and attractions for guests to enjoy, and the rides cover all different levels of thrills and excitement.  Additionally, Cedar Point was named “the Best Amusement Park in the World”, by Amusement Today, every single year from 1997-2013.  This is definitely a park that is worth a trip, if you are an amusement park enthusiast, a history buff, or someone who is looking for a family-friendly place to visit and explore.

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Dollywood

Whether or not you are a fan of country music, and in particular, country music legend Dolly Parton, you can still find plenty of things to enjoy about the award-winning amusement park, Dollywood.  Located in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, Dollywood is an amusement park that is suitable for people of all ages.  The park offers a variety of things to do and see, and it is located in a beautiful region of the Great Smoky Mountains, too.  Visitors can spend the day exploring Dollywood, while eating delicious foods, enjoying entertaining shows, or riding some very thrilling amusement rides.

The theme park Dollywood opened on May 3rd, 1986.  Prior to the park opening as Dollywood, the same location was home to a number of other parks, as well.  The land was first used as an amusement park called Rebel Railroad, which opened in 1961.  Other names, and owners of the park land, followed in the next 25 years, until Dolly Parton joined the ownership with the Herschend family, and together, they created what is now known as Dollywood.

Dollywood welcomes approximately 3 million visitors every year.  The park is open from mid-March until the beginning of the New Year, and is closed through most of January, February, and the first part of March.  The park’s calendar is available online, for those who wish to plan their visit.

“Love Every Moment” is Dollywood’s general slogan.  The amusement park is divided into several different sections, including; Showstreet, where guests can enjoy a show at one of the park’s theaters or a visit to the Southern Gospel Museum and Hall of Fame, Jukebox Junction, which is home to the world’s fastest wooden-framed roller coaster known as Lightning Rod, and Wildwood Grove, which just opened in 2019 and is the newest section of the park.

Many festivals are held annually in the Dollywood amusement park, too.  Some of the festivals that visitors can enjoy include; the Festival of Nations, that is held in the springtime and highlights a variety of many different cultures, Summer Celebration, which showcases nightly performances and fireworks during the summer months, and Smoky Mountain Christmas, which boosts over 5 million holiday lights and many different holiday performances, as well.

The Dollywood amusement park also has a “sister” park that is called Dollywood’s Splash Country.  Splash Country is a water park that boasts water-themed rides, such as; a wave pool called Mountain Waves, a lazy river, and a variety of water slides.  The water park is opened during the warmer months of the year, from mid-May to Labor Day in early September.

In 2015, a resort opened adjacent to the water park; it is called, appropriately, Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa.  It is a beautiful resort that is home to 299 guest rooms, inviting swimming pools, gathering places around firepits and natural areas, and a spa that welcomes guests, ages 12 and older.  Throughout the Dollywood property, guests can also find lodging at Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Cabins, which is a pleasing choice for families and/or large groups.

As you can see, the Pigeon Forge area of Tennessee has a lot more to offer Dollywood fans than just an ordinary amusement park.  Dollywood is a place for all people to find something of interest and thrill, and you can easily find lodging and other entertainment venues on the Dollywood property, too.  Dollywood is unlike any other amusement park, and is certainly worth a visit, if you are in the Smoky Mountain region of Tennessee.

Legoland Florida Resort

If you are looking for a unique amusement park that is geared towards the younger crowd, then LEGOLAND Florida Resort may be the perfect place for you.  Legoland is located in Winter Haven, Florida, and it is uniquely geared towards young children ages 2-12, although it is an amusement park that can be enjoyed by everyone.

Legoland opened in the fall of 2011.  It is the second largest amusement park of its’ type, with the largest Legoland being Legoland Windsor, which is located in the United Kingdom.  In addition to the U.K., Legoland parks can be found in Denmark, Japan, Germany, Malaysia, Dubai, and two in the United States (California and Florida).  Legoland Florida Resort is open on a year-round basis, and welcomes many visitors every year.

Did you know that the original Lego brick was the creation of Ole Kirk Christiansen, who was a carpenter that lived in Denmark during the early 1900’s?  The word “Lego” is actually derived from a Danish phrase that translates to “play well”.  The original Lego was made of wood; however, in the late 1940’s, wood was replaced with plastic, and this was the beginning of the Lego bricks that we know today.  Fast forward a few decades, and your childhood imagination of life-size Lego buildings can come to life, when you visit an entire theme park created on the basis of Lego toys.

Legoland Florida Resort consists of 150 acres, in this central Florida community.  Prior to the opening of the Legoland park, the land was used as the theme park Cypress Gardens.  Some of the iconic botanical gardens that existed in Cypress Gardens are still maintained in the Legoland Resort.  In addition to the Legoland amusement park, guests can also enjoy the Legoland Water Park, The Legoland Hotel, and the Legoland Beach Retreat.

Legoland amusement park is currently divided into fourteen different sections.  Each section has its’ own theme, such as; Duplo Valley, Lego Ninjago World, The Lego Movie World, Lego City, Lego Technic, and Imagination Zone.  Guests can find over fifty different rides, shows, and attractions to enjoy, as well as many dining options and shopping destinations within the park, too.

The Legoland Water Park opened in spring of 2012.  Admission to the water park is purchased separately from general admission to Legoland, although a general admission ticket must be purchased with a water park ticket.  Guests can enjoy water slides, splash pads, a lazy river, and a wave pool while visiting the Legoland Water Park.

Legoland hotel opened in 2015 and boasts 152 creative, interesting rooms and suites for guests to enjoy.  The rooms are decorated with varying Lego themes and Lego designs can be found throughout the hotel.  For example, floating in the hotel swimming pool, one can find large Lego bricks stationed in the water for guests to swim around, climb on, and play with, as they bask in the warm sun and frolic in the cool water.

Legoland Beach Retreat is another accommodation place that guests may wish to investigate.  The Beach Retreat just opened in 2017 and boasts 166 guest rooms, as well as 83 freestanding huts for guests to rent for the duration of their stay.  The Legoland Beach Retreat is situated along the banks of Lake Dexter.

Legoland Florida Resort is owned and operated by Merlin Entertainments and the park is proud to say that their resort slogan is “Built for Kids”.  Legoland Florida Resort is certainly unlike other amusement parks and can be a true treasure for Lego enthusiasts, kids-at-heart, and young people, too.

Carowinds

Carowinds is an interesting amusement park because the premises of the park straddle the state line between North Carolina and South Carolina.  Although the official mailing address is in Charlotte, NC, part of the park lies in Fort Mill, SC, too.  In fact, one of the three original rides in the park called the Carolina Goldrusher, which is a roller coaster, crosses over the state line and roller coaster riders can ride through two states while on the same ride.

Carowinds has been opened since the Spring of 1973.  It is currently owned by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company.  Approximately 2 million people visit the park every year and the park operates annually from early Spring through the end of the year.  Carowinds is closed in January, February, and most of March.

Of all of the rides and attractions in Carowinds, only three rides are still operational from that first day in 1973.  They include the previously mentioned Carolina Goldrusher, The Scrambler (which is an amusement park classic ride), and the Carolina Skytower.  This Skytower is 262 feet tall and is a Gyro observation tower that takes guests way above the park, and enables them to have amazing views of the entirety of Carowinds, views of the Charlotte skyline, and 360-degree views of everything else around them.

The slogan that Carowinds operates with states, “Where the Carolinas come together”.  The convenient location of Carowinds allows the park to provide local residents and travelers the opportunity to enjoy this exciting destination.  It is located just off of Interstate 77, which makes it easily accessible for anyone.

In addition to the amusement park, Carowinds also has a 27-acre waterpark called Carolina Harbor.  During the warm season, Carolina Harbor is included in the entrance fee for Carowinds.  Guests of the waterpark can enjoy a wave pool, a variety of water slides, a lazy river, and several splash areas, too.

Attendees of the park can enjoy a mix of yummy foods, entertaining shows, and thrill rides of all levels.  If you aim to pump up your adrenaline levels, then perhaps a ride on the Fury 325 is the ride for you.  This roller coaster currently ranks as the sixth fastest one in the world, and it is Carowinds’ tallest ride thus far, at a height of 325 feet.  For the attendee who likes things a little calmer, then perhaps a ride on The Grand Carousel or the Carolina Skytower is more your speed.

Towards the end of 2019, a SpringHill Suites by Marriott opened on the premises of Carowinds, becoming the first on-site hotel for the park.  There are also other hotels in close proximity, as well as RV parks and camping grounds, too.

For seasonally-interested customers, Carowinds offers an annual Halloween/Fall celebration called SCarowinds.  SCarowinds is held during the evening hours in the fall and is when the goblins and scary entertainers attempt to spook park guests.  During the day, a calmer, kid-friendly event is held called The Great Pumpkin Fest.  Carowinds also offers a celebration called Winterfest for those people interested in Winter/Holiday-themed festivities.

As you can see, Carowinds has a lot to offer to amusement park enthusiasts.  If you are in the NC/SC area, then you may want to put a trip to Carowinds on your list of amusement parks to visit.