Kennywood is one of Pennsylvania’s premier amusement parks. Located in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania, if you’re looking for a day of fun, check out Kennywood! The park is extremely popular with both locals and tourists alike, thus, lines and crowds can be very large. To minimize your time waiting, and maximize your time riding, check out these tips for maximizing your day at Kennywood!
VIP Tours (Paid Option)
Kennywood’s skip-the-line option is called the VIP Tour. There are two types: The Ultimate Experience and The Coaster Tour. Read more about these by clicking here (coming soon).
Arrive 30 minutes before the park opens
I recommend arriving at least 30 minutes before the park opens, recommended 45 minutes. For opening hours, click here. Kennywood’s parking lots are located on a hill – the later you arrive, the farther from the entrance you park, meaning it takes more time to get to the entrance. Unlike most amusement parks, where the lot is right next to the entrance, you may have to take an escalator or shuttle (depending on where you park), to reach the front entrance. Even then, the park entrance is located on the opposite side of a street from the rides, which are accessed using an underground tunnel. It takes time to park, walk out of your car, scan tickets, and get into the park. Arrive early to maximize the fun!
Preffered Parking – Paid Option
For $9, you can park closest to the park entrance. This is a good option to consider if you arrive later or even just close to the opening of the park. Preferred will save you time walking in, helping you maximize time spent on rides!
Understanding Kennywood’s opening time
Kennywood opens 30 minutes before rides open. For most days in the 2021 season, the park opens at 10:30, rides begin at 11:00. This is important to remember for maximizing the first few hours at the park.
Maximizing the first few hours
This guide is intended for thrill-seekers, but if you plan on experiencing Kennywood’s kids area, Thomas Town, head there first. Unless you plan to ride all (or most) of the park’s coasters and thrill rides, head to your priority rides first. If you want to ride it and think it will get a long line, ride it first!
Head to Racer (the area in front of it)
First, head to The Racer, the park’s double-track wooden coaster. As rides at Kennywood tend to open at least 30 minutes after the opening, I recommend waiting near the rides with the three longest lines: Steel Curtain, Jack Rabbit, Racer. The Racer is located adjacent to Jack Rabbit and Steel Curtain, so it is easy to watch for which opens first. There is no exact time than any of these open, but 30 minutes after park open is the approximation provided by the park. I recommend riding which ever one of these ends up opening first, but, do not leave until you’ve ridden all three. If one is down, or looks like it will not open for a while, then proceed onto the next rides. If you can, ride Steel Curtain, Racer, and Jack Rabbit as the first rides because they will likely receive the longest lines later in the day.
*Note: this is assuming you want to ride all of these coasters, Racer and Jack Rabbit are somewhat similar classic wooden coasters – you can skip one if it has a long line, or you simply don’t care.
Two options for hitting some other rides with long lines
Option 1: Old Mill/Sky Rocket
On the way to Racer, you passed Sky Rocket and The Old Mill. Sky Rocket is the modern blue coaster right at the front of the park. The Old Mill is an indoor classic dark ride. These two attractions receive long waits, but usually not as bad as the three prior rides. Consider skipping one of these depending on your taste: thrill or chill, so you can keep riding at a fast-as-possible.
Option 2: Exterminator/Thunderbolt
Instead of backtracking to the front of the park, another option is riding The Exterminator or The Thunderbolt. Exterminator is a well-themed indoor family-thrill coaster. Thunderbolt is a classic wooden coaster, similar to Racer or Jack Rabbit, but features the best ride experience in my opinion. Note*: you can not ride Thunderbolt as a single rider, you must have someone to ride with. Exterminator tends to have longer waits than Thunderbolt, but both are worth doing and can get very popular during peak times. Both rides receive long waits during peak times of day and are great attractions!
If you chose option 1 to do first, then go to option 2. If you chose to do option 2 first, ride Phantom’s Revenge, then do the rides in option 1.
Ride Phantom’s Revenge
This is many visitors’ favorite ride in the park. Featuring two massive drops, multiple “airtime” moments, and an ultra-smooth ride experience, what’s not to love! This ride tends to open later than the other rides in the park, so there may be a very minimal line when you arrive, if it just opened. Phantom’s Revenge often runs 2 trains, and has an overall higher capacity than other rides in the park, though it is still very popular, so ride it before the line gets too long.
Re-ride Phantom’s Revenge
If the line is still manageable, ride Phantom’s Revenge again! This line will only get longer, so ride this amazing roller coaster one more time!
The rest of this guide can be found on Page 2.