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When’s the last time you got out of the city? I love NYC too, but sometimes you need to just get away for a day or two or three. Well, I’ve got a great idea for you! Why not take a day trip to one of the several Amusement Parks that are within a short drive from Midtown? What, you don’t have a car like most of us? No worries! You don’t even have to rent a Zipcar.

Take The Coaster Bus, led by Michael Woltering, a bona fide roller coaster aficionado. While other kids were content with the merry-go-round and bumper cars, Michael was only satisfied by the most thrilling rides at Cedar Point — his Ohio hometown theme park. He counts the day that he surpassed the highest “You Must Be This Tall To Ride” mark as one of the best days of his life.

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After earning his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in urban planning and settling into his adopted hometown of NYC, Michael found it impossibly difficult to access nearby parks with friends. He either needed to find a car — which most city dwellers don’t have — or be part of a large group trip.

Stuck behind a desk crunching numbers for the MTA, he devised a solution. He launched The Coaster Bus this summer to provide easy, affordable transportation to amusement parks for singles, families, and groups of all sizes, with several pick-up and drop-off locations throughout the city. He personally captains most Coaster Bus trips and is very knowledgeable about the theme parks and all their rides and attractions if you have any questions.

The Coaster Bus (3)

My girlfriend and I had the opportunity to join Michael’s Coaster Bus last weekend for a day trip to Lake Compounce. Great for all ages, Lake Compounce is a wonderful theme park located in nearby Bristol, Connecticut, just two hours from NYC. Although many of the rides are smaller and geared towards families, Lake Compounce also has major thrill rides, including what is considered by many to be the best wooden coaster in the world, The Boulder Dash. This 4,672 foot wooden roller coaster uses the Lake Compounce’s natural mountainous terrain, climbing the mountainside and then disappearing from view. When it reappears it has completed its first drop of 115 feet and is traveling 60 miles-per-hour as it crosses over itself and flies over the station.

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Admission to Lake Compounce also includes access to the park’s top-notch expansive water park, Crocodile Cove. We doused ourselves rafting Mammoth Falls before racing each other down the Riptide racer, which, of course, I won. Various lunch options are also included depending upon the package you book with the Coaster Bus. We had a delicious AYCE (all-you-can-EAT!) buffet, which even included ice cream – which might not be good to do before going on The Boulder Dash…

We were lucky enough to have superb weather for the day and had enough time at the park to go on every ride we wanted, some of them even a few times. Whether you’re a parent with little monsters or an adult child looking for some thrilling fun, you’ll have a great time on Michael’s Coaster Bus Trip!

– Michael Riegelman

The Coaster Bus (1)

For more info, be sure to check out

Their affordable packages include round-trip transportation, park admission tickets, in-park lunch, and complimentary snacks during the ride. Bus-only options start as low as $44. Currently they have trips to five nearby Amusement Parks, including:


  • Premium Package: $113.00 per person. Includes Round-trip Transportation (with reserved seating), Park Admission, Lunch, Premium Snacks, and a Bag of Goodies (i.e. sunscreen, candy, sunglasses, and more!)
  • Saver Package: $93.00 per person. Includes Round-Trip Transportation, Park Admission, Lunch, and Snacks.
  • Bus Only Package: $44.00 per person. Includes Round-Trip Transportation and Snacks. Perfect for season pass holders!

Photos via The Coaster Bus Facebook Page and by Socially Superlative