3 Days, 8 Parks: Day #2 Six Flags Great Adventure and Knoebels

Thursday, August 20, 2015 12:26 PM

Day 2 came early and I was heading off to Six Flags Great Adventure. This would be my second visit to the park after my first visit about 10 years ago. That visit didn’t go so well since we got to the park late and it was packed! We only were able to ride 4 coasters that day and I was determined to knock out the rest of the line up at this park. I was really excited to finally get a few trips on El Toro! I was going to be under a time crunch to hit all the coasters and get on the road to Knoebels for some night time coaster riding in PA.

I was at the park shortly after 9:30 and waiting with the morning crowd to get in. Just before 10:30 they started letting us in and I headed off for Superman first only to find it temporarily closed and quickly left for Kingda Ka. This coaster was brand new the last time I was at the park and I don’t remember how long the wait was, other than it was so long that I never got to ride it. This time I was on the third or fourth trains to launch for the day. I know this ride and its brother at Cedar Point are one trick ponies, but they both have a whole bunch of ponies that give one awesome punch of acceleration! Going this fast usually gets you a ticket but here I get a quick power shot of adrenaline. The best part of the ride is watching the reactions of people around you that have never experienced the ride before. This ride gets a great reaction from just about everyone.

Back to Superman that was now ready to go. I actually really enjoy the few B&M flyers that are out there. This would complete the U.S. B&M flyers for my track record. This is a good layout but I prefer Tatsu and Manta over the Superman clones. I love the pretzel loops but would love to see some more of these with other elements. The sensation of flying is one I will never get tired of. The only thing I don’t like is waiting in the brake run in the flying position. Most of the time the wait isn’t that long, but we all know how train loading can be excruciatingly slow at times and it would be nice to have the ability to put the train back into the sitting position while in the brake run.

Finally I was off to ride El Toro! This wooden coaster is just massive! I love steel coasters but nothing beats the nostalgic look of a wood coaster. The train was loaded, ready to go and I was going to be on the next one out when El Toro started experiencing technical difficulties….I stuck around for 10 min and decided I needed to keep going in order to hit the other coasters in the park.

Runaway Mine Train was a front row walk on. Going up the lift hill you get a spectacular view of El Toro. I like how the coaster went through the trees at the beginning and then had a nice swooping turn over the lake to cap it off. Good mine train.

Blackbeard’s Lost Treasure Train is a good coaster to take your kiddos on. That’s all I have to say about that.

Skull Mountain was a fun surprise. It was dark enough that most of the time I couldn’t see the track and this coaster seemed to keep twisting around itself inside that building. My kids would have loved this ride and probably would have gone marathon riding on it.

Batman: Backwards…With all the Batman rides I have been on this is the first time I have ever gotten on one going backwards. Most of us have this layout memorized but going on it backwards really made it disorienting. It is an interesting ride backwards, but I prefer just to ride this going in the normal direction.

Time for the Dark Knight. Wait, what? There is a pre-show for a ride at Six Flags? As I waited for the pre-show room to fill up I thought this should have been Mr. Freeze or Penguin based on how cold it was in that room. The pre-show is well done and the Six Flags employees played it up by banging the trash can at just the right moment which got a few screams from the crowd. Well done. The coaster is a well themed wild mouse. I actually thought they did a great job with this ride even if it is just another mouse.

After the Dark Knight I went to get a ride on Nitro and the line was reaching back to the 60 min wait point. Dilemma…wait for this or go see if El Toro was back open. Since I rode Nitro my last time at the park and had multiple rides on Fury 325 over the 4 of July, I decided I had my fill of B&M Giga/Hyper air time bliss; so I jogged back over to hopefully ride the Bull.

Perfect timing! El Toro had just opened back up and I jumped on in the second row for my first ride. WOW! I didn’t need a ride on Nitro after this air machine! There is sweet floater air and massive ejector air as you dive down into the twisty section. I relished every second on this coaster. I got off and sprinted back to the station for another ride near the back. I sat next to a guy that hadn’t been to a park in about 10 years and he said he was excited to ride this “old wooden coaster”. I told him by comparison this ride actually wasn’t that old and he was about to be amazed by this old wood coaster. Once this bull gets out of the gate it goes full throttle to try and buck you off. After the ride the guy next to me was at a loss for words as he sat in stunned silence. I am so glad we have amusement parks that invest in stellar coasters like this one. After 3 back to back rides on El Toro the line was building and I grabbed a quick ride on Bizarro to see the changes. I skipped Green Lantern because I rode it at SFKK as Chang. I did like how they painted it green and made the loop yellow to go along with the theme. After the high powered coasters at Six Flags it was time to turn back the clock with a drive out to Knoebels for some night riding in the hills of Pennsylvania.

I left Great Adventure around 1:30 and pulled into a packed field of cars at Knoebels a little after 5. I had only been to Knoebels one other time also about 10 years ago. That time I had my family with me and my son was pretty little so we stayed long enough to ride the two main coasters and the haunted house and the log flume. We didn’t even know about the brass ring grab on the Carousel until we saw something on the travel channel about it. (I guess they have one at Gillian’s also that I missed but I didn’t realize that until I just looked it up)

I heard the waits on the Flying Turns can get pretty long so that was my first stop. This coaster looks so cool. Huge props to Knoebels and sticking to their game plan through all the ups and downs on getting this roller coaster through its own coaster ride of building, testing, and re-testing to finally get it open. I had my doubts at times that this ride would ever open. The first little lift and turn is pretty tame, but the second half of this ride packed a nice punch that I wasn’t expecting. I think this coaster is a true hidden gem.

More props to Knoebels on buying, building and refurbishing Black Diamond. This is a combination dark ride and mine train. I only took one ride on this but just remember thinking that there is a lot of track packed into this building and reminded me of the Fire in the Hole rides at Silver Dollar City and Blazing Fury at Dollywood.

Being next to the Phoenix, it was time to get another ride on this mythical creature. I grabbed a second row seat and got ready for some airtime. The stand-up air on this coaster is scary good. Not having seat belts enables this euphoric coaster to let you experience its full potential. This coaster continues to prove that bigger isn’t always better.

I was off to ride the Carousel and give my first ever attempt at grabbing some rings. I started talking to a family waiting in line with me about how the ring grabbing and returning worked and they were surprised to find out I had never ridden a carousel like this unique feature. They all said they never miss a ride on the Carousel when they go to Knoebels because they all want to try and grab the brass ring. One other thing I really like about this Carousel is how the Knoebel’s staff run this ride. They let everyone load up quickly, get the ride started and then get on the ride to collect the tickets. So fast and efficient! I quickly figured out how to grab the rings and then about the third time around a kid 3 or 4 horses in front of me yelled, “That’s it!” He then missed the ring and so did his 2 buddies behind him. I took advantage of their misfortune and grabbed the brass ring on my first ride. The lady I was talking to in line was on the horse behind me and she couldn’t believe it. This makes a ride on a Carousel 100 times more exciting. Again more accolades to Knoebels and getting all the little important things right!

It was time to leave historic Knoebels and take a ride back to the future on their new Impulse. I want to thank other Buzzers about their earlier comments in the forums about a single rider line. My wait went from over an hour to about 10 min. I also convinced two other guys that were about to leave the line to give the single rider line a try as we approached the staff member that was taking tickets. They couldn’t believe we could bypass the whole line just by saying you were a single rider. I love these new coasters with vertical lifts and 90 degree drops. I really liked the pacing on this ride and how it starts first off with a cobra roll. This ride is super smooth and has a nice slow inline twist right through the loop. That was my favorite element. Another winner for Knoebels. Small compact coaster, with decent capacity and many exciting elements.

Time to ride the famous Knoebel Flyers. I know they put up the sign years ago about slamming or whipping the sails from side to side but I couldn’t remember the status about snapping here. The ride before I got on I saw a girl get a few snaps by accident and by the look on her face she wasn’t trying. She freaked herself out pretty good. So after seeing that, I thought game on. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to get these things really moving. I got a few good snaps out of it and then I noticed the ride was slowing down a little prematurely and the guy operating the ride was giving me the settle it down motion with his hand and then ramped the ride back up. I chilled it out after that but enjoyed the few snaps I got. These Flyers were outstanding!

I went back to the Phoenix and grabbed 3 night rides and relished every second. Before I called it a night I made sure to get a ride on the Haunted Mansion. I rode this last time but couldn’t remember it at all. Now I know why everyone raves about this. There are excellent effects on this ride with some really well timed “pop out scares”.

I realized I had enough time to get another lap on the Flying Turns so I did one night ride on this masterpiece and finally called it for the day.

Day #2 Complete. I had an hour drive up to Williamsport for my hotel to complete the day. 2 parks today with another 11 new coasters for the track record. Highlights were Kingda Ka, El Toro, Flying Turns, grabbing the brass ring, getting a couple snaps on the Flyers, the Haunted Mansion, and multiple night rides on the Phoenix! My goal is to make it back to Knoebels in the next few years with the whole family. My kids would go absolutely nuts for this park.

Last edited by S&SFAN, Friday, August 21, 2015 4:13 PM
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Thursday, August 20, 2015 3:09 PM

No Twister love? Or didja skip, intentionally or not?

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Thursday, August 20, 2015 5:56 PM

My bad. I got a lap on the Twister after I rode the Impulse. I thought I wrote about it but I guess I just thought about it and forgot to put it in the report. I love how the double helix wraps its way around the station and exit ramp. This part of the ride reminds me of the Beast at King's Island on a miniature scale. I thought the ride was almost done after that but it just keeps going and really lives up to its name. This is a great coaster, but the airtime on Phoenix is too addictive not to go back to for multiple re-rides, especially at night.

Last edited by S&SFAN, Friday, August 21, 2015 2:37 PM
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Friday, August 21, 2015 1:03 AM

S&SFan - - -> I am enjoying your reports. I just want you to know (as others may have said) that I feel that you are rushing through everything with a big goal in mind instead of just slowing down, walking around and letting your day(s) unfold.

I know that is hard to do when time is pressing, but 3 days and 8 parks means that you are hitting the big stuff, but missing out on a lot of smaller things that would (in my opinion) enhance your day.

As much as you are getting done, perhaps this might not be the best time to do this.

Again, I know time is pressing...but sometimes less is more.

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Friday, August 21, 2015 4:11 PM

Richie- Thanks for reading the reports and glad you enjoyed them. You absolutely hit the nail on the head, especially the first day and a half. The first day I was trying to knock out as much of the Jersey shore parks as I could. I actually took my time at Morey's and had a great time walking around the piers. SFGAdv was strategically planned out to maximize my limited time at the park so I could get to Knoebels with plenty of time to enjoy all it has to offer. Plus I didn't want a repeat of what happened last time I was at SFGAdv when I only got to ride 4 coasters because the lines were so long. I actually had quite a bit of time at Knoebels and spent a bit just walking around, mostly trying to figure out the layout of the park and just looking at all the interesting rides and things that are hidden everywhere.

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