Hershey Park & Knoebels Wednesday, June 19th

Monday, June 24, 2013 6:26 PM

I decided I needed to ride some roller coasters that I have never ridden so I took a long journey that included ten different amusement parks. I will start with the first and best park that I visited. I have wanted to do this trip for over 5 years now and I finally had the opportunity to go so I went. I took this trip to specifically ride roller coasters. In fact, roller coasters are all I rode the entire trip. I had limited time so I chose to just ride roller coasters since I had never ridden any of them before. I left Birmingham, AL on Tuesday June 18th at 5:45pm. I drove 540 miles straight until I had to get gas. I was somewhere outside Roanoke, VA. I drove another couple of hours and stopped at a rest area and slept a little in the car before heading out again. Amazingly I wasn’t all that tired.

I woke up and then hit the road again for the rest of my drive to Hershey, PA. I bought my discounted ticket at a Giant grocery store for $43.80 which I thought was a decent price. I made it to the park at around 9:30am and waited with the crowd of people that had started to gather. They let us into the front area of the park about 10 minutes to 10 and I decided I would head straight to Fahrenheit first. After they dropped the ropes inside the park at 10 I headed towards Fahrenheit and got on the first row of the second train out for the day. I really enjoyed this ride a lot more than I thought I would. I loved the vertical lift and subsequent drop. The inversions were all done very well and I love the little airtime hill in the middle of the ride. They really packed a lot of coaster into a small area. Since the line wasn’t long I rode it three more times in a row.

From here I wanted to ride Storm Runner but I passed Sidewinder first so I rode it since there was no line. The restraints were nice and better than most other Boomerangs I’ve ridden. I got in line for Storm Runner and was surprised to see next to no one in line. Got right into the front row and prepared myself for the launch. What a great ride! I loved the launch and hill followed by drop and inversions. It was a short ride but very fun. I rode it three more times since there was hardly a line. This really is a gem of a ride. I only wish it were a little longer.

Next up was Great Bear. It was only about a 15 minute wait. I enjoyed the ride. I loved the helix before the drop and the long straightaways by the water. It was the most unique B&M Invert I think I’ve ever ridden. Trailblazer was next. It was an ok ride but not one of my favorite mine train rides. I then rode Mad Mouse. I was impressed with how much pull you get around the turns at the top. It was a fun little ride. From here I rode Wildcat back to back. I don’t know why I rode it more than once other than the fact my first ride was in the very front seat where it wasn’t a terrible ride. It was a pretty rough, shaky ride in the other seats though which really surprised me. I love the trains and the ride itself looks great however the ride experience wasn’t as smooth as I thought it would be. Next up I rode Lightning Racer twice on both sides. I enjoyed this ride quite a bit. The hill in the tunnel was fun and a surprise. It was a pretty smooth wooden coaster as well which was great after my experience on Wildcat.

I walked around the park back towards the front. I spotted the mini marching band performing for park guests on the midway. I thought this was great. They were playing some really nice tunes and taking pictures with people. They even played the ‘Happy Birthday’ song for someone with a birthday. I also saw all of the Hershey candy bar characters taking pictures with kids. They looked awesome. I stopped at the Pretzel House for a pretzel and drink. It was much needed and a good choice of snack to get me through the rest of the afternoon.

The time had come to ride Skyrush. I wanted to ride it earlier in the day but the line was through the entire queue so I decided against it. I am very glad I did because the wait later in the afternoon had dwindled down to 15 minutes max. I took my seat in the middle of the train on the wing seat. The restraints were surprising initially because of how they sat on your lap however I got used to them. I can imagine they would have been much worse with the hard plastic they used last year though. I thought this ride was great and it’s one of the better coasters I’ve ridden. I may be in the minority on that thinking because it really isn’t the most comfortable ride out there. It didn’t bother me too much however. I just loved its intensity! The lift was fabulous. I loved going up the 200 feet lift hill at the fast speed. The drop was great with max ejector air that I don’t think I’ve ever experienced on any coaster. It came as a huge surprise to me. Then the turns and being whipped around was a crazy feeling along with more ejector airtime hills. The last big hill before the brake run was awesome. It definitely wasn’t the most comfortable restraint but like I said it didn’t bother me that much. I liked the extreme airtime that this ride had so that’s why I kept riding. I ended with 12 rides total.

After my back to back rides on Skyrush I went over and rode Sooperdooperlooper (cool name and sign) back to back with next to no waits. This ride was very good. It’s a Schwarzkopf so I knew it would be. I enjoyed the turnaround in the trees and hill through the loop. The rest of the ride was fun as well with the helix in the tunnel and back to the station. I went back to Skyrush and rode 4 times in a row. I met a guy in line who was trying to get his 300th ride total on it which he was able to do. Comet was next and I waited about 20 minutes for it. I enjoyed this ride a lot. I wish I would have ridden it more than this one time but the line was very slow. I went back over to Great Bear and grabbed two more rides since it was nearly a walk on. I walked to the back of the park hoping to ride Lightning Racer again but I got on Wildcat again instead. After that I decided I wanted to ride Skyrush before I left for the day so that’s what I did. I closed my trip to Hershey Park with 6 straight rides on Skyrush.

I was in the park for around 8 hours and got in 36 rides. I would have stayed all day but I was short on time and wanted to visit Knoebels by 8pm so I left a little after 6pm. Hershey Park is a wonderful park. I loved my time there and wouldn’t hesitate to go back in the future. Their collection of roller coasters is one of the best I’ve seen or experienced at any park. Their employees were very friendly and operations weren’t as bad as I thought they would be from what I’d seen online. They weren’t as fast as Cedar Point but they weren’t bad either. I visited 10 parks on this trip and this one was my favorite. It’s the only park that I visited on my coaster trip where I was able to ride all of the parks roller coasters. Hershey Park has some unique rides and most of them are re-rideable and enjoyable.

I then drove from Hershey to Knoebels. I really enjoyed the drive through the hills of Pennsylvania. I arrived at Knoebels around 7:45pm parked my car and made the long walk to the park. It was quite a sight to behold. There were carnival rides everywhere with smells of good food and campfire smoke. It was such an awesome place. I was there at dusk which was nice. The weather was gorgeous on this day as well. It was very mild with clear skies. There looked to be a lot of people there but the waits for the coasters weren’t bad at all. The other rides didn’t look to have long waits either. I found a ticket booth and asked the lady about buying a wristband. At this point it was close to 8pm and she advised me that it would probably benefit me to just buy individual ride tickets. They had a special to buy $10 book of tickets for $9 so I did. I am glad I listened to her advice because I ended up saving $7 in the long run.

I went and rode Twister first and was completely blown away. What a great ride. I had heard good things about this ride and they held true. I was very surprised by the first drop into a second lift hill. I wasn’t expecting that at all which was fun. The second drop was great as was the rest of the ride. It ran very fast and had some great airtime moments. I loved the dual helix type track towards the end of the ride as well.

From Twister I went and got my first ride in on Phoenix. I have to say that Knoebels could very well have the quickest coaster operations I’ve ever seen at any park especially on this ride. It helps that Phoenix trains have NO SEATBELT! I wasn’t expecting that at all and it was a pleasant surprise. Wow, what a ride. It was one of the roller coasters I was looking forward to riding the most on my trip and boy did it live up to the hype. I absolutely loved the start of the ride through the dark tunnel. Again, I wasn’t expecting it. When it was dark later it seriously felt like you were going faster through the tunnel. The drop and hills after the drop were simply amazing. Airtime to the max and it could possibly be the smoothest wooden coaster I have ever ridden. I grabbed a second ride on it before moving onto Black Diamond.

I really enjoyed Black Diamond. It wasn’t overly thrilling but it was pure fun. It’s a great dark ride with some great theming. I liked the mining aspect and the small drops located throughout the ride. At this point I was out of tickets so I had to go back and buy another book. I rode Phoenix again and enjoyed the ride again. I went back and grabbed another ride on Twister. I was actually more impressed with this coaster than I thought I would be. I had heard it was a good ride and it exceeded my expectations. I finished the night with two more rides on Phoenix in the dark. Wow. That train flew through the course with some of the best airtime I’ve ever experienced on a wooden coaster. I rode in the very back and the very front and they were both great seats. They had a news crew there for some reason and they were filming the riders as they came back into the station. Everyone was screaming and having a good time. The atmosphere was excellent. It reminded me a lot of some of the Holiwood Nights events that I have attended. I was proud to have Phoenix as my 100th coaster ridden and I had the nice ride operator take my picture with a hand written ‘100’ sign of me in the first train.

Knoebels was a blast. It was a great atmostphere with great rides and nice people. I spent $18 to get 8 rides in 2 hours and it was well worth it. I didn’t get to try the food but it sure smelled good. I enjoyed the quirky things at Knoebels like the lemonade stand in the shape of a lemon, and the shop in the shape of a boat. Hopefully one day I will get to return to this park for a longer amount of time.

Ride Count:
12x Skyrush, 4x Storm Runner, 4x Fahrenheit, 4x Lightning Racer, 3x Great Bear, 3x Wildcat, 2x SDL, Sidewinder, Trailblazer, Mad Mouse, and Comet

5x Phoenix, 2x Twister, Black Diamond

36 rides @ Hershey + 8 rides @ Knoebels = 44 total for the day

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Monday, June 24, 2013 7:14 PM

I'm glad to hear that someone besides me thinks that Skyrush is a very good coaster. So many people have said negative things about it but I love it. Yes, the last hill is a killer in terms of the restraints.

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Tuesday, June 25, 2013 3:50 AM

I'll be doing kind of the same trip, but in reverse. Thanks for the info!

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