Knoebels 10/04/03 (Phoenix Phall Phunfest)

Associated parks:
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Monday, October 6, 2003 11:23 AM
After nearly not waking up on time due to the power going off overnight, I rolled out of bed, loaded up the car, and set off on the 4-5 hour drive to my favorite amusement park. The weather did not look good the whole way up, with overcast skies and occasional light rain, but fortunately the rain held off for the entire event and by the time we left the park that night, the sky has actually cleared up.

We got to the park around 4:00PM, after making a small side trip to the Barnes & Noble in State College. The parking lot was pretty full, but I assumed this was from all the people taking advantage of the regular operating day, not the PPP event which started at 6PM.

My friend Jason and I entered the park and were on our way to register for the event until we realized that we didn't know where to go. After a little thought, I remembered registering over by the Haunted Mansion last year, which is where it happened to be taking place this year as well. We each payed our $15 and were on our way. I was happy to see that a ticket for a free ride on the new sky ride was included with registration.

Our first stop was the Haunted Mansion since it was right next door. This ride is still as fun as it was the first time I rode it and I regret not being able to ride it again, but the line got pretty long and I honestly didn't feel like waiting, especially with Phoenix and Twister waiting for me.

Next we hit up the new sky ride, which looked pretty fantastic while driving into the park. I'm not the biggest fan of sky rides, not because I don't think they're enjoyable, but because they scare the crap out of me. This one never even gets that high off the ground (although it does go up the mountain) and I was still a little nervous the whole time. Hell, you should see me on Cedar Point's! Alright, enough about how much of a wuss I am. :) The sky ride was pretty fun and I got a better view of the park than I expected, although the trees did get in the way a bit, but that's to be expected.

After a few games of Fascination and Skee Ball, it was a little past 5:00PM at this point, so I decided to head out to the car to put on my costume. Let's talk about my costume for a bit, since a lot of people didn't actually know what I was. I was dressed as Vivi from Final Fantasy IX, more generally known as a Black Mage. A picture of me in costume can be seen here and a graphic of the character I was portraying can be seen here. The problem with my costume was that nobody could see my face, so there were times when I'd walk up to someone I know and call their name and they'd have absolutely no idea who was talking to them.

I got back into the park around 6:00PM in full black mage attire. I didn't even make it to the main gate before having someone laughing at me, which was good, because if I saw someone dressed up like that, I know I'd laugh. We sat down at Cesari's Pizza on our way back to Phoenix, where someone asked me if I was Speedy Gonzalez.

Phoenix and Twister were both running incredibly well. In fact, I'd venture to say that a few of my Phoenix rides were the best I've ever had since I first rode it back in 2001. The Knoebels crew was doing an excellent job at keeping the lines moving as always, which made the occasional long line entirely tolerable. We took one ride on each of them before taking two rides on the Carousel before hitting the Skooters. Sadly, we weren't able to sit on the outside for either one of them, so there'd be no ring grabbing action this year. This was when I exchanged hellos with Apollo Andy who was sitting on the horse behind me. Ring grabbing or not, it was still a lot of fun, especially with all of the people staring at me each time around. :)

Now it was time to make the short walk over to the Skooters to kick some arse. The queue was full when we got there, but we were on within 15 minutes or so. I've got to say, there's no better feeling than coming down the straightaway closest to the queue, nailing some poor soul who's lost control of their car, and having the people in line applaud your masterpiece of a bump. I wreaked my share of havoc on my fellow contenders, but that isn't too hard when you're using black magic. :)

After the Skooters, I took a rather uneventful ride on the Flyers. It's been quite awhile since I've flown, so perhaps I have an excuse for not being able to snap, but I still wasn't happy about it.

The rest of the night was spent riding Phoenix and Twister. I can't remember the exact number of rides I got on each, but my guess is 10 on Phoenix and 4 on Twister. I saw quite a few people I knew throughout the rest of the night, including loriu and her husband Steve, Coasterman Mike, and Black 7. The only other people I recall seeing were ST Chick and her boyfriend Matt, but each time I saw them they were leaving the station, so I never had the chance to say hello.

This year I decided to stay for the post-PPP presentations, which I've never done in years past. There were no big announcements for next year from Dick Knoebel (unless I missed something! :)), but he did mention basic infrastructure improvements and the like. He also stated that this year's attendance for PPP was slightly down from last year, but I'd blame that on the cold temperatures along with the threat of rain. As for the costume awards, I can't exactly remember who won and what they won, but I know loriu and Steve (dressed as Thing 1 and Thing 2) won honorable mentions and that the Coaster Clowns of New England and the group wearing the Flyer cars both placed, although like I said I don't remember who finished where, but I'm sure someone else will cover the details.

After the presentations, we went over to the campground for the bonfire, which was surprisingly already lit when we got there. The only person I recognized there was Black 7, who I talked with for about 45 minutes or so before leaving. Normally we'd camp like we did at the last two PPPs, but due to lack of proper planning, we decided to either find a hotel along Interstate 80 or drive back home that night (we did the latter).

In my opinion, this was the best PPP out of the three I've been to. Sure, the weather was a bit cold, but it's nothing that we weren't prepared for (although if it weren't for me freezing my arse off the night before at Kennywood, I probably wouldn't have come as prepared as I was). There some awesome costumes to look at (and not just the nun with her tits out, either!), the lines never got out of hand, Phoenix and Twister were running great, and on top of all that I got the chance to see a few of the people I haven't seen for awhile. With all of this occuring in my favorite part of the state during my favorite part of the year, it's practically impossible not to have fun. It's weekends like this, where people from all across the country gather in what some might consider the middle of nowhere to visit one of America's greatest amusement parks, that make me proud to be a Pennsylvanian.

Between Kennywood and Knoebels, it was certainly an exhausting weekend, but it was truly a blast. In fact, I had so much fun doing this that I'm already making plans to go to Cedar Point for closing weekend along with possible trips to HersheyPark and SFGAdv. Also, if anyone's planning on stopping by Kennywood for Fright Nights this year, let me know and I'll do my best to be there! :)

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Joe Cernelli
My CampusFish Blog

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Monday, October 6, 2003 1:23 PM
Hey, I saw you while I was walking after I ate my pizza. It was right around the time when someone yelled to you, "Hey! I like your costume." or something of the sort. And also, thanks for clarifying who was wearing the Thing 1 and Thing 2 costumes :) I thought it was loriu, but I wasn't sure. I was wondering because I was sitting next to her at dinner. Nice trip report, and it's good to see others had as much fun as I did :)
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Monday, October 6, 2003 1:47 PM
I think I may have seen you. I had no idea who you were or what you were though. I've never played Final Fantasy. It seemed like every ride on the Flyers everyone was snapping!

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-Sean Newman
*** This post was edited by SFgadvMAN 10/6/2003 5:47:51 PM ***

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Monday, October 6, 2003 1:54 PM
Ah yes, I forgot all about that girl playing mini golf commenting on it. I'm wondering how many people were commenting on my on-ride photos, I bet it'd be pretty funny to see someone with no face, big yellow eyes, and a large pointed hat in his hand. It's a shame I didn't get the chance to make a chin strap for the hat, otherwise I could have worn it the whole time.

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Joe Cernelli
My CampusFish Blog

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Monday, October 6, 2003 2:18 PM
Don't think I saw you, however, I think I remember who won the costume contest, was is the Top Thrill Dragqueens? It really was an interesting concept...And the 'nun' surely was an interesting site. Personally though, I think Gilligan should have won. It was my first Phun Phest as well as first visit to Knoebels, and I just have to say, Pheonix is simply an amazing ride, especially on the yellow train, which everyone in my group seemed to agree was running faster than the orange one, 7 rides was definately not enough. The airtime on that ride is just amazing. It was a great time, I'm definately doing it again next year.
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Monday, October 6, 2003 2:23 PM
I think you're right about the Top Thrill Dragqueens. Did anyone actually make the costume parade? I totally forgot about it and I'm not sure if I would have attended anyway. It'd be nice if PPP was a little longer, like maybe until 11PM, or maybe I should just start getting there earlier!

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Joe Cernelli
My CampusFish Blog

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Monday, October 6, 2003 2:55 PM
Yeah, the TTD-queens won. I also missed the parade, and some of the rides that I wanted to get on. I agree that they should make it a bit longer or something. Also, I wish everyone would keep their costumes on, because a lot of them I didn't get to see, and by the ceremony, many of them had their costumes off. And the nun was quite the sight...I'm glad I saw him and had my camera with me :)
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Monday, October 6, 2003 3:08 PM
I partially agree with you about keeping the costumes on for the awards. I think it'd be nice if people at least kept part of their costume on and only took off the more uncomfortable parts. For example, I removed the black mesh that I had over my head all night because it was really starting to get to me, but I left my funky pants, robe, and hat on until a rest area on I-80.

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Joe Cernelli
My CampusFish Blog

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Monday, October 6, 2003 6:19 PM
Nice to bump into you again Joe. The event really does need to be longer as with everything going on I obviously didn't get a chance to hang with you. I did recognize Vivi, though, even though I haven't played FF9 yet.

I guess I'll have to swing by KW next summer....

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Be polite and ignore the idiots. - rollergator
"It's not a Toomer" - Arnold Schwartzenkoph
"Those who know don't talk and those who talk don't know." -Jeff

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Tuesday, October 7, 2003 7:55 AM

cernelli said:
IIt'd be nice if PPP was a little longer, like maybe until 11PM, or maybe I should just start getting there earlier!

I have been saying that for years! Four hours really isn't a lot, especially because of all of the rides that the park keeps open for the event. Years ago, it was sufficient when all there was to ride was Phoenix, the Carousel, the Antique Cars and the Haunted Mansion, but nowadays, you probably couldn't hit every open ride even once within that time.

The problems I see are these: 1) If PPP ended at 11 instead of 10, that means that everything would be an hour later. By the time Jim Martini started speaking to the crowd (when the last riders were off the Phoenix and Antique Cars), it was probably very close to 11, meaning that the bonfire didn't get started until 11:30 or so. If things ended at 11, that means the bonfire would start after midnight, and might keep "day trippers" from staying like they do now. 2) If PPP started earlier, it would probably overlap the Covered Bridge Festival, and its not like the Haunted Cars and "chaser light-free" Phoenix could run any earlier, as it wouldn't be dark at 5:00.

I guess I'll have to keep doing what we used to do- register early and get in Cesari's Pizza and the Haunted House before everything officially starts at 6pm!

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-Rob
A.C.E. member since 1990
Posting @ Coasterbuzz since 2000
E.C.C. member since 2002

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Tuesday, October 7, 2003 8:40 AM
I agree with you about the problems with making everything later, in fact that's why I didn't say they should extend it all the way to midnight. I understand the problems with having it start earlier too. Perhaps they could move the costume parade to before the event starts, that way people don't have to take time from riding to participate or watch. Maybe they should think about giving out more tickets for free rides, that way we can knock a few off before the even starts without the event actually overlapping with the Covered Bridge Festival. I'm just thinking of ways to allow guests to accomplish more in the limited amount of time they have.

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Joe Cernelli
My CampusFish Blog

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Tuesday, October 7, 2003 10:52 AM
I know that a lot of people liked the Costume Parade, but that's something that I really had no interest in, just because of the amount of time it would have taken away from riding. Perhaps the parade should be moved to the end of the night... it could "lead" everyone in to the pavillion at the end of the night before everyone gets their chance to speak.

What I would do is go early afternoon and pay the park's [very reasonable] prices to ride the things that I would ride at night if time were not an issue (things that don't matter if you ride them during the day or with a bunch of enthusiasts at night), like the Carousel, the Ferris Wheel and the flat rides over by Skloosh. That way, you have time at night for Phoenix, Twister, the Phlyers, Haunted Mansion and the like. I've been saying for years that "next year", the park will run the event until 11 but it never happens, so I assume that they close things down around 10 for a very good reason.

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-Rob
A.C.E. member since 1990
Posting @ Coasterbuzz since 2000
E.C.C. member since 2002

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Tuesday, October 7, 2003 2:04 PM
I guess I look at it a little differently. I don't see PPP as some big all-you-can-ride fest. I see it as more of a social event for enthusiests. Sure, there are the great rides, but it is a chance to gett ogether with folks you do not see much and have a great time. If I want to ride a ton, I go to the park at anytime but PPP, if I want to have a great time with other people who are interested in the same things as I, I go to PPP. I think that is what makes this event so very different then other event throughout the year, and it is what makes it such a great way to end the riding season.

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Ask yourself; When was the last time YOU visited Conneaut Lake Park?

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Tuesday, October 7, 2003 3:11 PM
I agree that PPP isn't as much about the rides as it is about people. Of all the pictures that I took, there were only two of rides, and I decided to not even use them.

I also think that Gilligan should have received some sort of prize. He looked very realistic almost to the point of being scary.

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Eastcoaster
Rideworld

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Tuesday, October 7, 2003 3:40 PM
I agree with you guys about PPP being more of a social event than an all-you-can-ride deal, but riding is what I like to do with all those people that I haven't seen in awhile.

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Joe Cernelli
My CampusFish Blog

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Tuesday, October 7, 2003 6:33 PM
I also don't really have the opportunity to make it out to KG more than once a season. I suppose I could and you could certainly argue that that's just tough for me, but it would be nice if I could ride my brains out (and get more than 2 spins on the flyers) and still have time to meet and socialize and help people credit whore (we spent about 30 in line/on HSTC which I already had..*ahem* Rob *ahem* ;))

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Be polite and ignore the idiots. - rollergator
"It's not a Toomer" - Arnold Schwartzenkoph
"Those who know don't talk and those who talk don't know." -Jeff

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Tuesday, October 7, 2003 9:56 PM
Now Andy.... is that really my fault? I had never been there, so of course I am gonna try and hit everything. You didn't have to hang with me... Oh, I know... I am so cool, right? ;)

It was great to meet you, and hang out. I swear I meet the greatest people at these events, so I will continue to attend them, but not for the coasters. The people that go are all I really care about anyway. I got to hang out with Andy, Jeff, Matthew, Mike, Dawn, Bill, Jill, Chris, Maggie, Kristin, Rob, Kara, Matt, Lori, Steve, and Nathan, among others. It wasn't about coasters, ever. (although I got 4 credits that night:))

Oh yeah. I also got to see old #764 ride the tubs, and swing all over with that stupid ass "joker-looking" smile of his. (see inside joke for more information)
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Rob - Jerk/Loser - Standing up for the unfunny and unattractive. - Click here for details

*** This post was edited by nasai 10/8/2003 2:34:06 PM ***

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Wednesday, October 8, 2003 5:11 AM
HSTC is worth the wait anyway. Where else can you get massively scary ejector air on a "kiddie?"

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Be polite and ignore the idiots. - rollergator
"It's not a Toomer" - Arnold Schwartzenkoph
"Those who know don't talk and those who talk don't know." -Jeff

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Wednesday, October 8, 2003 5:26 AM
I'll agree that PPP isn't about "marathoning" on coasters, but I can remember years when you could spend an hour on the Phoenix and get a dozen rides as you chatted with everyone in line. Seems very difficult to do that nowadays...

With "enthusiasts" at the park instead of the general public, some of the rides take on a new meaning. I am pretty sure that no one will deny that Phlyer and Skooter rides are significantly different at PPP than they are on any other regular operating day- there is something to be said for the energy that eminates from the "enthusiast" crowd. It would be nice to have a little more time to enjoy the park with that kind of "crowd", but I understand the reasons why it can't be done.

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-Rob
A.C.E. member since 1990
Posting @ Coasterbuzz since 2000
E.C.C. member since 2002

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