Knoebels (5-24-2003)

Associated parks:

Our last visit to Knoebels was on the final regular operating weekend last year. On that day they were giving out “coupons” for a “free ride all day” wrist band good for selected Saturdays at the start of the 2003 season. Seeing those Saturdays tick off of the calendar, we decided to get up to the park this past weekend. Knowing that Knoebels still runs in the rain, we decided that, even if we were only there for a short while, it would be worth it… after all… the wristband would be “free.”

Watching the weather closely, we decided to head out for the park at around 12:30pm after the heaviest rains moved out of the area. We drove a little out of our way to Danville for lunch at “Arthur Treachers Fish and Chips”. I know that sounds goofy, but my wife said when she was a kid this was her favorite fast food restaurant and she hadn’t been to one in about 20 years when the last one closed in the York, PA area… so it was kind of a “blast from the past”.

Anyway, after a lunch of fish and chips (along with about 2qts of grease introduced into our blood streams) and driving nine more miles to the south, we arrived at the park. As we drove under the Scenic Sky Way, we noticed that it was running and with people on it too, not simply a test run. Parking in the third row of the nearly deserted parking lot, we headed across the foot bridge behind the Alamo restaurant and my wrist band and two book of tickets for my wife (not liking wood coasters, its more economical for her to skip the wrist bands and just pay as she goes).

First up was the new Scenic Sky Ride. We didn’t realize that this would be open… but found that Saturday was in fact the opening day for it. First off, I do not like certain types of heights. I can take 200 ft tall coasters with no problems (I’m strapped in and nice and secure)… but you put me on the top wrung of a wobbly step ladder and I am DONE! Sitting on basically a park bench that is suspended from a steel cable (and swaying) 50 feet of the ground is also something I have a slight problem with. However, I ride these things anyway. If I could handle the sky ride at Morey’s Piers (the one where you look DOWN at the 100ft lift hill of Great White), I could handle this. The girl taking the tickets ($3.00 and not part of the POP wrist band price) said that the top of the hill is 300 ft above the loading station. No problem… at any one time you are no more than 50 or so feet off the ground below you. We boarded and were off. I was doing the white knuckle routine on the bar as we passed above Knoebels Parkway with the traffic below us.

As we ascended the hill, my wife told me to look back over my shoulder to see the park. Great view of Twister on the way up. At the top we made the turn around and then things changed. The wind which had been to our backs hit us head on and the hill dropped away. Three hundred feet below was the park. Not wanting to move more than I had to, I did manage to enjoy the view. While you may be no more than 50 feet in above the ground directly below you at any one point, the way the steep hill drops away, you may as well be the entire 300 feet in the air! The bad thing to about this… the path of the ride is cut in the trees and the trees are tall. The view is basically straight ahead toward the Ferris Wheel and Skloosh area… much of the park, including Twister and Phoenix are hidden from view. Anyway, once my feet touched terra firma again I was fine.

Next up was the obligatory turn on the Skooters (still as fast and hard hitting and fun as ever), the Whipper (my wife and I were the only two riding), High Speed Thrill Coaster and the Haunted Mansion. My wife always boards the Haunted Mansion car first so I am always on the left. No matter how many times I ride this, not long after you enter there is a lizard or snake or something that jumps out at you and always catches me by surprise and makes me scream.

The Phoenix was running fast and wild as always, and with no more than a 3 train wait for the front and back seats, 4 rides on this went quickly. Followed up in short order by 6 rides on Twister… also with little wait… practically walk ons. I can’t make up my mind about these two coasters… front or back seats? Last year I liked the back. This year I favored the front. Wild air at the top of each hill (especially the crest of the hill following Twister’s main drop) –vs- a wild out of control back seat ride. Oh well… either way, they are still two great coasters.

Heading back to the restaurant next to Phoenix, we hopped three rides on the Flyers. My wife managed to snap them and I think I finally have figured it out as well! I could have done more, but she couldn’t. After ride #2 she was a bit dizzy. After ride #3 I had to lead her to the exit and keep her from falling over.

We ordered our “steak on a roll” sandwiches and while my wife waited for our order number to be called, I hopped two more quick rides on Phoenix. The only let down of the day was that at this little restaurant, they did not have the Prime Rib sandwiches they had last year. The Steak on a Roll was okay… but a let down when I was all set for the Prime Rib sandwich. Oh well. Two final rides on Phoenix and we decided to call it a day.

On our way out, we stopped and watched the new Rockin’ Tug. It’s a strange little ride. Sort of a ship that rocks forward and backward on a “cradle” shaped track while at the same time revolving around a center point. Since it was new, I decided to give it a try. While I was waiting in line, my wife stepped up beside me with tickets in hand. She had recovered enough from the Flyers for one more spinning ride. We boarded and sat in the “stern” (seats are laid out very similar to the Galleon). The ride moves at a good speed, but not extremely fast. Not extremely thrilling, it is fun.

If anyone remembers the opening of “Gilligan’s Island”… “And the tiny ship was tossed…” and remembers seeing the Skipper and Gilligan being thrown around on the deck of the Minnow… then you have an idea of how this ride moves. My wife held on to the bar and closed her eyes, while I held on to our box of Vanilla and Almond Joy fudge from Stony Gables to keep it from flying away. When the ride was over, I helped my wife off, (she was not 100% recovered from the Flyers… and she was a bit dizzy… and she did not think my suggestion that we get on Down Draft was at all funny).

As we drove the 95 miles back home, the next trip was already in the planning stages.

Kind of hard to take a post as objective if a park or coaster name is part of the "user name"
*** This post was edited by SLFAKE 5/27/2003 10:17:49 AM ***
*** This post was edited by SLFAKE 5/27/2003 10:20:10 AM ***

Vater's avatar
Great trip report, SLFAKE. I'm looking forward to my first trip to Knoebel's this year.

By the way, what exactly do you mean by 'snapping' the flyers? Are you talking about aiming the 'sail' left, and then throwing it right to get some lift?

'I want my two dollars!'

... and then hearing the cable go "CRACK!" as it snaps taught again, exactly.

I found that if when you are high in the swing, if you turn the "sail" (or "rudder" as I call it) to the right to take you lower, and then, just before you reach the lowest point, you throw it back the opposite direction to get some quick lift. It almost reminds me of being in a plane and then "stalling" it as it climbs too quickly.

I always thought the "Snap" referred to the sound it made... then again, it could mean "Snapping" the Sail/rudder from one side to the other quickly. In any event, it gives a wild and out of control ride.

Question I have is this... does the resistance that the rudder has on its axel (bad term?) have anything to do with it. On my first two rides, I was having some success, but limited. On my last ride my flyer (tub 7 I think) went wild. The one difference I did notice was that when I first sat down and moved the rudder, it had no resistance... on the other two, there was a slight resistance. Probably was a coincidence... just a thought.

Kind of hard to take a post as objective if a park or coaster name is part of the "user name"

I was at Knoebels on Saturday too. Too bad I didn't run into you some point in the day.

Signature will be closed today. Sorry for the inconveinance.

Sounds like you had a great time! Does anyone know how far Knoebels is from Kennywood? I'm going to Kennywood this summer, and I may add Knoebels too the trip.


I would guess 5 to 6 hours. (4 hrs from Kennywood to Harrisburg... 1.5 hours from Harrisburg to Knoebels).

Correction: According to Lycos... around 4 hrs. Rt 22 from Kennywood to Altoona, then rt (?) from Altoona to State College, then Rt 80 to just north of Elysburg. Around 220 miles... although the road from Kennywood to Altoona has heavy traffic and traffic lights for a good stretch just east of the Pittsburgh area and it can slow you down.

Kind of hard to take a post as objective if a park or coaster name is part of the "user name"
*** This post was edited by SLFAKE 5/27/2003 2:40:49 PM ***

Nice TR! I'm still having trouble imagining the Sky Ride. I can't wait til my next visit to try it out. Are you allowed to take on-ride footage on the coasters there? I heard someone said you could.

-Sean Newman

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