What can I say - I desperately needed this trip! My work load lately has been very extreme so far this summer and trips just haven't been able to become a reality. This was my second visit to Knoebels this year (the first being opening weekend) and my only other trips this year have been one to Wildwood/Ocean City and 9 visits to Coney (being that it's an easy subway ride or long walk for me). My partners in crime were Dave 'Flare' Fraser with the plans of meeting Aunt Rose (aka Kathy Lyons) and Dan (Coasterpunk to some). We got to the park around 10:20 and wandered around until our meeting time with Kathy at 11. The weather was hot and humid and the park was definitely busy (and would stay that way til close).
We started out with a couple of spins on the Flyers - I really wasn't able to get my normal rhythm on them as I usually am able to get quite a bit of 'snappage' but alas I was only get a few on each rides - it got a little better throughout the course of the day, but I never hit my stride from last years' PPP.
Then we hit a couple of rides on the Phoenix, one in back - one in 1.3 - great rides for early in the day but of course we knew that it was going to only get better. Pheonix is near the top of my list (if not the top) for wooden coasters. It's incredibly reliable in terms of rides - even when it's not running at it's best it's still a great ride - but when it's running at it's best and/or at the end of the day it's a top tier ride easily giving some of the best combined packages of airtime, speed, laterals, and just pure fun. I am definitely a fan of some of the great CCIs (Boulderdash, Tremors, Timbor Terror, Timbers, Ghostrider), but I find that many of these really don't offer a great ride until later in the day or into the night - I think that's one of the reasons I view the Pheonix so highly - it always delivers.
We then hit 2 rides on Twister. I've said it before, I find this ride to be very moody - I've had great rides and I've had really lousy ones. It is definitely overshadowed by the greatness of the Pheonix. Today the Twister was hell on wheels, it was really tearing through the second half of the course (after the helix) which is where I often find the most at fault with the ride. We rode the back first, as I find that's the best place to judge how it's running as you really tell if it's dragging or racing through the second half, and it was racing. While on many coasters I prefer the backseat, I personally think Twister is more effective in the front especially for intensity. The second ride was in 2.1 - WOW - the pop of air into the first turnaround (after the lift(s)) and that insane lateral/air spectacular into the first helix was close to the most pronounced that I can remember. It tore through both helixes with a huge amount of power, and while many might have found this to be 'rough' - I loved it - the second half was just as powerful plus I found a new VERY pronounced moment of ejector air coming out of the tunnel - this was completely new to me. Again, I definitely have a like to not-so-crazy-about relationship with Twister, but it was definitely giving me what I needed on this day.
We then hooked up with Dan (Coasterpunk). The rest day consisted of several rounds of Fascination, the Haunted House, the Carousel, 3 rides on the Auto-Skooters, the Pioneer train at night. I always try to either ride or do something new or different on each visit as there is so much they offer and you would be hard pressed to do every attraction in one day. New to me on this visit was the Bald Eagle exhibit and a ride on the Italian Trapeze (Zamperla Swings). New to Aunt Rose was Mini-golf (Knoebels has a great course). Dan lost the game and the rest of us tied with 51's (a definite first for me). Also, new to Aunt Rose was the flume - which was a lot of fun with a full boat. New to Dave was the tilt-a-whirl, which evidently was completely rebuilt for this season - Dave got quite a ride (although not as good as his one at Coney the week before). Nothing is really new to Dan as he grew up going to the park and still lives 15 minutes away (talk about lucky!).
We ate quite a bit: tri-taters, ice cream, corn nuggets, chicken fries, french fries, rib-b-q, the all-you-can eat Friday Fish Fry, and of course plenty of Birch beer. I've been curious to ask anyone who might have any opinions on eating on the Alamo - the menu looks enticing, but there never seems to be the time for a sit down meal - is it worth it????
So in total:
Pheonix - 7 rides
Flyers - 7 rides
Twister - 4 rides
Auto Skooters - 3 rides
Haunted Mansion - 1 ride
Italian Trapeze - 1 ride
Pioneer Train - 1 ride
Flume - 1 ride
Carousel - 1 ride
(plus Dave scored 1 ride on both the Round Up and Tilt-A-Whirl)
We did the POP - but with tickets that would have worked out to 33.50 (as the haunted house is extra regardless) - so really not that much difference in cost (POP is 29.99). Even with the crowds, I think the longest wait of the day was for the Auto Skooters which was around 15 minutes - everything else was a walk-on to a 10 minute wait. Pheonix dispatches were averaging 20 seconds (gotta love that).
We stayed til closing and hit the MTO at Sheetz (god I wish these were in NYC) and headed off for the night at the always 'lovely' Glosser Moter Lodge for a good nights sleep. It was good catching up with Aunt Rose as we only get to see each other once or twice a year. In the morning, the weather once again proved to be hot and humid. Dave and I decided to go back and get a few more rides at opening and Aunt Rose headed back to Erie. Dave and I scored single rides on Flyers (finally got the snappage I was missing the day before), Pheonix, Twister and one quick round of Fascination and headed home around 11:30
Knoebels has a very special place in my heart, as it does to many enthusiasts, but I've never been able to put it into words. The stress from work, living in the city and life in general just slips aways and I am able to completely forget about the rest of the world for a while - and I can't think of many other places or things that really do that for me at this point in my life to the degree that Knoebels does. I am so happy that in this age and time that this park which is free to enter, free to park, has free entertainment (and quite a bit of it during the regular season), reasonably priced rides and food, amazing staff and ride collection that I have Knoebels to enjoy. It's magic!
Thanks for reading!
Jim 'jimvid' McDonnell
Coming up a summary of my multiple Coney visits thus far including The Mermaid Parade and Siren Festival *** Edited 8/1/2004 11:16:55 PM UTC by jimvid*** *** Edited 8/3/2004 12:58:11 PM UTC by jimvid***
I'm glad you city folks enjoy Knoebels so much! ;) I may be heading to the city next Thursday. If not Thursday Friday night for sure not sure how long I'll be staying though.
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