Knoebels, Elysburg, Pennsylvania, USA
My last trip to Knoebels was almost 8 years ago, July 2008. I have been wanting to get back there especially since there were 4 new coasters added since my last trip to the park.
The parking lot was somewhat full but not as bad as the last time I was there. Since it was a weekend they were only selling ride tickets.
The first ride of the day was the log flume with about a 10 minute wait. There are 2 drops and the last drop gets you cooled off but not as much as Saw Mill Log Flume or Thunder Creek Mountain at Dorney.
Black Diamond was a ride I was interested in trying ever since I saw the Golden Nugget Mine Ride standing but not operating at Morey's Piers. It closed before my first trip to Wildwood and the combination of a dark ride and coaster sounded cool. It was only a 10 minute wait and I thought Knoebels did a great job with the new effects added and there was a lot to see in the ride.
After a quick walk through the mining museum and Knoebels history museum Phoenix was next. 1 train was running with a 15 minute wait. It is amazing how fast they can dispatch a coaster train with no air gates, buzz bars and no seatbelts. I have wanted to give the ride another chance since although I liked the coaster, I didn't like it as much as most enthusiasts where other coasters like Boulder Dash and El Toro lived up to the hype. I still felt the same about the coaster, it is fun with some great air time but not close to one of my favorite wooden coasters.
Gasoline Alley was next with about a 10 minute wait. This is a fun antique car ride that goes into the Phoenix coaster area.
Flying Turns was another coaster I was looking forward to trying. I have always wanted to ride a bobsled coaster and missed Avalanche the last time I was at Kings Dominion in 2003. This was the longest wait of the day at around 25 minutes since it's very low capacity with 3 trains that only seat a maximum of 6 riders per train. The part after the 2nd lift hill was a little more out of control (although still not intense) than I was expecting compared to the videos I had seen of the coaster. It was fun and I was glad to try it and would ride the coaster again if it the wait was under 30 minutes.
Last time I was at the park we ate lunch at The Alamo. It was unbelievable that a sandwich with chips was $3.25 at a table service restaurant inside an amusement park. It would have cost twice that much at most restaurants. Today we went to Cesari's Pizza as I had heard it was supposed to be very good. Even with the park not crowded it still took around 30 minute from the time we got in line to order to getting the pizza delivered to a table in the pavilion. It was much better compared to the pizza at Dorney and Great Adventure.
Haunted Mansion was next with a 5 minute wait. I remember liking this dark ride on my last trip to the park and it was just as good as I had remembered. There were many different themes in the ride and a lot of show scenes. This is probably one of my favorite dark rides outside of a Disney park.
Whipper had no wait and unlike Dorney's Whip that takes a while to start the cycle by the time the ride operator checks the seatbelts and checks the lap bars this ride cycle started right away with no seat belts to check and the ride operator just making sure the lap bars were down on the ride vehicles that riders in them. It is probably my favorite Whip ride with a long ride cycle.
Kozmo's Kurves had no wait so I stopped to get the coaster credit. High Speed Thrill Coaster was one of the better kiddie coasters I have tried and this is a good replacement with a longer track and 3 laps around the track.
Twister had no wait for a middle row with 1 train running. Like Phoenix they dispatched the train quickly with no air gates or seatbelts. I liked this coaster more than Phoenix last trip and today that changed. It seems like it has gotten much rougher since the last time I rode the coaster and some parts were really bad like the double helix. It's not as bad as Wildcat at Hershey or as bad as Gwazi was but it is no longer going to be in my top 10 wooden coaster list.
Knoebels Flying Scooters was another ride I was looking forward to trying. I first tried Flying Scooters last year at Dorney and they have become a must ride for me every trip to the park. Hearing that Bisch-Rocco Flying Scooters are much better than the Larson models most parks have I was hoping they would be better. There was no wait and unlike Cedar Creek Flyers where you can't even unbuckle your own seatbelt at the end of the ride (the ride operator has to open it was a key) the ride operator here didn't even check to see that the riders had the seatbelts buckled and trusted that everyone had buckled the seatbelts. Right away it was obvious these weren't Larson Flying Scooters. They moved much faster and it was so easy to snap them that you could almost snap without even trying. The ride cycle had to be at least twice as much as Cedar Creek Flyers, maybe even 3 times the amount of ride time. I see why this ride is so popular with enthusiasts and was probably the surprise ride of the day for me since I never expected it to be so awesome.
The Pioneer Train was next. With all 3 trains running it was a few minute wait. This train takes you past the water park and Twister and into the woods. At the turn around, there are planks with corn on the cob on them that squirrels go to.
The final ride of the day was Impulse. There were 2 trains running with about a 10 minute wait. Any ride that goes upside down and only has a lap bar almost automatically makes it great. This was my 3rd coaster with a 90 degree lift and it still is a unique feeling. There was some air time on the drop and in the in line twist. I liked this coaster more than Untamed at Canobie Lake but not as much as Fahrenheit at Hershey. It was a really good addition to the park since they needed a coaster with inversions after removing Whirlwind.
Knoebels is a great park. With their recent coaster additions, it really feels like a complete park with something for everyone and I hope to return to the park at least one more time this year.
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